Media, Darling: Christopher Turner

Christopher Turner is a freelance fashion and lifestyle writer based in Toronto. His writing has appeared everywhere from Fashion Television to Disney, but he’s best known for covering the red carpet and staying on top of style for Canada’s most read fashion and beauty website, Fashionism.ca. Christopher covers fashion headlines, trends, shopping, maintains the daily Fashionist blog and shares celeb-watching duties at the popular column Style Winners and Losers.
Twitter: @Turnstylin
Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon? 
Not really. I actually started out with ambitions of becoming the next Atom Egoyan. As a university student I majored in Film Studies and English Literature. My entry into fashion was when I was scouted by a model agent and soon found myself bouncing around working in NYC, Milan and Athens. When I finally made my way back to Canada, I had no idea what I wanted to do next. One thing led to another and I ended up as an intern on the then-brand new websites for Toronto Life and Fashion Magazine. Half way through my internship I was hired on, and the rest is history.

Where would you like to be five years from now? 
I’ve made a lot of changes in the last couple of years to get to where I am now and I have to say that I’m pretty happy with how things are going. Five years from now? All I can say is that I believe in challenging yourself.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry? 
Be nice. Seriously. Once you’ve got that down, ask questions, listen to the answers and write everyday.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? 
I check in daily with New York magazine, Gawker and Styleite.

Best interview you’ve ever had? 
Jann Arden. She was gracious, funny and oh so sweet. You always worry when you meet someone you admire, but she truly exceeded any expectations. Adrianna Lima might be a close second… because apparently flattery will get you everywhere with me. I still have that interview on tape and give it a listen when I need a quick smirk.

Worst? 
Perez Hilton. No further comment.

Best advice you’ve ever been given? 
Be kinder than necessary, because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

What rule(s) do you live your life by? 
Take care of yourself and the person sitting next to you.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros? 
I’m a big believer in email etiquette, even on those days when things are rushed. You can say hello. I can’t stand greeting-less emails and I’ve deleted my fair share. I’ve also gone way out of my way to help PR pros that put that simple effort in. Most importantly? Figure out who I am and what type of content I write. It’s amazing the number of pitches I receive in a day that have absolutely nothing to do with anything that I would ever write about.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins. 
The little things mean so much to me. Nothing beats a handwritten thank you note.

I hate? 
Mean people, drivers who don’t signal when changing lanes, potatoes and when TV shows run late and my PVR cuts that last minute off.

I love? 
Shoes, spaghetti and meatballs, gingham, bad television, music that makes me sing, movies that make me cry, poetry that makes me think. And my niece and nephew, of course.

Reading? 
Always. I’m currently on a biography kick.

Best place on earth? 
The Duomo in Milan. It’s the most impressive building I’ve ever seen. When I lived there I made a point of stopping by the cathedral square every single day just to look and daydream. No excuses… every single day. I remember times when it would be close to midnight and I was just finishing work and desperate to go home. Still, I always ended up taking the long way home just to stand there for a few seconds. It was grounding and inspiring all at once. I need to go back.

Dinner guest? 
How about an insane dinner party that includes: Karl Lagerfeld (Baptiste Giabiconi would be with him of course), Madonna, Shakespeare, Oprah, Baz Luhrmann, Isabella Blow, and Karen Carpenter.

Hero? 
The news is filled with heroes. Anyone standing up for what they believe in despite the obstacles.

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)? 
Truthfully, BBM is probably the only thing that keeps me from ditching my Blackberry these days.

Pool or ocean? 
Ocean. Nothing beats the sand and the sound of the ocean.

Voicemail or email? 
Always email.

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Fave 5: On stage

Even though we talk a lot about fashion, beauty and events, we also love a good dose of culture on a regular basis. There’s always tons of great theatre happening in Toronto, but here are five of the shows we’re most looking forward to seeing over the next few months. 

1. Kim’s Convenience: We love the premise of this production – a glimpse into the life of a Korean family that owns a convenience store in Regent Park. We’re hoping for a slice of Toronto life that many of us are familiar with and can relate to in some way. Based on the excellent reviews that this play has gotten, we think our hopes will be fulfilled. It’s sold out through it’s original February 11 run, but it was recently announced that it will return to the Yonge Centre for the Performing Arts from Thursday, May 17 to Saturday, June 9. 

 In rehearsal: Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Clé Bennett, Wenyi Mengesha. 
Photo by Sian Richards.
2. Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience – A Parody by Dan and Jeff: Even if we weren’t helping with publicity for this play (full disclosure) we’d be extremely excited for it. More than a few of us are serious Potter fans, and this is one of the first productions to come out of the internationally popular series. It’s a fun and funny play that has two guys – Dan and Jeff – perform all characters, from each of the seven Potter books, in 70 minutes. They’ve been compared to Monty Python, and we’re suckers for some good British humour. Playing at the Panasonic Theatre from Saturday, February 11 to Sunday, March 4. Buy tickets here
 
 
Jeff Turner and Daniel Clarkson in Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience – A Parody by Dan and Jeff
3. Cruel and Tender: We’re big Atom Egoyan fans (and well, who isn’t, really?) so were very excited when a few of us got to check out a preview of the show. It was definitely not theatre for the faint of heart – there are heavy hitting themes, scenes and monologues. Egoyan’s wife, Arsinée Khanjian gives a strong performance as the wife of the General, dealing with an absent husband and the truth about his actions while at war. Go see it if you want a challenge – those of us who’ve not been yet will see you there! At the Bluma Appel Theatre until Saturday, February 18. Tickets here.
 Thomas Hauff, Arsinée Khanjian and Abena Malika in Cruel and Tender
Photo by Bruce Zinger.

4. Hughie: A short but powerful production in the west end that we’re excited to check out (another client – full disclosure). Hughie has played internationally – notably by Al Pacino back in ’96 – and depicts the conversation between alcoholic gambler Erie and hotel nightclerk Charlie set in a 1920s NYC hotel. The one-act play makes for a perfect way to start our evening with a 2-man cast and intimate audience. And if you’re looking to give back, they’re donating 100% of their proceeds of their Feb 20 performance to Anaphlaxis Canada. At the Theatre Centre Toronto from Wednesday February 8 until March 3. Tickets available at 416.538.0988  

5. Penny Plain: Plays with puppets seem to be popping up all over in Toronto as of late (War Horse, Avenue Q) and we’re most intrigued by this marionette production about Penny Plain, a blind old woman sitting in her living room, listening to news about the end of the world and interacting with a host of complex characters. We’re told that many Kleenexes are needed to sit through this play, which is by turns sad, uplifting, funny and serious. We love a good evening running through the gamut of our emotions, so we’ll be there, tissue box in hand. At the Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes until Sunday, February 26. Tickets here.
 Penny Plain.

Rave: enRoute Film Festival

Join us tomorrow night for the 5th anniversary of Air Canada’s enRoute Film Festival FREE screening at the Scotiabank Theatre (259 Richmond St. W.). 7 to 8 p.m.



Hundreds of Canadian filmmakers entered the enRoute Film Festival and now we’re down to  three finalists, who will compete against each other for the grand prize. The big winner will be chosen by an A-list jury panel, including Emmanuelle Chriqui,  Molly Parker, Atom Egoyan, Jean-Marc Vallée, and producer Don Carmody


The 2011 Air Canada enRoute Film Festival finalists are:

  • Miles Jay and Orlee-Rose Strauss for Blink
  • Timothy Chan for A Starry Night
  • Ashley McKenzie and Nelson MacDonald for Rhonda’s Party
The competing films have been playing on your Air Canada touch screen entertainment system this past summer, but if you haven’t seen them yet, grab some popcorn and enjoy a bunch of the short films alongside the filmmakers themselves. 

The winner of Best Short Film will receive a $5,000 cash prize. Other awards include Achievement in Direction, Achievement in Cinematography, and Achievement in Animation. All award winners will receive a trip to Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France. 

Last year’s screening was ‘sold out’ (it’s free, in case you didn’t catch that), so come early and enjoy a fun night of film. #awesome