Kathie Lee Gifford wants you to regard her as a singer whose musical career got sidetracked by an 18-year stint as a morning television personality. “Music was in my life long before Reege,” says Gifford, 46, referring to cohost Regis Phiibin. “I was on Name That Tune as the la-la’ lady in 1977.” But like many things in Gifford’s life, her music career evokes mixed reactions: while her legions of fans will doubtless love her new CD, Bom for You, others will be turned off by its collection of shlocky show tunes and an original song she wrote about her husband Frank’s infidelity.
For all the heat Gifford has taken over her marriage, her clothing line and her unending promotion of her children, she remains steadfastly in the spotlight. Next, she plans to release a pop album à la Celine Dion. “I just hope Celine stays on hiatus for a couple of years,” jokes Gifford, “and gives me time to get established.”
No mountain high enough
Professional mountain biker Seamus McGrath is in his brand new black GMC Sierra pickup truck, changing into his bike gear and talking on his cellphone. His blond dreadlocks catch the sun and he exudes self-confidence. Until, that is, he somehow sets off the trucks alarm, at which point he turns bright red, as he frantically searches for his keys. Once he has the situation under control, he hops on his bike and blasts off into the woods.
McGrath, 24, of Millgrove, Ont., is one of those extreme athletes, more comfortable hurding down a mountain while manoeuvring through rocks and roots than throwing or kicking a ball on a field. “People are starting to realize that mainstream sports are kind of lame,” says McGrath. Since he started racing mountain bikes nine years ago, McGrath says he has seen the sport move from the fringes to Olympic status—making its debut at the 1996 Atlanta Games, where Canadian
Alison Sydor won the silver. This year, in Sydney, Australia, McGrath will represent Canada alongside Sydor. “These Games are totally a warm-up for me,” he says, acknowledging that the best racers are in their 30s and European. “I might not get a medal this time around, but in the future the sky’s the limit.”
Oka through the eyes of Obomsawin
It seems fitting that the day Alanis Obomsawin premièred Rocks at Whiskey Trench, her new documentary about the 1990 Oka standoff, a deal was struck between the Mohawk Indians and the federal government concerning land they fought over a decade ago.
“Their land rights are much bigger than that,” says Obomsawin, referring to the 960 hectares agreed upon. “But it’s the beginning of something they never had before.” Obomsawin, 67, was born in New Hampshire, grew up on the Odanak reserve northeast of Montreal and then moved to Trois-Rivières when she was 9. She speaks softly and holds herself with
the grace that comes from spending her youth as a high-fashion model. She has made more than 20 films for the National Film Board of Canada—including four on Oka. Rocks recounts the events of Aug. 28, 1990, when Mohawk women, children and elders were leaving the Kahnawake reserve, frightened by the imminent advance of the Canadian army. As their 73-car envoy crossed the Mercier Bridge, residents of a neighbouring community pelted their vehicles with rocks—scores were injured and one elderly man died of a heart attack the next day. Ten years later, Obomsawin says, “there is progress, but it’s slow.”
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