Tag Archives: LEONARD COHEN

Today’s Top Tips: Bernie & Ruby, a slapshtick night at the Opera, and where to take Mom on Sunday

I’LL TAKE ROMANCE: Just added two movies to my Must See list that I didn’t know even existed until quite recently. The first one is Bernie, a black comedy based on a true story about the ill-fated romance of a young mortician

MACLAINE & BLACK: Must See new movie

and a not-so-youthful Texas widow. Jack Black is the mortician. Shirley MacLaine is the widow. I think you’ll understand why I’m dying (you should pardon the expression) to see it after you click on this sneak preview. The second movie on my new Must list is Ruby Sparks. It’s about a young novelist (Paul Dano) struggling with both his writing and his romantic life. Then he creates a character named Ruby who inspires him. And then he finds Ruby (Zoe Kazan), in the flesh, somehow manifested by his writing, sitting on his couch. Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening and Elliot Gould are along for

DANO: Sparks f;ly

the ride, which to me strongly resembles a romantic rollercoaster. Click here for the sneak preview of that one.

SHOWSTOPPER: It’s just one of those songs/that you hear now and then/you don’t know just where/you don’t know just when …  but you sure know it when you hear it. There is a soft stirring in the audience at the Four Seasons Centre this month as soon as the first strains of Puccini’s haunting melody O mio babbino caro come soaring up from the orchestra pit during every performance of Gianni Schicchi. The surprise for some of us less well-versed in operatic endeavours is that this beautiful ballad comes right in the middle of a slapstick farce about a greedy family trying to cheat monks out of an inheritance.

THE GAMG’S ALL HERE: A family schemes as Puccini serenades

Aided and abetted by a brilliant ensemble, soprano-turned-director Catherine Malfitano displays a fearless flare for broad comedy that suggests she’s a serious fan of such screwball classics as Weekend At Bernie’s and Fire Sale, and Wilson Chin’s stylishly topsy-turvy set consistently keeps us in on the

MAYNARD: first visit here

joke. The lush musical score, sensitively and splendidly conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, makes the contrast even more appealing, and Simone Osborne’s rich vocalizing on O mio babbino caro earns every minute of the tumultuous applause she receives. Check it out at www.coc.ca.

Still not quite sure which aria it is? To watch Montserrat Caballe’s version, click here; to watch Maria Callas’ sing it to Japanese fans in Tokyo, click here. And, enjoy!

OUR TOWN: Lots of sparklies on the radar this week. New Brit pop music sensation Conor Maynard, who’s 19 if he’s a day, was on hand to co-host New.Music.Live on MuchMusic last night. This morning he’ll make live

JOHNSON: on stage this week

appearances on the KISS 92.5 Morning show at 8 a.m. and CP24 Breakfast at 8:45 a.m. So will he sing Can’t Say No? Whaddya think? …  enduring pop music siren Tabby Johnson entertains Thursday night at Maggie Cassella’s Flying Beaver Pubaret … Jayzm Bee hosts Word Jazz – “ten poets doing ten minutes each in a truly unique evening of spoken word” — with Don Francks, Robert Preist, Dale Percy, Myna Wallin, Phatt Al, Mike Schram, Chris Hercules, Amanda Hiebert, Howard “Dr. Possibility” Jerome, Mike Hanson and Bruce Hunter, Thursday night at the Now Lounge on Church Street …. also this Thursday: Betty Buckley kicks off the 15th and final We’re

COHEN: he’s Our Man

Funny That Way festival with a concert at Buddies In Bad Times that’s sure to be spellbinding …  don’t say I didn’t warn ya: This Friday’s night concert by the legendary Lighthouse rock orchestra at the Molson Canadian Studio in Hamilton is expected to go SRO … so is female illusionist Christopher Peterson’s Saturday night WFTW festival show at Buddies … also on Saturday: The Three Lennys, a special Toronto Jewish Film Festival screening of three Leonard Cohen films at the Bloor Cinema in honour of the recently-announced ninth recipient of the Glenn Gould Prize. And before Cohen receives his newest accolade next Monday at a gala evening at Massey Hall, local musicians will take to the streets to play his music all over downtown Toronto. So keep your eyes and ears open!

RICHARDSON: Sunday salon stint

SUNDAY’S SPECIAL: Looking for significant stuff to do on Mother’s Day? Look no further.  Take her to The Flying Beaver Pubaret on Parliament for a 1 pm jazz brunch with Shannon Gunn on Vocals, Reg Schrager on guitar and Rosemary Galloway on bass, or a 7 pm Mother’s Day concert by singer-songwriter Duff MacDonaldJackie Richardson joins Paul Hoffert at his weekly jazz salon at Musideum on Richmond on Sunday at 3 pm … Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie have added an extra show to their world premiere of From the House of Mirth,

THOMPSON: Glory-watcher

directed and choreographed by James Kudelka, at the Citadel — which means you now have a choice of two Sunday performances (3 pm & 8 pm) …  Judith Thompson previews her new one-woman show, Watching Glory Die, in a staged reading this Sunday at 2 pm at the Factory Theatre … just looking for something special to slip in the envelope with that Hallmark card? The National Ballet of Canada is offering a special Mother’s Day deal on its upcoming premiere of Hamlet. Buy tickets to see the high-flying Prince of Denmark on Friday June 8 and get 30% off the price of tickets, in all sections. To take full advantage of this special I Love Mom promotion, click here!

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Redford channels Nia, Kudelka builds a House of Mirth in Peterborough, and TIFF chats up Ms Turner

OUR TOWN: Talk about your embarrassment of riches. Monday May 7 must hold some special showbiz magic, because that’s night that enduring stage and screen siren Kathleen Turner will be on deck for an In Conversation

TURNER: at TIFF Bell Lightbox

session at Tiff Bell Lightbox. Also set to light up the Lightbox that night is another talk-and-tell event from the Canadian Film Centre’s Test Pattern series, with Mad Men executive producers Andre & Maria Jacquemetton. And just down the street, at Oliver & Bonacini’s re-dazzled Arcadian Loft, a few dozen of our brightest sparklies will engage in fund-raising wordplay at the 8th annual Scrabble With The Stars, co-hosted by perennial favourites Jeanne Beker and Barry FlatmanAdrienne Clarkson will salute Leonard Cohen the following Monday, May 14, at

CLARKSON; kind words for a poet

Massey Hall, when he’s feted for winning the ninth Glenn Gould Prize, Musicians set to serenade include his son Adam Cohen, the Cowboy Junkies and Gordon Pinsent with his new sidekicks Greg Keelor and Travis Good … and James Kudelka is premiering his new work, House Of Mirth, in Peterborough next week before opening here at The Citadel on May 9.  Produced by Coleman Lemieux & Co., it’s based on the Edith Wharton novel of the same name. Set in the 1890s, it features four female dancers (including the iridescent Laurence Lemieux,) four male opera singers and five-piece chamber orchestra, in a setting designed to evoke a 19th-century society salon. After its run of performances here in Toronto, Kudelka may take House Of Mirth to The Mount, Wharton’s estate in Massachusetts, and possibly on to New York,

LEMIEUX: a House Of Mirth in Peterborough

REDFORD: movie lover

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Remember I Hate Valentine’s Day, the romantic comedy written by and starring My Big Fat Greek Wedding screen-stealer Nia Vardalos? Me neither. But fans of the Sundance Channel are about to discover it for the first time, because Robert Redford has chosen Nia’s neglected rom-com for his new series, Robert Redford Presents. Set to debut tomorrow night, Redford will kick off his series with the 1996 version of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible with Daniel Day-Lewis and Winona Ryder. Already the Creative director of the Sundance Channel, Redford will now curate rates and critique independent movies weekly. Also on his personal Must list: Tony Scott’s Domino with

COLLINS: on stage tonight

Kiera Knightley and Mickey Rourke, and David Lynch’s Blue Velvet with Dennis Hopper and Isabella Rossellini (as if you didn’t know) … TV drama exec Robin Neinstein, who put his career as a director (Souvenir Of Canada) on hold six years ago when he became a CBC production exec, is exiting the Mother Corp to join the Original Programming production team at Shaw …  Marvin Dolgay, Eva Everything, Michael Hirsh, David Hoffert, Paul Hoffert, Marilyn Lightstone, Maria Topalovich and Elaine Waisglass were among the showbiz boldface who turned out for shutterbug Brenda Hoffert‘s new-and-improved Shoes exhibition at the Cecile & Harry Pearl Gallery last night …  and get ready to laugh when funny girl Carla Collins takes the stage tonight and tomorrow night at Maggie Cassella’s Flying Beaver Pubaret on Parliament.

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Ms Mirren gets to put the bogus bite on Mr. Crystal, but will Mr. Doyle get to play another Endgame?

WHEN BILLY MET HELEN: Great news – Rob Reiner and Billy Crystal have teamed up again to make the long-awaited much-anticipated sequel to When Harry Met Sally, and in addition to casting great supporting players like Maya Rudolph they’ve snagged Helen Mirren for a key romantic role. In keeping with the times, director Reiner promises that When Harry Met Sally 2 will be a comedy with a substantial bite to it.  To see the already-controversial sneak preview, click here – and enjoy!

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Canuck comedy sensation Russell Peters hosts his own Just For Laughs special tomorrow night on CBC with his

COHEN: Gould Prize winner

own handpicked supporting cast of merry men, namely Jeremy Hotz, Jimmy Carr, Sebastian Maniscalco and Nick Thune … jury members who voted the selection of Leonard Cohen as the winner of the ninth Glenn Gould Prize included Atom Egoyan, Stephen Fry, Elaine Overholt and jury chair Paul Hoffert. And I know I said this last week, but details of the gala evening to honour Cohen’s win should be revealed tomorrow … Jaymz Bee is celebrating his birthday this Wednesday by rocking The Old Mill.  For more details click here … and Jian Ghomeshi chats up Slash tomorrow on Q before leaving for Moncton and CBC Radio coverage of the 2012 East Coast Music Awards.

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ: This year’s Winnipeg Comedy Festival will include live tapings of Steve Patterson’s hit CBC Radio show The Debaters 

DOY:LE as John A.

this weekend. Sean Cullen and Scott Thompson will go head-to-head about pure bred vs. mongrel dogs. And just to make it even more interesting, Thompson will debate as The Queen, while Cullen portrays Adele. And yes, you read that right … why do I think the late Brian Linehan‘s name should be on our Walk Of Fame? Because of his dedication to celebrating, promoting and building Canadian stars on television (Linehan, City Lights) and radio (CFRB) throughout his career. If you agree, please vote for him here, under ‘Other’
… and Global Television has picked up a hard-won Rockie nomination for its homegrown cop series Rookie Blue. Ironically,

DOYLE as Arkady Balagan

the financially beleaguered CBC  won Rockie nods for no less than seven (7) shows, including Heartland, Michael Tuesday & Thursdays, The Debaters, John A.: Birth Of A Country, and The 2012 Gemini Awards. Is that a new network record? Just askin’ … and good news for Shawn Doyle fans. His excellent Endgame series, in which he played crime-solving world chess champion Arkady Balagan,  played for only one season on Showcase, but yesterday the New York Times reported that the series has been picked up by Hulu, the online streaming service, which is considering the production of a second season.   Let’s keep all fingers  crossed.

BALLET HIGH: Love Lies Bleeding tonight on CBC

LORDS OF THE DANCE: The hit National Ballet of Canada production of The Seagull opens Thursday night in Ottawa. Headliners at the National Arts Centre premiere are Greta Hodgkinson as Arkadina, Guillaume Côté in the role of Kostya, Aleksandar Antonijevic as Trigorin and Sonia Rodriguez as Nina. Which means the entire company can get to see Antonijevec’s exhibit of his ballet photography, Feet and Mirrors, on view at the NAC until April 28 … DanceWorks presents Ottawa urban dance sensation Bboyizm in its Toronto debut with two shows: IZM this Friday April 13 and Saturday April 14 at 8pm, and a matinee performance of the family-friendly show, Evolution Of B-Boying, on Saturday at 1pm, at Harbourfront Centre’s Enwave Theatre. Word is that choreographer/dancer and Bboyizm founder Yvon Soglo (aka b-boy Crazy Smooth) takes a daring, imaginative approach to street dance tradition without losing its authenticity. Sounds intriguing … and tonight’s Don’t-Miss TV eye-candy is Love Lies Bleeding, the Alberta Ballet’s wildly popular, rave-winning exploration of Elton John’s music, directed by the masterful Moze Mossanen of Nureyev fame. For an intriguing behind-the-scenes look, click here.

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Roseanne plots her return, Gordon calls on Ottawa, Reba calls Lily ‘mom’ and Mr. D calls it a season

MUM’S THE WORD:  Remember when she romanced little Tom Hanks in Big? Ageless head-turner Elizabeth Perkins is playing Sarah Chalke’s mother in a new TV pilot, How To Live With Your Parents For The Rest Of Your Life. Who’s playing Dad? Brad Garrett. And John Dore is

ROSEANNE: pilot project

somewhere in the mix too … Lily Tomlin, so good last season as the malevolent matriarch in the hypnotic Glenn Close series Damages, is playing Reba McEntire’s mother in Reba’s new comedy pilot, Malibu CountryMarcia Gay Harden and Kevin Nealon are headlining Howard Busgang’s new pilot Isabel, inspired by the CBC Radio Canada series Le Monde De CharlotteMatthew Perry plays a sportscaster in therapy in his new pilot, Go On. No word yet on who’s playing his mom … and the woman some folks would describe as the mother of them all, and I do mean the one and only Roseanne Barr, is taking another kick at the can with a weekly series, without TV daughter Sarah Chalke (she’s busy) but with TV hubby John Goodman already on board. Roseanne’s new pilot, Downwardly Mobile, is about a trailer park boss –guess who? — who serves as a surrogate mother to all her tenants. And the beat goes on.

FLIGHTS OF THE PINSENT: “Guests may never wash their arms again after rubbing elbows with Gordon Pinsent,” reported the Ottawa Citizen after Pinsent showed up at a benefit party to promote this summer’s Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival. Pinsent will make his Festival debut there on July 30 by narrating Ogden Nash poetry to Saint-Saens Carnival of the Animals and Tennyson‘s Enoch Arden set to Strauss. He’ll also wing to Halifax next month to participate in April 15 events marking the 100th anniversary of the Titanic. In the meantime, his new CD collaboration with Greg Keelor of Blue Rodeo and Travis Good of The Sadies, Down And Out In Upalong, is scheduled to drop next week;  his latest movie project, the 3D IMAX film Flight of the Butterflies, which he just finished shooting in Mexico last month, is currently set to premiere in September; and his new autobiography, Next, is due in stores on October 16. For the inside scoop on the Upalong album, click here. And if you’re in Toronto on April 12, stop by The Drake Hotel and see Good, Keelor & Pinsent showcase their new CD  in person.  So don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

DICKINSON: big decision-maker

GRAND FINALES: If it’s April it must be Season Finale week on CBC Television. Tonight Gerry Dee wraps up the first season of his freshman comedy Mr. D. with Jonathan Torrens and Bette MacDonald, followed by the much-anticipated very last episode of Little Mosque On The Prairie with Zaib Shaikh and Sheila McCarthy. (I believe Little Mosque is the only Canadian sitcom to be inducted into the Museums of Radio and Television Science in both New York and Los Angeles, and last week’s episode, by the way, was a real church-burner — literally!) Also saying sayonara is Big Decision, which wraps up its four-show test-drive tonight too, with Arlene Dickinson on deck as the decision-maker. And tomorrow night we’ll see the season closers of Rick

MR. D & Mr. M: on CBC's Season Finales

Mercer Report and 22 Minutes. Also calling it a season this week: Dragons’ Den, now this country’s top-rated home-grown entertainment show; Republic Of Doyle, coming off its best season yet; Marketplace, which attracted a hefty new audience this season; and the fifth estate, which after 36 noteworthy seasons saw some of its largest audience numbers in more than a decade.  Hey, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Somebody must be doing something right.

TOMORROW:  Watch for the Glenn Gould Foundation to announce the details of a Gala evening celebrating the ninth Glenn Gould Prize laureate Leonard Cohen. A stellar line-up of musical stars and honourary speakers will take to the stage to salute Cohen’s lifetime achievements in music and poetry. Stay tuned.

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Matthew dons tap shoes, Jim sees a rabbit, Jesus goes to Harlem, and Julie & Jodie salute Arlene

STARS IN OUR EYES: Two of her favourite stars, Julie Andrews and Jodie Foster, are the proud presenters set to celebrate Disney publicity ace Arlene Ludwig at the ICG Publicists Guild’s annual pre-Oscar luncheon tomorrow at

LUDWIG: luncheon honours

the Beverly Hilton.  The Guild is dedicating its 2012 Publicists Directory and resource book to Ludwig, who has been deftly juggling print and electronic press for Disney for almost 50 years … 30 Rock star Cheyenne Jackson and Smash headliner Debra Messing will join Judy Kuhn, Jill Eikenberry, Michael Tucker, Celia Weston, Hope Davis, Tony Roberts, John Guare and many more to honour Tony winner Linda Lavin at the Vineyard Theatre’s 2012 Benefit Gala on March 12 in Manhattan … superSongwriter Paul Williams will return to T.O. next month for the March 21-24 Canadian Music Week Film Fest. This year’s CMW filmfest promises an eclectic mix of movie premieres and special events, including a retrospective screening of The Muppet Movie with a post-film Q&A at which Oscar-winning composer Williams will talk about working on the film with Jim 

SHATNER: it's his world

Henson. Also on the Hot List:  the Canadian premiere of Joe Berlinger’s new doc Under African Skies, which documents Paul Simon’s return to South Africa and his reunion with many of the musicians that he worked with on his classic album Graceland  and after five decades of toiling in Hollywood, Bill Shatner is finally back on the Great White Way .  His one-man show, Shatner’s World: We Just Live In It,  revisits his personal and professional highest highs and lowest lows. “My plan has always been to return to Broadway every 50 years,” says Shatner, who starred on Broadway in the ’60s in The World Of Suzie Wong and A Shot In The Dark.  “Since then, of course, I’ve been refurbished; I hope the theatre has been too.” He’s at the Music Box ’til March 4.

FOOTLIGHTS:  Big Bang Theory go-to-guy Jim Parsons will follow in Jimmy Stewart’s footsteps when he co-stars with an invisible rabbit in the

PARSONS: bunny trail?

upcoming Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Harvey. Aided and abetted by  Broadway vets Carol Kane, Jessica Hecht, Charles Kimbrough  and two-time Tony nominee Larry Bryggman, Parsons begins previews May 18 and opens officially on June 14 at Studio 54 … the illustrious cast of Stratford’s Jesus Christ Superstar  including  Paul Nolan, Chillina Kennedy and Josh Young —  won hearts and minds and much appreciative applause when they gave a short

NOLAN: Jesus goes to Harlem

performance of show highlights last Friday night at the Church Of The Intercession in Harlem. The show opens in previews March 1 at the Neil Simon Theatre  … new University Of Guelph chancellor David Mirvish was so impressed by the Theatre Sheridan production of RENT — an SRO hit two months ago at Sheridan College’s Oakville campus — that he’s bring all 32 performers to his Panasonic Theatre for a 10-night run opening May 16 … and if you loved those “re-imagined” George & Ira Gershwin musicals My One And Only and Crazy For You, better start dusting off your tap shoes. Matthew Broderick, Estelle Parsons, Judy Kaye and South Pacific sweetheart Kelli O’Hara start all-singing all-dancing previews next month at the Imperial Theatre on the latest ‘new’ Gershwin musical, Nice Work If You Can Get It, directed and choreographed by Anything Goes hit-maker Kathleen Marshall. 

ALI: still a knock-out

MUHAMMAD ALI: still a knock-out

NO BIZ LIKE SHOWBIZ: Never one to shy away from controversy, director Stephen Frears is at the helm of the new HBO feature Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, an examination of the legal battle that erupted between Ali and the U.S. government when he became a conscientious objector and declined to serve in the Vietnam War. Christopher Plummer will play Supreme Court Associate Justice John Marshall Harlan II and Frank Langella will play Chief Justice Warren Burger. Frears reportedly plans to use actual footage of Ali himself, and not cast an actor to play him …   my spies tell me that Montreux Jazz Festival chief Claude Nobs is

SUZUKI: back to Japan

wooing Leonard Cohen to do two concerts at this year’s 46th annual Swiss music extravaganza  … my spies tell me tomorrow night’s instalment of Marketplace on CBC is eye-popping in more ways than one. It’s all about the outrageously high cost of prescription eyeglasses and what we can do about it …  one year after the northeastern seaboard of Japan was devastated by a major earthquake and a giant tsunami, David Suzuki goes back to Japan for Journey to the Disaster Zone: Japan 3/11 tonight on The Nature Of Things on CBC … and if you missed last week’s provocative Future Cities installment of The Suzuki Diaries with Suzuki and his daughter Sarka, don’t fret – an encore screening is set for 10 pm tonight on CBC News Network.

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Get out your calendars and make a date (or six)

FRESH-AIR FILM FESTIVAL: Yonge-Dundas Square’s weekly line-up this summer features a Tuesday night outdoor film series of heist movies, Safecracker Cinema,

OCEAN'S 11: The original

presented by Cineplex Entertainment.  And yes, we’re talking about Free outdoor heist film screenings. “At this price, it’s a steal!” The new series starts June 30, and highlights include special back-to-back screenings of both the original and re-make versions of Ocean’s Eleven, The Thomas Crown Affair and The Italian Job. Other titles include Grand Slam (1967, The Hot Rock (1972), A Fish Called Wanda (1988), Out of Sight (1998), Catch Me If You Can (2002) and Inside Man (2006) … and good news for Toronto filmfest fans: TiFF types have confirmed that the upcoming 35th (!!!) festival will once again feature a full day of public screenings on the final Sunday September 19.

CALENDAR JOTTINGS: In aid of using music to help street kids change their tune, John McDermott, Jean Stilwell, the Paul Hoffert Jazz Trio and Moshe Hammer and his Hammer Band are set to headline the May 19 fundraiser From Violence To Violins

STILLWELL: pro-Violins

at Integral House … DanceWorks presents the world premiere of Isolated Incidents, a full-length solo work choreographed and performed by Nova Bhattacharya, tomorrow through Saturday at Harbourfront Centre’s Enwave Theatre. Also coming to the Enwave: Gregory Hoskins performing covers of Paul Simon, Nick Cave, Gordon Lightfoot, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Jane Siberry, Cole Porter, Tom Waits, Radiohead and Leonard Cohen, re-imagined for the Art of Time Ensemble on May 25 & 26 …  with ash from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano disrupting airline schedules in Europe once again, the North American premiere of The Volcano that Stopped the World couldn’t  be much  more timely. The special report airs on CBC”s Passionate Eye on this coming Sunday .., Cuban jazz impresarios the Hilario Duran Trio will kick off Esprit Orchestra‘s May 27 Bene Fête (love it!) at the Gardiner Museumand dance Immersion celebrates its 16th anniversary with a Showcase Presentation of up-and-coming dancers of African descent May 27- 29 at Harbourfront’s Fleck Dance Theatre.

FALLON: hosting

FUTURE SHOCKS: My Big Fat Greek Wedding meets Sex and the City — with a masala twist!” Okay, not your average tag line.  Fenulla Jiwani’s crowd-pleasing comedy 30 Dates returns to T.O. for a limited run June 2-12 at the Berkeley Street Theatre Upstairs … no host announced so far, but expect a lot of star power on stage for the 2010 Tony Awards on June 13 at Radio City Music Hall … it’s official — Sting is set to serenade Torontonians July 23 at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre … the 11th annual Scotiabank BuskerFest, North America’s largest busker festival and one of Ontario’s Top 100 Festivals, is set to fill our city with street performers August 26-29 …  Jimmy Fallon hosts the 2010 Emmy Awards on Sunday Aug. 29 … and talk about advance magazine deadlines:  The Walrus publisher Shelley Ambrose and editor John Macfarlane confirm that the award-garnering monthly’s 3rd annual Walrus Foundation Gala is now set for January 19, 2011.

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Rick’s grand finale, k.d.’s recollections, Zach’s funny ferns & the unsinkable Debbie (she ain’t down yet!)

ALL-SINGING, ALL-DANCING DEBBIE: She may be 77, but like her Oscar-nominated Unsinkable Molly Brown, Debbie Reynolds runs on her own energizing batteries. La

REYNOLDS: over there

Reynolds is about to embark on a 15-city concert tour of England which will climax with ten dates in London, her first performances there in 35 years. “We start in Norwich and we’ll do a show, get on the bus, go to the next theatre, do another show and so on. It’ll be like the old days bus and truck.” She’s been prepping with a daily regimen of swimming in her indoor pool, lifting weights and hanging upside down for 15 minutes. And practicing her notorious impersonations. Her U.K. concerts will include her impressions of Katherine Hepburn, Bette Davis and Jimmy Stewart. “I grew up with these people.” What’s her new show called? “Debbie Reynolds: Alive And Fabulous.” Sounds right to me.

MERCER MADNESS: Canadian TV icon Rick Mercer wraps his seventh season tonight with a mirthful visit with the Canadian competitors who sparked last week’s Paralympic

MERCER & FRIENDS: on tonight's finale

Games in B.C. Mercer, who has consistently showcased these amazing athletes on his weekly show, was one of their chosen torchbearers in Ottawa and tonight provokes huge laughs (his specialty) with some new death-defying feats of daring (also his specialty) with some of our gold medalists including superSkier bro’s Brian & Robin McKeever. Good news is, Mercer has just had his most successful season ever. Better news is, he and his top-rated Rick Mercer Report will be back this fall. And you can catch his season finale tonight at 8 pm on CBC.

THE SINGER, NOT THE SONG: Luscious-voiced k.d. lang has released her first-ever career retrospective. Recollection is on the small Nonesuch label – an offshoot of Warner

LANG: 25th anniversary

Records. This  set contains her greatest hits remastered, and a collection of rare tracks.Released 25 years after the release of her debut album. Recollection features 22 of k.d.’s most beloved recordings, including an all-new interpretation of the Leonard Cohen classic, Hallelujah. Plus — wait for it — Constant Craving, Helpless, Miss Chatelaine, I Dream Of Spring, Crying with Roy Orbison, Calling All Angels with Jane Siberry, and Moonglow with Tony Bennett. My hero Liz Smith says k.d.’s new collection is, quote unquote, “a masterpiece.” Hey, what’s not to like? … also gearing up for record sales: Sarah McLachlan, set to launch  her first album of new songs in seven years, The Laws of Illusion, on  June 15 … and chalk up another biggie for Luminato, because Rufus Wainwright‘s first opera, Prima Donna, will make its North American premiere here in June. Meanwhile, Wainwright’s sixth solo album, All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu, drops today. (And isn’t it funny how we’re all calling CDs ‘albums’ again?)

PORTMAN: she got Zach'd

SEE/HEAR: As a rule I can take Zach Galifianakis or leave him, but Between Two Ferns, his bogus Interview show on Funny Or Die.com (the only website with its own show on HBO) is so outrageously politically incorrect I’m becoming addicted to them. His new ‘session’ with Ben Stiller is a squirmy classic — no wonder so many stars want to play with him. His list of willing victim to date includes Michael Cera, Bradley Cooper, John Hamm, Jimmy Kimmel, Natalie Portman (!!) and Charlize Theron (yes. you read that right — Charlize Theron.) Not since  Martin Short created monster celebrity-swooner Jiminy Glick have we seen anything like this. To check it out, click here. And here. And here. And enjoy!

TOMORROW:

Marion Cotillard, Ryan Reynolds, and more!