Do Me A Solid: artbound

It’s event season in the city! With the 8 million (slight
exaggeration) parties going on in Toronto, sometimes we get tired and forget
that there is a life outside of the glitz and glamour. But before we begin this
post, we’re going to give a huge shout out to
Uber Toronto for offering free
taxis last week that made hustling around to all these events that much easier.


On Thursday, September 27, Toronto’s party go-ers, movers, shakers and the who’s who put on their philanthropic boots for the third annual
artbound at Maison Mercer. In support of Free the Children, artbound is a volunteer
initiative that partners “with artists
and those passionate about the arts to raise funds to build sustainable
infrastructure in developing countries.” The goal is to empower the children
in these regions to break the cycle of poverty; a task much more
easily said than done.



Co-hosted by CP24 host, Melissa Grelo and MTV’s
Aliya-Jasmine, nearly 800 people packed themselves into the downtown
nightclub to show their support and make a difference. Artbound has many components of helping but
raising awareness always tends to be the most fun. The artbound committee presented
Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free the Children, with a generous donation before they dove into their tailspin of We Day awesomeness!


Apart from the big heart, artbound throws one HECK of a
part-ay. Some highlights of the night include the theme: how do you go wrong
with Footloose? And not the pretty modern version of Julianne Hough’s sexiness.
No. The 1984, high-waisted denim, blue eye shadow, “Dance your ass off!”
version. There was enough plaid to rival a Luke Bryan concert.

Ya, you’re welcome. 
Image source.
The crowd rocked out to electronic sizzling violinist Dr. Draw and snacked on apps from SPiN Toronto and Kernels. After hours of dancing (and comparing denim shorts) the committee surprised the crowd with a late night flash mob. And now as it bows its head to its third pARTy, artbound is becoming a resident fixture in city’s good-hearted fun! 



It’s fairly clear that all we need to have a good time is some awesome music, a fun theme (80s usually warrants the best get-ups) and even better company. Congrats artbound on yet another amazing and incredibly successful night. Visit artbound.ca for more information or to find out how you can get involved. 



City Living: Pinky’s Nails

Like a good hairdresser, once we find a good nail salon we
remain loyalists… until someone new moved into our `hood and disturbed the
order of the beauty world. Introducing
Pinky`s Nails, the
self-proclaimed first professional nail art studio in Toronto. 



Open now for just over a month, Pinky’s Nails is not only wreaking havoc on our wallets (because we’re always there) but is also causing debates over which designs to get. Conveniently located around the corner from our office, Pinky’s Nails calls 688
Richmond St. W home, and have been making a buzz with their creations à la this:
MTV’s Nicole Holness and her feminine 3D nail art.
Or all of these:


And this one too:
For the cat lovers on the fourth floor (*cough cough*
@badalie, @andeline, @bigail).
No pedicures here. They do one thing and one thing well:
nail art. Pinky’s first caught our attention when they offered up manicure
specials for their July promo, but the fun designs and endless choices have kept us as customers. And in the rare, rare occassion you don’t see something that tickles your fancy, you can email them your inspiration and they can whip up a one-of-a-kind work for your digits.



Prices for their nail art (read as masterpieces) start at $30, and go up from there depending on the adornments and studding you choose. Pricing is done per nail, so feel free to go wild or just have a few standouts on your hands, like an entirely studded nail which rings up at $12.  
Wondering how the heck they get such detailed works on your
tips? Check out this  video for the Heartbreak Karaoke nails from Worn Fashion Journal.

If you are a devout Shellac-er, Pinky’s will be carrying gel polishes come fall. In the mean time, you can choose from their vast polish collection with familiar favourites like OPI and Essie.


In more beauty news, Pinky’s has got their paws on OPI`s new Black
Spotted polish. Similar to Shatter, but way cooler, it`s a black top coat that
gives a water marbling effect. Why is this awesome? OPI Black Spotted is
part of the Spiderman collection, which was exclusively released to French
Sephora. You
read that right
– the polish won’t even get a US release, let alone a
Canadian one. Which is why single bottles are going as high as $60 on eBay– cray!

Covet it. Now. 

Looking for an appointment? Give ‘em a ring at 647-787-9521.
Pinky’s Nails is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. most nights. 
Ya, they are pretty cool! 

Media, Darling: Elio Iannacci

Elio Iannacci is an award-winning journalist and FASHION magazine’s Features Editor. He is also a regular contributor to Maclean’s
magazine and has had work published in
The Globe and Mail, National Post
and
The Toronto Star. As one of Canada’s most qualified and experienced fashion
and pop culture experts, he has had the opportunity to speak to some of the
world’s most fascinating people. 



Included in his list of interviews are iconic
names that range from Karl Lagerfeld to Lady Gaga, Beyoncé Knowles to Madonna
and Oscar-winner Kate Winslet, alongside acclaimed food author Nigella Lawson.
Elio has also been featured on a number of television shows, including
CNN
Showbiz Tonight,
MTV Canada, Much Music, ETalk and Entertainment Tonight.





Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other
careers were on the horizon?

Magazines, chap books, comic books and zines were my lifelines when I was
growing up. I was always fascinated by who put them together, who was covered
in them and how they were produced. I would have been a DJ, a librarian or a
costume archivist if I didn’t get into the writing/editing game.


Any advice for people getting started in your industry?

Act like a brand and people will treat you like a product. Spend more time reading than tweeting.


What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? 

I read about three to five magazines a day (I have subscriptions to Vogue, Out, Entertainment
Weekly, The New Yorker, The Economist, The Advocate, Broken Pencil
and Interview)
and I typically keep a pound or two of poetry books, chap books, short story
collections and lit anthologies around me at all times. Online, I visit the
dailies and too many blogs to mention.


Best interviews you’ve ever had?

Sophia Loren, Karl Lagerfeld, David Sedaris, Lady Gaga, Annie Lennox, Eartha
Kitt, Patti Smith and Wayne Koestenbaum.


Worst?

Sean Combs. He answered his mobile during the whole interview and was too
distracted to answer any questions properly.


Best advice you’ve ever been given?

“You should always know when you’re shifting gears in life. You should leave
your era; it should never leave you.” c/o Leontyne Price.


What rule(s) do you live your life by?

Take vacations. Workaholics make the absolute worst writers and editors. The
best ideas are the ones you find while you are taking a couple days off and
living life outside of the office.


What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?

Read the magazine, website or newspaper you are trying to work with before you
send any emails or make any calls.


Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.

TIFF seems to bring out the extra-crazy in everyone—especially during the end
of it. I will never forget how Debra Goldblatt was able to gracefully keep it
together, while juggling four films on the last day of the fest in 2009, and manage
to squeeze in two last-minute interviews for me without complaining.


I hate?
 
                      
All fifty shades of grey.


I love?

Fact checkers, librarians, artists, poets and anyone who is an advocate for the
arts.


Reading?

Personals, a book of poetry by Ian Williams. Lynn Crosbie’s gripping Life is
about losing everything. An anthology of short stories called New Stories From
The South
(edited by Amy Hempel).


Best place on earth?

Sardinia.


Dinner guests?

Maria Callas, Jackie Onassis, Roisin Murphy, Gareth Pugh, Grace Jones, Annie
Lennox, John Parot, Alfred Corn, Truman Capote and Hedi Slimane.


Heroes?

Langston Hughes, Frank O’Hara and Lou Grant.


Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?

QuickVoice — an app that records interviews and changed my life.


Pool or ocean?

Both. I swim a mean breast stroke.


Voicemail or email?

50/50. 

Media, Darling: Jeni Besworth

Jeni B. entered the television industry over 12 years ago and never looked back. She has met, produced & interviewed some of the biggest celebrities. Highlights include: helping Pink make a new outfit with scissors & tape seconds before her live performance. Accidentally making a pass at Jon Cryer. Interviewing Tommy Chong from the living room floor after he threw his back out. Becoming the voice of Cribs.
Jeni is currently the supervising producer of Oh So Cosmo on Cosmo TV. Other credits include Open Mike with Mike Bullard, Canadian Idol, the Juno Awards, Walk of Fame, Project Runway Canada, MTV, So You Think You Can Dance Canada and Much Music. And, she is not above unpacking Lady Gaga’s shoes for her.

Twitter: @jenibesworth, @Oh_So_Cosmo 

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?  
When I was in high school, my dream was to be on radio. So when I went to Ryerson, I finished the first year, thought I wouldn’t need any more schooling, and promptly left. I’ve been working in TV almost ever since!
Where would you like to be five years from now?
I am not aging very willingly so I don’t love looking ahead five years (ha), but if I must, I’d really like to still be working in a job I love. I have had the good fortune of being employed in this industry very consistently and I’d like to continue working on shows that are smart, informative and relevant. And personally, I hope I’m still kicking ass at being a good mama.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
 
Weirdly, it’s not always what you know, it’s how hard you’re willing to work to learn it. I am where I am because someone took a chance on me. Again and again. If you love what you do, and you put your whole heart into it, you’ll see results.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
I am newly in love with CBC Radio 2 – Drive with Rich Terfry, Q with Jian Ghomeshi, 99.9 Virgin Radio and my girl Taylor Kaye on Kiss 92.5. I watch a multitude of bad television shows – no judgement, it’s “research”. I’m 10 months off Facebook but have fallen in love with Twitter. I also frequent Lainey Gossip, People.com, George Stromboloupoulos’ site. I read Toronto Life, Today’s Parent and I really love Metro when I hop on the subway. 

Best interview you’ve ever had?
Working on the Bullard show was for sure a career highlight. Not only did I get to work with my best friends (and I literally sat across from my BFF every day!), the sheer amount of celebrities that passed through those doors on a regular basis was astounding. When I was the music producer, I not only booked the guests, but of course, pre-interviewed them. One time while trying to get any kind of interview out of Jack Black & Kyle Gass (Tenacious D), they jumped up mid-sentence, started playing air guitar and changed the words of TNT by AC/DC to ‘jeni b’. 

All of the interviews on Cribs have been amazing, as well. These people invite you into their homes and allow you to see them at their most intimate and they’ve almost all been gracious and lovely and kind. Jillian Barberie was a wonderful host. Bif Naked… what can I even say about her? She’s the bees knees. They’ve all exceeded my expectations.
But lastly, my true favourites came from interviewing some of the thousands of competitors that auditioned for Idol & SYTYCDC. My all time favourite thing is talking to “regular” peeps & finding out where they came from and why they are who they are today. Everybody has a story.

Worst?
 
I guess the worst interviews are the ones when you are left hanging. I’m so lucky that there are very few of these in my history.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
 
My dad told me to “give a firm handshake and look ‘em in the eye.” And John Brunton (CEO of Insight Productions), who gave me my first big job and whom I highly respect, once turned to me while standing on George St. in St. John’s, Newfoundland, after a particularly long and stressful day of casting for Canadian Idol, and said “It’s only TV, baby!”. That has stuck with me for years.

It’s important and it’s wonderful to work in, but we’re not saving anyone’s life here. When everything is going to shit, I always remember that.

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
I’m a type-A, super organized, scheduled kind of gal. So lately I’m trying to be a little more open to living in the moment and realizing that it’s okay to be what I am, with a side of free spirit. One thing I definitely do is live every day with ‘pay it forward’ in mind. I’m the girl that returns my grocery cart to it’s proper place and will change route to help an elderly person up the stairs at the subway. Compassion doesn’t always win in this industry but I will never be able to not play by those rules. Oh, and manners are non-negotiable.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros? 

I know how busy everyone is, but a simple response to an inquiry goes a long way. I think taking the time to acknowledge people will make them keep coming back to you over and over.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
Honestly? Deb and rock-it. Every time I change jobs, there are lots of names I take with me. But I have a special top 10 that’s comprised of publicists and music reps that I know and love and have complete and total trust and confidence in. Deb and her team are polite and responsive and hard workers and, they’re in the know! Deb is always the first person I contact when I start something new and she always has content and suggestions for me.  [Ed. note: The love is mutual. jeni b is a kick ass producer, and an all around cool chick.]

I hate? Bullshit. And entitlement. And people who are mean to old folks, animals and children.  Being late makes me crazy.

I love?
Lola & Izzie. Tattoos. Cupcakes. My family. My friends. Music and dancing (in the comfort of my own living room). Writing in small letters (because I think they’re cuter). Movies, TV, magazines. Chocolate.

Reading?
I just finished Bossy Pants by Tina Fey and was completely irritating other subway passengers with my loud bursts of laughter. It’s really so funny. Now I’m about to delve back into Of Human Bondage which was a gift from a dear friend.

Best place on earth?
Just outside the door peeking into the place where my girls are singing at the top of their lungs, dancing around the room and playing their little hearts out (followed by huge squeezes). That, or on a tropical beach somewhere being served copious amounts of chocolate by a cute cabana boy.

Dinner guest?
Dad and Elvis and Ryan Gosling.

Hero?  

I admire and respect every single woman in my life for all different reasons, and I’d have to say they’re all my heroes. From my mom & sister to my best friends & co-workers, they’ve all worked hard to become who they are. They’ve all persevered and struggled and they juggle all the things in their lives like no one else (working mamas get extra props for their unbelievable multi-tasking). Advice is never far away and I’m forever grateful to be constantly inspired by them all.

Favourite app? 

What’s an app? Just kidding. Sort of.

Pool or ocean?
 
Ocean, every single time.

Voicemail or email?  

Email. I’m lightning fast at responding and my Blackberry is never far away.

Media, Darling: Sasha Tong

After working at MTV in the U.K., Sasha Tong moved to Toronto where she quickly landed a job at eTalk.  She’s been with the show for more than five years and heads up the fashion beat. Tong has been lucky enough to interview some of the biggest stars in Hollywood, including everyone from Oscar and Juno nominees to talent at the Toronto International Film Festival; she’s been afforded some pretty crazy opportunities. Tong also now writes a weekly fashion and personal advice column on laineygossip.com.

Twitter: @eTalkCTV

How can someone grab your attention with a pitch?
The most important way to grab my attention is with a pitch that’s quick and concise. If I have to read through a novel to get to the point, then I’ve already moved on. I know what will work and what won’t work for the show, so you typically don’t have to convince me. It’s really important though, that you know what eTalk features on a regular basis, so something like “how to wax your bikini line” just isn’t something I can feature on the show. Oh, and if you get my name right on the email, then that’s a bonus.

What do you find most useful when dealing with public relations professionals?
I always appreciate it when I’m dealing with a PR company that can get me everything I need on a tight turnaround. If you’re pitching me and I like it, I usually have to move quickly, so the more organized and resourceful you are, the more I love you for it. Because time is such an issue, I also find it useful when I can just shoot the shit with the publicist and be straight up. If I pass on a pitch I don’t want to feel like I’ve hurt your feelings.

What is the biggest mistake PR professionals make?

Hands down: when I’m stalked. I love a good follow-up email but if you start leaving messages on my work phone and my cell phone, that’s a quick buzz kill. 

My pet peeve
Please, oh please, put the email all in one font. When I get an email and everything is different sizes, I know you’ve just cut and pasted and pressed send. I don’t need to feel special, but paying attention to a small detail like that goes a long way.

Any other thoughts you’d like to add?

Ninety-nine per cent of the time, the publicists I work with are amazing. You guys are talented, innovative and creative. So keep up the good work.