Tag Archives: NATIONAL POST

Luba returns to her roots, Rick goes back to school(s), and flashbacks to tasty times at Truffles

END OF AN ERA: Sooner or later we’re all history. Bistro 990 is gone — witness Bill Marshall’s splendid salute in the National Post — and the Four Seasons closed last week, and I enjoyed some wonderful times in both places. In its heyday the Four Seasons restaurant Truffles was even better than Le

MACLAINE: dining at Truffles

Cirque, and many New Yorkers shared that opinion.  At Truffles one night I shared a saffron palate cleanser with Shirley MacLaine, who put one spoonful in her mouth and grimaced. “Don’t eat it!” she warned. “It takes like tin!” When I explained it was saffron, she stared back at me blankly. “Saffron,” I persisted. “Like the colour of a monk’s robes.” Her eyes widened. “Oh, saffron!” she purred, and gobbled up the rest of it. At Truffles I introduced 75-year-old theatre legend Helen Hayes to Gordon’s Gin Tomato Soup, and she liked it so much she ordered it again the next day. “I should go out to dinner with you more often!” she teased. But everything must change, and now Sutton Place is set to close its hotel doors June 15 to begin the process of reconverting the property

HAYES: Gordon's Gin soup

into an upscale condominium. (So where do the hotel’s current apartment dwellers go from here? Just askin’ … ) However, I’m not nearly as nostalgic about that hotel anymore. It was glorious in the Hans Gerhardt era, when that superb hotelier would import Wolfgang Puck and the namesake nephew of Italian legend Alfredo De Leio  (as in Fettucine Alfredo) to cook up a storm in his elegant Sanssouci dining room. In those days you could barely make it through the lobby without bumping into two or three mega-stars – but that was once upon a time, many years ago. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for hotel space downtown in the next two months, I’m told Sutton Place is offering some of its rooms and suites at deep discounts. So enjoy it while you can.

HELLO WE MUST BE GOING: Two more season finales tonight. First, Rick Mercer wraps up his ninth (!!!) season by going back to school, attending celebrations at the winning schools in the annual Mercer Report Spread the

MERCER & FRIENDS: back to school

Net Student Challenge. Watching Mercer interact with elementary school kids is definitely something to see. Following his 8 pm Rick Mercer Report on CBC is the season finale of 22 Minutes, with Shaun Majumder at the Junos, Mark Critch at the Trudeau-Brazau fight and, if we’re lucky, HRM

SHORT: comedy special tonight

Cathy Jones making another Diamond Jubilee visit. Immediate following the 22 Minutes show is Martin Short’s off-the-wall comedy special, I, Martin Short, Goes Home, a 60-minute tour de force by Short and sidekicks Andrea Martin, Eugene Levy, Robin Duke, Fred Willard and your boyfriend George Stroumboulopoulos, who’ll be watching from B.C,  Strombo starts three nights of taping today at CBC Vancouver with guests Sandra Oh, Daryl Hannah, ‘Dragon’ Jim Treliving, Brent Butt, Kim Campbell; Ian Hanomansing, Jane Goodall and too many more to list here.

LUBA: back on the boards

PEOPLE: Special bulletin to Air Farce fans (and I know you are legion:)  Your favourite funny lady Luba Goy is coming home to a stage near you. She’s set to open May 7 at the Berkeley Street Theatre in Luba, Simply Luba, an autobiographical one-woman show penned by Diane Flacks …  John Peller, whose family makes those tempting Peller Estate wines in Niagara, and Wayne Gretzky, who needs absolutely no introduction, have joined forces and vineyards to make new vintages together. “Our families share the same commitment to quality,” Keller recently told his subscribers, “and we both feel passionate about making award-winning wines that we can share with you.” Okay, but will they sell for $99? Never mind, just kidding … devoted jazz buff Tim

TOWNSEND: lucky XIII

Tamashiro took over the reins of Tonic on CBC Radio this week from legendary music maven Katie Malloch, retiring from the airwaves after a 40-year career …  Juno Nominee George Olliver performs at the Old Newcastle House in – where else? – Newcastle, ON this Saturday night …  Stuart Townsend is back in T.O. to headline season two of the one-hour conspiracy thriller XIII.2 which will film in and around Our Town from now through to mid-July. Townsend plays XIII, a lethal former secret agent whose memory has been erased. The 13-episode original series will air on Showcase this fall …  The Voice judge and Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine is in talks to make his acting debut with Jessica Lange on American Horror Story … and how did Aaron Sorkin keep his new HBO series The Newsroom under the radar so brilliantly for so long? And will Ken Finkleman want his title back? Stay tuned.

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If it’s Monday it must be music, music, music!

TONIGHT, TONIGHT: Tonight marks the Canadian debut concert of the world-famous Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela led by

DUDAMELL: he's a rock star

DUDAMELL: he's a rock star

superstar conductor Gustavo Dudamel, the new music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic — (60 Minutes called him “the hottest thing to hit classical music since Leonard Bernstein”) — at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Special highlight tonight will be the presentation of the Glenn Gould Prize to Dr. José Antonio Abreu, whose visionary music education and youth orchestra system, El Sistema, has transformed the lives of over a million at-risk children and youth in Venezuela. Tonight’s gala concert kicks off a week of performances, education and outreach activities to illuminate, stimulate and communicate the passion for music. For more info, just click here.

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: Strumming queen Liona Boyd wants it known that despite the title of her new CD, Liona Boyd Sings Songs Of Love, she has not,

MULDAUR: here Wednesday

MULDAUR: here Wednesday

repeat, NOT given up guitar. “I might not quite be the virtuoso player I used to be,” the ageless entertainer confides to her fans, “but I can still perform beautiful melodies and incorporate many different guitar techniques, as you’ll clearly hear on my CD.” However, she’s more than partial to vocalizing as well. “I love singing and I practice my songs around the house at every opportunity … one of the great advantages of living alone!” … three dozen albums and one Midnight At The Oasis later, Maria Muldaur returns to her jug band roots with an intimate concert Wednesday night at Hugh’s Room … after almost four years and sales of four million copies of her debut album, Corinne Bailey Rae’s second

AZNAVOUR: jazz roots

AZNAVOUR: jazz roots

album, The Sea, is set for release in February …Geri Halliwell (a.k.a. Ginger Spice) is reportedly set to produce a new West End “pop extravaganza” which would tell the tale of the rise of The Spice Girls, the ‘90s English pop girl group who made a big-boxoffice reunion tour last year … attention Christmas shoppers: The much-anticipated, rumoured-to-be-breathtaking CD featuring Charles Aznavour performing some of his classics with the Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra is due in local disc shops on Dec. 1 … A.M. on A.M.? You bet. You can hear AM740’s two-hour Anne Murray All of Me – the Radio Special at 1 pm today, on the radio or on the internet (in stereo) at www.am740.ca … the new Lighthouse CD/DVD

LIGHTHOUSE: new CD/DVD package

LIGHTHOUSE: new CD/DVD package

package, 40 Years Of Sunny Days, includes a new DVD of 16 recent Lighthouse videos in surround sound, commentary by band members,s a newly remastered CD of the most requested Lighthouse  classics and a 42 page booklet about the band … and call it a sign of the times, but Chris Colepaugh’s new album Burning —  a collection of live performances captured by his Cosmic Crew — is being released in digtal format only. To preview the new album, go to his website right here.

contains a new DVD of 16 recent Lighthouse videos in surround sound, commentary by band members,s a newly remastered CD of the most requested Lighthouse
classics and a 42 page booklet about the band

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “I’ve been through a lot of change in the 21 years I’ve been anchoring this program, and I can remember times we’ve switched the

MANSBRIDGE: let sleeping dogs lie?

MANSBRIDGE: let sleeping dogs lie?

theme music and our loyal viewers got really upset – some of them wrote to us explaining how their dogs used to fall asleep to the old theme music and now they’re barking like mad – so there’s no doubt there will be a few people who will initially be unsure of it.”

The speaker? Peter Mansbridge, in an interview with National Post reporter Vanessa Farquharson, commenting on the new-look changes we’ll see tonight on The National and CBC News.

TOMORROW:

Who gets to play Hef in the movie?


Are the stars out tonight? Yes, for the Dora Awards. But not all today’s showbiz news is happy …

GOOD MORNING, TORONTO: And welcome to another week of razzle-dazzle in Our Town.  Sparklies set to join host Jian Ghomeshi on stage tonight at the 2009 Dora Mavor Moore Awards at the Winter Garden include Anne

GHOMESHI: hosting tonight

GHOMESHI: hosting tonight

Anglin, Cynthia Dale, playwright John Gray, Graham Greene, C. David Johnson, Tom McCamus, Colin Mochrie, National Ballet of Canada soloist Rebekah Rimsay, Ontario Culture minister Aileen Carroll and Mayor David Miller. Director Vinetta Strombergs and writer Briane Nasimok will be talent-wrangling from the wings … what’s NOT happening today? TheNational Post, which is attempting some creative cost-cutting by NOT publishing a Monday newspaper – a new policy that will continue through the Labor Day weekend …  and, of course, Monday garbage pick-up is NOT happening either — unless you’re listening to the right radio station. CFRB wise guys Bill Carroll and Jim Richards are taking trash talk to a new level by sending 1-888-I AM JUNK to pick up trash every week during the strike for six listeners who send the best emails telling why the station should pick up their garbage. The contest ends this Friday, and the winners can invite neighbours to drop off their trash for weekly pick-up as well!

McLACHLAN: celebrating Canada Day

McLACHLAN: celebrating Canada Day

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Singer Paul Potts, who was the Susan Boyle YouTube sensation of his day when he first triumphed on Britain’s Got Talent, serenades tomorrow night at Kitchener’s elegant Centre In The Square. Torontonians will have to wait a couple of weeks more, when he performs here at the Elgin on July 18 … superthrush Sarah McLachlan and Quebec charmer Marie-Jo Thério will headline the party at Parliament Hill on Wednesday night in Ottawa. CBC Television, Radio-Canada and bold will telecast highlights at 9 pm … Tim McGraw and Reba McEntire

DORE: Rivoli-bound

DORE: Rivoli-bound

are set to headline the first annual Cavendish Beach Music Festival on Prince Edward Island on July 10, 11 and 12 … Jon Dore is hosting two nights of comedy mayhem at the Rivoli July 15 & 16 with a very catchy title: The Jon Dore Television Show’s Writers and Jon Dore of the Jon Dore Television Show Stand-Up Comedy Show, Show! Expect an evening of stand-up comedy featuring Dore and his writers Mark Forward, Laurie Elliott and Steve Patterson. “It is important to understand,” adds Dore manager Lorne Perlmutar, “that none of the proceeds of this show will be going to a charitable organization. Jesus is cool.” Whew! That’s a relief … and did you know that Seinfeld alumnus Jason Alexander is an accomplished song-and-dance man? He’ll show off that next-to-secret skill set when he appears at Casino Rama July 25.

MANN:  more honours

MANN: more honours

FLICKERS: Chalk up another win for enduring filmmaker Ron Mann. Last week he received the 2009 Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. Mann, whose hit doc Know Your Mushrooms is now available on DVD, won the award for Individual Artist, and then selected Toronto actor and film-maker Charles Officer (Nurse. Fighter. Boy) as the Premier’s Emerging Artist prize winner … Canuck heartthrob Taylor Kitsch will team up with one of his Wolverine co-stars, Lynn Collins, in the Disney adventure John Carter of Mars. And talk about yer parent traps — Greg Kinnear and Kelly Preston will play Miley Cyrus’

PRESTON: Miley's mom?

PRESTON: Miley's mom?

parents (!!!) in The Last Song, also for Disney … our National Film Board and the Shorefast Foundation will establish Newfoundland’s first e-cinema installation, the NFB’s first English-language e-cinema partnership in Canada.

The new system will use new digital technology to give residents and visitors to Fogo Island access to great works of Canadian cinema from the NFB as well as independent filmmakers. Fogo Island, by the way, is the largest of the offshore islands of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the new project will be launched this November … and management of the merged British film studio Pinewood Shepperton, where The Dark Knight, The Bourne Ultimatum and most 007 epics are shot,  has signed a five-year deal

CRONKITE: failing health

CRONKITE: failing health

to take over the seven state-of-the-art sound stages of Toronto’s struggling Filmport, which will now become Pinewood Toronto Studios.

APRIL SHOWERS IN JUNE: Quite naturally, lots of other news was overshadowed last Thursday by Farrah Fawcett’s passing and the shock waves caused by Michael Jackson’s unexpected demise. The saddest of the lot, for me, was the confirmation that legendary CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite is seriously ill with cerebrovascular disease and is “not expected to recuperate.” And to add to that unhappy news — not that you were looking for more — neither Mike Wallace nor 60 Minutes creator Don Hewitt are doing very well at the moment.

T.S. Eliot claimed that April was the cruelest month.

Maybe. But this year, June is no picnic either.

TOMORROW:

Remembering Michael & Farrah

-/-

Elaine coaches! Cynthia shoots! Colin scores!

KARPLUK

KARPLUK

In addition to her on-camera duties on CBC’s Triple Sensation this fall, Cynthia Dale was shooting footage in Stratford last week for her upcoming network special … Colin Mochrie is reportedly set to star in the Canadian Stage Company‘s production of Yasmina Reza’s Tony award-winning Broadway hit Art, currently scheduled to run March-April 2010 … and popular Problem Like Maria judge Elaine Overholt, who vocal-coached Richard Gere, John Travolta, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ellen DeGeneres and a host of others, is taking the plunge with a new reality television series inspired by her hot-seller training DVD, Big Voice.
Stay tuned.

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DENIS

DENIS

LADIES IN RED: Heart & Stroke Foundation’s Heart Truth fashion show was a highlight of Fashion Week, with glamorous runway turns by such famous fair ladies as Marilyn Denis, Monika Deol, Little Mosque’s Sitara Hewitt, Jessica Holmes, Cathy Jones, Sass Jordan, Erin (Being Erica) Karpluk, Lisa LaFlamme, Elizabeth Manley, Heather Rankin, Monika Schnarre and Amy Sky. Credit photographer George Pimentel for so deftly capturing these belles of the ball. To see Pimentel’s portraits of all the girls in their designer duds, click here … great food, great atmosphere, and a great show are the main attractions this week at the Factory Theatre Spring Gala. Tax-receipt tickets are only $125 and include the

JONES

JONES

world premiere of Florence Gibson‘s Missing, directed by David Ferry. To reserve tickets call or email Michelle Yeung at 416-504-4473 or via michelle@factorytheatre.ca … $125 seems to be the bargain price this spring. Single tax-receipt tickets for the 5th annual Scrabble With The Stars extravaganza on Monday April 6 are now on sale for the same price, and include cocktails, dinner and having w-o-r-d-s with the more than three dozen stars. To order yours, call  416–777-9674 (Visa or MasterCard accepted.)

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COHEN

COHEN

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “Undoubtedly the sexiest film about copyright infringement I’ve ever seen.”

The speaker? Jian Ghomeshi, in praise of the EyeSteelFilm-NFB co-production Rip! A Remix Manifesto, which has now opened right across the country.

And just FYI: My spies tell me that Ghomeshi’s fascinating interview with Leonard Cohen last weekend in the National Post was merely a teaser for his upcoming CBC Radio séance with Cohen on the April 16 edition of Q,

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SICK BAY:  Good news is that Robin Williams is reportedly making a quick recovery from open-heart surgery, and that Stacy Keach’s mild stroke

DUNNE

DUNNE

apparently hasn’t slowed him down. He’s expected to return to playing president Richard Nixon on stage in Frost /Nixon as soon as he gets the green light … not so good news is that gifted novelist and legendary Vanity Fair chronicler Dominick Dunne is holed up in the mountains of Bavaria, undergoing daily treatment for bladder cancer at the same clinic rumoured to have given Farrah Fawcett a new lease on life.
We continue to keep all fingers crossed.

A rose is a rose — especially when it’s golden

The show biz bible Variety notes that Switzerland’s four-day Rose d’Or festival  “is Europe’s top TV competition.”

So it’s fun to note that, after surviving an eyeball-challenging pre-selection gamut of 424 entries, Canada has ended up with no less than nine, count ‘em, nine nominations, in almost as many categories.

KARPLUK: with Strombo tonight

KARPLUK: with Strombo tonight

CBC’s new Wednesday night crowd-pleaser, Being Erica, is one of three Canadian drama nominees, along with the crime mini-series Guns and the drama Windfalls & Misfortunes from Montreal.

CBC also scored two big comedy nods, for The Rick Mercer Report and Little Mosque On the Prairie, and Bravo! won a nomination for its Bravo!Fact Art In Action special.

Other plaudits went to Maple Leaf entries from Xenophile Media, Productions Pixcom and producer Henry Less.
Would-be rivals include such diverse series as the U.S. reality series I Survived A Japanese Game Show and BBC’s Last Choir Standing, and winners will pick up their golden Roses at the May 5 awards ceremony in Lucerne.

And speaking of winners, Being Erica star Erin Karpluk, who also graced home screens in Godiva’s, guests tonight with Strombo on The Hour.

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QUOTABLE QUOTES. “The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 to heterosexuals. This doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love heterosexuals, it’s just that they need more supervision.”

The speaker? U.S. comedienne Lynn Lavner, frequently billed as America’s Most Politically Incorrect Entertainer.

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HE TOOK THE FIFTH: It’s official. Toronto Star-gazer  Rita Zekas broke the news last week that Bistro 990 alumnus Fernando Temudo has returned to T.O., this time to the theatre district, as the new GM of The Fifth Grill supperclub on Richmond Street …  meanwhile,

MOORE: Coulter kudos

MOORE: Coulter kudos

back at 990, Victor & Susan are still happily holding court with all their fans … and yes, Robert Downey Jr., Sam Rockwell and Samuel L. Jackson are all set to reprise their characters in the Iron Man sequel, but Downey’s new nemesis will be none other than Hollywood comeback kid Mickey Rourke. Mickey will play a bad guy called Whiplash (insert your own punchline here) … Colm Feore and director Des McAnuff guest with Antoni Cimolino on tonight’s Stratfortd Festival webcast at 6:30 pm …  National Ballet corps members Elena Lobsanova and Noah Long will dance Dénouement, a new work commissioned by their boss Karen Kain  from Canadian choreographer Matjash Mrozewski, when they compete for the Erik Bruhn prize tonight at the Four Seasons Centre … and no, he’s not just a pretty voice. John Moore, CFRB’s popular drive home show host, is still winning kudos for his analysis of Ann Coulter last week in the National Post. And by the way, you don’t have to live in Toronto to hear him — just tune in to http://www.cfrb.com.

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SEE/HEAR:  The buzz on the Star Trek prequel has already begun, and if the movie is half as good as its trailers you should be in for one truly action-packed evening. To preview the Star Trek trailers, just click here.

 


About last night …

Now that was fun.

And yes, I do mean last night’s 81st annual Oscar show.

After scanning the morning papers I must admit I was more than a little bit pleased to see that we weren’t the only ones who enjoyed it. Our sentiments were clearly shared by tag team Rita Zekas & Rob Salem (seems like old times) in the Toronto Star and Bill Harris in the Toronto Sun. 

JACKMAN:  Host with the Most

JACKMAN: Host with the Most

I thought Hugh Jackman hit it out of the park. He’s cut from the same cloth as the old-fashioned Movie Stars we used to know and love, those triple threat performers from Jimmy Cagney to Jane Wyman, who could sing and dance and act.  And it was exciting to see a new and refreshingly all-star method of saluting nominated actors, which should (and will, I predict) become a new staple of the annual telecast.

Am I the only one who thinks that without Melissa & Joan Rivers a little red carpet goes a long way? Maybe. On Friday bubbly Breakfast Television co-host Dina Pugliese said she couldn’t wait for Oscar night. “This is my SuperBowl!” she advised her male cohorts. Okay,  but the game is running awfully long these days.

And maybe I was washing my hair or otherwise engaged, but I wasn’t aware that this was Kate Winslet’s sisth Oscar nomination (!?!)  until Bob Thompson headlined it in the National Post.

In case you were washing your hair that night too, her previous Best Actress nominations were for Little Children, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind and Titanic, and she was nominated twice before as Best Supporting Actress, for Iris and Sense & Sensibility.

Who knew? Not me, obviously.

P.S. to Academy Awards Addicts (and yes, you know who you are:

SUN: Today's best Oscar buy

SUN: Today's best Oscar buy

 

Go out of your way to pick up a Toronto Sun today before they’re all sold out.  From front-page salute to Penelope Cruz to the 10, count ‘em, 10 pages of entertaining and clever coverage from Bruce Kirkland, Marie-Joelle Parent, Bill Harris and Liz Sardi, this is one edition worth keeping, and easily today’s top Oscar choice.

And yes, I am biased. But it’s still today’s best bet.

 TOMORROW: Jane Fonda.