At 44, Nana Mouskouri, the Greek chanteuse famous for her blackrimmed glasses and classically trained soprano voice, has gone country. “It’s really not a change, just an evolution in my music,” she says of her Nashville-produced album Come With Me. But she does admit it is a long way from the young girl who locked herself in her Paris digs for three days after hearing Edith Piaf “because I was ashamed to call myself a singer.” In between was her 1964 discovery by Harry Belafonte, their two-year tour which made her reputation, the SRO crowds, endless calls for encores and, at last count, 71 gold and platinum records. Modestly she says, “I have been very lucky so far, life has always smiled on me.”
Lougheed may be gravely concerned about resource ownership, but fellow-Albertan Pearl Gyan isn’t. “It’s crazy to be squabbling about the resources when there are oceans of oil and gas in outer space,” says the Forestburg, Alta., teacher who is forming a Western Canada chapter of the L-5 Society, dedicated to colonization in space. Named after libration point No. 5, a point where a spacecraft can orbit and remain in the same position between the earth and the moon, the L-5 Society hopes to see a wheel-shaped habitat for 10,000 in orbit to serve commuting workers involved in moon mining. Known as Astronaut Granny to her Grade 3 class, Gyan, 38, is still the only member in the town of 900, 125 km southeast of Edmonton. “I guess people around here want to keep their feet on the ground,” she says. “I picture myself in a Red Baron scarf flying off to the moon someday.”
Canadian composers were so rare then we practically had to invent ourselves,” recalls John Weinzweig, founding father of the Canadian League of Composers, whose 150 members will gather at the University of Windsor this month for a wingding birthday party celebrating their 30th anniversary. Weinzweig, 68, professor emeritus of the University of Toronto’s faculty of music, remembers having a gloomy discussion about the plight of native composers in the kitchen of his North Toronto home one night in 1951 with two of his students, Harry Somers and Samuel Dolin. His novelist wife, Helen, told them to “stop complaining and start doing something.” A baked cherry pie followed her advice, and that night the trio decided to draft the league’s constitution. Weinzweig, the composer of 60 major works, admits he is better known abroad than in Canada and he is deeply concerned about the average earnings of league members, which hover at about $14,000 a year. Last month, however, Weinzweig brightened visibly when he received a $20,000 Molson Award for his musical achievements. “It’s the first cash prize I ever won,” he says. “And I’ve just bought myself my first case of Molson ale.”
The old No. 7 worn by Edmonton Eskimo defensive back Pete Lavorato just didn’t look as menacing in shocking pink. Lavorato showed up for spring training last week to find teammates had dyed his uniform to kid him about his recent appearance in Bent, Martin Sherman’s drama about homosexual persecution, at the city’s Theatre Three. “It was the only uniform I had, so I wore it,” says Lavorato, 28, who intends to turn to the stage in the offseason. “But right now I’m more interested in winning another Grey Cup than any drama critic’s award.”
The Canadian film industry has produced a few corny movies, but none of them had won a prize at an international film festival. That changed last week at Cannes when Zea, a five-minute live-animation short depicting the explosion of a single kernel of popcorn, won a Special Jury Award for its codirectors, Montreal brothers JeanJacques and André Leduc, and its producer, the National Film Board. Zea would do very well plumping up confectionery sales before showings of the other well-received but prizeless Canadian entry, Alligator Shoes, a feature by Toronto film-maker Clay Borris.
There were no souvenir royal beer mugs or T-shirts in evidence at the wedding of Belgium’s Princess Marie Christina Daphne de Rethy to Toronto cocktail pianist Paul Drake in Coral Gables, Fla., over the Victoria Day weekend. In fact, the marriage of the princess, who works as a consultant for TVOntario, and the piano player was performed without the knowledge of her parents and against their formal wishes. Princess Marie Christina’s halfbrother is King Baudouin of Belgium. The wedding was such a spur of the moment affair that Drake, 43, a widower with three teen-age daughters, didn’t have time to invite his children. The royal family has reportedly launched an investigation into Drake’s background, although the Belgian Consulate in Toronto denies any knowledge of such inquiries. In fact, the 30-yearold princess was questioned and informed about the family misgivings about her relationship last month by former Belgian consul general to Toronto Ferdinand de Wilde. Says Kathleen Hermant, a quiet Toronto socialite who hosted the princess for several months: “I do not know what he was doing, or what involvement he had.” She also expressed concern about a file reportedly gathered on Drake by a local policeman, rather than the usual discreet External Affairs backgrounders.
After five years as a stand-up comedian specializing in multiple personalities, Chas Lawther got sick of “jumping back and forth and talking to myself,” so he teamed up with Ottawaborn actress Suzette Couture—and they have been talking to each other ever since. “It’s a wonder we manage to avoid actors’ schizophrenia,” says Couture, who plays Fran the Nurse to Lawther’s all-night Toronto TV character Chuck the Security Guard. Couture and Lawther write their own shticks and in their cabaret revue, Joined at the Hip, play a variety of characters from suburban nightclub owners Moe Foxy and Sherry Wine to the Archangel Gabriel and a hysterical teen-age Virgin Mary, who would rather not put up with lugging J.C. around Dead Sea High for nine months. “We like people to see the absurdity in what we do,” says Lawther.
Winnipeg funeral director Edward Coutu, onetime aide to former defence minister James Richardson, is trying his hardest to dispatch Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s political career to the final resting place he believes it deserves. Trudeau is scheduled to speak Wednesday at a $135-a-plate Liberal fund-raising dinner; Coutu has been urging party faithful to stay away in droves to let P.E.T. know he’s no longer persona grata. “We’ve got to let this lame-duck prime minister know he’s dwelling on irrelevant issues such as the constitution when Canada is really facing economic disaster,” he fumes. “We’ve sent out 500 letters and response has been great.” Local Liberal organizers say publicity about his boycott is actually helping them sell more tickets, a claim Coutu dismisses. “A lot of big firms have to buy tickets because they need to get government contracts,” he says, “but it doesn’t mean they have to use those tickets.”
Vancouver Island author David Day leaps from Middle-earth to the surface this September. A Canadian publisher rejected his idea for The Tolkien Bestiary, a learned compendium of everything you ever wanted to know about Frodo and friends. A British publisher picked up the idea two years ago and the book sold 250,000 copies in 12 countries. Day’s latest effort, The Doomsday Book of Animals, charts the downfall of 300 species over the past 300 years. After two years of tracking down extinctions through the British Museum, Day, 33, is now preparing an assault on humans. His next book, tentatively titled The Ecology Wars, will focus on the proand anti-animal forces in the human community. While attempting to document the views of the hunters and the defenders of the hunted, Day discovered that ldi Amin may have been on the side of certain animals. Uganda, he points out, is now the site of a burgeoning crocodile population. “Before Amin the crocodiles were undernourished. He fed them human bodies and they seem to be thriving today.”
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