All stories by Ashleigh Ryan

TIFF

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Today at TIFF: Roger Ebert Twitter showdown, Hello! party, Vanity Fair party, OneXOne fundraiser

Our daily roundup of opening galas, parties and screenings.

• 12:00 p.m. George Christy Luncheon at Avenue Bar and Print Room (Four Seasons Hotel)
• 1:30 p.m. Little White Lies world premiere gala at Roy Thomson Hall
• 2 p.m. The Whistleblower world premiere at Visa Screening Room (Elgin)
• 3 p.m. Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie world premiere at Ryerson Theatre
• 3 p.m. Conviction world premiere at Visa Screening Room (Elgin)
• 4 p.m. Roger Ebert Twitter showdown at the Hyatt Regency
• 6 p.m. Made in Dagenham world premiere at Visa Screening Room (Elgin)
• 6:30 p.m. The Conspirator world premiere gala at Roy Thomson Hall
• 6:30 p.m. Artists for Peace and Justice Fundraiser at Pears on the Avenue
• 7 p.m. HELLO! Magazine Film Festival Cocktail Party at Royal Conservatory Telus Centre for Performance and Learning
• 7 p.m. ReelWorld Film Festival Indie Film Lounge Reception at Empire Lounge
• 9 p.m. Beginners world premiere at Visa Screening Room (Elgin)
• 9 p.m. It’s Kind of a Funny Story world premiere at Ryerson Theatre
• 9 p.m. Vanity Fair Party at Thompson Hotel
• 9:30 p.m. The Town North American premiere gala at Roy Thomson Hall
• 10 p.m. Forest Park hosted by Hayden Christensen at Ultra
Dipdive Nights featuring Will.i.am at Festival Central (148 Cumberland St.)
OneXOne fundraiser at Bisha
Late Night It’s Kind of a Funny Story after-party at Brassaii
• 11:59 p.m. Bunraku world premiere at Ryerson Theatre

TIFF

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Toronto strip clubs see TIFF revenue increase as stars unwind with lap dances

Fortunately for Toronto’s classy (or conservative) reputation, Yorkville and King West bars and clubs see most of the late-night dollars at TIFF. But make no mistake, Hogtown’s more licentious hangouts see plenty of, er, action throughout the fest. According to Tim Lambrinos of the Adult Entertainment Association of Canada, strip clubs in the city enjoy a 20 per cent increase in sales (mostly in American cash) as stars indulge in a lap dance or two when they’re in town. “A lot of people come out after hours and they want to socialize,” he told the Toronto Sun. Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Mickey Rourke and Queen Latifa have been spotted at Four Your Eyes Only on King.

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TIFF

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Fight! Roger Ebert takes on Rainn Wilson in a tweet-off moderated by Dan Levy

Our money's on Ebert

Roger Ebert seems to love getting into fights at TIFF. Two years ago, at the Slumdog Millionaire screening, he got whacked in the head with a notebook by New York Post critic Lou Lumenick after he tapped Lumenick on the shoulder to get him to move his head (Ebert’s thyroid cancer prevented him from speaking). Tomorrow, Ebert is participating in another throwdown, this time in a test of opposable thumb speed and 140-character creativity. Ebert will compete with Rainn Wilson, director James Gunn, Movie City News’ David Poland, Onion AV critic Scott Tobias and two other social network fiends in a tweet-off, with the subject being the state of the film industry. The After Show’s Dan Levy is set to moderate the Twitter-style debate.

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TIFF

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Barney’s Version not likely to impress fans of the book

Barney’s Version may already have a U.S. distributor with Sony Pictures Classics, but a few early reviews of Robert Lantos’s high-stakes adaptation of Mordecai Richler’s CanLit classic suggest the film may not be up to snuff for fans of the book when it premieres at TIFF on Sunday. Variety slammed its diluted rendering of Richler’s rich text, saying, “The dizzying comic energy and intellectual vigor of Mordecai Richler’s 1997 satire have largely been drained from director Richard J. Lewis’s agreeable but inevitably lesser version of Barney’s Version.” The crux of Variety‘s criticism seemed to come from the film being “overwhelmed by the challenge” of fitting 40 years of narrative into 132 minutes of screen time.

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TIFF

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Martin Sheen joins Royal York Hotel picket line for 20 minutes

Fight the power, Marty! (Image: Brian McGuirk)

His son may have been spotted at the Drake’s rooftop patio, but Martin Sheen seems to prefer a more street-level approach to tourism. We loved Sheen as the union leader who takes on the crooked stock player Gordon Gekko in Wall Street, so it’s fitting that he sported a sign saying “On Strike for Justice Unite Here!” as he picketed with Royal York Hotel workers this morning. “I’ve been a union member all my adult life. I’ve been involved in labour struggles all my adult life, and I support it,” he told the Star. We’re not sure if Sheen knows the exact reasons for the strike, but he joined in the fighting of the power for 20 minutes before dashing off to the premiere of his movie The Way, directed by Emilio Estevez.

Martin Sheen joins hotel workers’ Royal York picket line [Toronto Star]

Star graphic

= Find this story on our Celebrity Sightings Map, where we plot the locations of stars spotted throughout Toronto

TIFF

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Score: A Hockey Musical wins over some locals, but virtually no one else

The first onslaught of critical feedback is out after the world premiere of Score: A Hockey MusicalMike McGowan’s filmic ode to pucks, NHL prodigies and has-been pop stars—kicked off the festival last night. Did it flounder in hokey, parochial splendour? Or did it revel in its playful take on our stereotypical national treasures? The reaction was what we’d expect from a musical based on corny local jokes. See the roundup after the jump.

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TIFF

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Today at TIFF: I’m Still Here, Biutiful, Trust, David Suzuki Gala and more

Our daily roundup of opening galas, parties and screenings.

• 3:30 p.m. The Way world premiere at Winter Garden Theatre
• 6 p.m. Daydream Nation world premiere at Ryerson Theatre
• 6 p.m. David Suzuki Gala at the Four Seasons Hotel
• 6:30 p.m. Everything Must Go world premiere at Isabel Bader Theatre
• 6:30 p.m. The King’s Speech at Roy Thomson Hall
• 8 p.m. Biutiful North American premiere at Winter Garden Theatre
• 9 p.m. Stone world premiere at Visa Screening Room (Elgin)
• 9:30 p.m. Trust world premiere at Roy Thomson Hall
• 9 p.m. Alliance Films Studio Party at South of Temperance
• 10 p.m. I’m Still Here North American premiere at Varsity Cinema 8
• 10 p.m. Grey Goose Biutiful Dinner Party at Soho House
• 10 p.m. Slash at Tattoo Rock Parlour
• 10 p.m. SHARAM Live at This Is London
• 10 p.m. Jamie Kennedy at Ultra
Trust After-Party at Brant House

TIFF

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Today at TIFF: Score and Fubar II premiere, TIFF opening event at Spice Route and more

Our daily roundup of opening galas, parties and screenings.

• 4 p.m. Stella Artois Film Screening Party at the Drake Hotel
• 5 p.m. TIFF Opening Cocktail at Spice Route
• 6:30 p.m. Score: A Hockey Musical world premiere at the Visa Screening Room (Elgin)
• 8 p.m. Score: A Hockey Musical world premiere at Roy Thomson Hall
• 9 p.m. Inside Job at Ryerson Theatre
• 10 p.m. TIFF 2010 Opening Gala at the Liberty Grand
• 10 p.m. Red—Canada Through the Lens of the New York Times, featuring Caitlin Cronenberg at Pears on the Avenue
• 10 p.m. APL.DE.AP (of the Black Eyed Peas) DJ set at Ultra
• 10 p.m. Ame’s One-Year Anniversary Party at Ame
• 11:59 p.m. Fubar II world premiere at the Ryerson Theatre

The Informer

Real Estate

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House of the week: $3.5 million for Yorkville mansion built in 1879

ADDRESS: 24 Elgin Avenue

NEIGHBOURHOOD: Yorkville

AGENT: Gay Louise MacLeod, Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd.

PRICE: $3.495 million

THE PLACE: Built in 1879 by Robert Smarr, one of Yorkville’s foremost developers in the 19th-century, this semi-detached residence still sports the high ceilings and original mouldings, trim and hardware of the Romantic Era. Of course, the property has been carefully renovated and restored over the past 20 years to include modern touches, like the spacious contemporary kitchen overlooking the terrace. The spiral staircase leading from the family room to the second floor dates back to bygone days of live-in help, but the master bedroom’s dressing room and third floor suite will certainly come in handy for modern comforts.

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TIFF

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King West city block named after Reitman family

Ivan Reitman and his sisters Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels might have been a little emotional when they handed over the $22-million turf where their parents, Leslie and Clara, bought a car wash when they came to Canada after the Second World War, but the Bell Lightbox is looking swell, and to thank the family for their generosity, they’re going to get their own square.

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The Dish

People

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Toronto chefs serve up free sample dishes for Cheese Boutique tasting series

Now bargain-hunting foodies have something to look forward to that doesn’t end in -licious. Starting September 11, the Cheese Boutique is hosting an eight-week tasting series that will feature a different top Toronto chef each Saturday afternoon. From noon to 4 p.m., there will be complimentary sample dishes made by the featured chef using at least one of Cheese Boutique’s products. The chef lineup includes Café du Lac‘s Bernadette Calpito, the Black Hoof‘s Grant Van Gameren, Pizzeria Libretto‘s Rocco Agostino and O&B Café Grill‘s Markus Bestig. See the event’s Facebook page for complete details.

Cheese Boutique, 45 Ripley Ave. (at South Kingsway), 416-762-6292, cheeseboutique.com.

TIFF

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Sold! Robert Lantos’s Barney’s Version gets American distributor

It’s a sad truth, but Canadian films often struggle to “make it” unless they have an American distributor. That’s why today’s news that Sony Pictures Classics has picked up all U.S. rights to Barney’s Version from producer Robert Lantos (Eastern Promises, Being Julia) before its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on Friday (it’s also screening at TIFF) bodes well for the film’s box office prospects. The film is based on the Mordecai Richler book and stars Paul Giamatti, Dustin Hoffman, Minnie Driver, Scott Speedman and Rosamund Pike.

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The Dish

Coffee and Tea

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Toronto’s 13 new cafés: board games, Bohème and a resurrected waffle house

(Image: one2c900d)

These days, the arrival of a new indie café on Queen West or in Leslieville is about as novel as a Gap opening in a mall, which is why we’re pleased to inform readers that the newest coffee houses in town aren’t located in hipster hubs. Since our last café census in March, we count a total of 13 new spots for Hogtown’s java lovers.

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TIFF

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Casey Affleck insists Joaquin Phoenix documentary is the real thing

Phoenix at an event last week (left) and during the filming of I'm Still Here (right)

It’s official: Joaquin Phoenix’s boorish rapper shtick was the real McCoy, says Casey Affleck, the director of the documentary (mockumentary?), I’m Still Here, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival yesterday. “I can tell you that there is no hoax,” Affleck said at a press conference after the screening, where he was flustered by repeated questions about the film’s legitimacy. “That never even entered into my consciousness until other people began to talk about the movie.”

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The Informer

Culture

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Theo Fleury, Russ Courtnall and Russian figure skaters on for Battle of the Blades

Kurt Browning, Christine Hough-Sweeney, Russ Courtnall, Anabelle Langlois and Shae-Lynn Bourne from Battle of The Blades (Image: George Pimentel/WireImage/Getty Images)

While our dream of pairing Sidney Crosby and Olympic champ Tessa Virtue won’t become reality for this year’s Battle of the Blades, and Tie Domi has declined an encore performance, the list of participants for CBC’s smash hit provides ample reason to tune in for another Kurt Browning-hosted season of awkward NHL/silver blade skate-offs. The theme for this season is “the Russians are coming,” which explains the inclusion of Russian-born figure skaters Violetta Afanasieva and Ekaterina Gordeeva (the latter an Olympic gold medallist in 1988 and 1994), and former Habs and Flames winger Valeri Bure, who enrolled on the request of his wife. New NHL recruits include Russ Courtnall and Theo Fleury, while Shae-Lynn Bourne and Jamie Salé will return. The full list of participants, after the jump.

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