'Being Canadian' trends in Hollywood
Ryan Gosling, Malin Akerman and Justin Bieber. (REUTERS)
Freaky rocker Marilyn Manson famously (and probably jokingly) said he wouldn't date singer Avril Lavigne because she's Canadian.
In reality, the contrarian singer was picking up on a spreading Hollywood trend:
Being Canadian is suddenly the coolest thing to be.
So cool that Manson made an ultra-hip move by joking about it.
Earlier this month, one of the surprisingly hottest tickets in Los Angeles was to a small event hosted by Canadians Abroad to welcome actor Alan Thicke as the new chairman of its local chapter.
Back to the July 5 event -- where Thicke introduced emerging young Canadian musicians Shawn Hook, Jane Carrey and others as fans shook down the doors of the small Santa Monica venue to gain entrance -- in a moment.
First let's look at Canadians Abroad. It started as a tiny organization 15 years ago and consisted largely of ex-pats that would get together once in a while for some patriotic ice curling or to celebrate Canada Day with a Molson beer.
In the past couple of years, what with Justin Bieber, Drake, Seth Rogen and especially Ryan Gosling making people drool for all things with a maple leaf logo, the little organization is getting noticed.
"The group has become well-connected and we're picking up speed," said co-chairman John Tishbi, a corporate attorney and University of Toronto alum.
The organization is also backed by the Canadian Consulate in Los Angeles, whose main mission is to promote Canadian business and culture.
Getting Thicke, the Kirkland Lake, Ont.-born star of Growing Pains, as its first celebrity chairman is a big coup.
"It's huge for us. What similar American organization can boast having such a big celebrity as its chairman?" Tishbi said.
At 65, the comedian is a member of the Hollywood elite -- and let's not forget he's also the father of one of the biggest R&B artists in the world, Robin Thicke.
With the help of Alan Thicke, the group is planning an outdoor Canada Day event for next year at the Santa Monica pier, which would attract thousands of people and create enormous awareness for Canadian talent and commerce.
In September, the organization is hosting a Terry Fox run through the city of L.A.
At the July 5 event, Thicke said Robin sent his apologies for not attending because he had a taping of the television show, Duets, the same night.
"We're hoping for Robin to be at the next one," Thicke told the crowd, shaking his head dramatically and hinting that his son has become more famous than he has.
"When I was growing up in Kirkland Lake, there was no R&B, there was only R or B," he joked.
L.A. music promoter Christopher Eric of Koffeehouse Music Productions helped set up the musical talent for the night, which also included Jessarae, the 17-year-old son of hockey great Luc Robitaille.
"It was a hub of emerging artists and people were clamouring to get in the door."
Eric said the crowd was especially blown away by EMI Canada Recording artist Shawn Hook, who came down from B.C. to perform songs from his first album Both Sides and other new works.
"Everyone is asking, 'Who is this kid (Hook)?', " he said.
Eric said he's already working on the next Canadians Abroad music event for Canada Day 2013 at the Santa Monica Pier.
"About 10,000 people could come to that, so luckily there's no shortage of Canadian talent."