MuchMusic Video Awards, Sunday, June 20
By 6 pm, the cordoned-off sidewalks at Queen and John were crammed with screaming teens in tube tops, gelled mohawks, frilly skirts, mesh caps, ironic tees - all the accoutrements of the Much fan base - as the MuchMusic Video Awards got ready to roll. The kids chanted "Ri-ick, Ri-ick" as kind, ageless VJ Rick Campanelli worked the red carpet. I moved through this frenzy on my way to the pre-MMVA party at the chi-chi Ultra Supper Club on Queen. At 7 pm, I was being cattle-prodded backstage at the awards ceremony (the tented Citytv parking lot) to a creepy sight: the nexus of the music industry, a strange brew of industry heavies like Warner's Steve Waxman , band members and high-haired pre-teeny bopper groupies with cake makeup and Paris Hilton sensibilities.
And so much lavish catering - a falafel table and another offering burgers the size of my head. Orange sorbet ice cream cones with fried banana and caramel syrup were over at the other end. In this atmosphere, the awards show itself seemed only a minor distraction playing on big-screen TVs.
By 9 pm, the place was wall-to-wall schmoozers. You could have popped the aura of congealed egos in this room with a kebab skewer.
FashionTelevision's Jeanne Beker was in full cougar mode, wearing a black jacket that could have come straight out of the 1991 fall Sears catalogue. Gord Martineau guffawed stiffly with CityPulse homegirl Liz West . George Stroumboulopoulos squeezed past wacky straggling ex-VJ Bradford How , who looked like he'd lost 50 pounds. VJ Amanda Walsh fluttered by briefly. In the bathroom, I peed while chatting with Rick and finally got to see the dude behind Ed the Sock , who's almost smaller than Ed himself.
Tom Green popped by, sporting his perplexed grimace. You could almost hear his strained thoughts: "Must never break character." I met the mighty Sam Roberts , whose Hard Rock vid swept up three awards, and an unpleasant K-OS - he hates the media but shows up at minglefests like this, where even McDonald's TV was doing spots. Esthero , Robin Black , Saukrates , MuchLOUD best rock video winner Billy Talent 's Ian D'Sa , Ray Robinson , Ivana Santilli , Ro Dolla , Skye Sweetnam and Canadian Idol's Zack "Simon Cowell" Werner wandered about in their Sunday best.
Around midnight, I hit the afterparty at the Courthouse on Adelaide, which looks like that secret brothel Tom Cruise goes to in Eyes Wide Shut. Ran into Sloan's Chris Murphy and, of course, CBC's crown jewel, Jian Ghomeshi , who apparently gets his fashion tips from Jeanne Beker.
Many beautiful partygoers were smoking inside. For some, certain by-laws don't apply. For a full list of MMVA winners, check out www.muchmusic.com/events/MMVA04/winners
Bamboo back in business
Those who thought the legacy of beloved Queen West institution the Bamboo had finally played itself out when proprietor Richard O'Brien closed the doors on the second-generation Bambu by the Lake last spring will be thrilled to discover the Bamboo is back - sort of. Under the management of new owners Clinton Hosannah and Marcus Browne , the brand spankin' new Bamboo Cabana holds its grand public opening Wednesday (June 30) in the old Bambu waterfront space at 245 Queens Quay West.
"We love the location," says co-owner Browne. "The waterfront's one of Toronto's jewels, and there are finally people who've made a commitment to developing this whole area."
Browne says the Cabana will carry on the world music vibe of the old-school Bamboo, booking Latin, calypso, older reggae and African music year-round, as well as offering Caribbean, Latin and Thai noshes from 11 am to 11 pm seven days a week. He emphasizes that they hope to cater to a more mature clientele than what he calls the fickle FLOW 93.5 demographic who frequented the Bambu by the Lake.
He's also quick to separate himself from the old regime.
"We kept the name because we thought it was a great tradition on Queen West and it'd be a shame for it to be so short-lived. But we have no official association with the old Bamboo whatsoever."