Tag Archives: VINCENTE MINNELLI

Today’s Specials: Catching up with The Killing and Game Of Thrones, plus ravishing Rita revisited

IT'S A CRIME: Season 2 of The Killing is almost upon us

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Remember Goodbye Charlie, the George Axelrod comedy about a cigar-chomping womanizer who is reincarnated as a female? Lauren Bacall created the role on Broadway, and

BATES: Hello Charlie

Debbie Reynolds had fun with it in Vincente Minnelli’s screen version. I was reminded of it when I learned that the spirit of Charlie Sheen’s recently-deceased character on Two And A Half Men is set to appear to Jon Cryer on the April 30 episode, and Charlie’s ghost will be played by Kathy Bates. Sheen stopped promoting his new Anger Mamagement series just long enough to say he is honoured that an actress of Bates’ stature will play his other-worldy Self David Chilton, author and publisher of the hugely

GRENIER: keeping in touch

popular Wealthy Barber series of personal finance books, is the newest Dragon in Dragons’ Den. He’ll replace departing Dragon Robert Herjavec when the hit CBC series returns this fall … Adrian Grenier has set up a new iPad app called Reckless Adrian Grenier (the “reckless” coming from his production company name), a new way for Grenier to keep in touch with his fans and keep them up to date on his forthcoming projects… and Jian Ghomeshi will once again host the Juno Gala Dinner & Awards this Saturday, this time in Ottawa, the night before the awards show telecast.

MUCH ADO ABOUT SOMETHING: Internet headlines notwithstanding, Downton Abbey stars Maggie Smith and Dan Stevens, aka the Dowager

SMITH: Downton Dowager

Countess Violet and Abbey heir apparent Matthew Crowley, will be back in Season 3 next January. Earlier this month breaking news that neither Smith nor Stevens had signed for the new season put Abbey fans knickers in a wringer, but in fact it’s seasons 4 and 5 they haven’t yet signed for. Downton fans, rest easy! No one’s going to kill off either one of them, especially Maggie, a perennial favourite with American audiences since her first Oscar win for The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie more than four decades ago. So you can expect both of them to sign on

STEVENS: heir apparent

the dotted line, just as soon as their respective agents sign off on their new-and-improved wages …  do I hear a fat lady singing? Little Mosque On The Prairie kicks off its two-part series finale tonight on CBC … and have you noticed how the cable nets are premiering their big shows now that spring is here? Last night AMC launched the fifth season of Mad Men.  Next weekend, competing with the 2012 Juno Awards telecast Sunday night on CTV, two big second-season Gotta-See series return: The Killing on AMC and Game Of Thrones on HBO. To get up to speed before Season 2 of The Killing, click here; for a crash course on Game Of Thrones, which is even more complex than The Killing, click here. After which you’ll almost know everything you’ll ever need to know. Promise.

AND YES, I”VE ABSOLUTELY SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST:

HAYWORTH: one last dance

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Hollywood cinema legend Rita Hayworth is remembered mainly for her sultry femme fatale roles – especially with Glenn Ford in Gilda — and for the headlines that would prove to be the milestones of

RITA & FRED: together again

her life, from her marriages to Orson Welles and Aly Khan to her heartbreaking demise from Alzheimer’s. Her romantic liaisons are the stuff of legend – her on-location tryst with a young Frank Langella is lovingly noted in his new autobiography, Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women As I Knew Them but what most of us have forgotten are Rita’s early days as a dancer, when she was good enough to hold her own in musicals with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. I was happily reminded of this by old friend and colleague Joe Baltake, the film critic who is also the avid cinephile behind one of the best U.S. film blogs, the passionate moviegoer. Joe found a truly wonderful video mash-up combining Rita’s dancing with the biggest hit from Saturday Night Fever, and it’s so brilliantly executed that he wanted to share it. It’s a dazzling manipulation of two decades of Hayworth moments, from You Were Never Lovelier to Pal Joey and then some, cleverly synched to that hypnotic BeeGees beat.  Thanks, YouTube. And thanks, Joe, I loved it. And I’m pretty sure you will too. So just click here, and enjoy!

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Toronto gets Broadway’s Dr. Frankenstein, and Ms Smith’s wisdom falls on glamorous but deaf ears

BROADWAY BABIES: He’s so good in Desperate Housewives that we sometimes forget that it was Roger Bart who originated the title role of the

BART: T.O.-bound

sexually deprived, spiky-haired Young Frankenstein on Broadway in 2007. Good news is, he’s set to reprise his star turn when the Mel Brooks musical opens in Toronto next spring. And coming with him are two of his Great White Way co-stars, Shuler Hensley as the Monster and Cory English as Igor …  Liza’s at the Palace, a recording of Liza Minnelli‘s most recent show as it was performed at the MGM Grand’s Hollywood Theatre in Las Vegas, will be broadcast as a 60-minute special on PBS

USHKOWITZ: back to Broadway?

stations this month. A DVD version of the full two-hour production will be available on February 2 … former Spring Awakening star Jenna Ushkowitz, currently playing Tina on the hit FOX-TV series Glee, says she still dreams of returning to Broadway in a revival of Miss Saigon. “And I’ve been pushing and pushing to be seen for the film version, too!” … and here’s one for your Daytimers: The indefatigable Elaine Stritch officially returns to soignée saloons January 5 – 30, with a new show titled At Home at the Carlyle: Elaine Stritch Singin’ Sondheim.

JAMES: New Year's Eve

NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS: The Toronto Banjo Band headlines this year’s annual King Township Historical Society concert this Friday at 7:30 PM at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in King City. For reservations, call 905-841-5048 or 905-833-3324 … Ballets de Monte-Carlo and the Monaco Dance Forum next week open a seven-month salute to the 100th anniversary of Ballet Russes. The festivities run Dec. 2009 thru July 2010 in Monaco … shhhh, it’s a secret, but there may be some seats still available for the taping of the Ron James’ New Year’s Eve Special, tomorrow and Friday at 7 p.m. at the CBC.  Special guest stars include Gemini

SMITH: advisor to the stars

Award winners Peter Keleghan, whose new CBC-TV series 18 To Life bows in January, and Patrick McKenna. To become part of the live studio audience, contact tickets@enterthepicture.com … and Manhattan gossip girl Liz Smith says she was surprised to see herself in the December issue of Glamour magazine. Go to page 86, she says, and “you’ll see me giving unwanted advice to A-listers like Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Mariah Carey and Madonna. None of these big stars will read or take my advice, of course. Never mind! … I gave it.”  Attagirl!

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: Nominations for the 10th Annual Canadian Independent Music Awards – “The Indies” – are now open. Submissions are being

KIM: Christmas with friends

accepted through The Indie Awards website at http://www.indies.ca, as well as through Sonicbids at http://www.sonicbids.com/indies2010 until December 15, The awards will be handed out on Saturday, March 13, 2010 in Toronto as part of Canadian Music Week.  For additional eligibility requirements, voting procedures and a complete list of award categories, click here ... Kim Mitchell, Divine Brown, Broken Social Scene and The Beauties (a.k.a. Now magazine’s Top Indy Band Of The Year) have all signed on to spread musical cheer at the fifth annual Andy Kim Christmas Show on Dec. 9 at The MOD Club. All Proceeds will benefit the Regent Park School Of Music. Call Ticketmaster to

MARSHAK: only A Matter Of Time

reserve your seats now … and at long last, veteran showstopper Judy Marshak has finally released her first album, A Matter Of Time, and as expected, it’s a musical bonbon to savour. Marshak brings a unique interpretation to tunes by Harold Arlen, Joni Mitchell and Randy Newman, but the real revelation is the calibre of her lyrical collaborations with John Alcorn, including the title track (not to be confused with the John Kander-Fred Ebb song created for the 1976 Vincente Minnelli film of the same name.) Add such top-of-the-heap musicians as Rob Piltch, Marc Rogers, Denis Keldie, Guido Basso and Davide Direnzo, and your ears will thank you for listening. To sample some of the Marshak’s musical magic, just click here.

TOMORROW:

Emilio shows his dad The Way,

and Jason & Carly indulge in some hot text

On a personal note: Remembering Michael and Farrah, with a little help from Liza, Larry and Liz

I met him only once, and you could hardly call it ‘meeting.’

LIZA & MICHAEL: friends

LIZA & MICHAEL: friends

We met at the Academy Awards, at the Governors Ball, the big ballroom party immediately following the telecast at which the Academy celebrates the winners and the runners-up. I was sitting on the mezzanine having dinner with my friend Shirley Eder, the Detroit-based show business columnist, her husband Edward Slotkin, and our mutual friend Ginger Rogers. A number of studio executives had stopped by our table to ask me if I would introduce them to “Miss Rogers,” which of course I did. They regarded her as an icon, which of course she was. But since she didn’t regard herself as one, she was always willing to flash that dazzling smile and say hello to perfect and occasionally imperfect strangers, when they approached her. It was the third executive, a senior exec at Columbia Pictures, thriller-michael-jacksonwho asked me if I’d seen “your friend Liza Minnelli. She’s just sitting over there,” he whispered, trying to not to point —  “with Michael,” he added almost conspiratorially.

I looked up and saw Liza. She was sitting next to a well-respected young agent, a hotshot named Michael Black. I wondered why the studio exec had whispered his name. Was Michael Black involved in some scandal so new that I hadn’t heard of it yet? I could see that there were a lot of people gathered around their table, and not just the usual table-hoppers. Women in glamorous farrah_fawcettevening gowns, studio wives mainly, were pulling little instant cameras out of their Christian Dior evening bags and taking snapshots, their little flashbulbs popping. Very odd behaviour, especially at this very A-list event.

Or so it seemed to me, until I got closer to the table. There he was, in the flesh, much bigger and much taller in person, dressed – well, costumed, really — in one of those prince uniforms that looked like they just came out of a Sigmund Romberg operetta. He had his own security team with him, flanking him on both sides, with two more standing behind him. If he was going for incognito, he’d clearly misunderstood the word. I said hello to Liza and Michael Black; I forget who else was at the table. When I said hello to

FARRAH: refreshingly sweet

FARRAH: refreshingly sweet

Michael Jackson, his security goons bristled, but he just looked up shyly, smiled and looked down at his empty plate again.  I don’t suppose he or Liza ever had anything to eat that night. Not when they were so surrounded by diamond-laden Hollywood matrons who continued to walk right up to the table and stare at them as if they were freaks in a sideshow.

Later they actually escaped to the dance floor, and Shirley Eder and I (and half the ballroom, if I remember correctly) immediately followed suit. I think Shirley got a cute story out of it — how she’d sorta shared a dance floor with Michael Jackson, that kind of thing. Still later I learned that Liza had discovered that Jackson was a great fan of her father’s film work, and had spirited

MINNELLI: phone call from the Ladies loo

MINNELLI: phone call

him off to the ladies room, where she found a public telephone – this was long before iPhones, kids — dialed her father’s private number, and beamed while Michael shyly interviewed Vincente Minnelli for his own personal pleasure. I thought of that moment when I watched Larry King‘s show on Friday night, with Liza commenting from Paris, looking profoundly unhappy and a little angry. But she rallied, as she always does. On Saturday, before her evening performance at the Palais des Congres, she danced through Paris on a float in the Gay Pride parade, crying “Freedom!”

Over the years I met Farrah Fawcett two or three times, and each time I found her to be refreshingly sweet, polite, respectful. It was always a pleasure to be in her company. Another gal from Texas, my esteemed Manhattan colleague Liz

SMITH: fellow Texan

SMITH: fellow Texan

Smith, shared her February 2 birthdate and thought of her as one of the nicest women in show business. “I well remember how this dear girl, who became an iconic sensation with her good looks and great hair, always remained devoted to her family and worried about their welfare,” said Liz on her website at wowOwow.com. “We never had a conversation that didn’t lead back to her parents!”

I imagine Liz was as intrigued as I was to see all three U.S. majors, ABC, CBS and NBC, turn over most of prime time to news specials remembering Jackson and Farrah. CBS’ Life and Death of Michael

Jackson garnered the most viewers of the three network specials about the singer, drawing 7.6 million, but ABC’s 20/20 special devoted to Farrah attracted more viewers than any of the Jackson specials, leading the 10 p.m. hour with 8.2 million viewers.

At the end of the day, CBS won the night, but not because of its Michael Jackson special. They attracted the biggest audiences of the night with an 8 pm rerun of The Mentalist, followed by a repeat of CSI at 9 pm.

Were younger viewers glued to their TV sets watching the specials on Michael or Farrah?

Nope. They were all watching So You Think You Can Dance, on Fox.

Ain’t showbiz grand?

TOMORROW:

Raves for stage lions Anne Hathaway and Bruce Dow,

Mia Kirshner’s little sister writes a book,

and Sacha Baron Cohen’s outrageous gay supermodel Bruno

(why wasn’t he in last weekend’s Pride parade?)

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