FRIENDS IN DEED: In Bob Rennie’s Chinatown office-art museum recently, 2014-2017 U.S. ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman and wife Vicki released a jointly written memoir of their time here. Titled The Art of Diplomacy, Strengthening the Canada-U.S. Relationship in Times of Uncertainty, the book reflects their personal friendship with and support of Democrat former president and fellow Chicagoan Barack Obama. Diplomats represent their own country’s interests above all, of course. Still, alternately authored chapters in the Heymans’ “love letter to Canada, our neighbour and best friend” show them contributing to fellowship and culture far beyond Washington’s remit and Ottawa’s political and diplomatic precincts.
Their resolve “to build bridges, not walls” resulted in a bike lane replacing post-9/11 concrete barriers at the ambassadorial residence, Lornado. They also filled the house with art, presented many eminent artists, hosted scores of public events, sparkplugged a visit by Obama, and installed honey bees who, with their queen, departed soon after they did. Conversing with and learning from ordinary folk, the Heymans criss-crossed Canada. That included days spent in Arctic-shore Tuktoyaktuk, Labrador’s Mary’s Harbour and even more remote Battle Harbour. When it came time to leave Canada, though, the news came, deplorably, in a New York Times article rather than a single word from the Trump transition team. “Vicki and I now consider ourselves citizen ambassadors for the Canada-U.S. relationship,” Heyman wrote. “We are private citizens working to make a difference.” Supporting that intent, they and Rennie donated all proceeds from their book sales to The Vancouver Sun’s Raise-a- Reader campaign.
MISS CANADIAN PIE: Jen Rainnie drove her Chevy to the levee, but it sure wasn’t dry. In fact, the levee — more specifically the Heart and Stroke Foundation of B.C. and Yukon’s 14th-annual Heart of Gold gala — reportedly generated $900,000 and change. Meanwhile, the Chevy that second-time gala chair Rainnie seemingly drove was actually a full-scale Styrofoam sculpture of the front end of a 1955 model. That was an epic year as a new-for-Chevrolet V-8 engine promised high performance. Rainnie, foundation chair Irene Chanin, board chair Brian Curin and all involved doubtless hope the gala will spur a similar result. That would include supporting an automated external defibrillator program planned to double the survival rate of those experiencing cardiac arrest.
PICTURE PERFECT: Directors Helen Haig-Brown and Gwaai Edenshaw’s Edge of the Knife (Sgaawaay K’unna) cut through other nominees at the recent Leo Awards gala for B.C.’s film and television productions and personnel. It was named best motion picture, and Haig-Brown and Edenshaw received best-direction Leos. Director Menhaj Huda’s Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance was named best TV movie.
Staged by the Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Foundation of B.C., the event is nostalgic for chair Walter Daroshin. That’s because a feature film he’d executive produced, The War Between Us, won the 1996 debut running’s top award. Daroshin signed on as Leos president in 1997. Two years later, Andrew Williamson founded the Crazy8s Film Society that won this year’s outstanding-achievement Leo. Long headed by Paul Armstrong, its juried contestants shoot, edit and deliver short but sometimes superb movies in eight days.
QUADS: One Crazy8’s production was written and directed by Bowen Island-raised twins Kailey and Sam Spear, and filmed by two more twins, Graham and Nelson Talbot. Nominated for six Leos, it has a robot nanny violently attack a mother regarding the care of her daughter. Keeping up the jollity, the Spears and Talbots made the short horror flick Alien: Ore in the Britannia mine. It’s the only Canadian picture among 20th Century Fox’s commissions to commemorate the original Alien’s 40th anniversary.
SMASH BASH: You could wait for a Greek wedding to break plates. Or you could pay $20 for a plate emblazoned with the word for something you dislike — homophobia, perfectionism, say — and sling it against a wall. Attendees did that when multi-entrepreneur Madeleine Shaw fronted a fundraiser for the United Girls of the World Society she founded. The organization aids parents and caregivers “that assist in supporting adolescent girls’ development of personal empowerment, healthy peer relationships, self-esteem and body positivity.” Shaw’s accompanying husband, Tim Roddick, was newly met in 1996 when this column reported her launching a women’s apparel firm. “He had a girlfriend, and I was having unwholesome thoughts about him,” Shaw recalled. “But one thing led to another.” They married in 2001 — without smashed crockery.
IN A NAME: Tex Antonucci, who co-produced the Leo Awards’ best-movie-nominated Indian Horse, was named to commemorate legendary cartoon animator Tex Avery. Antonucci’s father Danny made the cult classic Lupo The Butcher (Google it). His Ed, Edd n Eddy was possibly the last TV series to employ Walt Disney and Avery’s hand-painted-cell technique rather than computer animation. At least Danny didn’t name his son for a beloved Avery character: Bugs, Daffy, Elmer, Porky, etc.
DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Th-th-th-that’s all, folks.