5 Things You Can Do at TIFF That Aren’t Films

If September means one thing in Toronto year after year, it’s the Toronto International Film Festival (and not meaningful baseball, sorry Jays fans).

But sitting on your butt in the dark for hours on end can get old pretty quickly. So what else can you do in Toronto while still enjoying the fact that the city is the centre of the entertainment world for a brief 10 days? It turns out, quite a few things.

5) Party like a Rock Movie Star

Nightlife is kicked into high gear every time TIFF rolls around. The only problem is, if you’re not on the list, you’re not getting in anywhere. Most of the events involving anyone of stature are invite only, so your dream of sharing a bottle of champagne with your celebrity crush is just that, a dream.

But there are still some cool events that are available for us common folk. Russell Peters is appearing at Uniun Nightclub on September 7th and tickets are still available. There’s also the A Clockwork Orange theme night at Adelaide Hall on September 6th with tickets available, if you’re feeling up to spending a night immersed in one of Stanley Kubrick less joyful works. Got milk?

4) The Grolsch Open House

But if you really want to party (and on a budget), then the Grolsch Open House is the place to be. The open house only runs from the 6th to the 9th, but it packs a whole lot into that time. From 4 pm-11 pm (6-11 on Sept. 9) each day, Grolsch treats listeners to some great up and coming bands, interesting art installations and of course, beer. It’s a great way to wind down after taking in a movie or two, or just to simply enjoy TIFF. The Grolsch Open House is located at John and Pearl and really, how many things during TIFF include the words “open”?

3) Take in A Live Reading

There are also live readings of past movies available at TIFF. One that caught our eye was the Jason Reitman directed reading of Boogie Nights. What really gets us interested are the casting choices. Josh Brolin playing Burt Reynolds’ character? Dakota Fanning instead of Heather Graham? Dane Cook substituting for John C. Reilly? How can you not want to see Dane Cook being directed live by Jason Reitman? Only at TIFF.

2) Celeb Watching

If you can’t make any of the actual events of TIFF, you can still try to catch sight of a few of your favourite actors, actresses, singers and directors. Celebs will be walking around Toronto day after day and if you’re determined, you could snag some face time. Because what beats the real thing, right? You and your friends could even play Celeb Safari (like bird watching, but with Robin Williams instead of just robins) and make it a mission to spot more celebrities than each other. Actually, the more we think about that, the less legal that sounds. Give the celebrities some space and don’t stalk them too much, alright?

1) Conversations of Interest

If simply “bumping” into celebrities isn’t your thing and you yearn for something more in-depth, then TIFF may have you covered. The festival has a programme called “Mavericks,” where people of interest get on stage and discuss interesting topics. The one that piqued our interest was Our Man in Tehran which takes place on September 12th. Ken Taylor, the Canadian ambassador to Iran during the Iranian hostage crisis, will discuss the historical merits of Ben Affleck’s Argo. The conversation is in junction with a documentary that also looks at the history behind the movie. I’m guessing Taylor’s and Affleck’s views on the whole event are a tad different.

Photo courtesy of Mark Dunne

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