Tag Archives: HUGH HEFNER

Stratford gets Sean, Montreux gets a Weather forecast, PBS gets Ethan’s Time Machine and a Legend gets an Ella

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ: Visiting New Yorker Jake Ehrenreich winds down his love affair with Toronto this week as A Jew Grows In Brooklyn closes Sunday night at the

DAY: Legend

Panasonic … honorary co-chairs Elton John and Quincy Jones will present Natalie Cole with the 19th Ella award on June 1 at the Beverly Hilton. But I’ll bet Elton, Quincy and Natalie are all secretly dying to meet the normally reclusive songbird who’s taking home this year’s Legend award: The one and only Doris Day… Vibes legend Peter Appleyard will bring his magic to Campbellford, ON this summer with an Aug. 1 Westben concert at The Barn … showbiz wunderkind Ted Dykstra directs the Soulpepper revival of David French‘s backstage comedy Jitters, opening June 24 … Sean Cullen returns to Stratford this summer in King Of Thieves, esteemed playwright

CULLEN: thieving

George F. Walker’s take on The Beggar’s Opera … and ya gotta love the title of west coast artist Ron Terada‘s new show, opening this weekend at the Banff Centre. He calls it Who I Think I Am.

GLOBAL SWARMING: The oh-so-lively Dead Weather, the alternative-riffs band formed by Jack White (The White Stripes, The Raconteurs) and Alison Mosshart (The Kills) are now set to rock the Miles Davis Hall on July 3 at the 44th annual Montreux Jazz Festival. The band’s new album, Sea of Cowards, dropped earlier this month … can’t help wondering if any of those comely 20-somethings cheering Harry Connick Jr.’s version of And I Love Her on American Idol last week knew he was singing a Beatles song? … and speaking of The Beatles, their stereo boxed set, released last September, has been certified Diamond in Canada by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA).

BERMAN: at UCLA this week

The boxed set is the first CD release since October 2007 to be certified Diamond in Canada, which means The Beatles now have more certified Diamond albums in Canada than any other group or non-Canadian artist.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Oscar-winning filmmaker Brigitte Berman is set to premiere her doc on Hugh Hefner, with Hef in attendance, in Hollywood this Thursday at the Billy Wilder Theatre at UCLA … Kylie Minogue’s new single All The Lovers will be released at the end of June, one week before her new studio album Aphrodite drops a week later on July 6 … 10-year-old piano virtuoso and showman Ethan Bortnick is set to razzle-dazzle ’em at the PBS National Convention in Austin, Texas next week, all to promote his sizzling upcoming Musical Time Machine special with Gloria Gaynor, Arturo Sandoval and the Canadian Tenors … and Dynamic Double Exposure duo Bob Robertson & Linda Cullen have launched a naughty new website which features, among other things, a somewhat flatulent beaver. To check out the latest 2X shenanigans, just click here.

TOMORROW:

Get out your calendars!

Hannah goes to Krakow, Brigitte goes to Sarasota, Liz cheers for a Ghost Writer & Tina Fey is EVERYWHERE!

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Where is Tina Fey these days? Everywhere, promoting her new movie with Steve Carrell on every talk show on the dial, Yesterday it was

FEY & FRIEND: she's everywhere!

Oprah, this morning it’s Regis & Kelly, and this weekend she’ll host Saturday Night Live with Canadian pop music phenom Justin Bieber as her musical guest … despite the rave reviews she won when her hypnotic Hugh Hefner documentary premiered at TIFF last September, Oscar-winning director Brigitte Berman returned to the edit suite in January and has emerged with an even sleeker version. Last month she screened it to sell-out crowds and positive press notices at the Miami International Film Festival and at the Museum Of Modern Art in Manhattan, the latter as part of the prestigious

BIEBER: set for SNL

MoMA Canadian Front organized by MoMA’s Larry Kardish and Telefilm Canada festival booster Brigitte Hubmann. “At the first screening in New York Tony Bennett, Dick Cavett, Geoffrey Holder, Dr. Ruth and Christie Hefner were in the audience,” reports Berman, “and the response could not have been more enthusiastic!” This month she’s off to introduce the film at the  Sarasota Film Festival, and next month she’ll fly to L.A. to join Hefner when UCLA hosts a special screening of the film in his honour at the Billy Wilder theatre … Amber Marshall invited her Heartland fans to help her find a new name for her foal, “the horse soon not to be known as Harry,” and has been swamped by thousands of suggestions. Now all she has to do us sort through them all and pick one! … international filmfest planner Hannah Fisher is packing her bags for Poland, where she’ll welcome Aussie director Jane Campion and Bollywood superstars Amitabh & Jaya Bachchan to Krakow and The Off

MARSHALL: she's not wild about 'Harry'

Plus Camera Film Festival of Independent Cinema … and New York gossip girl Liz Smith is not a fan of Roman Polanski. “Let let him submit to the law as he should have years ago,” says Liz flatly to her devoted wowOwow.com readers. But that doesn’t change her belief that Polanski is a great filmmaker. Ms. Smith is an unflagging champion of his new Pierce Brosnan-Ewan McGregor thriller The Ghost Writer, which she insists is only “a whisper away from being as great as Chinatown. It is a tension-filled, politically based noir with just enough twists to keep you slightly off-balance but never off-track. This one makes you think and demands all your attention. One deep dig

HAWCO as DOYLE: season finale tonight

into the popcorn and you’ll miss something.All the performances are superb – wonderful turns by Kim Cattrall and Tom Wilkinson – with an especially great hand to Olivia Williams. She is the prototypical noir female – in danger, dangerous, impossible to know. And better if you don’t!”

Okay, I’m sold!

The Ghost Writer is stiill on view at a neighbourhood theatre near you.

P.S. To REPUBLIC OF DOYLE fans: Don’t miss tonight’s first-season finale of the Allan Hawco hit series at 9 pm on CBC-TV. And don’t be surprised if you hear people talking about it tomorrow. My spies tell me it’s quite an eyeful!

-/-

De Niro goes to the Middle East, Mercer goes indoor skydiving (!?!) and Martha goes to war

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: It took filmmaker Brigitte Berman to get the ball rolling, but after the Toronto International Film Festival premiere

DOWNEY JR: Playboy material?

DOWNEY JR: Playboy material?

of her documentary on Hugh Hefner, a major Hollywood biopic is finally going ahead. Producer Brian Grazer (24) recently met with Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody about the project, and Brett Ratner (X-Men) is apparently lined up to direct, with Robert Downey Jr. favoured to play Hef … shhhh, it’s a secret, but my spies tell me irresistible funny girl Monica Parker is currently fine-tuning a new one-woman show cunningly called The Weight Is Over.  Can’t weight, uhhh, wait … and Rick Mercer and Rush rock legend Alex

LIFESON & MERCER: indoor skydiving

LIFESON & MERCER: indoor skydiving

Lifeson go skydiving tonight — the hard way — by attempting to float atop 225 km/h winds generated by a jet engine (!!!) at the Niagara Freefall Indoor Skydiving challenge. And believe me, ‘freefall’ is the word for it. Catch them tonight at 8 pm on the Rick Mercer Report on CBC.

UP IN ARMS: On Thursday night Toronto theatergoers will see the Canadian premiere of Strange News, a 30-minute multimedia work about the plight of

SWANK: as Amelia Earhart

SWANK: as Amelia Earhart

child soldiers. The work, composed by Norwegian Rolf Wallin with text by Belgian actor/director/writer Josse de Pauw, is narrated by the young Ugandan actor Arthur Kisenyi, and comes to us after breaking theatrical ground in Oslo, Birmingham, Porto, Chicago, and Copenhagen. Filling out the bill is a performance of Igor Stravinsky¹s classic A Soldier¹s Tale, narrated by the legendary Martha Henry and directed by Peter Moss. For tickets call the St. Lawrence Centre box office at 416-366-7723 or just click here.

FLICKERS: Why does news of a Tribeca Film Festival in the Persian Gulf remind me of a New Yorker cartoon? Nonetheless, the 31-film festival opens this

DeNIRO: in Doha

DE NIRO: in Doha

week in Doha, Qatar’s capital, with Robert De Niro, Tribeca’s co-founder, expected to be on hand for the opening film, the Hillary Swank-Richard Gere opus Amelia. Unlike red-carpet filmfests in Dubau and Abu Dhabi, Doha is looking to showcase independent films (Steven Soderbergh’s Informant, Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story) — but hey, it’s still the middle east. Both Doha and Abu Dhabi programmed Bahman Ghobadi’s No One Knows About Persian Cats, a film shot covertly in Iran, but none of the Gulf festivals have programmed a film from Israel, and if your passport is Israeli, you can’t get there from here. Intrigued? Yeah, me too. To catch up with Larry Rohter’s report in last week’s New York Times, just click here.

GET ‘EM WHILE THEY’RE HOT, HOT, HOT: Finally got a chance to see Brad (Love & Human Remains) Fraser’s new comedy about family secrets at

KEELEY & STEWART: hit show

KEELEY & STEWART: hit show

Factory Theatre at a packed Sunday matinee, and now I know what all the fuss is about. Everything about this witty, provocative production is absolutely top-notch, from Bretta Gerecke’s cleverly engaging set to playwright Fraser’s fast-paced cinematic staging and direction. Ashley Wright and Julie Stewart are spectacularly good as the parents, Andrew Craig and Susanna Fournier are outstanding as their confused offspring, and David W. Keeley’s subtle but sly portrayal of the returning restauranteur who unhinges all of them makes this laugh-out-loud dramedy work brilliantly. Don’t miss it. But you will if you don’t act now, because counting tonight there are only six (6) performances left. To snap up your last-chance tickets just click here. And enjoy!

TOMORROW:

Come to the Cabaret.

George & Dani get David, Billboard gets Mary J., CMW gets Dave & Paul, and Madonna gets Jesus

SEEMS LIKE OLD TIMES: Winnipeg’s favourite ex-pat David Steinberg is directing the premiere episodes of Living In Your Car, the new comedy series

STEINBERG: Auto pilot

STEINBERG: Auto pilot

from This Is Wonderland creators George F. Walker and Dani Romain. Set in a not-so-fictional slumping economy, the TV series follows a fallen corporate exec who gets caught cooking the books and is legally forbidden from working in any position that involves other people’s money. Clinging desperately to the last symbol of his past, he makes his home inside his luxury car. Walker, Roman and Joseph Kay originally wrote the scenario in response to the Enron debacle.

MADONNA: don't roll your eyes

MADONNA: "Roll your eyes if you want ..."

“Fortunately for us,” adds Walker. “there has been no end to financial misconduct.” Steinberg, who knows all about funny, says he was excited by how topical the subject was, “and how wonderfully written the scripts were, and how funny. Who wouldn’t want to direct this?Additional episode directors for the series include Bruce McDonald, Shawn Alex Thompson and Paul Fox.

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: Keynote speaker for the eighth annual Hollywood Reporter & Billboard Film And TV Music Conference at the end of the month is

LUZ: model citizen

LUZ: model citizen

Mary J. Blige … meanwhile, considerably closer to home, iconic music innovators Dave Stewart and Paul Williams are both set to be keynoters at the 2010 Canadian Music Week in Toronto next March … the runaway hit of the Toronto Fringe Festival, it’s been called the next Drowsy Chaperone. So better get yourself to  Nursery School Musical at the Berkeley Street Theatre before it closes this weekend … fresh from screening her rave-winning film on Hugh Hefner at TIFF, director Brigitte Berman detours to Florida this weekend to present her Oscar-winning doc on Artie Shaw to the Miami Jazz Film Festival … and yesterday I told you that I consulted Liz Smith to get the down-low on sky-

SMITH: Roll your eyes if you must

SMITH: Roll your eyes if you must

rocketing French pop star Sliimy, but I should also mention that Liz says Madonna’s relationship with her current playmate. 22-year-old Brazilian model Jesus Luz “is much more than a casual fling; the pop icon is deeply, seriously happy. Roll your eyes if you want (and I know some of you will!), but I can’t begrudge Madonna her happiness. She didn’t break up anybody else’s home and they are both adults.” Adds veteran gossip girl Liz: “Don’t be tiresome about the age difference. That’s so 20th century!”

HOT TICKETS: Toronto’s now-fabled Hot Docs festival has joined forces with Kinosmith to launch The Hot Docs Collection, which will see the DVD release of popular Festival films and other titles chosen in consultation with Hot Docs programmers. The first two titles in the Collection, RIP: A Remox Manifesto and Flicker, are now available for purchase, and you can order ‘em right here … and what “hot ticket” attraction sold out in hours in New York, racking up $2.5 million dollars in ticket sales? No, not U2, and not even the aforementioned Madonna. The hot seller was the Metropolitan Opera, which enjoyed a very robust first-day box-office haul for its coming season. Who knew?

(All those folks who bought all those tickets, that’s who!)

TOMORROW:

CFRB takes aim at CBC’s morning man.

Who wouldn’t talk about Hef, who got shortchanged in my TIFF tally, and who took home the hardware

GOOD MORNING, TORONTO: Welcome to another razzle-dazzle week of entertainment in Our Town.  Among the notable treats in store: The Boys In The Photograph, the new Andrew Lloyd Weber–Ben Elton musical about

SLEAN: on Abbey Road

SLEAN: on Abbey Road

young men and women involved with a neighbourhood soccer team in Belfast in 1969, opens tomorrow night at the Royal Alex … DanceWorks opens its new show, Namesake: three, on Wednesday at Harbourfront’s Enwave Theatre … also opening Wednesday: The new Allen Cole-Melody Johnson-Rick Roberts collaboration, Mimi (or A Poisoner’s Comedy) at the Tarragon  … Darren Anthony’s new concert show, Secrets Of A Black Boy, produced by his sister Trey (Da Kink In My Hair) Anthony, opens at the Music Hall on Friday, the same night conductor Jean-Philippe Tremblay, Anton Kuerti, Richard Margison and more launch a reportedly spectacular new

RIVERS: Saturday night

RIVERS: Saturday night

Royal Conservatory music venue, Koerner Hall, in the Telus Centre for Performance and Learning on Bloor Street West … Chick Corea and Sophie Milman christen the hall with jazz the following night … Celebrity Apprentice champ and TSC favourite Joan Rivers plays Casino Rama that same Saturday night … and Kevin Hearn, Raine Maida, Steven Page and Sarah Slean are among the celebrated warblers who will lend their voices when Andrew Burashko’s Art Of Time Ensemble salutes the 40th anniversary of The Beatles’ Abbey Road with a re-imagined, re-invented concert version running two nights only, this Saturday and Sunday, also at the Enwave.

And that’s just for starters, folks.

MY BAD: It’s easy to get cross-eyed when so many stars come to town at the same time. At least, that’s my lame excuse for telling you that Colin Farrell and

BETTANY: double-header

BETTANY: double-header

Julianne Moore ruled the TIFF roost this year with three, count them, three films each, while celebrated runners-up George Clooney, Colin Firth and Amands Seyfried each appeared in two TIFF entries. All of which is true, except for two guys I forgot to mention. Don’t know how I missed him, but Willem Dafoe also deserved to be in that top spot with Colin and Julianne, as he appeared in no less than three TIFF titles this year: Antichrist, Daybreakers and Farewell. Sorry about that, Willem. And yes, Paul Bettany, who played Charles Darwin in the opening night film Creation and Lord Melbourne in the closing night film Young Victoria, should have been listed with Clooney, Firth and the young Ms Seyfried in second place. And yes, I’m just hoping I didn’t miss anyone else.

PLAYBOY OF THE EASTERN FILM FESTIVAL: After three capacity crowds jammed the TIFF cinemas where her much-discussed documentary on Hugh Hefner premiered last week, director Brigitte Berman admitted that

BENNETT: talking about Hef

BENNETT: talking about Hef

by the time she finished shooting she had an embarrassment of riches, and had to delete scenes she loved from the original version to bring the film to a more manageable size. Deletions included interviews with the magazine magnate’s two sons, and the stories they tell about how they were treated in high school as Hugh Hefner’s offspring are apparently so fascinating that Berman intends to include that footage as a separate feature when the film is released on DVD. At a Q&A after the film she informed us that Playboy is the second best-known brand in the world — “Coca-Cola is number one,” she added — and that the toughest interview subject to secure, surprisingly, was Tony Bennett. “His agent is very protective of him, as he should be. But as soon as Tony was told of the request, he was all for it, and just a pleasure to work with.”

Did any key players from Hef’s past actually turn her down? “Yes,” replied the ever-candid Oscar-winning director — “Gloria Steinem, Jules Pfeiffer and Bill Cosby.”

WHO WON WHAT: As T.O. filmfest chief Piers Handling noted on Saturday night, TIFF delivered not only 335 films but also 10 days of consecutive sunshine – “the summer we did not have.” But thanks to superb programming, meticulous planning and the more than 2,000 volunteers (!!) who help make it happen, it was truly a festival to remember.

CLARKSON: winning film

CLARKSON: winning film

Finally, just in case you missed it, here’s who took home the hardware from the 34th annual Toronto International Film Festival.

– Best Canadian Short Film: Pedro Pires, Danse Macabre. Honourable mention: Jamie Travis,The Armoire.

– Best Canadian First Feature Film: Alexandre Franchi, The Wild Hunt.

– Best Canadian Feature Film: Ruba Nadda, Cairo Time, with Patricia Clarkson, Tom McCamus and Alexander Siddig. Special Jury Citation: Bernard Émond, La Donation (The Legacy).

– FIPRESCI Prize (Prize of the International Federation of Film Critics for Discovery:) Laxmikant Shetgaonkar, The Man Beyond the Bridge (India).

SIDDIG: Cairo Time

SIDDIG: Cairo Time

– FIPRESCI Prize for Special Presentations: Bruno Dumont, Hadewijch (France).

– People’s Choice Award: Lee Daniels, Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire. First runner-up:  Bruce Beresford, Mao’s Last Dancer. Second runner-up: Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Micmacs (Micmacs à tirelarigot).

– People’s Choice Award – Documentary: Leanne Pooley, The Topp Twins. Runner-up: Michael Moore, Capitalism: A Love Story.

– People’s Choice Award – Midnight Madness: Sean Byrne, The Loved Ones. Runner-up: Michael Spierig & Peter Spierig, Daybreakers.

TOMORROW:

Margaret Atwood, Twyla Tharp, Rick Mercer, and more.