Ever since he burst onto the internationa entertainment scene 11 years ago with his hilarious rendition of all 18 voices from the We Are the World anthem, Montreal impressionist André-Philippe Gagnon has kept up a torrid pace. Gagnon, 36, performs an average 250 shows a year, with different routines for Frenchand English-language audiences. Although he would like to slow down to spend more time witF his wife, Marie-Claude, and their 20-month-ok daughter, Camille, Gagnon says the time h not yet right. "I don't have hit records playing on the radio to remind people I'm still here," he explains. "I have to be out there playing to live audiences, giving them different voices, fresi material." With his newest show, Any Resem
blance to Famous People Dead or Alive Is Strictly In tentional, which opens on Sept lOinTorontoforafour week run, Gagnon promises just that. Among the 170 im pressions, he has worked up a "duet" composed of 25 male and female voices. Says Gagnon, his rubbery face in a wide grin: "It is the ultimate love song."
Hollywood glamor couple Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell obviously did not buy into the stereotype that many Americans have of Canada as a land of ice and snow when they built their stunning summer residence in Ontario’s Muskoka cottage country, about 200 km north of Toronto. But it has turned out that another popular stereotype—that of the unfailingly polite Canadian—is also proving untrue. Hawn complained last week that rude boaters have been cruising right up to their dock on Lake Rousseau to stare. “It’s really been an invasion of our privacy
and I thought that wouldn’t happen up there,” Hawn said while in New York City to promote her new movie, The First Wives Club. But area residents note that other big names—from comedian Martin Short who introduced Hawn and Russell to the area, to old-money names like Seagram and Eaton—have always been able to find peace and quiet there. Besides, locals add, once the novelty wears off the couple will be able to go oot and aboot just like everyone else, eh?
A comic book superhero with spiritual power
When he was growing up in The Pas, Man., about 650 km north of Winnipeg, Chuck Fiddler was like many children—he loved comic books.
But unlike most, Fiddler has grown up to produce a comic book—and superhero—of his own. Fiddler, 32, now a Toronto-based graphic artist, has created Red Raven, Lore of the Time Before. It features Lynx, a young man who uses the Star Stone to draw strength from the spirit world as he travels across North America before the arrival of European explorers, spreading light and fighting evil. The first Red Raven comic book was released across North America this summer, with another due in mid-September. Fiddler has also
signed a deal with Toronto-based Phoenix Animation Studios to develop his creation into an animated television series, which—along with toys and other related merchandise—could be available late next year. Fiddler says that he has the blessing, and backing, of native leaders to commercialize aboriginal legends and culture: “This is a chance to bring our culture and heritage to non-natives throughout North America.”
Musicians mix it up
On their first two albums—which produced the hit singles My Definition of a Bombastic Jazz Style and Wash Your Face in My Sink— the quartet The Dream Warriors mixed a variety of musical styles from jazz to rap to create their own unique sound. Now, on their newly released The Master Plan, they continue to cross-poll mate musical genres by adding reggae to the mix. Montreal-based Spek (Hussain Yoosuf) and the Toronto-based members, Luv (Phillip Gayle), King Lu (Lou Robinson) and Q (Frank Allert), also augmented their collaborations by sharing microphones with guest artists like reggae artist General Degree and Jamaican dancehall artist Beenie Man. Spek, 21, describes the result as the “quintessential urban music album.” The CD also contains raunchier language and addresses more adult themes than their earlier works. But The Master Plan’s songs “are a reflection of where we are as people,” Spek says. “It’s not just shock value.”
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