Text and photography Maya Chendke
Play a round of Zombie Farm before realizing I have to get ready for the night’s programming. Pink dress or brown dress? So much to do, so much to write…maybe this should be a night in full of productivity.
One of my dates for the evening bails last minute. Good thing I’ve got a couple more up my sleeve – galpals, though. Girls make the best dates because they’re better people watchers, anyway. TIFF threatens to become the perfect excuse for a serial dater. I’ve certainly watched it first hand, most curiously executed when Party Boy swapped out (romantic-ish) escorts within a 2km zone. What if they see you after you’ve switched out? Gutsy or dumb?
Slip into the EOne party at the Royal Conservatory. The sight of three floors packed with partygoers is a beautiful thing. The building is stunning – floor to ceiling windows give me a glimpse of the crowd drawn out tonight.
Cute volunteer checks me in. Bonus.
Waiting for my friend, wandering the three floors. A very diverse crowd, some in extreme formal wear, others in shorts and sandals.
Halt on the first floor to grab a sparkling water at the bar, observing the scene.
Alert: Creepy T-shirt Stalker hovering. My peripheral heat-sensing radar senses a bogey to my right. Avoid eye contact. No offence, but, dude, you’re in your fifties and wearing a crusty band t-shirt with Tevas. I exit stage left, grabbing a pink macaron on the way.
Ascend to the second level to wait for my friend. Macaron is deathly sweet and deserves to be spat out. Girl in gorgeous dress talking to a guy, it looks like love at first sight. Score!
Text received. Friend is on the premises. Descend to first floor.
Waiting. Spot some couches and grab a seat. Creepy T-Shirt Stalker sensors go off. Crap.
Staring at the ground so hard, I could give Cyclops a run for his money.
Creepy T-shirt Stalker stands in front of me, but luckily at an awkward distance that prevents conversation. People look at him quizzically. I decide to nip it in the bud and launch “the glare,” and he slinks off into the vibrant crowd. Friend arrives and we proceed to scale the flights of stairs to circulate. She knows an insane amount of people, I notice, as she points out Robert Lantos, and then sees an old friend, Ari Lantos. I begin to regret wearing this particular pair of heels as conversation ensues by the group. They’re walking heels, not standing heels.
Unable to spot somewhere to lean, so I’m still standing. Met a new friend, and I like his skinny tie. I’ll focus on the tie and not my tired ankles.
“Hey, weren’t you at the bar earlier tonight?” a random woman asks me. What kind of question is that? Chances of an affirmative answer to this question, at this party, is approximately 99.89%. I tune out of her conversation with me and focus on skinny tie.
On the move again. Recognize an old friend of mine on the third level of this party palace and my heart melts. I wish this were a better catch-up venue, but that will have to wait. Until October. When I have settled into my work/school/life routine. Oh crap, I have an accounting class at 7am tomorrow and am not nearly done.
Exit the EOne festivities and throw myself on a bench in front of the Conservatory.
Bench smells like hobo pee. Relocate to another bench.
Another galpal meets up with me and we zip over to the Distiller for Mongrel Media’s celebrations.
In the compound, and struggling to navigate the busted cobblestone out front of the Boiler House. Cobblestone is hard enough, but when chunks are missing – it’s called “call your shoemaker, you’re gonna need a new heel.” The party is tame, and we don’t recognize any friends.
There are burlesque-style promo models in oversized martini glasses doing sexy gyrations. What a shock, the first few rows of humans around them are men. Oh, boys, how predictable…
Chit chat time. Everything still tame.
Walk past a station that is taking photos of people for Sarah Polley’s forthcoming film. I write a message on a chalkboard that says: “It takes courage to love the one you love.” I don’t think enough people do this when the opportunity presents itself. I tell them about my Send Love Initiative. This ends with me being handcuffed to a stranger for my photo.
The main event! The Sheepdogs start to rock out…and continue to for well over an hour. This is my first time really exposed to their glory, and I am loving it. Awesome sound, nice vibe, and the guitarist did a back bridge while playing. Epic talents.