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People

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Q&A: departing National Post columnist Shinan Govani on life with the city’s glitter girls and power players

After 12 years and 6,623 parties, Toronto’s gossip guy of record is parting ways with the National Post. Here, Shinan Govani dishes on on his favourite celeb encounter, why Toronto could totally support a Real Housewives series and whether he’s ever puked into Hilary Weston’s shoes* (*he has not)

shinan-govani

Govani with Tanya Kim (left) and Katie Couric (right)

You have met innumerable celebs on the job—who sticks out as being the most amazing?
It was pretty groovy when I went to a little party a few years ago and Liza Minnelli sang in my face. There are probably a lot of more au courant movie stars I could name, but…

More au courant than Liza!?
Ha! But really, she was more than a star. She is so iconic—it was like the Eiffel Tower coming to life.

The Toronto “scene” is sort of it’s own beast, wouldn’t you say?
Yes, though there’s been sort of a flat-lining of the things that distinguish one large metropolis from another. Everyone watches the same media and gets information at the same time. Today some kid in his basement in Ajax can see the same things they’re seeing at Milan Fashion Week. This globalization has led to a more acute sense of strutting and peacocking here in Toronto.

But aren’t we a little more reserved here? People say the Real Housewives franchise wouldn’t work in Toronto because our rich people here are so discrete in terms of dirty laundry.
I don’t really buy that. Nobody had heard of Bethenny Frankel or Countess LuAnn before the Real Housewives turned them into stars. It’s not like actual high society types are doing that show in any city and I think it’s overly pious to think that ambitious star fuckery doesn’t exist here. It does.

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The Informer

Events

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Seven bits of juicy celebrity gossip from Lainey Lui’s Smut Soirée at the Evergreen Brickworks

Lainey Gossip

Elaine Liu a.ka. Lainey Gossip (Image: George Pimentel)

Every year Elaine Lui, the gossip columnist who turned her blog Lainey Gossip into a million-reader-a-day megasite and the co-host of the upcoming CTV talk show The Social, throws a white-wine soaked estro-fest at the Evergreen Brickworks. Last night the eighth annual party drew over a thousand women—beautifully be-weaved, short-shorted, leopard-printed and high-heeled devotees who appreciate Lainey’s sharp, bullshit-free approach to celeb culture. After enough zero-calorie Vitamin Water and Mike’s Hard Lemonade to drown a sorority, the crowd erupted with whoops as Lainey took the stage. Perched on a bubblegum pink sofa, and puffing her electronic cigarette, she offered up an hour of unadulterated gossip with TV host Dan Levy. Here, the juiciest tidbits from the queen of smut.

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TIFF

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VIDEO: Watch Toronto Life’s online editor talk star-spotting and celebrity gossip at TIFF 2012

Our online editor Andrew Wallace appeared on Global’s The Morning Show bright and early yesterday morning to talk all things TIFF, offering intel on the latest celebrity sightings and dishing on all the news from the ultra-exclusive, star-studded social club Soho House. Check out the clip for more!

The Informer

People

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Rufus Wainwright and Jorn Weisbrodt are finally getting hitched tomorrow!

(Image: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images Entertainment)

After getting engaged back in 2010, Toronto’s Annex-dwelling, star-powered couple Rufus Wainwright and Jorn Weisbrodt are finally tying the knot tomorrow night with a 250-person bash in Montauk, New York, featuring celebrity guests Princess Leia Carrie Fisher and Yoko Ono, among others. The event is (understandably) being kept hush-hush, but details have, of course, managed to emerge anyway: the duo will reportedly marry in a ceremony at the home of Wainwright’s father, Grammy-winning singer Loudon Wainwright III, then jump into the sea for a quick dip before heading to Shagwong Restaurant, where Wainwright is expected to perform (there is no formal dress code, which makes deciding what to wear for the nuptials–swimming–partying lineup considerably easier). The rumour mill also has it that the pair is asking for funds to put toward their new aluminum Airstream trailer in lieu of traditional wedding gifts, which, if true, is awesome. [Toronto Star]

The Informer

Real Estate

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Condo gossip: three towers could be coming to the Toronto Star’s parking lot 

Up to three condo towers could soon sprout from the parking lot of the Toronto Star building at Yonge and Queens Quay, according to a number of unnamed sources quoted in the Financial Post. Rumour has it that the Vancouver-based Pinnacle International Realty Group will soon close a deal to build a major project next to the office tower (the paper has a long-term lease for its space so it won’t be turfed out for at least 20 years). Back in 2000, Torstar Corporation sold the building to a holding company controlled by the Thomson family for $40 million, saying it was an opportune time because the real estate market was strong. The market is quite a bit stronger now (though talk of cooling has begun), and the price will be “far north” of $40 million this time, according to a source close to the deal. [Financial Post]

The Informer

Real Estate

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Muammar Gaddafi’s son stops paying the condo fees on his Toronto penthouse 

The condo board of the building at Spadina and Lake Shore where Saadi Gaddafi owns a penthouse has placed a lien against his property, citing $4,431 in unpaid fees. His lawyer said that the third son of the former Libyan dictator can’t pay up because of a UN Security Council resolution that froze his assets. (That  said, Gaddafi somehow kept up-to-date with his condo fees for at least nine months after the resolution passed, and he seems able to fund an alcohol-fuelled lifestyle in Niger.) The condo will likely remain frozen by the Canadian government for the foreseeable future—so any prospective buyers tempted by the novelty of owning an ex-dictator’s son’s penthouse will have to be patient. [National Post]

The Informer

People

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PARTY PAGES: Power Ball, where you will never run out of meat, alcohol or pretty things to look at

A party like the Power Plant gallery fundraiser Power Ball: Quarter-Life Crisis hasn’t happened in Toronto since the Dangerous Method fete at Soho House last TIFF. The celebrity presence may not have been there, but the attitude was the same: old biddies, artists, hipsters, PR gals and banker bros all partied together, taking in unusual art while drinking a lot (a lot) and eating wild bison sandwiches prepared by celebrity chef Marc Thuet in between emergency dance breaks. A party of such esteem isn’t without its boldface names, and we saw Belinda Stronach, writer Victoria Webster, the Globe and Mail’s Gabe Gonda, gossip columnist Shinan Govani, Zoomer’s Suzanne Boyd, artist Rui Amaral, eTalk’s Tanya Kim, designer Jeremy Laing, accessories designer Maryam Keyhani, socialite Jenna Bitove and The Society’s Ashleigh Dempster and Amanda Blakley.

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The Dish

People

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Chef Grant Soto to reveal his identity at a charity boat dinner in July

I’m on a boat!

He routinely makes fun of foodies from the safety of an anonymous Twitter account, but on July 25, chef Grant Soto” will be revealing himself at a charity dinner on Captain John’s Harbour Boat Restaurant (we can’t promise he won’t disrobe, but by “revealing” we just mean he’s going to show up with his true identity on display). It’s a fairly courageous move, considering his Internet trolling has made him a well-hated micro-celebrity, but perhaps benefiting the Breakfast Clubs of Canada will win him some goodwill. Tickets for the dinner cost $150, and the food will be prepared by Keriwa’s Aaron Joseph Bear Robe, Parts and Labour’s Matty Matheson, Campagnolo’s Craig Harding and Porchetta and Co.’s Nick Auf Der Mauer (and yes, the $150 buys you an open bar). Oh, and Soto kindly notes that vegetarians and gluten-free types need not worry, because, as he announces on his newly launched website, they will “take care of that shit too.” [Chef Grant Soto]

(Images: Chef Grant Soto, Twitter; Captain John’s, Mathew Ingram)

The Informer

People

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A retelling of John Travolta’s alleged big gay exploits in Toronto

John Travolta (Image: Dylan Asche)

Two men have filed a lawsuit against John Travolta this week, dealing with allegations that Travolta sexually harrassed his masseurs while getting a rubdown. Lainey Lui of Lainey Gossip fuelled the gay rumour mill yesterday by adding that she has close friends in Toronto who have been approached by Travolta. According to Lainey, while Travolta was shooting Hairspray in the city, he propositioned two of her male friends in a locker room—and she also claims a hotel worker pal of hers was encouraged to linger after showing the actor to his room. If any of this is true, and Travolta really is on the down low, he is both brazen and saucy. Or maybe he’s just like George Constanza and appreciates a good man-on-man massage? We won’t know what Travolta is thinking until he comes out and says it.

The Informer

People

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Did Ryan Gosling really save Laurie Penny’s life? We’re not so sure

Dear Laurie Penny,

Given that Ryan Gosling has not actually come out to confirm your life-changing event (he has merely confirmed that he’s in New York), we’re about ready to call this a hoax. In your piece for Gawker yesterday, you act coolly, saying that the person who saved you just happened to be Gosling (no big deal), but then you go on to repeat moments of minor swooning. Well, which is it—are you over your celebrity encounter or crushing on the man who should’ve been named the sexiest man alive? Your excitement on Twitter two nights ago suggested it wasn’t just some random thing that happened, and you certainly didn’t hide the fact that it was the great and powerful Goz who was responsible for your survival. You make the observation that “if Ryan Gosling hadn’t happened to be the nearest person at the time, I’m sure the girl standing next to me, who confirmed Gosling’s identity, would have prevented me from meandering into an early grave.” While that might be true, if it weren’t for the Goz, the few million people who aren’t calming down about Gosling may not know who you are—the writer from Britain, who lives in New York, who has books to sell.

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The Informer

People

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A delightfully unstuffy affair (featuring Malcolm Gladwell) at the UWI Toronto Benefit Gala

E. Nigel Harris and Malcolm Gladwell (Image: Erin Simkin)

More fancy Toronto benefit galas should be like the third annual University of the West Indies Toronto Benefit Gala at the Four Seasons Hotel on Saturday night. Guests shared warm embraces and rowdy laughs, a drum circle in colourful costumes ushered the food to the table, and a string of talented musicians delighted those on hand from start to finish. Special guests honoured at the proceedings included the New Yorkers Malcolm Gladwell, Canadian artist (and friend of Michelle Obama) Artis Lane, former Cabinet minister Zanana Akande, top lawyer Frank Walwyn and cultural philanthropist Dr. Anthony MacFarlane.

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The Informer

Random Stuff

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Muammar Gaddafi’s son owns a downtown Toronto condo 

While condo market stories are about as ubiquitous in the Toronto media as the inefficient glass buildings are in the city core, we’re willing to bet it’s going to be difficult to top the latest condo gossip. Last week the National Post broke the news that none other than Saadi Gaddafi, the son of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, owns a $1.6-million penthouse near the corner of Spadina and Lake Shore Boulevard. Read the entire story [National Post] »

The Informer

Business

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Corporate gossip: MLSE chair Larry Tanenbaum unknowingly foiled the Teachers’ plot to unseat him

In striking an agreement with Rogers and Bell to buy the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan’s majority stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Larry Tanenbaum apparently dodged a multi-million-dollar bullet. The Globe and Mail reports the pension plan was prepared to can Tanenbaum as MLSE chairman before he played kingmaker in the joint ownership deal between the twin telecom giants. It’s debatable whether Teachers could’ve actually ousted Tanenbaum, who was never directly threatened. But they had plenty of reasons to begrudge the man who reportedly wields “unusual leverage at MLSE, despite holding only 20 per cent.” Of course, with the Bell/Rogers deal that’s now 25 per cent. Read the entire story [Globe and Mail] »

The Goods

Random Stuff

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Joe Freezy (also known as Joe Fresh) is going to Miami to throw a party

No, Joe Mimran isn’t living out a Will Smith video as part of his bucket list, but he is heading to Miami (where “hot mommies scream ay Papi”) to throw a party at Art Basel. In tandem with The Warhol’s Eric Shiner and Sara Tecchia, Freezy himself will be toasting the arts with a performance from Holly Woodlawn, a nearly 80-year-old drag queen and former Andy Warhol–made superstar. Could this mean that Papa Joe’s empire is expanding even more?

The Informer

Politics

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Gawker gotchas: a roundup of Toronto’s most embarrassing moments according to the gossip giant

Earlier this week, the Globe and Mail’s “Caption Writing Person” set off an online frenzy with a series of epic one-liners mocking Hollywood excess in the age of the Occupy Everywhere movement. But it wasn’t long before people began wondering—for no good reason, really—whether the Globe had been hacked. For its part, Gawker published a post saying the caption writer had gone “rogue” (an adjective we think remains best reserved for failed vice-presidential candidates). Of course, we’re just grateful that this Can Con moment was far less embarrassing than the usual appearances. Nonetheless, some Toronto Gawker headline highlights, after the jump.

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