By Brian D. Johnson - Tuesday, December 25, 2012 - 0 Comments
Newsmakers 2012: From Hollywood marriages to business dealings
Green Lantern’s Silver Lining
Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds and Gossip Girl star Blake Lively, who co-starred in the 2011 movie Green Lantern, tied the knot, proving a box office disaster can have an upside. Reynolds, 35, was engaged to Canadian singer Alanis Morissette, then married for two years to actress Scarlett Johansson. People’s former sexiest man alive has previously been linked to Oscar winner Charlize Theron. Lively, 25, has dated Gossip Girl co-star Penn Badgley, Titanic heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio—and another Canadian actor who shares her hubby’s first name, Ryan Gosling.
Toronto stage impresario David Mirvish offered to demolish his most opulent venue, the Princess of Wales Theatre, to build a trio of monumental skycrapers on King Street designed by hometown architect Frank Gehry. Mirvish, a major art collector, teamed up with Gehry to propose 85-storey condo towers that would house public galleries and extend the OCAD University campus. Don’t call these towers condos, said Mirvish—“I’m building three sculptures that people can live in.” If the project is approved, congestion may turn traffic into a sculpture people can live in.
Dion, Deli Diva
Her heart will go on, and so will Schwartz’s Deli. Quebec superstar Céline Dion and manager-husband, René Angélil, bought the iconic 84-year-old Montreal restaurant with local restaurateur Paul Nakis. Dion and Angélil, who already own Quebec’s Nickels Restaurant and Bar chain, allayed fears they would turn the smoked-meat shrine into a franchise operation. “I have so many great memories of being there with the guys, and with Céline and our families,” said Angélil. Even before the deal, Dion’s photo was on the wall. Continue…
By Paul Wells - Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 5 Comments
Between the sometimes-luminous opening ceremonies and the corny clichés of the closing show, Canada presented versions of itself the world had never seen
Careful what you wish for. For two weeks, armchair pop-spectacle producers from coast to coast indulged in one of the most popular events of this Vancouver Olympic season: critiquing the opening ceremonies. Too morose. Too much weird symbolism. Too many Aboriginal dancers.
And, this being Canada, everybody had their own checklist of the excluded. Not enough Ontario (said the Ontarians). Not enough spoken French. Not enough youth, humour, urbanity, what have you.
But what would happen if some cosmic joker actually wrote down the sum of all the kvetching and produced a show that gave Canadian audiences what so many had complained was missing? Okay, you nation of backseat drivers, we’ll give you rappers and phonetic French and rock bands and Michael Bublé until you beg for Aboriginal dancers.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 11:14 AM - 26 Comments
The ‘American Idol’ guest judge counsels a pastor with three young children on the perils of pop stardom
Wednesday night’s episode of American Idol, covering auditions in Los Angeles, was largely unremarkable, save for what might’ve been the most profound moment in Avril Lavigne’s public life to date.
In the lead-up to Ellen DeGeneres’ arrival as Idol‘s fourth judge (replacing the famously incoherent Paula Abdul), the early episodes of this season have featured a series of celebrity guest jurors. Wednesday night’s duties were split between Katy Perry’s cleavage and Lavigne. Perry’s cleavage proved a fair and constructive critic, but it was Lavigne who managed to introduce to the Idol paradigm an entirely original meditation on the precedence and value of the family unit in Western civilization.
We were first introduced to Jim Ranger, a hairy, bearded worship pastor and family man with three young children. He proceeded to sing, not badly, a song he had written himself. Randy asked Simon for his opinion. Simon deemed Ranger’s voice to be “authentic.” Randy asked Lavigne. She was apparently conflicted.
“You know, you have three children and you’re a pastor,” she observed. “To become a pop star, you know, you have to travel and you have to leave everything. It’s difficult out there on the road. But I do think that you have a good voice.”
When asked for her verdict, Lavigne responded in the negative. “I’m sorry I think I have to say no,” she said.
Kara, apparently seeing something in Lavigne’s argument, expressed some trepidation, but ultimately said yes, joining Randy and Simon to advance Ranger to the next round. Mr. Ranger celebrated excitedly.
There are perhaps two ways to look at this.
1. Avril Lavigne, a girl from a small town in eastern Ontario who sang in the church, who signed a record deal at 16, became a global pop star by the age of 18, was on the cover of Rolling Stone before she could legally consume alcohol in Canada, married her rock star boyfriend before her 22nd birthday, had divorced her rock star husband by the age of 25, at some point befriended Paris Hilton and showed up for the taping of this episode, at the age of 26, wearing a hooded sweatshirt with devil horns, is nearly the last person on earth who should be deciding who is and is not capable of maintaining a normal life while pursuing pop stardom.
2. Avril Lavigne, a girl from a small town in eastern Ontario who sang in the church, who signed a record deal at 16, became a global pop star by the age of 18, was on the cover of Rolling Stone before she could legally consume alcohol in Canada, married her rock star boyfriend before her 22nd birthday, had divorced her rock star husband by the age of 25, at some point befriended Paris Hilton and showed up for the taping of this episode, at the age of 26, wearing a hooded sweatshirt with devil horns, is precisely the person to be warning others about the potential perils of pop stardom.
The first option is possibly more ripe for mockery, but also, somehow, less plausible. However emotionally stunted Lavigne may otherwise be as a result of her early accomplishment in the entertainment industry—even by generous standards, the devil-horned hooded-sweatshirt should probably not be worn by anyone over the age of 21 who wishes to be taken seriously as a human being—she seemed genuinely concerned by Jim Ranger’s situation. Or at least the concern seemed too odd to be contrived. And while a deluded pop star might not have noticed the irony of her concern, a truly deluded pop star probably wouldn’t have cared enough in the first place to say so.
So maybe the second option makes more sense. Maybe she meant it. And maybe she knew of what she spoke. And maybe she is one of those few who can know what that life is actually like to live.
Unfortunately, if all that is true then the unavoidable conclusion would seem to be that Avril Lavigne is sort of sad. Or at least that she hasn’t always been all that happy, that she has struggled with her life as we’ve known it. This is maybe not all that surprising. In fact, it’s impossible to believe she hasn’t struggled. But it is still sort of heartbreaking to see it vaguely implied on national television under the guise of warning another human being against pursuing her line of work, lest he somehow damage what she perhaps sees as an already rewarding, or at least important, life. It is entirely possible, in this scenario, that Avril Lavigne sort of envies Jim Ranger.
Granted, it is possible to over-think this. But if one of the defining pop stars of the last decade has just conceded that stardom should not necessarily be the ultimate and all-consuming goal in the life of the vocally talented, then this truly is the end of American Idol.
By Anne Kingston - Thursday, December 10, 2009 at 1:30 PM - 0 Comments
Kate and Jon Gosselin, and Paul Haggis and Scientology
Paul Haggis and Scientology
Risking Hollywood ignominy, the Oscar-winning director publicly crashed and burned his 35-year alliance with Tom Cruise’s place of worship in a letter blasting the church for its “tacit” support of a same-sex marriage ban. Fuelling the London, Ont., filmmaker’s ire was the “terrible personal pain” his wife suffered when she was ordered to shun her parents after they quit the religion.
Kate and Jon Gosselin
After 10 years, a zillion diaper changes, five seasons of film-crew chaos, a tummy tuck and sundry cosmetic surgeries, the Jon & Kate Plus 8 parents cancelled their marriage (and TV show), each accusing the other of infidelity. They did agree in separate back-to-back interviews that the intrusive tabloid media they courted contributed to their split and that they would leave their nine-year-old twins and five-year-old sextuplets in the Pennsylvania mansion on 10 hectares, while mom and dad move in and out “to minimize the disruption.”
Dany Heatley and the Ottawa Senators
The disgruntled forward finally got his wish to be traded, but not before his veto of a trade to the Edmonton Oilers made him a national pariah. Let’s hope the climate is warmer in San Jose for the newest Shark.
Greg Norman and Chris Evert
The ESPN fairy-tale union between the retired golf great and former tennis champ came at the cost of two marriages, a US$103-million settlement for Norman’s wife of 26 years, and US$2.3 million for a blowout Bahamian wedding. Fifteen months later it was kaput due to dissenting adult children and intractibility over whose lavish abode to set up house in.
Arlen Specter and the Republican party
Claiming he was increasingly “at odds with Republican philosophy,” the veteran Pennsylvania senator crossed the ﬂoor in a spring switchover that put the Senate Democrats one vote shy of a filibuster-proof majority of 60 seats and further solidified the ideological divide between the two parties.
Antarctica and the Wilkins ice shelf
The Jamaica-sized ice shelf continues its breakaway from the world’s southernmost continent, with the last major fracture recorded in April. It’s the tenth and largest ice shelf to give ground in the past 50 years.
Steven Page and the Barenaked Ladies
Fans of the beloved band were bereaved when its bespectacled lead singer and songwriter tweeted he was exiting the group he co-founded in 1988 to pursue a solo career, in the wake of an annus horribilis capped by a bust for cocaine possession.
Avril Lavigne and Deryck Whibley
The pint-sized pride of Napanee, Ont., finally said “c u l8er boi” to the Toronto-born Sum 41 lead singer after six years together, three as husband and wife. Known for their public spats, the couple took pains to declare each other “amazing” on their fan websites post-split.
Princess Taiping split
No lives were lost, no movie will be made. But the sinking of the replica 17th-century junk had its own pathos. The seacraft, built to prove that Chinese mariners could have reached America before Columbus or Magellan, was sliced in two by a cargo vessel near Taiwan one day short of completing its 27,360-km crossing of the Pacific Ocean.
Ian Davey and Michael Ignatieff
So much for political loyalties. The ﬁlmmaker son of famed Liberal “Rainmaker” Keith Davey recruited the Harvard intellectual, ran his failed leadership bid and served as chief of staff after Ignatieff was anointed leader—only to be dumped without warning for former Chrétien aide Peter Donolo. Fed up, Davies decamped to Toronto, taking with him girlfriend Jill Fairbrother, who quit as the party’s director of communications.
Hoping to create 200 jobs and pump up the stock price, EnCana, the Calgary-based oil giant, revived its May 2008 scheme to divide itself into two distinct energy companies—one oil, one natural gas—that will share headquarters. The original plan had been kiboshed due to economic uncertainty and plummeting energy prices.
Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn
There were some achin’ hearts when country duo Brooks & Dunn announced they’d agreed to “call it a day” after 20 years, 10 studio albums and numerous No. 1 hits, including Boot Scootin’ Boogie and My Maria. Before they walk into the sunset alone, though, they’ll squeeze out a 2010 farewell tour, the Last Rodeo.
By Ken MacQueen - Friday, October 23, 2009 at 8:00 AM - 2 Comments
Newsmakers of the week
The thorn in Stelmach’s side
It was a rough week for Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach. A new poll suggests he and his Progressive Conservatives are in free fall. His televised speech, intended to reassure Albertans about his handling of the recession, was widely panned and his attempt to set an austerity example with a 15-per-cent cut in his premier’s allowance fell on deaf ears. The nurses’ and teachers’ unions have rejected his call for voluntary wage freezes. And on Saturday, the Wildrose Alliance chose former journalist Danielle Smith as its new leader—continuing the Alliance’s evolution from cranky protest party to credible conservative alternative.
To ghostbust, you must first believe
Peter Aykroyd, an 87-year-old former federal civil servant who lives in a spirit-infested family homestead north of Kingston, Ont., has penned one of the season’s odder memoirs. A History of Ghosts: The True Story of Seances, Mediums, Ghosts, and Ghostbusters tells the multi-generational story of his spiritualist family. The foreword is supplied by his famous son, Dan, Saturday Night Live comedian and co-writer of the hit movie Ghostbusters. Dan writes how his family, from his great-grandfather onwards, were serious and scientific investigators of the paranormal. “Part of Ghostbusters’ appeal derives from the cold, rational, acceptance-of the-fantastic-as-routine tone that Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, director Ivan Reitman, and I were able to sustain in the movie,” he writes. With good reason: the Aykroyds are believers. Dan’s grandfather was a Bell Telephone engineer who considered the possibility of contacting the spirit realm via a crystal radio set. And one of Dan’s daughters, he writes, claims “glops of light and other shapes attend her when pictures are taken in and around the old family farmhouse.”
They did it for their families
An extramarital affair with a legislative assembly clerk has damaged the personal life and reputation of Northwest Territories Premier Floyd Roland. Now his political future rests with Ted Hughes, a no-nonsense former judge and one-time B.C. conflict-of-interest commissioner. Hughes conducted a hearing in Yellowknife to determine if Roland breached the public trust by keeping secret his relationship with clerk Patricia Russell. Both were married and have since left their spouses to live together. During the hearing Russell denied allegations she shared confidential caucus discussions with her lover. Roland told Hughes they kept the affair secret out of consideration for their families. Hughes may table his report by the end of October.
Beatles vs. Stones, next generation
The children of two of rock’s biggest names have taken a different approach to fame. James McCartney, son of Paul, has always avoided attention. He recently debuted his band Light to just 30 people in a tiny Oxford pub. McCartney, 32, and his band went to extraordinary attempts to conceal the name and parentage of their lead singer. “James has a way with melody,” wrote an approving gossip columnist for the tabloid Sun, “and a set of pipes which are more than a match for his dad’s.” Meantime, Mick Jagger’s toothy daughter Georgia May Jagger is sprawled topless atop a Union Jack in a new advertising campaign for Hudson Jeans. While crossed arms or strategic camera angles keep the photos just on this side of decency, they have still caused a stir, because, to paraphrase an old Beatles tune, she is just 17.
This little piggy went to Paris
Newsmakers spoke in haste last week when it suggested Paris Hilton was unlikely to acquire a British-bred micro-pig because the extremely intelligent animals aren’t available in the U.S. Hilton has now ordered a bred-in-the-U.S. Royal Dandie Extreme miniature pot-bellied pig from an Oregon breeder. “So excited for my new piglette [sic] to come home to me,” she Tweeted on Friday. The always predictable folks at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are less than enthused, saying she treats her pets as “disposable.” In fact, the pet-loving Hilton has quite a menagerie; it’s boyfriends that end up in the discard pile.
From hell, straight to Whistler
Skateboarding San Diego chef Dave Levey survived the fire-and-brimstone of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay to win the top prize on his Hell’s Kitchen reality show on Fox TV. Levey wins a job for a year working under executive chef James Walt at Araxi Restaurant in Whistler. He starts Jan. 4, barely a month before the start of the Winter Olympics. Of course, he’s survived greater challenges. Not only did he endure the usual hazing by Ramsay, he spent most of the competition in pain after breaking his wrist. Such grit, combined with the 32-year-old’s skater-boy vibe, should make for a perfect Whistler fit. Levey says the tightly edited reality show was mostly real. “What people saw,” he says, “is very similar to who I am.”
Curves and all
Meghan McCain, daughter of former U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain, would like to get something off her chest. “Don’t call me a Slut,” she thundered in her column on the Daily Beast website. The furor erupted after McCain used Twitter to post a picture of herself spilling out of a low-cut tank top. Reaction to a revealing photo of a Republican-values gal generated almost as much Web traffic as a certain Colorado family’s errant balloon. First an abashed McCain Tweeted an apology: “I have clearly made a huge mistake and am sorry 2 those that are offended.” Then she got mad. “Honest, I don’t feel that I have anything to feel ashamed of,” she wrote in her column. “I’ve always embraced my curves and will continue to do so.”
Kids say the darnedest things
Lisa Scott of Paulina, La., promised her son Tyren she’d take him to see U.S. President Barack Obama, so last Thursday they went to the President’s town hall meeting in New Orleans. Tyren raised his hand during a question period and Obama gave him the floor. “I have to say, why do people hate you?” he stammered. “They supposed to love you…. God is love.” The President gave a diplomatic reply about how such anger is politically motivated, and people are worried about their futures. The answer was fine, but the question later gave some commentators pause. Just when and why had the hate and rage so troubling to a young boy become a daily part of American discourse? “It was a pretty good question, I must say,” Tyren’s mother later reflected.
Free from Evin
Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari was released on bail Saturday after almost four months in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison. Maziar, who holds dual Iranian- Canadian citizenship, was arrested June 21 after reporting on the demonstrations following President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election. “Hopefully this is a sign that other journalists who continue to languish in jail in Iran will also be released in the near future,” said Annie Game, executive director of Canadian Journalists for Free Expres sion. Bahari’s wife, Paola Gourley, is confined to a London hospital where she is due to give birth to their first child on Oct. 26. It’s unclear if Bahari, who still faces charges, can leave Tehran to attend the birth.
Fortunately, only the marriage is dead
Just three years ago they were rockers in love. The musical marriage in 2006 of Avril Lavigne and Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley ended last week with Lavigne filing for divorce. Neither said what caused their “irreconcilable differences.” Lavigne was seen this summer in St. Tropez with oil heir Brandon Davis. Whibley was recently in Las Vegas with model Hanna Beth Merjos. It may simply be they married too young. As Lavigne said on her website, “Deryck and I have been together for 6 years. We have been friends since I was 17, started dating when I was 19, and married when I was 21. I am grateful for our time together, and I am grateful and blessed for our remaining friendship.” And Whibley is grateful to be alive. Internet rumours last weekend had him dead—not a good start to single life. Luckily that was just a hoax.
There’s a bit of a ham in any politician but the Elvis-loving former Japanese premier Junichiro Koizumi is uncommonly blessed. He once famously crooned the King’s tunes while on an official tour of Presley’s Graceland mansion. But now Koizumi, 67, is really reaching for the stars. His newest gig is as a voice actor for an extraterrestrial hero who fights aliens from outer space in the movie Mega Monster Ball: Ultra Galaxy. Sure, it was great to be premier of a major world power, but being Ultraman King has its advantages.
Sarko’s son also rises
Jean Sarkozy, all of 23 and repeating his second year at the Sorbonne, has been given a boost into the family business by his father Nicolas. The French president has appointed his son chairman of La Défense, the public agency administering France’s biggest business district, in west Paris. There are predictable cries of nepotism and even some of Sarkozy’s cabinet squirm at claims he is running a presidential monarchy. Sarkozy has denounced the “hysterical manhunt” against his son. Jean maintains a dignified silence, relying on what critics concede are two of his greatest assets: his golden good looks and his very nice hair.
By Lianne George - Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 12:49 PM - 0 Comments
Remember when Avril Lavigne wore men’s ties and baggy sk8ter pants and skull-and-crossbones hoodies…
Remember when Avril Lavigne wore men’s ties and baggy sk8ter pants and skull-and-crossbones hoodies and a permanent scowl? She really was a breath of fresh air.
Nothing complicated about that.
But now, all that’s left of her former image is the scowl. That’s because a 17-year-old “punk princess” sells records, but a 23-year-old one is just sort of unpleasant.
And so: booty-popping lessons. Continue…
By Jeff Harris - Monday, June 18, 2007 at 2:16 PM - 0 Comments
Stars pull out all the stops to make an impression at the MuchMusic Video…
Stars pull out all the stops to make an impression at the MuchMusic Video Awards. Jay Manual, of Canada’s Next Top Model, sports a “fierce” hat to the annual show and Tara Reid looks bright and beautiful (seriously). We’ve also got pics of Alexisonfire, Sum 41, Hilary Duff and Fergie.