The CYRK (Drek Daa)
The owner of The CYRK is much like the venue itself: unique and welcoming. You may have heard of Drek Daa, the performance artist and you also may have heard of Dr. Darek Dawda - they are the same person but with very different jobs.
Derek's day job is a psychologist, but he also moonlights as the performance poet Drek Daa. And when he's not doing either - he's bringing some of his favourite acts to his personal music venue The CYRK (Polish for Circus).
1) What made you want to create The CYRK?
Generally speaking, I like social hustle and bustle, perhaps because I grew up in an extended household in Poland, with lots of semi-sane people around, which is a little bit what the CYRK events are like. I also have an unquenchable need to create, and always fantasize about an ideal communal art/retreat center I would conjure up if I had the resources.
Specifically speaking, I have been performing all over the place for a few years prior to starting the CYRK, mostly in various cafe and theatre-like places in Canada, US, and Europe, and I noticed that there is almost always something wrong about these places, the most common problem being the sound system. So when the bank lent me a house to live in, I decided to turn the downstairs into a cafe-like space that works well.
2) What makes it unique?
Best sound system in town. Cozy interior design. A few different comfortable nooks to dwell in. BYOB. My salsa. Great people. Always a good time. Only super good acts. And of course a very welcoming host.
4) Why do you think it's important to have a venue like this in Winnipeg?
For me, it is first and foremost about creating a place that nourishes my poor little soul. If it does good things to others than even better. People who come to the shows seem to enjoy themselves from what I gather. From the point of view of performers, it's great to have a venue with a great sound system, built-in crowd, and an option to crash for a night. Not to mention receiving 100% of the donation proceeds.
I know there is a shortage of performance venues in Winnipeg because I get on average about two requests for shows a week, often from very good acts. Unfortunately, I almost universally turn acts down, because I do only one to two shows a month.
5) What is your favourite part about it?
I sometimes catch myself thinking: I can't believe this is happening in my living room! It's a great gift to have this caliber of artists want to perform here. Take a look at the list on the front page of my website www.theCYRK.ca and you will understand what I am talking about. Of course, I also meet lots of great Winnipegers who come to see the shows, which helps me become a part of this community.
6) Who would be at your dream concert at The CYRK?
This is a no brainer: Leonard Cohen of course! Maybe you can help me make this happen? I already tried Leonard when we had a festival here for his 75th last year, but he was on the tour then. But now ... Leonard, Leonard, where are you Leonard?
Here is a preview of Burnt Project 1. They perform at The CYRK this Friday.