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Here are five trailers for films we now know are coming to TIFF

This morning, the Toronto International Film Festival made its first in what will certainly be a long series of programming announcements leading up to the September 4 commencement of this year’s event. Today’s unveiling consisted of 13 “gala” films (meaning, big-deal premieres) and 46 “special presentations” (meaning, almost-as-big-deal premieres).

Despite having lost some major debuts to rival festivals in places like New York and Venice, TIFF’s initial offering comprises some legitimately exciting titles, including David Cronenberg’s latest, as well as a comedy with Jason Bateman and Tina Fey, and the world premiere of a new Jake Gyllenhaal movie. Here are trailers for those, and a few other movies included in today’s reveal.

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People are confused by Drake’s new album name

(Image: musicisentropy/Flickr)

(Image: musicisentropy/Flickr)

On Tuesday, Billboard revealed that the name of Drake’s still-unrecorded next album will be Views From the 6—and then confusion set in. Unlike the rapper’s previous album titles, which have been intelligible if slightly cryptic (Take Care, Nothing Was the Same), this one is so open to interpretation that even Billboard didn’t know quite what to make of it. And that’s despite a preponderance of evidence that it’s just a sly reference to the last digit in Toronto’s area code.

Even so, not everyone is convinced.

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Monster Mash

On Guillermo del Toro’s gruesome horror series The Strain, vampires are the new bioterrorists

Monster Mash

A panel from The Strain’s graphic novel edition (Illustration courtesy of Dark Horse Comics)

The vampires on the new series The Strain are a novel breed. When they’re changed, their hair falls out. Their skin turns a vomitous shade of greenish-grey. Their veins fill with white slime. Instead of growing retractable fangs, they get a stinger—a huge, Alien-esque proboscis that shoots sticky, worm-infested bile into all mortals in its path, draining the victims’ blood and infecting them with a virus that mutates their genes. The show’s radical revision of vampire mythology (and physiology) subverts everything we’ve come to know and love about the pop culture anti-heroes. These vamps aren’t brooding, studly teens. They don’t leap through trees. They’re not lustful de­flowerers of virgins. Where Twilight describes its vampires as “devastatingly, inhumanly beautiful,” The Strain turns them into indistinguishable drones. Instead of glamouring humans, they’re terrorizing us.

The ghastly creatures—recently seen prowling through Toronto’s downtown core while the show shot its first season here last spring—are the latest in a string of new monsters invading the small screen. Most of these horror series tap into archetypes that have fuelled the genre for eons: the savage cannibal in Hannibal, the Victorian demons in Penny Dreadful, the serial killer in Bates Motel, the asylum patients and witches in American Horror Story.

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Famous people spending the summer in Toronto: a field guide

There are a few celebrities who have permanent homes in Toronto, but how many times can you spot Claire Danes walking down the street with her stroller before the novelty is gone? Fortunately, the local film industry is constantly bringing itinerant superstars to our city, where they take advantage of our studios, streets and tax credits to shoot their fighting-robot movies and romantic comedies. Here, a guide to this summer’s crop of visiting celebrities, the films they’re shooting and where you need to go if you want to score an autograph.

peter-dinklageName: Peter Dinklage
Movie: Pixels, Adam Sandler’s new comedy about 1980s video game characters that come to life and attack New York.
Where: The movie is filming all around the financial district.
When: July to the beginning of September.
Best bet for an autograph: Dinklage has been spotted throughout Yorkville, particularly outside of Bacio Restaurant and near Whole Foods.
What not to say: It’s probably a good idea to avoid height-related quips. Other no-nos: gushing like a crazed fangirl over Lord Tyrion.
Friendliness rating: 8. Everyone’s favourite Game of Thrones actor usually stops for a selfie or two with fans when he passes through LAX.

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Alec Baldwin may play a “Rob Ford–like mayor” on TV

whos-noticing-us-nowHaving decided not to retire from public life after all, Alec Baldwin is reportedly developing a new role that will allow him to get a little more mileage out of the gleefully sociopathic persona he honed on 30 Rock: Rob Ford. Or at any rate, a character very much like Rob Ford. According to Deadline Hollywood, Baldwin is working with NBC Productions on a pilot for a one-hour cable series in which he would play “a Rob Ford-type Mayor of New York City.” This could be Ford’s big chance to break out of live theatre.

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Women on the Verge

In his new book, Seconds, graphic novelist Bryan Lee O’Malley tackles the latest pop culture archetype: the successful, single hapless heroine

The Argument: Women on the Verge

(Image courtesy of Random House)

At a moment of unprecedented female success, when women run mega-­companies like Facebook, Yahoo and GM, the funhouse mirror of pop culture is reflecting a new image: the intelligent, talented, capable, well-respected spaz. Liz Lemon was one of the first. She blerged her way through seven seasons of discombobulated bossdom on 30 Rock. The lovably delusional Leslie Knope of Parks and Recreation soon followed, along with the accident-prone, man-crazy ob-gyn Mindy Lahiri of The Mindy Project, and the narcissistic, OCD-twitching ­Hannah Horvath of Girls. Even Mad Men’s Peggy Olson, who ­shatters glass ceilings in plaid pants, seems to have become a 21st-­century punchline of pratfalls and gloomy masturbation.

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Reasons to Love Toronto 2014: #8. Because Claire Danes Is Just Another Toronto Stroller Pusher

Reasons to Love Toronto 2014: #8. Because Claire Danes Is Just Another Toronto Stroller Pusher

(Image: Sean O’Neill/Pacific Coast News)

We thought it was a mirage last fall when we saw Claire Danes and Hugh Dancy having dinner at Woodlot, basking in a beatific glow. Then we spotted them again, walking with their baby down Queen West, and caught Danes head-bobbing to Arcade Fire at the ACC. Danes and Dancy are new Torontonians, living several months of the year here while Dancy films his CityTV series Hannibal, a prequel to Silence of the Lambs. Apart from being the grisliest show on television—in one scene, Dr. Lecter, played by the hollow-cheeked Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, sews together a pile of naked, still-twitching victims—it’s also thrilling and suspenseful, beloved by critics and obsessively anatomized online. Hannibal is one of several Toronto shows contributing to the box’s golden age. Among the new crop of hits is Orphan Black, the creepy Space sci-fi series about a troupe of clones, which films all over the GTA and sells out auditoriums at ComiCon. On CTV, Reign, a moony, Toronto-shot soap about Mary Queen of Scots’ teenage love life, has amassed a rabid fan base who call themselves Loyal Royals. And then there’s The Strain, an apocalyptic vampire show from weirdo director ­Guillermo del Toro, which films near Queen and Church. (Del Toro loves shooting in Toronto so much that he’s made his last three projects here, including 2013’s Mama and Pacific Rim, and next year’s Crimson Peak, a haunted house story starring Jessica Chastain, Tom ­Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska.) The Strain is the summer’s most anticipated series, set to debut in July on FX, a ­network that’s rivalling HBO in quality cable programming. Toronto’s TV industry is finally something we can brag about: last year, TV productions poured nearly $730 million into the local economy. Spotting Claire Danes at the AGO is just an added perk.

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Reasons to Love Toronto 2014: #3. Because the City Puts On A Nightly Light Show

Reasons to Love Toronto 2014: #3. Because the City Puts On a Nightly Light Show

(Image: Daniel Neuhaus)

Over the past few years, as a forest of condos and commercial towers grew in the core, the nighttime skyline began to shimmer and twinkle. ­Torontonians are the happy beneficiaries of a kind of artistic one-upmanship among developers, who are commissioning light installations to lend other­wise inter­changeable glass towers some ­personality. The biggest concentration is in the 21 CityPlace condos, between Bathurst and the ­Rogers Centre, where the Ottawa-based artist Adrian Göllner used thousands of multi­coloured LEDs to highlight the nooks, parapets or angles of each building. (He says his project, titled Warm by Night, is a reaction to the cold glare of the financial district.) Another 17,200 lights illuminate the RBC Centre on Wellington in the bank’s signature blue, and 19 strips of LEDs programmed to shift through a range of colours make the Arcade Building, at the foot of Yonge, seem to dance. ­Perhaps the most dramatic is at the Corus Quay complex, right on the lake, where the prestigious British art collective Troika installed a 12-metre-high polycarbonate lightning bolt–like sculpture covered in 35,000 lights. Each addition to the nightly show is another beacon drawing us to a new, vibrant downtown.

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Reasons to Love Toronto 2014: #15. Because We Make Room For Artists

Reasons to Love Toronto 2014: #15. Because We Make Room For Artists

(Image: Daniel Neuhaus)

It’s ironic that Trinity Bellwoods, the city’s artsiest neighbourhood, is too expensive to accommodate artists themselves: on average, commercial rent for a studio-size space in the area shakes out to a pricy $41 per square foot. Artscape, the utopian NPO known for creating artists’ colonies, is helping out with the price of admission. For their latest miracle makeover, they bought the Shaw Street School, a 100-year-old institution that the TDSB closed in 2000, and revamped the classrooms into bright studios. Artscape Youngplace, as it’s now called, opened last fall, offering artists the chance to rent workspace for around 50 per cent below area rates. Among the current inhabitants are sound artist Eve Egoyan (Atom’s sister); the Koffler Centre, a Jewish arts institution that occupies the old library; and the Small World Music Centre, which has a miniature concert hall. The building is buzzing with energy and optimism—kind of like the first day of school.

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Reasons to Love Toronto 2014: #12. Because Guillaume Found Heather

Reasons to Love Toronto 2014: #12. Because Guillaume Found Heather

(Image: Marlee Maclean/Roots Canada)

Guillaume Côté and Heather Ogden so fully embody the romance of ballet that they may well have hatched from a life-size Fabergé egg. The couple met at the National Ballet School when they were teens. They started dating in 2006 and married in  2010—their Instagrams capture starry-eyed beach strolls and ­Valentine’s ­celebrations over pizza and House of Cards, and their real-life romance seeps into their stage roles. Côté leaps and lunges with the controlled energy of a flexed piano string. He’s also a promising choreographer—he’s created several short pieces, including one for Ogden called Lost in Motion II, and will debut his first full-length ballet, based on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, in 2016. Ogden is the quintessential fairy princess: so lithe, light and elegant that she practically floats across the stage. When Côté and Ogden dance together, they generate an electricity that thrums all the way up to the fifth ring.

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Reasons to Love Toronto 2014: #23. Because We Raise Musical Prodigies

Reasons to Love Toronto 2014: #23. Because We Raise Musical Prodigies

(Image: Joanne Ratajczak)

“I performed at Carnegie Hall and Steinway Hall in New York when I was 9. I was mostly just excited to visit FAO Schwarz.”

Coco Ma (left),
13, Leaside, piano
Last fall, she was one of only 12 students chosen to study with piano phenom Lang Lang in Munich. “He’s a really, really cool guy,” she says.
Goal: To be as big as Lang Lang.

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Show and Tell

Compulsive art collector Salah Bachir flaunts his glitteriest, gayest pieces in
a new WorldPride exhibit. Here, a look at the iconic works on display

Scrapbook: Show and Tell

(Image: Tom Sandler)

Every surface inch of Salah Bachir’s two-storey lakeside condo is plastered with iconic art: a pair of Warhol’s Marilyns hang in the office, Herb Ritts’s glamour shots of Elizabeth ­Taylor in the upstairs corridor, colourful pieces by Canadian painters Attila Richard Lukacs and Stephen Andrews in the ­dining room, and a portrait of an American Gigolo–era Richard Gere in all his nude, lion-haired glory near the bathroom. Bachir, the 58-year-old Cineplex president, is known for his flamboyant style (he often dresses like a genie in billowy satin robes and hoop earrings) and lavish philanthropy (his nickname on the society circuit is Gala Salah). He’s also one of the city’s pre-­eminent art patrons, rotating his 3,000-piece collection between the condo he shares with his partner, the artist Jacob Yerex—they recently bought the unit upstairs for more wall space—and a country house in Paris, Ontario, decorated to look like a rococo French salon. Bachir began amassing art in the early ’80s after befriending Keith Haring and ­Robert Mapplethorpe on trips to New York City. In fact, it was Haring who persuaded Bachir to buy his first Warhol, a 1957 “Happy Butterfly Day” drawing. Now, with 75 pieces, Bachir ranks among the top 50 Warhol collectors in the world. He buys works that stoke his obsession with queer identity, whether in the form of cheeky camp or sultry homoeroticism. In honour of WorldPride, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art is showcasing a selection of Bachir’s most famous pieces. Here, the stories behind a few of our favourites.

ART
Over the Rainbow

From the collection of Salah Bachir and Jacob Yerex
MOCCA
June 21 to Aug. 17

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Five gay things (other than the parade) worth checking out at WorldPride

(Image: Karen Stintz)

(Image: Karen Stintz)

We don’t choose to be gay, but we certainly choose where we’ll be from June 20 to 29, when the international WorldPride 2014 extravaganza descends on the streets of Toronto. While some will opt for intimate backyard soirees with friends, others will hit the outdoor beer gardens, art shows, theatrical offerings and drag revues in festive (and sometimes fetish) regalia. Still others will flee to Huntsville cottage country, eschewing Pride flags and statement jewellery for Muskoka chairs and cold-certified, salt-of-the-Earth brew-haha.

For those who choose to stay in town, the two million expected visitors, inevitable line-ups and hundreds of events—up to and including June 29th’s parade—can make the idea of showing pride seem a little daunting. Here are five best bets that will get anyone off his or her (or, xyr?) rocker and into the gauntlet of gay.

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A painting of the Don Valley Parkway’s rainbow tunnel could sell for more than $16 million

Country Rock (Wing Mirror), by Peter Doig. Image courtesy of Sotheby's.

Country Rock (Wing Mirror), by Peter Doig. Image courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Anyone who has driven past the Don Valley Parkway’s rainbow tunnel over the past 40 some-odd years and not somehow cashed in on the experience will be feeling pretty dumb on June 30th, when Sotheby’s London auctions off a painting of that very tunnel for a sum that, according to the Globe, is considered likely to land well north of $16 million.

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This could be your big chance to have an awkward run-in with Peter Dinklage

(Image: @Transit30069/Twitter)

(Image: @Transit30069/Twitter)

There are few celebrities bigger (or smaller, for that matter) than Peter Dinklage in 2014, and so it’s not surprising that the Game of Thrones and X-Men: Days of Future Past star’s appearances in Yorkville over the weekend caused a little bit of a stir. Dinklage is in town with Adam Sandler, shooting a Chris Columbus movie called Pixels, which IMDB says is about video-game experts who “are recruited by the military to fight 1980s-era video game characters who’ve attacked New York.” That may not be the most promising premise, but it does at least mean that Dinklage (and Sandler, and a few other famous-ish people) will be around town for the next little while, so anyone who missed their opportunity to sneak a picture of Tyrion Lannister himself may get a second chance.

Here’s what happened while Dinklage was in Yorkville.

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