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From the Raptors to Doug Ford: Canadiana references abound at Rolling Stones

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ORO MEDONTE, Ont. — For a bunch of British chaps, the Rolling Stones sure know a lot about Canada, and Mick Jagger didn’t hesitate to flaunt his wisdom at their Canada Day weekend concert in Ontario.

The frontman for the iconic rock band doled out handfuls of Canadiana on Saturday, pausing to reference everything from the Toronto Raptors’ historic NBA championship win to the “buck a beer” policy of Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

Standing before a crowd of roughly 70,000 concertgoers, it didn’t take long before Jagger wished a simple “Happy Canada Day” to the receptive crowd, who didn’t seem to mind it was technically two days early.

The concert at Burl’s Creek Event Grounds in Oro-Medonte, Ont., about 30 kilometres north of Barrie, was the only Canadian date on their North American tour. And for many people in attendance, it seemed a miracle that Jagger was even on stage, given his recent heart surgery.

None of that was referenced in the 75-year-old singer’s tireless performance, which included swapping out one glittery jacket for another before eventually donning a hat and T-shirt emblazoned with the band’s famous tongue logo.

Armed with his flamboyant swagger, Jagger zig-zagged across the massive stage — and strutted down the catwalk — for two hours, playing 20 of the band’s greatest hits.

Popular classics “Paint It Black,” “Gimme Shelter,” and “Honky Tonk Woman,” were balanced with a selection of fan favourites, including “Before They Make Me Run,” a song Keith Richards wrote in response to his 1977 arrest for heroin possession in Toronto.

And beneath four towering digital screens, Jagger played right into the audience’s hand at nearly every turn.

“What about those Raptors?” he shouted, as the “We the North” logo flashed overhead. He poked a bit of fun at Toronto Mayor John Tory’s famous black-and-gold Raptors jacket, which he’s enthusiastically worn around town for weeks.

“He’s still wearing his dirty blazer,” the singer said to Tory, who was in the audience.

Jagger later introduced the band’s drummer Charlie Watts as the Toronto Maple Leafs’ mascot, seemingly for no particular reason.

He also took a jab at Ford’s “buck a beer” election platform, telling the crowd at one point that “for the next 15 minutes it’s a buck-a-beer — courtesy of Doug Ford.”

The comment elicited some boos in parts of the crowd, and no apparent discounts at the beer tents.

But the Stones’ fans didn’t seem to mind, so busy caught in a moment that would be a little piece of history, and perhaps even a farewell.

Earlier this year, Jagger underwent emergency heart surgery, putting the single Canadian date on hold, and raising questions about whether the British rockers would ever tour again. When the singer got the all clear, the date was back on.

“The heath scare was kind of an indication this might actually be the last one,” said Marc Fielding, who joined about 30 of his friends on a road trip from Toronto.

“They’re such an iconic band, so you don’t want to risk them maybe not coming back.”

For others in attendance, seeing the Stones live came with an extra significance.

Jackie Morin’s father, a longtime fan, died shortly after the Stones most recently played Toronto. So this night was an especially poignant moment.

“This is a big deal,” she said. “Never will you ever see a concert like this — it’s history.”

Dino Bruno landed tickets when his sister-in-law surprised him. He last saw the Stones in the mid-1970s at Maple Leaf Gardens where he said the local news captured him playing Frisbee with police in the street.

“The Stones were the bad boys of rock,” he said. “I wanted to be here because I want to die happy.”

Jayne Sidey first caught the Stones at a Canadian National Institute for the Blind benefit concert over 40 years ago in Oshawa, Ont. It was part of a court-ordered performance for Richards ‘after he was arrested for heroin possession.

She said she was forever changed by Jagger and his buddies and has gone to at least 20 Stones concerts since.

“I saw them three times in the U.K. last year, and we’re booked for two shows on this tour,” she said. “The 2013 show in Toronto was so good we all jumped in a car to Montreal and saw them there.”

Several homegrown acts performed before the Stones took the stage, including Saskatoon-formed One Bad Son, the Glorious Sons from Kingston, Ont., Toronto four-piece the Beaches, and longtime favourites Sloan.

Toronto cover band Dwayne Gretzky played a late-night show of other rock and pop classics, ranging from Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

The day-long festival marked the third concert on the Rolling Stones tour, which kicked off with two dates in Chicago a week ago.

After the Stones finished their set, they offered a hint of the resilience that’s kept them going for more than half a century.

“See you soon,” the digital screens read, alongside the band’s trademark tongue logo.

 

—Follow @dfriend on Twitter.

David Friend, The Canadian Press



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National Entertainment

Canadian actor Simu Liu to star in Marvel’s ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’

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Canadian actor SImu Liu cast as Marvel's first asian lead

SAN DIEGO — Canadian actor Simu Liu has been tapped to play the titular character in Marvel’s upcoming film “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.”

Liu is best known for starring as Jung in CBC’s “Kim’s Convenience.”

Marvel President Kevin Feige delivered the news to thousands of fans at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday.

The film, which will see Liu’s kung fu master face off against The Mandarin, is set to come out on Feb. 12, 2021 and will also star Awkwafina and Tony Leung.

It will be the second major film of Marvel Studios’ Phase Four.

Destin Daniel Cretton will direct.

The Canadian Press

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National Entertainment

Prosecutors drop groping case against Kevin Spacey

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BOSTON — Prosecutors dropped a case Wednesday accusing Kevin Spacey of groping a young man at a resort island bar in 2016 after the accuser refused to testify about a missing cellphone the defence says contains information supporting the actor’s claims of innocence.

Spacey was charged with indecent assault and battery last year in the only criminal case that has been brought against the actor since his career collapsed amid a slew of sexual misconduct allegations. The two-time Oscar winner was among the earliest and biggest names to be ensnared in the #MeToo movement against sexual assault and harassment that swept across the entertainment and other industries.

Spacey denies groping the man, whose mother first went public with the allegations in 2017.

A phone message seeking comment was left with Spacey’s lawyer.

The actor’s accuser was ordered to take the stand earlier this month after he said he lost the cellphone he used the night of the alleged groping. The defence said it needed the phone to recover deleted text messages it says would help Spacey’s case.

The man denied deleting messages or manipulating screenshots of conversations he provided to investigators. But when he was pressed by the defence about whether he knew that altering evidence is a crime, he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination , and the judge said his testimony would be stricken from the record.

The judge then questioned how prosecutors would be able to bring Spacey to trial if the accuser continued to refuse to testify, and prosecutors told the judge they needed time to decide how to proceed.

On Wednesday, Cape and Island District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said in court documents that they were dropping the charge “due to an unavailability of the complaining witness.”

Prosecutors said in an emailed statement that they met with the man and his lawyer Sunday and told him that if he wouldn’t testify in further proceedings, they couldn’t move forward with the case. The man “elected not to waive his right under the Fifth Amendment,” prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said they could further pursue the case and grant the accuser immunity but then they would need more than his uncorroborated testimony.

Furthermore, “a grant of immunity compromises the witness to a degree which, in a case where the credibility of the witness is paramount, makes the further prosecution untenable,” they said.

Mitchell Garabedian, a lawyer for the accuser, said in email that the man and his family “have shown an enormous amount of courage under difficult circumstances.” Garabedian said he had no further comment.

The hearing at which the accuser testified came days after the man abruptly dropped a lawsuit he had just recently filed against the actor that sought damages for “severe and permanent mental distress and emotional injuries.” The suit was dismissed “with prejudice,” meaning it cannot be refiled.

The man did not receive a settlement to drop the civil case, his mother said. His lawyer said he dropped it because he was emotionally overwhelmed and wanted only “one roller coaster ride at a time” and so chose to focus on the criminal case.

The man’s mother, former Boston TV anchor Heather Unruh, alleged in 2017 that Spacey got her son drunk and sexually assaulted him at the Club Car, a bar on Nantucket where the teen worked as a busboy.

The man told police he went over to talk to Spacey after his shift because he wanted to get a picture with the former “House of Cards” star. He said Spacey bought him several drinks and tried to persuade him to come home with him before unzipping the man’s pants and groping him for about three minutes.

Unruh’s son told police he tried to move Spacey’s hands, but the groping continued, and he didn’t know what to do because he didn’t want to get in trouble for drinking because he was underage. The man said he fled when Spacey went to the bathroom.

Shortly after Spacey was charged, he posted a video on YouTube in the voice of his “House of Cards” character who was killed off after the sexual misconduct allegations emerged, saying “I’m certainly not going to pay the price for the thing I didn’t do.”

Spacey has faced several other accusations.

His first accuser, actor Anthony Rapp, said Spacey climbed on top of him on a bed when Rapp was 14 and Spacey 26. Spacey said he did not remember such an encounter but apologized if the allegations were true.

The Associated Press does not typically name people who say they are the victims of sexual assault unless they identify themselves publicly. Rapp has; Unruh’s son has not.

____

Follow Alanna Durkin Richer at http://www.twitter.com/aedurkinricher

Alanna Durkin Richer, The Associated Press


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