Tag Archives: George Olliver

Luba returns to her roots, Rick goes back to school(s), and flashbacks to tasty times at Truffles

END OF AN ERA: Sooner or later we’re all history. Bistro 990 is gone — witness Bill Marshall’s splendid salute in the National Post — and the Four Seasons closed last week, and I enjoyed some wonderful times in both places. In its heyday the Four Seasons restaurant Truffles was even better than Le

MACLAINE: dining at Truffles

Cirque, and many New Yorkers shared that opinion.  At Truffles one night I shared a saffron palate cleanser with Shirley MacLaine, who put one spoonful in her mouth and grimaced. “Don’t eat it!” she warned. “It takes like tin!” When I explained it was saffron, she stared back at me blankly. “Saffron,” I persisted. “Like the colour of a monk’s robes.” Her eyes widened. “Oh, saffron!” she purred, and gobbled up the rest of it. At Truffles I introduced 75-year-old theatre legend Helen Hayes to Gordon’s Gin Tomato Soup, and she liked it so much she ordered it again the next day. “I should go out to dinner with you more often!” she teased. But everything must change, and now Sutton Place is set to close its hotel doors June 15 to begin the process of reconverting the property

HAYES: Gordon's Gin soup

into an upscale condominium. (So where do the hotel’s current apartment dwellers go from here? Just askin’ … ) However, I’m not nearly as nostalgic about that hotel anymore. It was glorious in the Hans Gerhardt era, when that superb hotelier would import Wolfgang Puck and the namesake nephew of Italian legend Alfredo De Leio  (as in Fettucine Alfredo) to cook up a storm in his elegant Sanssouci dining room. In those days you could barely make it through the lobby without bumping into two or three mega-stars – but that was once upon a time, many years ago. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for hotel space downtown in the next two months, I’m told Sutton Place is offering some of its rooms and suites at deep discounts. So enjoy it while you can.

HELLO WE MUST BE GOING: Two more season finales tonight. First, Rick Mercer wraps up his ninth (!!!) season by going back to school, attending celebrations at the winning schools in the annual Mercer Report Spread the

MERCER & FRIENDS: back to school

Net Student Challenge. Watching Mercer interact with elementary school kids is definitely something to see. Following his 8 pm Rick Mercer Report on CBC is the season finale of 22 Minutes, with Shaun Majumder at the Junos, Mark Critch at the Trudeau-Brazau fight and, if we’re lucky, HRM

SHORT: comedy special tonight

Cathy Jones making another Diamond Jubilee visit. Immediate following the 22 Minutes show is Martin Short’s off-the-wall comedy special, I, Martin Short, Goes Home, a 60-minute tour de force by Short and sidekicks Andrea Martin, Eugene Levy, Robin Duke, Fred Willard and your boyfriend George Stroumboulopoulos, who’ll be watching from B.C,  Strombo starts three nights of taping today at CBC Vancouver with guests Sandra Oh, Daryl Hannah, ‘Dragon’ Jim Treliving, Brent Butt, Kim Campbell; Ian Hanomansing, Jane Goodall and too many more to list here.

LUBA: back on the boards

PEOPLE: Special bulletin to Air Farce fans (and I know you are legion:)  Your favourite funny lady Luba Goy is coming home to a stage near you. She’s set to open May 7 at the Berkeley Street Theatre in Luba, Simply Luba, an autobiographical one-woman show penned by Diane Flacks …  John Peller, whose family makes those tempting Peller Estate wines in Niagara, and Wayne Gretzky, who needs absolutely no introduction, have joined forces and vineyards to make new vintages together. “Our families share the same commitment to quality,” Keller recently told his subscribers, “and we both feel passionate about making award-winning wines that we can share with you.” Okay, but will they sell for $99? Never mind, just kidding … devoted jazz buff Tim


Tamashiro took over the reins of Tonic on CBC Radio this week from legendary music maven Katie Malloch, retiring from the airwaves after a 40-year career …  Juno Nominee George Olliver performs at the Old Newcastle House in – where else? – Newcastle, ON this Saturday night …  Stuart Townsend is back in T.O. to headline season two of the one-hour conspiracy thriller XIII.2 which will film in and around Our Town from now through to mid-July. Townsend plays XIII, a lethal former secret agent whose memory has been erased. The 13-episode original series will air on Showcase this fall …  The Voice judge and Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine is in talks to make his acting debut with Jessica Lange on American Horror Story … and how did Aaron Sorkin keep his new HBO series The Newsroom under the radar so brilliantly for so long? And will Ken Finkleman want his title back? Stay tuned.

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Ryan’s buried brilliance, Rick’s return to the stage and CBC corners Don & Ron for a new mini-series

CHERRY, KEESO, WATTON, MACLEAN: They shoot! They score!

THE WRATH OF GRAPES:  The sequel to the hit mini-series Keep Your Head Up, Kid premieres this Sunday on CBC with Jared Keeso reprising his Gemini-winning performance as Don Cherry. The mini-series charts Don’s journey from the NHL to Coach’s Corner, with Jonathan Watton as Ron MacLean. And if this sequel is only half as good as the original, it can’t help but

ROBERTS: on stage at Tarragon

be a hit … the three-day Toronto International Film & Video Awards festival kicks off today at 5 pm at Victoria College … attention foodies: Insight Productions chief John Brunton is bringing Food Network Canada’s top-rated Top Chef Canada series back for a second season on March 12 … the Shakespeare in Action production of The Diary of Anne Frank opens March 15 at the Al Green Theatre in the Miles Nadal JCC. Sascha Cole returns in the central role of Anne as do Chris Karczmar and Alexis Koetting as Mr. and Mrs. Frank … and Rick Roberts, so good as Stephen Leacock’s errant father in Sunshine Sketches Of A Little Town, is back on the boards again, this time in the English-language premiere of The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs. The Carole Fréchette play, translated by John Murrell, is helmed by Kim’s Convenience director Weyni Mengesha. Now in previews, it opens March 7 at the Tarragon.

MEANWHILE: Veteran rocker George Olliver postponed his gig at the Courtyard Restaurant in Pickering last week due to fearsome media weather forecasts predicting the storm of the century.  Which, as I recall, translated to some rain. He’s now set to play the Courtyard tonight instead … pop/jazz vocalist Joel Hartt makes his debut performance at the Green Door Cabaret tomorrow night with piano man Mark Kieswetter … DanceWorks presents Sylvain Émard Danse in the Toronto premiere of Fragments – Volume I,  for one night only, tomorrow at the Enwave Theatre at Harbourfront …Liona Boyd is Alberta-bound for nine concerts with Michael Savona. You can find her tour dates on her new renovated website at www.LionaBoyd.com… and  Discovery Networks have snagged versatile screenwriter and producer Edwina Follows (Traders, Relic Hunter, Beast Master, Emily of New Moon) as its new  Director of Commissioning and Production. Follows is now responsible for the commissioning  independent programming for Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery World HD, Investigation Discovery and Discovery Science.  Smart move, Discovery.

MEANWHILE, BACK ON THE HIGH SEAS:  Yesterday our Floating Film Festival on the Seabourn Sojourn made its first stop, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I like San Juan, but whenever I come here all I always think of Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics to America from West Side Story:

Puerto Rico / My heart’s devotion / let it sink into the ocean /

After our stop in San Juan we screened two more movies. First up was an intriguing documentary called Jealous Of The Birds. Did you know that more than 15,000 Holocaust survivors chose to remain in Germany after World War II? Me neither. How could they stay? Jealous Of The Birds is a first-time documentary by young filmmaker Jordan Bahat that attempts to answer that question. Bahat’s quest is clearly personal; he longs to understand the choices made by his own grandparents – he even persuades his grandmother to revisit Auschwitz – and how they managed to rebuild their lives  Bahat’s film is a study of survivors, their children and other Germans who choose to live among perpetrators. and includes interviews children whose legacy includes the crimes of their parents. Fascinating stuff, and a fine start for a first-time filmmaker.

GOSLING & DUNST: brilliant performances, buried treasure

Last night’s bedtime story, screened after dinner, was All Good Things, a 2010 psychological thriller with an outstanding case. Both love story and murder mystery, it was inspired by one of the most notorious missing person’s case in New York history, in which Robert Durst, scion of the wealthy Durst family, was suspected of, but never tried for,  killing his wife, who disappeared in 1982 and was never seen again. Ryan Gosling plays Robert Marks, Kirsten Dunst plays his doomed young wife Katie, and Frank Langella plays the powerful family patriarch. The film is already regarded as a buried treasure, mysteriously abandoned by its distributors when it could easily have been an Oscar contender. Dunst and especially Gosling offer brilliant, breathtakingly believable performances as the young couple destined for tragedy. We watch horrified as Dunst’s slow corruption plays directly into Gosling’s sophisticated spiraling psychotic, with just enough information gleaned en route to show us how he got that way.  Easily the most talked-about film so far at this year’s Floating Film Festival, this is bone-chilling drama at its best. Catch up with it if you can.

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Hollywood rules the Tonys, Piper sums up Zero, Bono & Bob play newsmen, and Liona goes back to highschool

OUR TOWN:  Mother’s Day never looked so funny. First Robin Duke, Jayne Eastwood, Kathryn Greenwood and Teresa Pavlinek return to T.O. tonight as out very favourite Women Fully Clothed, Older and Hotter, kicking off a three-night stand  at Massey

MARSHAK: playwrights' delight

Hall. Then Betty White hosts SNL tomorrow night … also tomorrow night: Funnyman Mike Wilmot wraps his current four-night stint at Yuk Yuks, and George Olliver & Gangbuster rock The Edge in Ajax … what do Bono and Bob Geldof have in common?  Everything, apparently. Which is why the two celebrity activists will edit the Globe & Mail’s special May 10 section devoted to the future of Africa — their way of drawing attention to the issue of extreme poverty in Africa ahead of the G8 and G20 meetings scheduled to be held here next month. Kenyan activist and blogger Ory Okolloh will also be part of Monday’s editorial team … and Linda Kash, Theresa Tova and Judy Marshak are among the featured artists set to interpret new works by playwrights Michael Ross Albert, Ron Fromstein, Bekky O’Neil and Darrah Teitel at In The Beginning on Monday night  at the Miles Nadal JCC. For tickets, click here.

FOOTLIGHTS: Yes, it’s official — Broadway has finally gone Hollywood. Tony nominees this year include Jude LawHamlet; Alfred MolinaRedLiev Schreiber, A View from the

LAW: Tony nominee

Bridge; Christopher WalkenA Behanding in SpokaneDenzel Washington, Fences; Valerie HarperLoopedLinda LavinCollected StoriesLaura Linney, Time Stands Still; Catherine Zeta-Jones, A Little Night MusicKelsey GrammerLa Cage aux Folles; Sean HayesPromises, Promises; Scarlett JohanssonA View from the Bridge; and Angela Lansbury, A Little Night Music. And Broadway regular David Hyde Pierce, who shot to fame with Tony nominee Kelsey Grammer in Frasier, will receive the Isabelle Stevenson humanitarian honour. Should be interesting to see if the mix of big and small screen names will kickstart higher Nielsen ratings when the awards show is telecast from Radio City Music Hall on Sunday June 13.

NEWTON-JOHN: mind & body

HEAD OF THE CLASS: Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida is one of the favourite new showbiz hideaways, attracting marquee names from all over the globe. Sparklies who have already stopped by for a tune-up this season include Anthony Hopkins, Tommy Tune, Glee guest star Olivia Newton-John and Liona Boyd, who confirms she is moving back to L.A. this summer. After six years of trying the East Coast on for size, she says she found Miami too hot, “mosquitoey” and “hurricaney”, New York “too tough and unromantic,” and Connecticut winters “too damn cold!” She’s also returning to the concert stage – Toronto fans can see her May 25 at the March of Dimes fundraising Gala at the Royal York – and In the meantime, don’t be surprised if you see her in T.O. this weekend. She’s planning to be here tomorrow for her high school reunion!

FOOTLIGHTS: Ageless legit theatre legend Viola Léger returns as Antonine Maillet’s irresistible Acadian cleaning lady in a revival of La Sagouine. Directed by John Van

LINNEY: Tony contender

Burek, Léger performs her legendary one-woman show in English May 14-29, followed by a run en français May 31-June 5, at the Berkeley St. Theatre Downstairs … Perry Perlmutar promises to “try to be extra funny for you” when he opens at Absolute Comedy next week … and among the major entries set for the Harold Green Theatre next  season: Zero Hour, with Jim Brochu as comedy icon Zero Mostel, directed by indomitable screen siren Piper Laurie. Meanwhile, the amusing and engagingly tuneful Soul Of Gershwin, a lightherarted exploration of George & Ira’s roots in klezmer music, closes tomorrow night at the Winter Garden. To snag last-minute tickets, just click here. And have a happy weekend!