Hailing from Iran, Nafisi is a professor and prolific author. As a young woman, who's father was the Mayor of Tehran, she was engaged and excited by the passion and appeal of Western literature. By following her passions she faced great opposition, oppression and censure. In 1981, Nafisi was expelled from the University of Tehran for refusing to wear the traditional veil. In 1997, Nafisi relocated her family to America and continued teaching, lecturing and writing.
She is the Director of 'The Dialogue Project' at the foreign policy institute at prestigious Johns Hopkins University.
Her most successful book is 'Reading Lolita in Tehran : A Memoir in Books' and her latest 'Things I've been Silent About' is an unflinching look at the trials she has endured, including childhood sexual abuse.
What can you say about Chris Cornell? He's the consummate frontman with killer pipes and piercing baby blues. Most musicians would sell their soul for the chance to lead ONE successful band - but Chris has lead two of the world's most commercially and artistically rich bands in Audioslave and Soundgarden AND enjoyed great solo success to boot.
Life's not been without struggles -- battles with alcohol & drugs, depression and marital breakdown have coloured his world. The often cited artistic differences led to the demise of Audioslave in 2007.
Cornell's partner in Audioslave crime - the brilliant Tom Morello - has called Cornell's lyrics "haunted, existential poetry". Fans will get to listen to his latest Solo work 'Scream' when it drops next month.
Something tells me you may see a more contented, settled and focused Chris Cornell than you might expect. Vive La France!
Tuesday, February 24th
One of the most prolific actors of our time... this award winning actor has worked steadily for over 40 years. Not content to work in one medium - Pinsent has starred on many prestigious
stages including Stratford and on TV series such as Due South. His feature film work has also spanned a variety of genres with his most notable work coming in the critically acclaimed feature film - Sarah Polley's directorial debut -- the exquisite and sensitive Away From Her. His work in this film is truly magical.
Pinsent is an Officer of the Order of Canada and has been honoured with a star on Canada's Walk of Fame. I wonder if there are any special perks or secret handshakes involved?
Michael Muhammad Knight
I'd never heard of Knight before, but am looking forward to this interview because he has definitely gone the road less travelled! Knight is an Irish Catholic kid who discovered the teachings and philosophy of the controversial Malcolm X through the Enemy. Public Enemy that is. After studying Malcolm more intensely, Knight converted to Islam at age 17.
After his conversion to Islam, Knight didn't stay enamoured with the tenets of the traditional, conservative Islam for long. He'd written a fictional hit called The Taqwacores in which tells the tales of a group of Muslim punk rockers.
In his quest to seek a true American Islam, Knight did what anyone would do... he travelled 20,000 miles by Greyhound bus. Hardcore! The resulting work was a novel called 'Blue-Eyed Devil: an American Muslim Road Odyssey. Of particular note is his encounters with Islamic notables including Canada's Irshad Manji and founders of a movement called 'Muslims for Bush'.
His latest work wins the award for the most amazing book title ever... I don't even care what it's about, I want to read it - 'Osama VanHalen'. If it's turned into a musical -- will it be Diamond Dave or Sammy in the lead role? As long as it's not Gary Cherone? We're good.
Wednesday, February 25th
The Right Honourable Joe Clark has been many things --- A politician, statesman, professor, husband and father. For a brief shining moment - June 1979 to March 1980, he was Prime Minister of Canada. Back in the days where the Conservatives were still 'Progressive'. Clark was well regarded for being one of the first leaders to adamantly oppose Apartheid.
Looked upon by some as soft, Clark was actually highly respected and thought of as a strong competitor by his Liberal foes. After his election defeat and leadership succession by Brian Mulroney, Clark served in key senior Cabinet posts on Mulroney's team.
A couple of Joe 'Jems' for you... In 2004, he said of our current PM ' I do think it would be dangerous to have a leader with the kind of mentality Mr. Harper has.' You're not the only one Joe...
When he sat in opposition of the charismatic Trudeau, this well hurled volley -
"A recession is when your neighbour loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. Recovery is when Pierre Trudeau loses his."
Soft? Don't think so. It will be interesting to hear his perspective on the current state of our Government, our economy and this business of politics.
Eugene Levy first struck comedic gold as a member of the brilliant cast of SCTV -- a veritable television institution and since those early days has always possessed a knack for stealing the show. Bobby Bittman's suits alone were scene stealers! My SCTV box set is a prized possession.
Whether he's making a memorable cameo, is featured in a small role or as a leading player, it doesn't get much better than Levy. He acts and writes... not an easy feat. The American Pie franchise undoubtibly won him a generation of new fans.
Colin Mochrie continues to be one of the busiest performers working today... everything from commercials, live improv, game show hosting, television series and film. It's perhaps his self deprecating attitude combined with his talent that makes him so likable and engaging. His commitment as a husband and dad caused him to relocate back to the calm of home in Canada from the frenzy of LA. No one does the deadpan as well as Mochrie.
Colin has done stints on the UK and American versions of 'Whose Line is It Anyway.' Gotta love the green screen news reporting and cheesy infomercial segments! He was a cast member of This Hour Has 22 Minutes for two years and has asked the age old question. 'Are you Smarter than a Canadian 5th Grader?'
Mochrie continues to entertain in live Improv shows - most frequently with Whose Line collaborator Brad Sherwood.
On his website, Colin greets visitors with the words 'Welcome all who love me. I applaud your taste. '
Currently the editor of 'Esprit De Corps', Taylor has written a book entitled 'Unembedded: Two Decades of Maverick War Reporting.
Now now... those of you still playing Sarah Palin drinking games don't need to take a shot... Scott is a REAL maverick.
Friday February 27th
It's Friday which signals time to revisit a couple of recent interviews from The Hour's vault.
You know... interviews so nice, they air 'em twice?
Formerly of Dawson's Creek and current star of the excellent Fox Series 'Fringe', Joshua has also received acclaim for his most recent film - 'One Week'. A must see!
What guy wouldn't like to be called Mr. Big. Of course for Canadians, there's a double meaning there. No, not that - the chocolate bar. Jheesh - get your mind out of the gutter! As the star of Sex and The City and the original Law and Order series, Chris Noth has achieved great success and will bring his celebrity cachet to work for Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto as the emcee of 'One Night Live' - A high profile benefit concert featuring Sting and the Canadian Tenors.
Have a great week and depending where you are... my sympathies to you as you shovel. AGAIN.
Don't forget to check out The Hour's website to catch interviews you may have missed, request tickets to see a live taping of the show or to check out their new Forum.