The FYI News Bulletin: Aug. 26, 2021

Liona Boyd is reasserting herself as The First Lady of the Classical Guitar with a deliciously ornate remake of Gershon Kingsley’s hot-poppin' ‘70s Moog instrumental hit, Popcorn. “I’ve never tried to have a ‘hit’ before,” she tells me, “but you never know with this.”

Eric Alper is on the case to butter up her YouTube viewing numbers; but the lady is her own best publicist, working the phones and sending emails to a contact list of rich and powerful friends and influencers from palaces to chateaus to multistorey penthouse nests.

The idea for a classical reinterpretation of this earworm candy came last summer in Toronto, and she took it with her to her Floridian enclave in the fall, where she has nicely nestled since the pandemic turned nasty.

“The video is full of call-backs to my past,” she explains. “There’s a mini clip of my cat, Muffin, a snippet of Venice, San Miguel del Allende, Moorish Dance, and the Bel Air shoot carrying the white parasol my mother gave me one birthday. (It) also uses images superimposed from some of my oil paintings, as well as those of my late father. It also features several guitars — including one purchased in Istanbul in 2016.”

It's a plucky stretch for her that could well be the runaway hit she's never expected, or much fretted over. It is also an extraordinarily masterful invention that shows us that Liona remains one of the best classical guitarists, if not the best on the planet.

Doug Putman, the 37-year-old Ancaster, ON native whose family has financed UK, US and Canadian record chain acquisitions, with a combined count of more than 400 stores operating under the banners of HMV Sunrise Records and For Your Entertainment (FYE), has added the Toys R Us brand with 81 locations across Canada to his portfolio. In June, FYE opened its first two stores outside the US, at Toronto’s Eaton Centre and Ottawa’s Rideau Centre, selling a range of goods that includes vinyl, stuffed toys, Marvel merch, DVDs, clothing, and low-fi stereo consoles.

Robyn James is named Sr. Director of Marketing at Elevate. She joins from adventure travel firm G Ventures and is the wife/partner of Strumbellas bass player Darrell James.

– CBC Radio fans have one more reason to groan. Holger Petersen’s longstanding Saturday Night Blues, averaging 75K listeners on Radio One, is being pushed to the pubcaster’s mostly invisible streaming sinkhole, CBC Music. According to Edison Research’s Infinite Dial study, the service reaches about 8% of adult Canadians on a monthly basis (or about 1.5 streams over the Fall).

– Mirvish Productions is one of the latest events producers to mandate proof of vax at its events. The new season opens with a refrie of the Webber/Rice 1971 hit musical, Jesus Christ Superstar.

- Ben Spalding, aka Professor Puzzle, has announced a crazy pandemic be-damned six-week, 17 show, 8 countries tour that opens a week today in Mexico City and wraps in Serres, Greece on Oct. 9. He’s hustling his 25-track Year 1 of PuzzleProjectsMusic compilation.

– While the Weeknd has been grabbing headlines with his new US$70M LA pile, the former Hearst estate has finally sold after 14 years on the market, taking a $148M haircut. Los Angeles-based investment company Berggruen Holdings has agreed to pay $47M for the eight-bed, 15-bath Italian and Spanish-style mansion.

– BC joins Quebec next month in requiring vaccine passports to enter entertainment, organized social and fitness facilities and events.

Leave a comment