Rideau 2011 – The Gala!

Not quite sure what’s going on lately, but  for the last few days, instead of actually going to theatre?  I’m just going to theatre parties.  It’s freaking me out a little bit, but I like it (kind of a lot).  Only now I have two of the damned things to write about,and in true dadaist fashion, I’m starting with the second one.  I figure, it’s too late to get anyone to GO or anything, so I might as well start with the one that’s freshest in my memory.  Don’t worry, the John Koensgen party post will be coming soon enough, and we’ll see just how much information I manage to cling to in my crumbling palace of memory.  I’ll probably just link to an Irish Rovers song or something.

Which leaves us with Party #2, aka the PRIX RIDEAU AWARDS gala.  After finally making up my mind to actually go to the damned thing, I found I was in need of a couple things.  Tickets, for one thing, and maybe a ride.  Fortune, smiling in a rather suspicious manner on me, gave me both of these AND a date in the form of the adorkable ™ Nadine Thornhill.  A fine turn of events, although this upped the ante a bit…Nadine is rather famed as a bit of a fashion plate in this town, and I had to step up to her standards.  So I hit up Ragtime for some vintage duds, and managed to cobble together an outfit.  Did I measure up?  Would Nadine and me be the best-dressed hipsters at the soiree?  You tell me:

The correct answer, FYI, is 'Yes'.

Now, before any of you get the wrong idea, no it was not a DATE-date.  Nadine is still happily married to her Man of Mans, and I ain’t THAT lucky.  But I felt plenty fortunate heading off to the gala event with her this past Sunday, and a swanky affair it was.  We arrived at Maison de la Citoyen in Gatineau in time for a pre-show drink and mingle.  It was your prototypical ‘everyone who’s anyone’ scenario going on, and it’s messing with my worldview a little that I’m starting to feel even a LITTLE bit comfortable among some of these cats (and I don’t just mean Cat Leger, who looked faboo and said nice things to me).   Like, I can just walk on up to John Freaking Koensgen and say ‘Hey, how’s it going’, and that’s, like, okay?  Crazy.

But anyhoo, we were off to the awards presentation soon enough (and don’t worry, I’ll get to the name-dropping and fashion appreciation afterwards), entering into the sweet theatre at the Citoyen.  Nadine and I scored front row seats like the badasses we are, not missing a moment of the 90-minute show.  I  won’t give you a laundry list of the winners…you can check that out yourself here (Facebook link for now…I’ll change it as soon as Prix Rideau updates their website).  I WILL say that, goddammit, I saw 42 Fringe shows last year, and the one I DIDN’T see wins everything?    Hey, Zopyra Theatre, any chance of a SIX: AT HOME remount now that you’re famous?  Promise I’ll catch it this time!

Hosts Annie Lefebvre and Alan Neal were charming as all get out, wings and all, and I loved the bumper pieces from the always entertaining Ottawa Stilt Union.  And of course, celebrity guest presenters were plentiful in this, the only bilingual Theatre awards ceremony in Canada (yay for us!).   Fringe superboss Natalie Joy Quesnel did a bang-up job directing the proceedings, and deserves many hugs.

With awards handed out and applause liberally spread around, it was time for the REAL star of the night…the party.  Everyone hustled upstairs, darting past the various woodland nymphs and satyrs who were just, you know, THERE because it’s theatre and we can’t do anything normal.  There were many tasty nibbles spread about, drinks flowing, and marathon mingling getting underway.  I stuck by my gal, and soon enough we were joined by Ottawa spoken word and fashion Queen Jessica Ruano.  She looked quite divine, as did most (Hell, all) of the lovely theatrical ladies abounding.  And while us gents (including Smooth Tim Oberholzer, Simon Bradshaw, Brad Long, and a neatly-shaven Al Connors, among many others) were lookin’ sharp, ya know at an event like this it’s ALL about the ladies.  As such, without further ado, I’m rocking out my RIDEAU 2011 CRUSH LIST:
#1: Nadine Thornhill.  Hell yeah she’s number one!  She’s the lady I came in with, isn’t she?  And the visitor don’t play around like that.  Also, Nadine can dance like nobody’s bizness.  In HEELS.

#2: Nancy Kenny.  Rideau Awards 2011 fun fact – did you know Chris deBurgh was there?   It’s true!  And when the event was over he climbed into his Delorean, travelled back in time to 1986, and wrote this song about Nancy Kenny:


#3: Natalie Joy Quesnel.  Aside from being cute enough to be tweeting people at the party from her cellphone while AT THE PARTY HERSELF, Natalie rocked her purple Awards outfit like a runway model.  HAWT.  I said it.

#4: Kyla Gray/Jodi Morden (tie)  Maybe it’s because they’re my Under Milk Wood girls (Miller!  Where were you??), maybe it’s because they called me dapper (Heather Marie did too!), or maybe I just enjoyed trying to impress them with my faux dance stylings, but Kyla and Jodi (henceforth to be known as ‘Kydi’) were a very welcome addition indeed to the crowd that night.

#5: Alix Sideris.  Goddess.  I’ve mentioned that, right?  And watching her and beau Andy Massingham dance is like getting a free lesson in how to live your life.   Goddam wonderful.

…and it just occurred to me that I could probably keep this list going all night until I’d exhausted every single woman in the room.   Tania Levy, Cari Leslie, Brownyn Steinberg, Cat Leger, Kate Smith, Emily Pearlman, Kelly Rigole, Jess Ruano, Teri Loretto, Shawna…Actually?   I’m sure she has a real last name…but whatever.  The Visitor thanks you all, ladies, and believe me I had a blast dancing with you.

That was about it for me at this gala…Nadine and I danced ourselves silly and rode off into the sunset, leaving a few hardcore revellers still partying.  It was a grand, fun night, and I’m already looking forward to next year (not to mention the Andrew Alexander snap of me, Nadine, Natalie and Jessica).  Nadine, if the MoMs still doesn’t care for Awards ceremonies by next year…date dibs?

Peace, love and soul, revellers,

the Visitor (and Winston)


  1. The crush is ENTIRELY mutual. I’m off to buy myself a 2012 calendar so I can save the date! 🙂

  2. hey, I’m gald you’re schmoozing with the exquisite and talented and going out for fabulous evenings but … I used to be your favourite married Gal Pal. What’s up? Do you know how many times I have read your blog to my family so they can better appreciate my talents? In fact those talents went totally undetected by them until you pointed them out. Certainly not reading this entry to them. See you tomorrow.

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