Text and photography by Maya Chendke


I’m not majorly into “the scene,” but TIFF has a way of drawing out just about anyone and everyone. Among the young and fabulous, attention is more on parties than actual films, as the usual haunts get rebranded to inspire fancy-free fun. All in the name of art. Here’s how this rather scene-averse doll found herself people watching.



Stop by the badpr gifting lounge at the Hazelton Hotel. Only 2 copies of my books are left – donated some for the event. Lovely. There are some cool vendors, a lot of Canadian celebrity-related people around. Some girl who is allegedly on Glee is checking out frAsh jewellery — allegedly. I half-meet a lovely gal, Ainsley Kerr, as I snap pics of the lounge buzz. Greg May’s chair is constantly full. I kinda wish I could slip onto the SOMA Organic mattress  (literally a bed in the gifting suite). Oh, too late, Ainsley’s on it.



Pocket a RockStar Pink juuuust in case I need a rally. Spot, cute lunchboxes  by SoYoungMother — mental note for nieces. Score.

Want to get my mitts on a Banoo necklace. Clock is ticking, should go change out of my school clothes. But first — time to pick up a latte.



Scope out details on the film I’m going to go preview, The Oranges. It deals with a young woman having an affair with an older man, coincidentally her father’s best friend. Sound creepy and a potential arc from Real Housewives.


Biore my nose.

Head down to Winter Garden Theatre.

Yonge and Dundas is closed. How convenient.

Sprint down Yonge Street in stilettos to get to the 8pm screening. I should have worn flats. Preferably my Nike gym shoes.

Marvel at the crowd of photographers infront of the theatre. Are they taking pictures of me? No, I’m just photo bombing Oliver Platt.

Snag my ticket, enter the theatre’s lobby, walking in parallel to Leighton Meester. Her skin looks so flawless I am captivated. I almost walk into a doorway because I’m staring at her skin. Catch myself, and zip up the three flights of upscalators to dash into the seating area.



All seats are pretty much taken. No idea where to go. Walking up and down the aisles like an airhead with no life purpose. Manage to find a seat, between Two Friends and Big Guy. Two Friends are two middle aged women who don’t realize that one of their iPhones is not on silent, and it will proceed to ring only so that I can hear it. Big Guy is…making it a tight fit.

I like these TIFF people. Punctual. Cast gets on stage to say hello, a Q&A session is announced post-film.



Theatre goes dark. Anti-piracy ads. Wish I had bought popcorn.

Cast sneaks in to their reserved seats. People whisper and point. I feel bad for them. Hugh Laurie is so tall that his head blocks out the theatre screen during a weird Cadillac commercial.

Movie begins. I have a tickley feeling I’m going to like it.

Between 8:10 and 9:40pm

A lot of laughter. Very loud laughter. Two Friends iPhone ringing makes my teeth grind. But Allison Janney’s comic timing is just epic. “Are you ok with his [Hugh Laurie’s] wrinkly old balls in your mouth?” (something to that effect said to Leighton Meester’s character, her daughter – the crowd goes crazy). Catherine Keener delights me. I’m so glad I wrote a character based on Oliver Platt in my own book, he’s wonderful. Hugh Laurie doesn’t even need to speak, his eye-popping says it all. Really interesting, realistic tone to the story arc. “That bitch,” say Two Friends of Leighton’s character when the affair begins. “Awww” everyone coos when Hugh Laurie is doing his Hugh Laurie eyes.

Cast of The Oranges gets on stage to answer questions and talk about their chemistry. Everyone loves off Allison Janney in a major way. Oliver Platt credits the approval of the film to the writers, and proceeds to yell: “the script, the script, the script, the script” until the emcee cuts him off. Leighton’s wearing leopard print pumps, similar to ones I just got. Bet mine were cheaper! (Way to go Material Girl at the Bay). Money in my pocket.

I brace myself to exit the theatre, and find myself at the back. Exit stage left? Half a dozen black SUVs with privacy tint waiting for the cast to exit. Lots of fans and celebrity addicts lining the street. My favourite is the creepy mid-forties guy clutching a headshot of Hugh Laurie. I bet those are his favourite fans to meet…eek.

Manage to weave through the crowds and back to my car. Time to book it to the next locale.

Walk into the Ritz. Hello! Canada party has wrapped and there are too many people in the lobby lingering, yet watching each other. Lots of sequins. I slide into the lobby bar to wait for my date.

Meet my wingman, and head towards the back bar. Overheard: “Did you hear Ryan Gosling was here last night?” / “He was here for Clooney.” Duh, didn’t you know that? Of course he’s there for Clooney.

Lame bouncer staring at the four highly attractive and class females in front of him, but pretending the bar is too full. It’s not. My friends smile at him and wait it out.

Bouncer Man snaps back to reality and realizes we’re legit. We head in and I seek refuge in a Sauvignon Blanc. Some guy is smiling at me. Isn’t that the director from that movie with the thing? No idea. I’m bad with faces and names.

Bump into random guys who try to compare party notes with my wingman. They ask where she was yesterday, ready to play a game of “mine’s bigger.” I roll my eyes because no one else is bigger than her.

Random guys put in their place.

Old Dude by the back bar on the patio surrounded by barely-legal chicklets. So gross. But so scenester. All other people are oblivious to this, but I later learn that one of my friends told Old Dude his behaviour was inappropriate. I love it.

Odd crowd, wine done, zip to the Goodnight Gansevoort event. There are BMWs lined up out front, which is hot because I like cars.


Allison Janney at Goodnight Gansevoort Photo by David Lee/Getty Images


Bump into more friends out front of Goodnight. Reunion special!

Weave through a crowded alley to enter Goodnight.

PACKED. People watching. Some drunken yummy mummy scratches my leg with her stiletto as she tries to straddle over a bench. Ouch. Jimmy Choos hurt. She didn’t even ask if I was ok.

People keep watching the door waiting for things to happen. But the party inside is really where it’s at.

Spot one of the actors from The Oranges. Not so subtle, friend.

Our feet ache. Maybe it’s time to head home.

Nope. Friend messages to join in Yorkville. Who doesn’t like boys?

Slip out and consciously miss out on James Franco. Worst decision of my life? Bump into the FILLER gals out front — they will surely hold down the James Franco situation. Vicarious fun. His name is in my book. Many people think he’s cute, you know.

Change to flats. Time to roll.

Heading to do a double whammy visit in Yorkville.

Get canceled on by first whammy. Sucks.

Pass Yorkville and continue on home. Second whammy will be rain checked. No energy to go back to TIFF-tasks. Should’ve brought that RockStar…how do the party kids do this all the time?

Consider stopping at the 24 hour Bagel House, but decide to keep going. Lox and cream cheese will have to wait.