Tag Archives: MARGARET ATWOOD

Mad Men beat the odds, Piers interrupts, and Griffiths, Healey & MacIvor spark T.O. theatre

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Oscar owners Cuba Gooding Jr. and Mira Sorvino and small-screen scene-stealers Bradley Whitford and Lucy Liu are among the stars currently shooting new TV pilots in L.A. …  filmmaker

ATWOOD: Payback at TIFF

Jennifer Baichwal and Margaret Atwood get the red carpet treatment at TIFF Bell Lightbox tonight for the Canadian premiere of Payback, the new Baichwal doc based on Atwood’s Payback: Debt And The Shadow Side Of Wealth. The Q&A  following the By Invitation Only screening will be hosted by Walrus senior editor Sasha Chapman …  Parks And Recreation laugh-getter Nick Offerman has been cast in Diablo Cody’s directorial debut …  and don’t say we didn’t warn ya: Both of Daniel Lanois’s March 23-24 concerts with Brian Blade at the Great Hall in Toronto are completely sold out. The concerts coincide with Lanois’ induction into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame during Canadian Music Week.

STAGE STRUCK: Three stage giants are set to share their remarkable talents with Toronto theatergoers in the next three weeks. First up is Linda Griffiths, who will reprise her bravura performance as Margaret Trudeau in a reading of

MACIVOR: world premiere

Maggie and Pierre this Saturday at Theatre Passe Muraille, staged by Paul Thompson. Thompson will  also play P.E.T to her Maggie. (Wow, what a way to spend St. Patrick’s Day!) Then, two nights later at TPM, on Monday March 19, Michael Healey will appear in his latest play, Proud, a script Tarragon Theatre reportedly declined to produce for fear of incurring the wrath of the PMO. And two weeks later Tarragon playwright-in-residence Daniel MacIvor, who recently dazzled us with a stunning revival of His Greatness, will premiere his new play Was Spring on April 4 at Tarragon with Clare Coulter, Caroline Gillis and Jessica Moss.  Talk about yer embarrassments of riches! If I were you I’d start dialing for ducats right now.

INTERVIEWUS INTERRUPTUS: He was a solid Celebrity Apprentice, and an appealing if impatient judge on America’s Got Talent but I suspect the romance is over between the public and Piers Morgan.  As the current

MORGAN: interrupter

occupant of Larry King‘s coveted nightly spot on CNN, he’s constantly attracting some of the biggest names in show business, sports and politics — and then constantly interrupting them, clearly bored by their responses.  At one point I thought he was getting over himself; turns out I was wrong. In my opinion Morgan  is absolutely capable of delivering the goods — but only when he pauses long enough to listen, which he does all too rarely. Says Manhattan gossip girl Liz Smith: “Piers Morgan will never warm the cockles of my heart, but I suppose some people enjoy his smirky style.“ Ouch!

IT’S A MAD, MAD WORLD: New Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award winner Matt Weiner, creator of US cable hit Mad Men, is getting ready to  launch season five later this month. He told C21 that he wrote the pilot for the series before he even started working on HBO’s The Sopranos – but no one would touch it. “HBO rejected the show about 80 times,” he says. “Going to AMC

MAD MEN: taking the fifth (season)

wasn’t a choice; it was the only company that was interested. People were telling me how they felt so bad for me because no one was going to see my show. When Christina Hendricks agreed to be a series regular, her manager fired her.

WEINER: getting Mad

People would say to me: ‘You were executive producer on the most exciting show on TV [The Sopranos] and this is what you turned it into.'” Mad Men was the first original show that AMC picked up, and the network tried to coax Lionsgate into partnering with them. But Lionsgate thought the period-piece pilot was too expensive so AMC shouldered the cost of shooting it. When they saw it Lionsgate execs thought the pilot was extraordinary — which it was — and signed on for the series. Which is how we got to see Mad Men.  And how Mad Men got to become the first cable series the win the Emmy for Best Drama, which it has won every year for its first four seasons. And you thought making television was easy!

*     *     *

Look, boys and girls, it’s THE RICK MERCI REPORT! … and no, that’s not a typo

BUT FIRST, TAKE A LOOK AT THIS: Canada’s most-watched man, Newfoundland export Rick Mercer, is slated to receive the 2012 ACTRA Award Of Excellence this weekend — yet another trophy to add to his countless Geminis,

HMMMM ... who's the guy with Bonhomme?

honorary doctorates and other accolades.  His weekly Rick Mercer Report, appointment viewing for thousands of Canadian families, is now in its 9th season, and neither he nor the show are showing any signs of slowing down.  How famous is he? So famous, apparently, that he and his show will soon be parodied by Kids’CBC. Yes, the home of cooking yam Mamma Yamma and singing dinosaur Drumheller is about to introduce its own Rick Merci Report, with another Maritimer, Saumon de Champlainplaying Rick. (Aside from his French accent and his vintage

DE CHAMPLAIN: casting coup

wardrobe and the fact that m’sieu de Champlain is, how you say it, a fish — hey, they could be twins.) Never mind — this we gotta see. Let’s hope the Merci Report attracts as many viewers as the original. More than one million Canadians tune in to Mercer’s Tuesday night telecasts, and an additional half million watch the same-week encore broadcast on Friday night. Mercer’s on the move again tonight, ice canoeing (brrrrrr!) at the Quebec the Winter Carnival and checking out Warming Hut installations (including one by Frank Gehry!!) at the Forks (brrrrrr!) in Winnipeg. And yes, there’s a Zamboni involved. And yes, it’s very funny stuff.

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “I think Margaret Atwood once said, ‘Wanting to meet an author because you like his books is like wanting to meet a duck because you like paté.’ “

ATWOOD: It's Payback time

The speaker? Filmmaker Ethan Coen, at a film seminar in China last year. And speaking of film and Ms. Atwood,  look for her new collaboration with filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal, Payback, to premiere at TIFF Bell Lightbox next month. Baichwal and Atwood christened their new celluloid baby, based on Atwood’s 2008 bestseller,  to much ooohing and aaahing at Sundance last month. Insiders say Atwood on-screen is almost as fascinating as Atwood off-screen, and if that’s true Payback should really be something to see.

OUR TOWN: The National Film Board launches its salute to the National Ballet’s 60th anniversary season tonight with a week-long series of dance on film at the NFB Mediatheque on John Street. First up:  Celia Franca: Tour de

PINA: Oscar contender

Force  by Veronica Tennant, who will speak following the screening. An archival display highlighting the past 60 years of the National Ballet and an interactive station where visitors can watch a dance and film playlist will also be offered onsite … Amy Nostbakken opens her controversial one-woman show, The Big Smoke, at Factory Studio Theatre tonight. Already a hit in the U.K., the play is reportedly inspired by the lives of Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath and is described as a “poetic waltz with death which walks a fine line between sanity and psychosis.”  Sounds like tons o’ fun  … getting the

THOMPSON: one night only

urge to go Oscar-ing before Sunday’s Academy Awatds telecast? You can catch two major nominees at TIFF Bell Lightbox this week – Philippe Falardeau’s rave-winning drama Monsieur Lazhar, up for Best Foreign Film, and Wim Wenders’ eye-popping salute to dance great Pina Bausch, Pina, currently a strong contender for Best Documentary … and Scott Thompson brings back coy barfly Buddy Cole for a one-show-only appearance this Friday at Maggie Cassella’s Flying Beaver Pubaret on Parliament Street.

*     *     *

Majumder raises the roof, Atwood tells tales of Twitter, Alice fever sizzles & Rivers takes another bite of Reality

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Howcum funnyman Shaun Majumder keeps shining in dramas? First it was 24, then his recent stint on Republic Of Doyle, and now the ABC series 187 Detroit. (187 is police code for homicide.) Can Shaun do a spot-on impression

MAJUMDER: raising the roof

of series star Michael Imperioli (a.k.a. Christopher on The Sopranos)? Ask him yourself when he jets in from L.A. to headline his favourite comedy fund-raiser Raising the Roof, April 16 & 17 at The Rivoli … it’s not her fault, okay? Margaret Atwood sez her Twitter pals egged her on. Which is why she’s finally telling all – okay, almost all – about her adventures in TwitterLand in the New York Review of Books, right here …  …. Jake Doyle’s prodigal brother Christian returns to the Rock, much to his younger brother’s dismay, on Allan Hawco’s hit series Republic Of Doyle tonight at 9 pm on CBC-TV … and Joan Rivers and her producer daughter Melissa are reportedly set to do a new reality show about Joan moving in with Melissa, grandson Cooper and Melissa’s current squeeze Jason in L.A.. Says blogger Paula Froelich: “This will rock harder than Poison at Spring Break.” Froelich joined Rivers & Co. for their Passover seder at Melissa’s house in Pacific Palisades. To read her Daily Beast report, click here.

ALICE: Disney classic

BALLET HIGH: Highlight of the National Ballet’s summer season next year should be British Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s new full-length, two-act interpretation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a co-production between the National Ballet and The Royal Ballet (UK). with a commissioned score by British composer Joby Talbot. Neither Tim Burton nor Johnny Depp have anything to do with this one as far as we know — but isn’t it odd how Lewis Carroll’s peculiar heroine has returned to the collective consciousness? Now Disney, whose magicians created the original Un-Birthday song, is celebrating the Un-Anniversary of its 1951 animated classic by

KAIN: a once-and-future Alice

reissuing it on DVD before Burton’s wacky new 3-D Alice hits the stores.  The new ballet version, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, will debut first in London in February 2011 and then here in Toronto, June 4 – 12, 2011 …  meanwhile, NBOC chief Karen Kain sent the company’s notable outreach mini-show Dance About to Ontario’s Near North District School Board yesterday for two performances, at Maple Ridge Public School in Powassan and Sundridge Centennial Public School in Sundridge … and happy anniversary to the American Ballet Theatre, set to celebrate its 70th (!!) season May 17-July 10 at the Met. And speaking of Twitter, and aren’t we always, at both the ABT and the New Yotk City Ballet there are no policies on dancers’ increasing participation on Twitter. Says New York Times writer Gia Kourlas: “At the moment the relationship between tech-savvy dancers and company administrators seems to be akin to a child showing a parent how to use e-mail.”  To read her amusing account of young ballet stars who “now tweeter as well as flutter,” click here.

PETERSON: in memory

THE LEGACY LIVES ON: One aspiring musician entering a music program at York University this fall will be the lucky recipient of the first $40,000 Oscar Peterson scholarship, allowing them to pursue their dreams. The new Peterson program will also offer up to four $10,000 annual scholarships for current undergraduate music students. Meanwhile, Peterson acolytes Peter Herrndorf, Brian Robertson, Bob Rae, Bill Davis and Tommy Banks are among the boosters soliciting donations for a life-size bronze sculpture of the jazz great to sit outside the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. The statue of Peterson at a grand piano — created by Canadian sculptor Ruth Abernethy, the artist responsible for the stunning bronze of Glenn Gould outside the CBC Broadcast Centre in Toronto — will be unveiled on June 30 as part of Canada Day celebrations.

TOMORROW:

Is Justin Bieber just too hot?

And, celebrating ‘Tony’s’ first lady.

-/-


Jann goes Disney, Shia beefs up, Roger starts his own club, and Ron and Ms. Atwood make a documentary

SHE’S FUNNY THAT WAY: SuperWarbler Jann Arden has been amusing her 12,000 Twitter followers this week with daily dispatches from Disney World, where she seems to have developed a major crush on daffy comedy duo Dawn French & Jennifer Saunders. (Go

LEBEOUF: working out?

figure!) … my hero Liz Smith suspects that Wall Street II star Shia LeBeouf is currently boeufing-up for a remake of American Gigolo, with original Gigolo Richard Gere cast as the male madam who books LeBoeuf’s sexual assignations. (Now that’s comedy!!) editor Trena White wraps up a six-year stint at McClelland & Stewart tomorrow. White is moving back to Vancouver, where she grew up, to join Douglas & McIntyre as an acquiring editor … meanwhile, it’s official: Ken Finkleman’s new novel, Noah’s Turn, is now set to launch in August … and Roger Ebert has launched his own cyber club, with membership benefits, to help offset the cost of his ambitious and prolific web production. He also explains why in one of his tirelessly engaging Journal entries, I Wonder If This Will Work. To learn more about The Ebert Club, click here. To enjoy his Journal entry, click here — and enjoy!

THE YEAR OF THE ATWOOD: Entrepreneurial novelist Margaret Atwood is working with documentary master Ron Mann (“the guy with the hair that matches mine!”) on a

MANN & ATWOOD: it's their Year

screen version of her tour promoting her current bestseller Year Of The Flood. “It’s called In the Wake of the Flood. The film is due to launch on August 5 in Toronto to coincide with the paperback publication of the book. Then it will go around the world to film festivals, literary festivals, environmental festivals, and fundraising events. We did the Year of the Flood tour as an awareness-raiser and fundraiser, primarily for birds, and In the Wake of the Flood both documents the experience and continues the effort.”

SHOOTING STARS: Sometimes funny-man Will Ferrell is set to star in Everything Must Go, a new film by writer-director Dan Rush. Ferrell will reportedly play a relapsed alcoholic

RIVERS: new season

who loses his job and his wife and decides to live on his front lawn while selling all of his belongings … William Hurt and Isabella Rossellini will star in French director Julie GavrasLate Bloomers, about an aging couple who react to their senior status in different ways. (Shouldn’t that be Late Zoomers? Oh well) The stellar cast also features Simon Callow and legendary Ab Fab scene-stealer Joanna Lumley (or Dame Joanna and Sir Simon, if they care to pull rank)  … and Joan Rivers is shooting her second season of How’d You Get So Rich for a May 5 re-launch on TV Land. How rich are her new finds? “One guy is sooooo rich,” she reports, “that when his computer breaks, Bill Gates comes to fix it!”

P.S.: The doc that rocked Sundance this year, Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work, is set for Hot Docs screenings on May 2 & May 3. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

OK GO: ingenious

SEE/HEAR: The L.A.-based OK Go, a rock band originally from Chicago, keeps creating amazing videos – considerably more amazing, in fact, than their appealing ear-candy music. They’ve become an integral part of new millennium YouTube culture and won a 2007 Grammy for their stellar treadmill dance video, Here It Goes Again, which still evokes happy memories of the kind of ingenuity Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly espoused in their heydays at MGM. Their current monster video hit,This Too Shall Pass, has been viewed by more than 10 million internet users so far. Or maybe it’s only two million users who can’t resist watching it five times. Wondering what all the fuss is about? Just click on the song titles above and that mystery will be solved. Enjoy!

TOMORROW:

More hats ‘n’ horns for birthday boy Stephen Sondheim.

-/-


Buffy & Cloris share their Unique lives, and Robin, Jayne, Kathy & Teresa get ready to put on their clothes again

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ: Get out your calendars. Toronto’s mini-Just For Laughs festival will run July 6 – 11, opening one day before the annual bilingual comedyfest launches

LEACHMAN: Toronto-bound

in Montreal … Smokey Robinson plays Fallsview Casino June 11 & 12 … Oscar-winning singer-songwriter Buffy Ste. Marie, a digital pioneer in her own right, gives a Unique Lives & Experiences session next week at Roy Thomson Hall, with confessed shopaholic Cloris Leachman set to follow in her footsteps on April 19 … and four of the funniest femmes in the business, Robin Duke, Jayne Eastwood, Kathryn Greenwood and Teresa Pavlinek, return with a brand new show when their smash comedy troupe Women Fully Clothed plays Massey Hall on May 7. But they’re there for one night only, so don’t dawdle. To order tickets, click here.

BRAVE NEW CYBER WORLD: The April 12 Genie Awards will be broadcast live on the Independent Film Channel,  livestreamed on CBC.ca. and rebroadcast on The Movie Network and Movie Central at a later

KUTCHER: tweeting for Haiti

date. The live webcast on CBC.ca is a first for the Genies and could give the awards show its largest audience reach ever … after concluding a 40-city theatrical tour, PBS’s American Experience will premiere its new Earth Days documentary on April 11 on Facebook. eight days ahead of the film’s television broadcast on April 19. This will reportedly be the first time a major broadcaster has introduced a full-length documentary on the site … Twitter-pated Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore and Will Ferrell are among the stars of 140 Tweets For Haiti. You can check out the trailer here … and Margaret Atwood tweets greetings from the Cologne Literary Festival where she reports that “twittern” is now a German verb.

SMALL SCREEN, BIG STAGE: Never underestimate the power of television. The Broadway run of David Mamet’s new play Race has now been extended to June 13, thanks

HAYES: Broadway-bound

to the marquee allure of Boston Legal charmer James Spader … stage veteran Doris Roberts, who finally became a household name playing Ray Romano‘s mother on television, is set to return to off-Broadway next month in Love, Loss And What I Wore, which is quietly becoming a notable successor to Love Letters and The Vagina Monologues … and Emmy award-winning Will & Grace scene-stealer Sean Hayes is deep in song and dance rehearsals for his Broadway bow in the upcoming revival of Promises, Promises, the Neil Simon-Burt Bacharach-Hal David musical based on the Academy Award-winning Billy Wilder comedy The Apartment with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, Hayes is playing the role originated by Jerry Orbach, another legit leading man who later became far more famous for his TV work on Law & Order. And Hayes’ leading lady is Wicked star Kristin Chenowith — best known to American audiences for, you guessed it, her Emmy-winning TV role on Pushing Daisies and her guest stint last season on Glee.

ENRIGHT: Giller juror

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Enigmatic music legend Don Francks is set to make one of his rare appearances at Lula’s Lounge on April 15 … renowned Russian bass-baritone Evgeny Nikitin makes his Canadian debut here April 24 in the popular Canadian Opera Company production of The Flying Dutchman. Johannes Debus, the COC’s newly-appointed Music Director, will lead the COC Orchestra and Chorus … it’s official: CBC Radio stalwart Michael Enright and novelists Claire Messud and Ali Smith have been elected by Jack Rabinovitch to choose the next Giller Prize winner … Ken Lindsay fans, take note: Your favourite piano man returns to the village  April 1 (no foolin’) to the Fuzion Resto-Lounge on Church Street.  Mark Cassius, formerly of The Nylons, will be on hand to help out with the high notes. Reservations are advised. For more info, click here … and screenwriter Eric Roth (Forrest Gump) will pen the script for the screen biography of Green Bay Packers football coach Vince Lombardi. ESPN Films, an offshoot of the sports cable network, hopes to premiere the film before the 2012 Super Bowl. Robert DeNiro will play Lombardi — but will his Raging Bull guru Martin Scorsese direct? Stay tuned.

Have a great weekend!

-/-

Jane kicks up her heels again, Mike gets his own tribute and Ms Atwood goes back to Year One

BROADWAY BABIES: 30 Rock scene-stealer Jane Krakowski, who made her name in the Broadway musical Grand Hotel and won a Tony for dazzling

KRAKOWSKI: song & dance

KRAKOWSKI: song & dance

Antonio Banderas in Nine, is finally getting back to full-time singing and dancing, if only temporarily. Due to her shooting schedule her cheeky tongue-in cheek cabaret act at Feinstein’s, Jane Krakowski Has Sold Out…Tickets Available, must close tomorrow night at Loew’s Regency … Laurie Metcalf, who picked up three Emmys playing Roseanne‘s sister on Roseanne, is back on Broadway starring as the mother in the first full-scale revival of Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs. She’ll continue to reprise her role in Broadway Bound, the second play in Simon’s autobiographical comedy, when both shows play in rep at the Nederlander. Brighton Beach Memoirs opens Oct. 25; Broadway Bound begins previews Nov. 18 and opens Dec. 10 … and Academy

METCALF: Broadway bound

METCALF: Broadway bound

and Tony Award winner Mike Nichols will be honored with the American Film Institute’s 38th annual Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. “I’m surprised and pleased,” dead-panned the impish director of such films as Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf and Angels In America. “I was watching The Graduate on my Blackberry last week and it really holds up!”

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Why do we watch movies on planes that we wouldn’t watch anywhere else? Margaret Atwood tweets that she disgraced herself by watching Year One, the sophomoric comedy spoof with Jack Black and Michael Cera, on her way to the Frankfurt Book Fair. Guess she consoled herself with news that her Year Of The Flood was

McGOWAN: Julie's ex on The Border

McGOWAN: Julie's ex on The Border

#8 on the New York Times bestseller list by the time she landed in Germany … Doug Coupland thinks Ed O’Neill’s new show Modern Family “is just pure genius. It’s sooooo well written.” A technology geek, Coupland finds delightful and absurdly obscure video clips and posts them on Twitter – for example, this gem with Mr. T, Loni Anderson, George Hamilton and Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton in the same Lipton commercial. Coupland, whose new book Generation A is due in book stores, reports he lost his cell phone a few weeks ago, but instead of hyperventilating he’s discovered that he simply doesn’t think about it any more. “Didn’t expect that to happen!” Me neither … and Darryl’s Hard Liquor and Porn Film Festival returns to Toronto tomorrow night for one night only at

O'NEILL: new series

O'NEILL: new series

the Bloor Cinema with its 10th annual show featuring funny short films about sex from Canada and around the globe.

EXES & OOOHS: Yesterday I told you that Julie Stewart, currently on stage at the Factory Theatre in Brad Fraser’srave-winning new comedy True Love Lies, also plays Graham Abbey’s ex onThe Border.

Wrong! Julie plays James McGowan’s ex on The Border. And yes, I really can tell those two guys apart. (sigh)

Oh well. Happens in the best of families.

KUTCHER: start 'er up

KUTCHER: start 'er up

YA GOTTA HAVE A GIMMICK: Thanks to Ashton Kutcher for sending me (and maybe a million others) news of that new iPhone app that lets you start your car from your phone. I would start saving up for it but I’m saving up for a new TV set instead. No, not HD – 3D. Yup, Panasonic unveiled its prototype 50-inch Viera plasma 3-D set in Tokyo this week. Apparently it’s a wow. The technology works by rapidly alternating between left and right frames of the video. Viewers wear glasses that sync with the television over an infrared signal. The right frame is seen only with the right eye and the left frame with the left eye, creating the illusion of depth.

So all they have to do now is persuade producers to make reality TV shows in 3-D, and we’ll have even more reasons to go back to the movies.

Have a great weekend!

-/-

Atwood brings her Flood show to Church street, Mercer meets Bono, and it’s Liza with a D(VD)!

APRES MOI, THE FLOOD: Tub-thumping novelist Margaret Atwood is keeping her fans abreast of her current Year Of The Flood promotional tour via

ATWOOD: on tour

ATWOOD: on tour

Twitter, although getting on line is sometimes a challenge. In Cardiff, Wales she stopped at an Internet Café and found it distressingly difficult to connect. “If the Internet is a highway,” she noted, “there is much roadwork going on.” Atwood, who calls her Twitter followers her “T-pals,” will join David Ferry, Susan Coyne and Michelle Monteith on stage – on altar?? – this Thursday when she brings her performance-art show (with some Tell) to St. James Cathedral. Meanwhile,

COYNE: altar girl

COYNE: altar girl

fellow novelist Jeanette Winterson reviewed Atwood’s new Giller Prize nominee for the cover story in the New York Times Sunday Book Review. “Atwood,” she writes, “knows how to show us ourselves, but the mirror she holds up to life does more than reflect — it’s like one of those mirrors made with mercury that gives us both a deepening and a distorting effect, allowing both the depths of human nature and its potential mutations.” To see more of her review, just click here.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Choreography queen Twyla Tharp, who created a major Broadway hit by staging Billy Joel’s songs for dancers in Moving Out, is about to go for gold again. Her new show, Come Fly With Me, is

MINNELLI: new PBS special

MINNELLI: new PBS special

set to music associated with Frank Sinatra, and opens tomorrow night at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta. Fingers crossed … still wishing you’d been able to catch Liza Minnelli at the Palace last year, or even at Roy Thomson Hall this spring? PBS is planning to tape her Sept. 30-Oct. 1 performances at the MGM Grand in Vegas. Those brilliant Chicago producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who also worked on Showtime’s digitally restored version of Liza with a Z, will produce the special, which will air on PBS in December and go on sale in January 2010. Now there’s a New Year’s Eve gift! … and leave it to Oprah to out-do all previous flashmob events. Did you see where she got 21,00 of her closest fans to dance in the streets of Chicago? Amazing. If you missed it first time ‘round (I did,) you can still see it. Just click here.

THE LIFE OF RICK: Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on Rick Mercer’s wall? Or maybe a button on his lapel? Two Fridays ago he was one of a select few invited

MERCER: high life

MERCER: high life

to Sarah McLachlan’s lush Vancouver garden, where guests sat on plush divans under Moroccan tents lit by Indian Lanterns and were serenaded by Sarah, Sheryl Crow and dynamic Blue Rodeo duo Jim Cuddy & Greg Keillor at an intimate gathering to celebrate Sarah’s music outreach program for inner-city Vancouver youth. Then this past Friday he joined his Spread The Net partner-in-crime Belinda Stronach at her reception for another fund-raising pal, Bono. Mercer pal Seamus O’Regan was hobnobbing at that one too, as were T-D deputy chair Frank McKenna and War Child founders Dr. Samantha Nutt and Dr. Eric Hoskins. But don’t look for Mercer on the glamour party circuit this Friday — he’ll be in his CBC studio with a few hundred of his devoted fans, taping the first show of the seventh season of his top-rated Rick Mercer Report.

SHEEEEEE”S BACK: Attention  Erin Karpluk fans (and you seem to be growing in numbers every day) — your favourite TV heroine returns to your living rooms tonight when she and Michael Riley kick off the much-anticipated second season Being Erica at 9 pm on CBC. Enjoy!

TOMORROW:

What are Tom Arnold, George Stroumboulopoulos

and Red Green doing in Vancouver??