Tag Archives: DOUGLAS COUPLAND

Brent Carver, Molly Johnson, Albert Schultz & Jackie Richardson set to sparkle this weekend

COME TO THE CABARETS, OLD CHUMS: The Canwest Cabaret Festival, returning to the Young Centre this coming weekend, promises 60 intimate

Molly-Johnson

JOHNSON: cabaret queen

concerts in five intimate clubs. And as usual the musical menu is dazzlingly eclectic. Obvious highlights include The Leonard Cohen Songbook with Brent Carver, Andy Maize, Patricia O’Callaghan, Mike Ross and Elizabeth Shepherd; a tribute to Danny Kaye by Don Francks and Albert Schultz; and solo turns by Ms. O’Callaghan, Jackie Richardson, Molly Johnson, DK Ibomeka and more. Don’t miss a beat — go to the source right here.

LITERATI: Because Douglas Coupland made such a big splash with his 1991 bestseller Generation X, I assumed his new novel Generation A was a sequel.

douglas-coupland

COUPLAND: alphabet soup?

Wrong. Coupland took the title for his new book from a commencement address delivered to Syracuse University graduates by fellow novelist Kurt Vonnegut. Said Vonnegut: “Now you young twerps want a new name for your generation? Probably not, you just want jobs, right? Well, the media do us all such tremendous favors when they call you Generation X, right? Two clicks from the very end of the alphabet. I hereby declare you Generation A, as much at the beginning of a series of astonishing triumphs and failures as Adam and Eve were so long ago.”

Incidentally, Generation A is set in the near future, where bees are extinct, until one autumn when five people are stung in different places around the world — a shared experience that unites them in a way that only Coupland could imagine.

FUNNY STUFF: Big winners at the 10th annual Canadian Comedy Awards in St. John, New Brunswick were stand-up guys (and gals) Jeremy Hotz, Debra

Hotzforpromo_2008-12-1_103523.JPG

HOTZ: award winner

DiGiovanni and Nathan MacIntosh, TV laugh-getters Jon Dore and Wendell Meldrum, and big-screen stealers Peter Oldring (Young People Fucking) and Samantha Bee (Coopers Camera.) Longtime comedy manager Lorne Pulmutar picked up this year’s Chairman’s Award and This Hour Has 22 Minutes creator Mary Walsh added a Dave Broadfoot Award to her ongoing collection. Biggest bonus for CCA founder Tim Progosh was a request from Deputy City Manager Andrew Beckett to bring the comedy fest back to St. John next year. (Well, okay, the Gemini nomination for his 2008 CCA Best of the Fest Variety Special hosted by Shaun Majumder didn’t exactly hurt his feelings either.)

OUR TOWN: Four Seasons Centre architect Jack Diamond talks with Toronto Star business columnist David Olive about architecture that works,

shaun_232

MAJUMDER: Gemini nominee

 

tonight at 7 pm in The Bram & Bluma Appel Salon at the Toronto Reference Library … Toronto casting director Jason Knight (Chloe, Cairo Time, Away From Her) guests at ReelWorld’s monthly mixer tonight at Harlem Restaurant … and the third CP+S (Creative Places & Spaces) opens today with Sir Ken Robinson and Richard Florida headlining more than 60 high-profile speakers including Peter Munk, Sara Diamond, Gerry Flahive, Joe Rotman, Allyson Hewitt and outgoing Toronto mayor David Miller. This year’s theme is The Collaborative City and moderators for the 72-hour think tank include Ralph Benmergui, Matt Galloway and Ana Serrano. Should be a very lively three days.

TOMORROW:

Get out your calendars. We’ve got

sneak previews of some becoming attractions.

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Jane kicks up her heels again, Mike gets his own tribute and Ms Atwood goes back to Year One

BROADWAY BABIES: 30 Rock scene-stealer Jane Krakowski, who made her name in the Broadway musical Grand Hotel and won a Tony for dazzling

KRAKOWSKI: song & dance

KRAKOWSKI: song & dance

Antonio Banderas in Nine, is finally getting back to full-time singing and dancing, if only temporarily. Due to her shooting schedule her cheeky tongue-in cheek cabaret act at Feinstein’s, Jane Krakowski Has Sold Out…Tickets Available, must close tomorrow night at Loew’s Regency … Laurie Metcalf, who picked up three Emmys playing Roseanne‘s sister on Roseanne, is back on Broadway starring as the mother in the first full-scale revival of Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs. She’ll continue to reprise her role in Broadway Bound, the second play in Simon’s autobiographical comedy, when both shows play in rep at the Nederlander. Brighton Beach Memoirs opens Oct. 25; Broadway Bound begins previews Nov. 18 and opens Dec. 10 … and Academy

METCALF: Broadway bound

METCALF: Broadway bound

and Tony Award winner Mike Nichols will be honored with the American Film Institute’s 38th annual Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. “I’m surprised and pleased,” dead-panned the impish director of such films as Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf and Angels In America. “I was watching The Graduate on my Blackberry last week and it really holds up!”

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Why do we watch movies on planes that we wouldn’t watch anywhere else? Margaret Atwood tweets that she disgraced herself by watching Year One, the sophomoric comedy spoof with Jack Black and Michael Cera, on her way to the Frankfurt Book Fair. Guess she consoled herself with news that her Year Of The Flood was

McGOWAN: Julie's ex on The Border

McGOWAN: Julie's ex on The Border

#8 on the New York Times bestseller list by the time she landed in Germany … Doug Coupland thinks Ed O’Neill’s new show Modern Family “is just pure genius. It’s sooooo well written.” A technology geek, Coupland finds delightful and absurdly obscure video clips and posts them on Twitter – for example, this gem with Mr. T, Loni Anderson, George Hamilton and Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton in the same Lipton commercial. Coupland, whose new book Generation A is due in book stores, reports he lost his cell phone a few weeks ago, but instead of hyperventilating he’s discovered that he simply doesn’t think about it any more. “Didn’t expect that to happen!” Me neither … and Darryl’s Hard Liquor and Porn Film Festival returns to Toronto tomorrow night for one night only at

O'NEILL: new series

O'NEILL: new series

the Bloor Cinema with its 10th annual show featuring funny short films about sex from Canada and around the globe.

EXES & OOOHS: Yesterday I told you that Julie Stewart, currently on stage at the Factory Theatre in Brad Fraser’srave-winning new comedy True Love Lies, also plays Graham Abbey’s ex onThe Border.

Wrong! Julie plays James McGowan’s ex on The Border. And yes, I really can tell those two guys apart. (sigh)

Oh well. Happens in the best of families.

KUTCHER: start 'er up

KUTCHER: start 'er up

YA GOTTA HAVE A GIMMICK: Thanks to Ashton Kutcher for sending me (and maybe a million others) news of that new iPhone app that lets you start your car from your phone. I would start saving up for it but I’m saving up for a new TV set instead. No, not HD – 3D. Yup, Panasonic unveiled its prototype 50-inch Viera plasma 3-D set in Tokyo this week. Apparently it’s a wow. The technology works by rapidly alternating between left and right frames of the video. Viewers wear glasses that sync with the television over an infrared signal. The right frame is seen only with the right eye and the left frame with the left eye, creating the illusion of depth.

So all they have to do now is persuade producers to make reality TV shows in 3-D, and we’ll have even more reasons to go back to the movies.

Have a great weekend!

-/-

Soup gets a sell-out September, Rick goes to war, Kathy makes it Official & Suzanne’s still a Knockout

THE DEVIL SELLS TICKETS: Advance tickets for Hot Doc’s Oct 21 Canadian premiere screenings of The September Issue, the doc which reportedlly delivers

WINTOUR: in the Soup

WINTOUR: in the Soup

an extraordinary behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the annual September issue of Vogue magazine — and an unprecedented gaze into the life of fashion icon Anna Wintour, the inspiration for Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada – are already sold out, making it the hottest ticket in Doc Soup history …Chita Rivera celebrates the release of her new CD And Now I Swing tonight at famed Manhattan music room Birdland … Daniel Lanois, set to return to The Troubadour in L.A. this Thursday, has a new stream-lined website … and Rick Mercer, who never saw a loaded gun he didn’t want to play with, tries his luck with 19th century weapons tonight when he participates in a re-enactment of the War of 1812 on the Rick Mercer Report at 8 pm on CBC-TV.

MERCER: circa 1812

MERCER: circa 1812

LITERATI: Writer Ian Brown reads from his riveting, rave-winning Boy In The Moon tonight at McNall-Robinson at the new (and vastly improved) Don Mills Centre …Rex Murphy (Canada And Other Matters Of Opinion) headlines next Sunday’s Ben McNally/Globe & Mail brunch series at the King Eddie … Linden MacIntyre serves up pages from his Giller-nominated Bishop’s Man on Oct 21 at the Bonnie Stern Book Club ($135 includes dinner and recipes) … former PM Paul Martin wades through Hell Or High Water on Oct 27 at the Edward Johnson Building (behind the Planetarium) … glamourous survivor and voice-in-the-wilderness Suzanne Somers launches Knockout, her book of interviews with doctors who are curing cancer – “And How to Prevent Getting It in the First Place” – on Oct 29 at the John Bassett Theatre … most intriguing novel on the immediate horizon: Doug Coupland’s Generation A … and my favourite book title so far this fall?

GRIFFIN: It's official

GRIFFIN: It's official

Official Book Club Selection, a predictably irreverent autobiography by funny girl Kathy Griffin.

CALENDAR JOTTINGS: Industry nights for the upcoming 2009 Gemini Awards are next Monday Oct.19 & Tuesday Oct. 20 … that thumb-happy RIM team (yes, the Canadians who gave us the Crackberry) will be feted at a Design Exchange gala in their honour on Oct. 24 … the seventh annual fund-raising dinner for Pierre Berton’s Writers Retreat is set for Nov. 17 at the Berkeley Church on Queen Street East … Tutored Tastings, the new Gourmet Food & Wine Expo, is set for Nov. 19-22 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre … and outrageous Brit comic Graham Norton is confirmed as host of the 2009 International Emmy Awards honouring Sir David Frost on Nov 23 at the New York Hilton.

TOMORROW:

Ann Landers comes to Broadway.

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Josh plays Brahms, Doug plays on Twitter and Red Green & Strombo play Vancouver’s Comedy Fest

MAKE ‘EM LAUGH, MAKE ‘EM LAUGH: She was in the theatre when it happened. Funny lady Joy Behar of The View reports that a cell phone went off

CRAIG: It's for you

CRAIG: It's for you

during a performance of the new Broadway play A Steady Rain with Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig. What happened? “Craig stopped talking and said, ‘wanna get that?’” But despite the detour she said she loved the play. “The play was great. Two hotties with acting chops!” … Tom Arnold (a.k.a. Rosanne’s ex) and Red Green (a.k.a Steve Smith) host the Best Of The Fest galas coming up this weekend at the Vancouver Comedy Fest. Arnold hosts the first gala this Friday night with Andy Dick, John Dore, Tim Rykert and more, and Possum Lodge proprietor Green hosts the second gala Saturday night with Derek Edwards, Glen Foster, Peter Kelamis, Mike MacDonald and more.

GREEN: in B.C.

GREEN: in B.C.

Meanwhile, George Stroumboulopoulos hosts the Saturday Edge Of The Fest gala with Picnicface, Garfunkle & Oates, and more. (They sure do get interesting acts out west!) … and remember when Jeremy Piven abruptly left the Broadway revival of David Mamet’s Speed-The-Plow because of mercury poisoning from eating too much sushi? While lawsuits flew back and forth, playwright Mamet was asked why Piven had jumped ship. “I believe he left to pursue a new career,” said Mamet, “as a thermometer.”

Now that’s funny.

AUTHOR, AUTHOR: Novelist and man-about-art Doug Coupland tore back a fingernail at Heathrow recently and asked security if they had nail clippers he could borrow. “They had a bucket filled with 5,000

COUPLAND: Twitterbug

COUPLAND: Twitterbug

clippers,” he reports. (So that’s where they go.) Meanwhile, after trying a Klondike ice-cream bar for breakfast one morning, he now finds he can’t do without them. “I really have become addicted to Klondike bars for breakfast… they’re like square frozen bowls of cereal — they’re practically vitamins.” Coupland also posts the most intriguing videos on Twitter. Have you seen the time-lapse video of the new Dubai Metro where the ‘train’ ends up going 800 mph? And no, I’m not making this up. For further proof, just click here.

SEPTEMBER SONGS: Toronto Symphony Orchestra kicks off its new season tomorrow night when conductor Peter Oundjian welcomes Joshua Bell for

FEORE: with TSO

FEORE: with TSO

an evening of Brahms. Marquee showstoppers set to appear with the TS this season include Peter Appleyard, Russell Braun, Measha Brueggergosman, the Canadian Brass, Sir Andrew Davis, James Ehnes, Barbara Hannigan, Evgeny Kissin, Anton Kuerti, Erich Kunzel, Lang Lang, Kent Nagano, Itzhak Perlman, Michael Schade, Pinchas Zukerman and stage and screen lions Colm Feore and Paul Gross. To sample the upcoming season, and order tickets, just click here.

TOMORROW:

What are doing Jesus and Norah Jones doing on the same CD?

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Ken gets a novel idea, Martha makes nice for Macy’s, and Jian makes CBC Radio history

Here’s some good news — Ken Finkleman is brushing off his Smith-Corona again. The creator of The Newsroom, Foolish Hearts and so many of my

FINKLEMAN: first novel

FINKLEMAN: first novel

favourite series has signed a deal with Harper Canada for his first novel, Noah’s Crime, about the murder of a literary rival by an unemployed TV writer. Ken’s literary agent Chris Bucci of Anne McDermid Associates describes the novel as “a darkly comic cross between Martin Amis’ The Information and Dostoyevsky’s Crime And Punishment.” Sounds like pure Finkleman to me. Hope he kept the movie rights for himself. Meanwhile, his legions of television aficionados can rest easy – Ken also has a new TV series in the works, this time for TMN … always-innovative superChef Jamie Kennedy has a new treat in store for Friday night diners at his Gardiner Museum oasis. He’s pairing some spectacular new dishes with spectacularly smooth Balvenie scotch

STEWART: dining out

STEWART: dining out

whiskey. Among the VIPs sampling both at a by-invitation-only soiree this week were Newfoundland scotch connoisseurs Rick Mercer, Seamus O’Regan and Gordon Pinsent … guess that verbal dust-up with Billy Bob whatzisname didn’t do him any harm, because my spies tell me Jian Ghomeshi’s daily show Q is currently earning the highest ratings of any show in the history of CBC Radio …  Kirstie Alley wonders when TV “got so degraded.” She remembers when Cheers and Seinfeld were ‘cutting edge.’ “Now the edge is a talentless tongue!”… and Martha Stewart reports from New York that the once-vibrant Plaza Hotel is coming back to life. “Great stores on lower level, lots of tourists,” she told her tweeple earlier this week. Martha tried out the hotel’s new Oak Room restaurant, recently redesigned by Annabelle Selldorf, and said her dinner was very good. “The desserts,” she added, “were extra good!” A devoted shopper herself, La Stewart spent yesterday shooting all-star commercials for Macy’s with Mariah Carey, Usher, Queen Latifah, Tommy Hilfiger and Donald Trump, to name more than a few.

GOING DIGITAL FOR A SONG: “Our patrons are passionate and loyal, and we wanted to make sure we delivered on their expectation and with every interaction they have with the COC.”

GHOMESHI: making history

GHOMESHI: making history

So says Alexander Neef, General Director of the Canadian Opera Company, which has now launched its new and improved website where visitors “can expect the same quality from our digital experience that we demonstrate with our productions in our beautiful opera house.” New features include a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the COC’s production of Madama Butterfly; an historical timeline highlighting company milestones with commemorative photos, posters, interviews and audio and video excerpts; COC podcasts featuring musical excerpts and video highlights of select operas and exclusive artist interviews; and a blog by Neef himself, who shares his thoughts on COC productions and artists and encourages visitors to ask questions. To see for yourself, click here.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: “You can’t get mad at weather because weather’s not about you. Apply that lesson to most other aspects of life.”

The speaker? National treasure Doug Coupland, sharing wise words on twitter.

NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS: They tried it last year for the first time and it was a hit.  So the Just For Laughs Comedy Conference (July 23 – 25) is back. For more info click here …  only in Canada, you say? Only in Montreal, we

RIVERS: salute to Ed

RIVERS: salute to Ed

say.  Just For Laughs veterans Mike Ward, Max Martin and Derek Seguin are “taking da henglish to da west hiland for Canada Day.” Yes, the fearless trio of comics are set to perform their acquired-tasteful French Comedy Bastards act on July 1 at Bourbon Street West … after 14 seasons with the National Ballet of Canada, resident Lighting Designer Christopher Dennis will join the Metropolitan Opera in New York City next month … 300 lay-offs at My Space, plus the collapse of Quebec’s top TV format company Distraction, reminds us that it’s still tough sledding out there … curious about the new story-based Captain Eyeliner podcasts produced and hosted by Nobu Adilman? To find out more, click here … and Joan Rivers paid tribute to Ed McMahon on The View yesterday. When Johnny Carson refused to speak to her after she left The Tonight Show to try her luck at Fox, and instructed everyone connected with his show not to speak to or fraternize with her, Ed McMahon would spot her in a restaurant and come over to say hello. “He was always, always a gentleman.”

Now that’s class.

-/-


AbFab redux, Mercer crosses the bar, Current TV, and an author’s angst inspires a Holt Renfrew haiku

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ:  It’s official — National Ballet chief Karen Kain confirmed yesterday that ballerina Bridgett Zehr, who danced both a tragic Giselle and a sizzling Carmen this season, has been promoted from First Soloist

MERCER: fearless

MERCER: fearless

to Principal Dancer … Tracey Erin Smith returns as your favourite stripper evangelist — “saving souls one lap dance at a time!” — in her Fringe hit The Burning Bush this week for 10 nights only at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts … The Marcus Trio play a rare hometown gig this Thursday at The Smiling Buddha … the 2009 CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival opens tonight at the Bloor Cinema with a program of Award Winners From Around The World,  followed by a glam after-party at C-Lounge … and I guess Rick Mercer didn’t receive that Stars Never Get Their Hands Dirty memo. Last Friday night the fearless TV icon, who will brave the most daunting conditions for a laugh, was the Guest Of Honor at the North Battleford, Saskatchewan Kinsmen Club fund-raiser and drew a sizeable crowd — so sizeable that the Kinsmen’s volunteer bartenders couldn’t keep up with the demand for liquid refreshments. According to a report from one of the Kinsmen, Mercer sized up the situation, leaped over the bar and helped the besieged bartending team keep the beverages flowing. “This,” they report, “was a memorable night.” You said it.

TUBE TALK: The first version with Roseanne Barr and Carrie Fisher didn’t work, and the new and retooled American version of Absolutely Fabulous, this time with Kirsten Johnson (Third Rock From The Sun) and Kathryn

SAUNDERS: she's still Fab. but ...

SAUNDERS: she's still Fab. but ...

Hahn (Crossing Jordan) didn’t make the cut either, despite what was reportedly a splendid pilot exec produced by the original series star and creator Jennifer Saunders. Maybe because it’s hard to get all excited about what got us all excited more than a decade ago? And wasn’t it Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley who we were really excited about? … coming soon to a living room near you: Current TV, a joint venture between Al Gore’s Current TV channel and the CBC. The network is a hybrid television channel and web site that airs both content submitted by users and professionally produced content. CBC will request approval from the Treasury Board in order to proceed with launching the channel … FashionTelevision has picked up the Ashton Kutcher-produced behind-the-scenes modeling soaper The Beautiful Life with Mischa Barton (The O.C.) … and just in case you still can’t get enough Hollywood gossip, Star! Is adding Extra! to its two-hour programming block with E-Talk, TMZ and Access Hollywood.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE:  It’s official — National Ballet chief Karen Kain confirmed yesterday that ballerina Bridgett Zehr, who danced both a tragic Giselle and a sultry Carmen this season, has been promoted from First Soloist to Principal Dancer … Tracey Erin Smith returns as a stripper evangelist — “saving souls one lap dance at a time!” — in her Fringe hit The Burning Bush this week for 10 nights only at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts … the Marcus Trio play a rare hometown gig this Thursday at The Smiling Buddha … and I guess Rick Mercer didn’t receive that Stars Never Get Their Hands Dirty memo. Last Friday night he was the Guest Of Honor at the North Battleford, Saskatchewan Kinsmen Club and drew a sizeable crowd — so sizeable that the Kinsmen’s volunteer bartenders couldn’t keep up with the demand for liquid refreshments. According to a report from one of the Kinsmen, Mercer sized up the situation, leaped over the bar and helped the besieged bartending team keep the beverages flowing. “This,” they report, “was a memorable night.” You said it.

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “A sobering thought: what if, at this very moment, I am living up to my full potential?”

The speaker? Lily Tomlin’s brilliant partner in comedy crime, writer Jane Wagner, who also notes: “Delusions of grandeur make me feel a lot better about myself.”

Gotta love her. I know I do.

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “Holt Renfrew haiku: Eight sales staff doing nothing. Yet I don’t exist.”

COUPLAND: Holt's shopper

COUPLAND: Holt's shopper

The author? Author Doug Coupland, sharing his thoughts with his Tweeple. And judging from some of his other comments, Holt’s may not be the ideal place for him to shop. “No matter what I do to my body I never look modern. I look like an Antarctic explorer from the 1940s … I still look old-fashioned no matter what I do. Like I should be on a postage stamp. When I try looking modern it just looks wrong.”

Coupland, who is currently finishing the second draft of his book on Marshall McLuhan, is basically an urban explorer. “Met Paul Potts at a radio station,” he notes. “Asked him what advice he had for Susan Boyle.” He also shares his current social observations. “Q: How do you know you’ve had young people over for dinner? A: You don’t get a thank-you email, phone call or note.” But his description of ‘Holt Renfrew haiku” is far more typical of his everyday existence. “The cell phone in my left pocket rang and demagnetized my hotel room card swipe,” he reports.  Sometimes he sounds like he’s reliving Woody Allen’s sophomore years. “Universe looking very large. Me feeling very small,” he confesses on an earlier posting. And on another he fearlessly sums up his past 24 hours: “One great big total sack of shit of a day.”

Hmmm – wonder if he knows that song, Sucks To Be Me …

-/-