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Feb 21 , 2017


Matt Whitman impersonates an MLA as the stars come out

by Cliff Boutilier
Matt Whitman impersonates an MLA as the stars come out

Celebrity is the state of being known. In some cases more well-known than others. In some cases well-known for a measure of accomplishment. In other cases a person well-known for, er, um, being well-known.
It is the cult, a contagion,  which infests society. We are inundated by celebrity. Aided by the pestilence of electronic media. Abetted by the scourge of social media.
Dare I let the cat out of the bag re: the proliferation of celebrity prime ministers and celebrity presidents.
Like fertilizer celebrity-itis comes in varying grades.
Nova Scotia, in general, does not suffer from high grade celebrityitis. Nonetheless our commonplace celebrity quotient, the usual media hacks and self-professed “singer-songwriter” types clean up splendidly and are always at the ready to once more strut in the spotlight for a good cause. And good on them.
Which brings us nicely to Halifax’s long-running Blind Date with a Star begathon which has been running annually for donkey’s years in support of a kid’s nonprofit called Chisholm Services for Children, whereby tables of local bizfolk — from West Jet, Scotiabank, Grant Thornton, Grand & Toy — bid on an evening dinner date with the Halifamous star of their choice. Maybe not their first choice. Who knows.
In any event, the local parody, obviously a hit, comes complete with our own red carpet and CTV Atlantic’s own Cyril Lunney as etalk’s own Ben Mulroney. The live television hits from Halifax’s World Trade & Convention Centre never burned brighter. Or maybe they weren’t that live? No matter. It’s all in good fun.
There’s a splash of sophistication and just a hint of glamour to the affair. By relative standards, it’s a popularly priced and moderately exhilarating event, although there was no red velvet rope line this year. But, hey, it’s our event and if you can do any better in the Hub City, or Hogtown, then you just go right ahead. Fill your boots. We don’t care.
However, if there is one downside to the big event, and I can’t recall this ever occurring before, it is that a “star” may take his Halifamous celebrity just a little too seriously.
Step to the head of the class Matt Whitman.
A replacement star (not sure if that makes Whittman a scab star or not) for Mayor Mike Savage, the Hammonds Plains councillor swaggered about the joint like Henry VIII through Hampton Court.
Grinning like a hyena at the throat of an antelope, he prowled the WTCC rummaging about for any errant outstretched hand, pecking at checks, pawing at shoulders. Stalking his prey.
To enhance his “star appeal,” the fill-in celebrity wore an enhanced name tag. That name tag identified Matt Whitman as “MLA/Councillor.” A peculiar designation to be sure.
Of course, we know His Awesomeness feels it’s time to move on to Province House after having spent 20 minutes in the City Hall Trougher Incubator. The routine breeding ground for political troughers. There ought to be a law.
But what’s that you say? The provincial election hasn’t happened yet? Heavens! Hasn’t even been called yet, you say?
And what’s that you say? The meeting for the contested PC nomination in Hammonds-Plains Lucasville doesn’t even happen until February 24? My word.
Why, then, what incredible Matt Whitman, MLA, hocus-pocus! Indeed.
Somebody should probably let Liberal Ben Jessome know. Poor bastard probably still thinks he’s the MLA.
Actually, forget about name tags for the moment, Matt Whitman should come with his warning label, something along the lines of: “Only take this man in small doses. Increased exposure to Matt Whitman may cause sudden severe vomiting, nauseousness and a prolonged pain in the arse.”
So that’s enough Matt Whitman. Other than to note there ought to be a damn law against impersonating an MLA just like there is for a law against impersonating a police officer.
On the other side of the coin we have folk like Halifax Herald cartoonist Bruce MacKinnon, Q-104 radio gal Anna Zee, CHNS radio gal Denyse Sibley, and Halifax flower guy Neville MacKay, none of whom up until this writing have ever been arrested for impersonating anybody.
Each are battled-scarred red carpet walkers, putting on the ritz year after year. Yet, despite their “vast notoriety” (TM), they never seem to get carried away with themselves. Flower guy Neville can get a bit silly from time to time, but hey, that’s just Neville being Neville.
They were joined by CTV hackettes Alyse Hand, Priya Sam and Cindy Day; radio gods and godesses; J.C. Douglas, Melody Robinette, Gwen Watt and the indefatigable Peter Harrison, who doubled as the evening’s emcee.
No fewer than a dozen local troubadours brought their open “G” chords and “June-spoon” rhyme-making to the big event: Christine Campbell, Dwight d’Eon, Ian Sherwood, Kim Dunn, Shannon Quinn, John Gracie, Lana Grant and Makayla Lynn.
These guys and dolls were complemented by more musical talent: singer songwriters Thom Swift, Terry Kelly, Heather Rankin, Old Man (Chris) Luedecke, John Campbelljohn, and Charlie A’Court.
Rounding out the magnificence was a mismatch of cooks, political crooks and Olympians: Olympic gymnast Ellie Black; Olympic kayaker Karen Furneaux; Olympic canoeist Andrew Russell; black face  artist Joachim Stroink (filling in for Preem Steve); cook Richard Julien; retired CBC-er cum spicemonger Costas Halavreos; and v. well known talent scout/promoter Brookes Diamond. There was also local playwright thingy Jeremy Webb, former Much Music VJ Mike Campbell and entertainment reporter Stephen Cooke.


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