First night of TIFF parties: from body paint to beers with Deaner

Hobnobbing with the glamorous… and the hosers

My first TIFF night was an exercise in party diversity. I began at the TORO After Dark lounge where there was a preview of RED, the NY Times Canadian Photo Archive Exhibit curated by Toronto-based photographer Caitlin Cronenberg. The party was held at PEARS on Avenue Road in Yorkville. It was early in the night, so after I walked around the perimeter of the party a couple times I decided to take off. On my way out I passed Kandyse McClure, or, as I know her, Anastasia “Dee” Dualla from Battlestar Galactica. I love that show, and I love her character. Consider me star struck.

I proceeded to Ultra on Queen Street where of the Black Eyed Peas was set to DJ for the evening. Entering Ultra reminded me of Disneyland in Los Angeles. There, you wait in line for rides in long winding hallways with outrageously spectacular props that hold your attention as you wait your turn. Ultra’s hallway wasn’t that long and winding, but it was fantastically decorated. What probably inspired the comparison to Disneyland were the bags of popcorn the club provided guests with on the way out. wasn’t on yet, so I took off to another venue, AME, located in the heart of Toronto’s entertainment district on Mercer street. Inside were multitudes of beautiful people, wearing beautiful clothes, sipping beautiful drinks in a beautiful setting. My eyes drifted to the top of the bar where there were what looked to be near-naked women in glitter body paint posing languidly. Upon seeing that, I began to question my party strategy. I was traveling solo after all. At the very best, I look like a weirdo, and at worst, I look desperate. Neither of these things really concern me, but the bottom line was that I wasn’t having very much fun.

How was I going to turn the night around? I needed a plan. I had to get my edge back. So I went West, to a red carpet-less bar on West Dundas called Unlovable. It was exactly what I needed: the TIFF antidote. No one cared about the festival. People were either chatting at the bar, playing arcade games or listening to the DJ spin an eclectic mix of soul, rock and Motown.

But at 2 am the night was still young—all the TIFF venues are open until 4 am during the festival. I had sufficiently cleansed my palate and was ready to party on. The owner of Unlovable and his friend and I decided to head to the FUBAR 2 afterparty, or the “FUBAR 2 GIVE’R AGAIN PARTY!” When we pulled up, it was chaos. Cabs everywhere. People were walking to the bar from all directions. Everyone was hassling the bouncer, and no one was getting in.

While we were standing outside a huge black SUV pulled up to the club. Out came the stars from FUBAR 2. Interestingly, the crowd wasn’t unanimously happy. In fact, one girl smoking outside started sarcastically shouting “oh look, it’s TIFF. TIFF’s here everyone, look out,” and then went on to shout “F*** TIFF.” After covering the G20 protests I half expected her to say “give us back our city” and for riot police show up. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.

Once inside, the stars of Fubar soon appeared onstage. You might say it was predictable: they talked like hosers, the crowd was mostly drunk and giddiness ensued. After they started playing, one woman with a red beret, short punk blonde hair and a black crocheted top came onstage and attempted to dance. She mostly just succeeded in spilling her beer on the band and the crowd. (No one cared).

I checked out at 4:45am, having seen enough for one night. The next day, I ran into FUBAR 2’s director, Michael Dowse. He looked a little worse for wear and said that during the party he was out of it, but that he had a great time. Dylan Bowden, an attendee at the show, agreed: “Yeah, toats. I shot gunned beer with Deaner.” Which seemed to be, in any event, evidence of a succesful afterparty.

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