Category Archives: Ballet

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.

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The more the merrier as stars bring sunshine to Leacock sketches — and to Toronto stages too

Okay — where was I? Oh yes, I remember. Taking a break from blogging. Apparently that’s over now.

EVERYBODY’S TALKING:  And no wonder — the first glimpses of CBC’s big Sunday night movie, Sunshine Sketches Of A Little Town, look sumptuous. And I admit it — I’m a sucker for an all-star cast. Not that the producers, Alliance

HENNESSY & PINSENT: Mother & Son

Atlantis alumni Michael MacMillan and Seaton McLean, had much trouble reeling them in. “One of the best screenplays I’ve ever read,” says leading lady Jill Hennessy. Ms Hennessy,  currently on screen wrangling Dustin Hoffman on HBO’s new series Luck, clearly loved every minute of the summer shoot, as did Gordon Pinsent, who plays her son. (Yes. Really. You’ll have to watch it to find out.) Pinsent, who starts shooting a new movie in Mexico next week, describes it as “one of those rare filming experiences when we couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning.” Then again, Hennessy and Pinsent were

KHANIJAN: on stage

keeping some very good company. Among the stellar marquee names bringing Stephen Leacock‘s classic comedy drama to life are Keshia Chante, Sean Cullen, Ron James, Peter Keleghan, Debra McGrath, Patrick McKenna, Colin Mochrie, Eric Peterson, Leah Pinsent, Caroline Rhea, Rick Roberts and Michel Therriault. Get those PVRs warmed up, folks — this one sounds like a keeper.

TALKING THE TALK: Ryerson Theatre Club devotees were among the hundreds of floodlights fans at Tuesday’s performance of Cruel And Tender  at the Bluma Appel. After their stunning 90 minute tour-de-force, stars Arsinée Khanijan and Daniel Kash joined their director Atom Egoyanin the theater lobby for a 15-minute Q&A with interested audience members. How interested were they? Theater Club reps had to call a halt after 40 minutes, but some folks still hung

BROCHU: return engagement

around just long enough to meet Egoyan and share their take on his production of Martin Crimp’s reimagined Greek tragedy. The hypnotic drama runs through next Saturday Feb. 18 … Jim Brochu has returned with his celebrated salute to Zero Mostel, Zero Hour, directed by Piper Laurie (yes, that Piper Laurie) … and no, his reviews this time ’round were not exactly love letters, but clearly Ronnie Burkett’s audiences disagree. Factory Theatre has added six more performances of the marionette master’s new show, Penny Plain, with tickets now available through March 4 … meanwhile, Robert LePage’s Blue Dragon continues to dazzle at the Royal Alex, In The Heights continues to rock North York at the Toronto Centre For The Arts, War Horse opens tonight at the Princess Of Wales and Potted Potter opens tomorrow night at the Panasonic. Talk about an embarrassment of theatrical riches!

COMEBACKS: Great news for those of us who missed them first time ‘round — two rave-winning theatrical events are set to return to our town. Kim’s Convenience, the runaway hit by Soulpepper Academy alumnus Ins Choi, wraps up its current run this weekend but will be back May 17-June 9. And yes,

DUNCAN: showstopper

it’s a good idea to order your tickets now. As you may recall, the play about a Regent Park Korean convenience store was the sleeper hit of the 2011 Toronto Fringe Festival … and the National Ballet will launch its 2012-2013 season with the return of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Christopher Wheeldon on November 10–25. A co-production with England’s Royal Ballet, Alice was an SRO smash when it premiered here last year. And yes, it’s a good idea to order those tickets now too … meanwhile, stage and screen showstopper Arlene Duncan, so endearing as the unsinkable Fatima in Little Mosque On The Prairie, is winning standing Os nightly at the Berkeley Street Theatre. Ms Duncan is the crown jewel in Caroline, Or Change, the latest theatrical gem from the phenomenal Acting Up stage company. CanStage and Acting Up added one more show of the musical last night to accommodate public demand, but all 25 scheduled performances sold out so quickly that surely an encore should be considered? And soon, please?

COTE: Lost In Motion

SEE/HEAR:  National Ballet star dancer Guillaume Côté is the latest hot ticket on YouTube with his  stunning short film Lost in Motion. Directed by Ben Shirinian and choreographed by Guillaume, the three-minute film really is something to see — even if it makes you want to join a gym before it ends. The high-flying M’sieu Côté will be performing with Kings of the Dance in Manhattan February 24–27  — d”ya suppose he made that video just to freak ’em out? — before returning to star in Sleeping Beauty, March 10–18, 2012, and The Seagull, March 21–25, 2012. Meanwhile, if you haven’t seen Lost In Motion yet, you don’t have to take my word for it — just click here. And enjoy!

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OMG it’s Fabian!! … plus Katie & the Kennedys, Hoffert’s next gig, Spielberg’s next flick and Harrington’s nuptials

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: Veteran crowd-pleasers Fabian and Bobby Vee headline the Original Stars From American Bandstand show at Fallsview Casino July 1&2 … Irish

FABIAN: taking the Falls

sensations Celtic Women are set to make their only area appearance July 16 at Casino Rama. Apparenty they couldn’t find a big enough venue in T.O. …  gardenia-voiced thrush Judy Marshak is set to headline the Friday night Jazz Vocalist Series at The Old Mill this week with Bruce Harvey on piano and George Kozub on bass. M’lady’s repertoire will include some favourite standards by Johnny Mercer, Hoagy Carmichael, Dave Frishberg, Blossom Dearie and Cole Porter. For more info, just click here … and magical media music man Paul Hoffert was in Singapore last month, teaching a course on how to compose music for videogames, websites, iPads, & such, using his own textbook, Music For New Media. When he’s not on stage celebrating the current revival of his superBand Lighthouse

HARRINGTON: engagement(s)

he’s on stage playing jazz, either as part of the Paul Hoffert Trio or the Jim Gelcer Trio, and admits he’s already having far too much fun. Next gig for Hoffert and his trio is a stint this weekend, also at the Old Mill. Hmmmm ….

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS DEPT. I: What do Girl Guides Of Canada and the Art Gallery Of Ontario have in common?  Next week’s official launch of Canadian Girls Say, the photography exhibition opening Wednesday in Walker Court.

BALLET HIGH: National Ballet of Canada stars Guillaume Côté and Zdenek Konvalina will dance their new creative collaboration Impermanence when it premieres later this month at the 73rd annual Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence … ballet icon Rex Harrington and fiancé Robert Hope, who have been together for six years, got officially engaged in March – in France, no less — and will wed next summer. Meanwhile, much to the delight of his fans, Harrington will return to the stage in the

KINNEAR: JFK?

role of Prince Gremin in the newly designed Onegin, June 19 – 25 at the Four Seasons Centre … and speaking of Onegin, the National Ballet website currently features two dazzling behind-the-scenes videos of the remaking, restoring and refurbishing of Santo Loquasto’s spectacular designs for this extravagant Russian melodrama. To see them, just click here.

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS DEPT. II: What do Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes have in common? The Kennedy dynasty, apparently. Kinnear will play the USA’s most admired commander in chief, with Holmes as the future Jackie O., in a big-budget mini-series shooting here in June. Barry Pepper is set to play Robert Kennedy, Kenneth Welsh will play J. Edgar Hoover and Tom Wilkinson will play poppa Joe Kennedy Sr.  Who will play Marilyn? Not Lindsay Lohan — she’s already committed to bringing Linda Lovelace‘s sad story to the screen. But wouldn’t she be terrific in the role? (I’m just sayin’ … )

FLICKERS: Director David Frankel, now shooting the screen version of The Big Year, is juggling a wonderfully eclectic cast including Anthony Anderson, Jack Black, Brian Dennehy, Anjelica Huston, Steve Martin, Dianne Wiest, Owen Wilson and JoBeth Williams … this year’s Toronto Jewish Film Festival was the most successful TJFF ever. Which is why they’ve already set the dates for next year’s movie marathon: May 7-15, 2011. Now that’s planning ahead  … and Steven Spielberg will direct the film version of Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse, the saga of a friendship between a boy and a horse whose fates continue to intertwine over the course of World War I. The stage version is currently a major crowd-pleaser at the National Theatre in London.

TOMORROW:

Peter Appleyard, Natalie Cole, Sean Cullen,

Hugh Hefner & Doris Day (yes, Doris Day!)


Lenore hosts a Social in Truro, Betty hosts SNL for Mother’s Day & Krystin waits on stage for the Parade

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: New headline-making Nova Scotia MLA Lenore Zann is hosting a Spring-Is-In-The-Air Social & Dance this weekend in Truro, NS to raise

WHITE: she's Hot

money for an upcoming community production of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. It’s all happening Saturday night at The Pond (that’s the Ponderosa Tavern to me and you) on Main Street in Bible Hill … Chi Cao, the Principal Dancer with the Birmingham Royal Ballet who stars in Bruce Beresford’s hypnotic drama Mao’s Last Dancer, will jet to T.O. to attend the special National Ballet’s SRO preview screening next Monday at the Isabel Bader Theatre … SNL alumnus Jimmy Fallon has come a long way from co-hosting Weekend Update. This summer he’ll host the Emmy Awards on Aug. 29 … and Betty White, still set to host this weekend’s Mother’s Day edition of Saturday Night Live in New York, has joined the cast of a new TV Land original series Hot in Cleveland.

FOOTLIGHTS: Once more intent on battling “Canada’s most dangerous enemy, cultural amnesia,” VideoCabaret presents Michael Hollingsworth’s The Great War, opens

PELLERIN: on stage

tomorrow night at The Cameron House … also opening Thursday: Bobby Del Rio’s new play The Market, not on a stage but in a corporate office space at Adelaide & Jarvis. The play, which features Kyle McDonald, Julian DeZotti, Aaron Forward and Ryan Moleiro as 20-something traders, runs through May 23 and Del Rio warns audiences that his new show contains violence, “excessive” language, “and guys acting like dicks!” … and Republic Of Doyle scene-stealer Krystin Pellerin, so good as the pistol-packing detective hopelessly smitten with Allan Hawco’s Jake, is currently on stage starring in the Soulpepper revival of John Murrell’s Waiting for the Parade, now thru May 29 at the Young Centre in the Distillery District.

CAO: Toronto-bound

OUR TOWN: Three up-and-coming bands – Canteen Knockout, Bronx Cheerleader and Proof Of Ghosts – headline this Sunday night’s concert at Sneaky Dee’s to save Reg Hartt’s time-honoured Cineforum. For more info, click here Scott Feschuk, Jacob Richler and executive chef Rob Gentile team up for the 2010 edition of Taste Of Maclean’s on May 17 at Buca …and Random House is set to launch Globe & Mail scribbler John Doyle’s new book, The World Is A Ball: The Joy, Madness And Meaning Of Soccer, on May 20 with a book-signing bash at, you guessed it, The Football Factory on Bathurst Street.

TOMORROW:

GLEE girl goes sci-fi,

and other earth-shattering scoops.

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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.

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Mamma Mia! There they go again! My, my, how can we resist them?

FLICKERS: Ridiculously rich Mamma Mia film producer Judy Craymer is hoping to persuade Benny Andersson and his musical sidekick Bjorn

SEYFRIED & STREEP: bella Donnas?

Ulvaeus to lend their irresistible ABBA tunes to a prequel, with a brand new young cast. Will Amanda Seyfried get to play the young Meryl Streep, who played her mother Donna in MM? Stay tuned … Deidre Kelly’s new book, Paris Times Eight, already sounds like a movie. Kelly first arrived in Paris, the city of her dreams, “as a starry-eyed ingénue.” In some of her subsequent visits she returns as a budding writer who interviews Rudolf Nureyev and crashes an

KELLY: Paris, je t'aime (photo: Bryan L. Davies)

exclusive fashion show, and as an emotional daughter who takes her mother to Paris to meet her “other mother;” until finally she returns to Paris as a mother herself. Sounds like a least three great roles for women, n’est-ce pas? … and yes, it’s true, shooting is already underway in Shanghai for the Chinese version of Disney‘s megahit High School Musical. How did Disney get the green light from China? Well, for one thing, the Chinese version is set at a university, “since Chinese high school students are so focused on academics that they would not have time to devote to singing and dancing.” Okay, got it.

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “I’ve no interest in playing oldies anymore. No, no, no. Far more fitting for the next stage in my career to play a slut.”

DENCH: Nothing like a Dame.

The speaker? Dame Judi Dench, now 74 but never at a loss for words. Currently starring in the about-to-be blockbuster movie musical Nine, Dame Judi’s next gig will bring her back to the boards, as Titania, the queen of the fairies in a new Midsummer Night’s Dream in Kingston, England. She first performed the role of Titania as a schoolgirl some 56 years ago, and is thrilled to be able to take another crack at it. “Of course,” she adds, “one is lucky to be acting at all. I’m happy when I have a job – any job. One is always afraid of having no work.”

Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein said it best. There really is nothing like a Dame.

21 AGAIN: It came and went 10 days ago, November 21 2009 was not just another Saturday night for Veronica Tennant. The prima ballerina who reinvented herself as a prima television producer was in three different cities that

TENNANT: November is the Coolest month

night. She was in Toronto attending the National Ballet of Canada’s performance of The Sleeping Beauty — the ballet she premiered more than 35 (!!!) years ago with Rudolf Nureyev as her prince — in tribute to Canada’s National Ballet School’s 50th Anniversary Assemble Internationale. But she was also in Edmonton, on film, as Honourary Chair of the Shumka Ballet, welcoming guests to Shumka’s Red Boots, Ballet and Bubbly Gala. And she was also in Cuba, where her much-lauded dance film, Vida y Danza, Cuba, was being screened at the 18th Anniversary celebration of Lizt Alfonso’s Dance Cuba.

JACKSON: new role

“November 21 has always been a significant day for me,” admits Tennant with a shy smile. I’ll say! Her Gala farewell performance with the National Ballet of Canada, A Passion for Dance: Celebrating the Tennant Magic, took place on November 21, 1989. And ten years later, to the day, she won her first International Emmy award as a television producer, for Karen Kain; Dancing in the Moment, on November 21, 1999.

Safety in numbers, you say? Sounds more like magic to me.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Slaight Communications chief Gary Slaight will be lauded for his longstanding commitment to charitable initiatives

GABEREAU: hosting for Mercer

as the recipient of the Humanitarian Spirit Award. at the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards on March 11 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, during Canadian Music Week … rising marquee bait Joshua Jackson has won the lead in a feature adaptation of British TV series UFO … Robin Mirsky, executive director of Rogers Group of Funds, has succeeded CFTPA prez Norm Bolen as co-chair of Hot Docs board of directors with Michael McMahon. New board members include marketing maven Robert Pattillo, Cobalt Pharmaceuticals chairman Neil Tabatznik and filmmakers Lalita Krishna, Julia Ivanova and Danijel Margetic … and Vicki Gabereau will host when Rick Mercer entertains the multitudes in Vancouver at a gala fund-raising evening June 10 for the Kay Meek Centre.

Special P.S. to Rick Mercer Report aficionados: Mercer’s final 2009 outing airs tonight at 8 pm on CBC-TV.

TOMORROW:

Roger gets ready for Toronto, and

Liz gives some advice to some dazzling Glamour girls.

Brad gives up his metal rug, Liona makes more headlines and Harland goes ape for gorillas

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Bad news was, Ben Heppner had to cancel his appearance at the Canadian Opera Company’s 60th anniversary

HEPPNER: concert-to-come

concert earlier this month due to the viral infection he caught in October while singing at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Good news is, Heppner will perform a special solo recital with piano, on stage of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, at a date to be announced soon. And, his songfest will be free for all ticket purchasers of the Nov. 7 COC Diamond Anniversary concert … the Stratford festival memorial celebration of stage lion Douglas Campbell is set for this Monday at 3 pm on the Festival Stage and is open to the public … National Ballet chief Karen Kain has wooed and won dancer Jirí Jelinek, who will join her merry NBOC band as a Principal Dancer in January. Previously a Principal Dancer for both the National Theatre in Prague and the Stuttgart Ballet, Jelinek has blazed a trail dancing through Europe, and was most recently invited by the

WILLIAMS: going ape?

Hamburg Ballet to dance the role of Stanley Kowalski in John Neumeier’s version of Tennessee WilliamsA Streetcar Named Desire … and guess who went on an African Gorilla safari, following in the footsteps of Dian Fossey? Would it surprise you to learn that I’m talking about Canuck ex-pat Harland Williams? Oh sure, it can get a bit dicey on The Jay Leno Show, but go to Rwanda, man — it’s a jungle out there. To see Harland and the Gorillas he almost Mist, uuuh, missed, click here.

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: As indicated in that extravagant recent photo spread in Hello magazine, Liona Boyd continues to live a fascinating life. From  her eight-

BOYD: it's her year

year romance with Pierre Trudeau — “Pierre asked me to come and live with him and have a child by him” — to her ongoing relationship with HRH Prince Philip (“He’s still my best pen pal”) to her hush-hush performance for the sequestered jurors in the O.J. Simpson trial, the world’s first female guitar virtuoso has blazed her own unique trail in show business. This fall she has two, count ’em, two new albums — Liona Boyd Sings Songs of Love, a collection of duets with Croatian singer-guitarist Srdjan Givoje, and Seven Journeys , a CD of new-age, atmospheric music. And as if that wasn’t enough, her back catalogue is also

JOLIE: no sharp edges

being reissued by Universal on iTunes. Which by my reckoning has gotta make 2009 the Year Of The Lion(a.)

OH, STOP GRIPING: Wonder why my hero, Manhattan gossip girl Liz Smith, can always make me laugh? Here’s an item from one of her recent, eminently readable columns on the frankly fabulous femme website, wowOwow.com.

Brad and Angie spent a recent weekend personally baby-proofing their French chateau. (Oh, stop griping. They have a chateau, that’s just the way life is. I’m sure you have something they don’t have.) Not only did the parents of six toddlers put plugs over the electrical outlets and all that, they even moved out some of Brad’s art pieces and furniture, objects too sharp, too hard, too high, too appealing to curious tykes. So, for the time being, interesting stuff like Brad’s metal woven rug are in the chateau’s garage. Which is probably a smaller chateau. Life isn’t fair, deal with it.”

Funny lady, our Liz. Truthful, too.

DOUBLE OR NOTHING: Vladimir Putin puttin’ out a rap song? Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton meeting for a cup of coffee at Starbucks? Michael Ignatieff introducing the new Liberal theme song? And Quebec’s favourite game show is “Le Whack Job”? Yes, Linda Cullen & Bob Robertson have gone AWOL again. For another crazy episode of Double Exposure Radio. click here — but do so at your own risk!

AND NOW, MY FAVOURITE POSTER-OF-THE-WEEK:

9th JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL: This poster makes me smile.

Happy weekend!

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