Taking it—and dishing it out

British novelist Philip Kerr says he learned “absolutely nothing” about writing during his seven years as an advertising copywriter. But then he hedges: “Well, I did learn how to take criticism.” Not that it has been much of a problem for Kerr, 40, since he turned to writing fiction. His sixth and latest novel, The Grid, in which a computer-controlled building turns into a serial killer, has received rave reviews—mostly. The British magazine Literary Review awarded the thriller its annual Bad Sex Prize. But Kerr proved he can also dish it out: “I told them they were a bunch of impotent wankers.”



Director-screenwriter Mary Harron’s face lights up when she recalls the visits she made as a young girl in the 1960s to New York City when her father, Canadian actor and comic Don Harron, was performing. “It was so glamorous, so exciting,” she recalls. Now, in her first feature film, Harron, 40, an Oxford-educated journalist and documentary maker, has recaptured some of that glamor—but with an unusual focus. I Shot Andy Warhol, which opens in major Canadian cities this month, is an at-times sympathetic portrait of Valerie Solanas (Lili Taylor), who gunned down and nearly killed the pop painter in June, 1968. Solanas, who died in

poverty in 1989, was a radical lesbian feminist who was occasionally admitted to the Factory, the tin-foiled studio where Warhol’s assemblage of artists and chic freaks hung out. And while Solanas was clearly deranged—she spent three years in a mental institution for the shooting— Harron points out that she was also a brilliant political theorist and scathingly funny writer. “The things that made her an outcast then,” adds Harron, “would make her a star today.”

A first victory

Many Canadian Formula One race fans said it was just matter of time—and rookie sensation Jacques Villeneuve of St-Jeansur-Richelieu, Que., has not pointed them. On April 28,

Villeneuve, who last year at age 24 became the youngest IndyCar champion, won the Grand Prix of Europe auto race in Nuerburgri Germany. And although he does not drive in the same flamboyant style as his late father, Gilles Villeneuve—the last Canadian to win a Formula One event and who died in May, 1982, while qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix—it was

still a dramatic finish. The second-generation driver led from start to finish, but he was pursued relentlessly by local hero and defending world champion Michael Schumacher, 27, who closed the gap to as little as 0.6 seconds over the course of the 67-lap, 305-km race. Said Villeneuve: “Michael pushed hard, he got close, but it was fun and that’s what racing should be.”

A shattered dream

It was his aggressive, hard-hitting playing style that got Brett Lindros a $10.2-million, five-year contract with the New York Islanders in 1994—and ended his NHL career last week. The younger brother of Philadelphia Flyers sensation Eric lindros announced that his hockey-playing days are over at the age of 20—cut short by a dangerous, progres-

sive susceptibility to concussions. “I was told by three doctors that my career is over,” explained the London, Ont.-born Lindros, who has not played since Nov. 24 when he suffered his second concussion in eight days. “Something I love has been taken away from me,” said the sixfoot, four-inch, 215-lb. winger. “My dream has basically been shattered.”



Comic Lome Elliott

calls his solo show The Collected Mistakes, but there is really not much wrong with his career as a writer and stand-up musical comedian. Elliott, 42, started out as a folk musician in 1974, but found that the jokes he told between songs were more popular than the music. “Comedy really is the national art form,” says Elliott, who recently filled The Royal Canadian Air Farce’s time slot on CBC Radio for 14 weeks while the comedy troupe concentrated on its television program. Elliott, of Hudson, Que., is also in constant de-

mand for live performances across Canada. He notes that audiences everywhere laugh at his description of Toronto’s CN Tower as “a freak collision between a Juno Award and a Tim Hortons doughnut.” Adds the wild-haired Elliott: “The best regional joke is one that is universal.”