Friday, September 7, 2012

Loopers and Losers

Friday September 7, 5:28 p.m.

Well, the Toronto International Film Festival has arrived. It's my first one since when I left for Japan 18 years ago, the TIFF was really nowhere near as big as it is now. Now, it's become a bellwether for the big awards shows like the Oscars and the Golden Globes....and a celeb magnet.
It's been remarkable how the local media has been treating TIFF. It's being covered like a cinematic Olympics with reporters and telecasters using terms like Day 1 and making the festival the top news story. The Tokyo International Film Festival is still embryonic on that level. Unless people living there are big cinephiles, the Japanese TIFF is just a mere diversion of interest.
So yesterday after lunch, I walked down to King St. and noticed that the segment of the street between Spadina and University was a whole lot more crowded than usual, especially the part in front of the Bell Lightbox.
To be honest, it's not my intention to catch any of the least not for this year, although I do have some interest in "Looper", the time-traveling thriller with Bruce Willis. And I certainly wasn't expecting to see any celebs when I went down there yesterday. But I was keen on seeing what the hoopla was all about. I passed by the front of the Lightbox a couple of times; saw a lot of orange-wearing TIFF volunteers, and most likely star handlers...I could detect them from the cellphones permanently attached to their ears.

No celebs per se, but there were a few journalists and cameramen looking for spots to do their reports. CTV, CBC and CP24 were all represented. The unions going up against Bell Telephone were also well represented as they were trying to air their grievances via flyers and placards.

Over the next several days, TIFF will be scattering itself throughout downtown, but the Lightbox is TIFF Central. And I can imagine the restaurants across the street on King have been and will reap the benefits of a hungry group of moviegoers and celebwatchers. I passed by those places and there were staffers outside greeting and enticing potential diners.

This is the red carpet. At around 1 p.m. yesterday, it was about as lonely as Charlie Brown on Valentine's Day, but since last night it's probably been covered by more stars than Heidi Fleiss' black book.

TIFF will be around for all this weekend and next week. Chances are that I will be downtown somewhere then. Maybe I will take that long walk around Yorkville and Bloor. But for me, there is a theatre on Bloor West that seems to have attracted a whole ton of food trucks. I will definitely have to check that action out. But maybe, just maybe, I might finally get that celeb on digital.

Now, as for the "loser"part of this entry. Apparently, the Toronto Maple Leafs have been tarred and feathered as the Worst Sports Team in North America by ESPN or some sports magazine. All I can say is "What?! You only came to that realization just now?" When I heard that the NHL could face a lockout strike next week, I could only sigh in relief. After the debacle of last season and the diminishing returns of the playoffs, I'm really not in any hurry to catch any professional ice hockey. Well, at least it's now official. If there is any sliver of a silver lining here, it's that anything the Leafs do this season (provided that there is a season) that looks hopeful will be a major victory.