By: G.H. Harding
David Bowie

DAVID BOWIE IN TORONTO --- The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) offers North America its first chance to take an exciting odyssey through the world of pioneering artist David Bowie—musician, performer and style icon—in the acclaimed exhibition David Bowie is, direct from the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum in London, England. 

Spanning five decades and featuring more than 300 objects from Bowie’s personal archive, the multi-media show exposes the groundbreaking artist’s collaborations in the fields of fashion, sound, theatre, art and film. David Bowie is opened last Wednesday on Sept. 25, and runs to Nov. 27. The AGO is the exhibition’s first stop on its world tour.

Acclaimed by the New York Times as “united in sound and vision in a way rarely seen in a museum,” David Bowie is marks the first international exhibition devoted to the British-born musician and performer (born David Robert Jones in 1947), who has sold more than 140 million albums to date throughout his genre-defying career. Organized thematically, the show immerses visitors in a spectacular and interactive trip through Bowie’s numerous personae and legendary performances, with particular attention paid to his artistic influences. His experiments with Surrealism, German Expressionism, Music Hall, mime and Japanese Kabuki performance are all explored in an explosion of color, light and sound.

As he proved with his first album release in years, this year’s brilliant The Next Day; anything with Bowie is possible. There’s even been a rumor (and, bidding war) for a possible tour. As a Bowie-fan since I can remember, the reports on the show from London were nothing short of amazing. I'm, going up there this weekend and bring on-site details back next week. http://www.ago.net/david-bowie-is-coming-to-the-ago-this-fall

HOMELAND SEASON 3 --- Talk about a pitch perfect season opener, Showtime’s Homeland season 3 certainly delivered it. The brilliantly written, acted and rewarded show strode back on last night without missing a beat (the episode was titled Tin Man Is Down) … and, star Damien Lewis wasn't even on the show! 

It was a seamless narrative following up the tragic events of the season two finale, with Mandy Patinkin, thoroughly commanding the screen. For you Patinkin fans, it was a no-brainer having dandy Mandy at the helm. For those perhaps not thoroughly oriented with him, I'm sure it was a rush-inducing moment, as Patinkin is one of those actors that doesn't overeat the scenery, but when he’s firing on all cylinders … you can't take your eyes off him. 

Claire Danes was her usual high-octane self, but Mandy stole the show and, Rupert Friend as Peter Quinn, began the show by assembling a bomb and ended it will the accidental assassination of a young boy. This will be a pivotal year for the show and I have no doubt it will be consistently brilliant all year. Face it, this is a superior series. Bravo!

THE BLACKLIST --- The first new show I watched upon my return was NBC’s much heralded The Blacklist with James Spader. It was, without a doubt, totally brilliant and totally engaging. I've been an avid TV viewer for quite some time now and always echoing in my ear is the question: How often can you re-invent the wheel? Usually, it’s the same thing over and over. But, this show (engineered by Jon Bokenkamp and director Joe Carnahan) was fresh, invigorating and Spader, spot-on mesmerizing. 

Sure, he’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but here, chewing the scenery in a good way was terrific. Former government agent Raymond "Red" Reddington (James Spader) has eluded capture for decades. But he suddenly surrenders to the FBI with an offer to help catch a terrorist under the. Also brilliant in the show is Megan Boone and Diego Klattenhoff. Chalk this one up a winner on all fronts.

CLOSING NOTES --- I've not always been a Bloomberg fan here in NYC; but, I must say I've always appreciated how he’s assiduously supported the arts. That said: How can the NYC Opera be facing bankruptcy? That’s sad … Will be great to catch up with Brooklyn-born, now Toronto-based producer, Mark S. Berry this weekend in Toronto. Mark’s worked with the likes of Bowie, Duran Duran, Billy Idol, Boy George, Yes, Joan Jett, Cameo and Kool & The Gang, and currently runs his Attack Media Group in Canada. One of Mark’s first major assignments: Carly Simon's No Secrets album, which included the worldwide smash, “You're So Vain,” which would become his first engineering credit. He hung out with Mick Jagger for the background vocals on that track and then went over to Olympic Studios for the mixing of their live ‘72 tour tapes. Heady times for sure. For those in the know, Berry occupies an interesting nook in dance-music history as he produced the track “All Night Passion,” by Alisha in 1975, as well as being one of the hottest indie-remixes back in the day … Speaking of remixes, Mark Picchiotti has been tapped to remix the Joel Diamond-produced “Dreams Come True,” as performed by Rebecca Holden and Abraham McDonald. Picchiotti has been active in the dance music scene for over 20 years, establishing his reputation as a house, electronic and pop music DJ at Chicago clubs such as Shelter and Crobar. He’s remixed songs by such performers such as Madonna ("Bedtime Story"), t.A.T.u. ("All The Things She Said"), Paula Abdul ("My Love Is for Real"), LaTour ("People Are Still Having Sex"), Lisa Stansfield ("Never, Never Gonna Give You Up"), S Club 7 ("Two in a Million") and more recently, Rihanna ("Rockstar 101") and Princess X ("Gimme All (Ring My Bell)"), among many others … I guess if you can't have both ... you can have a suitable compromise. NBC's new set for their Today Show is part GMA and part CBS This Morning. It sure looks odd, and poor Carson Daly, sequestered in their social media Orange Room -with very low ceilings it appears- looks a bit overwhelmed. On today's show, they trumpeted a spoiler from the new Bridget Jones book, wherein Colin Firth's character (Mark Darcy) dies! Welcome to the new reality. I've always been a Today Show guy and probably will stay one; but, it's all a bit numbing ... Nielsen Soundscan and Hits Daily Double have released their charts reflecting sales for the first few days of the week and it is possible that the top ten could hold debuts from four veteran artists.

New albums by Drake and Kings of Leon are almost definitely going to lead the pack but both lists show Cher and Elton John in positions 3 and 4 with Cher selling an estimated 65,000 to 70,000 copies and Elton moving 45,000 to 50,000. If those positions hold, it will be the highest charting album of Cher's career, surpassing 1998's Believe and 2003's The Very Best of Cher, both of which peaked at 4.