Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Token Chicks

Wow, it's been over two weeks since I have updated my blog. It's been crazy at work and it has been a physically and mentally draining month thus the last thing I wanted to do was sit in front of the computer even longer and think of a blog to write.

Film festival premiere of "Stranger than Fiction" was great. Loved the movie. It was very exciting to sit really close to the stage and see Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson in person (photo is of Emma arriving the Elgin Theatre in Toronto for the premiere) She was gorgeous and he (Dustin) was hilarious. JB(a huge Dustin Hoffman fan) wrote a blurb about our encounter with Dustin when he and the other actors were exiting the theatre. Dustin looked at us and said "thanks for having us in your city. It's a beautiful city and a great film fest". At one point just before the movie was to start. JMan's wife looked down from our balcony seat and said to me "is that Demi Moore sitting there?" I stood up a bit from my seat and peered over the balcony to check out the thin, tanned woman in a really expensive long black dress with long dark perfectly coiffed straight hair, gorgeous shoes on sitting with her legs crossed, nervously bouncing her foot up and down and CHEWING GUM LIKE A COW CHEWING IT'S CUD!! sitting beside her was a guy dressed in a corduroy jacket, jeans, running shoes and a baseball cap which was pretty much covering his face. I assume it was Aston Kutcher.

I have been playing my usual weekly golf game each week which kept me sane as well as my weekly lessons with Espinoza,Lee and JB. Two weeks ago I played in my first golf tournament and won two trophies! One trophy was for closest to the pin for ladies and one for longest drive for ladies. I must say that the trophies were a bit of a given as the other women playing in the tournament were not regular golfers. All the same, it was nice to A/ play a round of golf at a championship course for free and B/ take a day off work to play with some co-workers.

I love the egos of some of the male players when they see a woman arrive with her own clubs and golf gear on. They sit at the starters box and wait to watch you tee off. So of course I had to try my utmost to make my first drive look really good. It gets even more hilarious when you stop for a lunch break between the front 9 and the back 9. You meet up with the players ahead of you and the group behind you and chat and ask how each others game is going and then you encounter that one male. You ladies who golf know what male I am talking about. The group behind us had one of THOSE males. You know the ones who have to talk and talk everything up as god forbid anyone think or know that he isn't as good as anyone else on the planet. Any woman who plays golf has encountered this species of male more times than we care to remember and we have all had the following conversation with this male and usually it occurs after they have seen you swing and watched your drive from the first tee. Since buddy was in the foursome behind us, he saw a few of my drives and shots. Here's how the conversation goes, it doesn't alter much from golf course, city, country.

Insecure Male Golfer: "So, how often do you golf"

Female Golfer (me): "I dunno, about once a week minimum sometimes two times a week"

Insecure Male Golfer: "well really! That's great you can get out that often" (as if I should be home vacuuming or cleaning or doing the laundry instead)

Female Golfer (me): "ya, it's important to play this game regularly or you just won't get good at it"

Then comes the classic male ego boosting, chest thumping boast:

Insecure Male Golfer: "yep, well I don't get out that often and this year I have been so busy and have not had the time to play as much as I would like. How's your game today. You know, back at the eighth hole I had a great drive ball went 240 yards, my score is great today not too many bogies"

Female Golfer (me) rushing to get out to start the next 9 holes: "wow, good for you. Enjoy the rest of your lunch. See you at the awards ceremony later today, good luck on the back 9"

As I was walking out of the clubhouse with my co-worker Tony, who is actually a very good golfer but with no ego or sexism when it comes to golf. I whispered "My ass he drove the ball 240 yards. I saw his swing" Tony just laughed and said "I know, I know, what are you going to do" What amazes me is that "Mr 240 yards" didn't appear to drive far enough on the 7 hole as he didn't win any trophy for longest drive or closest to the pin.

I regularly read "Golf for Women" magazine and one of my favorite regular columns is the "What's Bugging Me Now" column written by Senior Editor Stina Sternberg. This months column is a classic example of discrimination against women in the golf world. Article is included below and link to the Magazines version is here:

What's Bugging Me Now

On a recent Sunday, a friend invited me to play golf at her club in the New York area. My friend is a new member at this club--she spent a half-dozen years on a waiting list and paid a lot of money to join--and I was excited to play there. She told me we had to tee off in the afternoon, because the opening-day tournament was being played in the morning.

I asked my friend why she hadn't signed up for the tournament--after all, she was new at the club and trying to get to know people. She also plays to a 3-handicap and might have had a shot at winning the trophy. "It's just for guys," she told me. I asked when the women's opening-day tournament was being held, because, surely, she'd be a lock for that. "There isn't one," she said. There isn't one? At this modern-day country club, a woman is welcome to spend the equivalent of a hefty down payment on a house to join--and to wait patiently for six years to be allowed to play--but because of her physical anatomy, she's not welcome in the opening-day tournament? Even a low-single-digit handicap woman who plays from the white tees and would have easily beaten half the field of male players?

It's time for the clubs to wake up and realize that we're not living in the 1950s. Women work, women play good golf and women should have the same privileges as men. If not, we should get some of our fees and dues back. Because last time I checked, we're not getting any discounts for being discriminated against

Quote of the Day:

(About Annika Sorenstam on the men's tour) "I hope she misses the cut. Why? Because she doesn't belong out here."

Vijay Singh (Fijian golfer)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Overture, hit the lights......

drrrrrum roll,.....Well, it's that time of year. Roll out the red carpets and slap on some glitter: The 31st edition of the Toronto International Film Festival kicks off tonight. For the next nine days, the city will be swarming with Hollywood heavies, international auteurs and A-list celebrities. Of course with A-list celebrities you also get hordes of celebrity hounds infiltrating the downtown/Yorkville area of the city. These "autograph hounds" will make their way in to the city in droves particularly on weekends where they will tie up traffic, pedestrian traffic included and generally cause disruptions to our lives. In particular JB and I will more than likely NOT get into our usual breakfast diner that we head to on weekends. These celeb hounds and wanna be seen losers apparently have nothing better to do than go on an neverending quest for that potential brief glimpse of Brad Pitt, who is supposedly arriving on Saturday night, Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie etc etc. JB wrote about one of his favorite actors in his blog yesterday and has hilarious photos of the lengths he is going to ensure he is not photographed. I almost feel sorry for the these poor, pampered celebs as apparently the majority of these movie stars love coming to Toronto. They like this city and love the film festival and usually the majority of Torontonians are not that star struck anymore thus they get left alone. Unfortunately, in recent years as the festival has grown it has gotten a bit haywire and we are descended upon by autograph seekers, paparazzi and all the other "accoutrements" that follow movie stars. I remember one September a few years back. JB and I waked into the bar at the Four Seasons Hotel in Yorkville, during film fest. The walk through Yorkville was our route home from work and we would stop in at that bar or a couple of other bars in the neighborhood. Anyway, there right in front of us sitting by himself enjoying a beer was Liam Neeson. I whispered to Jim, "wow, that's Liam Neeson sitting over there" JB responded "cool" we then walked to our own spot in the bar and along with all the other patrons in the bar we LEFT HIM ALONE. I doubt this would happen now. The entire area of Yorkville is just packed with people milling about with their photos, DVD's and other things to have signed by their favorite movie star.

What I do find even more annoying/entertaining than the celeb hounds and paparazzi are the hilarious antics of the "serious film fest goers" and so called "journalists". These people walk around with their Festival Pass around their neck everywhere they go as if it is some sort of status symbol or as one would wear a gold Gucci necklace or a rolex watch. They sit in the restaurant patios around Yorkville or walk along Bloor street with their haughty "yes, I am important, look at me I have a pass around my neck for the film fest" attitude. With their film fest guide in hand they sit and look to see who is looking at them and those passes DO NOT come off. I sometimes wonder if these people wear their festival passes to bed. They stand in line at one of our regular breakfast/ diner spots with their passes in clear view along with their pens and note pads as if to suggest that their film pass should grant them a table faster than the rest of us waiting in line. They all sit and name drop and constantly seem to use the word "milieu" in sentences.

Now, JB and I are both movie lovers and despite my bitching about the hassles the film festival brings. We are lucky enough to attend at least one showing each year as we get comps for a festival premiere either through work connections or a friend. We have been lucky enough to see Michael Moore in person when he presented his film "Bowling for Columbine". One year we were able to see the premiere for the film "Love Actually" and were sitting just above Colin Firth and Laura Linney in the lovely Elgin/Winter Garden theatre(photo above) One of the reasons I do like attending the premieres is because I love sitting in the Elgin/Winter Garden theatre. This theatre was recently completely restored back to its original beauty. It is the last operating double decker theatre complex in the world, containing two completely separate and restored Edwardian theatres. It is now a National Historic Site owned and operated by the Ontario Heritage Foundation. One of the Centre's greatest treasures, discovered during the restoration, is the world's largest collection of vaudeville scenery hand-painted flats and drops dating from 1913. If you are planning a visit to Toronto there are free tours of the theatre provided during the week and on weekends. It is a gorgeous building and for years it sat empty and unused. Thankfully it has been restored to its former beauty.

This year we are attending the premiere of the new Will Ferrell and Emma Thompson flick "Stranger than Fiction". When I saw the preview/trailer for this flick a month ago I thought it looked great and thought "ya, that's a movie Iwould go see" So, I was really happy when our friend JayMan e mailed me on Tuesday morning and said "hey, are you guys free on Saturday night as I have four tickets for a Festival Premiere."

Check out the trailer. And no, I won't be bringing my DVD copy of Sense and Sensibility for Emma Thompson to sign.

Stranger than Fiction

Quote of the Day:
“Celebrity-worship and hero-worship should not be confused. Yet we confuse them every day, and by doing so we come dangerously close to depriving ourselves of all real models. We lose sight of the men and women who do not simply seem great because they are famous but are famous because they are great. We come closer and closer to degrading all fame into notoriety.”
Daniel J. Boorstin