Toots Thielemans, the first and arguably world’s best bebop harmonica player, was on the phone from Brussels asking who is headlining the Montreal High Lights Festival (Montréal en Lumière).
“Why, it’s you, sir,” I replied, and the pause in our conversation indicated a degree of surprise—a modesty that belies his incredible talent and a career that started at age 3 when he taught himself to play accordion.
He turns 90 on April 29 and enjoys an active performance career with gigs in Europe, Japan and North America. Thielemans plays Théâtre Maisonneuve February 16, part of the annual 11-day festival of music, performance art, exhibits and light shows.
Born Jean Baptiste Frédéric Isadore Thielemans—he acquired the Toots nickname in honour of swing-era saxophonist Toots Mondello and orchestra leader Toots Camarata—and taught himself the guitar while bedridden with asthma, picking up the swing style of Roma guitarist Django Reinhardt.More...
Ever wondered what goes on in that spanking new glass-enclosed building on the athletic grounds at the Loyola Campus of Concordia University on Sherbrooke W.?
Dr. Hugues Beauregard, 69, dropped by last month and now the Montreal endocrinologist works out virtually every day at the $35-million facility known as the PERFORM Centre.
That’s the acronym combining its central features: prevention, evaluation, rehabilitation and form(ation), combining the French word for training and the shape we’d like to be in. It opened in September and the public, juniors and seniors alike, is invited to join.
Whatever you do, do not call the 8,000-square-metre facility a “gym,” says Marian Lowe, a certified exercise physiologist who manages programs at the centre.More...
Drawn by an enthusiastic description in The Lonely Planet, we took a ferry to the so-called Red Island, Icaria. Many Greek communists were exiled there after the Greek civil war, which followed the Second World War.
We were nearing the home stretch of our Greek island hop last summer and we decided to take a chance on this lesser-known North Aegean destination. Remember, our travelling mantra is as much “why not?” as “why?”
We took a cab to the Dionysus Hotel in the hamlet of Kambos (100 inhabitants) up a winding road three kilometres from the secondary port, Evdilos (about 500 inhabitants), and met the reputedly effusive Vassilis, who runs the establishment. Although the location was uphill, our stay was downhill and a reminder that you can’t always go by the guidebook. For one thing, Vassilis had told us jokingly over the phone that the room would be “45 degrees,” but the room at that price had no window. The better room was 55 euro and we took it. We then trekked downhill 500 metres to the beach, a trial for Barbara and her (in)famous weak knees. The waves were so strong that she couldn’t venture in, although Irwin battled the waves for a short time before giving up.More...