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Bound in chains for a TV escape

Internationally renowned escape artist Dean Gunnarson jetted from Winnipeg to New York City on Thursday to do an escape on Anderson Live. The "live" show on Ripley's Believe It or Not oddities pre-tapes today. This show with Anderson Cooper really looks after its guests. They picked up the 49-year-old Canadian daredevil at the airport and chauffeured him to the Wellington Hotel and to the studio this morning for his makeup call at 10 a.m. "I'm on with Norm, the bicycle-riding dog," he laughs. "And I heard they were looking for a fill-in for the lady with the longest toenails, who had a family emergency.

"I'm going to do an escape locked up in a police straitjacket. They'll bind me up with chains and padlocks to see if I can get out, and how fast. If I finally manage to escape, Ripley's has a special honour for me." Gunnarson has appeared in a half-dozen Ripley books now, including the time he was buried in a cement tomb. Of the new Ripley's book about to come out, he says: "I am chained spread-eagled to a station wagon. They run me through a car wash with all the brushes and hot wax and I have to escape while all these brushes are nibbling at my skin." Gunnarson dangled above the Winnipeg Free Press Building parking lot in a straitjacket escape bid on Oct 31, 1982, when he was only 18 years old. "I'd been doing tricks for eight years already. My mom got me my first book when I was 10." The Ripley's show on Anderson Live airs in a few weeks.

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PSST: At a private party in a south-end restaurant, a soiree called Stay Out of the Doghouse was quietly held Wednesday night. Husbands and boyfriends gathered to buy secret gifts for their wives and sweethearts from different vendors. As the grand finale to the evening of food, bubbly and gift-buying, burlesque dancer Miss Angela La Muse was lowered from the ceiling on a giant boardroom table attached to a hydraulic system. "I tested it out with a little rehearsal," says La Muse. "It was some razzle-dazzle at the end of the night -- some ooh la la!" She came down hidden inside a clamshell formed by giant ostrich-feather fans. "As I'm slowly coming, they see the fans pulsing and then I reveal myself." Said an onlooker: "She looked like an angel descending from the sky."

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TOM MILROY IS BACK: Consummate gentleman and morning radio host Tom Milroy, who got nudged out of his gig as morning co-host at 99.9 Bob last year, is popping up again as weekend morning host on CJOB, 6 a.m. to 9 a .m. It's a solo gig -- talk radio with guests and interviews, plus news, weather and sports. A few weeks ago, he went for coffee with CJOB's brand director, Scott Pettigrew. "I told him if he had anything part time coming up, I'd be interested. Two weeks later he called me!" Milroy says he'll be on the air flying solo perhaps as early as next weekend.

Exactly one year ago, yours truly met with Milroy when he'd just left the station and he looked me in the eye and said quietly, "I have no plan." Uh-oh. In place of a plan, he and wife Maureen did some travelling before he had a heart attack in August. The 60-year-old is fully recovered now with stents -- no need for a bypass. There's no more smoking, no junk food, and he's regularly working out at Reh-Fit -- and the man has never looked healthier.

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VALENTINE'S COMEDY NIGHT: Not everybody's happy at the thought of Valentine's Day, never mind getting through the annual night of romance -- especially if they don't have a sweetheart. The antidote? Across the hall from romantic couples noshing and noodling at Brooklyn's fancy Italian eatery, Jared Rayter has organized a multiple-comic show at Boa nightclub. That's Thursday, Feb. 14 at 10 p.m. Popular Streetz 104.7 FM radio host Paul Rabliauskas is headlining. The lineup of top Winnipeg comics includes Jordan Wellwood, Ryan Ash, Mike Green, Ben Walker, Matt Nightingale and Dan Huen (my crazy kid). Rayter will join them to joke about love, the world outside and the world inside their unusual heads. Boa nightclub has tickets for sale now: $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Doors open at 9 p.m., and the show is being filmed by Shaw TV. The Jets' Evander Kane has already purchased tickets from Rayter.


Got tips, events, sightings? Call Maureen's tip line at 204-474-1116, email, or send letters to Maureen Scurfield c/o The Insider, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6

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