Tag Archives: Buddies In Bad Times

Today’s Top Tips: Bernie & Ruby, a slapshtick night at the Opera, and where to take Mom on Sunday

I’LL TAKE ROMANCE: Just added two movies to my Must See list that I didn’t know even existed until quite recently. The first one is Bernie, a black comedy based on a true story about the ill-fated romance of a young mortician

MACLAINE & BLACK: Must See new movie

and a not-so-youthful Texas widow. Jack Black is the mortician. Shirley MacLaine is the widow. I think you’ll understand why I’m dying (you should pardon the expression) to see it after you click on this sneak preview. The second movie on my new Must list is Ruby Sparks. It’s about a young novelist (Paul Dano) struggling with both his writing and his romantic life. Then he creates a character named Ruby who inspires him. And then he finds Ruby (Zoe Kazan), in the flesh, somehow manifested by his writing, sitting on his couch. Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening and Elliot Gould are along for

DANO: Sparks f;ly

the ride, which to me strongly resembles a romantic rollercoaster. Click here for the sneak preview of that one.

SHOWSTOPPER: It’s just one of those songs/that you hear now and then/you don’t know just where/you don’t know just when …  but you sure know it when you hear it. There is a soft stirring in the audience at the Four Seasons Centre this month as soon as the first strains of Puccini’s haunting melody O mio babbino caro come soaring up from the orchestra pit during every performance of Gianni Schicchi. The surprise for some of us less well-versed in operatic endeavours is that this beautiful ballad comes right in the middle of a slapstick farce about a greedy family trying to cheat monks out of an inheritance.

THE GAMG’S ALL HERE: A family schemes as Puccini serenades

Aided and abetted by a brilliant ensemble, soprano-turned-director Catherine Malfitano displays a fearless flare for broad comedy that suggests she’s a serious fan of such screwball classics as Weekend At Bernie’s and Fire Sale, and Wilson Chin’s stylishly topsy-turvy set consistently keeps us in on the

MAYNARD: first visit here

joke. The lush musical score, sensitively and splendidly conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, makes the contrast even more appealing, and Simone Osborne’s rich vocalizing on O mio babbino caro earns every minute of the tumultuous applause she receives. Check it out at www.coc.ca.

Still not quite sure which aria it is? To watch Montserrat Caballe’s version, click here; to watch Maria Callas’ sing it to Japanese fans in Tokyo, click here. And, enjoy!

OUR TOWN: Lots of sparklies on the radar this week. New Brit pop music sensation Conor Maynard, who’s 19 if he’s a day, was on hand to co-host New.Music.Live on MuchMusic last night. This morning he’ll make live

JOHNSON: on stage this week

appearances on the KISS 92.5 Morning show at 8 a.m. and CP24 Breakfast at 8:45 a.m. So will he sing Can’t Say No? Whaddya think? …  enduring pop music siren Tabby Johnson entertains Thursday night at Maggie Cassella’s Flying Beaver Pubaret … Jayzm Bee hosts Word Jazz – “ten poets doing ten minutes each in a truly unique evening of spoken word” — with Don Francks, Robert Preist, Dale Percy, Myna Wallin, Phatt Al, Mike Schram, Chris Hercules, Amanda Hiebert, Howard “Dr. Possibility” Jerome, Mike Hanson and Bruce Hunter, Thursday night at the Now Lounge on Church Street …. also this Thursday: Betty Buckley kicks off the 15th and final We’re

COHEN: he’s Our Man

Funny That Way festival with a concert at Buddies In Bad Times that’s sure to be spellbinding …  don’t say I didn’t warn ya: This Friday’s night concert by the legendary Lighthouse rock orchestra at the Molson Canadian Studio in Hamilton is expected to go SRO … so is female illusionist Christopher Peterson’s Saturday night WFTW festival show at Buddies … also on Saturday: The Three Lennys, a special Toronto Jewish Film Festival screening of three Leonard Cohen films at the Bloor Cinema in honour of the recently-announced ninth recipient of the Glenn Gould Prize. And before Cohen receives his newest accolade next Monday at a gala evening at Massey Hall, local musicians will take to the streets to play his music all over downtown Toronto. So keep your eyes and ears open!

RICHARDSON: Sunday salon stint

SUNDAY’S SPECIAL: Looking for significant stuff to do on Mother’s Day? Look no further.  Take her to The Flying Beaver Pubaret on Parliament for a 1 pm jazz brunch with Shannon Gunn on Vocals, Reg Schrager on guitar and Rosemary Galloway on bass, or a 7 pm Mother’s Day concert by singer-songwriter Duff MacDonaldJackie Richardson joins Paul Hoffert at his weekly jazz salon at Musideum on Richmond on Sunday at 3 pm … Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie have added an extra show to their world premiere of From the House of Mirth,

THOMPSON: Glory-watcher

directed and choreographed by James Kudelka, at the Citadel — which means you now have a choice of two Sunday performances (3 pm & 8 pm) …  Judith Thompson previews her new one-woman show, Watching Glory Die, in a staged reading this Sunday at 2 pm at the Factory Theatre … just looking for something special to slip in the envelope with that Hallmark card? The National Ballet of Canada is offering a special Mother’s Day deal on its upcoming premiere of Hamlet. Buy tickets to see the high-flying Prince of Denmark on Friday June 8 and get 30% off the price of tickets, in all sections. To take full advantage of this special I Love Mom promotion, click here!

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Meryl tackles Juliet, Betty returns to T.O., Maggie rallies her troupes, and Brenda shines up her Shoes

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Okay, so they’re not teenagers – they were all grown up way back when, when they co-starred in Sophie’s Choice – but Oscar winners Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline will play Shakespeare’s

STREEP: reading in New York

famous star-crossed lovers in a one-night-only reading of Romeo and Juliet, as part of a gala celebrating the 50th anniversary of Shakespeare in the Park. Public Theater vet Daniel Sullivan will direct the reading, to be held on June 18 at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park … Patrick Habron’s new exhibition of Rock ‘n’ Roll Icons opens May 10 at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center … Phylicia Rashad, currently in Atlanta filming the TV adaptation of Steel Magnolias for director Kenny Leon, will return to that Georgia city this summer to star in Leon’s stage adaptation of Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner … American TV icon Larry

HAGMAN: guesting in Lucerne

Hagman (Dallas, I Dream Of Jeannie) and Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson are among the sparklies set to light up the 51st Rose d’Or Festival in Lucerne next month … fillmmaker Roger Larry is just wrapping a feature doc on Canadian cannibis advocate Marc Emery (aka The Prince of Pot) entitled Citizen Mark. “I describe it as Citizen Kane meets Spinal Tap,” says Larry. Will we see it at TIFF in September? Just askin’ … former BBC CEO Paul Lee, who founded BBC America before becoming President of ABC, is set to deliver the CBC/Radio-Canada opening keynote speech at this year’s Banff World Media Festival on June 10 … and Brenda Hoffert launches

BUCKLEY: singing in T.O.

her new-and-improved exhibition, Shoes, on Thursday April 26 at the Cecile & Harry Pearl Gallery. She’s added eight new photos to this exhibit which first premiered at CONTACT 2010.

SHE’S FUNNY THAT WAY: On a bit of a bittersweet note, the celebrated Toronto comedy festival We’re Funny That Way is about to celebrate its 15th and final year.  According to the WFTW website, festival producer Maggie Cassella has decided to call it quits – but she’s closing the festival with a major slam-dunk. First up is a May 10 concert by the vocally astonishing Betty Buckley, a benefit

CRAWFORD: back to Buddies

for the We’re Funny That Way Foundation, which directs funds to queer charities across Canada. Then WFTW crowd-pleasers Lea DeLaria, Gavin Crawford and Christopher Peterson strut their stuff on May 11 & May 12 to close the festival with appropriate star power. Showbiz dynamo Cassella is also working with filmmaker David Adkin on a sequel to his 1998 doc on her festival – DeLaria and Peterson were featured in that one too – to revisit the questions they first asked 15 years ago. “We’re hoping to track the evolution of queer comedy over the last 15 years and ask a lot of questions about where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going.” Cassella is also one of the busy beavers behind the high-flying Flying Beaver

CASSELLA: Maggie for Mayor?

Pubaret on Parliament near Carlton – Carla Collins is set to headline there this weekend — and brings her brainy energy and unique street savvy to everything she does. Not that I want to punish her, but isn’t it time we forced her into public office, so she could look out for all of us? (I’m just sayin’ …) Meanwhile, I suspect we’re talking about three about-to-be historic nights to remember. For tickets to what is sure to be an amazing evening with the spellbinding Betty Buckley, click here; for tickets to see We’re Funny That Way dazzlers Crawford, DeLaria and Peterson, click here.

Adds the indomitable Ms Cassella: “Please come and help us pack Buddies and Bad Times Theatre one last time.” And who can say no to Maggie?

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Sandra & Ryan switch bait (and nationalities,) Kirstie gets a crush, Maggie hosts a Buddies bash, and Joan hits off-Broadway with a drag band

I’VE GOT A CRUSH ON YOU: Twitterbug Kirstie Alley admittedly gets crushes like crazy. Two weeks ago it was Jamie Foxx. Her new swoon? Violinist David Garrett. “Mr. Foxx is on the back burner today,” she confided last week

GARRETT: Kirstie crush

GARRETT: Kirstie crush

to her more than 40,000 Twitter followers. “Hottie violin player on front burner … boiling …” But she’s also an ardent admirer one of television’s true Golden Girls, Mary Tyler Moore alumnus Betty White. “I want to be Betty White when I grow up,” Kirstie insists. “I love her!” … which reminds me, Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds clearly had a lot of fun shooting their new romantic comedy The Proposal, and it shows. The plot involves a transplanted Canadian boss who forces an American underling into a marriage to avoid being deported from the U.S. The inside joke is, Hollywood screen queen Bullock plays the Canadian boss and Canadian heartthrob Reynolds plays her harassed American assistant. Funnier still is the ‘secret’ out-take they manufactured to promote the movie on Will Ferrell’s 

WHITE: friction causer?

WHITE: friction causer?

Funny Or Die website, in which they both royally send themselves up as spoiled movie stars. Why did Kirstie’s crush on Betty White remind me of Sandra & Ryan? Because Betty is the cause of the fictitious friction between the two stars on the set in their sly rehearsed romp for Ferrell fanatics. To see for yourself, just click here.

GUESS YOU HAD TO BE THERE:  Okay, last night was not the Tony’s finest hour. Granted all the stars gathered at Radio City Music Hall seemed to love that overblown  musical opener, but despite Elton, Dolly and Liza it was mostly a train wreck on television. Camera direction was disastrous most of the night, as were persistent audio problems. New musicals were well represented but new dramas were given alarmningly short shrift

What was good about it? The Tony win for David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish, who continue to make Billy Elliot, The Musical the ongoing talk of the town. And, as predicted here Friday, Tony host Neil Patrick Harris’ clever closing number was almost worth wading through the three (!!!) hours preceding it, which he so masterfully sent up.  And despite this flawed smorgasbord showcase,   I can’t wait to get back to Broadway to see some of these great shows. George & Ira Gershwin wrote, I like New York in June / how about you?  Over the years I’ve been there every month of the calendar year, and still can’t find a time or a season when I don’t love New York. So take a few days to lick your wounds, Tony TV producers, and then go back to the drawing board and fix it. And in just case you’ve forgotten: Yes You Can.

CASSELLA: Vent-ing

CASSELLA: Vent-ing

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Gorgeous Natalie Portman makes her directorial and writing debut behind the camera directing Lauren Bacall, Olivia Thirlby and Ben Gazzara in Eve, one of the ‘hot tickets’ for the Canadian Film Centre’s upcoming Worldwide Short Film Festival June 16-21. For more info on the WSSS line-up, click here …  Tragically Hip icon Gord Downie narrates Mongrel Media’s dazzling new doc, Waterlife, about the future of the Great Lakes, a gift enjoyed by 35 million North Americans that may not be able to continue giving if we don’t change our corporate ways. Want a sneak preview? Click hereMaggie Cassella’s much-anticipated new series The Vent premieres June 28 on Out TV and on the web at http://www.getoutthevent.com. La Cassella will host a Vent launch party – an

RIVERS: stand up

RIVERS: stand up

official Gay Pride event — on Sunday June 21 at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and will preview the series’ first episode, Celebutantes, at the party. Sounds like fun … and speaking of Pride, Joan Rivers, who championed AIDS victims and fund-raised for research long before it became fashionable to do so, is set to do two shows on Thursday June 25 at off-Broadway’s Gramercy Theater, at East 23rd Street and Lexington Avenue, timed to coincide with New York City’s annual Gay Pride Week. The historic venue had been transformed into an intimate nightclub for Rivers’ show, with cabaret tables in the orchestra section, a full bar and waiter service. Her opening act? Rising indie drag band She-Dick. (And no, I’m not making that up.) Tickets are $25-$125 with net proceeds going to Rivers’ favorite charities: God’s Love We Deliver and Guide Dogs for the Blind.

TOMORROW:  Catching up with Anne Murray.

Good morning, Toronto

 

ARDEN

ARDEN

 

CRAWFORD

CRAWFORD

CARROLL

CARROLL

JAMES

JAMES

CULLEN

CULLEN

DEGENERES

DEGENERES

MOCHRIE

MOCHRIE -

Welcome to another week of razzle-dazzle in our town.

And yes, everything old is new again – including, apparently, me.

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FOOTLIGHTS: Leave-‘em-in-the-aisles funnyman Ron James makes his much-anticipated return to T.O. this Thursday when he opens a limited run of his Mental As Anything tour at the Winter Garden … Rick Roberts, so good in the riveting ZOS miniseries produced by Paul Gross, is set to co-star with Hal Linden in Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays With Morrie, directed by Ted Dykstra and opening May 8 at the Winter Garden … and fearless 22 Minutes scene-stealer Gavin Crawford will star in Sky Gilbert’s new eyebrow-raiser, I Have AIDS!, with Ryan Kelly and David Yee, now set to open at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre on April 23

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THE SWEETEST SOUNDS: Showstopper Diahann Carroll lived up to her rep at the Four Seasons this weekend when she entertained high-rollers at Salah Bachir’s lavish fundraiser for The 519 community centre. Garth Drabinsky, who produced Carroll’s
spectacular run here in Sunset Boulevard, was among the sparklies cheering her, as were Maggie Cassella, Diane Flacks and Valerie Pringle, to name only a few. Served up with dinner were musical guest stars Billy Newton Davis, John Alcorn and Lorraine Segato – what a treat to see (AND hear) the enigmatic Ms. Segato, who rocked her way through a rhythm & bluesy ballad before gifting us with a stirring reprise of her Parachute Club anthem Rise Up.  Before the dynamic Diahann – still sweet-voiced at 73 – took her final bow, Gala host Bachir, who was clearly adored by most of the room, managed to raise more than $350,000 for the community centre, and was quick to thank all his friends for stepping up with their cheque books.  Four Bachir chums who particularly impressed: Ivan Fecan (CTV,) Rupert Duschene (Aeroplan,) Tony Gagliano (Toronto Life) and Mohamad El Zaibeck. All four bought $5,000 tables, then turned them over to Salah so community centre workers from The 519 could attend the glamorous Saturday night shindig.

Now that’s class.

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GLITTERATI: She’s had 17 top ten singles, eight albums and eight Juno Awards. Now soulful thrush Jann Arden has a new manager too, joining Bryan Adams, Michael Buble and Anne Murray as one of Bruce Allen’s blue chip Canadian clients … clever Humber College administrators have lured L.A.-savvy producer Pam Thomas to their top-flight Comedy teachers roster. Smart move, guys  … some

WINFREY

WINFREY

famously funny folk are set to deliver ‘The News’ this week on The Hour. Watch for Seán Cullen tonight, Colin Mochrie tomorrow night, Gilson Lubin (who he???) on Wednesday and Nikki Payne on Thursday … Oprah Winfrey always appears solo on the cover of her O magazine, but this month she made an exception for new U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama. Needless to say that just fueled the fire for Ellem Degeneres, whose running joke on her talk show is that one day she wants to be on the cover of O. So last week Oprah surprised Ellen by calling her, on air, to officially invite her to stand by her side for a forthcoming cover shoot. You can catch Oprah’s surprise call on Ellen’s show website at http://ellen.warnerbros.com — and yes,  it’s a lot of fun.

Ain’t showbiz grand?