Tag Archives: Céline Dion

Bye bye Bistro, Kathleen keeps her clothes on, and Titanic goes on and on (and on, and on, and …)

ANCHORS AWEIGH: Apparently it’s not only Céline’s heart that will go on and on. A boatload of new productions mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic next month. First up is the premiere of the new Julian Fellowes four-part mini-series Titanic on Global this Wednesday. This new version by

TITANIC: sinking ship syndrome?

Fellowes, who penned Downton Abbey— which, coincidentally, started with news of the Titanic sinking – follows the aristocrats staying in first-class cabins and the lower class families residing in steerage. “Each episode focuses on individual families but will feature every character as their stories become

REID: in four-part mini-series

intertwined with each other. Viewers will also see the ship begin to sink in every episode as the series builds up to the finale when it will be revealed who survives and who doesn’t.” Advance reviews are a bit iffy so far (c’mon, we already know how it ends) but insiders say the real fun is betting on which of the familiar faces on board (eg., David Eisner, Toby Jones, Linda Kash, Noah Reid, Linus Roache) will sink or swim. Next up: Titanic: The Canadian Story, a new two-hour special on the historical event we can’t seem to get enough of, set to air Thursday April 5 on CBC’s Doc Zone. Did you know that included among the more than 2,200 passengers and crew on the Titanic were 130 men women and children bound for Canada? Me neither. But

CAMPBELL: in 12-part series

wait – there’s more. On Monday April 9 National Geographic kicks off a week-long Titanic salute with Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron. (Do we believe that ‘final word’ bit? Not for a minute.) But wait – there’s more. Also in the works is Titanic: Blood & Steel, at 12-episode dramatic series that focuses on the construction of the ship, its owner and the workers, and is set in the Belfast shipyards in 1907. All-star cast members already signed include Sir Derek Jacobi, Neve Campbell and Chris Noth.  Can Titanic: The Musical and Titanic: The Mobile App be far behind? Stay tuned.

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “I’ve learned that great style has little to do with what you wear. It’s how you wear it and who you are. Confidence is the best fashion

BEKER: 60 reasons to celebrate

accessory. I’ve learned never to wish to be in someone else’s shoes — you never really know where they’ve come from or where they’re going. I’ve learned that aging should make us better, not bitter. I’ve learned that Botox can help.” The learner? Jeanne Beker, suddenly 60, in one of her best columns ever, in today’s Toronto Star. My personal favourite? “I’ve learned that inner beauty is the only kind that really counts. But good lighting helps.” To read the unsinkable Ms. Beker’s unique summing up of what she’s learned so far, click here.

FOOTLIGHTS: Toronto audiences will get a chance to see Kathleen Turner’s much-lauded stage performance as a salty nun trying to rehabilitate a 19-year-old drug user when High opens in May at the Royal Alex. And before you ask, this

TURNER: on a High

time it’s her young male co-star who appears on stage in the nude. Sister Turner, I’m advised, keeps her clothes on … among the sparklies on the New York stage this week is Eric McCormack, currently treading the boards with Angela Lansbury, James Earl Jones, John Larroquette and Candice Bergen in previews for a star-studded revival of Gore Vidal’s truth-searing political drama The Best Man … Tony Award-winner Rob Ashford is set to direct and choreograph the stage adaptation of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, a new big-budget Disney musical set to premiere in London next year. The musical will

McCORMACK: back on Broadway

incorporate Burton’s unique aesthetic into the show’s design, follow the plot of the 2010 film — the ninth highest-grossing film of all time (!!!) — and will feature a book by the film’s screenwriter Linda Woolverton … and Kate Winslet is toying with the notion of making her stage debut in a revival of David Hare’s drama Skylight. The production would be helmed by Hare himself, with Bill Nighy reprising his role as Tom Sergeant, most likely for a West End opening followed by a limited Broadway run.

Stay tuned.

THE NIGHT THEY CALLED IT A DAY: Once the Sardi’s  of Toronto, Bistro 990 served its last suppers Saturday night and officially closed Sunday morning, with a closing party on the premises last night. Among the dozens of

BISTRO 990: Going, going ... gone

merry mourners greeted by owner Tom Kristenbrun and maitre d’ Victor Magalhaes were Bistro regulars Austin Clarke, Larry Dane, ‘Party Barbara’ Herschenhorn, Bill Marshall, Gordon Pinsent, Sari Ruda, Rob Salem, Sara Waxman and Rita Zekas, whose Stargazing columns put the French bistro on the media map and kept it there for decades. Meanwhile, across town at Eglinton and Bathurst, despite headlines announcing its imminent demise due to city expropriations, the House of Chan is still thriving.  One media scribe reported

HOUSE OF CHAN: Business as usual

that the restaurant entrance was locked after he personally checked it out; apparently he didn’t realize that the legendary Toronto steak oasis that Donny Lyons lyonized  is open only for dinner, from 5 pm on. If proposed subway construction forces the restaurant to close in the future — and that’s still a big If —  it won’t happen until at least 2014. Until then, you can expect Chan to continue to serve up all its famous specialties seven nights a week. And amen to that!

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Tommy turns 75, Celine & Tony sound off, Kelly & Jay play Fallsview and Arlene writes a bestseller

SHARPS & FLATS:  Crowd-pleasers Kelly Clarkson and Jay Leno are both set to entertain at Fallsview Casino next month, with the increasingly popular World Rock Symphony Orchestra now set to return in April …

PIECZONKA: Toronto Tosca

sublime Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka continues to dazzle as Tosca in the lavish COC production at the Four Seasons Centre now through Feb. 25 …  Daniel Lanois is set for two CBC Music concerts next month at the Great Hall on Queen Street.  The concerts coincide with Lanois’ induction into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame during Canadian Music Week festivities that same week … and legendary country gentleman Tommy Hunter will celebrate his 75th birthday by hanging up his guitar once and for all. Currently on tour, he’ll blow out the candles at a splashy birthday party in London, ON, on March 20, right after he gives his final concert at the John Labatt Centre. Should be quite a night!

HATS OFF:  To Tony Bennett and Celine Dion, who skipped the platitudes and went straight to the heart of Whitney Houston’stragic demise. Bennett says he has received mostly positive reaction to his statement urging the legalization of drugs in the U.S.

HUNTER: birthday boy

Legalization, he believes, would get rid of all the gangsters. “One thing I’ve learned about young people, when you say ‘Don’t do this,’ that’s the one thing they’re going to try and do. Once it’s legal and everybody can do it, there is no longer the desire to do something that nobody else can do.” Bennett, now 85, survived his own cocaine habit in the late ‘70s. Houston, who was 48, had admitted to using cocaine, marijuana and pills in the past. Dion, who is now, 43, considered Houston  “an amazing inspiration” but was clearly upset that “drugs, bad people, bad influences, took over her dreams, her motherhood,” she told Good Morning America this week. “When you

DION: remembering Whitney

think about Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson — to get into drugs like that for whatever reason – because of stress, bad influence, whatever — something happens that I don’t understand. That’s why I’m scared of show business, of drugs and hanging out. That’s why I don’t go to parties!” The private By Invitation Only funeral for Houston is set for tomorrow in New Jersey.

AND YES, YOU SHOULD TAKE IT PERSONALLY:  She’s worth millions and demonstrates how she got there every week on CBC’s megahit series Dragons’ Den.  But Arlene Dickinson shares even more of herself in her first (but, I predict, not her last) bestselling book, Persuasion, with some hard-won personal advice that everyone can use. “It’s a good idea,” she notes, “to take a hard look at your own narrative. Think about how you’d tell your life story to a Hollywood producer, how you’d explain the highs and lows. Have you cast yourself as a victim of circumstance? If so, maybe your story could use a rewrite, starting with the lead character who has choices – and sometimes makes the wrong ones.”

DICKINSON: persuasive life lessons

Making the wrong ones is something Dickinson knows about. She’s made quite a few herself. But, as she points out, those of us who have made some wrong choices along the way are in good company. High achievers are mistake makers, a fact she illustrates with engaging examples from Henry Ford to Oprah. (My favorite? Thomas Edison’s perspective on his many unsuccessful attempts to invent the light bulb. “I didn’t fail one thousand times. The lightbulb was an invention with one thousand steps.”)

Persuasion is about the art of connecting with the person you seek to persuade. It’s about caring. And about how to master “a little-known secret to success in business”  – listening. But because Dickinson makes it personal, Persuasion is much more than a How To book; it’s a survival guide for the mind and, sometimes, the soul. And within that survival guide are some valuable insights on corporate culture. “Staying in a situation you hate and complaining about everything that’s wrong, but never trying to fix it, doesn’t make you a martyr. It makes you complicit.”  Similarly, her views on our ability to choose the consequences of failure are bracing and refreshing. Bitterness is not an option, she insists, and shares another favorite quote, this one by mathematician Blaise Pascal: “Bitterness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

As CEO of Venture Communications she also has  some genuinely amusing business stories to tell, including the time one of her partners,  trying to save the company money, arranged for her team to stay on a friend’s sailboat off Vancouver Island instead of paying for pricey Vancouver hotel rooms. When they arrived at the dock she noticed that the boat’s name was Important Business  — andsuddenly realized what my partners meant when they told me in the past that they work ‘going away on important business.’ They were talking about this sailboat!”

Stylish on screen and off, she appreciates the fame that television has brought her but resists the urge to take it for granted. “I have exactly the same insecurities anyone has,” she admits. “If anything, they’re even more overwhelming when you know a couple of million people are seeing all your flaws in high definition!” And despite the fact that her on-screen chemistry with fellow Dragon Kevin O’Leary has made her an audience favourite, her account of her auditions for Dragons’ Den (yes, she had to do more than one) and how she had to discipline her own self-doubts to get the job — she replaced another Dragon when she came to the series in its second season — is intriguing inside stuff.

Of course that’s why Persuasion is a bestseller. It’s a hypnotic, hard-to-put-down book of life lessons shared by someone who had to learn most of them the hard way. As Arlene Dickinson sees it, the main obstacle standing in our way is, not surprisingly, us. “Our past shapes and influences who we are, but it doesn’t limit who we can become.” Persuasion, as promised, is a new approach to changing minds. And although she preaches the power of persuasion, she urges her readers to be sure of their objectives, be they personal or professional. “Before you set out to persuade someone,” Dickinson writes, “you need to be certain that you actually want what you’re asking for. Because you just might get it.”

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Cynthia goes back to school, Chris makes Captain, and all aboard an elegant fundraiser for Stratford aficionados

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ: Add Chris Evans the growing list of actors eager to play comic book heroes. Evans is now set to play Captain America Avatar hero Sam Worthington,

DALE: master class-y

about to open in the epic CGI remake of Clash Of The Titans, will follow up with a thriller called The Fields … perhaps inspired by their colleague Al Pacino’s upcoming turn as suicide doctor Jack Kervorkian, Kevin Kline and Dustin Hoffman have both committed to upcoming HBO dramas … and Cynthia Dale, who guest stars as a drama teacher in upcoming episodes of Baxter, will go back to school next month to give the first Master Class to the Film, Musical Theatre and Drama students at the Etobicoke School of the Arts (ESA.), The school’s new Master Class program is part of a brand new film major program funded by Christina Jennings’ Shaftesbury Films.

WILDER: new book

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: What becomes a legend most? A permanent gig in Vegas, apparently.  Barry Manilow’s new 90-minute show, staged by director Jeffrey Hornaday, has opened to rave reviews at the Paris hotel, where Manilow will play selected weekend engagements for the next two years. Hey, blame Céline, she started it. Next spring she’s set to return to the Colosseum — the massive theatre she built at Caesars Palace — for a new three-year (!!!) stint … Gene Wilder and his wife Karen are set to launch their new book What is This Thing Called Love? next week. And ex-Regis and current Today Show sparkler Kathie Lee Gifford has published a book for children, Party Animals (insert your own SNL joke here) …  coming soon to an HMV near you: the new Original Broadway Cast version of A Little Night Music with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury … and says Red Green (aka erudite funnyman Steve Smith🙂 “Get this, my wife just mentioned, and I quote, ‘All you remember from any conversation is what YOU said.’ At least I think that’s what she said.”

Is it any wonder that Red is the new Twitter toast of Facebook?

ANOTHER OPENING, ANOTHER SHOW: Looking for a reason to don your black tie finery on a Saturday afternoon in June? Nah, me neither. But here’s one Gala fund-raiser that might change your mind. It’s the Stratford Express, and it sounds like a great party to me.

KISS ME, KATE: Broadway brawlers

It starts at 3 pm on Saturday June 5 with a champagne reception at Union Station. At 4 pm your Private Train departs for Stratford, with cocktails and a gourmet served on board. At 7 pm, following a Welcome reception at the Festival Theatre, the curtain rises on an exclusive performance of Kiss Me, Kate, the big, bawdy Cole Porter musical about battling Broadway stars, with the killer score to match (Too Darn Hot, Always True To You In My Fashion, Brush Up Your Shakespeare, So In Love, etc. etc.) After the curtain calls you are magically transported, once again, to the Stratford Express for your return trip home, complete with cocktails, refreshments and entertainment. And yes, you can still order tickets! For more info, call Mary-Ann Reid at 1.800.561.1223, ext. 2425, or email her at mreid@stratfordshakespearefestival.com. And good luck!

All about Alice.

Lily conquers Vegas, Bette plans a Showgirl exit, and meet the new Susan Boyle (he’s a guy!)

LOVIN’ LAS VEGAS: Don’t know why I thought that Lily Tomlin and Sin City were not a natural fit. Turns out they are. La Tomlin premiered her new

TOMLIN & WAGNER: Viva Las Vegas

one-woman show, Not Playing With A Full Deck, at the MGM Grand, and reportedly loves Las Vegas! Lily’s partner and personal muse, the unabashedly brilliant humourist Jane Wagner, is the mighty pen behind her new show as well as such previous Tomlin megahits as The Search For Signs Of Intelligent Life In The Universe and Appearing Nitely. Lily’s new show is a mix of Greatest Hits – the characters her fans still can’t get enough of, like Ernestine and Edith Ann – and new characters, and

SHORT: Damages control

new technology. Tomlin’s new show ‘try-out’ played in MGM’s Hollywood Theater, which seats about 2,000 people at each performance. And when Tomlin isn’t hanging out with her Big Business co-star and Caesars Palace headliner Bette Midler (The Showgirl Must Go On) or trying to coax Jane (“it’s come down to begging, really,”) into writing a new Broadway show for her, she’s commuting to New York to shoot her scenes in the new season of Damages with Glenn Close. In it she plays the matriarch of a powerful family determined to destroy shady legal eagle Close. Assisting Lily in this mission are Martin Short as her high-powered attorney and Campbell Scott as her son. And yes, she confesses, she and Marty did misbehave one day on the set, when

MIDLER: The show must go ... off

she read her lines as Ernestine and he did his as Ed Grimley. “But never when the cameras are rolling!”

THE SHOWGIRL MUST GO OFF: P.S. for Vegas-bound Bette Midler fans: Your heroine ends her two-year residency at The Colloseum – aka The House That Céline Built – on January 31. Says Bette: “These legs have had such a great run in the desert, it may be time to haul them to places with more humidity and fewer slot machines.”

GET OUT YOUR HANDKERCHIEFS: Yes, it’s true, the latest YouTube sensation is a recent audition for Simon Cowell’s British talent show The X Factor. The singer is a 40-year-old cabinet-maker named Daryl Markham. Markham has his own website now, and is now a household

MARKHAM: YouTube sensation

name for millions of people all over the world. But can he sing? You be the judge. To see his now-historic audition, just click here.

NO BIZ LKE SHOW BIZ: Leave it to Reg Hartt to find a copy of the sumptuous MGM musical Kiss Me Kate, with Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel and young hoofers Bob Fosse & Tommy Rall competing for Ann Miller’s machine-gun taps., in — wait for it — 3D, its screen original format. Cineaste extraordinare Hartt unspools the classic Cole Porter musical this Sunday and next at 5 pm at his Cineforum HQ at Bathurst & College. Adds Reg: “Bring your own popcorn and we will zap it for you.”

WILLIAMS: ReelWorld decade

Hmmmm, wonder if Stratford’s Kiss Me Kate star Juan Chiorian, now on stage at the Factory Theatre in The Madonna Painter, has ever seen this version? … fan faves Colin Mochrie & Deb McGrath guest with Ron James tonight at 8 pm on CBC Television …  the Kate Rogers Band performs live tomorrow morning on CBC Radio One’s GO! Show. “Tickets are free and everyone is welcome!” sez Ms Rogers … speaking of tickets, you can still snag some for this weekend’s performances of the National Ballet’s spectacular Sleeping Beauty revival before it closes Sunday .. and can you believe that Tonya Lee Williams’ ReelWorld Film Festival, the little movie marathon that grew, celebrates its 10th anniversary next spring? Ms Williams, of course, is currently stationed in Washington, D.C. — on screen, at least — in The Border. And BTW, the ReelWorld call for submissions has already started. So if you have a feature, documentary, short, music video or animation from the Aboriginal, Asian, Black, Latino, Middle Eastern, South Asian or other multi-racial community, click here and fill out the submissions form.

Happy weekend!



Charlize gets Sam, Rivers gets roasted, Leo gets Brave, & TIFF film buffs get The Essential 100

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Okay, in the Golden Age of Hollywood they would have made him change his name. Zach Galifianakis, who has

STREEP: As new bestseller Julia Child

STREEP: As new bestseller Julia Child

his pick of projects since his boffo boxoffice Hangover, is set to do a new comedy called Dinner With Schmucks (a title they also would have changed) … rising Aussie hearrthrob Sam Worthington has just signed on to co-star with Charlize Theron in a new thriller called The TouristLeonardo DiCapiro and director Ridley Scott are developing a new version of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World …  the Walter Cronkite memorial this morning at Avery Fisher Hall is the hottest ticket in New York, and once President Obama arrives, they’ll seal the doors. So latecomers will not be an issue … Vanity Fair literary lion Dominick Dunne will be memorialized tomorrow afternoon at St. Vincent Ferrer Church … and there’s no doubt about it, Meryl Streep and Amy Adams (a.k.a. Julie & Julia) have made Julia Child ‘hot’ again. Good news is, Ms. Child’s famed cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking has been reprinted and is #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Bad news is, my spies tell me the publisher didn’t reprint enough copies and most of the new editions have already been, you should pardon the expression, gobbled up.

UNFORGETTABLE: Besides being brilliant filmmakers, what do Ingmar Bergman, Francis Ford Coppola, Federico Fellini, Victor Fleming,

SCORSESE: two for the show

SCORSESE: two for the show

Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Akira Kurosawa, Fritz Lang, Jean Renoir, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Francois Truffaut and Wong Kar Wai have in common? Of 87, count ‘em, 87 international film directors, they’re the only ones who have more than one movie in The Essential 100, the TIFF film and gallery tribute of 100 films which will open Bell Lightbox next September.  The eye-popping four-month film tribute, which will run to the end of the year, is designed as a showcase for the most influential films of all time. Can’t wait.

ANN-MARGRET: honoured tonight

ANN-MARGRET: honoured tonight

AGE-CANNOT-WITHER DEPT.: She conquered television, movies and Broadway, in that order, and has never stopped working. Am I the only one who can’t believe that Lily Tomlin just celebrated her 70th birthday? … also defying

all the Old standards: Enduring Hollywood icon Ann-Margret, here to be honoured by Best Buddies tonight at the Four Seasons … another ageless screen charmer, Linda Sorensen, is currently in Montreal shooting Barney’s Version … and indefatigable Joan Rivers, a sensational 76, is back in Vegas playing the showroom at the Venetian Hotel.

RIVERS: roasted this weekend

RIVERS: roasted this weekend

“It’s been nearly a decade since I played this town,” she reports, “and boy have a lot of things changed! When I used to perform in Vegas, all of the shows starred married couples. You had Steve & Eydie, Sonny & Cher and my favorites, Siegfried & Roy. One thing, though, has stayed the same—Vegas is the only place where you can see Cher, Bette Midler, Celine Dion and me, all in one night and all played by the same man.”

La Rivers, who is set to play Casino Rama later this month, gets roasted by host Kathy Griffin and a clutch of comedians including Brad Garrett, Carl Reiner and Gilbert Gottfried this weekend on The Comedy Network.


Charles Darwin on the Origins Of TIFF, new stage turns for Louise Pitre and Edie Falco, and a celluloid Tree that keeps on growing.

Wonder Woman sings, Citytv goes cross-border shopping (sigh), and Dame Judi does it again!

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: It’s official — Evan Rachel Wood will play Mary Jane Watson and Tony Award winner Alan Cumming will play Norman Osborn (the Green Goblin) in the new musical, Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, which will

CARTER: Billboard Belle

CARTER: Billboard Belle

make its Broadway debut next February 25. Tony Award winner Julie Taymor will direct the show, which will feature music and lyrics by Bono and The Edge of U2. The musical, based on the Marvel Comics character, follows the story of teenager Peter Parker, whose life is turned upside-down — literally — when he’s bitten by a genetically altered spider … heiress Cinda Firestone, family inheritor of automobile tire millions, is writing the book and lyrics for the upcoming Broadway musical Family Fortune, to be

BONO: Broadway-bound

BONO: Broadway-bound

produced by her husband, Manny Fox, the guy behind the hit 1981 Duke Ellington musical Sophisticated Ladies … ex-TV Wonder Woman Lynda Carter, who started out as a singer, finally got around to making that romantic jazz album, and was thrilled to discover that her CD, appropriately called At Last, is now on the Billboard charts. Ear-pleasers include her vocalizing on such standards as George Gershwin’s Summertime, James Taylor’s The Secret of Life, and the Etta James title tune … count Canada A.M. host Seamus O’Regan among Melody Gardot‘s fervent fans. O’Regan, who regards Gardot as an “incredible jazz singer and a mind-blowing songwriter,” says her show here this week was “a concert we’ll talk of in years to come. She entranced the room” … and did you notice that the three top music-makers on the latest Forbes’ magazine’s annual earnings were all women? Madonna, Céline and Beyoncé took first, second and third place respectively; Bruce Springsteen finished a fairly distant fourth.

MY REAL SPACE = MY FLAT SCREEN TV: The consensus that teenagers are abandoning television for the internet is not true – or so says a new report

COX: on Citytv

COX: on Citytv

from ratings counter A. E. Nielsen. According to the study television viewing rates among teens in the U.S. have actually gone up six per cent in the last five years, despite the growth of social media networks and video sites like My Space, Facebook and YouTube … veteran awards show producer Lynn Harvey will once again stage the Gemini Awards, but this time in Calgary, in November, for exec Joe Novak’s Joe Media … and Rogers Media is prepping new acquisition Citytv to compete with rivals CTV and Canwest Global. So beginning this fall Citytv, once the quintessential Toronto station, will simulcast 16 hours of U.S. programming in prime time, including new series with Jenna Elfman, Courteney Cox and Ed O’Neill, and Jay Leno’s new show, which will run nightly at 10 p.m. This summer City is running the U.K. version of Law & Order (do we really need another one???) This fall its Canadian content will include chef Marc Thuet’s new reality show Conviction Kitchen and the second season of the made-in-Winnipeg sitcom Less Than Kind. All of which sounds less than kind to me.

DENCH: quite the Dame

DENCH: quite the Dame

JUDI JUDI JUDI: Talk about yer star power! BBC Worldwide and WGBH are co-producing Cranford 2, a sequel to the award-winning mini-series Cranford for PBS’ Masterpiece Classic series, with Judi Dench, Imelda Staunton, Francesca Annis, Eileen Atkins, Jonathan Pryce, Tim Curry and Tom Hiddleston. And some devoted Dench fans are just now discovering that Dame Judi is the same dame who sang and danced up a storm in big  musicals like Cabaret and A Little Night Music when those big Broadway musicals played London‘s West End theatre district? And yes, her interpretation of Send In The Clowns is spectacular. And, thanks to YouTube, you can watch her do it again, just by clicking here. Enjoy!

HOWARD: campaigning, Hollywood-style

HOWARD: campaigning, Hollywood-style

SEE/HEAR: Amazing in this digital day and age what you can still miss. When when the world was watching the U.S. race for president, I was transfixed by Tina Fey’s send-up of Sarah Palin. And I knew of many celebrities who were actively stumping for Barrack Obama. But I had no idea that director Ron Howard would go to the lengths he did – even enlisting his former TV dad Andy Griffiths and his former Happy Days sidekick Henry Winkler – to make a video message just as clever and as classy as he is. Old news to you? Probably. But just in case you were washing your hair that day and missed it, like I did, you can still see it, just by clicking right here.

Now is that historic or what???


A Saturday Special


Jim gets Jack, Tony gets Chris, Nova Scotia gets a Zannslide & Stratford gets Hockey Day In Canada

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Looks like Jack Nicholson has signed on to another James L. Brooks joint. Brooks, who directed Jack in Terms Of Endearment and As Good As It Gets, wants him for a new romantic comedy with

VANELLI: Dutch treat

VANELLI: Dutch treat

Reese Witherspoon and Paul Rudd …  Serena Ryder’s critically acclaimed CD is it O.K., already certified Gold here, will debut in the U.S. this September … Gino Vanelli is happily hunkering down in his country getaway in Holland, just 20 kilometers south of Amsterdam. “Why do logic and simplicity strike only later in life?” he ponders. “Having a home here allows me so much more latitude and access to Western and Eastern European concert halls. Even a gig in Moscow is only 3½ hours away.” Besides his current dates overseas he’s considering a Greatest Hits concert this coming September at the Hilton in Las Vegas. Stay tuned …  young filmmaker Jonathan Chiovitti premieres his new Batman fan film, Reign Of Fate, on Sunday at 5 pm at the Royal Theatre …   irreverent laugh-makers Gavin Crawford & Elvira Kurt are Together Again For The First Time tonight at Buddies In Bad Times … and director Tony Scott has signed new Star Trek captain Chris Pine to co-star with Denzel Washington in Unstoppable. Which sounds like it probably is.



REMEMBER WHEN IT WAS ‘THE CANADIAN GAME’?  My oh my, how times have changed. Armani and Gucci will replace shoulder pads and skates when the NHL’s brightest stars spruce up and head to Las Vegas for next week’s 2009 NHL Awards at the Palms Hotel. The 90-minute show will include performances by Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Chaka Khan and multi-platinum recording artist Robin Thicke, son of hockey fanatic Alan Thicke. (Look for another ice nut, crooner Michael Bublé, among the famous faces in the crowd. The NHL Awards house band will be led by Saturday Night Live band leader Katreese Barnes, and CBC Television will telecast the whole shebang in Hi-Def next Thursday  at 8:30 p.m.

OUT, OUT, DAMN PUCK:  It’s official – Coronation Street returns to its regular nightly 7 pm timeslot this coming Monday on CBC Television.

IN, IN, DAMN PUCK: Mr. Shakespeare’s second favourite town, Stratford Ontario, has been chosen to host the 10th annual Hockey Day In Canada celebrations January 30, 2010 on CBC Television, with Tim Horton’s picking up the tab for the ice time. Way to go, guys!

BERGEN: ex-fashionista

BERGEN: ex-fashionista

FASHION FILE: “Haute couture is over,” says wowOwow.com contributor Candice Bergen. “Toast. And whoever said that celebrities were the only ones left to wear these gowns failed to note that celebrities don’t pay a centime for them. Bupkus. Borrowed or given. So that leaves who … Russian girlfriends and Arab wives? Not to belittle or be dismissive but …

“I borrowed a Christian Lacroix once for a ball at a chateau outside Paris. I had a fitting. It was a spectacular dress and they had to let it out in the waist and take in the bust. My daughter was two or three at the time and she was playing underneath the gown, like in a teepee, and we had a small BMW and we had to bat the dress down so we could see out to drive!”

FAVOURITE HEADLINE OF THE WEEK: From the Halifax Chronicle-Herald: Actress wins her seat by a Zannslide. Which, in fact, she did. Brand-new NDP candidate Lenore Zann won more than 4,000 votes in her Nova Scotia riding of Truro-Bible Hill this week, twice as many as her closest Conservative competitor, and celebrated by hosting her victory party in a local watering hole, the Ponderosa Tap and Grill, affectionate dubbed The Pond by its regulars. And another Tory stronghold bites the dust. Said stage screen charmer (and new MLA) Zann: “This shows people in this province were really ready for a change.” Sounds like they’re about to get one.

VARDALOS: poster girl

VARDALOS: poster girl

NIA’S NEXT: Her life may be in Ruins at the moment, but Nia Vardalos has already completed her next film. It’s called I Hate Valentine’s Day, her costar is John Corbett (who was also her costar in My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and she wrote and directed it. “It’s my directorial debut, and we shot it in 18 days.” To pull off the low-budget comedy she cast mostly personal friends, like SNL alumnus Rachel Dretch, who also joined her in her current rom-com hit, My Life In Ruins. And forget about those movie star salaries. They’re so yesterday. “Everybody worked for scale,” Vardalos reports – “including John and me.”


Have a great SUNNY weekend. See you Monday.