National Post from Toronto, Ontario, Canada on May 14, 2009 · 25
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National Post from Toronto, Ontario, Canada · 25

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Issue Date:
Thursday, May 14, 2009
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ARTS & LIFE. 7 AL3 NATIONAL POST, THURSDAY, MAY 14, 8009 ALANIS ON TV Canadian musician to play a doctor, engage in 'tasteful nudity' on Weeds As If being Canada's favourite Jagged little pill kt'A cently become pregnant. Monssette, pictured, !U will play Nancy's obstetrician, Dr. Audra Kit- wasn't enough, now Alanls Morissette wants to be a doctor or at least play one on the television show Weeds. Entertainment Week son, and it is reported that the role may in- T 0 J lV ' -1 1 u a -1 r. . l i. it , ii i ' v uuue some lasierui nuaiiy. weeas nas naa ' fci CAtrAfal nalaKnhr miarte mutt ttta iraniv V.11 ly is reporting that the rocker from Ottawa will appear in at least seven episodes of the popular Showcase comedy. The show stars Mary Louise Parker as Nancy Botwin, a pot-dealing suburban widow who has re 4 n Morissette's seven-episode engagement j 4 will be the longest, and there is specula- tion that she may return for a second sea son. Lia Grainger, National Post Tweet-fighting at The New Yorker BAUM vs. ORLEAN Past and present staff writers take to the Internet By Mark Medley The New Yorker has long been a bastion of long-form journalism, so it's a tad surprising the crown jewel in the Cond6 Nast media empire has found itself at the centre of a 140-charac-ter war on micro-blogging website Twitter. Last Friday, ex-New Yorker staff writer Dan Baum began posting an account of his three years working for the magazine. "People often ask why I left the New Yorker. After all, I had a staff writer job. Isn't that the best job in journalism? Yes." He wrote in the first post at 10:46 a.m., which was immediately followed by: "Nobody leaves a New Yorker job voluntarily. I was fired. And over the next few days, I'll tell that story here, in 140," next post: "Character chunks." So begins his odyssey, from the 17 years it took him to break into the venerable magazine's ranks he links to rejected pitch letters to I'll tell that story here, in 140,' next post: 'Character chunks' the day editor David Remnick finally offered him a year-long staff writer position, which paid him US$90,000 to produce 30,000 words. In a May 8 tweet he explained his motivation for telling the tale: "Quick note, since there seems to be some confusion: I was fired in 2007, and just telling the story now because people on my book tour ask." He resumed on Monday, which is when he really began taking shots at the magazine: He called their offices "creepy ... not exactly like being in a library; it's more like being in a hospital room where somebody is dying." And while writing for the magazine is every writer's dream, "nobody at the office seems very happy. The atmosphere is vastly strained." He was complimentary towards many editors and the A' '""i , ? Susan Orlean and Dan Baum had it out on the web, 140 characters at a time. WEST PARK HEALTHCARE CENTRE CELEBRATING 5 YEARS! SPECIALTHANKS FOR 5 YEARS OF CONTINUOUS SUPPORT ENBRIDGE OZZ ELECTRIC TD COMMERCIAL BANKING KASIAN EXTENDICARE PRECISE PARKLIMK PINCHIN ENVIRONMENTAL NATIONAL POST fact-checkers he described them as "like having a team of back-up reporters" but explained it was issues with Remnick that led to his firing (we recommend you read the full story danielsbaum).. While his contract was re newed twice, in January, 2007, Remnick informed him when his contract was up in Septem ber it would not be renewed. "He said he didn't like my work," Baum writes. "It has always felt to me that the problem wasn't my work. A lot of people liked it I'd won an award," he adds. "And that the real reason Remnick fired me was that he took a personal dislike to me after our conversations." He ended his tale on May 12 at 7:55 a.m. with the post "Over and out." Blogs quickly picked up the story. Gawker's tech-oriented offshoot Valleywag heralded the posts as "sort of a watershed moment for Twitter, and storytelling in general ... I mean, here's a guy, a widely respected writer, using Twitter's 140 character 'tweets' to weave a bit of an epic story, a story I can easily see aspiring journalists turning to for years to come as a resource and for inspiration. I certainly can't recall anything else of the sort happening previously." One prominent New Yorker staff writer took notice of the posts, too: Susan "The Orchid Thief" Orlean. On May 11 at 10:38 p.m. she chimed in on her Twitter feed: "Contrary to danielsbaum, I don't think The New Yorker office is a creepy place, nor is the atmosphere 'strained.' He seems WAY off to me." The next day: "Dissing your boss? Whining abt story credits? Writing stories that aren't good enough to run? Seeming to dislike the mag itself? Hmmm." Later: "Q: Is horribly misreading an institution a good sign in a reporter? Aren't we supposed to be good at figuring out people & places?" This Twitter battle may finally have run its course, though. Baum has not responded to Orlean (though it is impossible to verify if he sent her a direct message) while Orlean mentioned it a final time on Tuesday when she wrote: "Time to cook dinner & leave the journalistic hair-pulling nude wrestling match, much as I have enjoyed it (especially the nude part)." . This is the future of journalism, folks. National Post "I've always been impressed by people who take things to the extreme," Gonzales says. For Gonzales, a 27-hour, non-stop concert is simply an extension of his obsession A marathon of music-making By Ben Kaplan There was a photograph that struck Gonzales when he was growing up in Toronto. Al ready an accomplished pianist, the musician born Jason Beck wasn't fascinated by something music-related. What he really dug was a picture in the Guin ness World Records book, of a man with 142 cigarettes in his mouth. "I remember thinking that's useless, but also somehow poetic," Gonzales says from his home in France. "He probably loved to smoke and found his special talent. I've always been impressed by people who take things to the extreme." Taking things to the extreme is something Gonzales has been doing since he made his first record in 1996. And while he would go on to fame as the producing partner of Leslie Feist it was Gonzales who helped co-write much of The Reminder and Let It Die he couldn't leave behind his poetic vision of that man and his smokes. This Sunday night in Paris, Gonzales will endeavour to join the vaunted pages of the Guinness: He will attempt to set the world record and play the longest-ever show, 27 continuous hours. "I wanted to do something that had the combination of ridiculous and touching," says GOLF TOURNAMENT Eagles Nest Golf Club Monday, June 8, 2009 Thank you to our sponsors. Your support of this SOLD OUT event is helping patients on the road to recovery. Charitable Registration 11929 5350 RR0001 Wr- f 1 yx I I , o rn Gonzales, who adds that he felt burned out after going through the cliche music cycle of releasing last year's Soft Power and then playing a supporting tour. Gonzales has always been attracted to spectacles his live shows include as much back and forth banter with the audience as they do his virtuosic piano routines and says he finally found the perfect expression of his musical vision in playing a 27-hour show. "Music isn't just art. It's not all politeness. In a way, it's raw ambition and an athletic challenge," says Gonzales, who has 'This is the biggest musical undertaking I've gone through' a 300-song set list that he'll be distributing to his 120-strong audience, and he's planning to play songs based on their requests. The Guinness sticklers, who are legendarily firm, won't allowanyone onstage with Gonzales, and he's also forbidden to repeat songs. There needs to be at least 10 people in the audience at all times for the record to hold; and Gonzales will have doctors on-hand. Most ticket-holders will watch the show for three hours, though there have been brisk "crazy person ticket" sales people who spend 100 to watch the entire thing. "This is definitely the biggest musical undertaking I've gone through, I feel like a musical superhero," Gonzales says, adding that his set list is broken down into classical compositions, his own recordings and 100 "reclamation projects," his resurrections of popular songs from the '70s and '80s like Private Dancer or Maniac, which are given the Gonzo touch. "I'm preparing like a chess player prepares for a match or a general prepares for a war," says Gonzales, whose collaborators in addition to Feist have included Peaches, Howie Beck and Jamie Lidell. After last year's relentless album-flogging, Gonzales says he feels happy to be back to a more comfortable, Andy Kaufman-esque zone. "I'm not selling anything, and I don't necessarily even want you to like me," he says. "I'm just pushing my obsessions to the extreme." Somewhere, a man with 142 cigarettes in his mouth is feeling proud. I To watch a live telecast on Sunday and well into Monday check out gonzpiration. com, and read Gonzales's account of his performance preparations on theampersand'ca. National Post bkaplan Shinan Govani Will return LINKsXrLIFE PRESENTING tff) SPONSOR I ENBRIDGE DINNER SPONSOR I ozzeiecTRic" MILLION DOLLAR SHOOTOUT: TD COMMERCIAL BANKING REGISTRATION & BREAKFAST: ACCENTURE LUNCH: AIRD & BERLIS PRINT MEDIA: NATIONAL POST Angels & Demons:'not anti-anything' Ron Howard & Tom Hanks focus on the positive By Bob Thompson Some religious groups consider them the unholy trinity, but to the film industry, author Dan Brown, director Ron Howard and actor Tom Hanks are the golden trio with the box-office Midas touch. The triumvirate confirmed that lofty status in 2006 with Howard's movie rendition of Brown's best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code, featuring Hanks as the code-cracking professor Robert Langdon. The three return with Angels & Demons, which opens Friday and is poised for a repeat draw of what The Da Vinci Code attracted: lots of fans and lots of controversy. Adapted from Brown's pre-quel to The Da Vinci Code, the Howard movie re-works the action as a sequel: We find Langdon in Rome trying to stop the secretive Illuminati from both destroying the Vatican with a canister of rare antimatter and eliminating four key Roman Catholic cardinals during a papal conclave. Howard filmed in Rome last summer, but was denied access to key locations, including the Vatican and the Pantheon. And while most of the Italian shoot went without incident, there were always reminders that his cast and his film weren't exactly welcome. "I didn't expect as much controversy as we had with The Da Vinci Code" said Howard in New York last November. "Angels & Demons is not meant to be anti-anything, but a straight-ahead, ticking-bomb thriller." Still, the Catholic League has called for Catholics to inform others of Angels & Demons' anti-Catholic sentiments. The official Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, "cannot approve" of the film, but stops short of calling for a boycott, because it might cause "a boomerang effect," as some suggested occurred with The Da Vinci Code. As usual, Hanks, 52, has been taking it all in stride. "If you think Angels & Demons will offend you, don't go see it," he told reporters recently. And how does Brown survive the censuring? Perhaps the more than US$200-million earned from The Da Vinci Code book and film rights helped a great deal. Angels & Demons adds to his account, too. Canwest News Service SLJU TIZIANA FABI AFP GETTY IMAGES Partners in crime, Ron Howard and Tom Hanks.

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