Even though she is one of the world’s most sought-after models, Kathy Ireland says that she wants to be more than just another pretty face. “Modelling is truly wonderful,” says the Los-Angeles-based Ireland, who has appeared three times on the cover of the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated, “but I really want to act and have put a great deal of effort to that end.” That means, she says, that she had to take seriously criticisms that her voice was too high and too breathy for a career in film. “I could have just listened to people say that I wouldn’t make it, or I could do something about it,” says Ireland. “I chose to do something.” She consulted a voice coach, a move that seems to have paid off. Along with roles in movies such as National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon I with Emilio Estevez and Backfire with Robert Mitchum, Ireland is doing the voice of Crystal on the children’s cartoon series The Fantastic Four. “I think that it comes down to believing in yourself and also accepting constructive criticism,” says Ireland. “Then you put some good oldfashioned hard work into your dreams.” The voice of experience.
BACK TO THE PARADISE
In recent years Canadian theatres have drawn big crowds by presenting imported musicals, from Show Boat to Miss Saigon. But now, three of Canada’s most respected jazz musicians are turning a slice of Canada’s own history into a Broadway-style musical. Oscar Peterson, Oliver Jones and Anthony Sherwood are profiling the life and times of Rufus Rockhead, the first black man in Canada to operate a licensed tavern. Backers will see a preview of the show in Toronto in September, with full production planned for 1996. It is a fitting subject for a musical: Rockhead’s Montreal establishment, The Paradise Club, was Canada’s top night spot in the 1940s and 1950s, a northern version of Harlem’s famed Cotton Club. The Montreal club’s dancers, the Rockettes, vied with their New York City namesakes to be the premier dance line on the continent. And even though Quebec premier Maurice Duplessis tried to close the Paradise, along with every other tavern owned by blacks, Jews and Chinese, Rockhead fought back and won. “It is an exciting piece of Canadian history, rich in music, drama and humor—and not enough Canadians know about it,” says Sherwood.
AN ACTOR’S INDISCRETION
The arrest last week of actor Hugh Grant in Los Angeles for allegedly having oral sex with a prostitute in his white BMW raised one question for many of his fans: why? The 34year-old English actor appears to have it all going for him—good looks, a successful career (including last year’s surprise hit Four Weddings and a Funeral), and an eight-year, live-in relationship with Elizabeth Hurley, whom People magazine recently called one of the world’s 50 most beautiful people. In a statement issued after his arrest, Grant, who was in Hollywood to promote his latest movie, Nine Months, said, “I have done something completely insane, I have hurt people I love and embarassed people I work with.
For both things, I am more sorry than I can ever possibly say.” While Grant flew back to England to try to patch things up with Hurley, the entertainment industry was rife with gossip about the effect that the arrest would have on Grant’s career and, possibly, Hurley’s new modelling contract with cosmetics giant Estée Lauder. Others wondered whether Hurley would dump Grant. A Hollywood script writer would be hard-pressed to come up with a more juicy scandal.
He makes his living meticulously planning the explosion of thousands of tons of fireworks. But pyrotechnician Patrick Brault of Montreal says that he stumbled on his career “completely by accident.” A former lighting technician for rock ‘n’ roll bands, Brault signed on as a manual laborer at the first annual Benson & Hedges Symphony of Fire fireworks competition in Montreal in 1985—and he has since gone on to found Canada’s biggest fireworks company, Concept Fiatlux Inc. In recent weeks, Brault has worked his magic in front of world leaders at
Halifax’s G-7 summit, as well as before a crowd of 500,000 spectators at this year’s festival in Toronto. Later this summer, he will compete at Les Grandes Feux Loto Quebec in Quebec City, Vancouver’s Symphony of Fire and in Moscow. Although he concedes his work “has the potential to be very dangerous,” Brault, 29, says the key is “to combine respect for your product with a determination to thrill your audience.” Adds Brault: “I aim not just for bombs in the air, but for an artistic expression of rhythm and emotion.”
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