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Carol has her night on screen, Jian takes his show on the road, and Evan proves he’s a Prince of dance
HELLO, CAROL: Broadway devotee Dori Bernstein’s new documentary Carol Channing: Larger Than Life opened the 12th Floating Film Festival last night, and Channing is such an irresistible presence on screen that we couldn’t help wishing the 90-year-old musical comedy legend was with us on board the Seabourn Sojourn as we sail into Caribbean waters. Bernstein, with Channing’s blessing, gently reveals the forces and conflicts and inner turmoils that drove Channing to succeed in show business in a way few others before her have achieved. The star studded cast of characters who share Channing anecdotes includes Lily Tomlin, Tyne Daly, Bruce Vilanch, Barbara Walters, Loni Anderson, Tommy Tune, Chita Rivera, JoAnne Worley, Rich Little and Tippi Hedren. And Carol’s first roommate Betty Garrett (whose last interview appears in the film) points out that their first screen kisses were with Frank Sinatra and Clint Eastwood. The film is a delight, full of insight and
inspiration. At times almost hypnotically fascinating, it also captures a bonafide love story when Channing, who has no illusions about her failings as a wife and mother, is reunited with her fist love, old school beau Harry Kullijian, after 70 years. In her late ‘80s, Channing marries for the fourth time, and together they launch the Channing-Kullijian Foundation to support arts education in schools. What the film doesn’t share with us is the touching real-life epilogue to their December-December romance. On Boxing Day they were at their desert home in Rancho Mirage when Harry, by now 92, suffered an aneuryism and died. Small comfort, perhaps, but at least Kullijan had the pleasure of seeing Carol Channing: Larger Than Life, not to mention marrying the original, before his untimely exit. For which Carol, I’m sure, is genuinely grateful.
Q GOES TO QUEBEC: Host with the Most Jian Ghomeshi is admittedly “stoked” by plans to broadecast his top-rated CBC Radio show Q from Montreal on March 1. His live sold-out gig at the historic Le National theatre features some of Quebec’s leading cultural figures from the worlds of music, dance, comedy and film, including electronic music maestro DJ Champion and his band the G-Strings, who will perform live throughout the show;
comedian Sugar Sammy, dance great Louise Lacavalier, singer-songwriter Ariane Moffatt, and web TV star Simon Olivier Fecteau. Ghomeshi, who has previously taken Q to enthusiastic audiences in New York, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Chicago and Salt Lake City, says he’s super-excited about going back to Montreal with the show – and we believe him.
MARCH BREAKS: Select nominees for the 32nd annual Genie Awards will be grilled on stage at TIFF Bell Lightbox on March 7, the night before the awards telecast on CBC. The special In Conversation event will take place from 6:30-8pm. Seating is limited, so contact the TIFF Box Office sooner than later for tickets … OCAD University prez Sara Diamond will host renowned digital culture theorist, data visualization artist and educator Lev Manovich on Friday, March 23. Manovich will give a free practical workshop and lecture exploring the dynamic field of information and scientific visualization. Both events are open to everyone … Goodmans’ good guy David Zitzerman is once again co-chairing the 12th Annual International Film & TV Finance
Summit sponsored by Bloomberg BNA/CITE on March 22-23rd at the Luxe Hotel in L.A. … National Ballet guest artist Evan McKie has danced the role of the Prince in Sleeping Beauty before, but never on his own turf. The Toronto-born Stuttgart Ballet star will dance the role here on March 11, his first performance in his hometown since training at the National Ballet School.
NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: .. Next big film for Viola Davis is Won’t Back Down, a new drama about laws in California and a handful of other states that allow parents to dump bad teachers and overrule administrators in bottom-ranked schools. Davis plays a teacher who risks career and friendships to join the revolt. Maggie Gyllenhaalplays the single mother who sells cars, tends bar and rouses parents to take charge of their grade school. And Holly Hunter plays the union rep who fights the takeover. Sounds like a natural for next September’s TIFF … Rick Mercer goes skate to skate with the Winnipeg Jets tonight on The Rick Mercer Report at 8 pm on CBC … nominees for the 2012 Rose d’Or
Awards will be announced at a gala tonight in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — the first time in its 50-year history that the Rose d’Or has held an event in Asia … and author Lawrence Hill will be presented with the Writers’ Union 2012 Freedom to Read Award tonight at the Book and Periodical Council‘s Freedom to Read event at the Gladstone Hotel. Union chair Greg Hollingshead said the Union chose Hill for “his reasoned and eloquent response to the threat to burn his novel The Book of Negroes.” Roy Groenburgof The Netherlands, taking offense to the use of the word “Negro” in the title of Hill’s novel, burned the cover and publicly threatened to burn the book. Hill responded that burning books “is designed to intimidate people. It underestimates the intelligence of readers, stifles dialogue and insults those who cherish the freedom to read and write. The leaders of the Spanish Inquisition burned books, Nazis burned books.” Too true.
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A new role for Feist, a new band for Ringo, more stars for Scrabble, and a chance to watch Tiger tee off in 3-D
FEISTY TV COMMENTATOR SAVES THE DAY: Who’s that girl pushing her microphone into your face? Believe it or not, the gal with the hot mike is none other than
Juno-laden warbler Leslie Feist, and she’s not singing into it this time. Feist was tapped by her longtime friend, Paris-based ex-pat pianist and producer Chilly Gonzales (aka the artist formerly known as Beck,) to play a TV reporter covering a chess tournament in Gonzales’ first short feature film, Ivory Tower. The flick, which wrapped location shoots here yesterday, also features techno-popsters Tiga as Gonzales’ high-strung chess champion brother and Peaches as their mutual love interest. Insiders say the task of playing an on-camera TV maven was a walk in the park for Feist, who has previously survived playing an angel with a direct line to Heaven (on Stephen Colbert’s wacko Christmas special) to singing her monster hit 220.127.116.11. with Elmo on Sesame Street. Meanwhile her pun-addicted pal Gonzales — he of Pianist Envy fame — is now winging his way to Austin, Texas where he’ll rock SxSW music lovers with a predictably off-the-wall concert tonight before winging back home to Paris.
SHARPS ‘N” FLATS: Massey Hall-bound Dire Straits alumnus Mark Knopfler is set to serenade his Swiss fans at the 44th annual Montreux Jazz Festival July 2-17 … Iron Maiden returns to seduce Canuck fas on July 3 at the Molson Amphitheatre in T.O. and July
7 at the Bell Centre in Montreal … new Grammy sweeper Taylor Swift, so good with that other Taylor (New Moon alumnus Lautner) in Valentine’s Day, will join Keith Urban, Ashley MacIsaac and Lady Antebellum at this year’s Cavendish Beach Music Festival in P.E.I. in July … Ringo Starr brings his new All-Starr Band, including Edgar Winter, Rick Derringer and Richard Page, to Fallsview Casino on June 24 & 25 … Chantal Kreviazuk is set to brighten the Edmonton Symphony season this fall … and showstopper Idina Menzel, so brilliant at Defying Gravity in Wicked, is set to make a stellar appearance on the second season of Glee.
3-D STIMULUS PACKAGE: Two hours of each round of next month’s Masters golf tournament will be carried in 3-D by Comcast to its more than 20 million U.S. subscribers. The production will be separate from what CBS and ESPN will show, with Sony supplying cameras to show the action on the back nine. It’s all part of a grand scheme to persuade sports fans to buy new 3-D televisions sets.And of course Tiger Woods much-anticipated return to the Masters can’t hurt. But yes, you still have to wear the glasses.
SCRABBLE BABBLE: What do stage and screen showstoppers Sheila McCarthy, Colin Mochrie and Jayne Eastwood all have in common? They’re three of the 40 sparklies set to play at the sixth annual Scrabble With The Stars next month. In case you’ve forgotten this is the once-a-year fundraiser for PAL Toronto, the Performing Arts Lodge that is now home for so many of our now-senior artists who devoted their lives to delighting us on stage and screen. In addition
to such long time supporters as Peter Kent, Gordon Pinsent and legendary moppet charmers Sharon, Lois & Bram, marquee luminaries already confirmed include Jaymz Bee, Mark Breslin, Dave Broadfoot, Dinah Christie, Arlene Duncan, C. David Johnson, Deb McGrath, Sheila McCarthy, Mickie Moore, Leah Pinsent, Shakura S’Aida, Avery Saltzman, Paul Soles, Amy Sky, Theresa Tova and cuisine queen Sara Waxman, TV fashionista Jeanne Beker and her best beau Barry Flatman are returning to host this year’s star-studded Scrabble evening on Monday April 12 at the King Suites, and I can personally guarantee that you’ll have a great time. For more information and/or to order tickets, just click here. But don’t wait too long — this event ALWAYS sells out!
GOOD MORNING, TORONTO: That’s what popular CFRB drive-home lion John Moore will be saying next week when he goes up against CFRB alumnus and current CBC icon Andy Barrie, who continues to rock morning radio ratings on CBC. Moore will reportedly start his on-air ‘RB shift at 5:30 a.m., 15 minutes before Barrie kicks off his daily Metro Morning broadcast. He’ll also get a little help from his friends, e.g., sportscaster Rick Hodge and Breakfast Television grad Liza Fromer, both of whom are old hands at getting up really really early every morning.
ONE MORE TURN OF THE SCREW: It was Ingrid Bergman who first tackled Henry James’ scary psychosexual thriller The Turn Of The Screw on television. Then Deborah Kerr played the governess in the movie version called The Innocents. Now DVxT Theatre Company is set to present a new stage version in Toronto, but not on stage. Instead both cast and audience will inhabit the elegant Campbell House Museum. Built in 1822, its candle-lit rooms “will come to life as the audience weaves through all three levels of the house, following the characters through the labyrinth that is this psychological thriller.” Directed by Vikki Anderson, this new production
opens Oct 16 and stars Christine Horne as the governess “and Clinton Walker in all (!?!) the other roles. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!
FOOTLIGHTS: Dancap Productions, the folks behind such hit Toronto productions as The Drowsy Chaperone and the long-running spellbinder Jersey Boys, is now set to present a summer season of theatrical productions at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, starting next year. Which shows will Dancap be staging or importing next summer? Stay tuned … Andrew Lloyd Webber still wants to restage The Wizard of Oz for Broadway with new songs to
go with the Harold Arlen-Yip Harburg classics … Yo-Yo Ma serenades tomorrow night in Ottawa at the National Arts Centre … and nine-time Tony-winning tap dancer-singer-choreographer Tommy Tune will be made a Living Landmark on November 4 at Cipriani on 42nd Street.
Wow! — a Manhattan monument that still has all the right moves!
HOW SICK IS THAT: Remember when Sick meant Ill? When he was making Sicko. his documentary on U.S. health care woes, Michael Moore gathered a group of Sept. 11 heroes — rescue workers suffering from debilitating illnesses who have been denied medical attention in the United
States – and took them to Cuba so they could finally receive some care. Outrageous moves like that one helped win him an Oscar for Bowling At Columbine, and some fans believe his recent TIFF entry, Capitalism: A Love Story, is his best film treatise yet. Meanwhile, if you missed Sicko first time ‘round, CBC Newsworld hosts its Canadian television premiere this Sunday night at 9:30 pm on The Passionate Eye.
Happy Nuit Blanche!