National Newswatch

Quick-witted and full of heart: Radio host Dave (Bookie) Bookman dies at 58

May 21 2019 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Radio personality Dave (Bookie) Bookman, a champion of Canada's indie music scene known for his quick-witted interviews and encyclopedic knowledge of the industry, died Monday at 58. Bookman suffered a brain aneurysm, said Megan Bingley, general manager of Indie88, the Toronto FM station where Bookman most recently worked. Listeners and musicians shared tributes to the […]

Gordon Lightfoot on starring in a ‘legacy’ documentary about himself

May 21 2019 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Gordon Lightfoot didn't need much convincing when filmmakers approached him about a documentary on his prolific music career. The iconic Canadian folk singer-songwriter figured their timing probably couldn't be any better. "I'm still walking around," the 80-year-old performer says matter of factly, with a smirk, as he sits between the two documentarians in his Toronto living room. "So let's […]

Women make strides in TV, film production, but some are being left behind: study

May 15 2019 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Women are making some headway towards gender parity in Canadian film and TV production, but a new report says progress isn't being shared across the board. Both Indigenous women and women of colour are still "significantly underemployed" in production, the non-profit organization Women in View found in an analysis of 5,000 film and TV contracts issued from 2014 […]

‘Break from Drake’: Milwaukee radio station bans rapper’s music during Raptors-Bucks series

May 15 2019 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — A Milwaukee radio station is giving superstar Drake the silent treatment heading into the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. Hosts of morning show Riggs & Alley announced this week they've put a temporary ban on playing the Toronto rapper's music over their airwaves as his hometown team battles the Milwaukee Bucks in the playoffs. During the […]

Lowest of the Low’s Ron Hawkins on the ‘difficult dance’ of protest music

May 15 2019 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Even within the ranks of his own longtime Canadian indie-rock outfit, the Lowest of the Low, co-founder Ron Hawkins occasionally finds himself in battle for what he believes is right. It happened when the singer-songwriter first showed his new protest anthem "The Barricade" to his fellow band members, in hopes they'd warm to lyrics that hinted at a social uprising. The […]

Q-and-A: John Cleese returns to Canada, hopes the tour will help him buy a new home

May 6 2019 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — John Cleese is shopping for an island villa and hopes his Canadian fans might help him finance it. The Monty Python comedian recently settled into a temporary home on the Caribbean island of Nevis, a getaway of beautiful resorts and sandy beaches, and once he can afford it, Cleese says he'll be looking for a more permanent spot in a sunny destination. "I don't like […]

Indigenous women, musician Buffy Sainte-Marie highlight NAC theatre’s debut

Apr 30 2019 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Stories of Indigenous women's successes and struggles will be spotlighted in the inaugural season of the National Arts Centre's Indigenous Theatre. From the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls to an uplifting tale of a young boy whose mother's presence helps begin a spiritual journey, the season unveiled on Tuesday promises a diverse slate of […]

Gordon Lightfoot quits smoking, gets back into songwriting for new album

Apr 26 2019 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — Gordon Lightfoot says he recently kicked his smoking habit and rekindled a reluctant relationship with songwriting in the process. The 80-year-old Canadian musician says the two life changes have led him towards planning a full-length album due out sometime later this year or in early 2020. The untitled project will be his first in 15 years, and even Lightfoot […]

Canadian households with streaming TV expected to eclipse cable, satellite next year: report

Apr 22 2019 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — The number Canadian households paying for at least one streaming video service will eclipse traditional TV subscribers for the first time next year, predicts an annual report on consumer habits. Convergence Research Group says the growing popularity of an array of streaming options — ranging from Netflix and Crave to sports platform DAZN — is leading to a gradual shift in where […]

NDP legislators urge Ottawa to provide ‘stable funding’ to Indigenous Theatre

Apr 12 2019 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — New Democrat legislators are calling on the Liberal government to reconsider a decision that denies funding to the National Arts Centre's Indigenous Theatre. Five NDP members of parliament signed a letter on Friday to Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez urging a commitment to stable funding for the Indigenous theatre project, which launches its inaugural season this year. The […]

NDP legislators urge Ottawa to provide ‘stable funding’ to Indigenous Theatre

Apr 12 2019 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — New Democrat legislators are calling on the Liberal government to reconsider a decision that denies funding to the National Arts Centre's Indigenous Theatre. Five NDP members of parliament signed a letter on Friday to Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez urging a commitment to stable funding for the Indigenous theatre project, which launches its inaugural season this year. The […]

James Renald, of Montreal duo Sky, remembered for writing lyrical pop hits

Apr 10 2019 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — James Renald was known to many as the blond-haired singer in Montreal pop duo Sky during the late 1990s — but to his friends he was a complex songwriter who struggled to balance his desire for marketable endeavours against an unmistakable dislike of fame. The La Tuque, Que.-born musician, whose silky vocals helped make "Love Song" a No. 1 single in Canada, split from the successful […]

Hidden for nearly a century, Massey Hall’s stained glass windows find new life

Apr 9 2019 — David Friend, The Canadian Press — TORONTO — When Massey Hall opened its doors 125 years ago visitors were awestruck by the choral music venue's spectacular stained glass windows, says restoration expert Eve Guinan. In the daytime, sunlight poured through the magenta and rose panels, casting a transcendent glow over the audience, while at night the lemon and blue hues glimmered in the moonlight. Portraits […]