Material Girl’s – Monte Pittman Magic – at Ritz Bar – Tiff12

This is the Toronto International Film Festival (Tiff12). It is the biggest film festival in North America. To film makers this is as important as Cannes, and perhaps even more important due to the number of commercial deals that our done here at Tiff12 supporting independent film makers. For me to be involved this year in my own way helping Tiff12 take it up a notch has been especially a thrill as my an old friend of mine founded it 37 years ago by the name of William Marshall, who also wanted to bring big concerts to Toronto.

When we talk big global concerts, well you can count into that MDNA World Tour.

Madonna makes films, her ex-husband Guy Ritchie makes films, I used to make films. Into this mix comes the very talented Monte Pittman.

One day in  New York City I caught my big break propelling me into space faster then a speeding rocket.  Monte caught his big break as well and it’s shot him to the moon with his MPS Jarrell guitar, and he’s gonna take you to Mars today.

Monte Pittman grew up in East Texas, with a dream, he wanted to just play guitar in a big way. Guess what, he did it.

Monte Pittman decided one day to give guitar lessons, and he got a call to teach someone, that someone was Guy Ritchie at the time still married to the material girl, Madonna. Monte also ended up teaching Madonna a few new tricks, ( yes life is an on-going lesson ), which landed Monte the biggest gig ever being the guitar dude for Madonna on her world tours.

Monte Pittman, plays the Jarrell MPS guitar which he first played at the Super Bowl half time show with Madonna. This is a guitar which he helped design with Phillip Jarrell. Monte tells me that the sound of this guitar is awesome.

Today Monte Pittman will come the the Ritz Carlton hotel, and rock it in front of the hotel. He will rock his MPS Jarrell guitar, so this is as close you will get to it. The next time Monte Pittman will play it will be on stage at Air Canada center with Madonna.

Follow me and be a VIP today at the Ritz Carlton Toronto 4pm

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Gary Lucas brings his magic to the Ritz Bar – Tiff12

Gary Lucas is an American guitarist, a Grammy-nominated songwriter, a soundtrack composer for film and television, and an international recording artist with over a twenty solo albums to date. He has been described as a “guitarist with a global guitar” by Larry Rohter, of the New York Times.


“one of the best and most original guitarists in America”

– David Fricke, Rolling Stone

He is also associated with vocalist Jeff Buckley, who performed for a year in Lucas’ band, Gods and Monsters, early in his career.

Phillip Jarrell, let me know that Gary was in town for the Toronto International Film Festival ( Tiff12 ) and so I thought it would be a great idea to get Gary to come play at the Ritz Carlton, at the Ritz Bar outside.

Various people stopped over to talk about films including George who is a partner of Greg Binions CEO of Jarrell guitars a partner of Phillip Jarrell. Those who came talked, drank Canadian wine from Ontario’s Ravine Vineyard.

The action at the Ritz Carlton is never ending during Tiff. My friend Warren Spitz director of Tiff and Chair of the gala fund raiser for the friends of Tiff walked past with his family off to a screening. It began to get cold. So everyone drank more wine. The team of the Ritz Carlton hotel brought some blankets, while Amy, Ashley and Duncan floated around seemingly effortlessly at a very busy bar.

At about 9 in the evening I called Gary, just to confirm that we are still on, Gary had been at his film screening’s dinner and let me know that he would be on his way hitting the Ritz Carlton around about ten-thirty.

The arrival of Gary was magical, he is a true musician and he did not care about anything really he just wanted to play the Jarrell guitar and just rock some tunes out. Oh, yea Gary rocked some tunes alright.

Kristin Gibeau who had been visiting from Ottawa to help people at the festival drank her Ravine Vineyard red wine and as Gary played she said to me “what a magical night this has turned out to me”.

How can it not be magic, it was the first time a Grammy nominated musician was on deck of the new Ritz Bar, playing tunes in the middle of the biggest film festival in the world, The Toronto International Film Festival.

Here is some of the magic that was produced.

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Action! The Kitchens for Tiff12 Toronto International Film Festival

I started to document the dance that takes place in the kitchen of Chef Brad Long’s Cafe Belong last year during the Toronto International Film Festival.

This year for Tiff12, I selected those restaurants where you will most certainly have great food, meet the team at these restaurants who are really a lot of fun, with great chef’s, and most importantly great food.

Daily, you’ll see the kitchens at work while films get screened, so when you are hungry, these kitchens will look after you.

I had my own place in Monte Carlo, and my all time favorite place is still La Colombe d’Or (St-Paul-de-Vence, France). So yea, I have standards.

All the spots are meant to let you explore Toronto, and I know everyone at these places, so if you go you will really have a great meal and good time.

Toca – Ritz Carlton – Toronto

The kitchen is great and the team and chef’s of the Ritz Carlton are catering the very exclusive Ball to which a private jet thanks to Bombardier is flying in with stars. They would not be doing it if they did not know food. ( Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner )

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Nyood

Talent is all around the kitchen, vibe is great, the food is great.
(Dinner)

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Ursa

The bar will make you killer cocktails, and the kitchen here well Lucas and Jacob Sharkey-Pearce and the team will make sure you have a great time. (Dinner).

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Acadia

Little Italy, catch the buzz and the food without question you will enjoy. (Dinner)

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Kanji

The sushi is so fresh the fish is still fluttering on the kitchen table. Chef James from Nobu in New York, need I say more. (Lunch – Dinner)

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County General

Food, drinks, feel like your in Santa Monica. (Brunch, Lunch, Dinner)

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Maizal

Great place if your running around and need great Mexican fresh. The designers of Prince love this spot (Lunch)

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Cafe Belong

As always great food, it like being in Big Sur at the Post Ranch Inn.
(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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Ravine Valley Vineyards

Finished with your gig at the festival?, then head out of town to my friends Vineyard. Great food, it’s like being in Napa.

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Clafouti Toronto – My Cafe for Tiff12

If your coming from Los Angeles then you’ll love the fact that everything at this cafe owned by my friend is made fresh daily.

The almond croissants are so good, and made with almonds from California they are made into paste in the kitchen. Now that to me is fresh.

As far as sandwiches go, everything is fantastic. Hey they even make something sweet, sexy like The Lana for Lana Del Rey.

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Bruce Willis – Gave me the greatest hug ever! Welcome to Tiff12

It’s 2005. The setting was Los Angeles, Hollywood Bowl, dressing room of The Rolling Stones.

I was walking around with my friend Jamie Wood, who at the time was managing his father the band member of The Rolling Stones, Ronnie Wood. Jamie and I went here and there, Mick Jagger was busy looking at the wardrobe diligently inspecting it. Kieth Richards was in his room but and the door was closed and Charlie was chatting with someone.

Jamie and I kept on walking and then Jamie saw his mom Jo Wood, they chatted and Jamie and I found what we were looking for Jamie’s love of his life Jodi Wood, and his son’s. The room they were in was set up as a play room, kids where running around playing. I left Jamie with Jodie and walked into the hallway only to find standing back against the wall observing everything Bruce Willis.

Jamie Wood had noticed that Bruce Willis was backstage and had commented to Jodie, if she thought it would be a good idea to have Bruce Willis hold their baby so they could have a picture taken. Jamie said “It be kinda cool, when he grew up and all to say look there I am in Bruce Willis’s arms”. Jodie looked at Jamie “You can’t be going asking Bruce Willis to hold the baby”, both were scared to approach Bruce Willis. Here is Jamie, who’s grown up all rock and roll and he was just shy to approach Bruce Willis.

Standing with Bruce Willis, I introduced myself to Bruce and we started to chatting. I told Bruce I wanted to make a movie in India with him to which Bruce responded “let’s go”. Bruce being a very easy going guy, I said, “hey Bruce, would you mind holding my friends baby for a picture, his grand-daddy is Ronnie Wood?”, Bruce let me know that was no big deal.

After the picture was taken, Bruce and I started talking again, and Johnny Depp walked in smoking something (not cigarette), “Hey Johnny What up” I said Johnny nodded and kept on going straight over to Keith Richards room. A few moments later Ronnie Wood was running around all excited holding what ever Johnny Depp had previously had in his hand. Welcome to rock and roll, where even a Rolling Stone will get excited by Johnny Depp.

It was time to go for me, it was getting hectic backstage, in the dressing rooms. I said my good-bye to Bruce Willis we shook hand and as if old friends hugged. It was at this moment I found out more about Bruce Willis then anyone could ever tell me. It was that hug. The hug that someone give you that means something. Not a fleeting hug, such as see ya, bye kind of hug. It was the kind that, was a hug, with a pause, in which it was said, cool to meet you man, take care, a hug with a surging sincerity. It was the last time I saw Bruce Willis or Johnny Depp.

So here we are in 2012, the setting will now be Toronto, where I had grown up at the Toronto International Film Festival, where Bruce Willis will open it with a gala for his film, Looper.

Johnny Depp well he too will be here at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The Rolling Stones? Well I invited them including Richard Branson, will they come or will Mick, Ronnie or Keith? who know’s. What is kinda cool for me, to see Bruce Willis open this fantastic film festival.

Who know’s maybe Bruce will give me another hug this time to say, hello nice to be in your town. What will I say to Bruce? “Brucee, you got to come up and make a movie here in Toronto. The city really welcome’s you”.

Here is a short clip of the welcome to Bruce Willis, and a message to Johnny Depp at Fresh restaurant on Queen Street West, in Toronto.

Let’s start the party and rock Tiff12.


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Putting the Ritz into the Ritz Carlton with McLaren – MP4-12C Spyder

If there where two brand in luxury that are meant to be paired then Ritz Carlton and McLaren are meant to be a global force of luxury where living meet the luxury of speed and elegance.

Ritz Carlton for me and McLaren have also allowed me the luxury to participate in magic.

There was the stay at Ritz Carlton Montreal, and my weekend with McLaren when it was launched in Canada by the sterling team of Chris Pfaff’s, Pfaff Auto in partnership with Ron Dennis.

That weekend of mine with Lewis Hamilton and Nicole Scherzinger (who with A.R. Rahman, and The Pussycat Dolls performed Jai Ho in 2009 the selected video for My Name Is Khan), provided for a victory for Lewis Hamilton, thus becoming the King of Montreal at the Canadian Grand Prix 2012. It was a splendid weekend with Chris Pfaff’s team all of whom are the greatest people you will meet, where service is the key element, and most importantly for me they are all fun.

Keeping in the flow of things the teams that of the Ritz Carlton Toronto, and Pfaff McLaren came together last night to make for a mind blowing ( it was really windy ), for the launch of the McLaren MP4-12C Spyder.

Guess what folks, I gave the word this morning to my guys in Europe “we need to get this baby”. The McLaren MP4 – 12C Spyder is one sweet, fast, and most important for me sexy car.

I cannot wait to drive it from Monte Carlo on my favorite route, Monaco to Milan, Como , Geneva, Berlin, that folks you can do in this car because it is very comfortable. Hey, if Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button can do in spell-bounding speeds then this drive would be nothing.

Top up or top down, the car is a super-charged erotic performer and should have no trouble keeping up but then again who wants to keep up, what’s behind you does not matter. How much of a performer? McLaren promises 0-60 mph acceleration in just 3.1 seconds and a quarter mile elapsed time of 10.8 seconds at a speed of 134 mph.

That performance is courtesy of a lightweight carbon fiber monocoque chassis, which houses a potent twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V-8 engine tuned to deliver 616 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque, as well as a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Come of folks that should already get you salivating.

In preparing for the launch the Ritz Carlton did a massive overhaul of the bar now the very warm inviting space knighted the ‘Ritz Bar’ day before the McLaren MP4 – 12C Spyder launch, the Ritz Carlton Toronto team of Nathaniel, Christian, Duncan, and crew where like the McLaren pit crew, in a race to get the bar up and running, while Daniel was working on all the other logistic’s, the team was humming. Resulting in producing tables that are the right height for cocktails, ( I learned about this from Arrigo Cipriani and son Giuseppe Cipriani of Harry’s Bar ) who are very particular about table heights, and the Ritz Toronto got this spot-on. The seating is now cozy, comfortable, and ideal for conversation, with the addition of the improvement’s to the outdoor deck it has created a new dimension previously not available to the Ritz Carlton Toronto.

The evening was how can I say it “scintillating”!.

Two teams, Pfaff Auto McLaren, and Ritz Carlton bravo!

Now bring on Hollywood and the Toronto International Film Festival 2012. The McLaren’s will be waiting as will the team of the Ritz Carlton Toronto, Bruce Willis, Will Smith, Madonna, Megan Ellison, Johnny Depp discover the city like real rock stars Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button in a McLaren.

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