Tag Archives: ELLEN DEGENERES

Cole Porter said it with music, but with all the attention he’s getting, is Justin Bieber ‘just one of those things”?

His new CD My World 2.0 debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 albums chart this week, making him the youngest male artist to hit #1 on Billboard since a 13-year-old Stevie Wonder in 1963.

To borrow a lyrical phrase from legendary songwriter Cole Porter, is Justin Bieber just ‘too hot not to cool down?’

The 16-year-old bubblegum popster from Stratford Ontario has been actively pursuing fame since he posted his homemade music videos on YouTube when he was 13.  As Internet success

BIEBER: YouTube baby

stories go, he’s no Susan Boyle – but he did attract the attention of, and subsequent offers of management from, both Usher and Justin Timberlake.  As you probably know (unless you’ve been in a convent,) he signed with Usher, who has become not only his mentor and shrewd in-house guru but has also appeared with him in music videos and on key TV talk shows (e,g., Ellen.) Usher, as if you didn’t know, is one smart, talented and uncommonly classy guy. Professionally, at least, young Justin is in very good company.

Bieber is the first artist to have seven songs from a debut album make it on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and his new sizzling hot CD is his  first studio album. His first tour as a headliner, coming up this summer,includes gigs at the Air Canada center in Toronto on Aug. 21, the John Labatt Center

USHER: Atlanta mentor

in London, Ont. on Aug. 22, and Scotiabank Place in Kanata, Ont. on  Aug. 24. And as if those rooms aren’t large enough he’s already set to play Madison Square Garden on August 31.

His fans in Newfoundland will get to glimpse him even sooner. When CTV telecasts the 2010 Juno Awards from St. John’s on April 18, Bieber will share the spotlight with Billy Talent, Blue Rodeo, Classified, Drake, Great Lake Swimmer, Johnny Reid, K’Naan, Metric and another Madison Square Garden veteran, still new-ish old pro Michael Bublé.

Justin lives in Atlanta now – Usher’s home base – and is admittedly having the time of his

BUBLE: with Justin at Junos

life. He loves performing, he loves his fans, he loves making music.  It took Michael Bublé 10 years to get booked at Madison Square Garden, but 10 years from now he’ll still be playing the big rooms. Ten years from now Justin Bieber will be 26, his teen glory days far behind him. When full-bloom BieberMania ends – as it most certainly will — let’s hope Usher can help Bieber sidestep the showbiz traps and pitfalls that have crushed so many other meteoric shooting-star careers.

In the meantime, I won’t be one bit surprised if readership of this blog spikes today — not because I’m writing about Justin Bieber, but just because I mentioned his name.

Yes, folks, he really is that hot.

NEAL: New York honours (photo: David Shankbone)

TONY’S FIRST LADY: Do you know who won the very first Tony Award? Give up?  It was screen siren Patricia Neal for her performance as Regina Hubbard in Lillian Hellman‘s Another Part of the Forest in 1946.  Which is only one reason that the Peccadillo Theater Company will present An Evening with Patricia Neal at the Players Club in Manhattan on April 12. Neal, a director’s actor whose distinguished screen stints include The Fountainhead, A Face In The Crowd and Hud, will be presented with PTC’s Legends of the American Theater award, one more highlight in a long and illustrious career.

Happy long weekend. And remember, we all need to be in the light now and then. So don’t forget to soak up some sunshine!

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More laffs for T.O.! Rick Mercer tweets! Don’s new porn gig! 40th anniversary of John & Yoko Bed-In! All this and more!

THE LAUGHS JUST KEEP COMING: Talk about the little engine that could. Montreal producer Gilbert Rozon’s phenomenal Just For Laughs/Juste Pour Rire comedy festival keeps growing, growing, growing. This year the Quebec-based

DEGENERES: just for laffs

DEGENERES: just for laffs

mirth-machine will stage its Toronto festival at the same time as its annual summer comedy extravaganza in Montreal. The Toronto Just For Laughs festival opens on July 15 and runs five days. The Montreal Just For Laughs festival opens on July 16 and runs 10 days. Meanwhile, the first collaboration between cable network TBS and Just For Laughs is set for June 17-21 in Chicago and will feature performances from Ellen DeGeneres, George Lopez, Lisa Lampanelli, Russell Peters, Mike Epps, Jimmy Fallon, Bob Odenkirk, David Cross, Bill Engvall, David Alan Grier, Louis CK, John Pinette, Martin Short and more.

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QUOTABLE QUOTES: “I’ve learned one thing: obstacles are your friends. And after you’ve been around as long as I have, you’ve made a lot of friends.”

The speaker?

Actor/director/designer/choreographer/producer and Quebec’s favourite enfant terrible, Robert Lepage, in an intriguing profile by Richard Ouzounian in Saturday’s Toronto Star. Lepage’s new nine-hour theatre-and-music epic, Lip Synch, premieres in T.O. on June 6 at Luminato.

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 NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Small-screen icon Don Johnson has been cast as a porn director in the Adam Sandler-produced film Born to Be a

 

JOHNSON: porn part

JOHNSON: porn part

 

StarLizzy Caplan and Crispin Glover have joined the cast of the feature comedy Hot Tub Time Machine … Alex O’Loughlin is in negotiations to star opposite Jennifer Lopez in The Back-Up Plan Rosemary DeWitt is set to join Chris Cooper, Ben Affleck and Tommy Lee Jones in The Company Men … Sylvester Stallone’s Expendables  now include non-expendables Brittany Murphy, David Zayas, Jason Statham and Mickey Rourke  … and the Glenn Gould Foundation is plotting a spectacular week in October with the renown 250-member Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, to honour the creator of the Venezuelan youth orchestra system (El Sistema,) Dr. Jose Antonio Abreu. Dr. Abreu, this year’s winner of The Glenn Gould Prize, has also been named co-winner of Sweden’s Polar Music Prize along with Peter Gabriel.

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TALKING TO TWEETERS: Canuck TV lion Rick Mercer sez he still can’t figure out current social SuperNetwork twitter. “I’m socially twitarded,” he confessed recently on the site. Methinks he doth protest too much. This is the same guy who twitter-warned us (‘twarned’ us??) in 140 characters or less.  that “if the swine flu becomes a pandemic Canadians may have no choice but to find out who Canada’s Health Minister is.”

Call me crazy, but I’d say he’s got the hang of it.

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GIVE PEACE A CHANCE: Forty years later, Peaceworks Now curator Joan Athey has published a new book, Give Peace A Chance, of never-before seen

 

YOKO & JOHN: 40th anniversary

YOKO & JOHN: 40th anniversary

 

photos of the John Lennon/Yoko Ono Bed-in For Peace which took place May 26 to June 1, 1969 at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. At the same time as a limited exhibition of the photos opens in LIverpool, Torontonians can see a full exhibition of the photographs May 26 to June 1 at the Bulger Gallery at Queen St. W.  The public opening is tomorrow from 5-8 pm as part of the current at Contact Festival of Photography. Meanwhile, Jerry Levitan will be the Indigo Eaton Centre tonight at 7 pm to sign copies of his new Collins Harper book, I Met The Walrus, the literary version of his Oscar-nominated doc about infiltrating the infamous Montreal Bed-in.

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QUOTABLE QUOTES: “I do not believe in an afterlife. One does not know. But even though I say I don’t believe in an afterlife, I have made funeral arrangements so that my daughter in Maine doesn’t have to worry. And I decided not to be cremated, so a little part of me must think that my body perhaps goes on. I don’t want to be dust.”

The speaker? Barbara Walters, in a candid moment with her longtime Manhattan chum Liz Smith, in Avenue magazine.

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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?