Its late 2:00 am at the Ritz Bar, David Bowie film table many who had been there have gone or faded as the night went on, it is after all The Toronto International Film Festival, and eleven days of madness, parties, films, and most importantly business of film, it is the biggest film festival in the world. I am sitting with my Glenfiddich, sipping, and tweeting away. Few SUV’s roll up and pull to the side of the Ritz Bar at Toronto Ritz Carlton I don’t really give it too much thought till a knock hits the table and a sultry voice says “What’s the Bowie table ” its Scarlett Johansson. After giving Scarlett the low-down she retires to the back of the Ritz bar she has ass to kick and no guns are required she is slamming the deal for her movie Under the Skin is a 2013 British-American science fiction art film directed by Jonathan Glazer.
So, expectations are high when you pair Besson with the butt-kicking Scarlett Johansson (The Avengers, Iron Man and Captain America).
In Lucy, Johansson plays a woman who, after getting mixed up with some Taiwanese bad guys, is accidentally transformed into a hyper intelligent warrior.
Lucy, with Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman, is the latest action-thriller from The Fifth Element director Luc Besson. He’s the director behind some of the toughest, most memorable female action heroes in movie history. The movie story line makes no sense at all, but that’s not why you are gonna go see it. However you feel about Scarlett Johansson as an actress, a movie star, or a celebrity—and she is, at this stage, most definitely all three of those things—this much is undeniable: she has a certain appeal. You will just want to go see sexy, Scarlett Johansson kick serious butt. Go girl power all the way considering human race started with a girl called Lucy.
“What’s more interesting to me are the new channels [in] which film and long-format storytelling are finding audiences, be it through online content, grassroots-style fundraising ventures [or] made for television films and series.” – Scarlett Johansson
David Bowie table at the Ritz Bar, during the Toronto International Film Festival played host to a number of talented people. Life is all about timing, being at the right spot at the right time. The Bowie table at Toronto’s Ritz Carlton was the place to be, it is where Melinda Michael showed up and what do you know, she ended up with the Bowie McLaren, photo-shoot, and the film I am making ‘David Bowie Is Around The World’.
Melinda has a passion, her first love, acting. Needless to say she already is miles ahead of most as 75% of the battle is does the camera love you? and it does, throw in the talent and you could be on your way. Grounded in her yoga, breathing and natural movement with the camera, and let me tell you this girl from Toronto is going places. This is a small glimpse of Melinda Michael more is coming.
Many people call, text and ask what is the David Bowie table at the Ritz Bar all about? Its really a very simple concept. When I began my project to film ‘David Bowie Is Around The World’ on an iPhone I borrowed many concepts originated by Andy Warhol and David Bowie. Both cutting edge forward thinkers. After all while we Instagram everything, Warhol was doing it with his Polaroid. We change filters, Warhol was doing that by coloring Marilyn Monroe. Many people take pictures of food, and Warhol did showcased Campbell Soup. Andy Warhol took his studio (the factory) and told people to drop in and he filmed them.
The Bowie table at Ritz Bar, thanks to the five star luxury hotel Ritz Carlton is just that ( the factory) across from the red carpet of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Drop in. You don’t need a plan, you don’t RSVP, feel in the mood, and if you have ‘NO RESPECT FOR THE STATUS QUO’ just drop in, and you will find yourself later in my film. All this made possible by my great partners, SKKY Vodka, Glenfiddich, Ravine Vineyard, and Jarrell guitars.
David Bowie, never cared or cares for who you are, what you do, or how much money you make, but if you are creative, of the same mind set then he will work with you. The Bowie table during Toronto International Film Festival is just that, come enjoy, meet people and do what Warhol did get the word out using media, in this case social media. So you are encouraged to help those helping make this all possible by Tweeting it, with #RCTIFF, #TIFF13 and #tiffbowieritz.
This is some of the fun that has been taking place at the Bowie Table, Ritz Bar, Ritz Carlton Toronto.
Silverstone, June 26 : Williams will celebrate their 600 races in Formula 1 partnering world’s leading vintage champagne brand,Dom Pérignon, at the British Grand Prix.
I have had a lot of fun with the Williams F1 team. Especially once when it carried the red maple leaf of Canada part of the logo of the Canadian beer company Labatt’s, those were great racing years and the CEO of Labbat’s and I had a lot of fun with Frank Williams and his formula one team.
So I am delighted having tasted Veuve Clicquot champagne at the Ritz Carlton Toronto, with the owner of Charton Hobbs who look after both brands in Canada and enter the paddocks where Dom Pérignon will be flowing for the Williams F1 team.
The partnership will lead to an exclusive tasting event at the Silverstone circuit on the Saturday of the British Grand Prix weekend.
“The event will see a selection of Dom Pérignon vintages being tasted by VIP guests along with an explanation of each vintage by Richard Geoffrey, Creator of Vintages at Dom Pérignon. Each vintage will also correspond with a key moment in Williams’ history, with a host of former Williams World Champions in attendance.”
What is cool is that some of the drivers in attendance I had the late Sid Oland CEO of Labbat’s sponsor. I am not one to drink champagne on special occasions, anytime is good for me, but this is one very special occasion and a great champagne one of my favorites to celebrate Williams and Dom Pérignon history. I will toast to Sid Oland who was as passionate about formula one racing allowing me to share in the special moments that make up part of the history of the Williams F1 racing team we shared with Frank Williams.
At times unbelievable events begin to feel not just familiar but pre-ordained.
In the tick of the madness of the Toronto International Film Festival, in the luxury of the Ritz Carlton, racing back from the lobby, as I made my way through the Ritz Bar to it’s patio outside, Steph, Brenda, Ioanna, Corinne and Leanne caught my eye. How our conversation started is cloudy and vague to me. What I do know is that the ladies were a kaleidoscope of smiles, energy, and gimlet eyes, that would make anyone stop and say “hi”. I did just that.
The ladies informed me that they were celebrating two of their birthdays, and I believe I offered them a bottle of wine, which they declined as they would soon be off to dinner at a Queen Street, West restaurant Ursa. A friend had said so many great things about it they told me, “Wow, you’re going to Ursa, I know the chef” I said, “let me call him and let him know you are on the way”. It was one of those Hollywood moments, when you run into someone at a restaurant or bar, and make certain they are looked after wherever they are going.
The Ritz Bar and the hotel itself was in full swing, it was the second last day of Tiff, the band Kiss were off to dinner as well, and my friends had begun to arrive, not to mention that the cast and crew of ‘English Vinglish’ were getting ready for the evening gala screening.
I called Ursa, asked for Jacob,( that is chef Jacob Sharkey Pearce), who with brother Jonathan Lucas and their team make this fine restaurant run. As soon as I had Jacob on the phone I handed my cell phone to one of the girls, so they could talk to the chef directly. But hello, what about cocktails? Now I wanted to see what day it was, and as it was Friday Robin Goodfellow would be working the bar. I wrote Robin’s name down for the ladies, and let them know they would be looked after with great cocktails.
Later in the evening as things were rolling the band Kiss had returned from dinner at Scaramouche Restaurant, and if you thought you were in the tick of things at earlier in the evening now things were really taking-off, the red carpet in full swing, and it was then I got a call from Corinne, she wanting to know if they should come back to the Ritz Bar for wine. I had not checked my emails earlier as I had one from the ladies that was as follows.
Thanks from the ladies at URSA !
Your friends are taking care of us – excellent food and drink. Let us
know if we’re welcome to share the fabulous wine you were talking about
with you and your friends Gene. Paul, Eric etc….
…Gene, Paul, Eric being the band members of Kiss. “Absolutely, come over”. The wine in question was that from my friends vineyard Ravine Vineyard, which is a fabulous place to go chill eat and drink wine in the Niagara-on-the-Lake region. This was Tiff, it was Canada, and I was keeping it Canadian (represent!).
I did not see the girls arrive, but as I floated through the Ritz Bar I saw the ladies sitting at my favorite table, in the corner, I made certain they got wine, and introduced them to Doc McGhee best known for working with KISS, Bon Jovi and Mötley Crüe. The latter two groups experienced their rise to stardom under his management. He has also worked with Hootie & the Blowfish. Things were set, the ladies back at the Ritz Bar, in good hands and who wouldn’t be entertained by the stories of Doc McGhee.
Now that is what I call a birthday night out.
Eric Singer, Paul Stanley, with their manager Doc McGhee came out of two black trucks, jumped out and walked directly over to a few fans standing behind the Ritz barricades. They posed for photo’s, signed autographs. That’s what real stars do.
Jane who had been sitting with me asked me if I needed food. I told her right now my body was like the McLaren sitting in the driveway, running on all cylinders, as if it was at LeMans.
Kiss the band and I have so many friends in common it’s boggles even my mind. The band was going to go have a quick shut-eye before they went off to dinner to Scaramouche Restaurant, an old standard in Toronto, but not one I would go to having grown up in Toronto, been there done it too many times. This did not prevent me from suggesting some new spots, “I think we are back in spring, we’ll try it”, said one of their security people who was friends with my mutual friend Jamie Wood, who’s father Ronnie Wood plays in the band The Rolling Stones.
As the dudes from Kiss took off for dinner, colorful saris now adorned the entrance of the Ritz Carlton. It was showtime, and the red carpet premier of the film ‘English Vinglish’.
French actor Mehdi Nebbou came over to say hello. He was wearing a tux with no shirt. “I think it looks good without a shirt”, he said after I told him that I liked his style. Yes, he’s french and he has style. Soon it was time for them to take off in Audi VIP shuttles, while other walked across the street to Roy Thompson Hall for the gala. This was my cue to dash to the red carpet with my BlackBerry Playbook and get some candid shots for this particular story.
Upon my return back to the the Ritz Bar my wine and friends, I ran into a great guy with whom I have had the pleasure of working this year a board member of Tiff Warren Spitz. Warren was off running off to see English Vinglish. “Warren”, I said, “Kiss guys went off to dinner”, “There here, are they coming back, I know Gene Simmons and his wife Shannon!” he told me. “I know you do Warren that is why I am tell you, they will come back after dinner I want to show them the Jarrell guitar which Madonna’s guitarist Monte Pittman had rocked on the deck of the Ritz Bar.
Late in the evening everyone was back at the Ritz.
Sridevi after a 14 year sabbatical posed for some pictures in the lobby of the Ritz, with debutant director Gauri Shinde, after returning from English Vinglish premier at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Eric Singer,Tommy Thayer, and Doc McGhee sat in the Ritz Bar, talking to some people I had introduced to them.
Gauri Shinde, who had also written English Vinglish was free, so I began asking her a few questions, “you’re sounding like a journalist,” was her remark to me, she was still over the moon over the red carpet, it was her first feature film, Mehdi Nebbou was nearby, “come let me introduce you to the band Kiss”, their eyes lit up, “you now Gauri one day someone should do a film with Kiss in Bollywood”.
The Ritz Bar reminded me of the day’s at Le Dome, or the Ivy, in Los Angeles, it was doing the rounds connecting people and then letting the universe take it’s course. After all this is why we have film festivals so artist’s can be discovered and introduced.
At the end of the night, Eric Singer was saying to me “English Vinglish”, I told him Eric, man you got to say it with a twist of the wrist, and nod of the head, he mimicked my gestures and said “English Vinglish”, it was a moment. A Bollywood moment. A Night that could have never ended.