Tag Archives: Frank Sinatra

Carol has her night on screen, Jian takes his show on the road, and Evan proves he’s a Prince of dance

HELLO, CAROL:  Broadway devotee Dori Bernstein’s new documentary Carol Channing: Larger Than Life opened the 12th Floating Film Festival last night, and Channing is such an irresistible presence on screen that we couldn’t help wishing the 90-year-old musical comedy legend was with us on board the Seabourn Sojourn as we sail into Caribbean waters. Bernstein, with Channing’s blessing, gently reveals the forces and conflicts and inner turmoils that drove Channing to succeed in show business in a way few others before her have achieved. The star studded cast of characters who share Channing anecdotes includes Lily Tomlin, Tyne Daly, Bruce Vilanch, Barbara Walters, Loni Anderson, Tommy Tune, Chita Rivera, JoAnne Worley, Rich Little and Tippi Hedren. And Carol’s first roommate Betty Garrett (whose last interview appears in the film) points out that their first screen kisses were with Frank Sinatra and Clint Eastwood. The film is a delight, full of insight and

THE NEWLYWEDS: Harry & Carol

inspiration. At times almost hypnotically fascinating, it also captures a bonafide love story when Channing, who has no illusions about her failings as a wife and mother, is reunited with her fist love, old school beau Harry Kullijian, after 70 years. In her late ‘80s, Channing marries for the fourth time, and together they launch the Channing-Kullijian Foundation to support arts education in schools. What the film doesn’t share with us is the touching real-life epilogue to their December-December romance. On Boxing Day they were at their desert home in Rancho Mirage when Harry, by now 92, suffered an aneuryism and died.       Small comfort, perhaps, but at least Kullijan had the pleasure of seeing Carol Channing: Larger Than Life, not to mention marrying the original, before his untimely exit. For which Carol, I’m sure, is genuinely grateful.

GHOMESHI: Montreal-bound

GOES TO QUEBEC: Host with the Most Jian Ghomeshi is admittedly “stoked” by plans to broadecast his top-rated CBC Radio show Q from Montreal on March 1. His live sold-out gig at the historic Le National theatre features some of Quebec’s leading cultural figures from the worlds of music, dance, comedy and film, including electronic music maestro DJ Champion and his band the G-Strings, who will perform live throughout the show;

LECAVALIER: high Q

comedian Sugar Sammy, dance great Louise Lacavalier, singer-songwriter Ariane Moffatt, and web TV star Simon Olivier Fecteau. Ghomeshi, who has previously taken to enthusiastic audiences in New York, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Chicago and Salt Lake City, says he’s super-excited about going back to Montreal with the show – and we believe him.

DIAMOND: sparking OCAD

MARCH BREAKS: Select nominees for the 32nd annual Genie Awards will be grilled on stage at TIFF Bell Lightbox on March 7, the night before the awards telecast on CBC. The special  In Conversation event will take place from 6:30-8pm. Seating is limited, so contact the TIFF Box Office sooner than later for tickets …  OCAD University prez Sara Diamond will host renowned digital culture theorist, data visualization artist and educator Lev Manovich on Friday, March 23. Manovich will give a free practical workshop and lecture exploring the dynamic field of information and scientific visualization. Both events are open to everyone … Goodmans’ good guy David Zitzerman is once again co-chairing the 12th Annual International Film & TV Finance 

McKIE: home town high

Summit sponsored by Bloomberg BNA/CITE on March 22-23rd  at the Luxe Hotel in L.A. … National Ballet guest artist Evan McKie has danced the role of the Prince in Sleeping Beauty before, but never on his own turf.  The Toronto-born Stuttgart Ballet star will dance the role here on March 11, his first performance in his hometown since training at the National Ballet School.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE:  .. Next big film for Viola Davis is Won’t Back Down, a new drama about laws in California and a handful of other states that allow parents to dump bad teachers and overrule administrators in bottom-ranked schools. Davis plays a teacher who risks career and friendships to join the revolt. Maggie Gyllenhaalplays the single mother who sells cars, tends bar and rouses parents to take charge of their grade school. And Holly Hunter plays the union rep who fights the takeover.  Sounds like a natural for next September’s TIFF …  Rick Mercer goes skate to skate with the Winnipeg Jets tonight on The Rick Mercer Report at 8 pm on CBC … nominees for the 2012 Rose d’Or

MERCER & WINNIPEG CHUMS: When you're a Jet / You're a Jet all the way ...

Awards will be announced at a gala tonight in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — the first time in its 50-year history that the Rose d’Or has held an event in Asia … and author Lawrence Hill will be presented with the Writers’ Union 2012 Freedom to Read Award tonight at the Book and Periodical Council‘s Freedom to Read event at the Gladstone Hotel. Union chair Greg Hollingshead said the Union chose Hill for “his reasoned and eloquent response to the threat to burn his novel The Book of Negroes.” Roy Groenburgof The Netherlands, taking offense to the use of the word “Negro” in the title of Hill’s novel, burned the cover and publicly threatened to burn the book. Hill responded that burning books “is designed to intimidate people. It underestimates the intelligence of readers, stifles dialogue and insults those who cherish the freedom to read and write. The leaders of the Spanish Inquisition burned books, Nazis burned books.” Too true.


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… now, where was I?

Oh, right, I was telling you that By George was about to take a two-week hiatus.

That was in November 2009, as I recall.

CRYSTAL: sorely missed

And as I recall, I was planning on getting right back to you. Until I dropped my calendar. And by the time I picked it up again I was already … well … distracted, you might say. First by the holiday season, and then by those golden winter games  now known as the Canadian Olympics, and then by the 82nd annual Academy Awards, which was almost as much fun as a meat-packing convention. Have the Oscar ever been such a predictable mirror of the previously-distributed Golden Globe and SAG Awards? Were you as surprised as Sandra Bullock was when she won?  And should we start a petition right now to draft Billy Crystal back to host the frequently less-than-enchanting evening? Let’s face it, we’re finally at the point where the show doesn’t work without him.

BURNS: Eligible for cloning?

Meanwhile, in yet another 40th season triumph for Ken Gass‘ Factory Theatre, frankly fabulous playwright George F. Walker has written, directed and opened another hit play, And So It Goes, with riotously riveting performances by Martha Burns and Peter Donaldson, both of whom should be immediately cloned so we can feast on their work until we start taking them for granted, which God willing will be Never. Burns and Donaldson are so consistently brilliant that merely attenpting to describe them makes me run out of adjectives. And yes, I own a Thesaurus.

You’d think all that might make their respective mates insecure, except their respective mates are kinda busy. Ms. Burns’ hubby Paul Gross, about to be seen on the big screen in the new western spoof Gunless, is hard at work prepping

McCARTHY: Back in the Mosque

the first season of the TV spin-off of his hit movie Men With Brooms for CBC Television. Donaldson’s mater, award-laden gamin Sheila McCarthy, who co-starred with him as one of the dynamic romantic duos on the three-hanky Love Letters special, is busy shooting a new season of Little Mosque On The Prairie for CBC and a whole mess of other channels all over the world.

P.S.: And So It Goes closed its premiere run on March 6. Will it be back? Count on it. And count the days ’til you can see it again — or better still, for the very first time.

And while we’re on the subject of footlights, that new buzz on Broadway is the sound of box office cash registers ringing. And not without reason. TV lions Anthony LaPaglia (Without A Trace) and Tony Shaloub (Monk) are

HARPER: as Bankhead on B'way

sharing the stage with Justin Bartha (The Hangover) for the Broadway revival of Lend Me A Tenor, directed by veteran stage and screen-stealer Stanley Tucci … four-time Emmy winner Valerie Harper is tearing up the Great Light Way as legendary drug-addled actress Tallulah Bankhead in Matthew Lombardo‘s new comedy, Looped, based on historic incident and gossip surrounding La Bankhead’s final film … good news for Christopher Walken fans. He’s back on Broadway, starring with Sam Rockwell in the world premiere of Martin McDonagh‘s new play, A Behanding In Spokane. And no, I don’t know what that means either …Alfred Molina, so good as Carey Mulligan’s dad in An Education, is back on Broadway, reprising his role in the hit London thriller Red. Luminato-bound John Malkovich is already set for the screen

EDNA: nothing like a Dame

version … and talk about yer dynamic duos! Dame Edna [a.k.a. Barry Humphries] and cabaret prince Michael Feinstein are rocking Broadway with a new two-hander cunningly called All About Me. “One megastar, one gigastar, a 12 piece orchestra, more than 40 songs, and 22 ladies lavatories!” And yes, Edna and Michael also persuaded Christopher Durang to help them shampoo their libretto … also wooing New York visitors: Come Fly Away, a new dance musical by Twyla Tharp showcasing the music and the voice of Frank Sinatra in what its fans proclaim as “the most romantic evening on Broadway!” … and one of the most intriguing new entries, Million Dollar Quartet, is a new musical based on a 1956 meeting of Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley. “They came together to make music. They ended up making history.” Sounds like a lot of fun to me.

TOMORROW:

Wassup with film folk George Clooney, Taylor Lautner & Matt Damon.

-/-

Gotta sing! Gotta dance! … got a baby bump, too!

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: National Ballet showstopper Greta Hodgkinson and husband Etienne Lavigne are infanticipating in January,

LANGSTROTH: on a Highwire

LANGSTROTH: on a Highwire

but La Hodgkinson will return to the company in time to dance next year’s production of Onegin, with an extravagant new design by Santo Loquasto. Meanwhile, she hasn’t exactly been idle. She’s been in front of the camera again, this time playing legendary ballerina Margot Fonteyn to Nico Archambault’s Rudolf Nureyev in award-collecting Moze Mossanen‘s bound-to-be dazzling new Nureyev Arts special for Bravo! … ivory-tickler Ken Lindsay is celebrating his

NICO as NUREYEV

NICO as NUREYEV

second anniversary at Statler’s. Village favourite Lindsay holds cocktail-hour court every Thursday and Friday nights …rising songbird Dawn Langstroth launches her new CD Highwire tomorrow before embarking on a year of touring to promote it. And yes, You Don’t Want Me, that  wonderful song she wrote with master musical storyteller Ron Sexsmith, is included

HODGKINSON: expecting

HODGKINSON: expecting

on the playlist …  young Aussie director Alexandra Schepisi, daughter of famed director Fred, recently completed a short film called One Night about a group of girls hanging out together. “It’s 23 minutes long and there’s only three lines of dialogue in it!” her proud poppa confides. Sounds intriguing … and when Robin Wright Penn took the stage at TIFF last week, was it just the guys in the theatre who noticed that her legs went on forever but her skirt didn’t? Just wonderin’ … BTW, the talented Ms Penn will co-star with James McAvoy in The Conspirator, based on the aftermath of Lincolns assassination and directed by Robert Redford.

LIGHTS OUT: After almost eight years in the making, Jian Ghomeshi protégée Lights released her first CD this week. Stay tuned … Harry

 

 

 

 

 

KARPLUK: music for Erica

KARPLUK: music for Erica

Connick’s new CD Your Songs features such golden oldies as Sinatra’s All The Way, The Carpenters’ Close To You and Nat King Cole’s Mona Lisa … look for Joss Stone to duet with Smokey Robinson on tonight’s Jay Leno Show … and EMI Canada released its Being Erica CD this week to coincide with the return of the time-bending Erin Karpluk-Michael Riley series and the release of the Season One DVD. Music from the show’s freshman year, which spans the same decades as the hit CBC series, features tunes by Melanie Doane, The Northern Pikes, Jesus Jones, Norah Jones, Marc Jordan, Fatboy Slim, MC Hammer and, of course,  Erica’s therne song, All I Ever Wanted To Be, by Lily Frost.

 

 

 

 

BUNNETT: among the first

BUNNETT: among the first

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: High-voltage music-makers set to headline the inaugural season of Toronto’s newest concert venue, Koerner Hall, located in the Telus Centre for Performance & Learning on Bloor Street west, include Jane Bunnett, James Ehnes, Louis Lortie, Midori, Nico Mulhy, Peter Oundjian, Steven Page, Jon Kimura Parker, Quartetto Gelato, Ravi Shankar, Frederica von Stade, Sarah Slean, the Esprit Orchestra, and Richard Reed Perry of Arcade Fire. To sample the upcoming season, and order tickets, just click here.

ABSENT FRIENDS: Yesterday, In my eagerness to share with you some of the stellar names performing this season with the TSO, I automatically included T.O. favourite Erich Kunzel, who was scheduled to conduct three nights of Broadway show tunes here next month.  Would that it were so. After being diagnosed with pancreatic, liver and colon cancer in April, Kunzel passed away three weeks ago. Add his name to the September roll call – Larry Gelbart, Mary Travers, Patrick Swayze, and more – of absent friends who are sorely missed today.

TOMORROW:

Why Kiefer came home.

-/-

 

Atwood brings her Flood show to Church street, Mercer meets Bono, and it’s Liza with a D(VD)!

APRES MOI, THE FLOOD: Tub-thumping novelist Margaret Atwood is keeping her fans abreast of her current Year Of The Flood promotional tour via

ATWOOD: on tour

ATWOOD: on tour

Twitter, although getting on line is sometimes a challenge. In Cardiff, Wales she stopped at an Internet Café and found it distressingly difficult to connect. “If the Internet is a highway,” she noted, “there is much roadwork going on.” Atwood, who calls her Twitter followers her “T-pals,” will join David Ferry, Susan Coyne and Michelle Monteith on stage – on altar?? – this Thursday when she brings her performance-art show (with some Tell) to St. James Cathedral. Meanwhile,

COYNE: altar girl

COYNE: altar girl

fellow novelist Jeanette Winterson reviewed Atwood’s new Giller Prize nominee for the cover story in the New York Times Sunday Book Review. “Atwood,” she writes, “knows how to show us ourselves, but the mirror she holds up to life does more than reflect — it’s like one of those mirrors made with mercury that gives us both a deepening and a distorting effect, allowing both the depths of human nature and its potential mutations.” To see more of her review, just click here.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Choreography queen Twyla Tharp, who created a major Broadway hit by staging Billy Joel’s songs for dancers in Moving Out, is about to go for gold again. Her new show, Come Fly With Me, is

MINNELLI: new PBS special

MINNELLI: new PBS special

set to music associated with Frank Sinatra, and opens tomorrow night at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta. Fingers crossed … still wishing you’d been able to catch Liza Minnelli at the Palace last year, or even at Roy Thomson Hall this spring? PBS is planning to tape her Sept. 30-Oct. 1 performances at the MGM Grand in Vegas. Those brilliant Chicago producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who also worked on Showtime’s digitally restored version of Liza with a Z, will produce the special, which will air on PBS in December and go on sale in January 2010. Now there’s a New Year’s Eve gift! … and leave it to Oprah to out-do all previous flashmob events. Did you see where she got 21,00 of her closest fans to dance in the streets of Chicago? Amazing. If you missed it first time ‘round (I did,) you can still see it. Just click here.

THE LIFE OF RICK: Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on Rick Mercer’s wall? Or maybe a button on his lapel? Two Fridays ago he was one of a select few invited

MERCER: high life

MERCER: high life

to Sarah McLachlan’s lush Vancouver garden, where guests sat on plush divans under Moroccan tents lit by Indian Lanterns and were serenaded by Sarah, Sheryl Crow and dynamic Blue Rodeo duo Jim Cuddy & Greg Keillor at an intimate gathering to celebrate Sarah’s music outreach program for inner-city Vancouver youth. Then this past Friday he joined his Spread The Net partner-in-crime Belinda Stronach at her reception for another fund-raising pal, Bono. Mercer pal Seamus O’Regan was hobnobbing at that one too, as were T-D deputy chair Frank McKenna and War Child founders Dr. Samantha Nutt and Dr. Eric Hoskins. But don’t look for Mercer on the glamour party circuit this Friday — he’ll be in his CBC studio with a few hundred of his devoted fans, taping the first show of the seventh season of his top-rated Rick Mercer Report.

SHEEEEEE”S BACK: Attention  Erin Karpluk fans (and you seem to be growing in numbers every day) — your favourite TV heroine returns to your living rooms tonight when she and Michael Riley kick off the much-anticipated second season Being Erica at 9 pm on CBC. Enjoy!

TOMORROW:

What are Tom Arnold, George Stroumboulopoulos

and Red Green doing in Vancouver??