Soup for the soul, Maya hosts SNL, and Carol makes us so glad we have this time together

OUR TOWN  A new dance showcase opens in T.O. today with an intriguing history.  Citadel, a new centre for contemporary dance in Regent Park, was once a Salvation Army soup kitchen. The newly-renovated centre (by architects

RUDOLPH: back to her roots

Diamond + Schmitt) is the new home of dance troupe Coleman Lemieux &Compagnie and includes an 1,800 sq. foot studio/theatre for dance productions; a 900 sq. foot studio for rehearsals, pay-what-you-can yoga classes, workshops and community classes, and accommodation for visiting out-of-town artists. Citadel officially opens tomorrow night with  Les cheminements de l’influence, a world premiere solo by Laurence Lemieux in honour of her father, Quebec political scientist Vincent Lemieux … and glory-voiced Jackie Richardson and piano man Joe Sealey

RICHARDSON: Bodolai tribute

provided a stirring finale to Sunday afternoon’s celebration of writer-producer Joe Bodolai at the Young Centre. The event was deftly hosted by longtime Bodolai booster Albert Schultz. who ushered in a series of heartfelt salutes  to Bodolai’s achievements from comedy luminaries  Harry Doupe, Mark Farrell, Anna Gustafson, Ron James and Kenny Robinson. Musical charmers Cherie Camp, Geoff Kahnert and John Welsman also treated the crowd to a performance of Everything’s Gone Wrong Since I Left Mr. Right, one of the tunes Bodolai composed in his radio days.   All in all. a touching tribute to a brilliant artistic explorer who got  lost on his expedition and, tragically, never found his way home again.

FUNNY GIRL(S):  Fearless foursome Robin Duke, Jayne Eastwood, Kathryn Greenwood and Teresa Pavlinek, aka those fabulous Women Fully Clothed, are now a hit south of the border too. Last week they were deep

FEY: Super Bowl sweetheart

in the heart of Texas (and I do mean Dallas) … seasoned showstopper Sandra Shamas headlines the Feb. 25 East End Comedy Revue at the Dominion On Queen … standup ladies Martha Chaves and Laurie Elliott share the bill on this Friday night at the Flying Beaver Pubaret on Parliament … Maya Rudolph returns to her roots this weekend to host Saturday Night Live … and I gotta believe fellow SNL alumnus Tina Fey played a big part in that dazzling NBC Super Bowl commercial – and not just on screen, either. The network spot probably had a bigger budget than most Canadian films, but you can certainly see the money on the screen. If you missed it, just click here – and enjoy!

HAPPINESS IS A NEW MAGAZINE:  Intrepid funnyman Rick Mercer graces the cover of the first issue of What Makes You Happy, a


glossy good-news magazine distributed in T.O. last week to Globe & Mail subscribers. Mercer was among the honorees last weekend at the cfpdp‘s 28th annual gala, deftly hosted by CBC News anchor Suhana Meharchand at the Fairmont Royal York. (When the exhuberant crowd in the Canadian Room became too boisterous, Meharchand shushed them elegantly but firmly. “I’ve had three husbands,” she dead-panned — “I’m not afraid of you!”) King Clancy Award winner Mercer still insists he has the best job in the country. And if you’re not a Globe & Mail subscriber, you can still sample the first issue of What Makes You Happy on line, including publisher Johnny Lucas‘ entertaining  interview with Mercer, A Chip off the old Rock, right here.

LULLABYE & GOOD NIGHT: It’s her third book on the New York Times bestseller list, but this one is perfect bedtime reading – and not because it puts you to sleep. Now in paperback, Carol Burnett’s 200- page collection of anecdotes, This Time Together: Laughter And Reflection, is like a warm,

BURNETT: On the page and in person

long-awaited visit with an old friend who has finally agreed to tell you what really happened behind the scenes. Because she tells her stories in bite-size capsules, she gets to tell more than 60 of them, some of them surprisingly personal, most of them genuinely amusing, and all of them engaging. Some of the names involved in her anecdotes may surprise you, especially her close encounters with film greats Joan Crawford, John Huston, Laurence Olivier and Barbara Stanwyck. One classic story unfolds when she receives a telephone call from Martin Brando, whom she had long admired but never met. Brando had read a report in People magazine that Burnett had finally acquired something she’d always wanted: A chin. (“I had always wanted a chin. I was born with a weak one.”) An oral surgeon had added about three millimeters to her existing chin, with exceedingly pleasing results, and Burnett was back in New York when Brando called her from Los Angeles.

FLASHY FLASHBACK: The Carol Burnett Show

“Where’d you get your chin?” asked Marlon. “My chin?” said Burnett. “Yes,” said Brando. “My wife’s sister has a weak chin and wants to fix it. Where’d you get yours done?” Thus begins Burnett’s lengthy exchange with Brando, one of many great conversations in the book. As you might expect, there are some very touching moments too. When Burnett’s daughter Carrie Hamilton was in hospital, dying of cancer, one of the nurses asked her why she smiled so much. Burnett says her daughter replied, “Every day I wake up and decide: today I’m going to love my life.” Another lesson worth learning, in a heartwarming collection of stories worth reading. P.S. If you’d like to see Burnett in person, she set to do  two (2) nights of her Q&A show May 4 & 5 at Fallsview Casino in Niagara. But if I were you, I’d order those tickets sooner than later. When it comes to box office, the lady is still a champ.

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Colm & Carol & Rick & Annie & Harvey & Sharon & Lana & Lee & Deborah & Joan & …

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Reportedly set to tiptoe through the tulips at the Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa next month: Margaret Atwood, Rick Mercer, Fred Penner and Ian Tyson, to name only a few …

BURNETT: any questions?

BURNETT: any questions?

my spies say tickets for the new Stratford production of ‘the Scottish play,’ with Colm Feore as the tortured king, are already selling briskly …  resilient movie mogul Harvey Weinstein will again host the annual Cinema Against AIDS gala and auction at the Cannes Film Festival on May 21. Set to join Harvey in Cap d’Antibes are super auctioneer Sharon Stone, singer Annie Lennox (she’ll serenade the high rollers gathered at the lavish Hotel du Cap) and Bill Clinton, who has proven himself to be a tireless crusader in the battle against the worldwide AIDS crisis … Big Love scene-stealer Jeanne Tripplehorn plays Jackie Kennedy and Jessica Lange & Drew Barrymore play her eccentric cousins when HBO premieres the much-anticipated screen version of Grey Gardens this weekend … also this weekend, Kenny Robinson celebrates 15 Years of Nubian Disciples shows at Yuk Yuk’s. Now that’s an anniversary worth noting! … and just to make you glad you had this time together, Carol Burnett is set to bring her one-woman Q&A show to Massey Hall on June 12.

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GOSH, THEY GROW UP SO FAST: Doesn’t seem possible, but APTN, Canada’s first and only Aboriginal television network, will celebrate its tenth anniversary this September. And as a member of the 2010 Olympic Broadcast Consortium , APTN will also become the world’s first Aboriginal Olympic broadcaster.  And you can check out the net’s sunny new redesigned website by clicking right here.

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REMICK: Anatomy

REMICK: Anatomy

FAMOUS WARDROBE MALFUNCTIONS: Sure, that SuperBowl incident with Janet Jackson was historic in its own way. Fortunately it wasn’t a career-breaker. But I recall at least two wardrobe ‘malfunctions’ that turned out to be career-makers. Lana Turner was set to co-star with James Stewart in Anatomy Of A Murder until she saw the slutty outfits they wanted her to wear. When she refused to show up unless her costumes were changed, director Otto Preminger quietly fired her and hired Manhattan TV actress Lee Remick to replace her. The film created quite a sensation at the time, and three years later the once-unknown Remick won an Oscar nomination for The Days Of

KERR: Eternity

KERR: Eternity

Wine And Roses. And classic British beauty Deborah Kerr feared she’d be forever cast as the proper English schoolmarm until her agent got a call from Columbia Pictures tyrant Harry Cohn. Cohn had just fired Joan Crawford because she refused to wear the blowsy ’40s era wardrobe that had been designed for her; would Ms Kerr be willing to replace her? The enigmatic Ms Kerr was more than happy to do so — and that’s how she ended up on that beach with Burt Lancaster. She won her second Oscar nomination for Fram Here To Eternity, and had collected four more (for The KIng And I, Heaven Knows Mr, Allison, Separate Tables (with Lancaster again,) and The Sundowners before she received an honourary Academy Award in 1994.

The moral of this story? Never lock a clothes horse in a closet.

Or something like that.

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YOU LIGHT UP MY LIFE: Still believe it’s better to light one candle than curse the darkness? Yeah, me too. And apparently we’re not alone. Earth Hour was such as phenomenal success this year that the Canadian World Wildlife Fund has created a new web-based community called The Good Life  I’ve signed up and you can too. To explore and properly exploit the new site, click here.

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SOUTH PARK EXPLAINS IT ALL FOR YOU: Stumped by the fact that huge companies with huge debts are getting financial bailouts while small companies with small debts are going under? You obviously don’t have a proper grasp of the scientific methodology behind all these key decisions. To further your understanding and education of North American economics — no, no really, no need to thank me — just click here.

TOMORROW:  Celebrating Norman Jewison in Hollywood.


You win some, you lose some

Joan Rivers is on QVC today – the U.S. forerunner of our Shopping Channel, as if you didn’t know – selling  jewelry from her high-profile Boardroom Collection.

The power of television!” La Rivers marveled on Twitter this morning. “The jewelry I wore last night on Celebrity Apprentice is being worn by the models at QVC and is almost sold out!”

RIVERS: no Dice

RIVERS: no Dice


After last night’s two-hour opener  — which saw Joan’s team trounce Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker‘s all-male team – Rivers received lotsa pro & con reaction to some of her team members, including brainy Playboy playmate Brande Roderick and Alpha-female poker champion Annie Duke. When some of her friends called her to say how much they hate Annie, team leader Rivers remained uncharacteristically mum. “I could lie and tell them they’re wrong,” she twittered, “but then my nose would grow back.”

And who thought potty-mouth master Andrew Dice Clay would be the first celebrity apprentice to be fired? (Besides Andrew Dice Clay, I mean?)

I’m already looking forward to the second installment next Sunday.


FALLING UP: After more than three decades of filing daily reports, much-loved New York showbiz columnist Liz Smith is nowhere to be seen in Manhattan newspapers this week. Now a celebratory 86, Liz got sacked last week by her current tabloid address, the New York Post.

SMITH: tabloid-free

SMITH: tabloid-free


Still a regular blogger and TV gossipist, Liz considered herself just another newsprint casualty until reporter James Barron put her on the front page of the New York Times.  And then the phone calls and emails started pouring in.

“Liz, I think you have fallen a step up in leaving the Post,” Carol Burnett told her. Canadian crooner Michael Bublé, who had serenaded Liz at her 80th birthday bash, took time to call her. So did Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg. “I also received a love note from the wonderful singer Josh Groban,” says Liz, “and loving support by e-mail from John Travolta, Tom Cruise and Sly Stallone.”

She also heard from Madonna, who asked, “What is New York without Liz Smith?”

Tom Brokaw called, and so did Warren Beatty. Liz also had “a riotous conversation” with Frost/Nixon star Frank Langella.  And her pal Candice Bergen sent her a cheery message “not appropriate for family reading.”

Ironically, you can catch up with Liz even more easily now, on www.wowOwow.com.


As expected, Carrie Fisher’s comments on this year’s Oscar weekend were true to form. (“Oh my God, there’s Madonna! Is she with that Jesus guy? Were you invited to her party with Demi on the night of the telecast? Yeah, me neither.”) Good news is that Sean Penn’s Milk producer Bruce Cohen is also producing the adaptation of Carrie last book, The Best Awful, a 4-hour thing miniseries to star Meg Ryan. Meanwhile Carrie has turned out yet another bestseller almost as funny as she is. Addicted to wordplay – remember her novel Delusions Of Grandma? – this one is called Wishful Drinking, and it’s all about growing up with Debbie & Eddie in Hollywood. But more about that (lots) tomorrow.