Thursday 9 July 2015

Nic and Sabrina survive week one in The Amazing Race Canada

Dating Couple Max and Elias were the first team eliminated in the Season 3 premiere of CTV’s  The Amazing Race Canada, seen by more than two million viewers.

It did not look good at the beginning for the only Montreal  team, couple  Nic La Monaca, 22, of Anjou and Sabrina Mercuri, 32, of Lachine. The 12 teams gathered at the foot of the historic Château Frontenac Hotel in Québec City. After heading to Quay 22 in Québec’s harbour for their first clue, teams had to search through hundreds of bikes to find the one that their combination unlocked, and take a ferry across the St. Lawrence River to the town of Lévis, before departing for Toronto.  Nic and Sabrina were virtually last in this competition. But they caught up with the rest of the gang as the teams headed towards Toronto on two separate flights.

Teams encountered a word scramble challenge inside the St. Lawrence Market, tested their broadcasting chops with TSN’s James Duthie on the set of Sports Centre , and then made their way to Ontario Place where they competed in a three-part water obstacle course.  Sabrina was a little hesitant on that one.

Brothers Gino and Jesse Montani arrived first at the Air Canada Centre, winning the first leg of Season three.  Nic and Sabrina ended up second. 

Host Jon Montgomery greeted them at the Pit Stop with their leg prize – two round-trip tickets from Air Canada to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and 2.5 million Petro-Points each from Petro-Canada, redeemable for six months of free gas.  Next Wednesday, July 15, teams break out their passports and race to exotic Santiago, Chile, where tensions run high and communication with the locals proves to be a challenge.

"It's as amazing as it looks!" Nic and Sabrina tweeted @Nic_SabrinaTARC. "And 1000x more stressful than 1 can imagine!"

Wednesday 8 July 2015

All-day breakfast and more at Kitchen 73's four locations and counting

I finally made my way out to eat at Kitchen73 (, which is quietly growing into a chain.
A submarine sandwich and salad.
There are locations on Boulevard de L’Avenir in Laval, as of this week St.Martin Boulevard in Laval, Brunswick Boulevard in Dollard des Ormeaux and the Vieux Port in Old Montreal. They also have a very successful food truck operation.

Carmine Anoia and Alex Amato.
I met my good friend Wayne Bews at the Brunswick Avenue location, where we were greeted by owner Carmine Anoia and manager Alex Amato. 

The first thing I need to comment on is the menu. Wow!!! I advise you to take a look at it online first for there are so many choices. Openly daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., this place is known for its breakfast options: eggs served with up to five choices; selections like the Cardiac Arrest (breakfast poutine with potatoes, bacon, mozzarella cheese topped with creamy hollandaise sauce and a choice of egg) or the Avalanche  (three eggs, bacon, sauce, ham. Crepes, French toast, baked beans and six ounce sirloin steak). There is a separate “Healthy Menu” containing items such as  a  St. Viateur bagel with cream cheese and fresh fruits or a three egg white omelette with rapinis, asparagus, spinach, onions and mozzarella. There are a wide array of  salads,pasta dishes, pizza, burgers, submarine sandwichs  and signature dishes served with homemade soup daily such as  teriyaki chicken, angus short ribs and  grilled Atlantic salmon. A kids menu is available. There is even a poutine with braised beef that comes highly recommended. For dessert check out the cherry cheesecake.
The Avalanche.

Anoia notes that more expansion is planned, with NDG possibly next on the horizon.Every morning, bread, sausages and sauces are freshly made on site,” he notes. “We believe that freshness is largely responsible for our success. We welcome our guests with open arms and treat it as always.”  

Tuesday 7 July 2015

Star of ABC's Nashville and Broadway Shows Kyle Dean Massey Montreal-bound

Kyle Dean Massey was making his way through a McDonald’s at Times Square getting a drink for his mom when I reached him by phone Tuesday afternoon.  I wanted to ask him about his plans to be in Montreal this Saturday, July 11 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) to give an exclusive masterclass for local performers. During the workshop, participants will learn all the tricks of auditioning for musical theatre productions, on-camera technique and how to book the job. Enrollment is extremely limited and open to participants who will each have one-on-one time with Massey, as well as auditors who can observe and learn from the audience.  
Kyle Dean Massey

Kyle, 33, has plenty to share. Known for his work on Broadway in top running shows such as Pippin, Next to Normal, Wicked, Xanadu & Altar Boyz, he has called New York City home for 13 years. He also has a recurring role in the smash ABC hit Nashville where he plays songwriter Kevin Bicks who not only pens tunes for character Will Lexington (Chris Carmack) but becomes romantically involved with the very much in the closet country heartthrob.

“I am heading back to Nashville in about 10 day to start filming for the next season,” said Massey. “I was a fan of the show from the beginning. The way that they found these beautiful songs that they've integrated so well into the show is really appealing. I love how music can enhance emotion and a storyline. It's like those slideshows that they do at award shows for the people that have passed away. They add the music to it and suddenly you're crying and you don't know any of these people.  Music obviously has a very strong effect on our emotions. You get a good lyric in there, and it can tell the story better than any written dialogue can."

Massey says he was contacted by Noelle Hannibal from In the Wings Promotions to come to Montreal. “I love the city first of all,” he said, “and I am always happy to come do some private coaching. Becoming a perfect actor takes years of practice. In a masterclass I am providing some tricks of the trade.”

Massey was raised in Jonesboro, Arkansas, a town 60 miles northwest of Memphis.  He started taking dance classes at age six after seeing his older sister perform in a local production of The Nutcracker. Although he spent almost all of his adolescent years singing in school choirs and studying the piano, it was not until his sophomore year of high school that he did his first musical. He has now performed in over 60 productions. In addition to his stage work, he has been seen on the screen in Up All Night (NBC), Hart of Dixie (CW), Cupid (ABC), Sex and the City 2 (HBO Films) and the upcoming film The Contest. He has also performed on Good Morning America, The CBS Early Show, Regis & Kelly and the 62nd Annual Tony Awards.  

Having the lead role of Pippin on Broadway and in a number of touring productions was a grueling experience. Pippin tells the story of a young prince on a death-defying journey to find meaning in his existence. It's a show full of circus acts creates  by Gypsy Snider of the Montreal-based circus company Les 7 doigts de la main (also known as 7 Fingers).

The participation fee for the masterclass is $185 (taxes included) while it is $75 (taxes included) to observe. It all takes place at Studio CETM (2205 rue Parthenais) near Old Montreal  

You can email Make sure to  in the subject line "Kyle Dean Massey Masterclass – Participant"  and specify if you wish to focus on a musical theatre or on-camera Technique. A picture and resume is also necessary. For those  interested in observing, reservations can bemade on a first come, first serve basis via the same email address.  In this case include in the subject line "Kyle Dean Massey Masterclass – Observer." Full payment will need to be made upon confirmation of reservation.  Those selected for Musical Theatre Technique will need to prepare two contrasting 32 bar cuts and bring their book. Full payment will need to be made by upon confirmation of participation. Those selected for On-Camera Technique do not need to prepare anything. Massey will select and provide sides for you. An accompanist will be provided. Space is limited.

In The Wings Promotions provides public relations for theatre companies and events in and around Montreal. They also actively contribute to the Montreal theatre community by producing special theatrical events along with a masterclass series. It was founded by Hannibal in 2011. Recent masterclasses included Seth Rudetsky and Natalie Weiss. In The Wings will present The Who’s Tommy November 19 to 21 at the Rialto Theatre.