The Stroumboulopouli

The Stroumboulopouli

The place to get the latest news on what’s coming up on #Gtonight. Find out what Canada’s boyfriend is up to. Share stories, pictures, favourite tv and radio episodes.

CBC TV & Radio shows plus HNIC

His work with Artists for Peace and Justice

UN Ambassadorship for The World Food Programme

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hour Books: Raisin Wine...

Raisin Wine: A Boyhood in a Different Muskoka is the story of James Bartleman, the former Lieutenant General of Ontario. I was intrigued by this book, as I am by most biographies, so I sailed right in after finding it on display at the library with an assortment of other Canadiana books on a table preparing patrons for Canada Day.

What I expected was the story of James Bartleman and how he eventually made his way to the Ontario Lieutenant Govenor's chair but what I didn't expect is that the book would be written as a novel, in a third person omniscient voice and with few proper names used in the book. The main character was refered to as "the boy, while other characters were referred to as "the boy's mother/father/brother/sister". This was not your average run of the mill biography, it spans only a few years in the fifties, though the years covered were probably the most formative years of anyone's life, when children were just discovering the teen years and what lies beyond the family circle. It's always interesting to read how someone who attained Bartleman's stature later in life, was obsessed with ice cream and comics from the general store or how he helped the family's income by collecting scrapmetal and selling fish to his neighbours as a child.

This book also paints an interesting picture of Muskoka as it grew into the tourist haven it is today. Focussed around Port Carling, the book speaks of how the region grew from the disappointment of the first settlers and the displacement of the First Nations to the growth of cottages and summer homes owned by the people from the "South" (Toronto). With the conditions of reserves currently in the news due to the swine flu outbreaks, I found it rather depressing to read that nothing much has changed in that regard since the time frame of the book, that some First Nation reserves still struggle for basic infrastructure and needs, while battling the same demons such as substance abuse.

As soon as I finished reading this book, I recommended it to a friend who lives in Muskoka. It is a compelling read, of a little boy growing into a teenager and the dynamics that shaped who he is today.

Please check out James Bartleman's apperance on The Hour. Like the book, this interview is very compelling.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

O Canada! What's on June 29-July 3

Where did June go? It seems like just yesterday we were in the middle of spring and now we're looking at the month of July. At least the summer weather is finally here.
Do you do anything special for Canada Day?
Canada Day Graphics

The Hour hiatus continues with some of the best interviews from Season Five.

Monday, June 29
Bill Maher and Larry Charles
Finesse Mitchell

Tuesday, June 30
Howard Zinn

Sean Avery

Ricky Gervais

Wednesday, July 1
Paul Rudd and Jason Segel


Thursday, July 2
Smashing Pumpkins

Howie Mandel
James Cameron

Friday, July 3
Sarah Palin

Marlee Maitlin

John Legend
Have a wonderful and safe Canada Day week!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Strombo Joins the Suzuki Foundation Board

On the heels of the enormous success and visibility in the One Million Acts of Green initiative, George Stroumboulopoulos has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the David Suzuki Foundation. George is in good company with the other two recent appointees - entrepreneur John Lefebvre and Westport Innovation CEO Elaine Wong.

Chair Jim Hoggan is `delighted`and said -- `George Stroumboulopoulos is an inspired and inspiring guy. Few others have done so much to engage Canadians on environmental issues and I can`t think of anyone - with the exception of David Suzuki himself - who is so credible with people in every demographic group.` High praise indeed.

Established in 1990 by the popular scientist and journalist David Suzuki, the David Suzuki Foundation has established itself as an innovator in providing not only facts, but practical solutions of how average Canadians can positively impact their world through striving to live 'in balance with the natural world that sustains us'.

Key tenets of the Foundation's goals include:

Sustainability -- A measure of Canada's performance shows that we've got a loooong way to go to achieve this. Apparently a study showed Canada ranked 29th out of 30 developed countries. Shameful, given all the incredible natural resources we are blessed with!

Oceans and Sustainable Fishing -- Overfishing and pollution are critical stumbling blocks in a healthy water system. Water IS life, after all.

Climate Change and Clean Energy -- Ensuring the development and utilization of alternative and clean energy including solar and wind power, increasing efficiency of existing mainstream power sources and increasing the utilization of public transportation are seen as vital to lessening the impact on climate change. The impact should lessen strains on the climate and boost the economy in the process.

Nature Challenge -- To learn about the 10 most effective actions YOU can take to protect nature. Visit the David Suzuki Foundation`s website. Oh and just a suggestion. You may not want to print out the list... just saying.

So, in honour of this appointment, perhaps a shot of wheatgrass is in order!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hour Books: Smile While You're Lying...

After the heaviness of last week's book, I wanted to read something a little lighter and in a more familiar realm. Chuck Thompson's book Smile While You're Lying: Confessions of a Rogue Travel Writer fit that bill perfectly.

I'm a big fan of this genre so it's no surprise that I really liked this book. Thompson's voice really reminds me of NYC Chef Anthony Bourdain (author of Kitchen Confidential and host of No Reservations), but with a totally different spin. This excerpt from the book sums it up:
The biggest reason travel writing is dull, as Queenan correctly pointed out, is that most of it is devoid of anything approaching an authentic point of view. On those rare occasions when travel writers are allowed to express an actual opinion, it must be a completely harmless one that's also shared by the travel industry at large. These are usually offered as hard-hitting commentaries describing how “quaint” a hotel room is, how “mind-blowing” a nature park is, or how “mouthwatering” a chef's specialty is. Everything is superlative. Like being a sports fan, one of the best things about being a traveler is complaining about the parts you don't like—hating the Dallas Cowboys not only doesn't make me any less a football fan, it probably makes me a more avid one. This is a concept the travel industry has never embraced.
It was at this point that I fell in love with the book. I've always been skeptical of travel writing, always thinking there is no way that any given locale would be as "scintillating" or "quaint" or "endearing" or (insert your favourite non-descriptive descriptor) as the author wants us to believe. I liked the honesty of Thompson's book. It's not a pretty representation of the life of a travel writer, but in the same breath it doesn't totally tear down those whose careers depend on reviewing the latest white sandy beach, but it's a great representation of what got Thompson into the industry and why he thinks writers need to be more honest. Face it, what stories do you find more interesting from your travels? The totally expected or the totally unexpected? Ya, that's what I thought...

From having all his money stolen on a remote island in Thailand to running out of gas on a remote British Columbia highway, I thought this book was a great read particularly if you're interested in travelling or writing about your travels.

Don't forget to check out Chuck Thompson when he appeared on The Hour in April 2008... and then check out More With Chuck Thompson...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

It's Summertime!

George Gershwin summed it up best: "Summertime, and the livin' is easy". In case you missed it, the much anticipated Summer Solstice arrived early this morning! Of course summer means different things to different people. One thing it means to me is spontaneous roadtrips with music blaring from the car stereo. If you are looking for some new music to add to the soundtrack of your summer, check out today's edition of The Strombo Show (5pm EST) on one of these Corus Radio stations: The Edge 102.1 (Toronto) The Fox 99.3 (Vancouver) Power 97 (Winnipeg) Y108 (Hamilton) FM96 (London).

If you are a fan of The Hour, one downside to summer is that we are now into repeats. Perhaps you'll be able to catch an interview you missed when it originally aired or have the opportunity to re-watch a special favourite.

Monday, June 22nd

Award-winning documentary film director and author Mariane Pearl.

Tony Bennett Pictures, Images and Photos

Music legend Tony Bennett.

Tuesday, June 23rd
(Do you see a pattern here?)

David Foster Pictures, Images and Photos
Canada's best known "Hit Man", music producer David Foster.

Sir David Frost Pictures, Images and Photos
British journalist Sir David Frost.

Super Dave Osborne (aka Bob Einstein).

Wednesday, June 24th

Canadian literary icon Farley Mowat.

Spike Lee Pictures, Images and Photos

Film director, producer, writer and actor Spike Lee.

Reformed computer hacker MafiaBoy (aka Michael Calce).

Thursday, June 25th

micheal buble Pictures, Images and Photos
British Columbia native and multi-award winning singer, Michael Bublé.

barbara walters Pictures, Images and Photos
Journalist, television personality and author Barbara Walters.

gordon Pictures, Images and Photos
The King of Culinary Cursing, chef Gordon Ramsay.

Friday, June 26th

Former Prime Minister of Canada, The Right Hon. Paul Martin.

Valerie Bertinelli Pictures, Images and Photos
Actress and author Valerie Bertinelli.

Bog Newhart Pictures, Images and Photos
Television and movie legend Bob Newhart.

Speaking of Bob...if your travels ever take you to the entrance of Chicago's Navy Pier, you too can have a session with the 'doctor'.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hour Books: The Book of Negroes

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill was one of the last books featured in Season Five of The Hour and the winner of the 2009 Canada Reads competition on CBC. It chronicles the amazing life of Aminata Diallo, a young woman stolen from her African home, sold into slavery and then travels from place to place looking for freedom from slavery, including a little known incident in Canada's own history.

Most Canadians know of Canada's involvement in the Underground Railroad, but few know that Canada had its own race issues and was not immune to the slave trade. Author Lawrence Hill found inspiration for the novel from the story of the migration of these black settlers to and from Africa. He took the name of his novel from the actual Book of Negroes, a relatively unknown historical document that lists the names and characteristics of the black loyalists who migrated from New York state to Nova Scotia towards the end of the American Revolutionary War with the promise that they would receive land and liberty when they arrived in the British colonies.

Unfortunately, what they were promised and what they found were two completely different things. In 1784, a group of unemployed white settlers attacked the black settlement of Birchtown, Nova Scotia, destroying the settlement. This attack became known as the first race riot in North America. Feeling angered and betrayed by the British, some of these settlers made the first journey back to Africa only ten years after arriving on the continent.

You can view a copy of the Book of Negroes through the Nova Scotia Archives.

This novel is a very interesting read. It's also a very heavy read, there were times when the sheer volume of suffering was really disturbing. Hill has a gift for painting an image in the mind, I often felt like I'd been transported right into the scene. This is not a "happily ever after" novel, there is a lot of sadness and human suffering in this book. But woven into the book is a demonstration of the strength of the human spirit.

If you've read the novel, leave us a comment and let us know what you thought of the book.

Check out Lawrence Hill's interview on The Hour.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Stroumboulopoulos. Reporting for Duty. Jury Duty.

As I walked the Queen West area of Toronto with some friends this past Friday night after a fabulous Japanese dinner, we noticed hoards of kids strewn about the sidewalks clad in sweats, some in sleeping bags, some hunkering down in pup tents. Curious and or nosy as I am, I asked a seemingly friendly, normal young lady what people were lining up for. Her answer was somewhat shocking and disturbing... we're lining up for wristbands for the MMVA's.

Yes... the Much Music Video Awards. Hosted by the triumvirate of virginal musical pablum -- the Jonas Brothers. Featuring musical powerhouses like Lady Gaga and special guests from The Hills. God help us all... is this how far music has fallen?

Resisting the urge to Yakitori all over the sidewalk, we soldiered on... talking about our excitement for upcoming music festivals including this week's NXNE and reminiscing about who we may have camped out for when we were 15. Conversation progressing, we realized that at their ages, our musical tastes were also not fully formed... okay kids. Mama'll give you a pass. You're forgiven.

This time of year is an important one in the Canadian music industry. The nominees for the Polaris Prize -- the initial long list of 40 discs have been announced - the submissions from music journalists, bloggers, media types hand in their 5 picks for best Canadian album of this past year. After this, jurors will vote again to narrow down to the short list of 10. The short list will be revealed on July 7th and then it's on. The Grand Jury will debate the merits and announce the final pick -- the $20,000 prize winner at the Polaris gala on September 21st.

Not surprisingly, the list is not without omissions... but as always, covers a wide spectrum of genres and geographical regions. I'm happy to say that of the list of 40, I own 11. Yes, own. That aside, my favourite part of Polaris is that the contest is based on artistic merit - not sales- and provides music lovers a fabulous opportunity to really explore the musical landscape that the scenesters have laid out with their long list selections.

Some notable points on the list?

Former Polaris Grand Prize winner Patrick Watson makes a return appearance on the list -- this time for 'Wooden Arms'. Could they win again?

Profanity takes a backseat to no list -- last year it was Holy Fuck who made the top 10 -- will the equally controversially named Fucked Up be so lucky with their entry 'The Chemistry of Common Life'?
Many artists who receive play or have been live studio guests on The Strombo Show have made the cut. Jill Barber, Arkells, The Stills, Joel Plaskett, Metric and K-OS -- to name a few.

I really feel that a good bet for top 10 are Hey Rosetta -- who kicked ass at the East Coast Music Awards. Great Lake Swimmers, Jill Barber, Joel Plaskett and The Stills are among my top picks.

I will definitely check out some acts I've never even heard of... Think About Life, Lhasa and Bison B.C. to name a few.

Check out the long list HERE. There is also a featured contest for those who wish to guess who will comprise the top 10 finalists...

What would your top 10 be? Any glaring omissions this year? Who'd your ultimate winner be?

Take care... happy listening. Let's hear it for Canadian Music!!!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hour/Hockey season is over and Summer begins

The Strombo Show this and every Sunday.
The Edge 102.1 (Toronto) The Fox 99.3 (Vancouver)
Power 97 (Winnipeg) Y108 (Hamilton) FM96 (London)
George and Alex share music, interviews and conversation each radio show. They will use 'technology' to get you fresh shows all summer long.
If you have a request for George message him in your usual fashion. Email, facebook, myspace and twitter. Click on the listen live at 5 (EST) or follow along on facebook.

The Hour is on a summer taping break but the best of The Hour from this Season will be presented at it's regular time all summer long.

Monday June 15, 2009

Canada's sometimes controversial but always stylish (oops is that fur?) Governor General -Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean will be talking to George about seal hearts and other subjects.

George will also be talking to the brilliant young actor from Passchendaele and Train 48!
- Joe Dinicol

Yes I watched and loved Train 48! That was before I moved to Toronto...

Tuesday June 16, 2009

actor - Malcolm McDowell who has done everything from Star Trek to A Clockwork Orange.

& rock star/TV reality Star and music business man - Gene Simmons

Align CenterKISS this!

Wednesday June 17, 2009

- David Thewlis is not just an actor, he is a director, a novelist, a poet, a painter and a musician.

& Canadian/American (?) singer-songwriter
-Alanis Morissette

Morissette has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide

Thursday June 18, 2009

-Journalist, author and pop sociologist -

Malcolm Gladwell The rock star of non-fiction will be on the show.

plus comedian - Jamie Kennedy

- not the chef Jamie Kennedy- but the American funnyman.

Friday June 19, 2009

Hollywood superstar - Tom Cruise

Who goes only by his first and middle name, and at one time wanted to become a
Catholic Priest gets to have a very long conversation with George.
He is on The Hour for the entire hour.
We would like to thank the hard working crew of The Hour for all their efforts to put Season Five together. They have done a fantastic Job. The Million Acts of Green project to name just one. It was an outstanding success!
With cutbacks this year to the CBC The Hour is not unaffected and some of our favourite staff will not be coming back in Season Six. We know the Season Six crew will get the job done and The Hour will be a tribute to their hard work and they will come up with brilliant new ideas.
One audience favourite is attending the show and meeting George when The Hour is on the Road. The question of 'Can The Hour do shows on the road in the coming season?' would depend on sponsorship. In these tough economic times finding those sponsors would be nice. So if you have any ideas to get The Hour traveling again let 'em know.

To the crew of The Hour have a great summer! Good luck in all your endeavors.

The Blog writers will still be adding our posts all summer long. We'll write about books featured on The Hour and other summer projects... please keep following us for updates.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Sunrise, Sunset... Last week of Season 5

I'm so glad we had this time together, just to laugh or sing a song

Seems we just get started and before you know it... Comes the time we have to say.... so long.

Recognize these lyrics? If you are 30+ you should, as they're the closing lines Carol Burnett sang at the end of her seminal program -- The Carol Burnett Show. The Legendary Ms. Burnett takes to the Red Chair on Thursday for an Exclusive TV interview.

Welcome to the last fresh batch of interviews in this, the final week of a successful Season 5 of The Hour. For regular viewers, it may seem like the year has just begun, but for the team that brings you The Hour each night, my wager would be they're ready for a Margarita, a nap and a vacation.

So... sit back and drink it in... on a patio, a deck, alone in your living room. I won't judge.

Monday June 8th

Don Newman

When the news broke just over a month ago that Don was among those who've opted to take the CBC's voluntary retirement package, I can say that as a political junkie, I was truly disappointed. As the host of Politics on CBC, Don Newman demonstrates daily the integrity, confidence and knowledge that allows him to lead intelligent yet accessible discussions that demystify the often BS ridden folly of political policy and process. He has a way of relating not only what's happening on the political landscape, but what it means to us as Canadians. Among the many accolades he's received, Don is a member of the Order of Canada.

I'm confident that Mr. Newman, like most true journalists, hates BEING the story. For now though, he is. What I'd most like to hear from him are his true feelings about being caught in the network cutbacks, how he envisions political reporting will continue to evolve and what he envisions for the future of 'Politics'.

Ryan Reynolds
Vancouver native, actor and living proof that working out can pay off huge, Ryan Reynolds returns to The Hour. On his previous grilling on the 2/20 segment Ryan revealed he can smell the fear. Good to know!

From TV, where he made an impact on Two Guys A Girl and a Pizza Place to films like National Lampoon's Van Wilder, his career has been on a constant upswing. Part of the wildly successful Wolverine/ X Men films.. Ryan is set to star in a sequel featuring his character. He's currently promoting his new movie with Sandra Bullock and the amazing Betty White -- The Proposal -- in which his character makes a deal to marry his nasty Canadian boss, played by Bullock, to save her from deportation. The previews of this movie look good... kinda the ultimate date movie.

To many though, including myself... no matter how successful Ryan becomes, my favourite will always be 'Just Friends'. Any actor that can rock a fat suit and lip sync 'I Swear' into a hairbrush is good people.

Tuesday June 9th

Michaelle Jean

It's the rich tapestry of experiences that define who we are as people, inform our decisions and aspirations. In a new country like Canada, the immigrant experience is a common thread and many of our most prolific contributors to society were born elsewhere. Such is the case of our current Governor General, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean.

Now the representative of the Queen in Canada, Jean 's family fled Haiti when their nation was under the dictatorship of the evil Baby Doc Duvalier. After settling in Quebec she pursued her post secondary education, became an advocate for battered women, a documentary film maker and respected journalist.

Her 2005 appointment to the primarily ceremonial role of Governor General was not without controversy as detractors pointed to her arms length involvement in separatist activities. That aside, Jean seems to be more visible, involved and unafraid to rock the boat than any other Governor General in history. One of the more significant examples was her visit to the Canadian troops in Afghanistan.

Following the EU's ban on seal products, the world watched as our GG took part in the butchering of a seal and consuming part of the heart... a move that has been both applauded and sharply criticized.

Wednesday June 10th

Lawrence Hill

Lawrence Hill is a perfect example of how one's experiences and unique perspectives inform their path. He's the son of a black father and white mother who moved to Canada immediately following their marriage. Growing up in a predominantly white culture inspired one of Hill's most notable works; the 2001 memoir 'Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada'. If his name is familiar to you... it may also be for 'The Book of Negroes' - an award winning novel that was also recently named the winning selection in CBC Radio's 2009 Canada Reads award.

Rick Hansen

Not many people have the ability to turn serious adversity into an inspiring life and career that benefits people every day. Rick Hansen is one of those people. Following a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down, Hansen became a committed and accomplished athlete. Perhaps it was his friendship with a fellow named Terry Fox that would inspire Rick to embark on his 'Man In Motion' world tour to raise awareness, accessibility to services, and to fund Spinal Cord Research? Whatever his motivation -- it's benefited thousands.

It's startling to realize that 2010 will mark the 25th Anniversary of this incredibly successful endeavour. To continue raising funds, he founded the Rick Hansen Foundation in 1988 -- you can get involved in providing support to by taking part in Wheels In Motion events in your community.

Thursday June 11th

Carol Burnett

Comedy legend Carol Burnett will grace the stage for an exclusive TV interview with The Hour. If her life's story isn't familiar to you... where have you been? Under a rock? Star of stage, screen and television, her impact on the entertainment industry is undeniable. Few performers can crack an audience up with a funny face or eye roll. Carol can do it from 1oo paces without fail.

Raised by her beloved grandmother in extremely modest circumstances, Carol originally planned a career in journalism but thankfully decided to pursue performing.

Like many performers noted for their work in the comedy genre, Burnett has suffered many triumphs and unimaginable tragedy. Her daughter Carrie Hamilton, who had long struggled with serious drug addiction and had overcome her demons, then faced a battle with cancer which she ultimately lost at the young age of 38.

As a very young kid, I remember fondly watching The Carol Burnett Show... it was one of very few shows which the whole family could agree on. I am sure we weren't alone. Though there are too many to list, I'm sure I'm not the only one who to this day remembers the Gone with the Wind takeoff. Sweeping down the staircase clad in green velvet curtains -- curtain rods intact --- can't remember the exact dialogue, but when complimented with how elegant she looked, stated... I saw it in the window and had to have it... Nice!

***You'll watch anyway... but tune in to this interview for details on an exciting contest and your chance to meet Carol Burnett when she appears in Vancouver this Fall! ***

Friday June 12th

Sit back, relax and cruise into the weekend by revisiting a few goodies from this past season.

Norman JewisonCelebrated director, Proud Canadian, Nemesis of John Wayne?

MobyVegan. Vanguard. Music maker.

Gordon Ramsay

The F Word. Kitchen Nightmares. Hell's Kitchen. This celebrity chef is one tasty dish!

Though The Hour is done taping for the season, they will continue to provide solid Best Of' shows throughout the summer. You can also cruise through their site and youtube channel to catch some archived interviews you may have missed the first time.
The Strombo show, broadcast each Sunday on the Corus Radio Network from 5-8pm EST will roll on throughout the summer and offer some nice tunes to help you bump up the mix of the latest and greatest on your Ipod.
We will also bring you new topics and chat throughout the summer so come on by from time to time...
If you have topic suggestions - drop us a line -- we'd love to hear from you... well, from most of you anyway. :)
Cheers and Happy Summer to all our readers!