The Italians are coming!
They began their TIFF party occupation last night, docking the Kajama tall ship at the bottom of Harbourfront's H20 park, behind its fluorescent-lit grassy knolls. They brought with them flutes of prosecco mixed with Campari and trays of calzone stuffed with olives and pecorino to warm them on the chilly September evening. And they proved, once again, that a good film festival bash has nothing to do with star attendance.
A party is a party and Film Italia has thrown some great ones in the past; in the departures hall at Union Station and a Felini-themed gala below Yorkville at the abandoned Bay TTC platform. A Bellucci or a Benini could have been sitting in my lap last night and I wouldn't have noticed. The best VIP protection for celebs is putting them in a room full of people having good time.
There were stars besides those lighting up Lake Ontario out last night. InStyle's hot ticket at the Windsor Arms drew one of the week's boldest red carpets including Paris Hilton, Ethan Hawke, Sir Ben Kingsley, Adrien Brody, Tim Robbins, Rachel Weisz, Rose McGowan and Sophia Bush (sans Gil Bellows). Up at Casa Loma, Entertainment Tonight Canada's Cheryl Hickey and friends celebrated the show's third birthday (they don't look a day over two!) with a performance by David Usher while Chantal Kreviazuk tickled some of her own ivories for Paul Gross and Robert Lantos at the Isreelized bash in the entertainment district.
Star sighting: What celebrity snagging trick does Grace owner Leslie Gibson have up her sleeve? Is it her Little Italy spot's extra large, entourage friendly banquets? Some star luring pheromone baked into chef Dustin Gallagher's signature milk and cookies dessert? The restaurant recently welcomed Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams who recanoodled and rekindled things between bites of sweet pea, mint and ricotta ravioli, perhaps? And on Monday, Jessica Biel (minus JT who was busy juggling a weekend of Fashion Rocks, the MTV VMAs and the runway debut of his William Rast label at New York fashion week) and Easy Virtue co-star Colin Firth hosted a dinner for 20 in the privacy of the new, second floor Grace Upstairs space.
Shop talk: Tim Robbins might not look like the shopaholic type but he revealed his swag junkie ways yesterday visiting both the Tastemakers and IT Lounges. Things must be a little chilly at casa Robbins-Sarandon because at stop number one, he snagged a Hudson Bay blankie and at stop number two, a Ripzone snowboarding jacket.