George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight

***I have to admit to a bit of a faux pas here as I wrote this after episode one and unfortunately forgot to hit publish.  Apologies to you and to my editor.  चुम्बन Cordie ***

A quick note on my impression of the new season, and as usual I think it’s a mixed bag of great, and we’ll just have to get used to its! 

I found the opening to the new version of the show a little weak; too little Sloan to rev it up and get us going.  I also miss George chatting more to get the conversational feel to the show in tune.  Even the audience seemed low key!  I am hoping that George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight does not lose that conversational let’s slide out of this day and into comfort with an edge feel that we are all so used to.

The desk idea at this point is only okay in my books, but we’ll eventually get used to seeing him stand again as he did on Much and seeing less of the laid back George draped over the chair chatting.  Speaking of the red chairs, they are still there 🙂 They add an accent of energy to the new cosy set that is warm and den like with its blue hues and dimmer lighting.  Gone is the black, white and red set that emitted movement and energy and in its place is the warmth of the blue and wood tones.  Congratulations to ex Strombo Show sidekick and Gemini nominated Moneen Producer Alex Liu on the design of the new set.

Act one of the show still held a good balance of cynical, humorous look at the world in politics, sports, global events, and the environment.  I must admit to being a little curious as to what George was going to do with my favourite bit of the show; Mile-A-Minute.  I like the new title ‘de-briefing’, although I cringe at what the stalker like 40-ish going on pre-pubescent troll-women will do with that term 😦

He has left himself open to more than a few jokes when it comes to titles though already.  The title of the show George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight (GST) is both an homage to his ego/pride and part of a smart new marketing package.  Strombo is the brand, George Stroumboulopoulos is the man that IS that brand.  Now with a new 30 minute show named after him and a radio show named after the brand, the name is out there even more than before.  The decreased air time also means people that want more George/Strombo content will be forced to go online to find it and with any spare moment that might be freed up producing 5 1/2 hour shows as compared to 4 full hour ones, can now be put into his writing, producing and racing; a nice way to pave the new path in his career.  🙂

I found little changed in the rest of the show.  The interviews had the usual bio, once again being voiced over by George himself (thankfully) and the usual bits of the guests past, motivations to do what you do, extra curricular causes and what’s happening now and ahead; a well rounded interview style that George is well known for.




New Season, New Changes and New Year

The first half of this season is neatly in the can and although I love the show, I do not like all of the changes this season.  I am not sure if it is due to some staffing changes in the writing department, or that the show needs to stretch out of some season six growing pains.  Either way I’ve been a die-hard fan since day one, but something seems out of sorts for me this season.

Most notably irking me is the writer(s) reading out the bios.  I know George maintains that The Hour’s a success due to the team effort that goes into it, but the name of the show is, ‘ The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos’.  The audience expects to see and hear; the host.  How often have we all heard him say that the show is a late night conversation to ease us out of our day?  The bio was George’s time to introduce his guest to us.  As if we are sitting and sharing in that chat.  George turns to us, the audience, and says, This is so-and-so and here are some facts about him/her before we get started.  It was a successful technique in helping us to get to know the other person in that conversation.  With the writers chiming in, it somehow seems incongruent with the flow between George, his guest(s) and us.  Like someone jumping in to interrupt and then disappearing again.  It is awkward and it does not work.

Another miss, in my books, are the comedic skits that replaced the cold opens.  I know that humour is a subjective thing and that what I may find funny isn’t necessarily what you will, but this seasons skits are just not hitting my funny bone, at all.  Indeed I am finding some of them just plain awkward.

I personally DO like the absence of “The News” that used to consist of Celeb factoids at the end of the show.  I am interested in the private lives of people I actually know and care about, not in the rumour and speculation of those I’ll never meet or befriend.  I am interested, or not as the case maybe, in their creative endeavours, full stop.  I never thought that segment really fit in with the uber hip “people are interesting and celebs are just people too” attitude of The Hour.

I am relieved that the Mile-a-Minute is still in the mix as is The Good News segment.  Although I do wish it was on more than once a week.  Then again that could be a production/marketing decision or it could, sadly, be a sign of the times.  I am enjoying the once a week email bit, George on his own, adlibbing with the email is charming and at times hilarious.

The new walk in intro to the show started off a bit choppy but our host seems to be easing into it in typical G fashion, making it his own and making it work.  The addition of live performances and Tomorrows Headline Today as a closer is rather enjoyable; some of them being wittier than others.

The new blue lights in studio give the set a new warmer sultry glow, but I’m not convinced they suit the tag line, “Welcome to your talk show Canada!”  Not that that line is being used much these days now that The Hour is being syndicated to other countries.

Much congrats on that BTW!  The fact that a made in Canada, for Canadians show is now being enjoyed by people globally warms my red and white maple syrup filled heart 🙂  They get to know what a treasure we have in both George and the team at The Hour and we get to keep them, for a little while longer.



Cordelia Shipley

Cordelia Shipley is the newest contributor to The Red Chair Lounge.  Cordie likes sitting on a rocky ledge on a windy day, literature and music from most genres, has a word fetish and a thing for red wine and dark chocolate.  She also has an insatiable thirst for learning and will not graduate from the University of Life until they drag her wrinkled, tattooed, bohemian ass out of this world, kicking and screaming the whole way.  She has a passion for the colour red, art, music, travel, politics, the environment and The Hour and thus she has landed here!

music to drive by …

In order to put my music where my mouth is, or should I say, to follow up my words with more words, hee hee hee, I have one more thing to share tonight.  I want to comment on a question that Mr. Robert Frances Mackowycz J.R. posed to us all on the November 22, 2009 Strombo Show.  What music do you like to drive to?

Now, I learned to drive when I was 13 years old, even if I didn’t get any sort of license until I was 18.  Yes, I realize I am admitting to a technical crime here but I’m sure there is a statute of limitations on that sort of thing.  I have also driven in all sorts of terrain, in different vehicles, weather and moods and I have to tell ya Bob, the answer to that question is a never ending play list. 

Think of the variables in your mood, the weather, the type of vehicle; not to mention whether or not you have passengers, rush hour traffic or an open road and so on.  Do you, dear readers like to listen to the same song day in and day out whilst showering, driving, making love, jogging, etc?

Driving through the Rockies the echo of a truly beautiful piece of classical music can magnify that I am small and insignificant feeling; just as easily as it can allow you to feel part of the grandeur of all that you are passing through.  How? Simply by the fact that the music passes from the stereo, through you and then reverberates off the mountains back into you.  It’s truly a moving thing on more than one level.  The physicality of the vibrations coupled with the emotional and visual panorama just *sigh*.

On the prairies and through desert, however, I NEED something loud with anger or edge to it blended in with more soothing sounds.  Something to literally and figuratively drive away the frustration levels that mount for me in those areas where you have been for hours and feel as if you’ve not moved an inch in the landscape, coupled with comforting sounds that soothe and allow me to relax to enjoy the subtle changes in the scenery.  That’s when I break out The Hip   and Space Hogs and mix them up with Rob Zombie.  I suspect you get the drift.

Now since you, Mr. Mackowycz, have informed us that there is a Bob III (or Roberta) on the way, I would say stock up on BNL and Moxy Fruvous.  Young children love to sing along to those songs.  I’ve personally spent hours in a car keeping the children amused with the live versions of King of Spain.  The line, “the king a former cone head’, is especially amusing to young boys.  I’ve also had success with The Clash The Ramones and the like.  Then again I’ve also had to endure some Hannah Montana and other less digestable music nuggets.  Be prepared to have your ears assaulted by all sorts of horrid things mislabelled as music and learn to accept that it’s better than the alternative.  A screaming, crying child, grape juice flying through the air and onto your car’s interior, and a headache bigger than the Grand Canyon.  OH!  I would not recommend you attempt to actually play your trumpet whilst driving, but perhaps a CD or two from back in the day 😉

Finally, Bob, The Blues.  There is no wrong time, place, or mood.  They just fit; in rush hour, bad weather, starting a great day or ending a horrific one!  ALWAYS have some on hand and belt ’em out as you fight rush hour traffic. 

And you our red chair friends … what music do you listen to whilst in transit?  What do you belt out, windows up or down, fellow drivers be damned?  We don’t just listen to our music whilst we drive …  we sing it, breathe it, be it 😉

Cordie xox

Dear Atticus and fellow Redchair enthusiasts …

Dear Atticus and readers:

We have been naughty posters haven’t we? Let’s get back into the habit of voicing our opinion on our fave red chair interests, extending that to the basement studio now too I see.  I would like to second my hurrah at the return of our beloved Bob to the air waves, and not just to the newest incarnation of The Strombo Show, but to his own morning show as well.  (hope the link works folks!!!)

There is nothing better than Bob’s soothing voice in the nasty early morning hours especially on a cold, windy, winter’s morn. Now we can all fall asleep to George and Bob on a Sunday evening and keep that musical manwich going during the week; crawling into bed with The Hour and waking up with CBC’s Radio 2 morning drive; not a bad deal in my book.

The one thing I must admit I am missing is the banter between Alex Liu and George. Although I am not sure those antics would translate to this seemingly more mature version of The Strombo Show I do still miss Alex. He made me laugh and raised George’s blood pressure (and octave level of his voice on occasion) just enough to keep things fun.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing how this new show evolves, and I am hoping that The Strombo Show has found a more permanent home.

The 24th Annual Gemini Awards

Congratulations to The Hour and OMAoG!!!

The nominations for the 24th Annual Gemini Awards came out today and once again our friends over at The Hour were recognized for their hard work and dedication.  In total the show, and it’s host, received four nominations including one for it’s interactive project last season with One Million Acts of Green.  Much congratulations to all those nominated, as well as those that put in the effort every day to make The Hour what it is, from all of us here at The Red Chair Lounge.

Of course the show itself was nominated in the ‘Best Talk Series’ category.  Jennifer Dettman, David Freeman and George Stroumboulopoulos are up against ‘The After Show’ on MTV as well as fellow CBCers, ‘The Steven and Chris Show’.  Note to Ms. Dettman: congratulations on your double nomination in this category and here’s hoping there are new episodes of The Steven and Chris Show at some point in the near future.

Mr. Stroumboulopoulos has also been nominated as ‘Best Host or Interviewer in a General/Human Interest or Talk Program or Series’ along with George Kourounis from Angry Planet(Island Caving), Austin Stevens of Austin Stevens Adventures (In the Shadow of Armoured Giants), Les Stroud of Survivorman Third Season and Matt Wells for Where You At Baby? (Huey Lewis). Although I have complained of George’s lack of edge this last season in his interviews I must admit I hope he makes a clean sweep and takes home this trinket as well.

The third nom for The Hour comes as no surprise at all, it is in the ‘Best Writing in an Information Program or Series’ category.  Although I do admit I am surprised which episode it was for, as I thought George went a little easy on Ms. Palin during their New Years Eve interview, however congratulations go out, from us, to David Freeman, Paul Bates, Diana Frances, Ken Hegan, Nick McCabe-Lokos, Carman Melville, Scott Montgomery, Adam Nicholls, Randy Potash as well as the man himself.

I must confess though if they were to win only one award, I desperately hope they take home the ‘Best Cross Platform Project’ Gemini. One Million Acts of Green, the interactive project that was on CBC, and the internet, campaigning for such a simple and important part of all of our lives simply must win at the Geminis this year!  Not because it means that Jennifer Dettman, Julie List, Alex Liu, Paul McGrath and George Stroumboulopoulos get to take home another dust collector but because the campaign’s importance hasn’t diminished, indeed the need for us to make a change grows each day.

Once again congratulations and the best of luck to all of our friends at The Hour!


More thoughts on HESEG

Since watching the interview with Heather Reisman and reading the article/comments here at The Red Chair, my curiosity regarding HESEG has been peaked. I had never heard of the organisation before reading about it here. This had me wondering a few things. Why my favourite host/program would not touch upon what seemed to be a hot political issue? Why not take the opportunity to have this conversation? It was my fear that The Hour was getting soft and avoiding controversial issues in favour of appeasing A-list guests to garner higher ratings. The old adage every one sells out eventually popped into my head and I could feel my heart breaking. The idea that one of my altars of worship might be avoiding the topic propelled me to do a little reading, to satisfy my own curiosity.

The first thing I noticed was that it is difficult to find main stream press on this subject. If you, dear readers, are aware of a reporter out there that has written an unbiased report on this organisation please comment so I can read more on HESEG. I mention unbiased because other than wiki I was unable to find one strictly fact based article regarding HESEG. The articles against outnumbered the articles in favour of, by far. The more I read, the more I came to realise that this foundation was not being looked at as a scholarship opportunity, but being tied in with political, social and religious issues that should be kept separate and apart from education. Then again I am an idealist and great at compartmentalising things.

The Anti-HESEG articles all focused on the biased view point that HESEG is supporting Israeli Apartheid. This is only one political view of a very complicated war, and is not what the scholarship program was established to do. The people receiving the scholarships are former soldiers, receiving an education to move on in a career and a life separate from the military. A former soldier is just that; no longer in the military, hence the term former. So, these arguments that HESEG supports the military are invalid in my book. The argument that only Jews can apply for the scholarship is valid, but doesn’t perturb me. HESEG appears to be a charitable organisation run by Jews for Jews. I hardly find this shocking. There are many scholarships around the world that come from business owners, social clubs, etc., that support a certain ethnicity, gender, age, area of study or club membership as a requirement for application.

There were a few other articles by religious leaders with the opposite bias in supporting both HESEG and the state of Israel; as well as an article in the Jerusalem Post.  In my opinion they supported HESEG for the same reasons that others opposed it; social, political and religious beliefs. This again leaves us with a biased report on a foundation that seemed to have had a simple idea that then became mired in the trappings of other issues.

I came to the conclusion that thus far in my education on the foundation, I have more questions than answers. I’ve also come to think that this may not be a public political issue. Perhaps this is a personal choice based on Ms. Reisman’s experience and views on society, politics and faith. Which leads me to the question of whether the funding for HESEG comes from the Indigo coffers or the CEO’s salary? I was not able to establish this searching the various sites that came up through Google. There is a difference in my opinion.

The salary that Heather Reisman earns as a CEO should be viewed as any other person’s. The charities that I choose to support are personal and private. I choose to support those charities based on my life experience and my social, political and faith based views. Most people do base their charitable contributions on similar criteria. If Reisman has set up this charity with her own salary, then she has every right to do so as long as no laws are broken. She is entitled to that choice whether or not other individuals agree. Just as the charities you volunteer for, donate money to, organise etc., are your private affair.

If the money is coming directly from that company, like the Chapter’s-Indigo love of reading foundation, then the board of directors and shareholders have a right to investigate. They can then discuss and vote on whether or not that charity fits with the image of their company. If they choose to then support that charity, then it is up to us as consumers to decide whether or not we want to support that business. Just as we decide whether or not to shop green, or made in Canada, or Fair Trade. We base our consumer choices on all sorts of ideologies every day. In the end it’s up to Ms. Reisman to decide if she wants to educate the public on her personal, or possibly public-business, charities; just as it is up to us to decide if we wish to support that business with our hard earned dollars.

I remember hearing George and other staff at The Hour claim that they respect people’s right to differing views and opinions. It is my hope that that is why they decided, at this time, to not delve into a topic that would require an in-depth conversation all of its own and not just a few seconds during that particular interview. I am suggesting that they offer Ms. Reisman an opportunity to sit with George and answer some questions regarding her charitable organisations, including HESEG. I’m sure the ratings could take it and the viewers would learn something as the set-up could include information from ‘both sides’. If Ms. Reisman does not have time for an on-air interview in her busy schedule perhaps issuing a statement linked to The Hour’s forum page would allow viewer’s to discuss the subject in a moderated environment where facts and mutual respect for opposing opinions are part of the rules.

All-in-all, I think I’d like to keep learning more about Ms. Reisman’s charity. As I said in my comment on LaBeauvoir’s article, I am a Chapter’s fan, so if my money is part of her companies charitable works, and if HESEG is one of those charities, I’d like to know. Taking all of the information into account I would then be able to make a decision on whether or not to keep including her company on my approved list. Big thanks to LaBeauvoir, once again, for bringing this to my attention in the first place.





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