L.A.

The Goods

Best Dressed

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POLL: White carpet style, Rachel McAdams edition

Rachel McAdams at the L.A. premiere of The Vow (Image: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Entertainment)

Remember when we told you about The Vow? You know, that movie where Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams play a married couple who get into a car accident, then suffer through a painstaking adjustment period where the wife has amnesia and the husband can’t handle it? It premiered in L.A. this week, and we noticed McAdams on the red white carpet sporting new bangs—we think she’s looking fairly elegant, with the exception of her somewhat caked-on makeup (surely her Pomellato and Philip Press jewellery would have been enough of a contrast to her demure Vivienne Westwood dress). How did McAdams fare sartorially at The Vow’s L.A. premiere? Have your say in our poll after the jump.


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The Informer

Sports

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The people versus the athletes: are Toronto fans incessant boo-birds?

When former Toronto Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay returned to town this weekend, the sold-out crowd at the Rogers Centre showered him with cheers. That reaction probably came as a shock to another former Jay, Lyle Overbay, who didn’t mince his words when he was in Toronto last week, saying that he expected “the normal” reaction from Toronto fans—boos. “They’re gonna boo the other team. That’s the way they are,” said the Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman. “I’m assuming [it’s] just because of their values”. Now, Overbay was nothing but a class act in his time in Toronto, so we’re going to assume his comments aren’t just sour grapes. Still, we can’t help but wonder if there’s any validity to his statement. After all, Toronto fans seem to be notorious boo-birds: Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, Chicago White Sox GM Ozzie Guillen and former Toronto Raptors fan favourite Charles Oakley are among those who appear to think so. With that in mind, we look at five recent case studies to try to understand if the city’s sports fan really do boo too much, after the jump.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Mark Wahlberg purchases an exclusive penthouse property in the city that saved his life

(Image: S Pakhrin)

TIFF is still a few months away, but the celebrity sightings are already starting. In the last week alone, Robert Pattinson made an appearance at Goodnight, Martha Stewart dined at O&B Canteen and Rihanna proclaimed her love for the T-dot on Twitter. Then, yesterday, the Toronto Star reported that Mark Wahlberg, the man who would’ve been on one of the two L.A.-bound Boston jets crashed by the 9/11 hijackers were it not for a last-minute trip to Toronto, just bought a $12-million condo in Yorkville. Sure, he didn’t spend a record $28 million on his new digs—but who needs an unnamed international man of mystery when you can have Marky Mark?

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The Informer

Features

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The art of self-defence: the unbearable anxiety of being Ken Finkleman

His shows are nasty, sophisticated, hilarious—and often dismissed as derivative. The unbearable anxiety of being Ken Finkleman

To everyone’s surprise, Toronto television is having a big moment. Shows like Flashpoint, Being Erica, Rookie Blue and Lost Girl are addictive appointment viewing. They get high ratings, ones that are competitive with their American counterparts. What’s most appealing about them is that they’re confident. They aren’t anxious about being Canadian products—they’re past that.

Which is why Ken Finkleman’s new show, Good Dog, feels like a throwback. As with his celebrated series The Newsroom, Finkleman seems preoccu­pied with how his work stacks up against innovative U.S. shows, particularly Larry David’s HBO juggernaut, Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Just as Larry David plays a barely fictionalized character named Larry David, a TV producer and writer in Los Angeles, Finkle­man plays a version of himself named George, a TV producer and writer in Toronto. It’s a variation on a character that Finkleman has revisited intermittently since introducing him on the show Married Life in 1995. George is now hooked up with Claire, a much younger model played by Lauren Lee Smith, for what he describes as the kind of “hot May–December relationship” that TV execs love. In a bid to get the green light for a reality show about his life, he asks Claire to move in—along with her two kids, their stern Austrian nanny and the family’s snarling Rottweiler (thus the show’s title).

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The Dish

Food Events

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Think you’re a food snob? Wait until you see the pilot of Foodies, a new Web series

Are you worried that your food obsession is turning your friends off? Foodies, a new Web TV series that launched yesterday, will probably make you feel better about yourself. The show follows a group of L.A. “culinary enthusiasts” who run a weekly dinner club. Rivalries and food snobbery ensue, no doubt. The first episode falls a bit flat, we think, but it does feature dishes like hot pasta water with parmesan foam and Wonder Bread consommé, as well as the killer line: “Bill Buford swears by the stuff. You know who he is, right?”

• First Course: Pilot [Foodies]

The Informer

Culture

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We try to find five top Canadian Oscar moments from Sunday’s Academy Awards snoozefest

Two of the few Canadians: Celine Dion and René Angélil on the red carpet at the 83rd Academy Awards on Sunday evening (Image: Steve Granitz/WireImage)

Well, there you have it. Awards season is over, but the hangover—or, in the case of The Social Network gang, the lingering feelings of resentment—has now set in. The biggest buzz out of Oscar night was the totality of James Franco lameness. As far as hosts go, he may go down as the worst of all time. We would have killed for a little Uma–Oprah humour, and that’s saying something. Did poor Anne Hathaway want to wipe that disinterested smirk off his face with her fist? We’re guessing yes.

For its part, Canada was hardly centre stage this year (we stand by the opinion that Barney’s Version was robbed), although the night of nights did include some northern moments worth mentioning. The five most memorable after the jump.

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The Informer

Culture

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Oscar watch: 10 questions about the Academy Awards with Canada’s gossip girl Lainey

Elaine Lui is Canada’s gossipmonger extraordinaire, with a master’s in Gaga and a black belt in Brangelina. This week, the blogger (find her at laineygossip.com) and eTalk correspondent is in L.A. covering the movie biz’s night of nights. Any news outlet can dish on Oscar outcomes, but only Lainey can tell you if Nicole Kidman has really lightened up on the Botox and whether James Franco and Anne Hathaway are secretly getting it on backstage. (They won’t be—but if they do, Lainey will know). We talked with her about Hollywood’s top dressers, celeb PDA and, of course, all things Oscar.

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The Informer

Culture

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Captain Canuck goes Hollywood: possible movie in the works, with Justin Bieber as the red-caped crime fighter

Move over, Captain America. According to the L.A. Times, Richard Comely, creator of the comic book character Captain Canuck, is in talks with an unnamed Canadian production company for a $15-million live-action cinematic adaptation of the maple leaf-adorned superhero. But what Canadian super-talent has the gravitas, popularity charm and politeness to represent the True North’s true hero? For Comely, the name that comes to mind is none other than Justin Bieber.

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The Informer

People

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Battle of the big-screen porn stars: Toronto’s Malin Akerman on replacing Lindsay Lohan

Late last year, we found out that North Toronto C.I.’s own Malin Akerman would be starring as Linda Lovelace in Inferno, a big-screen, big-budget adaptation of the porn star’s life. The announcement (a big career boost for Akerman, who has thus far played mostly best friends and/or babe sister roles) came hot on the three-inch heels of word that the movie’s original star, Lindsay Lohan, had been dropped from the project because her wild child ways have made her all but uninsurable. (Or definitively uninsurable, depending on whom you believe.)

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The Informer

Politics

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Rob Ford wants to make Toronto “world class” by bringing NFL to the city

The cover of today’s Toronto Sun features Rob and Doug Ford preparing to hike footballs, not taxes

We woke this morning to the news that Rob Ford and his brother and colleague on council Doug Ford have their eyes on a new prize: bringing an NFL team to Toronto. Sure, such business giants as Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey and the late Ted Rogers tried to bring the NFL to Toronto for years, even decades—but those guys were just quitters! The Fords are totally sure they can do it, and they make it sound so, so easy.

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The Informer

Politics

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Toronto road tolls go from abhorrent to approved: how’d that happen?

Road tolls for thee? (Image: TheTruthAbout)

The Star reported on Saturday, and other papers have followed since, that the Toronto City Summit Alliance has released a new report calling for a bunch of new measures to control traffic and improve transit spending in Toronto. The recommendations read like an urban planner’s dream: tolls on the freeways coming into the city, parking surcharges and a couple of different gas taxes. Of course, two years ago, people proposing road tolls for the GTA were being shouted down and probably accused of being Communists. What changed?

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The Informer

People

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Toronto named one of the world’s “emerging” destinations

The emerging skyline (Image: Abi K)

In this weekend’s New York Times Style Magazine, Toronto was singled out as an up-and-coming travel destination, along with Barbados, Munich, Bahrain and Acrra, Ghana. The proof: Virgin Airlines is beginning flights to the city from L.A. and San Francisco starting in June to cater to “players in the new Hollywood North—studio heads and their stars—along with tech professionals and venture capitalists from the Bay Area.” Surprise, surprise—the city’s hotel “boomlet,” which Maryam Sanati documented in our June issue, gets a mention. The Thompson, Ritz-Carlton and Trump make the list of hot places to stay.

Pilot Season [T Magazine]

The Informer

Culture

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Programmer responsible for The Tudors, Being Erica quits CBC

At a time when CBC recruiters are in L.A. trying to lure back Canadian writing talent, CBC programming chief Fred Fuchs, who’s credited with bringing Being Erica, The Border and The Tudors to the Ceeb, is leaving the broadcaster for a job with U.S. channel Starz. His new gig is that of executive producer of Camelot, by Toronto’s Take 5 Productions. The show is the creation of The Tudors’ Morgan O’Sullivan and Michael Hirst and will begin filming 10 episodes in Ireland this summer.

• Fred Fuchs tapped as ‘Camelot’ exec producer [The Hollywood Reporter]
Fuchs quits CBC [Toronto Star]
Fred Fuchs to leave CBC for “Camelot” [Digital Reporter]

The Informer

Culture

3 Comments

CBC execs head to L.A. to poach Canadian writers

Catch that rascally writer (Image: Steve Jurvetson)

Much like a man trying to woo back a girlfriend who left him for a hunky rich guy, the CBC is going to Los Angeles this week to try to win back Canadian writers who left the true north for the greener Hollywood hills.

Despite such hits as Being Erica, Death Comes to Town, The Tudors and Dragons’ Den, the network’s executive director of network programming tells the Toronto Star that they’re looking for pitches that are “a little more experimental or a little more interesting.” The catch is that the Ceeb wants only ideas from Canadian writers, directors and producers.

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The Informer

Features

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The inn crowd: Toronto’s five new luxury hotels

Over the next couple of years, this city will get five new luxury hotels. It starts with the Thompson, which opens its high-concept doors this month and promises to be ground zero for the beautiful people

If you build it: the Thompson Toronto, on Wellington West, is the first international arm of the New York–based brand (Illustration: Kagan McLeod)

Lately, King West is an urban cloud nine: designer condos, old brick studio spaces, fantastic carpaccio. Only 15 years ago, no one had much reason to venture down here—not for work, not to live, not for a dining scene, because there wasn’t one. There were no ad agencies, no Susur Lee joints, no Spoke Club and certainly no boutique hotels. But now the dozen or so blocks bounded by Spadina and Bathurst, from Adelaide down to Wellington, are a humming, self-sustaining ecosystem—a model of how to retrofit a vintage downtown neighbourhood.

Real estate agents call this part of town King West Village, a handle the locals find too artificial to pass their lips, especially considering the place isn’t yet fully formed. At every turn, there’s a construction site, or a gaping hole in the ground, or a lot with a target on its back, almost all of them bearing the same signage: an artful graphic in lower case letters saying “freed.” It’s not an existentialist statement; “Freed” stands for Peter Freed, the Forest Hill–bred developer who has nine projects on the go in the area. No one has been a bigger catalyst of the evolution of King West, or capitalized on it more, than Freed. His real estate portfolio, mainly condos, is worth $1 billion, and much of it is geared to a highly specific breed: a 35-ish, design-obsessed demographic that wears Japanese denim, listens to Phoenix, works in advertising or banking or consults in high tech, travels often and widely, and stays at properties designed by Ian Schrager, the Manhattan entrepreneur often credited with founding the boutique hotel genre. In King West, Freed has prepared a landing strip for these hipster high flyers (and those who aspire to become them). They’re not rich, necessarily. Their ambition is to be tastefully in the know.

For them, Freed has invested in a crowning achievement, a gleefully anticipated light box on Wellington: the 102-room Thompson Toronto, which is scheduled to open its high-concept doors this month.

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