Tag Archives: JENNIFER BAICHWAL

Mad Men beat the odds, Piers interrupts, and Griffiths, Healey & MacIvor spark T.O. theatre

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Oscar owners Cuba Gooding Jr. and Mira Sorvino and small-screen scene-stealers Bradley Whitford and Lucy Liu are among the stars currently shooting new TV pilots in L.A. …  filmmaker

ATWOOD: Payback at TIFF

Jennifer Baichwal and Margaret Atwood get the red carpet treatment at TIFF Bell Lightbox tonight for the Canadian premiere of Payback, the new Baichwal doc based on Atwood’s Payback: Debt And The Shadow Side Of Wealth. The Q&A  following the By Invitation Only screening will be hosted by Walrus senior editor Sasha Chapman …  Parks And Recreation laugh-getter Nick Offerman has been cast in Diablo Cody’s directorial debut …  and don’t say we didn’t warn ya: Both of Daniel Lanois’s March 23-24 concerts with Brian Blade at the Great Hall in Toronto are completely sold out. The concerts coincide with Lanois’ induction into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame during Canadian Music Week.

STAGE STRUCK: Three stage giants are set to share their remarkable talents with Toronto theatergoers in the next three weeks. First up is Linda Griffiths, who will reprise her bravura performance as Margaret Trudeau in a reading of

MACIVOR: world premiere

Maggie and Pierre this Saturday at Theatre Passe Muraille, staged by Paul Thompson. Thompson will  also play P.E.T to her Maggie. (Wow, what a way to spend St. Patrick’s Day!) Then, two nights later at TPM, on Monday March 19, Michael Healey will appear in his latest play, Proud, a script Tarragon Theatre reportedly declined to produce for fear of incurring the wrath of the PMO. And two weeks later Tarragon playwright-in-residence Daniel MacIvor, who recently dazzled us with a stunning revival of His Greatness, will premiere his new play Was Spring on April 4 at Tarragon with Clare Coulter, Caroline Gillis and Jessica Moss.  Talk about yer embarrassments of riches! If I were you I’d start dialing for ducats right now.

INTERVIEWUS INTERRUPTUS: He was a solid Celebrity Apprentice, and an appealing if impatient judge on America’s Got Talent but I suspect the romance is over between the public and Piers Morgan.  As the current

MORGAN: interrupter

occupant of Larry King‘s coveted nightly spot on CNN, he’s constantly attracting some of the biggest names in show business, sports and politics — and then constantly interrupting them, clearly bored by their responses.  At one point I thought he was getting over himself; turns out I was wrong. In my opinion Morgan  is absolutely capable of delivering the goods — but only when he pauses long enough to listen, which he does all too rarely. Says Manhattan gossip girl Liz Smith: “Piers Morgan will never warm the cockles of my heart, but I suppose some people enjoy his smirky style.“ Ouch!

IT’S A MAD, MAD WORLD: New Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award winner Matt Weiner, creator of US cable hit Mad Men, is getting ready to  launch season five later this month. He told C21 that he wrote the pilot for the series before he even started working on HBO’s The Sopranos — but no one would touch it. “HBO rejected the show about 80 times,” he says. “Going to AMC

MAD MEN: taking the fifth (season)

wasn’t a choice; it was the only company that was interested. People were telling me how they felt so bad for me because no one was going to see my show. When Christina Hendricks agreed to be a series regular, her manager fired her.

WEINER: getting Mad

People would say to me: ‘You were executive producer on the most exciting show on TV [The Sopranos] and this is what you turned it into.'” Mad Men was the first original show that AMC picked up, and the network tried to coax Lionsgate into partnering with them. But Lionsgate thought the period-piece pilot was too expensive so AMC shouldered the cost of shooting it. When they saw it Lionsgate execs thought the pilot was extraordinary — which it was — and signed on for the series. Which is how we got to see Mad Men.  And how Mad Men got to become the first cable series the win the Emmy for Best Drama, which it has won every year for its first four seasons. And you thought making television was easy!

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Look, boys and girls, it’s THE RICK MERCI REPORT! … and no, that’s not a typo

BUT FIRST, TAKE A LOOK AT THIS: Canada’s most-watched man, Newfoundland export Rick Mercer, is slated to receive the 2012 ACTRA Award Of Excellence this weekend — yet another trophy to add to his countless Geminis,

HMMMM ... who's the guy with Bonhomme?

honorary doctorates and other accolades.  His weekly Rick Mercer Report, appointment viewing for thousands of Canadian families, is now in its 9th season, and neither he nor the show are showing any signs of slowing down.  How famous is he? So famous, apparently, that he and his show will soon be parodied by Kids’CBC. Yes, the home of cooking yam Mamma Yamma and singing dinosaur Drumheller is about to introduce its own Rick Merci Report, with another Maritimer, Saumon de Champlainplaying Rick. (Aside from his French accent and his vintage

DE CHAMPLAIN: casting coup

wardrobe and the fact that m’sieu de Champlain is, how you say it, a fish — hey, they could be twins.) Never mind — this we gotta see. Let’s hope the Merci Report attracts as many viewers as the original. More than one million Canadians tune in to Mercer’s Tuesday night telecasts, and an additional half million watch the same-week encore broadcast on Friday night. Mercer’s on the move again tonight, ice canoeing (brrrrrr!) at the Quebec the Winter Carnival and checking out Warming Hut installations (including one by Frank Gehry!!) at the Forks (brrrrrr!) in Winnipeg. And yes, there’s a Zamboni involved. And yes, it’s very funny stuff.

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “I think Margaret Atwood once said, ‘Wanting to meet an author because you like his books is like wanting to meet a duck because you like paté.’ ”

ATWOOD: It's Payback time

The speaker? Filmmaker Ethan Coen, at a film seminar in China last year. And speaking of film and Ms. Atwood,  look for her new collaboration with filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal, Payback, to premiere at TIFF Bell Lightbox next month. Baichwal and Atwood christened their new celluloid baby, based on Atwood’s 2008 bestseller,  to much ooohing and aaahing at Sundance last month. Insiders say Atwood on-screen is almost as fascinating as Atwood off-screen, and if that’s true Payback should really be something to see.

OUR TOWN: The National Film Board launches its salute to the National Ballet’s 60th anniversary season tonight with a week-long series of dance on film at the NFB Mediatheque on John Street. First up:  Celia Franca: Tour de

PINA: Oscar contender

Force  by Veronica Tennant, who will speak following the screening. An archival display highlighting the past 60 years of the National Ballet and an interactive station where visitors can watch a dance and film playlist will also be offered onsite … Amy Nostbakken opens her controversial one-woman show, The Big Smoke, at Factory Studio Theatre tonight. Already a hit in the U.K., the play is reportedly inspired by the lives of Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath and is described as a “poetic waltz with death which walks a fine line between sanity and psychosis.”  Sounds like tons o’ fun  … getting the

THOMPSON: one night only

urge to go Oscar-ing before Sunday’s Academy Awatds telecast? You can catch two major nominees at TIFF Bell Lightbox this week – Philippe Falardeau’s rave-winning drama Monsieur Lazhar, up for Best Foreign Film, and Wim Wenders’ eye-popping salute to dance great Pina Bausch, Pina, currently a strong contender for Best Documentary … and Scott Thompson brings back coy barfly Buddy Cole for a one-show-only appearance this Friday at Maggie Cassella’s Flying Beaver Pubaret on Parliament Street.

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Will U.S. nets buy Intelligence? Will lightning strike twice for Jennifer? … and other burning questions

OUR TOWN: Theatre Museum Canada opened a new exhibit Monday night at Hart House. REVIVAL: Remembering Theatre in Canada, curated by University of Toronto Museum Studies Masters student Alison Littleuses artifacts from

BAICHWAL: lightning bug?

BAICHWAL: lightning bug?

the Museum’s permanent collection to highlight performances, productions and personal memories. The exhibit is on view at Hart House at the Macdonald Heaslip Walkway of Theatre History, which is now designated as a year-round display space for Theatre Museum treasures … The Alliance of Children & Television, which celebrates its 35th (!!!) anniversary this year, will hand out 13 Awards Of Excellence to different Canadian production companies at its anniversary gala in Toronto on June 2 … and award-magnet Manufactured Landscapes director Jennifer Baichwal’s new doc Act Of God, about being struck by lightning, premieres tonight as the 2009 Hot Docs festival opener tonight before opening wide tomorrow.

JANNEY: playing Lily's part

JANNEY: playing Lily's part

FOOTLIGHTS:: Two major Broadway shows open tonight:  John Goodman and Nathan Lane start in Waiting for Godot at Studio 54 Theater; and Dolly Parton‘s musical version of her  movie hit 9 to 5, opens at the Marriott Marquis with Stephanie J. Block (The Boy From Oz,) Megan Hilty (Wicked) and West Wing alumnus Allison Janney in the roles originally played on screen by Jane Fonda, Dolly and Lily Tomlin   … also coming soon to the Great White Way: In two contrasted readings for the stage, playwright David Hare visits a place where a famous wall has come down (Berlin,) then another where a wall is going up (Israel.) Direct from an extended hit run in London, Berlin/Wall, written and performed by Hare and directed by Stephen Daldry, will have its U.S. premiere May 14-17 with a five performances at the Public Theatre … and off the-barre performances by Tokyo dance artist Ko Murobushi, Seoul’s Post Ego Dance Company and Vancouver father and daughter team Mira Hunter and Raqib Brian Burke are among the treats promised by the 2009 CanAsian International Dance Festival at Harbourfront Centre’s Fleck Dance Theatre May 6-9.

INTELLIGENCE: going south?

INTELLIGENCE: going south?

PEOPLE:  Writer-producer Chris Haddock (DaVinci’s Inquest) is refashioning his acclaimed CBC series Intelligence for American audiences. His retooled version is set in San Francisco, and U.S. producer John Wells (ER, Southland), is shopping it to U.S. cable networks. “I never give up,” Haddock told the New York Times. “I believe that everything can be understood through the lens of a dope deal” … and Slow Food pioneer, Italian author and recipient of the Planet in Focus International Eco Hero Award last fall, Carlo Petrini is in Toronto for a number of events including a public talk co-presented by Planet in Focus and the Italian Cultural Institute. An Evening of Conversation with Carlo Petrini, moderated by Harriet Friedmann of the Munk Centre on International Affairs, is set for this Saturday at 7pm at the Al Green Theatre. 

Nia’s life in ruins! New movies for Jason and Julia! Joan & Melissa make headlines for the Trumpster!

CELEBRITY ASSASSINS: Okay,  we’ve seen sizzling reality TV before, but for a junk TV food addict, Sunday night’s episode of Celebrity Apprentice was an epicurean feast. And it’s still making headlines.

RIVERS: shut out

RIVERS: shut out

What happened? Donald Trump said his two trademark words, “You’re fired!” to Melissa Rivers. Rivers got canned after being virtually shut out by her ‘teammates,’ gorgeous Playboy ornament Brande Roderick and cunning poker champ Annie Duke, in what TV blogger Bill Brioux describes as the “electric, best ever episode of Celebrity Apprentice.”

Melissa’s mom (Joan Rivers, as if you didn’t know) went ballistic when her daughter got fired and stormed out of the Trump Tower — but not after (bleep) sharing her thoughts (bleep) with Brande and (bleep) Annie.

“Not since the hair-pulling heyday of Dynasty has there been such a catfight on TV,” said video veteran Brioux yesterday. “It was the ultimate, diva-in-flames exit, times two, the kind of thing (producer) Mark Burnett probably dreams about.”

Melissa said yesterday she had exploded because of exhaustion after a long shooting day.

She initially refused to do a post-firing interview, a standard feature of the series, but said she went back the next day.

“I really wanted to take a deep breath,” Rivers said. “It had been a very difficult few weeks of being attacked emotionally and personally. There’s only so much you can take.”

How sizzling was it? Go to Brioux’s website TV Feeds My Family and see for yourself. He even has video of the meltdown, “for as long as it stays up at YouTube:”  And you can check it out right here.

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BYRNE: going Greek?

BYRNE: going Greek?

FLICKERS:  Director Jason Reitman (Juno) next opus is up in the air – but that’s okay. His new flick with George Clooney is called, you guessed it, Up In The Air  … Oscar nominee Richard Jenkins will join Oscar owner Julia Roberts for the big-screen adaptation of the best-selling Eat, Pray. Love …  Rose Byrne, so good as Glenn Close’s near-fatal foil in the hypnotic TV drama Damages, will co-star with Sean Combs in Get Him To The Greek … this year’s Genie Award winner for Best Documentary, the powerful film Up the Yangtze returns for an encore presentation on CBC-TV’s Passionate Eye this Sunday, May 3, at 10 p.m, … and My Big Fat Greek Wedding star Nia Vardalos returns to her roots for her new film, My Life In Ruins, in which she plays a tour guide in Athens who has to deal with, among others, Harland Williams, Rachel Dretch and Richard Dreyfuss.  Can’t wait to see it? For a sneak preview, click here.

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STREEP: box office darling?

STREEP: box office darling?

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: After touring Canada more than a dozen times with his band the Cosmic Crew, Chris Colepaugh will guest with Roch Voisine’s band when Voisine tours of France, Switzerland and Belgium next month. Colepaugh will play pedal steel, mandolin and more on the tour, which starts at the end of May, runs through June and then picks up again in November and December … Debbie Reynolds, still kicking up her heels at 77, is set to bring her cabaret act to NYC’s Café Carlyle June 2 – 27.  And you can do her bidding, so to speak, by bidding on two tickets to her show, now being auctioned on charitybuzz.com, benefiting SOS Children’s Villages International, housing orphans with AIDS. Debbie will meet the winners after her performance, pose for pix, and lift a glass to good deeds in a naughty world (and surviving MGM?) … and Meryl Streep, a boffo box-office draw for female audiences ever since The Devil Wears Prada and Mamma Mia, says it’s “completely improbable” that she’s become the queen of counter-programming. “No one in Hollywood can understand it!” she told Entertainment Weekly.  “We’re so used to seeing movies about dysfunctional relationships. Here are these outsized, vivid, problematic women with great men of substance who love them in spite of all their prickliness.” She and her Doubt co-star (and fellow Oscar nominee) Amy Adams team up again in Julia & Julia, scheduled to preem in August. In this one Adams plays a somewhat unlikely acolyte to master chef Julia Child (Streep,) with Meryl’s Prada co-star Stanley Tucci joining in the fun.

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ON YOUR MARK, GET SET: Tickets are going fast for Reporting in Afghanistan, the public forum hosted by CBC Toronto to mark World Press Freedom Day. To reserve your free ticket for this event, which is set for the Glenn Gould Studio tomorrow from 12:30 -2 pm, send an email to events@cbc.ca with your name, telephone local and the number of tickets you require … and nominations for The Comedy Network’s 2009 Canadian Comedy Awards & Festival in St. John, New Brunswick close this Thursday. You can enter online or by mail, but all mailed entries must be postmarked no later than April 30, 2009. So you only have two days left. To enter online just click here.

 

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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.