Tag Archives: JANE WAGNER

Lily conquers Vegas, Bette plans a Showgirl exit, and meet the new Susan Boyle (he’s a guy!)

LOVIN’ LAS VEGAS: Don’t know why I thought that Lily Tomlin and Sin City were not a natural fit. Turns out they are. La Tomlin premiered her new

TOMLIN & WAGNER: Viva Las Vegas

one-woman show, Not Playing With A Full Deck, at the MGM Grand, and reportedly loves Las Vegas! Lily’s partner and personal muse, the unabashedly brilliant humourist Jane Wagner, is the mighty pen behind her new show as well as such previous Tomlin megahits as The Search For Signs Of Intelligent Life In The Universe and Appearing Nitely. Lily’s new show is a mix of Greatest Hits – the characters her fans still can’t get enough of, like Ernestine and Edith Ann – and new characters, and

SHORT: Damages control

new technology. Tomlin’s new show ‘try-out’ played in MGM’s Hollywood Theater, which seats about 2,000 people at each performance. And when Tomlin isn’t hanging out with her Big Business co-star and Caesars Palace headliner Bette Midler (The Showgirl Must Go On) or trying to coax Jane (“it’s come down to begging, really,”) into writing a new Broadway show for her, she’s commuting to New York to shoot her scenes in the new season of Damages with Glenn Close. In it she plays the matriarch of a powerful family determined to destroy shady legal eagle Close. Assisting Lily in this mission are Martin Short as her high-powered attorney and Campbell Scott as her son. And yes, she confesses, she and Marty did misbehave one day on the set, when

MIDLER: The show must go ... off

she read her lines as Ernestine and he did his as Ed Grimley. “But never when the cameras are rolling!”

THE SHOWGIRL MUST GO OFF: P.S. for Vegas-bound Bette Midler fans: Your heroine ends her two-year residency at The Colloseum – aka The House That Céline Built – on January 31. Says Bette: “These legs have had such a great run in the desert, it may be time to haul them to places with more humidity and fewer slot machines.”

GET OUT YOUR HANDKERCHIEFS: Yes, it’s true, the latest YouTube sensation is a recent audition for Simon Cowell’s British talent show The X Factor. The singer is a 40-year-old cabinet-maker named Daryl Markham. Markham has his own website now, and is now a household

MARKHAM: YouTube sensation

name for millions of people all over the world. But can he sing? You be the judge. To see his now-historic audition, just click here.

NO BIZ LKE SHOW BIZ: Leave it to Reg Hartt to find a copy of the sumptuous MGM musical Kiss Me Kate, with Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel and young hoofers Bob Fosse & Tommy Rall competing for Ann Miller’s machine-gun taps., in — wait for it — 3D, its screen original format. Cineaste extraordinare Hartt unspools the classic Cole Porter musical this Sunday and next at 5 pm at his Cineforum HQ at Bathurst & College. Adds Reg: “Bring your own popcorn and we will zap it for you.”

WILLIAMS: ReelWorld decade

Hmmmm, wonder if Stratford’s Kiss Me Kate star Juan Chiorian, now on stage at the Factory Theatre in The Madonna Painter, has ever seen this version? … fan faves Colin Mochrie & Deb McGrath guest with Ron James tonight at 8 pm on CBC Television …  the Kate Rogers Band performs live tomorrow morning on CBC Radio One’s GO! Show. “Tickets are free and everyone is welcome!” sez Ms Rogers … speaking of tickets, you can still snag some for this weekend’s performances of the National Ballet’s spectacular Sleeping Beauty revival before it closes Sunday .. and can you believe that Tonya Lee Williams’ ReelWorld Film Festival, the little movie marathon that grew, celebrates its 10th anniversary next spring? Ms Williams, of course, is currently stationed in Washington, D.C. — on screen, at least — in The Border. And BTW, the ReelWorld call for submissions has already started. So if you have a feature, documentary, short, music video or animation from the Aboriginal, Asian, Black, Latino, Middle Eastern, South Asian or other multi-racial community, click here and fill out the submissions form.

Happy weekend!

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http://reelworld.ca/

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 …

-/-

Hollywood’s new Iron maiden

Woody Allen favourite Scarlett Johansson has joined the cast of the Iron Mansequel to play a deadly Russian superspy called Black Widow.  And she won’t be lonely because, as previously noted,

JOHANSSON: Iron Widow

JOHANSSON: Iron Widow

 

Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Cheadle, Sam Rockwell and Mickey Rourke are already on board …  after she leaves Broadway – her run in 33 Variationsends May 21 — Jane Fonda will collaborate on a new film project with Vagina Monologues creator Eve Ensler …  Margaret Atwoodguests with George Stroumboulopoulos tonight on The Hour … and Hot Docs will open April 30 at the Winter Garden with the world premiere of Act Of God, produced and directed by award-laden Manufactured Landscapescreator Jennifer Baichwal.

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QUOTABLE QUOTES:  “When we talk to God, we’re praying. When God talks to us, we’re schizophrenic.”
The speaker? Lily Tomlin’s brilliant partner-in-crime (and
comedy,) writer Jane Wagner.

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SPAMALOT:  Can’t wait to order my U.S. Government Grant Money CD so I can figure out how much of a bailout I need. Because I’m assured that this CD from the Grant Resource Center will help me take care of the rest.

Mind you, applications are limited and there is no guarantee that this introductory offer will last.

CARLIN: The One & Only

CARLIN: The One & Only

 

No, I’m not doing a George Carlin routine. My Junk Mail file (and yours too, I’ll bet) is chock full of special offers to help me survive the recession.

Luckily for me, my New Cash Advance Has Been Approved by the American Payday Corporation (“Bad Credit OK, receive payday within an hour!”) – or at least it was until I told them where to send the money.

“Sorry,” the American Payday Corporation replied, “we cannot service your country.”

Awwwwwww!

Never mind. Jennifer Baxter (she’s been keeping a low profle, working at home, raking in millions) has offered to put me on her Easy Road To Success (my very favourite road! The woman must be psychic!) – so I can Say Goodbye To Worry. Which I plan to do as soon as I send away for Shawn Casey’s free in-depth Internet markering course – I only pay shipping and handling costs – so I can learn the secrets the pros know, just as long as I grab it quick, before Shawn changes his mind.

Ah yes. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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WILLIAMS: the Reel thing

WILLIAMS: the Reel thing

 

BECOMING ATTRACTIONS: DanceWorks world-premieres William Yong’s Frames tonight at Harbourfront Centre’s Enwave Theatre … the Suitcase Theatre production of the family musical The House That Jack Built continues its run at 3pm daily through March 21 at the Church of the Redeemer at Bloor and Avenue Road … indefatigable Tonya Lee Williams launches her 9th (!!!) Annual ReelWorld Film Festival next month. Names of the films set for unspooling April 15-19 will be announced shortly. …  What Has Architecture Done For You Lately?,  a new exhibit at the Design Exchange, premieres the same night … and the Canadian Opera Company’s 10th Annual Fine Wine Auction is set for the following night, Thursday April 16, at Crush.

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SEE/HEAR:  She’s currently causing quite a stir on YouTube, and it’s not hard to see why.  Self-proclaimed culture bandit Vanessa Hidary, a shining light on the Def Poetry firmament, calls herself “The Hebrew Mamita.” She’s provocative, clever, thoughtful and, best of all, funny. See what all the fuss is about by clicking here.

Wow — it’s Watchmen and wowOwow!

Based on the much-lauded graphic novel, Watchmen is one of those rare page-to-screen translations that actually lives up to all its advance hype.

Visually eye-popping settings, spectacular special effects and just enough squirm-making suspense (yes, there will be blood) to keep it real. Plot twists are frequent and surprising, and the setting – America reeling under Richard Nixon’s fourth (!!) term in office — offers an intriguing mix of political fact and ficton. One of the nicest surprises is the tunefully clever soundtrack featuring, among others, Leonard Cohen and Simon & Garfunkel, whose songs are used to unexpected advantage here.

AKERMAN: Watchwoman

AKERMAN: Watchwoman

Director Zack Snyder (300,) an old hand at this, keeps the pot on such a high boil that despite its substantial running time Watchmen holds us entranced from start to finish. And he gets stellar support from his cast. Transplanted Toronto charmer Malin Akerman, who graced the Warner Bros. sneak preview at AMC Dundas Square last night, is a stand-out as Silk Spectre II, and Grey’s Anatomy scene-stealer Jeffrey Dean Morgan probably gets the most screen time as The Comedian.

Because Watchmen also provides back-story bios of its key protagonists, viewers are bound to pick their own favourites.  Happily they’ll have lots to choose from, because Billy Crudup, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Goode, Jackie Earle Haley and Stephen McHattie also make the most of their complex graphic comic book characters.

(McHattie will be doing double-duty this month. He stars in Bruce MacDonald’s TIFF tongue-wagger Pontypool, also opening this weekend.)

Not for the kiddies, Watchmen is nonetheless great fun, exquisitely executed.

BTW, the website is kinda neat too. You can check it out here.


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Where have I been?

Up until Liz Smith got fired last week, I’d never even heard of wowOwow.com.

So if I can‘t read Liz in the New York Post  — their loss, her gain – and can’t always be near a TV set for her showbiz reports on NBC, where else can I find her?

BERGEN: blogger

BERGEN: brainy blogger

“I will contiuue to blog,” said Liz last week, “on wowOwow.com” – an internet address that looked like a major typo to me.

Au contraire, mes amis!

Yes, Virginia, there really is a wowOwow.com. It stands for Women On the Web, and on it Liz serves up her Daily Dish with her usual style and panache. And she’s in very good company, because her fellow wowOwow.com bloggers include such brainy belles as Candice Bergen, Lily Tomlin and her brilliant partner Jane Wagner, Whoopi Goldberg and Marlo Thomas, just to mention a few.

I know what you’re thinking. Yes, yes, it’s true, they’re all painfully shy girls, far too reticent to share their opinions.

No, wait, that’s wallflower.com.

I always get those two confused.

In the meantime, check out www.wowOwow.com  for yourself. Because it’s lots of fun.

And considering who lives there, why wouldn’t it be?

What a difference a dame makes.