Dateline: Sept. 10, 11:30 p.m.
The invite: The post-premiere reception for The Iceman
The place: AMC Storys (11 Duncan St.), scene of the marvelous Saturday night mash-up of Julianne Moore and Alison Mosshart of The Kills. Tonight, we’re spread throughout the third and fourth floors for a double-decker ride.
Paparazzi:Fan ratio: Even though I’m 20 minutes late, most guests seem to have arrived well before the cast. Photographers camped outside, anxiously awaiting an arrival—any arrival!—so they can get the eff home.
The noshing: Braised-beef stuffed pastries and oysters (or some sort of shellfish that I can’t eat) are the main attractions for everyone. “It’s an edible shell,” says a plucky server of the latter, so maybe it’s something else. Risotto balls are inserted with a tiny, stuff-your-own-sauce pouch. There are sliders, of course. And individual portions of shrimp, in mini-mason jars.
The sounds: AMC Storys has been good for a lot of things this festival season. Case in point: the music—or rather the DJs they book. Tonight features tunes from Itzsoweezee, who throw parties for lovers “of floor-filling electronic dance, hip-hop and disco music” and who just celebrated their second anniversary at the Drake a few weeks back. There’s a remix of Phoenix’s “1901” and that Gramophonedzie song I love from the electro-swing craze we looked at a few weeks back.
The looks: There’s a boy in a floral-print blazer, and a chick in a barely-there DIY’d Nirvana tee. By this point in film-fest time, you start to see everyone—yourself included, probably—as a bunch of assholes just waiting to see celebrities.
Stargazing: As the crowd begins to swell and swell, the rumour begins to circulate and dilute: Cast arrivals have been pushed back to 12:30 a.m. Apparently, the cast Q&A ran behind at the screening. (Like, since when is TIFF about bloody movies? Kidding.) On the third floor, it’s like a football field: you’ve got to stay five steps ahead of your play. Get into position. But which position? All I see is a table reserved for Ray Liotta—and, if you also grew up watching Heathers and surveillance videos, then you know which lucky lady I’m looking for. Duh, fourth floor. Everyone forgets about the fourth floor. Quick, to the stairs. One flight, two flight. Hot damn, it’s empty—and there are buffer tables? It’s not as nice and there are no Juliet balconies.
But then I see it: It’s that alluring, utterly seductive space around the sign marked “Reserved: Winona Ryder.” She’s got the room’s prime real estate, and the lot sits vacant because, well… hello. I can only dare to rest on one of the armchairs. It stays perfect for that one moment when you think no one will discover the secret fourth floor and you’ll get unprecedented intimacy with the girl who used to bang Johnny Depp.
And then fucking Michael Shannon happened. The Iceman’s hitman-playing star—also a star on Boardwalk Empire—brings a flurry of peeps behind him. These goddamn starfuckers, I tell you. I take a seat on the wooden bench (also the only thing not marked “reserved”) and relax in anticipation… until Liotta shows up behind me. He’s like a true mob boss, nestled in an arm chair looking all tough and shit. Oh, there’s Stephen Dorff, with director Ariel Vromen. No sign of fellow castmates James Franco or my teen favourite David Schwimmer. And then, when everyone picks up their iPhones, you can tell some real hyperventilation is about to go down. Is it her? Is it her? No, it’s Gerard Butler. Couldn’t you just spread him all over a cracker? And Chris Evans! He came with a flash, and seems to have disappeared just as quickly, staying long enough to be photographed in a stairwell. Winona’s table, however, remained hauntingly empty, just like my night. And we all wondered why.
Fun factor: The only party to which I was able to bring a friend from my real world. Saving grace, that one.
Verbatim: “Doing shots with Ray Liotta at The Iceman party.”—in Tweet form, from my pal Jon