It’s that time of year when the city of Toronto becomes a hotbed of rubbernecking activity. Yes, the Toronto International Film Festival, or TIFF (I’m sorry…. I should have included this in the BAN ACRONYMS blog, but isn’t that another word for a pissy little argument?) is happening, and there’s a lot of movie celebs in town for it. In no order of preference, and just to name a few, but Tom Hanks, Keifer Sutherland, Elton John, Susan Sarandon, Kate Hudson, Will Smith (didn’t he have a tiff with someone at the last festival he went to?), Will Smith’s entire family, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Linda Evangelista (scroll to the bottom paragraph for my Linda Evangelista story), and of course Pierce Brosnan (or Remington Steele as I like to call him, or a way less cool James Bond than he could have been if he did it 10 years earlier). Oh yeah, if you’re a celebrity watcher, then this would be heaven for you.
Now let me put my hater hat on for just a second (who am I kidding, it was already on). I’m going to let the Festival itself off the hook. I’m glad Toronto is hosting it. They do a lot of charitable stuff. It’s good for the city. I’m also going to let the celebs off the hook. They’re here on business. They’re probably spending good money (or getting comped) at our hotels and restaurants. This is part of their job that they may or may not like, but it’s in their contracts to be part of the promo machine for their movies. I’m also going to let regular people off the hook who may be film buffs, or maybe just want to go out and experience something fun in the city. Go see a new movie. It’s great! Enjoy the festival and behave yourself………….
Then there’s the people who go all the way down there hoping they may get a glimpse of a movie star. In a (their) perfect world, maybe even a picture with them or an autograph. Here’s my question though….. Then what??? So you line the street for 6 hours waiting for someone to walk around the corner with their entourage, and maybe you sneak in and (perfect storm scenario) get a picture and an autograph. Then what???? You post it on Facebook I would imagine, and change your profile pic so people would know that for 15 seconds, you occupied the same air space as someone who did something with their lives. Why don’t you do something with your lives??? Do you think these people got to where they are by lining up and looking for autographs, and stalking people?? No, they worked hard at doing something fabulous, and now they’re recognized for it. Do you think that just because some dude smiled and put his arm around you in a picture, that he likes you?? It’s his job…..and you’re asking him to do it when he’s not punched in!!! Do you think Santa Claus likes you because he lets you sit on his lap at the shopping mall???? He let’s you sit there because for 2 hours he’s getting paid to pretend he likes you. Is that the photo that you want to cherish for the rest of your life? As a sidenote, I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t indulge kids that want to sit on Santa’s lap, but you’re an adult.
I’m petrified of being a celebrity. I won’t do it. I refuse to sit at a restaurant, and have strangers come up to me asking for pictures. I don’t like talking to strangers. That’s why I try not to get good at anything. If this writing thing takes off, I will either use an alias, or give it up and start something else. I’m afraid of you weirdos out there that want to live your lives trying to stand next to something or someone awesome. It’s ridiculous! Be awesome yourself!! Be the one that people want to stand next to!! Nobody will ever remember you for standing next to someone in a photo.
OK that’s enough….. Now for my Linda Evangelista story……..
This was around 97-98, and I used to head down to Thorold, Ontario because I had some people down there who were attending University. I’d stay the weekend and we would go out to a bar or club on Saturday night to get drunk and party it up. There was a place there called the Front 54 (which was a complete dive as I recall), and really not much else. Thorold isn’t that big of a place. (For those not from the area, it’s not too far from Niagara Falls). One evening we went to the Front 54 (or the Dirty Front as some used to call it), because there was clearly nothing else of consequence going on. I remember it used to have a sunken dance floor that was kind of figure 8 shaped. One night when we were there, I remember being on the dance floor, and a bunch of people kind of getting moved around by some bouncers. It was pushing last call, and I just assumed that people were getting into a bar fight….. because at 1 am at the Dirty Front……. that was generally a correct assumption. So having my groove interrupted, I worked my way off the dance floor and out-of-the-way, only to see a guy and a girl dancing, surrounded by about 8 massive body guards. There was a spot light shining on them, and the DJ over the loud speakers starts announcing ‘LINDA EVANGELISTA IS IN THE BUILDING……LINDA EVANGELISTA IS IN THE BUILDING!!!!!!’ Taking up HALF the dance floor, I don’t mind adding. I wasn’t thrilled. Who was she anyways??? A supermodel?? So?? They try on clothes for a living!!! Who cares?? Everybody thought it was a big deal though. Supermodels were pretty well-known in the 90s. Must have been the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues. She was one of the better ones. I didn’t know this at the time, but she actually grew up in Thorold. She must have been visiting the parents or something, and felt like going clubbing. The Front 54 was happy to have her. I’m sure they waived the $2 cover charge. I would have thought it was a little bizarre to dance in a spotlight surrounded by bodyguards, and 500 people watching you, but who knows….. It gave us plenty to talk about over our pizza slices later.