I fucking hate the Toronto Interfuckingnational Film Festival.

September 8th, and a surplus shows up in Toronto of:

  • people wearing badges on lariats around their necks (fucking seriously, if you’re not standing in a line-up *right now*, take it the fuck off)
  • men wearing blazers and jeans
  • men wearing blazers and jeans and loafers
  • men wearing blazers and jeans and loafers and sunglasses that cost as much as a small car, carrying weird attache cases and talking on their cellphones
  • women wearing there’s-no-such-thing-as-too-much quantities of makeup and jewelery
  • women wearing skinny belts worn over their shirts, very high up their torso, approximately 3 inches south of their boobs
  • people staring at other people trying to decide if the other people are important people
  • overheard conversations that revolve around when Vince Vaughn is arriving in town
  • random lineups in places that aren’t big enough to accommodate them
  • white tents
  • black velvet rope
  • red carpets

And speaking of the last item – I got ”hey!”’d today for walking over a red carpet (I’m fairly certain). I got off the streetcar, and was walking down the sidewalk. Sidewalk which was covered in a length of red carpet from a front door down to the curb. I am *NOT* walking on the street to avoid stepping on your swatch of red carpet, so you can fuck right off for thinking it. I actually saw one of the little red carpet setting up weenies hop onto the streetcar while the doors were still open to talk to the driver. I can only presume what it was about – but I have a sneaking terrible suspicion that it was to ask him to drop passengers off on the other side of the red carpet.

*Oh yes, and the fuckhead who lives downstairs has extra chairs on his balcony, and has cleared the shoes off the top level of his shoe rack in the hallway. The little wanker is expecting visitors. This cannot end well for our hero…
Update: Looking for solidarity in my hate of the TIFF, I googled ”I hate the Toronto International Film Festival”.
Which yielded two articles, one of which contained the following quote. All I can say is ‘amen’.

“As I see it, it’s 33 per cent about the movies, 33 per cent about the stars, and 33 per cent about making Toronto feel like Hollywood for a week – complete with stretch hummers, red carpets, and plenty of superficial movie types.
So, while I do really love 33 per cent of it, I still hate well over half of it.”

Trial by fire.

So, as some of you know, I decided to join my Muay Thai class for their group run tonight.

I’ve been avoiding this, as they’re fit fuckers and I am not a runner, and I could do my best but it might be wicked hard. Plus, it’s winter, however mild, and it’s hard to run in the city in the cold.

Right. So I went because I thought I had to – because the timing of the beginner class overlapped with the 1/2 hour of running. 1 hour class, 1/2 hour run.

It turns out not so much. It turns out that only 5 people went on the run – 4 senior guys (including two instructors), plus me.


So I did good, did good, did good. For the first .75 K? Then I started feeling a little tired, but I took a short walk break, then caught up to them. They were encouraging (without being sappy), and we kept going. I made it down the hill a few more streets. Then I started feeling not so good. Like, gagging a couple of times. It’s cool I thought, I just need to ease up a bit. And then my new favourite person in the whole world (”Dad”) slowed down to keep pace with me. Interestingly, ’Dad’ was one of the guys who, on first impression, I thought was wicked tough and probably sort of mean.

Usually someone keeping pace would drive me crazy, I don’t like holding people back, and I keep my own pace – I push myself. But ’Dad’ was really good to run with. Encouraging without being motivational speakery (”Those fuckers up there have all been through this, and Kru says leave no one behind.”). Very cool. But I was definitely struggling. Walk. Run. Walk.

Then he pointed out that we were doing the long run. Apparently the route one of the guys chose (remind me to beat on him with a stick) for that night was about twice as far as usual (5K vs. 2K). Awesome. Did I mention how I’m not a runner? He said I was doing good, and that he had been struggling way before now on his first run.

Did I mention how he’s my new favourite person?

So then I started gagging again. We were past the halfway mark (4ishK), but still had a long way to go to get back. And I thought, okay, take’er easy. Then we got to the hill. Let’s just get to the top of this hill we both said. And I was soo on board. I’m a determined little bastard and I wanted to get up that hill. So I did what a friend of mine called ”Soldiers in Siberia-ing” up it. Got to the top. Gagged. Gagged. Started to throw up in my hand. Realized I was going to seriously toss some cookies. But where was I? At the corner of cement and concrete that’s where. Having never thrown up outside before, I was new at this. What to do. What to do. I hightailed it over to one of those straggly looking Toronto trees where the base is covered by cement – but with a tiny piece of dirt showing.

Or it was, before I hurled all over it.


’Dad’ was fantastic about it. Very cool, like this was totally normal. I said ”Excuse me” when I got back, and he was all ”hey I’ve got a 3 1/2 year old, you should see the things that come out of her”.

And then there’s a whole thing where my stomach was just *churning*, but I’ll spare those details. Suffice it to say that I was looking for emergency pitstop places all the way back.

So – some kind of initiation? Maybe. From maybe that one guy who knew there was a n00b in the group and decided to ’push’ me. Whatever. ’Dad’ and all the rest of the guys who had run were very cool and much warmer than usual when I got back (that’s a fun sentence). Patting me on the back saying ’good run’, bowing. It was like a family. Cool. What a crazy place.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and lie very still now. 🙂

I don’t like the Toronto Film Festival.

TIFF is aptly named I think (Toronto International Film Festival), because it makes me feel tiffy with my city. Okay, a little lame, but it sets the tone.

I can’t help contrasting TIFF with the Hot Docs film festival. Hot Docs comes to Toronto with things to say. It attracts thoughtful audiences, and launches interesting films. TIFF is about star-power and “movies”, not films. It attracts starhunters (star-gazers isn’t accurate), and the whole city seems to develop an inferiority complex. Newspapers are full of articles like ”Where to shop with the stars!”, embracing my two great ”loves”: starhunters and blind consumerism.

For the duration of the festival I’m surrounded by this weirdness. I work on Bloor, just a hop skip and a jump away from Yorkville – the mecca of the stars out buying anti-aging cream and $795 jeans. People come breathlessly back into my office to report that Al Pacino is next door at Hugo Boss and someone turned a corner and almost poked Dustin Hoffman in the eye. Co-workers suddenly want to go north for lunch, to see if they can spot Ashton Kutcher or Sarah Polley. The desperation to find someone ’worthwhile’ is palpable.

I went out with two particularly tall, swanky looking co-workers, and suddenly we’re getting second looks as we line up for Starbucks coffee – people are literally camped out there and try to figure out if you’re ’somebody’.

At least then I get to come home. To the neighbourhood of The Drake Hotel. Which got featured on a tv special about where the stars will be while they’re in town.

I miss my lazy summer Toronto…