People

People

Jane O’Hara October 30 1978
People

People

Jane O’Hara October 30 1978

People

While waiting for the critical appraisal of her soon-to-be-released movie, Slow Dancing in the Big City (directed by Rocky’s John Avildsen), ballet dancer-choreographer Anne Ditchburn is lying low in New York, living the life of “a mysterious lady.” How does a mysterious lady live? Well, after retreating on sabbatical from the National Ballet of Canada this year, Ditchburn is taking twice-weekly acting classes in Washington Square and preparing three new ballets for the embryonic Ballet Revue (a newly formed company, featuring Karen Kain and Frank Augustyn, devoted to the presentation of intimate, innovative choreography). “I put myself out of work this year to become a student,” said Ditchburn. “Right now I have no more plans for acting, but I’m waiting to see how

the movie’s received. I’m fairly optimistic. Avildsen told me I’m going to come out smelling like roses.”

AY lthough it’s atypical of Margaret Zr-u Trudeau’s style, Paddington Press, the publishers of her upcoming autobiography, have adopted a closedmouth policy on the book’s contents and are attempting to keep the publicity “as low-key as possible.” For the present, at any rate. The book, due to be released in April, 1979, with a hardback first printing of 100,000 copies, is currently being haggled over at the Frankfurt Book Fair. That’s for foreign-language sales. Already, one European newspaper has paid $80,000 for exclusive rights to the first serialization abroad, but the money has not yet begun to flow. “We’re planning to come to Canada in November to talk to anyone interested in serialization rights up there,” said Martin Greenwald, executive vice-president of Paddington. “I’ll have the manuscript

with me and the more interested people are, the more they’ll get to read.” Just to whet your appetite, Margaret has apparently chronicled various chats she’s had with Fidel Castro, Richard and Pat Nixon and the late Chinese premier Chou En-lai. “She had a conversation in English with Chou,” said Greenwald. “Of course, he doesn’t speak English.”

□ t was clearly a case of déjà vu, when Sweden’s 63-year-old Ingrid Bergman read the script for her latest movie Autumn Sonata (directed by Ingmar Bergman). In the movie, Ingrid plays a wife and mother, who for many years defaulted on her matriarchal commitments in order to tour as a pianist. Consequently, the kiddies had no one to come home to. Her cinematic daughter Liv Ullmann, who’s been smouldering with neglect, finally confronts her itinerant mama and the fireworks begin. In real life, one of Bergman’s four children is Pia Lindstrom, a television journalist with NBC-TV. Bergman admits they, too, have had their set-tos. “I’ve always felt terribly guilty about being away from my children so much,” said Bergman in New York. “Many times they’ve resented the fact I wasn’t home and that resentment grew. I think with much love and understanding, those feelings have gone. But now, I feel guilty being away from my grandchildren.”

["E3 ven a hurricane wasn’t enough to LS dunk the unsinkable Mimi Hines . . . but it tried. While performing aboard the S.S. Rotterdam, Hines’s peripatetic nightclub act was rudely interrupted by a sea squall which knocked her from her moorings, tearing the tendons and ligaments in her foot. Undaunted, Hines sailed into Toronto last week for an engagement at The Imperial Room. But when the pain grew and her foot

swelled, the extremity was promptly entombed in a cast. Although her wardrobe changes went by the boards, her dancing was eliminated and herself had to be rolled onstage in a wheelchair each night, the show did go on. “I feel like I’m in a harness,” said Hines. “For the first time I have to sell my songs sitting down ... and that ain’t easy.”

On preparing for her homily of The Carnival of the Animals, Celia Franca is preoccupied with some preposterous phraseology. Franca, the founder and former artistic director of the National

Ballet of Canada, will take to the stage at the universities of Waterloo and Western Ontario later this month to narrate Ogden Nash’s verse for the Famous People Players’ black-light presentation of Saint-Saëns’ Carnival. Sounds wonderful. Except that Franca’s terrified, nay petrified of Nash’s nasty twisting tongue-fuls. “The most frightening thing is waiting for your first whopping mistake,” said Franca, taking time off from promoting her new book The National Ballet of Canada: A Celebration. “Try saying this for example, ‘amidst mastodontic wassle.’ ”

Don’t worry, Celia, you’re bound to be colossal.

On lieu of canned laughter, the audience was buoyed by bottled spirits during the recent live recording of singer-satirist Nancy White’s first album called Civil Service Songwriter at a Toronto cabaret. But in trying to get the best sound as well as entertain the welloiled claque, the audio technician was almost driven to drink. For example: after two attempts, White’s favorite ballad, entitled Footprints on My Floor, was fluffed and won’t appear on the album. And since the drinks were on the house, Attic Records’ bar bill was the costliest part of the low-budget venture. “My friends drank beer or wine,” wailed White, “but all the music industry honchos headed straight for the Chivas Regal.”

Fa) laying the role of Vasek, a stutterLJ ing, red-nosed simpleton, Jon Vickers, the 52-year-old tenor from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, has his problems even buying a wife in the Metropolitan Opera’s Oct. 30 production of The Bartered Bride. No wonder. His opening pitch to his betrothed Marenka, played by Toronto-born soprano Teresa Stratas, is “My m-m-momma made me come here to get m-m-married.” Even a dose of nationalistic passion couldn’t overcome that line. Nonetheless, as in all good comedy, everything ends up for the best. At the close of the Smetana opera (first performed at The Met under the baton of Gustav Mahler in 1909, last done in 1942) Vickers is dressed as a bear, but happily unmarried. As for Stratas (who’ll be making her first appearance with Vickers since 1973), she goes off with tenor Nicolai Gedda.

Jane O’Hara