Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tales of Reluctant Film Fest Attendee

The Toronto International Film Festival started here in Toronto last Wednesday, and for the most part I've been fairly nonchalant about it. 5 years ago, I would have been much more excited about it, but for some reason the last few years have seen me feeling quite ambivalent about the whole shebang.

With the advent of DVD, I've been more and more accustomed to just watching films at my leisure at home, and the prospect of paying 20 bucks and waiting in line for hours doesn't seem to appeal as much anymore. That said, I do get a bit starstruck on occasion, usually thanks to the travails of my best friend Willariah, celebrity hunter deluxe.

Friday night I was out and about for dinner and I ended up lingering about around the MuchMusic building during the early part of their Star! Schmooze, which was a bit lacklustre on the "Star!" portion. Celebrities sighted included CityTV news anchor Gord Martineau with his extremely blonde and tanned wife; singer Jarvis Church; Eugene Levy, the judges of Canadian Idol and highlight of the evening, Samuel L. Jackson. He was quite friendly and spent time signing autographs and chatting with fans.

Gord Martineau arrives while the cops come to give his wife a citation for spending too much time at the tanning salon

Jeff Seymour, from "Jeff Ltd." arrives with friends

Billy Connolly and director Andrew Currie, in town for Andrew Currie's new ZomCom "Fido"

The judges of Canadian Idol: Sass Jordan, Jake Gold, Farley Flex and Zack Werner, lighting up a smoke

Samuel L. "Snakes On A Muthafucking Plane" Jackson, with his lady companions.

On Sunday, Will and Cathy were able to convince me to leave my apartment for a Yorkville brunch at Remy's. While the meal itself (seafood crepes) was quite tepid and unmemorable, we ended up sitting beside prominent Japanese actor Koji Yakusho (you may know him from Memoirs of A Geisha, Cure and the new film Babel with Brad Pitt). As he was eating lunch, I felt it best not to harass Yakusho-san with my camera.

After spending lunch chatting amongst ourselves and ogling various attractive Yorkville types, we spent a little bit of time hanging around the Four Seasons hotel, where we saw The O.C.'s Rachel Bilson.

"Still Life With Willariah, Chloe Sevigny Lookalike, potted plant, Rachel Bilson and festival assistant"

We also saw Eduardo Verastegui, star of "Bella", having lunch at the canteen. If you look really closely at the bottom of the photo, you can see a poster for "Bella" peeking through the reflection of the Chinese Tour Bus.

Ciao Bella! or is that Bello?

The rest of the afternoon was spent chilling at Willariah's pad, and then we returned to the Varsity later that evening again to catch the premiere of "The Pleasure of Your Company", which stars Jason Biggs (American Pie) and is directed by Michael Ian Black, member of "The State" comedy troupe and the TV show "Stella" which was just recently released on DVD. The movie was hysterical, with an enthusiastic cast and I highly recommend people check it out when it gets a full release.

L-R: Regan Mizrahi, Jason Biggs, Margo Martindale, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Chris Diamantopoulos and Michael Ian Black

I also had the pleasure of being able to speak briefly after the Q&A session with Michael Ian Black.
He was in one of my favourite movies, "Wet Hot American Summer", where he played a camp counsellor. Also, in the early 90's, I was a huge fan of a short-lived TV show called "Viva Variety", which lampooned cheesy European variety shows, and featured non-mainstream musical guests like Pizzicato Five. Michael was part of the cast, playing "Johnny Blue Jeans" and he also helped to create and write the show, alongside Thomas Lennon and Kerri Kenney (whom you all probably know now from Reno 911!). I asked about the possibility of Viva Variety being released on DVD, but he said that it unfortunately was one of those projects that might just disappear and never have a second chance. He seemed a bit surprised when I mentioned it and said that I might be one of the few people who actually remembered the program!

Anyone else remember the show? You can check out a few clips here and here.

Michael Ian Black with yours truly

Well, that's about it for now. I'll be checking out another movie or two this coming weekend and if I get any interesting pics, I shall endeavour to post them here! Well, at least I'll try to. I think this post is the first post significant post I've made in what seems like...forever!

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