Friday, March 23, 2018

Photo Essay: "An Evening with Michelle Obama" in Saskatoon, March 22, 2018

Text and images (c) Robert Barry Francos / FFanzeen, 2018
Poster from the Internet

Before moving to Saskatoon, I'm proud to say I vote for Barack Obama. Michelle as First Lady was a bonus.

When former president George W. Bush came to speak in Saskatoon in 2009 via the Chamber of Commerce, it was at the smaller TCU Place, and there was a large protest march of hundreds of people (of which I participated, having moved to the city just a few months before). This time, however, when the former First Lady came through the same organization, it was at the much larger Sasktel Centre (where the major sports and music events take place), it was cheered by all 8500 in attendance, with no protests inside or out.

The tickets were $100 (after the exorbitant TicketMaster fees), which was out of my price range, honestly, but thanks to working at the YWCA and some donated tickets, I was able to score a couple for myself and my partner.

Not surprisingly, there was a bunch of yakking before Michelle hit the stage for her hour-and-a-half by locals, such as radio host Shauna Powers, Darla Lindbjerg (CEO of the Chamber of  Commerce), Murad Al-Katib (president and CEO of AGT Foods), and someone representing the Invictus Games for wounded veterans (including two participants).

Rather than a set talk, moderator and Olympic gold medalist Cassie Campbell interviewed Obama, who talked extensively about growing up, raising her daughters, living in the White House, and some of the programs she worked on while First Lady. Despite that, she also avoided politics in general (sans an subtle audience-appreciated swipe at the present White House occupant's ego).

A coworker of mine who was present later said he wished for a more set speech, but I rather enjoyed the banter, and the humanizing of Barack and the joy of their relationship. She showed kindness, humor, grace, and a sense of how the Obama administration all worked together for the general good, things that are currently missing in Washington. It felt like everyone went away after feeling good.

Please note that we were sitting quite far away from the stage, as the first picture will attest. For that reason, the pictures aren't the sharpest, but I'm proud of how they came out in the long run, all things considered.

The view from where we were sitting

Shauna Foster

Darla Lindbjerg

About the Invictius Games, and two participants 

Murad Al-Katib

Michelle Obama and CassieCampbell

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