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Pique'n'yer interest

Show of force



Back in "the day" governments really knew how to put on a show of force. Tanks and missile launchers plodding across Red Square while soldiers marched behind in lockstep, a president striding around the deck of an aircraft carrier in a flight suit beneath a "Mission Accomplished" banner, his bulge prominently displayed beneath his parachute straps. Sadly, only China and North Korea have kept this proud tradition alive.

Canada has never been one for the show of force (although we have sent the odd jet squadron over a Grey Cup), which is probably because our strength has never been in arms. However, our lack of military might has never stopped us from rocking the free world to its foundations. From a cultural perspective we are a bona fide nuclear power - so why not use the Olympics to flaunt it?

When the Olympics come to Vancouver and Whistler the medal ceremonies will be followed by musical guests. While I like the lineup for the most part (and there are a few spots still being confirmed) something is definitely missing. I'm wondering where the show of power is, the musical acts and entertainers to bring the world to its knees?

I know money is an issue for organizers, but this is a chance to show the world what we're all about, while bringing Canadians closer together in a show of national pride. No expense should have been spared. It's like throwing the world's most lavish birthday party then skimping on a cake.

Where, for example, is Rush? I know that not everyone is a fan, but their 30 th anniversary concert tour in support of Snakes and Arrows was one of the best selling concert tours of 2007-08 and they remain one of the biggest stadium bands of all time.

And where is the Tragically Hip? We always lament the fact that this stellar band and incredible live act has never found success outside of Canada and then we deny them an opportunity to reach the widest audience ever.

If we really want to show off, where is the Leonard Cohen show? Where is Celine Dion, for that matter (not one of my own personal favourites, but still one of the best-selling artists of all time)? Where is Sarah McLachlin? Shania Twain? Alanis Morissette?

They got Burton Cummings to play Vancouver but where are Randy Bachman and the rest of the Guess Who? How about Neil Young, who spent his formative years in Winnipeg and Toronto? And why not Bryan Adams, who actually wrote the song that accompanied our bid video for Pete's sake! Billboard magazine picked Nickelback as the band of the decade (again, not my personal favourite) but you wouldn't know it by the Olympic lineup.

Looking forward, where are the Stills, Broken Social Scene, Black Mountain, Sloan, Dragonette, The New Pornographers, Sam Roberts Band, Arcade Fire, Alexis On Fire, Tokyo Police Club, Metric or any of the dozens of new music bands that put Canada on the musical map once again?

And where, for the Love of Mike, is Stompin' Tom Connors?

That's just for starters because music should only be one component of our show of force. Why not use the Games to showcase our comedians as well as our musicians? The Kids In The Hall could do sketch comedy on one night, Bob and Doug McKenzie another, the Trailer Park Boys the next. Why not reunite the cast of SCTV for one night only? I'm sure the National Lampoon's Band Camp factory would probably let Eugene Levy out for a couple of weeks in between sequels.

We should have stand-up comedy from Norm McDonald, Russell Peters and Harland Williams. Mike Myers could show up dressed as Austin Powers and play a set with his band Ming Tea. Michael Cera could stand around looking awkward for half an hour and still draw rave reviews for it. Seth Rogen could spark up a joint of B.C. Bud in an easy chair and tell the crowds his Jewish summer camp stories.

And where the hell is Cirque du Soleil? While Cirque is hardly new anymore, there is really no company on the planet that does spectacle better. Despite criticisms of their performance at the closing ceremonies of the Torino Games I thought they did an awesome job and should probably be on stage every night during the Games.

Kenny Vs. Spenny should have a different challenge every night. There should be late night screenings of the extremely funny Jon Dore show in public squares. Tom Green should be encased in a plastic bubble and forced to do his web show 24 hours a day.

Why, I ask, did we hire INXS to play Vancouver or Usher to play Whistler? Why cede one inch of stage to performers from outside Canada when we're more than capable of filling that space with homegrown talent?

The organizers and our governments keep telling us that the Olympics are our "time to shine," in which case I don't see why we would share the spotlight with anyone - it's our spotlight to hog.



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