Don Cheadle nonchalantly walks into Roots yesterday as if it was familiar territory. In fact, this is his first time in the store. But the upstairs yoga area has been transformed into a lounge where eTalk Daily and Virgin Mobile are staging interviews within a stone's throw of Yorkville's most deluxe hotels. The usual bass-thumping music has been shut off and the silence - pin-drop perfect - suggests the interview is about to take place. By veteran journalist Peter Bart, no less. What will appear as two minutes on screen takes more than 15 in real time.
It's 8:10 and in a parallel universe otherwise known as Forest Hill, Viggo Mortensen, David Cronenberg, Monica Belucci and Piers Handling are just some of the guests trickling into Robert Lantos's house for a private dinner before Eastern Promises, which premieres tonight. Borscht prepared by top Toronto chef Arpi Magyar is among the other Russian treats served buffet style, as I've been told via BlackBerry. It's one of many meals over the next few days at which Hollywood will break bread with Hollywood North.
When Jake Gyllenhaal and Sienna Miller dined at Sotto Sotto (separately) on Thursday, neither was approached by patrons. Mr. Gyllenhaal, I was told, enjoyed a relaxed meal (arriving at 10 and leaving after midnight); possibly the only two hours of public respite he'll have while visiting the city.
It was well past midnight on Thursday at the Gardiner Museum when I arrived at the Hellenic feast hosted by Mr. Lantos to celebrate the world premiere of his 10th TIFF film, Fugitive Pieces, and the launch of Maximum Films, his new distribution company.
I did a quick scan of the top-floor, top-notch space, and some influential familiar faces quickly registered: Moses Znaimer, Noah Richler and Norman Jewison, in addition to cast members Stephen Dillane, Rosamund Pike and Nina Dobrev. Not to mention Monika Schurmann, who plays Mr. Dillane's mother.
Motivated by the heady smell of sardines, I ventured over to the food tables, where generous platters of Greek meze and perfectly grilled seafood were a welcome and remarkably healthy divergence from deep-fried finger food. Best of the fest so far.
"I like food, so I wouldn't feed anyone anything that I wouldn't eat myself," Mr. Lantos told me when not being congratulated by well-wishers and industry folk.
After our brief exchange, I shared a lickety-split hello with Tonya Lee Williams, a comely actress most often recognized for her role as Dr. Olivia on The Young and the Restless. TIFF marks a career high for her as she stars in director Clément Virgo's Poor Boy's Game with Danny Glover and Rossif Sutherland (son of Donald and half-brother of Kiefer).
I also watched an artistic interpretation of folk dance performed by four limber young maidens. What a difference from my previous party pit stop, where the dancers were topless, breast enhanced and grinding against poles.
Wicked, the Queen Street West swingers club (or, in my interpretation, fraternity flophouse), seemed an ideal venue for Young People Fucking's unapologetically unglamorous affair. Local actor Michael Facciolo (the "shy guy" in Mr. Virgo's 2006 flick Lie With Me) decided to join a few boobilicious bunnies in the 2nd floor Jacuzzi. Cute and scruffy, he stripped down to his briefs and became first-name friendly with "Sarah" and "Lisa." Then, he picked up a towel off the floor, dried off, and went for a beer.
I couldn't help but raise the issue of hygiene. "You know," I said, "there's a good chance you could have picked something up."
"Quite possibly," he answered, his friend, filmmaker Matt Austin, imploring me to gloss over these details.
Here's another to ponder: sushi atop a saran-wrapped, prostrate female belly. "It's spicy tuna," said model Jenny, in an American Apparel gold lamé bikini. How tasteful.
But even good clean fun needs to be a little "Cointreauversial" as I discovered at FQ magazine's fifth anniversary party sponsored, in part, by the aperitif and hosted by the perennially generous publisher Michael King.
With Atelier - a small but sparkly private club - as the backdrop, the gorgeous group of fashionistas and bon vivants exuded a far sexier vibe: bodies touched, eyes glowed and champagne overflowed.
Flare editor-in-chief Lisa Tant arrived with Canadian designer du jour Joeffer Caoc, while Tony Cohen of the Le Germain Hotel looked ultraluxe in a cantaloupe-coloured Brunello Cuccinelli blazer. Towering above us all was Rebecca Hardy, recently bestowed with the title of Canada's Next Top Model (No. 2).
Her agent, Ann Sutherland, broke the news that the 22-year-old former meat factory worker was signed just yesterday by the top agency in Milan, Why Not. An Evangelista in the making.
And finally, even bigger names - Reese! Matt! George! - have arrived. Stay tuned for Monday wrap-up of all-hours coverage. Indeed, no rest for the wicked.
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