TIFF celebrities enjoy the red carpet razzmatazz

She pulled a Pacino.

After causing old-school pandemonium in TIFF’s belly on Friday, Taylor Swift shook it off with dinner in a significantly more serene way, according to an eyewitness account. Found through a side entrance to Opus, the classic restaurant on Prince Arthur just north of Bloor. Away from downtown, all those Swifties who, with their angelic faces—to sing, dance, just witness—gathered on King Street, outside the Lightbox.

Came to Opus, TaySwift, after her much-vaunted conversation on stage in Toronto – the very quiet place where “Michael Corleone” indeed also came in for a surprise dinner when he was at TIFF a few years ago for a talk, if I remember correctly. She settled with a few people in the back patio. A sort of secret garden.

Opus, which turned 30 this year — an almost unheard of feat in restaurant land these days — remains one of those places that exudes a sort of understated luxury. Regulars (and in many cases, now their kids) have been coming here for a long time to feast on menu items like “seared foie gras and maple apples with current mash” or “tuna loin with black pepper crust on shredded vegetables with green onion beurre blanc.” Oenophiles have it. have long had a soft spot for the place as it also happens to have one of the best wineries in town, and it’s also the kind of place where stars like Robin Williams regularly hang out when he worked in town.Had a very memorable evening once with the late great comedian there, when he got behind the bar and started doing a ‘set’ spontaneously.

Meanwhile, the city is still buzzing here in 2022 at a height of Swift. In every way, she really charmed the audience during her earlier conversation on stage coupled with her new short film. Not only did she reveal that she is a huge fan of Guillermo del Toro, but she also shared that her favorite movies are ‘Breakfast Club’, ‘Marriage Story’ and ‘The Way We Were’. No arguing here!

Another moment stood out during her time on stage: When a woman stormed onto the stage at one point, security struck, after which the pop princess intercepted. “It’s okay. They’re just flowers.”

In the meantime:

Another millennial icon, Zac Efron – in town for his outrageous gala movie ‘The Greatest Beer Run’ with Russell Crowe – was in a confession mood when he recently revealed that he suffers from agoraphobia. “I just don’t go out,” he told Men’s Health for a cover story, calling “people in large groups” a “trigger” for his anxiety disorder. (A career risk for a movie star, I’d think. And TIFF certainly a challenge, if so).

In any case, the red carpet razzmatazz for him will be a far cry from how Efron spent most of his pandemic — secluded in Byron Bay, a beachy enclave in Australia. According to the magazine: “He slept in a hammock in the trees. He went out with a civilian.”


Hillary and Chelsea Clinton are definitely making the rounds in Toronto. Turned up at the Middle Eastern inspired Shook, on Portland St, Friday. Was a reception for their Netflix doc “In Her Hands” — about an inspiring young Afghan woman. Huma Abedin, Hillary’s trusted advisor? She was there too. Pass the tahini. Later that night, the Clintons were also spied on in Louix Louis, in the St. Regis. It takes a village – and it takes fuel too.


“I haven’t seen a party like this since my bar mitzvah.” That’s how Billy Eichner gushed at the elegant party Variety threw for him — and his big, fat rom-com “Bros” — recently at the Hotel Le Germain, on Mercer. This was just hours before the enthusiastic response the film received at its world premiere later, from Roy Thomson. Something I’ve heard over and over, in terms of the answer, is that it doesn’t just fill all your ’90s rom-com itch – consider it a gay “You’ve Got Mail” – but there were actually so many rapid-fire zingers that a lot of people missed some of the jokes because they were too busy laughing at the joke that sunk just before!

Shinan Govani is a Toronto-based freelance columnist on culture and society. Follow him on Twitter: @shinanovani

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