The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF): 1,200 members of the international paparazzi come for it. It’s the second largest in the world. Know what that means? One giant mother of a celeb shit show!
There is a lot of bad dressed up as good. So here are some pointers on the who, what and where to help you survive the virtual tsunami of vacuity and make it out alive with at least a shred of dignity — and hopefully a good story to tell.
I live in Yorkville, which means I am familiar with the odd paparazzi camera. During TIFF I know Americans largely drive the cuisine (cue shitty burger). Anything gorgeous about the neighborhood has been driven so far underground, you really have to be attached to stay smitten with anything in this hood.
If you must hang in Yorkville, be prepared for two types of cancer:
1. The suburbanite who trolls the streets looking for celebrities, showing off their fancy cars or just generally being a mixture of Euro-trash loiterer and fat-American tourist. They are easy to spot because they wear big designer or knock-off sunglasses, deep V-necks and Sevens. The women are all in white pants and fresh manicures. Don’t be fooled, they are both poor in pocket and in spirit;
2. The teenage gawker. Also largely suburban but they pretty much stick to the entrance of either the Four Seasons or the Hyatt waiting for Mr Pitt to show his frosty tips.
If you want an authentic festival experience there’s a few tried and true haunts. As with all things worthwhile, it’ll cost ya. Sotto Sotto (116 Avenue Rd) is a favourite among celebs for fine Italian eating. Sharon Stone is there every year. She doesn’t make movies anymore, she just flies in to eat.
The rooftop of the Hyatt (4 Avenue Rd) is both gorgeous and filled with film people. Actual industry folks are here. Expect to see the likes of Cameron Bailey (codirector of TIFF) and the Coen brothers hanging around. Plus the view is worth it and the nibblies, like olives and apple rings, are great.
For real high-end stars (the classy ones) who just want to be left alone, it’s Opus (37 Prince Arthur Ave). It received a Wine Spectator award and is far less flashy than any other in the neighborhood. They also have one of the most extensive wine lists in the country and boast only top tier celebs. Guy Ritchie will probably eat there ’cause Madonna does when she’s in town and I think she still makes all his decisions for him.
Parties are trickier. Obviously the actual parties for movies with people you want to see are good bets. But fuck that. I call bullshit on almost all of them. The best parties are the fringe ones. Ink does parties (at Ultra, 314 Queen St W and This Is London, 364 Richmond St W) with celebrity DJs and celebrity attendees during TIFF that are 10-times more authentic than anything Brad and Angie ever do. (Brad or George do the most boring party at TIFF every year. You basically have to cut your mother to get in, and then everyone complains how terribly boring it is.) If you really wanna party, go where the partiers go. The west end (Drake, 1142 Queen St W, Social, 1100 Queen St W and Wrongbar, 1279 Queen St W) is like an all-night booze cruise. Everyone goes there for the late night booze service when they’re done their Yorkville biz. Also Bruce LaBruce is doing a shindig at Randomland at Circa (126 John St) on Fri, Sep 12 that will probably be the only event you’ll wanna get laid at (especially since, for the first time in eons, there is no Gay Flambé party this year).
Peeps worth screwing in town?
Joel and Ethan Coen with their new film Burn After Reading. They did No Country for Old Men, Raising Arizona and The Big Lebowski. Like shit, bitch, get in my fucking mouth already. The never-aging Julianne Moore, the hot, even with jacked teeth Gael Garcia Bernal and Canadian acerbic queen Sandra Oh are here with Fernand Meirelles’ Blindness.
More? There’s Anne Hathaway. C’mon, how hot did she get once you found out she was dating an Italian mobster for the past four years? Quirky, yet still cute Zooey Deschanel. The suddenly sexy now that he’s taking on Madge in divorce Guy Ritchie. Queen of the lesbos Queen Latifah. Too-bad-he-married-duck-face Antonio Bandaras. I would fuck him in an elevator too, Benicio Del Toro. And fine, if you must still think this slimy troll in sandals and a toque is hot Colin Ferrel.
Jen Aniston is also coming to town, lord knows why, but then again, no one can figure out why she’s famous either. Also in the same boat, but strangely sexy, P Diddy and Sam Ronson; one is throwing a party, one is DJing for obscene amounts of undeserved cash (we are all hoping she brings her “gal pal” LoHo). Oh, and Matt Damon. Yes, Mr much-sexier-in-my-fantasies will be here for his OneXOne annual event where he tells the worst jokes to a non-laughing crowd. It’s so sad, it’s kind of good.
Stick to these helpful hints and you will eat like a king, drink like a fish and maybe get to bang Del Toro.