Friday, February 29, 2008

VANCOUVER'S NEXT GAY TOP MODEL
Gay Top Models are the new Cover Boys!

Today there’s a great cover story in the latest edition of Xtra West on Vancouver’s Next GAY Top Model. And in that cover story, not only do we get a bit more scoop on this totally fab event, but we also get THIS:

(click the pic for larger, NSFW image)

Oh, the hotness! How fab is that pic? Whoever had this brilliant idea totally deserves kudos. It’s awesome fun to see all the contestants recreate the timeless biblical imagery of the Garden of Eden in the likeness of... who else, but Adam & Steve! And all their friends!! Love it!!!

The article includes some really interesting poop on Vancouver’s Next Gay Top Model. Example? This quote from event producer Terry Costa made me LOL:

"Our budget has crossed $375,000 and we have no money whatsoever. It's all products, services and prizes, in-kind support. The money from the ticket sales will go directly to Friends for Life."

Hilarious! I can totally relate to what he says. My budget *never* matches the money I have either. But good for them for securing so much non-monetary support to get this event off the ground and keep it going.
Xtra West’s article chronicles some of the early days of the competition including auditions, judges and lots more. It also makes mention of the OUTtv documentary currently in production featuring all the behind-the-scenes developments and step-by-step evolution of Vancouver’s Next Gay Top Model.
I think the documentary will be a fantastic way to extend the life of this great Vancouver-based project by airing it across Canada to viewers all over the country. I can’t wait to see it.

Not only is Gay Top Model alot of fun, but this event is entirely dedicated to raising funds for the Friends for Life society, in support of people living with life-threatening illnesses. Click on THIS! to have a look at what Friends for Life is all about.
Then, get your tix for big event: the winner of Vancouver’s Next Gay Top Model will be selected at a special, theatrical public event on Thursday, March 6th at Celebrities Nightclub here in Vancouver.
100% of ticket proceeds go to Friends for Life – they are $20 advance and $25 at the door. I hear that the organizers have nearly met their goal to sell-out the event so don’t dilly-dally… you can grab tickets at Little Sister’s Book & Art Emporium which, of course, is smack-dab in the tender heart of Vancouver’s Davie Village.

LAST DAYS OF LEFT EYE

Finally, I’ve now seen the documentary on the life of Lisa Lopes entitled “The Last Days of Left Eye”. Lisa Lopes was in TLC who rocketed to pop & hiphop superstardom in the early 90’s.

I always loved TLC’s music and I remember feeling sad when Lopes died in 2002. She was killed in a car accident in Honduras. Of the 8 people in the vehicle, and despite the fact she was wearing her seat belt that day, she was the sole member of the group to lose her life. Very sad indeed. The very final moments of her life are captured on video, including the swerving off the road of the vehicle.
The last month of her life was spent filming a documentary in Honduras, a place she loved to visit. Lopes bought property there and was building a mission for Honduran children. This legacy lives on through the Lisa Lopes Foundation with a mission "dedicated to providing neglected and abandoned youth with the resources necessary to increase their quality of life."

Before she died, Lisa Lopes spoke of her feeling that fear manifests in Honduras, and she also experienced premonitions and believed a “spirit” was chasing her. In another car accident in Honduras before her own, a young boy ran in front of the vehicle she was riding in and, sadly, was struck. He passed away from his injuries and Lisa Lopes helped his family by paying for his hospital and funeral expenses. Eerily, Lisa claimed she felt the ‘spirit’ killed the boy by mistake. Also, his last name was ‘Lopez’.

Lisa Lopes once wrote a song titled "A New Star Is Born" is dedicated to her late father.

She told MTV News:
"That track is dedicated to all those that have loved ones that have passed away. It's saying that there is no such thing as death. We can call it transforming for a lack of better words, but as scientists would say, 'Every atom that was once a star is now in you.' It's in your body. So in the song I pretty much go along with that idea. ... I don't care what happens or what people think about death, it doesn't matter. We all share the same space."(thx)

I don’t know … watching this documentary really had an effect on me. Perhaps she was troubled in her life, but who the eff isn’t? There’s no denying that her musical talent was *huge* and will last forever.
There are opportunities to volunteer for the Lisa Lopes Foundation, or to donate or also for corporate sponsorship. You can hit up the foundation website for deets.
I think Lisa Lopes is best remembered through her music with TLC. Here’s the video for one of my favourite songs by the group, Unpretty:

Thursday, February 28, 2008

MADONNA'S SWEET TREAT

Today there's some more details on Madonna's forthcoming new album entitled 'Hard Candy'. As I mentioned yesterday, the release date was set for April 28 and it now appears Her Madgesty's new disc will drop one day later here in North America. And apparently she's all set to kick our asses!
Here's the poop from Entertainment Weekly:

The title of Madonna's forthcoming album will be Hard Candy, EW.com has learned exclusively. The record, her last studio effort for Warner Bros., includes a track called "Candy Store." Madonna chose to stick with the sweet theme because "she loves candy," says her longtime rep Liz Rosenberg. "It's about the juxtaposition of tough and sweetness, or as Madonna so eloquently expressed 'I'm gonna kick your ass, but it's going to make you feel good.'" The album, which features Justin Timberlake on multiple tracks and production by Pharrell Williams, Timbaland, and Nate "Danja" Hills, will see a U.S. release on April 29. The first single, "Four Minutes," will be out at the end of March. (thx)
I curl my toes with glee! The last Madonna album was all kinds of fab and I can't wait to hear the new one. Hopefully our reliable old friend the Triple-Dub will do what it does best and magically *offer* fans an opportunity to hear the stuff soon ;-)

But wait! There's more cool news involving Madonna today. According to E!, she's in talks to perform with a crazy/huge roster of other artists at the World Peace One concert coming in May. World Peace One is an awesome organization. Here's their deal - read it and feel good:
World Peace One ™ is a massive, worldwide peace declaration (with) a common vision to bring an end to war during our lifetime.
This worldwide media event will reach a global audience and...will showcase international musicians, dancers, drummers, acrobats, child choruses, film stars, political and religious leaders, Nobel Prize winners, artists, best-selling authors, and diplomats. Live, pre-produced, and interactive segments which will empower and re-educate the people of the world to make a difference.
World Peace One™ is the first installment of a Ten Year Global Peace Initiative, aimed at ending war and establishing lasting peace for the entire human race. The initiative includes...the call for the creation of a Department of Peace in every government, major corporation, religion, as well as school and university in the world in efforts to secure the future;

World Peace One™ has launched the most ambitious humanitarian movement ever. This initial global concert event is currently planned to be broadcast "Live" from primary host venues with the support of secondary host cities spanning 24 time-zones across the world.
World Peace One™ is attracting a line-up of international recording artists, djs, producers, actors, athletes, Nobel Laureates, doctors, scientists, diplomats, inspirational leaders, and concerned global citizens who are contributing their time, status and resources to the important cause of Peace in our complex and perilous global environment.
World Peace One...will be the recipient and beneficiary of all donor funds, and portions of proceeds from all revenues generated by the World Peace One™ events and contributions.
World Peace One, Inc is mobilizing the world's support for ending all war and the achievement of real and lasting peace.
The World Peace One™ event will pragmatically contribute to an emerging global community in desperate need of enlightened leadership, universal human values, and consciousness that favors peace education. The initiatives we are pursuing can unify, enlighten, and deliver new models of community and problem solving that result in greater respect for human life - a foundation on which peace can be achieved.
Doesn't that sound perfect? I love the idea of challenging every government around the world to create a Department of Peace! It's such a simple idea. When I travelled in Costa Rica I was delighted to learn that country's government has a $0 defense budget.
The World Peace One concert had been set for May 17, but negotiations with the goverment of China have necessitated a change in date. I guess we'll have to keep checking the WP1 website for an update on the concert date.
BTW! Aside from Madonna, the other artists reportedly in talks to perform are U2, Led Zeppelin, Celine Dion, Lionel Richie, Will.i.am, Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, Velvet Revolver, INXS, Aerosmith and ZZ Top.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

MADONNA'S HARD CANDY
is the New Ear Candy


Madonna's new album is titled Hard Candy and is set for an April 28th release ... YEEHAW!

I've been getting toooooootally excited for quite awhile now about this new collection of tunes from Her Madgesty. It looks like all her work in the studio with Justin Timberlake has paid off and soon we'll finally get to hear all of it. New Musical Express is reporting the news:
Madonna has revealed that her new album will be called 'Hard Candy'.
The veteran star's final album for her record label Warner Bros is set to be released on April 28.
The first single, co-written by Justin Timberlake, is entitled 'Four Minutes'.
After the release of the album and subsequent singles, Madonna will leave Warner Bros and release music with Live Nation, the convert promoters that she has signed a 10-year deal with.
As previously reported, 'Hard Candy' reportedly features an up-tempo dance sound with hip-hop influences.
And... we're off! 60 days to go until the sweetness that will be Hard Candy. Meantime, here's the poop on Madonna's other amazing project, Raising Malawi:
In January, 2006, Michael Berg (co-director of The Kabbalah Centre and bestselling author) and internationally-recognized entertainer, Madonna, co-founded the Raising Malawi Orphan Care Initiative, a humanitarian aid program designed to revitalize the lives hundreds of thousands of underprivileged and at-risk children in Malawi. Raising Malawi has a five-point approach:
1. Provide immediate direct physical assistance for orphans and vulnerable children through effective and efficient non-governmental, grass-roots organizations;

2. Create long-term sustainability through creative methodologies and systems;

3. Support psycho-social programs designed for children traumatized by HIV/AIDS, poverty, parental loss, malnourishment and disease;

4. Manifest all projects taking into consideration the guidelines set forth by the National Plan of Action (a document co-created by the Malawian government and UNICEF)
5. Encourage dialogue with the Malawian government and Traditional Authority leaders to respect the Malawian culture and support their participation and vision for the future.

VANCOUVER'S NEXT GAY TOP MODEL

Those bad boys from Vancouver's Next Gay Top Model are at it again.


The official event website has been updated with new photos of the contestants. The pics were taken at their recent Valentine's Day event. The soiree was a chance for local media and the public to be big 'ol lookey-loo's at the 12 Finalists. And it appears everyone got an eyeful since the meet 'n greet was tied in with the Canadian launch of aussieBum's Valentine Boxer line.
Here's an official photo of some of the contestants in their brand new Valentine Boxers. They do look tres cute, but I'm not quite sure what's going on with the contestant who is lying down (I think his name's Darren). Perhaps he's preparing for Vancouver's Next Gay Bottom Model. Tee hee. He's a cutie though, so I'd be happy to see him in either event.
The Valentine Event was an important night for all the guys as it was worth 5% of their total score toward the selection of the final 3 contestants. Go here to check out some more pics of the Valentine's Day event.

Today the Gay Top Model crew paid a visit to Shaw TV studios here in Vancouver for an appearance on everyone's favourite local talk show Urban Rush. No question about it, co-hosts Michael Eckford and Fiona Forbes are down with the gays.

(photo credit)
They've always portrayed total acceptance of the gays on their talk show, a fact which was pretty much driven home for me when I saw Fiona Forbes at The Odyssey once, many moons ago.

On Urban Rush, 6 contestants strutted in front of the camera, one by one, sans shirt, and then lined up, side by side, for a quick Q&A.
The first contestant to appear was Dustin and while he obvs has hair confidence, he looked rattled and uncomfortable. Hopefully he'll relax a bit as the competition rolls on. We also saw Micah, Peter, Tyrone and Rhys (I hope I got all their names correct). When each was asked why he should be Vancouver's Next Gay Top Model, their replies were kinda funny, kinda bitchy, kinda sincere.
Now, forgive me if I match the right reply to the wrong guy, but I'll try my best here... when asked why he should win, Micah's reply was something to the effect of 'just look at me'; Rhys' reply was 'because I'm the tallest'; and the last one muttered something about 'I thought it would be good for my career'.

I don't know if I like those answers... these guys all have lots of potential and I know it can't be easy to parade yourself half-naked in front of hot lights, tv cameras and lots of strangers, but to me those types of answers are intended just to kind of bitch everyone to death instead of offering some real insight into why they entered this competition, why they each would like to win and how they might be able to prop up their gay community with the title. After all, it is a little bit of a byoo-tee pageant, now isn't it? I really think that the guy who wins is going to have to be totally comfortable in his own skin so that when he's crowned the winner, all of us will feel comfortable with him.
YOU BETTER WORK, BITCHES :-)
Personally, I can't wait to see who wins because Vancouver's Next Gay Top Model is one of the most fun events in a long time to capture Vancouver's imagination.

100% of ticket proceeds for the final event on March 6/08 support Friends for Life. Take a look at the Friends for Life website and then you'll feel really good about where your money is going when you buy a ticket for March 6th. Get tickets here. See ya there.

All this has me thinkin' 'bout the original gay top model, RuPaul! For old time's sake... behold Supermodel:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

RIHANNA RECEIVES S.O.S.

Our Bajan girl Rihanna has taken steps to help out a New York woman while showing us all that a truly talented class act can return some of the love her fans have given to her.



MTV reports the following via People:
As the new honorary cultural ambassador for her home country of Barbados, Rihanna is already using her clout to do some good. According to People magazine, the singer is working with the international donor network DKMS to help find a bone-marrow donor for 41-year-old New Yorker Lisa Gershowitz Flynn, a mother of two young children who suffers from leukemia and has four to six weeks to find a donor. "When I heard about Lisa's plight, my heart broke," Rihanna told the magazine. "I said, 'I need to get the word out about Lisa right away.' " (thx)
Not only is she a great singer, fabulous entertainer and supremely hot, but Rihanna just turned 20 years old last week and proves that entertainers her age can easily stay focused on their job and give back a bit since they're in a position to help out. Love it! She can stand under my umbrella anytime.

Monday, February 25, 2008

FOUNDATION FOR GOOD TIMES
Academy Awards boost AIDS awareness

The Elton John AIDS Foundation grew over $5,000,000 richer thanks to last nights' Oscars. His 16th annual viewing dinner was attended by Hollywood A-listers including Sean Penn, Ellen Degeneres, Quincy Jones, Kate Beckinsale, Billy Joel, Chace Crawford, Sharon Stone, Sean/Diddy/Puff/Combs, Heidi Klum, Seal, Jason Lewis, ZILLIONS of others and, inexplicably... Tara Reid.
Before we see some pics of all the cool kids having fun and raising tons 'o cash for a most worthy cause, here's the organization's mission statement from the official website of the Elton John AIDS Foundation:
To provide funding for educational programs targeted at HIV/AIDS prevention and/or the elimination of prejudice and discrimination against HIV/AIDS-affected individuals, and for programs that provide services to people living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS.

Here are your hosts, the great Elton John and his handsome Canadian husband, David Furnish:


Courtney Love calls the sitter, takes a shower and matches her hair dye, skin tone and dress color...

Now what exactly is going on here? JC Chasez and Chace Crawford are looking *very* cozy, n'est-ce pas? Boy Band + Gossip Girl = Hot Couple!

The cute-Canadian factor was upped a notch when Kevin Zegers and Eric McCormack stood around lookin' all kinds of good...

In what surely must be one of the oddest pics taken on Oscar night, check out the facial expressions here on Elton John, Skinny McBeal, and Harrison Ford. Elton can't bear to face the lens with the plastic actress next to him, Skinny McBeal is about as convincing in this photo as she has been in every single episode of Brothers & Sisters, and Harrison Ford already looks nervous for his upcoming return as Indiana Jones:
Still with Elton, his OREO fantasy finally came true on Oscar night thanks to Quincy Jones and Stevie Wonder...
Here, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi show off who wore the pants on Oscar night...
Ellen's friend and former co-star, the Emmy-winning Jeremy Piven gets his French on with Best Actress winner Marion Cotillard.
Next, Ellen & Portia had enough of showing off their own legs so they miraculously roped in the paparazzi-hating Sean Penn to ham it up for the photogs...

LOS ANGELES (AP) — With Vanity Fair sitting out this year's celebrations, the belle of the Oscars parties was a piano playing Elton John.
The 60-year-old singer's 16th annual viewing dinner and after-party benefiting the Elton John AIDS Foundation topped other bashes Sunday, with 750 guests and a bevy of A-list stars who sipped cocktails and feasted on a four-course meal under the Pacific Design Center's red-draped tent.
Vanity Fair's lavish, celebrity-drenched annual affair, typically the top Oscar-night party, was canceled weeks earlier, before the end of the writers strike.
After greeting each table, John pounded out the first of 11 songs, the first time in several years that he has played a full set with an entire band at his own party.
John, who wore an ornate Yohji Yamamoto black suit, silver tie and black-framed eyeglasses, pointed at the crowd and banged on his piano. The crowd howled and clapped when he broke out hits such as "Rocket Man" and "Tiny Dancer."
Patricia Clarkson waved her arms in the air. Calista Flockhart swayed next to beau Harrison Ford. Petra Nemcova jumped on a few chairs and shimmied. Faye Dunaway bopped her head.
Mary J. Blige sang a duet with John, as did Scissor Sisters frontman Jake Shears, clad in a neon yellow-green suit, who jumped on John's piano and did the twist.
The party's second biggest belle of the evening was Marion Cotillard. Clutching her best actress trophy for "La Vie en Rose," she swept into the bash, rushing past reporters and bear-hugging her family and friends inside the party.
"I am a big fan of hers. I was very moved by her win," a teary-eyed Sharon Stone, wearing a white, tailored tuxedo, told The Associated Press earlier, when the room's dozens of enormous TV screens showed Cotillard tearfully receiving the honor.
Actors gushing over other actors continued throughout the festivities. Sean Penn, who snagged a best-actor win for 2003's "Mystic River," called this year's winner, Daniel Day-Lewis, "the greatest actor ever recorded on film." Lewis won for his performance in "There Will Be Blood."
Ellen DeGeneres, seated next to Portia de Rossi and Josh Groban, said Oscar host Jon Stewart was "doing a great job."
DeGeneres, who hosted last year's Oscars, joked: "It's better to host. It goes faster."
John and David Furnish shared DeGeneres' table during dinner, along with Blige and her husband. Nemcova, who arrived with Penn, sat with him and Kate Beckinsale, Chris O'Donnell and Larry King. Guests, who also included Billy Joel, Christian Slater and Russell Simmons, ate pear salad, risotto, beef tenderloin, cheese with walnuts and chocolate mousse.
Pink and orange orchids dotted the tables, with palm fronds lending a California dash of glamour on a patio outside. The party, co-sponsored by Chopard and VH1, raised $5.1 million.
However, the first post-Oscars destination for the night's winners and honorees was the Governors Ball, held in the Hollywood & Highland complex just upstairs from the Kodak Theatre.
The room was all red and gold, reflecting Oscars' red carpet and golden statuettes. Glass bubbles hung from the ceiling and red roses dotted each table.
The most blinged-out table was No. 303, where Joel and Ethan Coen and Javier Bardem proudly displayed their Oscar statuettes for "No Country for Old Men."
"Juno" screenwriter Diablo Cody kept her Oscar close, hesitantly giving it up when a friend asked to touch it.
Other stars mingled about the ballroom. Cate Blanchett talked with Julian Schnabel, while Viggo Mortensen draped himself with the flag of his favorite soccer team.
John Travolta and his wife, Kelly Preston, nibbled on food prepared by Wolfgang Puck, who chatted with guests while wearing his white chef's coat.
Back at a viewing party in West Hollywood, the Envelope Please bash at The Abbey — hosted by Jennifer Love Hewitt, who wore a dazzling white Elsie Katz Couture gown — housed more than 500 guests underneath a tent strung with hundreds of tiny yellow lights.
The event raised $500,000 to benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles. Attendees, who included Ricki Lake, dined on sirloin steak or pasta, and drank cocktails named after best-picture nominees.
Across town, guests at the annual Night of 100 Stars viewing gala at the Beverly Hills Hotel ate chicken, risotto and sorbet and guzzled energy drinks.
Mr. Blackwell, known for his annual worst-dressed list that skewers celebrities, wasn't impressed by the revealing outfits.
"Most are out to show their bosoms," he said, his throat hoarse because of laryngitis. "I've seen a few beautiful dresses, but there's nothing really original here."

Who the hell is Mr. Blackwell and why don't his outfits ever get publicized and criticized ?
Just sayin'...

How the heck did Chris O'Donnell and Christian Slater manage to get invited to this party? I ask you, it's the day after the 80th Annual Academy Awards -- do you know where your has-been-actors-from-the-90's are?
Just sayin'...

If I'd been at Elton John's fabulous little shindig, I totally would have hung out with Jake Shears, Patricia Clarkson, Ellen & Portia and Faye Dunaway.

And while I was at it, I also would have asked Faye Dunaway...

...if she realizes how much she now resembles Pete Burns...


Just askin'...

BTW - go here to donate to the Elton John AIDS Foundation

Uh-O CANADA

Oscar was a COLOSSAL grouch at the Academy Awards last night in Los Angeles. A grouch, that is, as far as the Canada is concerned. In fact, I believe Oscar was heard singing, "Lame Canada!"
Tons 'o Canadians were nominated, but walked out of the Kodak Theatre with no Kodak moments to look back on. Best Actress, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Art Direction, Set Direction, Animated Short Film, Sound Mixing are some of the top categories for which many Canucks found themselves nominated, but not winners. Before we find out what the eff happened, let's take a Canuck style spin around the red carpet.
Here is Juno star Ellen Page who unfortunately kinda looked like she hit up the Halifax thrift shops to pull together her Oscar look. Don't get me wrong, I love that girl, but hopefully now that she's 21, her matured brain cells will offer some intuition on how to look her best...

Next, my fellow Vancouverite, Seth Rogen. He's a hilarious writer, but he's also another Canadian who needs a serious image-overhaul.
Next, Juno director Jason Reitman showed up hoping to take home the Oscar for Best Director - we all know how that turned out...
Here's the beautiful Julie Christie, Best Actress nominee, and Sarah Polley, who were both nominated for Polley's directorial debut, Away From Here...
And one more look at Ellen Page because she's such a sweetie (who really needs to spend some of her next Hollywood paycheque in the boutiques)...
Despite working the red carpet like pros, and contributing to some very well-received films last year, the Canadians nevertheless fell like igloos to global warming:
HOLLYWOOD -- The Oscars were a total disaster for Canada last night.
nominees who went down. Page, celebrated as Hollywood's new 'it' girl, was also up against Cotillard. Polley missed out in her first crack at the Oscars. She had been over the moon when nominated for adapting Alice Munro's The Bear Came Over The Mountain into her feature-film debut as a director with Away From Her. But the Coen brothers took that Oscar. The Canadians started dropping early when Sweeney Todd took the Oscar for art direction and set direction. Canadian Jim Erickson had been nominated along with Jack Fisk for the sets on There Will Be Blood. Peter & The Wolf's victory as best animated short ended the night both for Toronto director Josh Raskin, who crafted the John Lennon opus I Met The Walrus, and also Montreal co-directors Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski, who created the exquisite puppet film Madame Tutli-Putli. The sound-mixing category took out more Canadians. Paul Massey and David Giammarco were up for 3:10 To Yuma, while Craig Berkey was part of theNot only did all 10 Canadian-born nominees lose, so did all but one of those who had been nominated with strong Canadian connections. The august bunch of sad faces included British veteran Julie Christie, up for best actress for Toronto filmmaker Sarah Polley's Away From Her. Christie was thought to be the front-runner, but was upset by rising French star Marion Cotillard for La Vie en Rose. Another big name losing out was American Viggo Mortensen, nominated as best actor for Toronto director David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises, although his loss was expected. Halifax actress Ellen Page was among the Canadian-born team nominated for No Country for Old Men. The only joy in mudville, Canadian style, came when American screenwriter Diablo Cody took the best original screenplay Oscar for Juno. The former stripper delighted journalists backstage, admitting the whole experience leading up to the Oscars has been incredible, as is her own saga. But a biopic about her would be ridiculous, she said. "I only say it would be a silly movie because no one would believe it," Diablo said. Juno, while considered an American production, is widely touted as Canadian, including by its Montreal-born director Jason Reitman. But Reitman himself lost to the Coen brothers in the best-director category. Oh, oh Canada. The Great White North nominees will have to content themselves with just being nominated. But, as Jack Nicholson said this week, people who declare that are liars. "Everybody wants to win," Nicholson told USA Today. "The worst is when you're sure you are going to win, and you don't."
Oh well. At least when Juno comes out on DVD we'll be able to watch it again and know that a seriously deep influence was placed on that great movie by a Canadian director (Jason Reitman), Canadian lead actors (Ellen Page & Michael Cera) and a Canadian location (yup, the whole thing was filmed right here in Vancouver).

Awards season ain't over yet. The Genie Awards (the Canadian equivalent of the Academy Awards) are coming up a week from today. The Genies will be hosted by Great White North(ern) gal Sandra Oh from Grey's Anatomy.

TORONTO - "Grey's Anatomy" star Sandra Oh will host the Genie Awards honouring the best in Canadian film. Oh, who was raised in Ottawa, is a previous Genie winner herself for her roles in Don McKellar's "Last Night" and Mina Shum's "Double Happiness." More recently, she starred in the wine-tasting comedy "Sideways," and has received a Golden Globe Award for her role as the tough-as-nails Dr. Cristina Yang on "Grey's." A strong slate of Canadian movies is vying for Genie glory this year, including David Cronenberg's bloody Russian mob thriller "Eastern Promises" and Sarah Polley's poignant Alzheimer's drama "Away From Her." The awards will be handed out March 3.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

FOREVREN YOURS

I saw a new TV commercial the other day and totally dug the music in it.
The ad was for the 2009 Toyota Matrix. One little click over to YouTube and I was on my way to discovering a cool & new (new to me, at least) artist out of Toronto. His name's Evren and the song I heard is 'Do I Go'. Here's the vid - check it out...

Besides nice beats and hot voice, Evren's cool in my books for his involvment with Artists Against Racism. A PSA for the group is showing in Canadian movie theatres, so maybe you'll see it when you head out to check out whichever film ends up winning Best Picture at the Oscars tonight.

Check out Evren's site here and Artists Against Racism here.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

WHOA, NELLIE!
Little House on the Hotel Vancouver Roof

It's not every night in Vancouver that one meets the legendary Nellie Oleson.

Yup, that Nellie Oleson - the nasty, blond girl from Little House On The Prairie who terrorized Laura Ingalls and the rest of the kids in Walnut Grove for eight glorious television seasons.


Alison Arngrim is the actress who portrayed Nellie Oleson, ringlets and all. Arngrim was just here in Vancouver to appear at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Way up, at the very TOP of the hotel.

The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is well-known for great service, a fabulous lobby and one of Vancouver's top restaurants and lounges. There's even talk of a ghost in there, too. However, what many people don't know is that it also has a rarely-used Rooftop restaurant, reserved only for special events.

I didn't know their Rooftop restaurant even existed until I saw it for myself. And here's some proof ... the actual menu from the good 'ol days. Check out the prices - only 1 dollar for caviar or a salmon steak!

(That's an actual scan of the restaurant menu - many thanks to local historian Danny for sending it to me)


The Rooftop restaurant was the site of a swishy-do the other night - the Vancouver Men's Chorus 3rd annual Legacy Gala & Auction fundraiser. And the headline entertainer at this fun, charity event was Nellie Oleson herself... a.k.a Alison Arngrim. These days she's a stand-up comedian and I gotta say, she's pretty darn funny.


Alison Arngrim's show is called Confessions of a Prairie B!#*h. Let's break it down: her act is actually very, very funny and really, really crude. This here blog is a family show so I'm going to refrain from relaying her jokes to you, but if you're really curious, check out YouTube and just search for a video clip of this show by entering "Confessions...(rest of name)". But here's a pic of her in action the other night - you can clearly see how easy it is to re-work an old gimmick.


She riffed for a good hour on things like growing up in Hollywood with a father who managed Liberace for a living, a mother who voiced the animated Casper the Friendly Ghost, and being called very bad names by every girl at her school after they saw her play the nasty Nellie Oleson on primetime TV.

She had some good dish on other Little House cast members. She said that while the late Michael Landon (Pa Ingalls) was a great man, he was also a great drinker. And, while "Nellie" was definitely the nasty one on the show, the nasty one in REAL life was the actress who played poor, blind Mary!


The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver was a fantastic venue for this event and I have no doubt will help it continue to become one of Vancouver's must-attend annual fundraisers.

Here are some pics from the Rooftop restaurant. The first one here shows Vancouver's famous Robson Street, stretching left to right in the photo...


And the next pic shows the shadow of one of the gargoyles adorning the exterior of the hotel, with Sears department store all lit up in the background. A very interesting perspective that was completely new to me despite the zillions of times I have seen both the gargoyle and the store sign.


For dessert, we were treated to an exclusive item on the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver menu, the Chocolate Saxophone with Passion Fruit Mousse, Fruit Coulis and Fresh Berries. Y-U-M. Here's how it is presented:


Last but not least, Andrew and I were lucky enough to have our pic taken with the legendary Nellie Oleson:

Friday, February 22, 2008

PAY IT FORWARD

It looks like the Writer's strike in Hollywood made room for yet another non-scripted show to take over the airwaves soon. And, with Oprah Winfrey behind it, chances are it'll be a huge hit.


Oprah's Big Give is set to hit the airwaves in a week or so on ABC. It's the kind of show that you'd expect from a big girl who has a really good habit of giving, big-time. Here's the deets from Entertainment Tonight:
OPRAH WINFREY is heading to primetime with a new concept in TV programming. Her show, "Oprah's Big Give," came from an idea that the talk show queen had about paying it forward. On an episode of her daytime program, Oprah tasked 349 people with taking a small amount of money, turning it into a larger amount and helping as many people as possible.

"I love giving," Oprah tells ET's JANN CARL. "I love the feeling that being generous gives to me. I wanted to share that with as many people as possible. Because people think it is the getting that is the great fun. It is the giving of it that is so great."

On the expanded eight one-hour episodes primetime version, a group of 10 people are challenged to change the lives of complete strangers by giving away hundreds of thousands of dollars. What they don't know is that at the end, they will be rewarded for their efforts.

"Everybody that was doing good had no idea that at the end I am going to do good back to them, so they were all just doing it because they wanted to do it. That is the real truth. Nobody ever in the whole eight weeks that we were working with them said: What do I get? They were into: What can I give? They were stunned when I gave away a million dollars to the person who gave the most. One million in cash, because I like cash. Cash is real. Otherwise you are just looking at numbers on a piece of paper."

"Oprah's Big Give," premiering Sunday, March 2, at 9 p.m. on ABC, is hosted by NATE BERKUS, who is joined by JAMIE OLIVER, TONY GONZALEZ and MALAAK COMPTON-ROCK serving as judges for the competition.

In addition, several of Oprah's celebrity friends will be dropping by to lend a hand, including JENNIFER ANISTON, JOHN TRAVOLTA, JADA PINKETT SMITH and EVA LONGORIA PARKER. And Lady O says it was easy to get them to come aboard.

"Everybody who has been given a lot knows what that is like to give back," she tells Jann. "[They said], 'I'm in. I want to be a part of a giving show.'"
Well, I like cash too, Oprah. And I know you've been hanging out lately with another billionaire, Vancouver's Jim Pattison, so why doncha pop over next time you're in town with all that cash and I'm, like, so sure we can come up with a way to help you get rid of it ;-).

But, as far as Oprah's Big Give goes, I don't think I believe that all your participants had no inclination there would be some kind of reward for them at the end of the task. Granted, I'm sure they are good people who participated for the goodness of giving but if that was me up there, well, you just have to know that if you're appearing on a show backed by the almighty O, there's bound to be a payoff in the end.

And the one thing that will get me watching at the least the first episode? Nate Berkus, who hasn't been looking as yummy lately as he is capable of, but who nonetheless merits a second glance.
video

VANCOUVER'S NEXT GAY TOP MODEL

The land of hot pink bus stops and trash cans is getting hotter.

Vancouver's West End is home to the Davie Village, the city's gayborhood. How does one ascertain the gayness of this part of town? Just sashay down Davie Street and you'll see all the transit stops and public garbage cans are painted hot pink. I guess pink is the new street furniture!

The West End is also home to Celebrities, Vancouver's biggest gay bar. And on March 6, it's the place where Vancouver's Next Gay Top Model will be crowned:


Vancouver's Next Gay Top Model plays off the format of the popular TV show of (nearly) the same name and offers a strong altruistic element as it will lend financial support to Friends for Life, one of Vancouver's organizations in support of people living with AIDS.

The competition started up for contestants back in January and on March 6 at Celebrities, the winner will be unveiled to the masses. Tickets for the event are available to anyone and everyone, and the best part is that this entire event is all staged in support of Vancouver's Friends for Life society. Here's what they're all about:
The Vancouver Friends For Life Society serves as a catalyst to enhance the wellness of individuals living with a life threatening illness by providing complementary and alternative health and support services.

Click here to meet the 12 finalists - you'll get a nice, big photo of each hottie, their personal bio and a short video, too.

You can get tix thru Little Sisters bookstore - grab 'em here.

What can we say, but good luck to all the Vancouver's Next Gay Top Model contestants and thanks to the organizers for using such a fun template to raise money for one of Vancouver's most-deserving charitable organizations.

GOT MARIO?



Who woulda thunk that Mario Lopez would grow up to be so damn hot? Looking at reruns of Saved By The Bell, when he was rocking the acid-wash jeans all the time, he was definitely a cutie, but it didn't seem too likely that he would turn out to be so ridiculously yummy in his 30's. And those dimples! Those are major-league dimples, big enough I'm sure to curl up inside with Mario himself.

The pic above is from last week, on Valentine's Day. Mario did a very good deed by hooking up with his partner there (aka Maggie Moo) to hand out ice cream cupcakes and Valentines to sick kids in Santa Monica, CA at the UCLA and Orthopaedic Hospital. They walked around the pediatric department spreading love and putting smiles back where they belong. It's good to know that these kids have experiences like this to brighten up the day as the recover from illness.

This good deed just makes this boy all the hotter, n'est-ce pas? And if you're not totally convinced yet like I am, check out this steamy shower scene clip from Mario Lopez's appearance on FX's Nip/Tuck:


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

RICH GIRL (GIVES IT AWAY)

Our girl Gwen Stefani is stepping up to help out those kids from the OC...
No, not Mischa Barton who got popped right after Christmas for a DUI and possession of a controlled substance. And not her super-cute OC friends either, like Adam Brody (who definitely needs a bit of help that should only be delivered by me). Mmmm ... Adam Brody...



Ain't he just the most darlin' young thang? I digress... back to Gwen and her good deeds.

The big G has another online auction coming up soon in March to raise funds for two OC (Orange County) charities, Children's Hospital of Orange County , a rare place which works cooperatively to provide medical care for kids regardless of the family's ability to pay. The other charity is Orangewood Children's Foundation and this one works for the well-being of kids in the foster system. We need more places like these in this world, doncha think?

There's tons of cool shit from Gwen Stefani's recent world tour up for grabs. You can bid on her costumes, or those of her Harajuku girls or her B-boys. There's also props like the jail cell used in the Sweet Escape video or a great, big, lit-up letter G.
If you wanna take a peek at the complete list of auction items, check out Gwen's eBay page . Here's a couple pics from her world tour wearing a couple things going on auction ... a Swarovski crystal-covered romper, a kick-ass pair of boots and, natch, a big 'ol G:


Gwen def knows that Gimme Never Gets:
“When I saw how successful the last charity auction was, and how supportive and excited the fans were to be a part of it, I thought it’d be great to do another one. To be able to share these amazing costumes with my fans and raise more money for CHOC and the Orangewood Foundation at the same time is very exciting.” - Gwen Stefani

Since we're lovin' up on Gwen right now, I'm reminded of a clip of MadTV from last year - a hilarious parody of Gwen Stefani's video for The Sweet Escape. Here's our daily LOL:

A BIG 'OL NELLIE NIGHT OUT

It's not every night that one encounters the opportunity to meet the one and only Nellie Oleson.

Yes, that Nellie Oleson - the little blond bitch from Little House On The Prairie who terrorized Laura Ingalls and the rest of the kids in Walnut Grove, Minnesota for eight glorious television seasons.

Alison Arngrim is the actress who portrayed Nellie Oleson, ringlets and all. Arngrim was here in Vancouver this past weekend to appear at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. The hotel's rarely-unwrapped rooftop restaurant (yup, there's a restaurant up there) was the site of a swishy-do last Saturday night. It was the Vancouver Men's Chorus 3rd annual Legacy Gala & Auction fundraiser.

One of the singers in the chorus is a cousin of Alison Arngrim. That would make two big nellie's in one family! Anyhoo, Arngrim is now a stand-up comedian and was featured as the headline entertainment at this fun, charity event.

Alison Arngrim's show is called Confessions of a Prairie Bitch. Let's break it down: her act is actually very, very funny and really, really crude. Example? A powerpoint slide on a large screen next to Arngrim's stage displays a magazine article she uses in her act to illustrate the terrible things that are *still* written about poor little Nellie Oleson. The article describes the actresses days as a child star and her tv character as a C U Next Tuesday.

Aaah! Yikes, that's a nasty word to pin on a little girl. But really, it basically set the tone for the feel of Arngrims' stand-up act, not to mention the language.

She riffed for a good hour on growing up with a father who managed Nellie Oleson and Liberace for a living, meeting Hollywood's first transexual (a friend of her parents) when she was 7 or 8, and being called a bitch by every girl at her public school after her first appearance as Nellie Oleson aired in primetime.

So... her dad, Thor Arngrim, was the manager of Liberace. No wonder Nellie Oleson was infused with a quality of enduring appeal to gay men everywhere! She was the queen bitch child - and that's exactly the quality that alot of gay men had to have when growing up in defense against homophobic ridicule from other kids at school.

Her mother, Norma MacMillan was also an actress. She voiced Casper the Friendly Ghost, Gumby and Davey (from Davey & Goliath).

Here's another aspect which endears Nellie Oleson to homo hearts in little houses everywhere - later in the series, the character married Percival. The actor who portrayed Percival, Steve Tracy, was gay. Sadly, his short life ended at the age of 34 when he passed away from AIDS complications. Arngrim and Tracy were close in life and after his death, she became an AIDS activist and is still active in this pursuit to this day. Good on ya, I say!

Oooh, and she had some good dish on other Little House cast members. Here's one. When she was about 14 or 15 years old, at a Little House on The Prairie cast party, Michael Landon pulled one of the straps on the spaghetti strap top she wore to the party. Poor Alison grimaced in pain when the strap snapped back into place against her chest. Upon seeing the expression of discomfort on her face, all he had to say was, "hmm, that didn't hurt last year, did it?" Well, I guess that's Pa Ingalls for you. She also said he was a great man while being a complete alcoholic.

Here's another one: even though Nellie was *the bitch* on the show, and Laura & Mary Ingalls were the *nice girls*, in real life it wasn't quite so on the Little House set. Alison and Melissa Gilbert were (and still are) great friends and were known as the nice ones. The real-life bitch, believe it or not, was the blind one... Mary Ingalls, portrayed by actress Melissa Sue Anderson! Who knew, eh? I was pretty surprised that she revealed this to a public audience, but I guess there's no love lost between these people.

But even though she was willing to expose a bitchy blind girl, she wasn't quite so open when it came to a question about Matthew Laborteaux, who played Albert Ingalls (the hot orphan who was adopted into the Ingalls family). A member of our audience asked if the actor is gay and all she said was "how the Eff am I supposed to know what he's into?"

Near the end of her act, she directed our attention to the screen one last time to watch what is def the most classic and unforgettable scene from Little House on the Prairie. It was a scene from the episode where Nellie, in a karmic twist of fate, is thrown from a horse and injured. However! She plays the injury card to full effect to solicit sympathy and attention and convinces everyone she cannot walk and needs a wheelchair. Laura Ingalls gets wise to Nellies' scam and cheerfully offers to take her out for a "roll" in her wheelchair for some fresh air. Once at the top of a hill, and ensuring Nellie's doting, awful mother happens to be at the bottom of the hill on her way through town, Laura pushes Nellie in her wheelchair right down the hill! Nellie screams in terror, unable to bail on the speeding, out of control wheelchair. At the bottom of the hill, the wheelchair hits a bump and launches Nellie from her seat, arcing high through the air and landing with a splash in a swamp. Her mother screams! Nellie *stands* up, out of the water, soaking wet and crying. But she's *standing*! Her mother witnesses what she believes is a miracle ... her daughter can finally walk again ... and has her own accident as she faints and falls backward off the end of her chuckwagon (remember, this is the 1800's). A true classic scene!

There's a few authorized clips of Alison Arngrim's "Confessions of a Prairie Bitch". Here, have a peek and a giggle:






After her show, I got her autograph and me and my friend Andrew got our photo with her...



Friday, February 15, 2008

THE DUMB & THE USELESS

Halle-mothereffing-Lujah!

I just went on Wikipedia and read the news that Lynn Marie Latham, head writer and executive producer of The Young & The Restless has been fired. FIRED!

I'm SO relieved that the official word on this decision is finally out. Now we can look forward to a much-anticipated, well-deserved improvement in what had been, up until a year or two ago, the best soap on the tube.

I hope this change means that we won't *ever* have to see Y&R's history and characters disrepected in the way that Lynn Marie Latham and her crew betrayed the show and us, the viewers.

I'm still *very* uncomfortable when I remember back to when she took over reigns of Y&R ... suddenly almost all of Y&R's characters became wisecracking, sarcastic, criminal, attention-hungry, media "stars" in a small, midwest city who dramatically snap shut their cell phones at the end of every scene.

Here's a clue, Latham: the drama is not in riding your actors until they have perfected their ability to physically manipulate a small piece of technology for melodramatic effect in your poorly contrived scenes. The drama is in KNOWING your show, your characters and your audience and writing storylines, story arcs, dialogue, scenes and episodes that pay tribute to the essence of the show, the core of its values, the talent of its actors and the intelligence of its viewers. Word!

Do you think she'll learn her lesson from the Y&R disaster she created? We can only hope, but it really doesn't matter anymore because CBS daytime has FINALLY done what needed to be done a long time ago. I just hope that their inaction on this matter doesn't cause the show to lose its' number one status (which it has now had for nearly 1,000 weeks!)

BTW: How in the HELL did Latham manage to win a WGA award recently for writing Y&R? She must have the WGA fooled in the same way that she had Barbara Bloom and everyone else at CBS daytime fooled.

2008 is Y&R's 35th anniversary year and I cannot think of a better way for Y&R to celebrate! This is really great news for viewers (and hopefully for the cast, too).

One more time... all together now... YEEHAW!

To celebrate the good news, I looked back at some photos of me with a few of the stars of The Young & The Restless - I've had the chance to meet lots of the cast on different occasions so I thought I'd post them up here, too...

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