Gossipers and porn stars - Macleans.ca
 

Gossipers and porn stars

eTalk’s Lainey gives the scoop on a celeb hideaway and Sasha Grey caps off the night


 

The most coveted parties at TIFF are known only to the closest industry insiders, so it was great for me to have the ear of professional gossiper Lainey of eTalk fame for a few minutes yesterday. After 15 minutes with the celeb-obsessed host, she tipped me off to one of the coolest parties I’ve been to yet. If only I’d met her five days ago.

Lainey also told me that during TIFF she sleeps “an average of two hours a night.” I didn’t even know people could do that. She said she had more than enough training after covering the festival for five years, and also after reporting the Olympics. “That was fourteen days,” she explained, “this is only ten.” As for her seemingly unfailing desire to report on the life of stars, she told me she sees it as more of a sociological endeavor. “Without sounding pretentious,” she said, “celebrity gossip speaks to a larger social consciousness.” For example, the Angelina-Brad-Aniston triangle keeps selling tabloids because it speaks to a woman’s deepest fear: that their man will be stolen by a vixen.

When asked about whether she sees herself as a fly-on-the-wall or an active participant in the lifestyles of the rich and famous, Lainey paused. She likes to go with her friends and observe, she said, but feels she’s not like “them” and is one of “us.” Before she left, I asked her where she was headed, and she rang off a list of interviews, red carpets and parties. It was one of those events, at the SoHo, that I decided to check out that evening.

As it was described to me, the SoHo has functioned as a sort of celebrity getaway. Getting in was a clandestine affair. I wasn’t allowed to bring guests. I entered under another name. And the venue was in an alleyway. Was this for real? I was told that previously, the space had been a bridal boutique, but when I walked in, I was met by an intimate party space with plenty of comfortable seating areas, sofas and chairs, large wood tables, low lighting and hardcover books lining the walls. This event was by far the best I’d been to for actually meeting people. I introduced myself to a handsome couple dressed all in black. As it turned out, they both worked in fashion, though they were quick to add that it was “only Canadian box store fashion.” Our favourite beverage of the night was ‘The Torontonian’—vodka, organic cucumber juice and ginger beer. I enjoyed watching the bartender make it—the preparation resembled a dance routine as he clapped the mint leaves together before dropping them into my drink. One of my new friends dryly remarked that while the drink was delicious, he wished they had come up with a “less lame name.”

We eventually left our bartenders to check out an intriguing Star Wars pinball machine in the corner of the room. In between turns, waiters presented me with a near-constant array of delicious morsels—hamburger sliders, concord grapes with condensed goats milk, crab claws and macaroons. On the main table were an assortment of cold cuts and cheeses, grapes, dried fruits and fresh hot foccacia bread. One upside of TIFF is that my grocery bill is next to nothing.

Around midnight there was a performance by some young bright things from L.A., a band called The Airborne Toxic Event. Some notables made fashionably late entrances, including Avatar’s Sam Worthington and the queenly Helen Mirren. John Madden, director of The Debt, also passed through, as well as Miramax president, Daniel Battsek. As I was leaving, Ryan Philippe, star of the Bang Bang Club, was just walking in and hanging out in the back corner. If only I had known about this place earlier, it would have been so much easier to fill my star quota.

But I’d heard word from a friend that Sasha Grey was djing at the Drake Hotel and had to check it out. For those who don’t know, Sasha Grey is a pornstar-cum-actress. What I didn’t know was that she’s also a DJ. But I shouldn’t be surprised. Now, everyone’s a DJ. The room was packed and excited for Grey to begin. It didn’t matter that when she finally got to the booth, she wasn’t really doing much. In fact, she looked like the girl next door, wearing an innocuous black tank top. Her first song, ‘Boomin’ Granny’ by the Beastie Boys, left the top-40 crowd confused. But for the rest, I’m pretty sure that the majority of them couldn’t care less. They were there for the novelty of the act. “This is weird,” I heard someone say. “I’ve seen her in so many raunchy positions.” Porn star or not, the novelty couldn’t carry me until closing, and after fifteen minutes I went home to tuck into bed early at a modest 3:30 am.


 
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