People

People

Shanda Deziel November 26 2001
People

People

Shanda Deziel November 26 2001

People

Shanda Deziel

Coming through Loudon clear

After 21 albums, countless performances and innumerable interviews, Loudon Wainwright III is sick of his own voice.

“I can’t stand the thought of going home and putting on my album and listening to it,” declares the 55-year-old singer-songwriter. “I’ve heard my first album and it’s a squeaky little guy with a high voice. Ugh.

It makes me sick.” Wainwright’s latest

albums is a far cry from his squeaky days. Written after the death of his mother in 1997, Last Man on Earth is a sombre, thoughtful collection of songs that embrace mortality, failed romance and loneliness. “My mother was the biggest female presence in my life,” says Wainwright, who lives in New York City. “But, really, I can write about anything. I can write about serious things just as easily as I can write about funny, trivial things.”

Wainwright is also currently exercising his lighter side by playing Hal Karp in Fox’s new popular college sitcom Undeclared. Karp is a dysfunctional father—recently separated from his wife—who is a total embarrassment to his freshman son. Wainwright steers clear of repeating the antics of his television character when it comes to his own four children, two of whom, Rufus and Martha, are creating their own buzz in the music business. “I try not to embarrass my kids,” says the single father. “But it’s a great relief to me that they’re as talented as they are. It would be a drag if they weren’t that good.”

For Macy, it’s blockbusters or bust

When actor William H. Macy’s daughter, Sophia, was born 13 months ago, his first thought was of tuition. “The moment Sophia was born, I felt like the poorest man that had ever lived,” says the 31-year-old, who is married to actor Felicity Huffman. “By the time she goes to college, they are suggesting it will cost a half a million dollars.” It was for that reason that Macy {Fargo, Magnolia, Boogie Nights) signed on to Jurassic Park III. Along with a college fund infusion, blockbusters offer Macy a higher profile, which in turn helps procure financing for his smaller films. His latest, Focus, is an adaptation of playwright Arthur Miller’s novel. Set in the 1940s, the movie casts Macy as Lawrence

Newman, a cowardly follower of the status quo. His life changes when one day he is mistaken for a Jew. Even as Lawrence begins to see racism and intolerance firsthand, he still has trouble standing up for himself— a struggle that Macy found interesting. “The brave man is not the man that faces a situation and doesn’t feel fear,” he says. “The brave man is the man that feels almost debilitating fear and acts anyway.”

Lately, the Florida native and his writing partner, Steven Schächter, have been trying to create a television show. “TV is such dreck normally,” he says. “But the truth is that some of the best things I have seen in my life have been on TV.” Plus, that cheque will help pay for Sophia’s wedding.

A river runs through it

Margaret Sweatman had a tumultuous 20year love affair with Manitoba’s Red River. Her home was located on its banks and she grew to cherish the unruly waterway and the land that surrounded it-now submerged after several floods. Watching the river from her studio on the upper floor of her home, Sweatman found inspiration for her latest novel, When Alice Lay Down with Peter. The author’s aim was to tell the story of the 20th century through the eyes of her main character-a passionate and arrogant woman named Blondie McCormack. Blondie’stale (she is 109 years old when she dies on the banks of the Red and, posthumously, begins her narrative) revolves around the power of that landscape. For Winnipeg-born Sweatman, who has penned two other novels, it was a thrill to write about an area so important in her own life. “Joy informed the

book," says Sweatman, 48. “This tragic artist thing I had disappeared.”

The past 100 years, seen through Blondie’s eyes and delivered with Sweatman’s wit and compassion, is inextricably linked to the river. And as Blondie chronicles the changes in the Red, Sweatman-two floods and finally a move to Winnipeg later-still longs for its companionship. “You know when there is a landscape that imprints itself on you?” says Sweatman. “I love how difficult it is.”