Rave: enRoute Film Festival

TIFF may be over (for now), but that doesn’t mean that the film
festivals have stopped. 

Tonight, FREE public screenings of the top six Air Canada enRoute FilmFestival films will be happening across Canada. You can catch them tonight at 7 p.m. (EST and PST) in Toronto at the Varsity Theatre (55 Bloor St.
W.), in Vancouver at the Scotiabank Theatre (900 Burrard St.) and in Montreal
at the Quartier Latin (350 rue Emery).

For the past six years, Air Canada has been taking emerging Canadian filmmakers to new heights, literally, by showing their
short films on both domestic and international flights. 

The winner will be chosen by a jury of industry
experts, including Jay Baruchel,
actor (How to Train Your Dragon), Niv Fichman, producer (Passchendaele), Mary Harron, director (American
), Alison Pill, actor (The Newsroom), Gordon Pinsent, actor (Away
From Her
), Callum Keith Rennie,
actor (The Killing), Saul Rubinek, actor (Barney’s Version), Jacob Tierney, director (The
), and Karine Vanasse, actor (Polytechnique).

After hundreds of entries, they’re down to the final four competing for the top prize. The 2012 Air Canada enRoute Film Festival finalists are:

Alexander Carson for We
Refuse to Be Cold
Fernand-Philippe Morin-Vargas for Noeud
Danielle Sahota and Davina Rimmer for We
Blinded the Sun
Justin Friesen for Let’s
Make Lemonade
The winner of the Best Short Film Award will receive a cash
prize of $5,000, courtesy of Cineplex Entertainment. Other awards include Achievement
in Documentary, Achievement in Direction and Achievement in 
Cinematography. All award winners will also receive an all-inclusive Air
Canada trip for two to the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France. 

This year, viewers will vote for their favourite film to
determine the winner of the inaugural People’s Choice Award. Voting ends Wednesday, November 7 at enRoutefilm.com. The winner will be
announced live at the awards celebration in Toronto on November 7 and will receive an Air Canada flight for two to a North American destination of
their choice.

City Living: Friday Night Live at the ROM

Looking for something different to do tonight? We’re on it! Each Friday evening from 6 p.m. onwards, school groups are out and the party is on during Friday Night Live @ ROM (aka #FNLROM), the latest and most unexpected 19+ art/music/food event in the city. 

As soon as you arrive, you realize something different is up. A bouncer? Line-up? Short skirts and heels? No baby strollers or children screaming about dinosaurs? Cover is a bargain at $9, which gets you in to the party and all of the galleries. 

It’s busy, we promise.
The entire ROM is open, so stroll through the natural history, world culture, dinosaur galleries and bat cave at your leisure. ROM staff and volunteers are set up with artifacts and displays tying their gallery to the theme of the night. (You can’t bring your food and drinks into the actual galleries, but there are a number of bars set up in different spaces throughout the museum). After a few drinks, the coral reef or leaf-cutter ant colony has never looked so interesting. 
Running through the batcave screaming – every Ontarian’s birthright.
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The galleries close at 9:30 p.m., but then everyone converges in the atrium, decked out with a massive dance floor, pop-up food stations from Fidel Gastro, Jamie Kennedy, Waffle Bar and c5, and a bar serving wine, beer and the stronger stuff. #FNLROM currency of choice is “ROM bucks” that you exchange your cash for. 1 ROM buck = $1, with most food and beer selling for $5 and wine for $6.

Apres-work snack – c5 noodle box.
What surprised us the most was how popular the event has become, and so quickly. The place was PACKED! Lots of first dates, groups of girls dressed for a club afterwards, groups of guys who must have heard that girls like guys who hang out at museums… everyone was having a blast. The DJ switches every week, but the night we went the music had everyone on the dance floor. 

Drink and dance amidst the dinos.
You have just two weeks left (including tonight!) to check out the #FNLROM party. (Although based on its popularity, we’re pretty confident it’ll be back). 

Tonight’s theme is FUTALONGNKO-WHAT?, with the ROM unveiling a 110-foot-long Futulognkosaurus, and, showing that they have a sense of humour, a signature foot-long artisanal hot dog (get it? foot-long-a-saurus?). Music is by DJ Dave Allison featuring Higgins.

The final night (June 22), iDrum Presents Gondwana Beats, is the opening party for the ROM’s new exhibition Ultimate Dinosaurs: Giants of Gondwana. iDrum will bring their unique sounds to the gallery, as well as performances by DiGGY the DJ (of Down with Webster) and DJ Jay Sea.

See you there!

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

My Hood: Summerhill/Rosedale

Next up in our My ‘Hood series, Kylie chats about living north of Bloor in Rosedale/Summerhill.

I moved to the Rosedale/Summerhill neighbourhood last January. What I love about the area is that the location gives you an uptown family ‘nabe feel, but you are also blocks away from Bloor street, and a quick jump on the Summerhill or Rosedale subway to downtown. Because most of my week is spent downtown at the office, I enjoy sticking around on weekends and browsing through the local shops, restaurants and all the other fun spots that the area has to offer.

Here is how you can find me spending my ideal Saturday:

11 a.m. Head over to the Rosedale Diner for brunch. A classic spot where the food is definitely more gourmet than greasy spoon. While your basic breakfast options are available, I usually go for the Eggs Benny and Brioche French Toast (not to mention some of the best Caesars in town). 

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1 p.m. Wander down Yonge St. for some window shopping and retail therapy. Whether it’s clothes or home decor, there is no shortage of selection in the area. With brands like JBrand, Equipment, James Perse and Dolce Vita, Shop NYLA is a great store for essentials like jeans and T-shirts, but is also the perfect destination for that awesome party dress. As far as home decor goes, look no further than the five blocks between Summerhill and Rosedale station. This interior design mecca has something to fit everyone’s taste. My personal favourite is the shabby chic store Putti where you can find everything from bedding and lighting, to furniture.
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4 p.m. Get pampered at Mani Pedi. Good prices and good service (not to mention an amazing selection of nail polish).

5 p.m. Pick up wine and groceries for dinner. Lucky for me, the city’s largest liquor store is located just steps from our door. The train-station-turned-LCBO is hard to miss with its surrounding moat and huge clock tower. Not only is it convenient, but the selection is better than almost any other LCBO in the city. On my way home, I often head to the Five Thieves for groceries. The Harvest Wagon is perfect for picking up some extra veggies last minute, or, if I’m feeling indulgent, splurging on some prepared food at All the Best Fine Foods.

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11 p.m. My day ends at Le Petit Castor with wine and friends. Nights there tend to start off innocently enough with a glass of wine at the bar or one of the cozy booths, but their signature Pink Panthers (the menu advises you not to have more than one) typically lead to at least one person dancing on a table, and without a doubt a big dance party at the back of the bar. Their food hits the spot, too.

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That’s my perfect day in my ‘hood. See you at LPC for a Panther.

Rave: Love Lies Bleeding Karaoke Night

We think it’s time we confess to something. We are really into the ancient Japanese art of karaoke, so needless to say, we were pretty excited to be a part of an Elton John-themed karaoke night at the Gladstone last week.

Why Elton John? Well, Loves Lies Bleeding, a critically acclaimed ballet inspired by the life and music of Sir Elton John, premieres Tuesday, November 8 at the Sony Center. To get pumped up for the premiere, we threw an evening of Elton John karaoke. 

The night was a little bit cool and rainy, a perfect night to spend inside a warm room with a glass of wine. There were some great performances throughout the night, including a pretty spot-on version of Crocodile Rock by two gents (falsetto included), an energetic and pitch-perfect version of Don’t Go Breaking My Heart by @mattyaustin and his talented friend Shannon, and an A-for-effort version of Circle of Life by @bigail and her husband (yes, 100% cheesy). 

@laratobin and a small gang did their part up on stage, and @badalie and @debgee rocked out a groovy version of Bennie and The Jets, glasses included. 

Watch them perform it here: 

One of the most fun performances of the night came from the lead dancers from the ballet, Yukichi Hattori and Kelley McKinlay. They got up on stage to sing Honky Cat, and impressed the room with their ability to sing AND dance. See them perform here: 

By the end of the night the entire room was either up on their feet dancing or singing along to a great version of The Lion King’s ‘I Just Can`t Wait To Be King’ by none other than @shotbyphil and @badalie.

The top three performers of the night each won a pair of tickets each to attend the premiere of Love Lies Bleeding, and choosing between all the great performances was not easy. 

The only thing more fun than an evening of karaoke is a night spent enjoying this amazing ballet when it arrives in Toronto, so make sure to grab your tickets now. 

To get your tickets to see the Alberta Ballet perform Love Lies Bleeding at the Sony Centre (November 8 to12) click here

Rave: High Tea

Whether it’s an alternative to coffee in the morning, a cozy drink on a cold rainy day or a relaxing way to end a meal, there is nothing like a good cup of tea. As lovers of tea, one of our favourite indulgences is going for High Tea. 

We were first introduced to High Tea while living in London, England one summer. It was a friend’s birthday and instead of going out for dinner, we opted for traditional afternoon tea. Dressing up in our most elegant summer dresses, six of us headed to the Savoy Hotel to enjoy scones, tea sandwiches, pastries, tea, and champagne for the birthday girl. It was divine.

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Whether it’s for a special celebration, or simply an outing with girlfriends (it’s a great alternative to brunch), we’ve found three places in Toronto that offer both traditional and variations of this popular British custom.

The Windsor Arms Hotel –  18 St. Thomas St.
Perfect for a bridal or baby shower, or even just an afternoon tea, we’ve found that The Windsor Arms offers the most authentic High Tea experience in the city. With options to sit in the French-style lobby tea room or the majestic purple room with its original 1927 working fireplace, you feel as though you’ve been transported to another time and place. The price ranges from $30 during the week to $38 on the weekends for “Full Tea”, which includes scones, tea sandwiches, desserts and a selection of teas. While the Windsor Arms is definitely on the more expensive side, it is well worth it for the experience and delicious food.

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Red Tea Box – 696 Queen St. W.
While High Tea at the Red tea Box is not exactly traditional, it is most definitely a whimsical experience. When walking into the store/restaurant, you feel as though you’ve just stepped into the world of Alice in Wonderland, with colourful, ornate pastries and quirky mismatched furniture, silverware and tablecloths. A variety of prix-fixe options are available including the “Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” (including scones, sandwiches, tea cakes and tea for $27), Tea Bento, South East Asian Tea, Tea Feature, and Dessert Bento. We’ll be heading back again to try each of these cool options.

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T Buds – 3343 Yonge St.
For a more casual yet equally fun and delicious High Tea experience, T Buds on Yonge (north of Lawrence) offers an extensive selection of teas and sandwiches available for afternoon tea. For $22, you’re served the traditional High Tea spread upstairs in the Tea Lounge. A bonus at T Buds is that it is first and foremost a tea shop. The staff are very knowledgeable, and if you enjoyed the tea you sipped, you can buy it downstairs to recreate a tea party at home.

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If you’re looking for something new and different to do in Toronto then we definitely suggest you try High Tea; if not for the tea, then at least for the tea sandwiches! Who can say no to delicious little crustless bites of goodness? 

City Living: Drake’s Fall Market

We’re always on the hunt for festive fall activities and we found a market that is the perfect Saturday outing to celebrate the season.

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Tomorrow, Queen West’s favourite fall market is back at The Drake Hotel. Twice a year, artists and artisans come together to showcase and sell their wares on Drake’s café patio, in an urban market that combines bake sale with yard sale. If you’re looking for vintage clothing, handmade cards and jewellery, original paintings or even fresh flowers, then look no further.

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Forgot your wallet at home? The FREEcycle table, back by popular demand, has you covered. This section of the market offers gently used Drake items for free. We definitely suggest you check it out, you never know what treasures you may stumble upon. Last year we found an old silver teapot which we’ve repurposed as a fancy, “antique” watering can.

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We think you’d agree that no outdoor market is complete without baked goodies. Staying true to harvest season, the market will offer caramel apples, mini pumpkin pies, as well as chocolate chip and bacon cookies (leave it to Drake to be right on-trend, bacon is appearing in everything these days) and more.

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The Drake Fall Market will take place on Saturday, October 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Drake’s café patio at 1150 Queen St. W. See you there.