She prefers not to be called a feminist and likes to keep her political views to herself, but English singer/song-writer Joan Armatradlng has observed that the U.S. presidential election is shaping up to be “a bloomin’ show.” Armatrading’s latest album, Me Myself I, gives some clues to her lyrics, which tend to be insular. She is, however, anx^ ious to spread the word about herself in ¡5 Japan, following an extensive North 2 American tour. “I think it would be £ interesting,” she says, “to see the culw ture and all the little people.” Second City: cottage country playing cards
Eagle Sarmont soars. The laid-back 28-year-old Californian, alias Joseph Whitmore, who planned to fly his motorized hang glider from New York to Paris, explains: “I haven’t taken a vacation for several years and a lot of people want a grand adventure so.. . .” En route last week, Eagle landed in Baie Comeau, Que., and was grounded by Transport Minister Jean-Luc Pepin. The flighty adventurer plans to fight the technical ruling that clipped his wings. Prior to landing in northern Quebec, the “Eagle” had set down in a school yard and a golf course where priority No. 1 was—the washroom. “I watch my diet very carefully,” he says, “and don’t eat anything that might be messy.”
Canada has been invaded by Second City comedy troupes. The Toronto show is constantly packed and Edmonton is rolling in the aisles when the taped version isn’t on television. But, for the past two years, Huntsville, Ont., in the heart of cottage country, has also been host to a crew of improvising zanies. “We’re the farm team,” explains
Huntsville Second City veteran Peter Mifsud, 29, “a group of defective comedians sent to the wilderness to learn the language.” Mifsud and his cohorts, Richard Dumont, Ken Innes, Dean Hall, Debra Kimmet and Patricia McFall, work out regularly at the Deerhurst Inn where the crowd consists primarily of “camp counsellors and dirty-weekend types from Toronto.” Between skits about parking lot attendants and test-tube babies, the troupe works in local humor about such topics as the Huntsville water, which they deem “unsafe to look at.” Like most cottagers, the group par-
takes of water sports and playing cards. “We have a regular friendly vicious card game,” explains Mifsud. “Pots have been going as high as $300 or $400. When that happens we go to Deerhurst to get fresh marks.”
After 13 years in retirement, The Chipmunks—Alvin, Simon and Theodore—are back. The three furry friends were a ’50s creation of songwriter Ross Bagdasarian who died in 1972, and now they are squeaking their way into the ’80s with an album titled Chipmunk Punk. “I was looking for a way to launch The Chipmunks into the consciousness of today’s kids,” explains Bagdasarian’s son, Ross, who is the brainchild behind the rodent revival. “I didn’t think disco would fit their style, but I felt that Alvin, Simon and Theodore could identify with the energy and vitality of punk.” Does this mean highpitched insults from the likes of Theodore Chainbelt or Simon Vicious? “Definitely not,” says Bagdasarian. Although there are those who have always thought of Alvin being literally Rotten:
“The Chipmunks are still clean-cut, traditional and wholesome. They are very soft punkers.”
fflt will be nice to have old Kingsfield I stalking the land again,” admits venerable man of the theatre John Houseman, whose crusty but benign television character Professor Charles Kingsfield, in the Harvard lawyers-intraining series The Paper Chase, returns to the screen this January. Houseman, 77, won an Oscar for his part in the 1974 movie that spawned the series. “They paid me an awful lot of money for that,” he admits of his cameo in Dudley Moore’s latest, Wholly Moses.
“I just did my part. I didn’t even read the rest of the script.” Houseman did, however, read the script for his current role as a suspicious neighbor in the Vancouver TV production of The Babysitter, a thriller with William Shatner and Patty Duke Astin. “If you’re my age,” says Houseman, “and you’re my kind of actor, as long as things aren’t obscene or boring or ridiculous you take them.”
In the film Gas, now shooting in Montreal, 22-year-old Sandee Currie meets a travelling salesman at a gas station and the jokes take off from there, only to end up back where they began—in the middle of a gas shortage. “The salesman, whose name is not Lloyd, sells everything from bird feathers to sofas,” explains Currie. “When I meet up with him he’s trying to unload 500,000 thermometers and we decide to look for gas instead.” The zany petroscam comedy features Donald Sutherland as a disc jockey in a helicopter, along with Sterling Hayden, Helen Shaver and Susan Anspach. According to Currie, her role as a photojournalist is “one of the straightest” in the picture and, since the salesman she teams
up with is played by madcap Howie Mandel, she has enough laughs without creating her own. “There are lots of stunts and car crashes along the way,” explains Currie, “but at the end we find out where the gas is.” And what is the answer to the question that millions of dry tanks are asking? “Oh, it really is gone.”
íiijor all intents and purposes, I am a ■ Beatle,” says 27-year-old Mitch Weissman, who stars in one of the many touring companies of the hit musical Beatlemania and just happens to be a dead ringer for Paul McCartney. “I come from a very nicely set Jewish lawyer
family in Long Island,” explains Weissman without a trace of working-class Liverpool in his speech. Weissman joined the Beatlemania cast “in the beginning” four years ago when the producers were looking for unknowns to impersonate the Fab Four. Though he enjoys the success of the show, which will be touring Western Canada next month, Weissman also finds that his offstage life is often disrupted. “The worst is at concerts,” he sighs. “People pass me everything. If I were into drugs, and I am not, I wouldn’t have to pay for anything.” Despite a lawsuit that has been on and off against Beatlemania for years, Weissman hopes to be part of a planned film sometime next year. Then he’d like to change his image. “I would love to go away from this cutesy-pie face and end up playing a killer on Barnaby Jones."
If Glynnis O’Connor doesn’t watch out, she may end up sounding like Rosalynn Carter permanently. First, the 24year-old actress had the lead in the screen version of the maudlin Mississippi ballad Ode to Billy Joe, and now she’s perfecting her southern drawl
playing a hillbilly mama in the Canadian flick Melanie, opposite rocker Burton Cummings and his white piano. Apparently it’s a treat to beat your feet on the Mississauga mud, since O’Connor says Ontario “looks just like Arkansas, except we had to bring in some red dirt.” The offspring of a New York show business family, O’Connor made her debut at age 9 in a TV toothpaste ad. Since then, she has served time on a soap and made movies with young eligibles John Travolta, Robby Benson and Jan-Michael M Vincent. Her angelic looks have helped 5 her win roles, but O’Connor is sick of § sweet young things and will break out K of the mould in Those Lips, Those Eyes, a film in which she plays a jaded dancer on the summer theatre circuit opposite Dracula's Frank Langella.
(flam here. The awesome one is back.” ■ Such was shot-putter Brian Oldfield’s reaction to a surprising recent U.S. federal court decision that allows him and all other professional American athletes to regain their amateur status. Banned previously from all nonpro meets since trading in his amateur ranking after the 1972 Olympics, the truly awesome Oldfield (six feet, five inches and 260 pounds) was volubly indignant about what he considered a human rights violation. “Athletes, like free enterprise in this country, should be autonomous,” he says. “I am the best and I should be able to compete with the best.” With the universe once more unfolding as it should, Oldfield is planning to come back hugely. “My 75-foot shot-
put record, which is two feet more than any other athlete in the world has ever thrown, apparently doesn’t count as I did it while I was a pro. I guess I’ll just have to amaze people all over again.”
i i |ust show us the stage!” challenged VStreetheart’s lead singer Kenny Shields, 32, as the band wound up its nationwide tour this month. Sprouted from the wheat fields of the Prairies, Shields is the pride of Nokomis, Sask., population: 600. Fame is coming more rapidly since the band’s members John Hannah, Spider Sinnaeve, Daryl Gutheil and Herb Ego took a Juno award in April as the year’s most promising group. Shields looks back nostalgically at the years he spent on the Prairie bar band circuit when he could “play the hell out of a guitar run.” But now he belongs to the “you can’t party no more club” to deal with the enervation of fame and its trappings. Sighs Shields: “I just want to wank it with the boys.” Edited by Marsha Boulton
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