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MOAM BOOK CLUB. SUMMER 2016

I really don’t know where the time goes. But I know it’s been a year since my last Book Club post. What the?!?!?! I’ve read a tonne, and these are my faves over the last little while.

 

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Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

This is an absolutely stunning novel spanning generations and continents. It starts in 18th century Ghana, with two half-sisters whose lives and descendants will forever be unknowingly connected. One sister is stolen and sent to America as a slave. The other is married off to a white British soldier and remains in Africa. The rest, as they say, is history. Like Roots before it, this is brilliant historical fiction – especially when you consider that this is a first novel!!  And what a debut it is – a  multi-generational family saga that is authentic, devastating and incredible.

 

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Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offil

I absolutely loved this poetic portrait of a woman coming to terms with her life as a mother, a wife and an artist. So much has been written about how to maintain artistic integrity – or even find the time to pursue your art/passion once you’ve become a parent. Especially for women. In this spare and eloquent book, Man meets Woman. They get married. Have a baby. Shit goes down. They need to work out their shit and she needs to work out her shit. The whole thing feels intensely personal and private, exhilarating and heartbreaking. It’s super short – literally and stylistically – and feels slight, but with the turning of each page, you become ever more immersed. Written in short vignettes, it’s nearly impossible to put down.

 

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The Nest By Cynthia Sweeney

This novel hooked me from the very first page.  If you think your family has problems…. This is a study of what money can – and can’t do. The time is drawing near for the four adult Plumb siblings to finally “redeem” their inheritance – only to find out it is gone.  A story about a bunch of entitled adult babies may not be a draw but once you’re in, if the dysfunctional characters don’t intrigue you, the sense of schadenfreude certainly will. There has been a lot of talk about this book. Some call it praise, others call it hype. Ignore it all – and enjoy this compelling read right to the last page!

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Fates & Furies by Lauren Groff

This was one of the most talked about books of 2015. Maybe because Obama named it the book of the year. It is a very dark book about a marriage, told from the points of view of the husband and the wife. Needless to say, it’s two books in one, with phenomenal twists and turns. Just when you think you know these characters…..BAM! It’s quite a ride. If you liked Gone Girl, you’ll love this! Genius.

 

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A Small Indiscretion by Jan Ellison

A mom writes a letter to her son, trying to explain her “small indiscretion”. Flashing back to her reckless youth in London, and back again to the seemingly idyll life as a married mom of three, this is a captivating story of a woman trying to come to terms with her past in order to save her future. Forgiveness, perfection and expectations all wrapped up in a spellbinding and sensitive novel… Loved, loved, loved.

 

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Fifteen dogs by Andre Alexis

Two Greek gods walk into a downtown Toronto bar…Sounds like the start of a (lame) joke. But the premise of this book is a bet: would animals die happier if they possessed human consciousness? Endowing a pack of 15 dogs with human intelligence and language, the gods watch as the pack navigates life – and death. Heart-breaking, philosophical, and more than a little Animal Farm-ish, this Giller-winner is a quick and gripping read. And one that ensures you’ll never look at your dog – or anyone else’s – in quite the same way again….

 

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The Expatriates: A novel by Janice Y.K. Lee

This is the compelling story of a group of Americans in Hong Kong. By turns juicy and heartbreaking, moving and cringey, this novel explores relationships and privilege among the expats.  Three different women, their stories as interconnected as the community itself. One is devastated by loss, one is afraid of losing what she has, and one IS lost and trying to figure it all out. Total page-turner. A great read for summer – or any time!

 

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Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi

Young lovers in Nigeria. One stays. One leaves. This is (mostly) the story of an African woman in America. And it is awesome. A fabulous study of race and culture, leaving home and coming home, romance and love. And hair. This multi-prize winner is a truly exquisite book, soon to be made into a flick starring and produced by Lupita Nyong’o.

 

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This is Happy by Camilla Gibb

This is impressive. Gibb’s memoir explores how we become who we are and what, if anything, can make us “happy”. In fact, there is a lot of misery… Childhood, adolescence, adulthood, relationships, parenthood – Camilla Gibb covers it all. This is one of those books that you want to copy and quote and remember. Poignant, sometimes brutal, always beautifully-written. Just gorgeous.

 

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The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende

I’m a sucker for anything written by Isabel Allende. Always have been. So I felt like I had no choice but to read and enjoy The Japanese Lover. Was it my favourite of her books? No. But she is such a magnificent storyteller and this book is no exception. What begins as a story of an elderly woman and her caregiver soon takes us through the woman’s life: from escaping Nazis in Europe,  and re-settling into a well-off San Fran family. From her secret relationship with her Japanese gardener to being torn apart, and reunited throughout their lives. This is  a sweeping epic, tackling the juicy themes of loss, love and fate.

 

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Modern Lovers by Emma Straub

This one’s a total summer read. Former bandmates and BFF’s in college grow up, buy homes and become married neighbours in Brooklyn. When their kids get together they need to reflect on what their lives have become, what’s changed and what hasn’t. Hipsters having mid-life crises. A lot of people LOVED this book.  Which is intriguing to watch but eventually becomes annoying. And yet….

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Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

I wanted to adore this book. A woman in her early-20’s moves to the Big Apple and lands a crappy job at a fabulous 5-star restaurant.  The restaurant becomes her new home, its workers her new friends and family. As a fan of food and fiction I figured this would be the perfect marriage of both. But it wasn’t. The gossipy tone, and examination of the hierarchies within the restaurant world was compelling at first, but ultimately I found Tess, the protagonist, way too provincial. I kept waiting for her to grow up and become someone I cared about. But I’m still waiting….

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The Girls by Emma Cline

I was scared to read this book. I thought it would be too Helter Skelter. And it might just be. I only started it the other day but I’m seduced. So far, it’s a coming of age story. Teen girls, suburbia, summer boredom. I’m riveted. But I know what’s coming so I’m hanging on and plowing right through!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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July 7, 2016   1 Comment

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TIFF 2014 – Live from the Green Room

More like….Previously Recorded in the Green Room…
But better late than never, right? RIGHT?

RDJ!!

RDJ!!

First up: The Judge.

Opening night movie. Starring the awesomely talented Robert Downey Jr. Guess what? Robert Downey Jr. was fabulous. Because he always is. Because he’s Robert Downey Jr. And he’s kind of perfect. Ladies of a certain age (OK, mine) go nuts for this guy. And who wouldn’t?!?

Who doesn't love this face?! Even beside a disused lightswitch

Who doesn’t love this face?! Disused lightswitch photobomb be damned!

The movie? Not as nuts for that…There were some moments, to be sure, but it tried to be too many things to too many folks. I could’ve done without the courtroom action. Because taken as a family drama, The Judge was tender and touching and all those good things. But, alas, it’s billed as a courtroom drama. And while the performances were terrific the movie itself, sadly, was not.

Crazy cute couple.

Crazy cute couple.

Kristin Bell was there, supporting her man Dax Shepard. He was friendly, she was funny, they’re fantastic.

Vera Farmiga = Ageless!

Vera Farmiga = Ageless!

Friday night: Boychoir.

Prepubescent boys. Singing in a choir. Ree ree ree!!!

Choirleader Dustin Hoffman

Choirleader Dustin Hoffman

Some of you may know that I find the voices of soprano children singers to be amongst the world’s creepiest things. There’s something very Nazi-ish for me. Or Exorcist-y. The thought of those high voices singing in Latin or German or even in English…In a church……yikes!! However, Boychoir was about an 11-yr old boy, and I’m the mom of an 11-year-old boy, so….

HIGHLIGHT!!!

Leo takes tiff!

What a thrill!

Movie-wise, the idea that these young singers are given the gift of a stunning classical voice that one day disappears is an intriguing one. Too bad that wasn’t the main crux of the plot. We’ve seen this story before. Duelling voices. Raw talent vs polished. Nothing groundbreaking. But the voices!!! Stunning! Forget about the movie, it’s the extraordinary voices. Astonishing. Mesmerizing. Not even remotely creepy.

(But hearing them without seeing their faces? Still gives me the wrong kind of chills.)

My boy and Artie...I mean Kevin McHale

My boy and Artie…I mean Kevin McHale

My mother, meanwhile, was thrilled too. Not just because her grandson was with her. But because of this:

Sweet Home Alabama Super-fan

Sweet Home Alabama Super-fan

Who knew?

Next up was Ruth & Alex, starring Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman. We gave it a miss. But not before THIS happened:

leo morgan

I had no clue that my kid was such a colossal Morgan Freeman fan. Oh, but he is! He spotted MF before anyone else. Pointed him out. Knew his flicks. And proceeded to chat it up with his new-found friend. Big time. While Mr Freeman was somewhat glacial to the gen pop in the green room, with my kid he was a total super star!

That really was the peak of my short-lived TIFF time. We bailed on Saturday night, returning for Sunday night’s World Premiere, This is Where I leave you.

Deep breath….

I was disappointed. People loved it, I know, I know. Words were exchanged, on Facebook and off. In the streets and on the phone. It’s hard to adapt a beloved book from page to screen. And kudos to Jonathan Tropper for trying his best with his own brilliant book. Yeah, there were laughs. And the performances were terrific, but overall it kinda left me cold. Seeing it at TIFF, cast in tow, tends to lower the bar. I held this one up to high high standards so was bound to be disappointed. Cute. Not great.

BUT the ladies!!! Oh, the ladies in this flick. Tina Fey? Trying to figure out how to close a bag of candies into her tiny clutch made me love her even more.

She's smart. She's funny. She looked great. AND she eats. LOVE!

She’s smart. She’s funny. She looked great. AND she eats. LOVE!

Connie Britton? Wow wow and wow! She is spec-tac-u-lar. And not just because I love Nashville (it’s true! I do!). She was completely charming. And look at her! She’s 47. Forty-f&cking-seven!!!!

HOT!!!!

Girl crush alert!

And then there’s Jane Fonda. A dame who works it. Works it well. She looked unreal. Ummmm… She probably is but it doesn’t matter because she totally pulls it off and looks gorgeous. When she walked in, she gave my mother the most magnificent bear hug! And then proceeded to walk right past her. So strange, yet so amusing…

b.1937 WTF???

b.1937 WTF???

The last film of the night was The Equalizer. Yeah – THAT Equalizer! I was a huge fan of the ’80’s TV series. I may have been too tired to stick around for the flick version but I was awake enough to check him out:

Hi Denzel!

Hi Denzel!

Aaaaad, this is where I leave you (I couldn’t resist). Too many kids + too many sports + Back-to-school = logistical nightmare. So this year’s TIFF green room goss is short. But hopefully sweet.

Happy tiff to all.
All but me.
Go team go!

September 9, 2014   No Comments

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MOAM BOOK CLUB!

Summer! At last!

It feels like ages: since it’s been glorious, since I’ve written here, and since I’ve put up a Book Club post. I’ve been reading a lot. Have you? Anything I should add to my list? I’m always looking for a good read. And apparently, you are too. So,without further ado, I present the 2014 MOAM Summer Book Club. Enjoy!

THE GOOD LORD BIRD by James McBride

This award-winning novel tells the story of abolitionist John Brown through the eyes of a rescued slave. A rescued boy who, after being mistaken for a girl, maintains the charade.  There’s a bit of a Twain-esque feeling to this book and if you like that sort of thing, you’ll love this. Even if you don’t, it’s a great read. Beautifully written, sometimes horrific and always engaging, this historical novel is no frothy beach read, but it’s well worth a look.
 

THE PARIS WIFE – Paula McCain

And speaking of Gatsby….F. Scott Fitzgerald makes an appearance in this book, one of many about Ernest Hemingway’s handful of wives. This novel is based on the life of wife #1, Hadley. She was the one in it at the very beginning of Hem’s literary life. The first wife. The romantic. The one who thought she could make it work with the hard-drinking, fast-living writer. She was wrong, of course. A bit of a train-wreck of a relationship, but of course you can’t look away…

AN INDISCRETION by Charles Dubow

A golden couple. NYC. The Hamptons. A young woman who infiltrates the family and their circle in every way. Gatsby-ish vibe, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a film in the works. One bad – really, really bad – choice sends the family reeling. And sent me reeling too. Talk about fall-out! This is a morality tail that both frustrated and saddened me, and stayed with me long after I finished it.

 

TRAINS & LOVERS by Alexander McCall Smith

I love a good traveler tale. This one’s set on a train, on the journey from Edinburgh to London. Four strangers get to chatting and next thing you know, they’re telling their life – and love – stories. Always easiest to do with strangers, right? Like four little novels in one, this is short and sweet and perfect for summer. Check your cynicism at the door and enjoy.

 

THE GROUP by Mary McCarthy

Set in the ’30’s, it follows a group of women – The Group – after they graduate from Vassar. It explores their lives, families, and jobs. Their marriages, affairs, and divorces. It’s sex, love and analysis – which would be de rigueur except for the fact that it was published in ’63 and was considered pretty rad at the time. And – escandalo! – it was even banned. Kind of like a smarty pants version of Rona Jaffe’s 70’s classic “Class Reunion”!

 

A FEW SECONDS OF RADIANT FILMSTRIP: A MEMOIR OF 7TH GRADE by Kevin Brockmeier

I couldn’t not read a book with this title. This first year of middle school aka Junior High is huge. Coming of age, evolution of friendships, I love this stuff! Great references, funny and sweet, anyone who has ever been 12 will relate, even in some very small way. Charming and lovely.

 

BUT ENOUGH ABOUT ME by Jancee Dunn

The subtitle to this is “A Jersey Girl’s Unlikely Adventures Among the Absurdly Famous”. And that’s exactly what this is! Dunn is an unlikely candidate but somehow lands a dream job at Rolling Stone. With stints as a VJ, celebrity profiler and writer, she never thought she’d be rubbing shoulders with rock stars and film gods. But she does, and tells us all about it in a self-deprecating and hilarious memoir. I want more of her. And I want to be her friend!

 

THE HUSBAND’S SECRET – by Liane Moriarty

What if you found a letter addressed to you but only to be opened upon the death of your partner (who is very much alive)? And what if you opened it and found a terrible, horrible, very bad confession? Then what? That’s the premise of this seemingly cheesy yet riveting book. Perfect for summer, it’s a domestic drama set in Australia. Another possible movie-in-the-making I couldn’t put it down. And neither will you.

 

THE GOLDFINCH – by Donna Tartt

If you’re one of the 27 people who haven’t read this enormous Pulitzer Prize winner yet, what are you waiting for? Yes, it’s massive. But it’s infinitely readable. It’s also sparked a major debate amongst the literati of whether or not it is “Great Literature” or a glorified Young Adult fiction. Check it out and judge for yourself. I’m a fan.

July 11, 2014   No Comments

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TUM, TA TUM, TUM YUM!

Yesterday my pal – and faux business partner – Vern and I hit the one-year anniversary of TUM – the Toronto Underground Market. It’s not a farmer’s market, not a food expo, it’s more a place where budding chefs/official gourmands/people cooking in their home kitchens all meet to showcase and sell their wares. Some are restauranteurs. Some are food truckers. Some are caterers. And some are phenomenally talented cooks who want to shill their shit and have nowhere else to do so. Toronto by-laws are such that to make and sell food you need to jump through a lot of hoops. Which is why certain people who cook and sell homemade goodies out of their homes Do. Not. Exist. Anyhoo, whichever way you…um…slice it, TUM is a festival of food. We ate our way through it and here are our greatest hits…

To begin, we each wolfed down a “Cannele”.

Cannele. Not Canelle. No cinnamon here….

Originally hailing from Bordeaux these little custard treats came in orange and vanilla. I liked. Vern loved. And we were off.

Next stop: Caramels. Vanilla and sea salt. Sadly, the evidence has been ingested and there’s no photographic proof that I ever had any. So maybe I’ll pretend it wasn’t me that sucked back 5 in about 5 minutes. But I will tell you that real deal caramels (again, made the “French” way) don’t stick to your dental work!

Tucked away between an outer wall and storage units was a line up. A couple of guys cooking, a lot of yelling…Who were these people?

Fidel Gastro. Rebel without a kitchen.

Fidel Gastro. Brilliant. Hilarious. Cute. They were the rock stars of the entire event. People were lined up to sample their wares. Including us. We skipped the “Phad Thai fries” (WTF?! Next time!!) and went for the Gorgeous Jorge (peanut butter pulled pork, bacon jam and crackling. Grilled.) Saltiest and tastiest $5 I’ve ever spent. Our version became the “High Maintenance Jorge”. Because they cut in half. A good thing, ‘cuz we may have come to blows over this sandwich. So good we had to go back (and line up) twice. To bring home the bacon for our men.

And speaking of bacon…..That was definitely the theme of the day.

Cayenne-candied bacon. SPECTACULAR!

Leonard Pig Candy were flogging candied cayenne bacon ($5 for 2 pieces!) as well as chocolate-dipped bacon and bacon jam. We tried the milk-chocolate dipped strips. Yuck.

Not everything tastes better with chocolate.

Bacon-jam however, was $8 well-spent. Divine! Not to be confused with President’s Choice “Bacon Marmalade” (which is revolting). I don’t know what I’ll be doing with it, aside from sneaking a spoonful every once in a while. I just know it was incredible.

Ideas for Bacon Jam. I’m not the only one who needs it but doesn’t know why.

The accompanying bacon-mouth necessitated we bypass the line-ups for butter-chicken and waffles, Rock Lobster Company lobby-rolls and the carvery offering up “Canadian-Canadian Food” like roast beef and turkey.

Theeeeeere’s the beef.

Until we saw yet another line-up at “Hot Bunzz”. Korean Short Ribs with egg bun?! Three mushroom with cheese bun?! How could we resist?

Resistance was futile….

These were a bit herb-y but still….great texture! Needless to say, it was time for the sweets. Donuts from Dough by Rachelle (maple bacon, double chocolate, sprinkles). Cinnamon Buns by Little Tomato Catering (PB&J, maple bacon – again with the bacon!) and brownies, brownies and more brownies.

Not as good as kitchen co-op….

The most beautiful sweet things were the baked goods by Sullivan & Bleeker Baking Co. .

Taste as good as they look.

We split a “dirty dozen” mini-cupcakes. Flavours included mint chocolate, cookie dough, red velvet, ‘smores and more. Deeeelish.

Samosas filled with fresh veg and butter chicken. Cairo street food. Philippino BBQ. Thai curry boxes. Indonesian shrimp sticks. Backyard kitchens. Random tacos. On and on and on it went.

And that was just the daytime market! Apparently the night market is even better with booze, tunes, concerts and more vendors. Maybe by next month – turns out TUM is on monthly. So are weight watcher weigh-ins….. But until then….bring on the bacon!

October 1, 2012   No Comments

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TIFF 2012: LATE FROM THE GREEN ROOM

It’s taken me several days to get a handle on TIFF this year. Between back to school hectic-ness and life in general, I’m afraid TIFF has had to take a back seat for MOAM!

But fear not, loyal readers, I still have updates for you! Be warned – I’m having some technical difficulties and I can’t bloody edit the size of the pictures. But does size really matter? Maybe not…

And so, without further ado…

ARGO!

He was smiling on the inside….

Triple-threat Ben Afflek was happy in the green room, despite his photo face. As he should be, because his flick was fantastic. Set during the Iran Hostage crisis, it centers on a crazy scheme hatched by Afflek’s character to get 6 Yanks out of Iran. We know it ends well, but we don’t know how. Talk about edge of your seat – I was shaking (and not just because it’s freezing in Roy Thompson Hall)! Sometimes I fall into the TIFF trap of liking films just because of circumstances (a nice star, a world premiere, a cinematically-dry summer etc) but with the audience erupting into spontaneous applause and the crowd on its feet by the film’s end, I knew I wasn’t alone.

And neither was Ben! He brought his wife along – magnifique! And tiny – don’t let the tabloids (or her hem in this photo) fool you. She is not “every woman”. Not even close.

Beauty & The Bling!

Also there were Alan Arkin – not just cranky onscreen; Bryan Cranston – kinda hot; and gentleman John Goodman, who tipped the bartender serving him his free drinks. Love that!

Aaaaaargoooooo

After the anxiety thrill ride that was Argo came What Maisie Knew, a modern spin on the novel by Charles Dickens. A young girl watches her parents’ relationship disintegrate. No helicopter parenting here! A slice of a movie, ok to watch but not worth racing to the theaters – if it makes it that far. The sets were amazing – beautiful decor, fabulous clothes. Is it terrible that was jealous of a 6-year old’s outfits?

Speaking of outfits…

Va Va Va Voom!

Look at Julianne Moore. So stunning. 51 years old for f&ck’s sake. 3 kids. Obviously she didn’t spend much time in the sun. Must’ve been on the treadmill…In fact, I did eavesdrop on her convo – all about working out. Stars ARE just like us, discussing their workouts! Only I think theirs last a whole lot longer/are more effective…

The other star who showed up for the film was none other than….Alexander Skarsgard.

Team Eric??

He is one tall drink ‘o water. And very very thin. He was the nice Eric Northman, not the menace. It’s quite a challenge to be photographed next to a 6’5″, reed-thin giant. Photogenics aside, I felt like he might break. And so, despite his on-screen appeal, after many years as a loyal member of Team Eric, I’m back to Bad Bill.

Short but sweet…

Saturday night brought festival fave David O. Russell to Roy Thompson Hall to screen his film, Silver Linings Playbook. I. LOVED. IT. Brilliant in every way, this is a movie to fall in love with. It brought down the house. Legit standing O. Bradley Cooper plays a recently-released psycho ward inmate trying to get his life – and his wife – back. Robert De Niro plays his OCD bookie poppa and Jennifer Lawrence plays a new-found pal with issues of her own. Chris Tucker’s in there too. Not a lot, but enough to crack you up.

Chris Tucker – first flick inaaaaages. Good choice!

In the movie, Jennifer Lawrence reminded me a bit of Juliette Lewis. She was fantastic, and seemed (appropriately!) older than her 22 years. Live – looks like a teen. Gorgeous.

Nice face, shame about the dress…

Bradley Cooper? Hot. But wasn’t so into the posing for pics. Had a full-on gang with him and insisted on being snapped with them. Yup, he’s that guy. The real life version of Vince from Entourage.

Coop, cropped.

You know it’s a hot hit when other stars flock to the film. Ewan MacGregor was there. I blinked and I missed him. But also slipping under everyone’s radar were Sam Taylor Wood and Aaron Johnson. Love these two who, together, are the Taylor-Johnsons. Nobody gave them a passing glance. Except me.

Poster children for May-Dec set….LOVE!

By far the nicest guy in the room was Robert De Niro. He chatted. He hugged. He posed.

Channeling Santa in nature as well…

I look a wee bit frightened, perhaps I had Cape Fear in my head. When he hides on/under the car? Shudder….But he was lovely.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist was up next. But we had to give it a miss. We did however, manage to snap its co-stars Kiefer & Kate. Jack Bauer didn’t leave his mother’s side. We should all have sons like him.

Such a good boy….

I’ve never been a fan of Kate Hudson’s. Always thought she forced it and was trying to be her mom. But I’ve changed my tune. She was friendly and funny and totally sparkled. A real stunner.

Just had a baby. WTF?!

Here’s my favourite pic of the night:

Are they looking at baby pics? Or meals?

September 11, 2012   No Comments

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50 SHADES OF PORN-PLAY

50 Shades of Grey. 50 Shades Darker. 50 Shades Freed.

Read, read, read – doesn’t anybody f&ck anymore?

That’s right, I’m talking about the 50 Shades phenom. The mommy-porn that’s sweeping the nation(s). If you’re underage, or male, or dense, you may not have heard about it. But if you’re a hot-blooded mama, you most certainly have. Or will. I whizzed through all 3 books in just over a week. And not because of their brilliance. I was a reluctant reader, but after so many reco’s I needed to know what the fuss was about. I took a look and didn’t much like what I saw.

At first.

They’re terribly written. And most characters are kind of hateful/annoying. I didn’t get it. In fact, I was downright snooty about the whole thing, condemning the trilogy to the annals of pure trash. I figured it was “Harlequin in Handcuffs” for those not gettin’ any. And then around page 200 or so something happened…

Could it have been the Silver Balls??

Surprise!!

This post is neither about the books, nor what happens to anyone in them. It’s about the toys. And no, pervs, I don’t own them all, have not tried them all, and don’t plan on some crazy sexy splurge. Then again, it may not be a coincidence I’m writing this post a couple of weeks before Mother’s Day. And now, without further ado: not-even-close-to-50 fun playthings to tickle your fancy – and whoever else’s you may be tickling!!

1. Silver Balls.

Ben Wa Balls

2, 3, 4. Lelo – Liv, Lily, and Mia

Meet the girls:

Liv

Lily

Mia

These are not your old-skool dildos. One lady I know for whom “dating” is merely a euphemism told me she no longer bothers making plans, preferring to stay in with her new besties, the Lelo sisters….

5. The Wild Orchid

A downtown sex shop in Toronto calls this baby the G-Spot whisperer….Apparently finds it everytime…

Wild orchid

6. High End Restraining Arts Kit

Everything you need. Adjustable. Comfy. Pretty.

Cuffs and Straps and Paddles. Oh My!

7. Tape

If the whole kit is too much, try some tape. It may not always work, but it gets the juices – creative and otherwise – flowing….

No Scotch Tape here....

8. Massage Oil Candle

Kind of self-explanatory. Light. Melt. Drizzle. Enjoy.

Exactly what you think it is...

9. Subtle Vibe

It’s a pen! It’s a bullet! It’s a necklace! Oh no wait….pull it apart… it’s just a damn good time…

Cigar Pocket Vibrator....Smokin'

10. Lelo Tiani

Major Swedish lifestyle companies: Volvo, Ikea and…Lelo?! This baby comes with a remote control. For yourself – or others – to handle. Surprise!!

Tiani and remote

11. The Butterfly
Could this strap-on be the reason for so many happy travelers? And flight attendants?

Stewardesses' Secret

This is, obviously, merely the tip of the sexual iceberg. The list is endless, giving the term “Mother’s Little Helper” a whole new meaning!!! For every foot fetish and paddle humper there’s someone just itching to lay their hands on a riding crop. Or a leather collar. Or any assortment of trippy accoutrements. For more ideas, check out Kiki De Montparnasse. Or any sexy-times site. We all know the world wide web is full of ’em. Happy Browsing! And Happy (extra early) Mother’s Day – or any day!

April 25, 2012   1 Comment

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TIFF 2011: NOT QUITE LIVE – IT AIN’T WEDNESDAY.

Wednesday night brought with it a screening of “Starbuck”, a French Canadian film about a sperm donor who learns he’s fathered over 500 children. Watching the preview, I thought it could go either way. It looked pretty funny, but you never know how the humour translates, right? The seats in Roy Thompson are OK. At first. After several 4-hour-seating nights, I was beginning to get a bit antsy. And hungry. Movie corn and isagenix bars were taking their toll.

Instead of Roy Thompson Hall and this:

Patrick Huard, star of Starbuck

We hit the Thompson Hotel and this:

Wabora Sushi Fest

This was after starters of Summer Rolls (ish), Popcorn shrimp (nish) and a Tuna Tower (delish).

But back to the real festival. Next up was Joel Schumacher’s psychological thriller, “Trespass”. Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman play a couple whose home is invaded and….

And I don’t know. This was post-sushi. Pants felt too tight to sit down for 2 more hours. Feet were beginning to exhibit Post-Soy-Sauce Swelling Disorder. The flick will be in theatres any minute. We passed. But only after Nicolas Cage stopped by.

ALVA! There you are!

I’m a long-time fan. Valley Girl & Vampire’s Kiss are my faves. The desert series – Raising Arizona, Wild at Heart, Honeymoon in – and Leaving – Las Vegas… I even liked Face/Off and Con Air. We won’t mention the many less impressive films in his oeuvre. Despite cracking me up, he exudes such a sweet sweet sadness… I’ll always have a soft spot for Nic Cage. Or, after eating obnoxiously, several soft spots.

September 16, 2011   No Comments

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TIFF 2011. LIVE FROM THE GREEN ROOM – IT’S SATURDAY

How do you top Brangelina/Clooney/U2 Friday?

With Canadiana Saturday.

First up, David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method”. Everything about the movie was beautiful. From the cast to the sets to the magnificent antiques. Each scene gave us time to itemize the silver (that roll top! The match holder! The stemware!) and covet the costumes. Because this flick was slo-o-o-o-w. Michael Fassbinder was mesmerizing. And absent. Kiera Knightly, Viggo Mortensen and newbie beauty Sarah Gadon all showed up. It was, needless to say, a great looking green room with those 3 in it. Even if no one likes to smile for the camera.

Ooooh Viggo. So handsome.

Skinny stunner

In keeping with the Canadian vibe, it was a subdued, quiet room. For the most part.

Vigo and newcomer Sarah Gadon caught in a rare moment of levity

Next up was local darling Sarah Polley’s “Take This Waltz”. This is her follow up to the acclaimed “Away from Her” and she was quite nervous. But very cute, doing what every lady in the room was dying to do (no, not stalk Viggo!). She – ahem – waltzed in and kicked off her shoes.

Happy feet, happy girl.

As she headed off to calm her nerves and practise her speech, the movie’s stars filed in. Some of them.

Funny people.

I really liked this movie – tho’ heard a couple of philistines bashing it as they hit the streets. A very sensitive and astute story, it centres around a young married woman (Michelle Williams – not here) who falls for her (very hot) neighbour (Luke Kirby).

Smoldered on the big screen.

Just when we thought the story was over, it kept going. And going. And going. Interesting journeys with room for interpretation. The kind of flick you want to discuss afterwards. At least the ladies will. Except for one particularly sexy, fully clothed scene which you’ll probably want to think about privately.

Finally, who shows up to support his main man Seth? Why, Jonah Hill of course. Are they the newer, younger (leaner) Matt ‘n Ben? Not sure. But I have a newfound affection for Jonah Hill. It’s not like my “we’d be friends” connection with Matt Damon – I really do think we’d be friends. This one is more like, not really maternal, but like a concerned Auntie. First off, he introduced himself. As if I didn’t know who he was. And second, when I gushed over his performance – what? he was really really good in Moneyball! – and acknowledged that not many comedians can make that trek over to “serious actor” territory, he welled. Honest to goodness welling! Maybe he’s good at improv. Or maybe he’s just a sweetie. I’m hoping for the second.

Feeling like an Amazon with wee Jonah Hill

September 11, 2011   1 Comment

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TIFF 2011. LIVE FROM THE GREEN ROOM – IT’S OPENING NIGHT!

The Toronto Int’l Film Fest is baaaaaack. As am I, loud ‘n proud in the Roy Thompson Hall Gala Green room. Last year was awesome, lots of star-spotting, photo-bombing and good times had by all…What will this year bring?

So far, not much.

Except, maybe this:

Yes, those are cake pops

The U2 doc, “From the Sky Down” was being screened, both at RTH and at the Elgin Theatre. And 2 of the 4 lads from Dublin were on hand to work the red carpet. And the stage. At both venues, no less. But, alas, no sneak peeks inside the green room. They preferred to be where the streets have no name (I can’t help it) with the gen pop. And I kinda love them for it. They’d rather shake hands and sign pics than stand for photo ops with ministers and sponsors. Bravo! Also, to be honest, I wasn’t that bothered since Larry was a no show. It meant I could relax without fear of passing out. Or, um, throwing myself at him like a lunatic teeny bopper. See, I’ve had an unrealistic fan-girl crush on drummer boy Larry Mullen Jr for as long as I can remember. If he showed his face in the green room, I don’t know if I could keep it together. And by “it” I mean both my composure and my marriage!

Top of my Allowable-Adultery List.

Right??

Anyhoo, it was Bono and The Edge who came, saw and conquered Toronto. And don’t let the earnestness fool you – Bono is funny! “Watching this film is like finding out what’s inside a sausage. Once you know, you don’t want to eat it”. Granted, he used the same line at both venues but what the hell – he’s Bono, right?

Funny Front Man

The movie itself was interesting. Anyone looking for sensation won’t find it in this film. Instead of being too up-close and personal, it’s all about the artistic process: a thoughtful portrait of the band as they make “Achtung Baby” when – apparently- they almost broke up. To be honest, I didn’t really get a sense of urgency, nor did I feel that they were truly on the brink of break up. But I enjoyed it because I grew up with them. Loved’ em then, and love ’em now. Do I feel like we know them better after seeing the movie? Absolutely not. But throw in some old skool tunes and video footage and you can’t go wrong. I think it’s a musicians’ movie. Or my mother’s – she knows nothing of the band but loved it. And was rewarded with hugs and kisses from Bono. While I was stuck waiting by the car. With Edge.

His friends call him Edge. No "The".

OK. Not really with him. But with the cars. And the bodyguards. And the other screaming fans. Who actually got autographs….

September 9, 2011   3 Comments

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New BFFs

Everyone’s got a celeb that they think they’d be friends with if they met under different circumstances. Or in another life. My stepfather had an imaginary bromance with Barack Obama, for example. My mom was ready to invite Billy Crystal over for dinner. My friend’s late grandmother figured she could be part of the royal family. And me? I always thought Matt Damon and I would hit it off. And we did (albeit for about 3 minutes…)

NBF's 2010...Remember?

But in terms of ladies, my best celeb girlfriend was always going to be Ellen. Not just daytime talk show Ellen. Oscar host Ellen, Dory-Ellen, even “straight” Ellen. She’s always cracked me up and I figured that if – no, when – we met, friend fireworks would light up the sky.

So when a dear (real life) pal asked me if I’d like to come see Ellen speak – and meet her afterwards – at a conference in Toronto, I leaped at the chance.

I pictured us milling around the VIP green room, chit-chatting, laughing at jokes – me at hers and, yeah, her at mine. While we may not (or might!) have exchanged numbers, I really thought we had friend potential.

So did about 5000 other people.

I knew Ellen was popular and hugely successful but it’s not like she’s Oprah…Is it?

Turns out we weren’t the only ones with golden – actually, emerald – tickets to meet Ms Degeneres. The lucky 200 or so of us were herded into a holding room, instructed to leave our bags/purses/cameras/phones outside and sent to queue. And we did. Like lambs to slaughter. Totally bizarro. There we were, with the rest of gen pop, waiting to meet my friend Ellen. What the f*ck?!

I decided right then and there to leave. I wasn’t standing in line for some staged photo op. How mortifying. How gauche. How cheesy. How….how now Ellen!!!!!

BFF's

Talk about swallowing your pride – and quick. We only got about 14 seconds with her. Enough time to shake hands and smile. I opted out of the hug. Too weird. I laughed awkwardly and asked if this was so strange. She said not at all and I was ushered away by her handlers.

What? Did they think I was stalking her?

Believe it or not, some people were. They came in their t-shirts and tiaras. They travelled from all over. They paid the big bucks. They burst into tears. They asked her to dance. And Ellen? She took it all in stride, like I knew she would.

Her speech itself was an interview. I was up front and completely impressed. She discussed notions of power, how she was amazed at where she was in her life, considering how difficult it was for her to come out – on national TV, no less. No one would work with her for 3 years. There were some new-age-y moments only she could pull-off, but she came across as funny, self-deprecating and lovely. She was into making people smile and feel good. No judgements, no preaching, no politics.

Then the audience Q & A began. And it was outrageous. From “why can’t I get tickets to your show” to “I have a DVD of my genius 7-yr old”, these folks were shameless. It reached the point where my pal and I were heckling the crowd, daring them to actually ask a question (other than “I met you when you were a nobody but I knew you’d be famous. Do you remember me?” Honestly!)

And Ellen? Ever the pro, she took it all in stride. Even when a couple of pensioners, dressed in twin ballgowns, asked if she’d sign a nasty 1997 Spy Magazine cover in which her face was superimposed onto the late Princess Diana’s with the words “Di, Ellen”. They didn’t get how that would be offensive. She chided them in a not-so-subtle way, ultimately suggesting that perhaps they should sign it themselves.

As the inane questions continued, I marvelled at her professionalism. While I cringed at my fellow audience members’ audacity, twisting awkwardly in my chair, embarrassed to be part of such a lame-ass crowd, my pal Ellen stayed classy and upbeat right ’til the end. Unlike me, who bolted at the first oppurtunity to get away from those losers.

Maybe Ellen and I we weren’t meant to be tight after all. I couldn’t handle all the other “friends”….

August 19, 2011   2 Comments

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