RISING WINNIPEG STAR: Two years ago, Nadia Douglas, wife of former fire chief Reid Douglas, was the nervous nelly sitting with her hubby at live-band Club Regent karaoke who kept striking her name off the list and balking. The former model finally got up her courage and went onstage -- and blew the roof off singing Linda Ronstadt's hit When Will I Be Loved?
Yours truly sat there shocked. It was a surprise American Idol-type moment. Two years later, Douglas is the talk of the town with three bands -- a rock band, a jazz band and a duo. This week she dropped off her application to have a side venue to the upcoming Junos in Winnipeg.
The Nadia Douglas jazz trio includes Rick Boughton and stand-up bass player Chris Berti. You can catch this class act in fancy dress at venues such as the Current at Inn at The Forks, Resto Gare and Mona Lisa Ristorante -- and the Palm Lounge in the Fort Garry Hotel -- definitely on Valentine's weekend.
Douglas also fronts a '50s, '60s and '70s dance band called the Dynamics including Doug MacFarlane and Stan Spak. And finally, she has a travelling duo with pianist Orest Dobinsky, entertaining at private parties and seniors centres. "As a former paramedic, my favourite patients were the seniors."
"Being a 40-something, I can say this: If you have something you want to do at whatever age, go after it with a passion because sometimes dreams really do come true."
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PINK THOUGHTS: Winnipeg character Ralph Sacco is mad for live big-ticket entertainment. "I attend ALL the shows!" he says. And that's at the MTS Centre and elsewhere, often several times a week. So, when Sacco says Pink was outstanding, he's comparing her to the greats. "It was a real Vegas show. We were in the Bud Lounge on the north side opposite the stage but we could see wires and her remote control," says Sacco, who is no musician but just loves entertainment. "I work with chefs all day at Pratt's (Food Service Restaurant Supplies!" he laughs. "Pink was flying all over above us in the audience, like Tinkerbell, and right up to the third level!"
Does he have tickets to Keith Urban? "Of course. Can't wait!" he says.
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NEW YORK BLAST-OFF: Vince Fontaine took his band Indian City to the Big Apple last weekend and they played a showcase as part of the Association of Professional Arts Presenters conference. "We performed at the National Museum of the American Indian and had a great show for about 200 people," says keyboardist Gerry Atwell. The show was produced by Manitoba Music and included drummer Steve Broadhurst, singers Leela Gilday (from Yellowknife) and Tanya Takaq (originally from the Northwest Territories but now based in Brandon), plus Pamela Davis and Neewa Mason.
Fontaine says they met artistic directors of programs and festivals and many bookers and presenters. "We had a lot of positive feedback and got four or five verbal offers. It was exciting for us, the set was smooth and it showed we're ready to be at the international level. I'm hoping we get new markets, especially in the New York area -- the hub of pop culture and music." How did this big group afford the trip? "Manitoba Music and the Canada Council for the Arts... and my Visa took a beating," he said. Their debut CD was Supernation "and we have a new CD called Colours coming out with a launch in about three weeks to a month," says Fontaine.
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GLITZY GOLDEN GLOBES -- "It's a real party!" says a Winnipeg insider who attended the Golden Globes last Sunday night. "It was so relaxed -- lots of champagne on the tables and people getting up and walking around.
That's until they tell everybody they're going on the air again," says Heather Stewart of Lilyfield Cakes. She was in Los Angeles to host a booth in the gifting lounge for stars in the days that preceded the awards show.
The Globes are a far cry from the Oscars where everybody has to sit in rows for hours, and anyone who has to go to the fancy bathroom is quickly replaced by a hired "seat-filler." Stewart and publicist Beth Laski attended the Golden Globes and were seated at a table next to award-winner Andy Samberg from Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Saturday Night Live fame and Monica Potter from Parenthood on the other. And then there was hunky James Spader. "Oh, he's really cute! He was there because of The Blacklist."
Stewart saw scads of stars coming through the Oh Canada gifting lounge including Big Ang Raiola from Mob Wives, comedian Judy Tenuta, Chase Masterson of Star Trek, Erin Murphy of Bewitched, Brenda Dickson of The Young and the Restless and Dee Wallace from the ET movie. Winnipeggers in L.A. for the gifting lounge and cocktail party in aid of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights included Gail, David and Leonard Asper, CMHR architect Antoine Predock, philanthropists John and Bonnie Buhler, Winnipeg Harvest booster Lewis Trepel and Friends of CMHR marketing director Kathi Neal.
Got tips, events, sightings, unusual things going on? Call Maureen's tip line at 204-474-1116, email Maureen.Scurfield@Winnipegfreepress.com, or send letters to Maureen Scurfield c/o The Insider, 1355 Mountain Ave., R2X 3B6