That’s been the status, for the better part of this last year, when it comes to the global events calendar and the pop culture/society landscape. With a new year in our grasp — when we are hoping for the best, but also playing wait-and-see — there are at least a few firm things on the agenda (I think).
A new Bond, come April, for one. Daniel Craig’s last! A movie that was bumped (twice!) last year.
The Tokyo Olympics, too, come next summer, even if in tightened form — the first time ever the games will be held in an odd-numbered year, since they were famously postponed in 2020. (That Olympic flame has remained alight in a secure location in Japan this whole time.)
Earlier still, just this month, we get not only the first black “Bachelor,” via that insatiable ABC reality conveyor-belt, but — hey! — also the first “Second Gentleman” of the United States in the form of Doug Emhoff (Kamala Harris’s husband is also, incidentally, the first ever Jewish spouse of a president or vice-president).
The world keeps churning.
As something of a professional busybody — and one who always has a sniffer up — I peeked into the crystal ball to give you five more happenings that I have on my radar for 2021:
“Will they seem genuine? Or are they putting on an act? For the moment, if it all just becomes about putting on an act, what is to separate it from it just being showbiz? If it is just showbiz that, eventually, is the death of the monarchy.” Royal historian Robert Lacey musing to me the other month when we chatted on the phone about his dishy new book, “Battle of the Brothers: William and Harry — The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult.” Telling me to circle July 1 on my calendar, he was setting the stage for the next chapter in the evidently strained relationship these days between William and Harry, post-Megxit. That date next summer? When William and Harry are expected to very publicly reunite, as per an announcement made by Kensington Palace some months back, when the long, long-awaited statue of their mother is to finally be unveiled inside the so-called Sunken Garden at the palace. The date also coincides with what would have been the 60th birthday of the Princess of Wales. “Presumably, Charles will be there. Presumably, Camilla will not,” Lacey quipped, adding that all eyes — most certainly — will be on the brothers.
Walk like an Egyptian
One of the truly OG celebrities — King Tutankhamun — is to enjoy his time in the spotlight when the Grand Egyptian Museum, also known as the Giza Museum, at long last opens in Egypt. Nearly two decades in the works, and described as the largest archaeological museum in the world — “you could park a 747 inside,” says architect Roisin Heneghan — it will house artifacts of ancient Egypt, including the complete King Tut collection; many of its pieces put on view for the very first time. Boasting panoramic views of the pyramids of Giza — the museum is located about two kilometres away — the collection is actually 5,000 items deep, and its grand staircase in the atrium is said to house 87 statues of pharaohs and Egyptian gods. The building, which was planned to be complete in 2020, moved its opening to 2021 for obvious reasons. Fingers crossed. Tomb on. When international travel returns, expect this to be one very hot pit stop.
Gucci, Grudges, Gaga
One of my favourite books in the haute true crime genre — and also in the tempestuous sub-genre of Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned — is getting the much-anticipated movie treatment, c/o Ridley Scott. Centred around Patrizia Reggiani — who was tried and convicted of orchestrating the assassination of her ex-husband, Gucci heir Maurizio Gucci, in 1995 — and titled “Gucci” (what else?), Lady Gaga has been cast in the titular role (her first since her breakout in “A Star is Born”). Based on Sara Gay Forden’s lurid “House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed,” it is a kind of real-life “Godfather” saga, set in the Milanese fashion world. And the rest of the cast in this film? Nothing to sneeze at, either. Think: Jeremy Irons, Al Pacino, Adam Driver and Jared Leto. Dressed to kill … right? With production slated to start soon, and Ridley being a guy who famously works fast, I can totally also see this being a splashy premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September (when/if the film fest world returns to form). The director has come to Toronto before, after all — most recently for “The Martian” in 2015.
Georgia on my mind
As someone who always enjoys a food-centred memoir and who once had a memorable meal at The Grey in Savannah, Georgia, I cannot wait to dig into “Black, White, and The Grey,” out soon. Telling the story of the acclaimed restaurant — probably one of the best-designed in America, all Art Deco and retro-sleek, plopped down in a space that once was a segregated bus station — the book has Mashama Bailey and John O. Morisano, a Black chef and white restaurateur, taking turns telling its story. “Food brings people together, but can it help heal today’s racial divide?” poses the oh-so-topical description of the book, with fellow chef David Chang chiming in to exclaim in a blurb, “Black, White, and The Grey blew me away.”
Onwards and upwards! That is where billionaire adventurer Richard Branson plans to head — hopefully in the first quarter of 2021, his company has said. Pending some remaining test flights, the 70-year-old British mogul plans to rocket into space with his space tourism company, as it rushes to vie with other ventures like Blue Origin to usher in a new era of exploration. Upping the ante, big time, for a dude who first achieved notoriety when he put on a wedding dress to launch a Virgin Brides venture many eons ago! Get this, too: more than 600 paying pilgrims have already signed on to take the ride when it comes — including both Justin Bieber and Leonardo DiCaprio!
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What are you looking forward to in 2021?