Tag Archives: JAY LENO

Tommy turns 75, Celine & Tony sound off, Kelly & Jay play Fallsview and Arlene writes a bestseller

SHARPS & FLATS:  Crowd-pleasers Kelly Clarkson and Jay Leno are both set to entertain at Fallsview Casino next month, with the increasingly popular World Rock Symphony Orchestra now set to return in April …

PIECZONKA: Toronto Tosca

sublime Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka continues to dazzle as Tosca in the lavish COC production at the Four Seasons Centre now through Feb. 25 …  Daniel Lanois is set for two CBC Music concerts next month at the Great Hall on Queen Street.  The concerts coincide with Lanois’ induction into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame during Canadian Music Week festivities that same week … and legendary country gentleman Tommy Hunter will celebrate his 75th birthday by hanging up his guitar once and for all. Currently on tour, he’ll blow out the candles at a splashy birthday party in London, ON, on March 20, right after he gives his final concert at the John Labatt Centre. Should be quite a night!

HATS OFF:  To Tony Bennett and Celine Dion, who skipped the platitudes and went straight to the heart of Whitney Houston’stragic demise. Bennett says he has received mostly positive reaction to his statement urging the legalization of drugs in the U.S.

HUNTER: birthday boy

Legalization, he believes, would get rid of all the gangsters. “One thing I’ve learned about young people, when you say ‘Don’t do this,’ that’s the one thing they’re going to try and do. Once it’s legal and everybody can do it, there is no longer the desire to do something that nobody else can do.” Bennett, now 85, survived his own cocaine habit in the late ‘70s. Houston, who was 48, had admitted to using cocaine, marijuana and pills in the past. Dion, who is now, 43, considered Houston  “an amazing inspiration” but was clearly upset that “drugs, bad people, bad influences, took over her dreams, her motherhood,” she told Good Morning America this week. “When you

DION: remembering Whitney

think about Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson — to get into drugs like that for whatever reason – because of stress, bad influence, whatever — something happens that I don’t understand. That’s why I’m scared of show business, of drugs and hanging out. That’s why I don’t go to parties!” The private By Invitation Only funeral for Houston is set for tomorrow in New Jersey.

AND YES, YOU SHOULD TAKE IT PERSONALLY:  She’s worth millions and demonstrates how she got there every week on CBC’s megahit series Dragons’ Den.  But Arlene Dickinson shares even more of herself in her first (but, I predict, not her last) bestselling book, Persuasion, with some hard-won personal advice that everyone can use. “It’s a good idea,” she notes, “to take a hard look at your own narrative. Think about how you’d tell your life story to a Hollywood producer, how you’d explain the highs and lows. Have you cast yourself as a victim of circumstance? If so, maybe your story could use a rewrite, starting with the lead character who has choices – and sometimes makes the wrong ones.”

DICKINSON: persuasive life lessons

Making the wrong ones is something Dickinson knows about. She’s made quite a few herself. But, as she points out, those of us who have made some wrong choices along the way are in good company. High achievers are mistake makers, a fact she illustrates with engaging examples from Henry Ford to Oprah. (My favorite? Thomas Edison’s perspective on his many unsuccessful attempts to invent the light bulb. “I didn’t fail one thousand times. The lightbulb was an invention with one thousand steps.”)

Persuasion is about the art of connecting with the person you seek to persuade. It’s about caring. And about how to master “a little-known secret to success in business”  – listening. But because Dickinson makes it personal, Persuasion is much more than a How To book; it’s a survival guide for the mind and, sometimes, the soul. And within that survival guide are some valuable insights on corporate culture. “Staying in a situation you hate and complaining about everything that’s wrong, but never trying to fix it, doesn’t make you a martyr. It makes you complicit.”  Similarly, her views on our ability to choose the consequences of failure are bracing and refreshing. Bitterness is not an option, she insists, and shares another favorite quote, this one by mathematician Blaise Pascal: “Bitterness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

As CEO of Venture Communications she also has  some genuinely amusing business stories to tell, including the time one of her partners,  trying to save the company money, arranged for her team to stay on a friend’s sailboat off Vancouver Island instead of paying for pricey Vancouver hotel rooms. When they arrived at the dock she noticed that the boat’s name was Important Business  — andsuddenly realized what my partners meant when they told me in the past that they work ‘going away on important business.’ They were talking about this sailboat!”

Stylish on screen and off, she appreciates the fame that television has brought her but resists the urge to take it for granted. “I have exactly the same insecurities anyone has,” she admits. “If anything, they’re even more overwhelming when you know a couple of million people are seeing all your flaws in high definition!” And despite the fact that her on-screen chemistry with fellow Dragon Kevin O’Leary has made her an audience favourite, her account of her auditions for Dragons’ Den (yes, she had to do more than one) and how she had to discipline her own self-doubts to get the job — she replaced another Dragon when she came to the series in its second season — is intriguing inside stuff.

Of course that’s why Persuasion is a bestseller. It’s a hypnotic, hard-to-put-down book of life lessons shared by someone who had to learn most of them the hard way. As Arlene Dickinson sees it, the main obstacle standing in our way is, not surprisingly, us. “Our past shapes and influences who we are, but it doesn’t limit who we can become.” Persuasion, as promised, is a new approach to changing minds. And although she preaches the power of persuasion, she urges her readers to be sure of their objectives, be they personal or professional. “Before you set out to persuade someone,” Dickinson writes, “you need to be certain that you actually want what you’re asking for. Because you just might get it.”

*     *     *

Advertisements

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.

-/-

 

Wonder Woman sings, Citytv goes cross-border shopping (sigh), and Dame Judi does it again!

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: It’s official — Evan Rachel Wood will play Mary Jane Watson and Tony Award winner Alan Cumming will play Norman Osborn (the Green Goblin) in the new musical, Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, which will

CARTER: Billboard Belle

CARTER: Billboard Belle

make its Broadway debut next February 25. Tony Award winner Julie Taymor will direct the show, which will feature music and lyrics by Bono and The Edge of U2. The musical, based on the Marvel Comics character, follows the story of teenager Peter Parker, whose life is turned upside-down — literally — when he’s bitten by a genetically altered spider … heiress Cinda Firestone, family inheritor of automobile tire millions, is writing the book and lyrics for the upcoming Broadway musical Family Fortune, to be

BONO: Broadway-bound

BONO: Broadway-bound

produced by her husband, Manny Fox, the guy behind the hit 1981 Duke Ellington musical Sophisticated Ladies … ex-TV Wonder Woman Lynda Carter, who started out as a singer, finally got around to making that romantic jazz album, and was thrilled to discover that her CD, appropriately called At Last, is now on the Billboard charts. Ear-pleasers include her vocalizing on such standards as George Gershwin’s Summertime, James Taylor’s The Secret of Life, and the Etta James title tune … count Canada A.M. host Seamus O’Regan among Melody Gardot‘s fervent fans. O’Regan, who regards Gardot as an “incredible jazz singer and a mind-blowing songwriter,” says her show here this week was “a concert we’ll talk of in years to come. She entranced the room” … and did you notice that the three top music-makers on the latest Forbes’ magazine’s annual earnings were all women? Madonna, Céline and Beyoncé took first, second and third place respectively; Bruce Springsteen finished a fairly distant fourth.

MY REAL SPACE = MY FLAT SCREEN TV: The consensus that teenagers are abandoning television for the internet is not true – or so says a new report

COX: on Citytv

COX: on Citytv

from ratings counter A. E. Nielsen. According to the study television viewing rates among teens in the U.S. have actually gone up six per cent in the last five years, despite the growth of social media networks and video sites like My Space, Facebook and YouTube … veteran awards show producer Lynn Harvey will once again stage the Gemini Awards, but this time in Calgary, in November, for exec Joe Novak’s Joe Media … and Rogers Media is prepping new acquisition Citytv to compete with rivals CTV and Canwest Global. So beginning this fall Citytv, once the quintessential Toronto station, will simulcast 16 hours of U.S. programming in prime time, including new series with Jenna Elfman, Courteney Cox and Ed O’Neill, and Jay Leno’s new show, which will run nightly at 10 p.m. This summer City is running the U.K. version of Law & Order (do we really need another one???) This fall its Canadian content will include chef Marc Thuet’s new reality show Conviction Kitchen and the second season of the made-in-Winnipeg sitcom Less Than Kind. All of which sounds less than kind to me.

DENCH: quite the Dame

DENCH: quite the Dame

JUDI JUDI JUDI: Talk about yer star power! BBC Worldwide and WGBH are co-producing Cranford 2, a sequel to the award-winning mini-series Cranford for PBS’ Masterpiece Classic series, with Judi Dench, Imelda Staunton, Francesca Annis, Eileen Atkins, Jonathan Pryce, Tim Curry and Tom Hiddleston. And some devoted Dench fans are just now discovering that Dame Judi is the same dame who sang and danced up a storm in big  musicals like Cabaret and A Little Night Music when those big Broadway musicals played London‘s West End theatre district? And yes, her interpretation of Send In The Clowns is spectacular. And, thanks to YouTube, you can watch her do it again, just by clicking here. Enjoy!

HOWARD: campaigning, Hollywood-style

HOWARD: campaigning, Hollywood-style

SEE/HEAR: Amazing in this digital day and age what you can still miss. When when the world was watching the U.S. race for president, I was transfixed by Tina Fey’s send-up of Sarah Palin. And I knew of many celebrities who were actively stumping for Barrack Obama. But I had no idea that director Ron Howard would go to the lengths he did – even enlisting his former TV dad Andy Griffiths and his former Happy Days sidekick Henry Winkler – to make a video message just as clever and as classy as he is. Old news to you? Probably. But just in case you were washing your hair that day and missed it, like I did, you can still see it, just by clicking right here.

Now is that historic or what???

TOMORROW:

A Saturday Special

-/-

500 channels, and not a single show I want to see. (Yeah, yeah, we know, awreddy!!

Wishing you could get away from reruns? 

 

HEATON: sans Raymond

HEATON: sans Raymond

Lots of new shows are coming our way from our next-door neighbours. But hey — be careful what you wish for.

 Accidentally On Purpose is a new CBS sitcom in which Jenna Elfman (Dharma & Greg) plays a film critic who gets pregnant after having a one-night stand and decides to raise the baby as a single mother. (I know, I know – hilarious.) Brothers is a new Fox sitcom starring Michael Strahan as a retired NFL star who is reunited with his brother whose promising football career ended because of a car accident. (Hey, the laffs just keep coming!) Modern Family is a new ABC sitcom written

GRAMMER: new series

GRAMMER: new series

 and produced by Christopher Lloyd and Steve Levitan about three different families seen through the lens of a Dutch documentary filmmaker and his crew (think The Office with accents and Married With Children anti-hero Ed O’Neill,) Cougar Town, exec produced by Courtney Cox Arquette, casts Friends alumnus Courtney as a divorced 40-year-old woman with a 17-year-old son and a 26-year-old lover. (Yup — problems ensue.) Patricia Heaton’s new ABC sitcom, sans Raymond, is The Middle, Her character, a car dealer salesperson, “is middle class in the middle of the country and approaching middle age.” And Hank is a new ABC sitcom, exec produced by Kelsey Grammer, who plays a washed-up Wall Street executive who is forced to return to his hometown and reconnect with his old friends. (James Burrows directed the pilot that got the green light. This is a good thing.)

GROSS: devilish

GROSS: devilish

New hour-long dramas set to go head-to-toe with Jay Leno’s new nightly gabfest include The Beautiful Life, exec-produced for CW by twitterbug Ashton Kutcher, about a group of young male and female would-be models in New York. with Elle Macpherson and Mischa Barton. The CBS drama Three Rivers with Julia Ormond tells the backstory of organ donors and their lucky (sometimes) recipients. NBC is in the medical mix too, with Trauma, about first responder paramedics. “When emergencies occur, the

MARGULIES:  Good Wife

MARGULIES: Good Wife

 trauma team from San Francisco General is first on the scene.” Jerry Bruckheimer’s new ABC drama The Forgotten spotlights a group of amateur sleuths who take on John/Jane Doe cases to identify the victims so that they can bring their killers to justice. And Joseph Fiennes gets madly mixed up with quantum physics in ABC’s FlashForward,

Classiest of all fhe new drama entries: The new Tony & Ridley Scott venture, The Good Wife, with Julianna Margulies, Chris Noth and Christine Baranski; Parenthood, a “contemporary re-imagining” of the hit Steve Martin film, exec produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, with: Bonnie Bedelia, Peter Krause and Craig T. Nelson; and Eastwick, a shot at re-spinning the hit flick Witches Of Eastwick, with angelic leading man Paul Gross inheriting Jack Nicholson’s devilish role.

Now that should be something to see!

-/-

Good morning, mid-May. Spring is finally sprung.

PIANO MAN, UHHH, KID, UHHH, BOY, UHHHH, GENIUS:  Six-year old piano prodigy Ethan Bortnick returns to rub elbows with Jay Leno 

BORTNICK: remember wheb?

BORTNICK: remember when?

tonight on The Tonight Show. At the risk of being mistaken for my favourite Insight gurus Shirley MacLaine, do we really believe this charming moppet has learned the more than 220 tunes he tickles out of those ivories? No, we do not. We believe he is remembering and re-imagining a talent from at least one of his past lives. But he’s so engaging, and so much fun, and every inch a little old man hiding in a little boy’s body, that I can”t wait to see him again with Jay tonight. If you missed his first stint with Jay, click here and enjoy!

* * * 

CULLEN: human?

CULLEN: human?

 

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Hat trick charmers Stacie Mistysyn (Degrassi), Daniel Cook (This is Daniel Cook) and Rachel Marcus (Booky) will co-host a special 35th anniversary edition of the annual Alliance for Children and Television Awards of Excellence Gala in Toronto on June 3 at CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio … Christina Jennings’ new series The Listener premieres June 4 on Space, CTV and NBC … and Sean Cullen brings his I Am A Human Man Tour to T.O.’s Panasonic Theatre on Sunday May 31. 

* * *

FOOTLIGHTS:  Thirteen months after a sold-out 10-show run, playwright and director Judith Thompson remounts Body & Soul, the powerful and

SCHULTZ: Awake and ...?

SCHULTZ: Awake and ...?

provocative play that astonished and moved audiences in its original incarnation.  This groundbreaking production returns for a two-and-a-half weeks only, opening June 6 at Tarragon Theatre’s Extra Space …  Soulpepper chief Albert Schultz opens Clifford Odets’ turbulent comedy-drama Awake And Sing! on June 16 at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts … and award-winning theatre artist Tracey Erin Smith returns to T.O. with The Burning Bush, a new theatrical extravaganza that combines her two hit solo shows The Burning Bush! and Two in the Bush! Smith, who plays a ‘stripping rabbi’ who saves souls one lap dance at a time, will test-drive her new show in New York  (talk about yer out-of-town try-outs!) before opening June 18 at the above-mentioned Young Centre for the Performing Arts.

* * *

CHOY: lunch delicacyt?

CHOY: lunch delicacy?

 

LITERATI: Bookseller Ben McNally is set to serve up Wayson Choy and his new bestseller Not Yet at the Globe & Mail Authors Brunch at the King Eddie on May 24 …  Jerry Levitan will launch the illustrated book version of his Oscar-nominated autobiographical saga I Met The Walrus at Indigo Eaton Centre on May 25 …  and BNN’s Amanda Lang has been tapped to referee the Walrus Magazine-hosted debate Do Canada’s Counter-Terrorism Measures Unduly Compromise Privacy And Freedom? Opposing debaters will be author Daniel Stoffman (Are We Safe Yet?) and Toronto Star national affairs columnist Thomas Walkom.  The intellectual bun-flight, one of The Walrus’ series of Lively Lunch Debates, is set for Thursday May 28 in the 68th floor York Room at First Canadian Place, and promises to be highly stimulating. So how come it sounds like an elective root canal? Or is that just me …

* * *

NEW WORLD ORDER: Web savants Coldplay will be giving away an exclusive live CD, titled LeftRightLeftRightLeft, to all fans attending their  Viva La Vida summer tour and at every remaining live show in 2009.  The CD will also be

ALLEN: discounted?

ALLEN: discounted?

available as a free download during the same time period through their website http://www.coldplay.com. Their Canadian tour starts June 15 in Winnipeg, hits the Rogers Centre in T.O. on July 30 and wraps Aug. 1 at Parc Jean-Drapeau in Montreal … Search Engine, the popular online podcast and radio show that was a victim of CBC’s recent cost-cutting, is moving to TVO. Search Engine was canceled on radio last year, but it lived on a podcast, where it found a devoted audience … EMI Music has made a deal with the Fairmont hotel chain givng Fairmont guests exclusive access to discounts on digital music and other music related experiences from artists such as Coldplay, Moby, Lily Allen, Keith Urban, Katy Perry, The Beach Boys and more … and in a Canadian first, Corus is now offering direct iTunes accessibility on 11 of its radio station websites, allowing listeners to shop from playlists featured on the stations as well as top picks from on-air talent and celebrity guests.

Ain’t showbiz grand?

-/-