Category Archives: TV

MY SUNDAY “IN THE ROOM” WITH CANADA’S LEADING TV STARS

I recently met Rafael Kalamat and Jason Barbeck, founders of Reel Deal Guys Entertainment Inc. (RDG) (pictured below, L-R) who have created an original TV series, IN THE ROOM, featuring Canadian actors from all ages and stages of career success in a round-table discussion setting.

photo 1 (5)This past Sunday, I attended a taping – their second “Hollywood North” themed episode – at the Glenn Gould Studio in downtown Toronto, where they welcomed some of our country’s finest and most award-winning stars, pictured below: Tantoo Cardinal (Dances With Wolves, Legends of the Fall), Kris Holden-Ried (Lost Girl, The Listener, The Tudors), Shawn Doyle (Endgame, Covert Affairs, Reign), Zoe deGrand’Maison (Orphan Black, Rookie Blue, Bad Hair Day), Philip Moran (Total Recall) and the multi-talented actor, director and mainstay of 80s and 90s TV and film Art Hindle (Black Christmas, FaceOff, Murder She Wrote, ENG).

TantooKHR2Shawn DoyleNicolePhilipArt HWith Rafael and Jason co-hosting, the stars took the stage during the closed-taping, and shared stories from the acting trenches. Supported by a highly proficient crew, Rafael and Jason captured intimate moments with each actor as they shared stories of screen triumphs, emotional impact of past roles, on-set camaraderie & rivalries, and many hilarious tales from behind as well as in front of the cameras.   So why is this new show not on TV now? Canada, and Toronto in particular, has a huge TV viewing audience many of whom, it appears, love reality and chat shows so how come all we have to watch are the chaotic morning shows with predominantly weather and traffic news, tired homemaker magazine shows, dry-as-a-bone political argument panels, plus a couple of celebrity gossip shows targeting the hipster 20/30-something crowd? We need our own “Tonight Show” or a Graham Norton-style outrageous celebrity couch programme (if you have BBC Canada you’ll know exactly what I mean). In The Room could easily fill that void AND please advertisers – let’s face it, networks don’t really give a rat’s ass about content, it’s all about the potential for billions of advertising dollars!

Based on the amount of traffic my Tweets and Facebook posts garnered during the shoot yesterday, I know we have an audience for shows like In The Room so consider this blog editorial as me throwing down the gauntlet – let’s get In The Room on air. So anyone out there know a hungry distributor or network buyer?  http://reeldealguys.com/

logoHere are some behind the scenes photos, courtesy of my wonderful Samsung Galaxy 3!

(below) make-up room shenanigans with Shawn, Kris, Tantoo and Zoe….

20150308_111355 20150308_111405 20150308_112356Setting up the stage….then bringing in the actors!

20150308_101419 20150308_120446 20150308_120514 20150308_125750Time for a break….with the best craft services in town!

20150308_101524 20150308_103717(above LtoR) Crew members Lana & Dwayne joined Jason and actor Brian Kaulback (Murdoch Mysteries) during break time.  Then back to work…roll cameras!

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20150308_141002I spent some time with the lovely ladies in make-up, Carlene & Stephanie (below), whom I challenged to a face/off – make me pretty in 10 minutes – but they just laughed…I wonder why?

20150308_135059 20150308_135135 20150308_135118Once In The Room finished taping, the actors and hosts gathered for a “class photo”….

20150308_140111 20150308_135944….then it was time for some candid shots on stage…..

20150308_135642 20150308_135720 20150308_131202 20150308_140332 20150308_135800 20150308_135812…then the good-byes, with the actors signing posters backstage. This is where Assoc. Producer Janine grabbed some quick pics with the stars. She especially enjoyed taking one with her fave TV actor, Kris Holden-Ried (pic#4) who I still say looks like Chris Martin from Coldplay (here they look much cuter than Chris and Gwyneth, don’t ya think?)

20150308_140916 20150308_130833 20150308_141129 20150308_141210 20150308_141641 20150308_141559 20150308_141305I grabbed a wacky selfie with my all-time Canadian idol, Art Hindle. What a nice man…and so damned talented.

20150308_114021Congratulations to RDG for producing such a great show which, once it gets on air, will have a large and appreciative audience. For details of IN THE ROOM and other RDG projects, visit:  http://reeldealguys.com/

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“IN THE ROOM” tv show taping this Sunday featuring top Canadian talent

My friends at RDG Entertainment Inc. are taping another episode of their IN THE ROOM actors’ round-table series this Sunday at the Glenn Gould Studio in downtown Toronto and I’m thrilled to learn that some of Canada’s most popular actors will be appearing.

RDG producers and show hosts, RAFAEL KALAMAT and JASON BARBECK (below, L-R) will be welcoming …..

photo 1 (5)…..the star of TV’s Lost Girl, KRIS HOLDEN-RIED (below) who was also one of my faves from The Tudors series and, of course, The Listener.

Kris HR KHR2Also on this week’s panel are Canadian stage & screen icon Art Hindle (Black Christmas, FaceOff, Murder She Wrote, ENG) – below…..

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…..multi-award winning Shawn Doyle (below) of Endgame and countless Canadian television appearances (Rookie Blue, Covert Affairs & Reign)….

Shawn Doyle Shawn….recipient of this year’s ACTRA Award of Excellence Tantoo Cardinal (below) of Dances with Wolves (my personal fave performance of hers – she brought the heart and soul to the story) , Legends of the Fall, Blackstone

Tantoo dances….Total Recall’s Philip Moran (below)…

Philip….and young Zoe deGrand Maison (below) currently making a name for herself with appearances on Orphan Black, Murdoch Mysteries, Rook Blue and this year’s Bad Hair Day (TV movie).

NicoleI’m looking fwd to watching the taping and meeting these incredible ambassadors for the Canadian TV and film industry.  To learn more about In The Room and other RDG projects, please visit:  http://reeldealguys.com/  and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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RDG’s Jason & Rafael celebrate last night’s ACTRA Toronto Awards

Rafael Kalamat and Jason Barbeck (below, left to right) of RDG Entertainment Inc. attended last night’s ACTRA* Toronto Awards held at the Carlu in downtown Toronto. The fabulous soiree was hosted by TV and radio personality Arisa Cox, host of Big Brother Canada. The RDG guys were thrilled to meet up with ACTRA colleagues and friends, and they shared the evening with me via photos.

photo 1 (5)Actor and comedian Gavin Crawford (below right with Rafael) garnered the Outstanding Male Performance award for his role as Adam in the comedy-drama film Two 4 One, about a transgender person who unexpectedly becomes pregnant.

With Gavin CrawfordStar of sci-fi series Orphan Black, Tatiana Maslany, won her second Outstanding Female Performance Award, and Cory Doran won in the category of Outstanding Voice Performance for playing Multiple Personality Mike in the “Final Wreck-ening” episode of the animated series Total Drama, a parody of reality shows.

Veteran film and TV actress Tantoo Cardinal, pictured below with Rafael (left) and Jason (right), was honoured with ACTRA Toronto’s annual Award of Excellence.  I will always remember Tantoo for bringing the real heart to Dances With Wolves and Legends of the Fall and many more productions over her 4+ decades of acting.

Tantoo CardinalJamie Jones, winner of the ACTRA Stunt Award, is pictured below (2nd from left) with fellow stunt actor Clyde Phillips Sr. (left), Rafael and Bart Badzioch, stunt actor (right)

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Philip & Jamie JonesAnd actor Philip Moran shared a celebratory cocktail and V for Victory with Jamie.

“The performers honoured tonight make us proud to be Canadian. They show off Canada to Canada and to the rest of the world in all its marvellous diversity. And they do it with unique and outstanding talent,” said David Sparrow, President of ACTRA (pictured below 2nd from right with Jason, Philip and Rafael)

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Congratulations again to all the winners, nominees and ACTRA Toronto organizers.  Next up, Canadian Screen Awards on March 1st.  See you on the red carpet!

* ACTRA is Canada’s national union representing more than 22,000 performers in English-language recorded media. The Toronto chapter represents 15,000 union members.

 Visit Rafael and Jason at  http://reeldealguys.com/

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Reel Deal Guys take on Canadian film & TV production

I recently spoke with actor, writer, director & producer Jason Barbeck (below), co-founder of Reel Deal Guys Entertainment Inc. (RDG) about his new Toronto-based TV and film production company he launched with business partner Rafael Kalamat, also a multi-talented filmmaker/actor.

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Windsor-born Barbeck’s acting credits include films A Father’s Claim (2014), Saving Grace (2010) and A History of Violence (2005), plus TV appearances in Murdoch Mysteries, Copper and Flashpoint.  He’s also a voice specialist with hundreds of commercials to his credit for numerous Canadian and US campaigns.  He’s currently the voice of SAIL, The Outdoor Superstore.

GF: Jason, what first inspired you to become an actor?
JB:  In Gr.3, we had to build life sized cardboard figures of what we wanted to be when we grew up.  I made a lawyer in a pinstriped suit.  I loved the way a lawyer commanded the audience in a court room, but then I realized…he was acting! I wanted to be able to do that.

GF: What was your first paid acting job?
JB:  My first paid professional gig was as a dancer in a magic show.  It was at a place called Boblo Island which was an amusement park island between Windsor and Detroit.  It was a summer job while I was still at Sheridan Music Theatre School so it was pretty awesome!

GF: When did you realize you could actually make a living as an actor & why?
JB: After doing summer stock for about six straight years, it was clear that there were people out there who would actually give me money to sing, dance and jump around on stage.  Who knew?

GF: What prompted the move to found RDG Entertainment Inc. and what brought you and your business partner, Rafael Kalamat, together?
JB: Well, it was the classic case of getting tired of waiting for the phone to ring.  Rafael and I felt that we had a lot to offer and both of us had been in the industry for over 25 years so we decided to join forces.  We met on the set of Murdoch Mysteries where we played “continuity constables” for three years.  Our plan of action was to form a company to make demo reels for actors because we felt it was a good niche for us, being that we could write, produce, act and direct. Next thing you know we have this TV talk show (In The Room) for which our first guests were the entire cast of Murdoch Mysteries (below).

murdoch 2 murdoch 4 murdoch 5 murdoch 6GF: How do you see RDG impacting the Canadian film & tv scene?
JB: Our hopes are that our TV series, In The Room, can really put Canadian talent on the map.  We’re interested in promoting a star system similar to what they do in the US by showcasing and exposing the world to what is being shot in our country and who is featured in these projects.

Below: a recent In The Room taping during RDG’s recent trip to LA.

Roundtable guests roundtable 3 Group1GF: What are your current/upcoming projects?
JB: We are in the development stage of a feature film called Adam’s Testament.  It’s a project that is close to me personally, being that I wrote it back in 1998, and Rafael and I are giving it new life…..it’s all very exciting. We also have multiple episodes of In The Room in the works, and a TV pilot for the fall.

GF: What are your dreams/aspirations for yourself and for RDG?
JB: My dreams are to leave a legacy for my son and to solidify the work of RDG in the archives
of Canadian film and television history.  We want to create a home where creative artists can come together and collaborate to turn their artistic goals into a reality.

GF: Are you looking for new actors, writers, directors and if so, how do people reach you?
JB: Because we are in a multifaceted, multi-collaborative and multi-tiered business, we are always looking to team up with like-minded individuals who can bring forward material that can be marketed and distributed.  It is such a daunting process and experience to bring a project from script to picture to broadcast, so our aim is to ease the journey by educating and advising from a grass roots level.  Anything is possible when you have the right team and we’d love to hear from similar minded filmmakers – reach us via out website (see below)

Jason went on to say: I just want to add that we would not be here without the support of our families and mentors. I feel truly blessed to be where I am at this point in my life.  Thank you.

You can reach Jason and Rafael via the RDG website: http://reeldealguys.com/ and follow their series, In The Room on:  Facebook.com/In-The-Room  and on Twitter: @reeldealguys

ITR_S1E2_Jason_Rafael_Poolside_Hilton_1Above: RDG partners Rafael Kalamat and Jason Barbeck working poolside in LA! And (below) on the red carpet for recent film tech awards in LA.

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Lights, camera, ACTION! Chatting with actor Brian Kaulback.

Back in the late 70’s, I was a working actor (which meant I was also a waitress or bartender!!). One of my favourite gigs was actor/writer at the Flamingo Cabaret located in what was then the German-Canadian Club on Sherbourne St, Toronto – now home to the Phoenix Nightclub. We were a group of crazy improv actors, much like Second City, but we didn’t have the big show budgets they did. We were lucky if we made $50 a week each back then, but we loved creating comedy sketches and making people laugh. And we were especially happy when our shows scored better reviews than Second City did…and that was pretty frequent (I still have the press clippings to prove it!!).

img241L to R: Brian, Jim, me & Lawrence on stage at the Flamingo Cabaret (1979)

I’ve kept in touch with a couple of my cast mates and recently sat down with the hard-working Brian Kaulback  whose face you may recognize from his numerous appearances as Constable Hodge on the hit tv series, Murdoch Mysteries. (Brian is below right with Murdoch star Yannick Bisson, centre) and movies such as Tommy Boy, Gotti, Cold Creek Manor and X-Men.

BK murdochPhoto: Craig Grant/Shaftesbury Prods.

Q: Brian, did you always want to be an actor, and when/what was your first acting job?
BK: When I was in Grade 3, I entered a school talent show and sang Perry Como’s “Catch a Falling Star” and I remember the applause at the end of the song….and I was hooked on wanting to be on stage. By the time I was in Gr. 7 or 8 and I saw my older brother, Gary, in a school musical “My Fair Lady” and I followed a few years later by getting involved in my high school production of “Oliver”.

Q: Theatre, film or TV…which do you like the best and why?
BK: I love theatre, although I’m unfortunately out of the loop in the Toronto theatre scene right now. It’s more about who you know and being connected, but that’s not to say I wouldn’t do a theatre production if asked. It makes more financial sense for me right now to focus on film and television like I have for many years.

Q: You’ve been working on Murdoch Mysteries, one of Canada’s most successful series airing around the world. What’s it like on set – who do you hang with and how did you flesh out the character of Const. Hodge?
BK:  After 8 seasons on Murdoch Murder Mysteries, it really has become a family with the cast and crew. Mostly I hang out with the other regular Constables as they have a nice room set aside for us with couches and lockers – all very comfortable and relaxing.

Brian KQ: You recently wrote an outline for a tv series called Forensic Fringe Cop and a pilot has already been shot. What inspired the story and what are your aspirations for the show?
BK: I wrote an outline for “Forensic Fringe Cop” while hanging out with the Murdoch constables. It was my first time ever doing something like that and when I showed it to a couple of the other constable actors (Jason Barbeck and Rafael Kalamat) they said why don’t we shoot this. So they became my director and producer and we shot it in one day. I live in The Performer Arts Lodge (PAL building) in downtown Toronto and fellow resident native Canadian actor Billy Merasty inspired the story. However, when it came to shooting the pilot he wasn’t available to play the lead so we had to recast. I feel that Tim Hill, another native Canadian actor, did a very good job in the role, and I would love to “Forensic Fringe Cop” be developed into a series.

FFCQ:  Among other great directors, you’ve also been directed by one of my favourite Canadian actors, Clark Johnson, who starred in Homicide: Life on the Streets – a brilliantly written cop show set in Baltimore. Did you learn anything from Clark that you are now applying to your work as a writer/actor?
BK:  I met Clark Johnson when I was standing in for the lead actor on series called “Katts and Dog”. At the time, Clark was keeping himself busy working for the Special Effects Department. He really knows how to work with actors and through the years I would bump into him and once in awhile, hand him my latest demo reel and thankfully he would remember me. He brought me in to audition for a couple of good projects and I got the roles. He never forgets what it’s like to be a struggling actor and he was willing to give me opportunities. As an actor, I really appreciated the faith he put in me and I’ll never forget that.

Q:  Any upcoming films, tv shows or stage appearances we should watch for?
BK: I had a small role on “Haunted Peak” directed by Guillermo del Toro and starring Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam and Tom Hiddleston, and I hope my scene is still in when it comes out. Having del Toro’s name on your resume certainly doesn’t hurt. I’m also waiting to hear on a few more projects but nothing certain yet…oh the life of an actor!

Q: Do you have a website or social media account we can follow you on?
BK: I’m not too computer savvy so Facebook is the only social media I’m on. I welcome tv and film fans to come on over and Like my Facebook page: Facebook.com/Brian.Kaulback

BK photo 2Congratulations to Brian on successfully shooting his “Forensic Fringe Cop” pilot with Rafael and Jason of RDG Entertainment Inc.  http://reeldealguys.com/ and fingers crossed we’ll soon see Brian chasing down the bad guys in his own TV show!

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COMEDY ACES BACK ON STAGE AT THE PILOT, YORKVILLE.

20150129_215343That Canadian Guy Glen Foster (above) brought his comedy pals back to The Pilot Tavern in Yorkville (Toronto) again tonight for the last show in his Comedy Aces series of stand-up showcases. This week’s show featured more of Canada’s greatest headliners and as special guest MC for the night, TV and Newstalk 1010 radio personality Mike Bullard!  Mike hit the ground running, chatting with a group of ladies in the front (below) who were ready for a really good show…

20150129_201435…before introducing the first act, Mark Walker (below) who regaled us with spot-on impressions including Sean Connery and Col. Klink (of Hogan’s Heroes) that was not lost on the predominantly 45+ audience.

20150129_202520Mike then intro’d a Canadian comedy legend who paved the way for so many comics now working the clubs. The one, the only…Mike MacDonald!

20150129_204103Mike (above) shared with the audience that it’s been a year (in March) since he received a new liver; the fact that the transplant took place on St. Patrick’s Day 2014 had the entire room raising a celebratory glass…oh the irony of it all!
Next up, another legend whom I had the honour of rep’ing along with Mike, Mike and Glen waaaay back in the 80’s – Mr. Kenny Robinson. Last year, Kenny was the recipient of the Phil Hartman Award at the annual Canadian Comedy Awards.

20150129_205344Mr. Bullard closed out the first half of the show amidst raucous applause, cheers and a quick rush to the bathroom for all of us who had been laughing so hard for the past hour we nearly pee’d ourselves!

20150129_212219 20150129_212157Opening the second half of the show was stand-up comic and tv writer extraordinaire, Lawrence Morgenstern, who was one of the writers from Mike’s TV show back in the 90’s. Lawrence is currently working on a number of new TV and web-based comedy projects but I hope he keeps up with his stand-up as he was f*cking hysterical.

20150129_212356 20150129_212421…and then it was time for That Canadian Guy himself, Glen Foster (below)20150129_214657So for the past 3 weeks, Glen brought some of the funniest comedy pro’s to The Pilot where the mainly “boomer” audiences finally got the entertainment they deserved…..that made them (us) laugh, giggle, and occasionally scream with delight (thank you for that one, Mike Bullard) and brought back memories of the last great era of stand-up that was the 1980’s.
My friend and fellow ex-comedy agent Leatrice Spevack and her husband Greg were there again tonight, along with other comedians in the audience like Simon Rakoff (who killed as MC last week) and Ronnie Edwards (pictured with Leatrice below)

20150129_224120Thanks for all the memories and laughter, Glen….we want more, lots more, please.

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Check out Glen’s website for news of the next series of Comedy Aces, hopefully coming soon. http://www.thatcanadianguy.com/ 

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THE KINGS OF CANADIAN COMEDY RULE YORKVILLE….AGAIN!

It’s been thirty years since I watched them on stage, thirty years since I booked them on tours around the country in to fancy theatres, colleges, bars and dives. But they’re still brilliant, hysterically funny and the crowd went wild…the boys are back in town!

20150122_223500L to R: Evan Carter, Glen Foster, Simon Cotter & Derek Edwards

Award-winning comedian, writer, TV performer and one-time ad man, Glen Foster, has rounded up several of his best and funniest mates to present a series of comedy concerts at The Pilot Tavern in Yorkville (Toronto), just 2 blocks from where the legendary Yuk Yuk’s Komedy Kabaret once stood in the 80’s (another bloody hi-rise condo now stands at 1280 Bay).  Tonight’s show (there’s one more next Thursday) had a dream line-up of headliners – a million dollar show – that had the capacity crowd laughing, clapping, banging their hands on the table in recognition of the observational jokes that hit their marks right between our collective funny bones. We were a room full of boomers – 50 & 60-somethings who had been living thru a comedy drought for the past decade or so…we wanted to laugh, needed to laugh but had no place to go to be amused. Tonight the Comedy Aces delivered!  First up, MC Simon Rakoff (below) whom I frequently booked throughout the 80’s as he was the most reliable host when it came to reading a crowd and delivering the laughs.

20150122_201100Simon http://simonrakoff.com/ immediately took control of the room, warming us up with his sizzling opening set then intro’d Simon Cotter (below)

20150122_202456 20150122_202511Apart from making a good living in the corporate comedy arena, Simon has toured the world performing in Europe, Africa, Asia (I’ve never heard of stand-up comedy clubs in India but apparently he was a big hit there…Black Hole of Calcutta, table for 2?), has won multiple awards and appeared on comedy specials in Canada, the US and the UK.  http://simoncotter.ca/

MC Simon then intro’d the brilliant Evan Carter (below). Evan and I go way back…I had booked him as the opening act for some of the biggest show biz legends including the one and only Marvin Gaye (on his Sexual Healing tour when it touched down in Toronto) http://www.evancarter.com/

20150122_203651 20150122_203658Evan rocked out with teenager/parental relationship jokes and although I’m not a parent, every single reference to teens and their attitudes he made brought me close to tears – I was laughing so hard along with every other person in the room. After Evan, Simon took the stage again…..

20150122_201105….to introduce another award-winning funny man, Derek Edwards (below). OMG…make it stop, Derek is just too f*cking funny, I need Depends. Help!!

20150122_204955 20150122_204959Back in the mid-80’s when I was first booking Derek as an opening act, I never knew who to pair him up with as he was so unique, it was hard to find anyone who could follow him…bravo, Derek, what a career. http://www.derekedwards.ca/

Quick intermission/bathroom break, thank goodness – we needed a time out from laughing…I know my ribs were hurting. Then back we came for David Merry, one of the funniest stand-up comic magicians you will ever see.

20150122_213429 20150122_213443Tonight David stuck to straight stand-up (with a few props) but his fast-paced timing kept us all on our toes as punchline after layered punchline flew off the stage. The multi-award winner currently appears on the new “Too Much Information” tv show.  http://www.davidmerry.com/index2.html

Now…drum roll please….Simon intro’d us to the big man, That Canadian Guy – Glen Foster.

20150122_214853 20150122_21485030 years ago this year, Glen quit his day job with a big time Mad Men-like ad agency and dedicated himself to full-time comedy writing and performing and we are all better for that decision! The audience went wild after his bee imitations (yes, bee – the buzzing kind) and his non-stop banter about adult ADD, OCD and other comedic afflictions had us all begging for mercy. I just couldn’t catch my breath from laughing so hard that I had to reach for my Ventolin inhaler more than once. I was simply….ROTFLMAO!

You MUST go to next Thursday’s show – Lawrence Morgenstern (below) who was in the audience tonight, will be joining Glen along with 3 or 4 other brilliant comics. 20150122_194734

For details of next week’s show and ticket info, visit Glen’s website: http://www.thatcanadianguy.com/

And see what you missed tonight…Glen fueling up earlier for his performance (below)

20150122_194750Crowds filling up the room (below)

20150122_195701And my dear friend and comedy colleague, Leatrice Spevack (below R), was in the audience with her husband Greg. Leatrice was Jim Carrey’s former manager who first took him to NYC and LA and busted down all the doors for the future comedy icon.

20150122_225639It was nice to laugh again to intelligent jokes by comedians who know how to write a punchline and seal it with another. Congrats to Glen and the boys for a fantastic night. See you there next week.

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WHISKY & SPICE HEATS UP “DAYTIME TORONTO” TV SHOW WITH DEE-LISH COOKING DEMO

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Toronto, Tues. January 6th: Dan Gordon, owner and chef of WHISKY & SPICE, shared some of his secrets to cooking with mustard with Rogers Daytime Toronto host, Val Cole who gave Dan a hand in the kitchen.  The show will air on channel 10 in Toronto on Wednesday Jan. 7th at 10am, 3pm, then again at midnight so you can catch it 3 times – Dan’s recipes are on the Rogers show website as well as on Dan’s site: http://www.whiskyandspice.ca

We got to the studios nice and early, giving Dan lots of time to set up (below)

20150106_114049 20150106_115551 20150106_115614 20150106_115622I got to hang out in the “green room” with the other guests including our guest coordinator, Sam, who met everyone at the door (below)

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First up on the show was awesome dentist, Dr. Jim Hyland (below) who has launched http://www.GumGuardians.com  Dr. Jim sat with me in the green room before he went on, and taught me how proper gum care and correct teeth brushing can not only prevent receding gums but can actually heal existing gum issues.  Brilliant! I recommend you check out his website.

20150106_124527Then Cliff the “Orkin Man(below) told us all about pest control, in particular rats and mice. Val was enthralled with the various new mouse/rat traps Cliff brought in to the studio.

20150106_130014Then it was time for Dan….for a first-time on TV, he did great. He talked about Whisky & Spice, what inspired him to launch the premium artisan mustard business, what goes into making the mustards and where viewers can find the complete line of products – online, at McEwan Fine Foods at the Shops at Don Mills (just 10 minutes from the Rogers studios in North York) as well as the upcoming Leslieville Flea on Sunday Jan. 18th at The Distillery District (see details at end of this story).

20150106_130545 20150106_130909 20150106_131139 20150106_131207 20150106_131216 20150106_122330We then had a couple more segments with other fun guests including the lovely Asil Teebi, owner of  http://www.ReclothModern.ca (below) who talked about updating funky (read: crap) old furniture and turning it into fabulous fashion-fwd furnishings. Recloth Modern is a client of my PR colleague, Peter Ashworth, who hung out with me in the green room.

20150106_132417Then musical artists Heather Hill and Kat Leonard joined Elizabeth Baugh, CEO of Ovarian Cancer Canada to promote this Thursday’s fundraising concert She’s Listening at the Flying Beaver Pubaret  – see details here:  http://katleonard.com/showtimes-2/

20150106_132724 20150106_133118 20150106_133043Heather was a cheeky monkey as she went in to sound check – she grabbed the mustard and ran!

20150106_114220(0)And finally, back to Dan for plating! Val joined Dan in the kitchen studio as he showed her how to serve up the beef tenderloin, encrusted with mustard, then the mashed potatoes also with mustard, then drizzled mustard vinaigrette dressing on the fresh garden salad….the studio smelled delicious and the crew were licking their lips in anticipation of the feast they were about to enjoy.  He served up a plate to the lovely make-up lady as well as fellow guest Elizabeth Baugh before the crew charged the counter-top!

20150106_133838 20150106_133846 20150106_134525 20150106_134414We can’t thank Val and the crew enough for making the whole experience such a blast for Dan.

20150106_114234Bravo to producer Liz Stembridge, too, for allowing Dan to promote Whisky & Spice sales events and recipes.

20150106_122538Rogers Daytime Toronto TV show:  http://bit.ly/1BFHeit

Leslieville Flea: http://leslievilleflea.com/

http://www.whiskyandspice.ca

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CHEF WHO RAN WILD PRESENTS INT’L PHOTOGRAPHIC ART SHOW & NOT-SO-TAME CATERING

I’m thrilled to announce the upcoming exhibition of LYNDON WIEBE‘s photographic art Lost In Travels: Solitary Confinement at URBAN GALLERY, 400 Queen St East, Toronto, which opens Thurs. January 15th with a special reception for media and art fans.  See: http://www.urbangallery.ca for details

Lyndo- HEAD SHOT6Along with two other chef friends, Lyndon (pictured above) starred in the CHEFS RUN WILD TV series which has been broadcast on APTN and Travel+Escape TV networks in Canada as well as 40 countries worldwide on the National Geographic Channel. On their featured two-year trip, he discovered his love of photography. The photos in this exhibition were taken over several years of travel in Asia, Africa, Canada and New Zealand. The show will run from Jan. 15th to February 28th.

I recently asked Lyndon a few questions about his photography, travel and culinary passions:

What prompted you to undertake your “chefs run wild” reality series & why did you choose to take 2 others with you?
Well, originally we wanted to create our own web-based food and travel series which became Without Borders. We had all been travelling for years and thought this might be our last big epic adventure so we decided to do something different. We were tired of simply travelling and drinking and doing the usual adventures, not that there is anything wrong with it as we did it for years but we wanted to take advantage of our knowledge of food and expand it and come home with a different experience. At the end of the day it would not hurt our resumes or our repertoire of food knowledge. After making over fifty YouTube videos and winning several awards in the U.S. for Best Food & Travel series on the web, we were starting to get noticed and our production value went up. Marcus Samuelsson (who is a well known celebrity chef) used to show our videos all the time on his own website and promote them for us because he loved them. Eventually our footage was bought from us and commissioned into a 15-episode series called Chefs Run Wild here in Canada on the Travel + Escape Network. (Lyndon is pictured below, right)

1380782_10151909619221014_1362482927_nWhat life-changing events did you experience while travelling around the world?
I spent seven years of my life abroad so it’s hard to pinpoint certain experiences. I think in general, all of those experiences helped me become a better person. Traveling taught me patience and understanding. If you have neither you will have a hard time in some countries. It taught me that slow is better and you don’t always need to rush. You appreciate things more when you can actually relax and take it all in. (Masai tribesman, Africa, pictured below)

Invitation Image Masai Tribesman TanzaniaYou’re originally from Winnipeg – what brought you to Toronto?
After travelling and undertaking the Without Borders adventure I decided to move back to Winnipeg. I knew after a few years I had to go to a bigger city, so was set to move to Vancouver to live with my brother on the coast when my producer suggested I move here to Toronto as the TV networks were all here as well as the production studio. So it made sense as we were doing a whole bunch of media interviews and spots to promote the show in Toronto. After moving here to give it a try, I fell in love with the city and have been here for three years now.

When/how did you come to work at UrbanSource Creative Catering?
I started at Urban Source in March of 2011. I had moved to Toronto six months prior to promote the TV show and had been slowly looking for work but no longer wished to work in restaurants – they no longer appealed to me with the long hours and dismal pay. I had done some catering in Calgary before and I liked it so I thought I would send out some resumes to different catering houses. Urban responded and when I went in for an interview, it turns out they were hiring a head chef and I felt up to the task.

How do you describe your cooking style?
Very loose and playful, I would say. I’m not rigid when it comes to following recipes unless it’s baking which  needs a little more attention. I like comfort foods, braised dishes and love smoking my own meats and making my own pickles. I prefer simple, well presented flavours that are evenly matched and not too bold unless they need to be.

ArtofFood14Do you have plans for expanding your culinary skills or do you plan on opening your own restaurant one day?
I try new recipes all the time when I’m at home and at work when the time allows and the ingredients are available in the kitchen. As for my personal ventures, I do love teaching people how to cook and do personal lessons from time to time in the comfort of their own home over a glass of wine. I used to volunteer at The Stop Community food centre teaching kids how to cook in an after-school program and I loved it. As for the immediate future, I will continue to offer lessons and small dinner parties whenever I get the chance.

Your travel photos are stunning and will be shown at Urban Gallery Jan.15 to Feb 28th – how did you select which photos are shown and why?
Going through all of my photos over the years, the ones that really made an impression on me were the ones that gave a sense of loneliness and isolation even in a busy environment, so I decided to choose the ones that put me in that sense of calmness and reflectiveness when I look at them.

DSC_1155 DSC_0238

Apart from the large prints hung on the gallery walls, can people purchase other prints?
Absolutely – people can order a smaller print size, if they so choose. This is my first exhibition and if it goes well there will be more to follow.

Any exciting new travels planned for the near future?
My girlfriend and I are off to Cuba for a friend’s wedding in April and other than that, maybe a trip to the Bahamas or somewhere warm with my family this year. I no longer desire the six-month trips abroad. A month is more than enough for me now.

ARTIST’S STATEMENT:  Lost In Travels: Solitary Confinement looks at feelings of isolation in the world around us. Even in a group, we are still alone in our thoughts. Nature can make us feel isolated when it opens itself up to us – the more surreal and beautiful the moment, the more removed from our surroundings we become, lostin thoughts of awe and wonder.    Lyndon Wiebe 2014

Urban Gallery hours:
Monday-Saturday noon  to 5pm
Thursdays noon to 8pm
Closed Sundays & Holidays
400 Queen St East in the historic Corktown district of  downtown Toronto   http://www.urbangallery.ca

UrbanSource Creative Catering: http://www.urbancatering.com/

 

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CANADA’S ORIGINAL POP IDOL BOBBY CURTOLA GUESTS ON “DAYTIME TORONTO” TV SHOW

20141209_115313(0)What fun going back to my old stomping grounds up at Rogers TV studios on York Mills Road, Toronto. I previously worked there as station publicist and community relations coordinator, and it was nice to bump into many of my old colleagues. Today, I had the pleasure of taking Canadian music legend Bobby Curtola (pictured above) in to tape a guest spot on the Daytime Toronto TV show which will air tomorrow, Wed. December 10th @ 10am and 3pm on Channel 10 in Toronto (big thanks to producer Liz Stembridge for fitting us in to the tight pre-Christmas schedule).  Bobby is promoting his special Christmas single, St. Nicholas Christmas, which was just released and available online with net proceeds benefiting this year’s Christmas Wish campaign. http://www.bobbycurtola.com

Bobby Curtola Christmas Single CoverCurtola has always cherished Christmas and all the love and goodwill that come with it:  The Christmas Season has always been a time that is very special to me. It’s a time for family and friends and especially for cherishing those who live on in our book of memories. Be kind to one another and remember the greatest thing you will ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

Bobby’s business manager, Sandy Graham, and I were thrilled to learn that Bobby still had fans at Rogers…in fact, Anne Jablonicky, one of the production crew, came bounding out to tell Bobby that her mum was also a HUGE fan and was looking fwd to watching tomorrow’s show. Bobby gave Anne a special gift for her mother and I took a nice photo of them together (below)

20141209_120643My old colleague Colin Baird (below right) who directs shows and handles all the studio volunteers and interns, came out to say hello to the music icon and I managed to snap the guys figuring out which way to the studio.

20141209_120247I also snapped Bobby with another legend – the late Ted Rogers (below), Founder of the TV network and cablesystems mega-corp.

20141209_115334Bobby was interviewed by the charming host of Daytime Toronto, Val Cole (below), and Bobby even got her up and singing along with him during his performance segment. Val was so good, she could actually tour with him!

20141209_132452 20141209_132511 20141209_132838 20141209_133043

20141209_133030 20141209_133130For those too young to remember Canada’s golden era of rock’n’roll and popular music in the 60’s when Bobby ruled the radio airwaves along with Paul Anka, here are the cliff notes:

Fortune Teller, Three Rows Over, Don’t You Sweetheart Me, and Corinna, Corinna are just a few of the Top Ten singles the Canadian icon scored on the charts during the 1960’s… and he’s still going strong on the live corporate circuit. Bobby Curtola has been inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, The Coca Cola Hall of Fame (Las Vegas, NV), has been given the Queen’s Jubilee Award twice. He has also had the Order of Canada bestowed upon him. With 25 gold records, and numerous chart singles, it is a testimony to his talent that he is still actively performing and recording, drawing multi-generational fans from around the world.  Known for his innovation, wealth of talent and his immense humanitarianism, Bobby Curtola is truly Canada’s Greatest Rock n’ Roll Legend.

CurtolamaniaOTHER AWARDS & ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • One of the first Canadian artists to receive the RPM Gold Leaf Award in 1966 for Top Male Vocalist (now known as the Juno Award)
  • Inducted into The RPM Magazine Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame by Walt Grealis
  • Toronto made April 26, 1996 Bobby Curtola Day
  • Awarded the keys to the cities of Toronto, Hamilton, Calgary, Edmonton and Brandon
  • Honored with the naming of the street “Bobby Curtola Drive” in Thunder Bay, ON, September 27, 2003
  • Received the First Canadian Registered Gold Album
  • A pioneer, instrumental in the early stages of the Canadian Content ruling (the beginning of the CRTC)
  • One of the first artists to be a partner in his own publishing, recording and concert promotion companies
  • May 7, 1998 “The Gold Medal of Merit” and “The Order of Canada

So tune in tomorrow at 10am or 3pm on Toronto Rogers Channel 10 for Daytime Toronto, hosted by Val Cole and featuring a guest appearance by the one and only….Bobby Curtola!
http://www.bobbycurtola.com  Fcbk: Bobby-Curtola-Official
http://www.rogerstv.com    Twtr: @rogerstvtoronto    Fcbk: rogerstvtoronto

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