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Purchasing Movie Tickets at TIFF

What a day. When I woke up the plan was to go to Toronto and buy tickets for films that will be shown at the Toronto International Film Festival. I left the house armed with a backpack, a wallet,  food, water, a festival program that comes with a map of festival hotspots, sunglasses, my hat, and my camera in case I would see something worth photographing. Boy, did I ever.

While reading my festival program on the train between Oakville and Toronto, I read that today was the opening of the TIFF Bell Lightbox, a sort of movie museum sponsored by influencial people from the movie industry in Toronto including Jason and Ivan Reitman. Since the opening would include an outdoor show from noon til four in the afternoon and I had nothing but time after I bought my tickets, I thought "why not?" I may as well make the most of my day.

After buying the tickets for Monsters next Friday and John Carpenter's The Ward next Sunday, I walked in front of the newly constructed building and noticed a long line of people waiting to get inside. Festival volunteers informed me that there would be an opening ceremony at noon followed by the doors opening. The building can hold aver 4000 people so there would be time for everyone to get in. I chose to wait in line anyway, in an effort to be one of the first to see the buildings. Unfortunately I was standing right next to one of those bouncy castle for kids and I couldn't hear the opening ceremony because of the noisy air pump. However, once inside I did manage to take a decent picture of Ivan Reitman.

The Lightbox is heaven for a movie lover like me. There is a room filled with movie posters and memorabilia. The second floors has screening rooms that play short films and the third floor play homage films dedicated to the "Essential 100", movies that have been deemed as essential viewing. I stayed in only one room where I saw a great collection of short films dedicated to the festival's 30th anniversary. I even saw one set at the citadel in Quebec City, where I was living two weeks ago.

I then left the building to go and explore some of the hotspots highlighted on my map. I saw the Roy Thompson Hall which was being prepared for a premiere that night and then I went to the Scotiabank Theater where I would be watching my two movies next week. Since it was close to the block party for the Lightbox, I decided to stop by one more to watch the end of the party and was pleasantly surprised to see George Stromboloupolous (I assume I mispelled his name) introduce K'naan. Yes, of course, he sang the Waving Flags song. Great rendition as always.

My next step was to go to Bloor Street and Yorkville Avenue, which another magazine informed me is a hotspot for celebrities since this is where all the great stores are. Unfortunately it took me around an hour to walk from John Street to Yonge Street and from there Bloor Street. What the magazine doesn't tell you is that to get to the really good stores you have to walk in front of the really dubious ones: massage parlors, strip clubs, adult video stores, tattoo parlos, and hemp stores. But hey, whatever makes you happy.

Once I did get to Yorkville there were small crowds in front of high-end hotels who were waiting for some celebrity to show up, cameras at the ready. However, by that point I was getting tired and hungry, so I asked myself "why bother?" I enjoy watching movies. What is entertaining about watching an actor walk out of a hotel and get into a car? Shit, anyone can do that. I might take a picture if the actor was going to make stunt, read from a script, or I don't know, make balloon animals for all I care. But I am not going to wait in line just to maybe catch of glimpse of him or her walk out of door. As John Goodman said in The Big Lebowski: "Fuck it man. Lets go bowling."

Actually I just went to have a bite and then I headed back to the train station with a newly purchased edition of Empire magazine (one of the best movie magazines in the world), and a magazine detailing the movies being shown at the TIFF Lightbox. It made for some great reading on the train. Apparently the Lightbox will soon exhibit the artistic drawings and illustrations of Tim Burton. Can't wait to see his sketches from A Nightmare Before Christmas.

So overall a pretty good day at the festival. My last setback was arriving in Oakville after eight and realizing that the buses don't run at this hour. But it's all right. Next Friday I will be watching a movie at one of the world's greatest movie festivals. That worth paying cab fare.  

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