In her new column, Kate Carraway tells you about an event, an idea, a person, or a thing that will make you a better—or better informed, or better entertained—Torontonian. This week: Check out the Lightbox’s James Bond exhibit before Oscar buzz potentially attracts longer line-ups.
Did you notice—during the holiday season that has just been dragged out to the frozen garbage cans, the still-optimistic tinsel attached in places—that James Bond was everywhere? Everywhere. Skyfall might have been a solid, everyone-in Christmas Day movie choice, but the ubiquity of 007 also extended to all those boxes of Bond 50 (the collection of 22 Bond films, plus 130 hours of bonus features, all on Blu-ray in a special-edition package engineered to appeal to holiday shoppers with alpha men in mind) seen in stores and online and under the tree.
This is the 50th year of the Bond franchise, and its official keepers certainly haven’t forgotten to capitalize on that. Neither has the cultural establishment: The anniversary has also included special events and shows in the U.K., L.A., and Toronto. The TIFF Bell Lightbox has been hosting “Designing 007: 50 Years of Bond Style” after the exhibit’s run at the Barbican Centre in England in the summer, and it’s closing on Jan. 20, which is soon. The installation boasts “the largest and most comprehensive exhibition ever devoted to Bond,” and features “costumes, props, models, gadgets, concept artwork, storyboards,” as well as “the steel teeth worn by Richard ‘Jaws’ Kiel in The Spy Who Loved Me; the Anthony Sinclair overcoat worn by Sean Connery in Dr. No; the poker table from Casino Royale; and multiple gadgets from Q Branch.” Cool, yes?
Also, between now and Jan. 20, several Bond films are playing at the Lightbox (with deals available for tickets to both the films and exhibit) under the program title “Shaken, Not Stirred: Bond on Film.” The upcoming offerings include The Spy Who Loved Me on Jan. 17, Goldfinger on Jan. 19, and Dr. No and Live and Let Die on Jan. 20. A related program, “Beyond Bond: The Other Secret Agents” is a survey of “007’s cinematic spawn,” which include The Looking Glass War on Jan. 15 (Anthony Hopkins!) and The Silencers on Jan. 18.
If you’re really committed to theme, attend the “Bond Martini Thursdays” on Jan. 10 and 17 for a themed martini from one of seven King-and-John restaurants (Luma, on the main floor of the Lightbox, is serving a “Moneypenny” martini with elderflower and grapefruit bitters) and get 20 per cent off entrance to the exhibit. Maybe rip the drinks’ recipes off and make a whole tray full at home this Sunday night during the Golden Globes, for which Adele (along with producer Paul Epworth, but whatever-whatever) has been nominated and will likely win the Best Original Song award for Skyfall’s title track. (Also, our friends Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will be hosting the Globes, and will be great.)
And last Friday—see, it has been the busiest Bond week in history—it was announced that the upcoming Oscars ceremony (itself 80-plus years old) will include a tribute to Bond, which seems semi-obvious. But, on Jan. 10, when the Academy Award nominations are revealed, it’s maybe-sort-of-possibly possible that Skyfall will be recognized for something real. James Bond movies don’t win Oscars—not in the main categories, at least—but after Skyfall was nominated for a Producers Guild Award, the idea of Bond-as-Best-Picture-contender is being taken somewhat seriously. If that happens, then it might be smart to check out the Lightbox exhibit now, before an Oscar nom pulls in line-ups for its final week.