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LIFESTYLES

Texas students don wigs in tribute to late painter Bob Ross

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ABILENE, Texas — There were lots of happy little trees at one Texas middle school this week.

Art students at Madison Middle School in Abilene donned their curliest wigs and painted little trees onto canvases to pay homage to the late painter Bob Ross. Teacher Brady Sloane tells the Abilene Reporter News that the idea came about because she wanted to reward Advanced Placement students who had been stressed out over recent projects and grades.

The result was a flash mob Thursday of about four dozen students who wore wigs, blue button-down shirts and held palettes of paint. An episode of Ross’ television show, “The Joy of Painting,” was projected onto a large screen.

Ross gained a following for his soothing tone and soft-spoken voice. He died in 1995.



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LIFESTYLES

81-year-old tap dancing legend hosts master class in Calgary

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CTVNews.ca Staff, with a report from CTV Alberta Bureau Chief Janet Dirks


Published Saturday, February 16, 2019 10:00PM EST

Brenda Bufalino may not be a household name, but in the world of tap dancing she is an icon.

Recognized for her mastery of rhythmic dance, the 81-year-old has performed and taught internationally for over 25 years. This weekend, she will share her love of tapping with young dancers at Calgary’s Rhythm Body and Soul Festival.

“It’s my job to teach them what they are doing,” Bufalino said of her master class being offered at the event. “Not what I’m doing, but what they’re doing.”

Tap dancing has been part of Bufalino’s life since she started dancing in a small New England town at the age of five. By the time she was 17, she had moved to New York City where her career as a soloist and choreographer took off. She later founded the American Tap Dance Orchestra.

She also taught routines to Tony Award winners Tommy Tune and Gregory Hines, who called Bufalino one of the greatest female dancers that ever lived.

“They’re such wonderful dancers. It was such a treat,” Bufalino said of her work with Tune and Hines.

Though tap dancing may not seem like a mainstream form of dance, Bufalino said the art of tap isn’t going anywhere, describing it as an experience for the body and mind.

“It’s a total experience,” she said.

Calgary’s Rhythm and Soul Festival runs from February 15 through 17.



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Gucci to step up diversity hiring after ‘blackface’ uproar

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NEW YORK — Italian fashion designer Gucci is announcing a major push to step up its diversity hiring following an uproar over an $890 sweater that resembled blackface.

The company also says it will hire a global director for diversity and inclusion, a newly created role. Gucci also is promising to launch a scholarship program to cultivate diverse design talent.

The announcement Friday came after Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri met in New York City’s Harlem neighbourhood with Dapper Dan, a well-known African-American designer, and other community members to hear their perspectives.

Bizzarri says Gucci has spent the past days conducting a “thorough review of the circumstances that led to this.”



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Edmonton man surprises girlfriend with billboard proposal

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Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press


Published Thursday, February 14, 2019 5:32PM EST

EDMONTON — Laurie Moring had an inkling something was up by the time she and her boyfriend were on their way to a Valentine’s Day lunch.

Her suspicions grew stronger when Mike Dagenais unexpectedly turned off a busy Edmonton thoroughfare to where news cameras were waiting.

Just ahead was a digital billboard emblazoned with Moring’s face and the message: “Laurie M. I adore you. You’re my best friend. And my true soulmate. Will you MARRY me? – Mike D.”

The billboard, which also included a link to Dagenais’s photography business, had been there a few days. Moring hadn’t seen it, and she hadn’t come across any mention of it on the news or social media.

But colleagues were dropping cryptic remarks.

“My co-workers have been very curious about how I’ve been lately and how my drive to work was,” Moring, 43, said Thursday.

“I knew something was going on, but I didn’t really know what. This was a huge shock. It was a good shock, a good surprise.”

And the answer?

“I said yes, of course.”

Dagenais and Moring got together more than three years ago after he inherited a rare antique chest and went to get it insured. Moring was at the counter.

“No word of a lie — the moment I walked in and I saw her, it was like she had this white aura, this white glow of goodness about her and I just couldn’t help but notice her,” said Dagenais, who is 55.

About a month later, he was still thinking about her and made a wish while sitting on his back porch. Within days he got a handwritten card from Moring through her work, so he used that as an excuse to get in touch again.

For their first date, they went for a walk in a park.

“It was freezing cold and we can’t remember what the conversations were about,” said Dagenais. “But we both remember the turnaround point when we shared a nice kiss and I steamed up her glasses — twice.”

Dagenais said he originally wanted to propose last summer, but his dad’s health was declining and he passed away soon after. Dagenais was hoping to propose to Moring under the billboard earlier this week, but she had a migraine.

He chose a billboard proposal because it combined his two loves: Laurie and photography, which he’s pursuing more these days because his regular work in the oilpatch has slowed down.

A painted billboard was beyond his budget at $3,000, so he went for the digital one at about $450.

“I was pretty sure she would say yes, but you never know until you put it out there. And I really put it out there this time — oh, my Lord.”

The couple is hoping to get married this summer on Vancouver Island, where they have family. Moring said she’d like something small on a beach or in a park.



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