You are here: Home » The Commentary

Singing and supping: The J-Man's Notebook - THE COMMENTARY

By Joseph Planta

VANCOUVER - Studying and worrying for exams has not allowed me to file columns in this space as of late, so pardon me as I get caught up with cursory items; items to get you through your day.

***

I got a note in my e-mail last week from two fellow alums from Sir Charles Tupper Secondary, Rocio Banda and Matthew Szwaba. Saw Matt and Rocio last over a year ago, when they both attended the J-Man's birthday party in 2003. Didn't have a do this year, so I haven't seen them since. But from what they wrote, it looks like wedding bells are in the cards. They're good people and I wish them the very best.

***

Let me put my Publisher's hat on for a sec and take this opportunity to welcome to The Commentary two new writers who come from us from Kwantlen University College's journalism program: Dhiren Mahiban and Daniel Chai. I met with them last week and I look forward to the pieces that they'll contribute. They'll add much to the group of contributors we have already. Press releases announcing their appointments to The Commentary are forthcoming, where you'll be able to get to know them better. Stay tuned for their pieces.

***

Daniel Chai's first piece for The Commentary, will be a feature piece on Canadian Idol. Tuesday afternoon, my deputy Richie Leung and I, joined Daniel and members of the local media at the CTV junket on board the Royal Vancouver parked in False Creek outside the Plaza of Nations. It was a delightful afternoon, with the boat rampant with a spread of food and booze.

Celebrity judges Farley Flex, Jake Gold, Sass Jordan and Zack Werner, and hosts Ben Mulroney and Jon Dore, were hyping their show and the auditions in Vancouver. Some 1120 people came to audition, with some 80 paired down for further inspection by the judges later this week. Among the other media types at the event were: CTV's Craig Nielsen, Vicki Gabereau (who graciously mugged for a photo with yours truly, after noticing my hasty note taking style), TV Week's Brent Furdyk, CFUN's Val Cole, the CBC's Margaret Gallagher, City TV's Jay Brown, Buzz Bishop from Z 95.3 FM, as well as folks from The Beat 94.5 FM and AM's News 1130.

Eight members of the media group, yours truly mercifully not included, participated in the media challenge, where they performed songs a capella. "You fundamentally can't sing on any level," greeted judge Zack Werner after The Commentary's Daniel Chai did his rendition of a Boyz II Men song. Daniel wasn't down too long, as Canadian Idol producer John Brunton soon announced that all the media performers would get $100.00 donated to their favourite charity. Daniel's was the Surrey Food Bank. The winner was supposed to have $1000.00 donated to their favourite charity. It turned out that the judges picked both Val Cole's rendition of "Lean on Me," and Margaret Gallagher's "Secret Love." And it turns out that judges said they'd throw in a thousand bucks too, so both of their charities got the dough.

***

And to prove that being a judge for Canadian Idol is a tough gig, or at least this media schmoozer, I happened to notice Zack Werner nursing two double scotches in quick succession.

***

Friday afternoon was spent with The Commentary's Senior Contributing Writer Michael Kwan and his official photographer Susanne Shum at Eat! Vancouver 2004, the Everything Food + Kitchen Show. All had great fun. We had the chance to walk around the exhibition prior to the doors opening to the public, and it was already clear that the public was in for a great show. My compliments to Heather Angeard, who looked after The Commentary splendidly, and George Acs and their company Executive Event Productions for putting on a fine exhibition.

When Michael's piece is published in the coming days, I'm sure he'll be mentioning the neat photo he had taken of him with restaurateur and Food Network Canada personality Rob Feenie. Feenie, who did an informative and entertaining cooking demonstration to open the show, mugged with Mike for Susanne's roving camera, which captured many of the show's sights.

***

Next up for Michael to cover is Vans Slam City Jam 2004, North America's skateboarding championship. That runs Friday, April 30th to Sunday, May 2nd at BC Place Stadium. http://www.slamcityjam.com has all the information. Doubtless, Mr. Kwan will have a piece about that, here at The Commentary, as well as the Sport Compact Night, Saturday, May 8th also at BC Place Stadium. 11.00 am to 11.00 pm, admission is $17.00. Check out their site at: http://www.sportcompact.ca.

***

David Pay passes along news about "musica intima," and a concert they're putting on Tuesday, May 4, 2004 at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts featuring cellist Steven Isserlis. Check out their site for more details: http://www.musicaintima.org.

***

On the front page of this site, there's still that note from me imploring readers to donate to Margaret Tse's relay campaign for the Canadian Cancer Society. If you haven't yet, please do kick in your contribution. I plan to do so in the next while, so in the meantime, e-mail me and I'll be happy to meet or beat your pledge. And if you send in a pledge over $5.00, we'll have a draw, whereby the winner will get a copy of the New York Times bestseller, How To Get Rich by Donald Trump. E-mail me at editor@thecommentary.ca for complete details.

Incidentally, Miss Margaret's online journal is a terrific insight into the grace and candour with which she leads her life. Battling cancer for three years now, no one is more determined and no one possesses the kind of elegance she does in fighting this wretched disease. She's an example for all of us. Check out her blog at: http://www.caringbridge.com/canada/margaret. Be sure to check it out in the next little while, as she's constantly on the go, travelling across all over the place. Montreal two weeks ago, Chicago next week. It's hard to pinpoint where she is at any given week!

***

It was no April Fools joke when Ujjal Dosanjh, the former NDP premier, announced that he would be seeking a seat in the next federal election under the Liberal banner for Prime Minister Paul Martin. I'll have some thoughts on this about-face in the coming days for sure. Nevertheless, at this point, in my opinion, and I am unanimous in this, it does smell rotten and Dosanjh, who I have a great deal of personal respect for, did something gutless and opportunistic.

***

I ran into my old English teacher at Tupper, Mr. Bruce Dolsen, riding his bike a month or so ago. He passed on news that Social Studies teacher David Dougall took early retirement last year. I haven't had the chance to talk to Dougall in a couple of years, so if he's reading this, drop a line sometime, would love to know what's upů I wish him and his artist wife, Mrs. Dougall well, as they set up house on Saltspring Island.

***

I got a wonderful card from the family of the late Haji Gentleman a couple months back. I haven't had the chance to acknowledge it and thank them. I think of Haji from time to time; I miss him, as I know those who knew him do as well.

***

And finally a shout out to Edward Lau, who was a recent visitor to the house to pick up a donation for his fundraiser for the BC Rehab Foundation, who celebrates the big 22 on May 11th. I ran into Edward and Maggie Yau at the Eat! Vancouver show, loyal readers of the J-Man, who took in the show, enjoying it as well. They were seen enjoying the beer and wine tasting area with The Commentary's Michael Kwan, well into the evening.

***

-30-


Questions and comments may be sent to: editor@thecommentary.ca

An archive of Joseph Planta's previous columns can be found by clicking HERE .