Tag Archive for humour

David Crombie reflects on a century of change in Toronto

Exclusive Report, February 3, 2013 Former Toronto Mayor David Crombie easily charmed a full-house audience at a January 30th meeting of the North Toronto Historical Society in Northern District Library. Although Crombie’s advertised topic was “North Toronto 1912, Then and Now,” references to North Toronto were few and far between. But it didn’t seem to…

“Mashers I Have Met” — Toronto Girl Tells All (1913)

From the Toronto Star Weekly, July 5, 1913 One popular fellow-singer proposed a jaunt to the Eastern States — Stopped on Yonge Street — How a pretty pianist saved herself from pursuer — jabbed him with hatpin If a girl in any vocation in Toronto would be thought safe from molestation you naturally would presume…

Seeking new prospekts in St. Petersburg

Our first day in St. Petersburg, Russia, we took a tour that showed off the magnificence of this city of exquisite palaces, cathedrals, prospekts and Venetian-style canals. We saw the Peter and Paul Fortress, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the Admiralty, the Church of the Resurrection, Nevsky Prospekt, Smolny Cathedral, miscellaneous grand palaces, Palace Square and the…

The Producers generates squirms, laughs

It’s been more than 40 years since comedy writer Mel Brooks first conceived of the idea for what would become The Producers, the $10-million musical that opened December 11, 2003 at Toronto’s Canon Theatre, courtesy of real-life theatre producers Ed and David Mirvish. In town for the opening, Brooks appeared on stage at the show’s…

Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Hotel

“Harpo Marx, having played a mute in all his films, was probably the most articulate of all the Marx brothers,” declares Barbara McGurn as we sit in the Oak Room of New York’s famed Algonquin Hotel, awaiting the entrance of cabaret performer K.T. Sullivan. The next moment McGurn, who is equal parts literary scholar and…

Obit: comedian Frank Shuster (1916-2002)

Frank Shuster, the straight man in the legendary comedy team of Wayne and Shuster, has died in Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital of pneumonia at the age of 85. He and his partner Johnny Wayne, who died in 1990, performed as a comic duo for 56 continuous years since first teaming up together for some comic…

Schmelvis: the ‘King’ as Jewish

Evan Beloff, co-producer of a new documentary that demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt that American rock idol Elvis Presley was Jewish according to halakha or Jewish law, was only half-joking when he said that the film uses Elvis “as a metaphor for identity — I think it’s a quest film about Jewish identity.” Titled “Schmelvis:…

Ravin’ Over Ravvin: Sex, Skyscrapers and Standard Yiddish

For a writer who has staked out his literary territory somewhere between Franz Kafka and Edgar Allen Poe, and who typically weaves Jewish themes into his work, the name Norman Ravvin — with its etymological allusions both to Poe’s “raven” and the word “rabbi” — seems almost too linguistically appropriate to be cited as the…

Turning rogues into role models

Well over a century after the fact, there can be little pain in admitting that a distant cousin of mine, born to wealth and social status, was the subject of a spectacular bankruptcy proceeding in London, England in the 1860s. An account of his failed business affairs appeared in the London Times. I suspect the…

Blue Monday: Grunberg writes a blue streak

Arnon Grunberg, a 26-year-old native of Amsterdam, wrote the novel Blue Monday (Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1997) on a dare. It has sold 70,000 copies in Holland and been republished in various translations. Blue Monday has been compared to Roth’s Goodbye Columbus; Grunberg’s often-pixilated protagonist, also called Arnon, is a sort of Jewish Casanova who vividly…