Catching up betwixt this newsletter break

A pop-up before returning Thursday

If nothing else, Annamie Paul leading the Greens meant an interview with Nardwuar, who also scored Jagmeet Singh but got no face time this time with Erin O’Toole or Justin Trudeau. The PM has a newly unearthed photo of past blackface circulating on Election Day, and a Toronto candidate not allowed to sit as a Liberal if he wins.


Met Gala aftermath goes on

A link to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez meant Canadian designer Aurora James had more associations scrutinized, but she left an “Lol” on Kevin O’Leary sporting a “Tax the Rich” sweatshirt. And another slogan from the Met Gala, the “Peg the Patriarchy” sported by Cara Delevingne, has Toronto’s Luna Matatas claiming her phrase was appropriated.


Simu Liu’s alleged trail of Reddit posts seemed to be addressed by something he later put on Twitter. TMZ’s detective work surrounds how the Shang-Chi star evidently stated pedophilia is “no different than being gay” via an account attached to his name. (Last week, past comments on conditions in China drew attention that Liu didn’t seek.)


Silver Dollar vs. Neon Palms

The El Mocambo’s first open-to-the-public concerts in seven years are about to happen. But due to owner Michael Wekerle’s inability to get the Rolling Stones at this time, the Toronto club will feature Montreal band the Box. Meanwhile, on the neighbouring Spadina Avenue block, a new development’s promised restoration has manifested:


Allan Slaight dead at 90. A child musician turned teenage broadcaster in Moose Jaw, he moved to Toronto to become 1050 CHUM’s program director soon after it started playing rock ’n’ roll. Slaight’s own radio empire expanded upon the 1977 launch of Q107 Toronto—then, from 1985 to 2017, Standard Broadcasting was his business.


Finally, after the notes to self

Norm Macdonald tributes included Bob Saget detailing how they met in 1978 in Ottawa only to reunite two decades later in Toronto, where Saget directed Dirty Work. That film’s co-star, Artie Lange, also resurfaced with memories of his own. And the years Macdonald spent on Weekend Update were discussed by Lorne Michaels:

In a world without Norm Macdonald

The next newsletter is Election Day

While he spent several decades claiming different birthdates, Norm Macdonald was 61 when he died, after a nine-year battle with cancer he kept private. His memoir from 2016, Based on a True Story, similarly fiddled with facts in line with the performance art style that the Quebec-born comedian originated on stage in mid-’80s Ottawa.


Laughs from behind the masks

Jean Chrétien was excited to be at a rally for Justin Trudeau in Brampton, which looked uncomfortably crowded for these times. But organizers confirmed the gathering was in accordance with capacity rules, with an attempt to enforce social distancing. The 100-year-old Hazel McCallion also turned up—only to criticize the timing of the election.


Canada’s ‘Mad Max’ stokes anti-vax rage—and could help Trudeau.” Reuters explained Maxime Bernier to the rest of the planet, as polling continues to show gains for the People’s Party. John Ibbitson wrote a Globe and Mail column advocating for PPC representation, later edited to clarify that opposing non-European immigrants is racist.


A filmmaker’s jagged dilemma

Documentaries about Kenny G, Triumph and Dionne Warwick were endorsed by their stars during the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival, but attention granted one about Alanis Morissette exposed a divide between filmmaker and subject. Morissette decried Jagged as “salacious,” but director Alison Klayman is defending the efforts:


CBC’s new podcast about how right-wing radio radicalized America. The Flamethrowers kicked off with an episode about how Hamilton-born Father Charles Coughlin essentially invented a genre that became big business six decades later. The second episode, hosted by Justin Ling, is dedicated to the rise of Rush Limbaugh.


Finally, a dressing down cometh

Aurora James got a day of significant media attention for designing the “Tax the Rich” dress that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore to the Met Gala. That’s included highlighting the fact that the “immigrant” status emphasized by AOC refers to James being from Toronto and that the designer’s own boyfriend, Benjamin Bronfman, isn’t poor:

Say a little prayer for whatever comes next

Dionne Warwick only does so much

Globe and Mail columnist Elizabeth Renzetti identified her brother as a popular prank protester at a generally genuine anti-vaccine protest at Toronto General Hospital, which also drew Dr. Raghu Venugopal to counter-protest in scrubs. Similar hospital pickets happened across Canada, leading to debate over the tolerance level for demonstrations.


The temperamental Trudeau

Justin Trudeau said he agreed with the impatience on certain issues during a Global News interview that ended with him ornery about not getting to his preferred topics. But in the wake of assault charges related to gravel throwing, the PM clapped back at hecklers in B.C.: “Isn’t there a hospital you should be going to bother right now?


Linda O’Leary was found not guilty of carless driving in the Lake Joseph boat crash. She had been facing a maximum $10,000 penalty for charges related to the August 2019 collision that killed two people. Mercifully, her husband, Kevin O’Leary, never stopped making memes with text like “Money is my military, each dollar a soldier.”


A thing Elon Musk can’t buy

“Tax the Rich” on a dress worn by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez provided the biggest headlines from the revived Met Gala in New York, with which the likes of Dan Levy and Simu Liu could only wish to compete. The costume ball also had Grimes saluting Dune, and using the red carpet to ask Joe Biden for a green card because she loves America:


Drake contracting COVID-19 factored into Nicki Minaj’s explanation that she hasn’t been vaccinated—but it’s also because her cousin’s friend’s testicles got swollen. In other news, Certified Lover Boy tracks are blanketing Billboard charts, even if the finished product ultimately led to critical questions like “Is Drake Tired of Drake?”


Finally, walking on by for life

Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over supplied more star wattage than the typical 2021 Toronto International Film Festival premiere, thanks to its subject crossing the border. This supplied Shinan Govani with a snap of Warwick buying jeans at the Bay—a pair she possibly wore for interviews—along with other old-school sightings:

The women who won’t vote for Justin Trudeau

Also happen to be his former MPs

Conservatives have secured the support of former Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes, who’s voting for Whitby candidate Maleeha Shahid. The endorsement coincided with the Globe and Mail publishing a book excerpt from Jody Wilson-Raybould, who says Justin Trudeau wanted the former justice minister to lie about SNC-Lavalin, which he denies.


Social media scrapes in Toronto

Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith shared some screenshots purported to be from his Conservative challenger, who was promptly dropped as a candidate in Beaches–East York—but Lisa Robinson claims the account is fake. Meanwhile, St. Paul’s riding NDP candidate Sidney Coles apologized for tweeting that Israel was stealing vaccines.


Chinese social media has basically cancelled Simu Liu. An interview that the Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings star did with the CBC in 2017 included his gratitude for having left a “Third World” country where people were being starved to death. The resurfaced clip made the Marvel film’s release in China even more unlikely.


Dad watched it from home

Losing the U.S. Open final was fairly inconsequential to the rising tennis star status of 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez, whose run managed to captivate everyone, particularly those who latched on to her coaching father’s emotional appreciation of Canada. Jorge Fernandez stayed home in Florida because he felt superstitious:


Now I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, they’re all pedophiles. It’s all statutory rape.’”Jagged, the documentary about Alanis Morissette premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival, has made headlines due to the singer alleging she was raped by multiple men at age 15. Morissette is also reportedly unhappy with the film.


Finally, castle lights brighten up

Hilarious House of Frightenstein premiered 50 years ago this week on Hamilton’s CHCH-TV. Shortly before its September 11 debut, a “custom-made kindergarten laugh track” was excised from Billy Van’s character segments. But a half-century later, this still-subversive intellectual property receives a kid-safe adaptation:

The election debate has a bad hangover

Maxime Bernier might be its name

The sole English-language debate of the 2021 federal election was mostly an exercise in wondering why the election was happening at all. Justin Trudeau seemed to lose, while Annamie Paul might’ve actually won, but in the end, Yves-François Blanchet managed to infuriate just about everyone by reminding all of Canada about the Bloc.


Polls are pondering the PPC

Maxime Bernier’s exclusion from debates might’ve only bolstered his polling numbers at a time when civil liberties surrounding the pandemic turned into a hotter topic. But the People’s Party of Canada also provides a consistent sideshow for echoing the Three Percenters’ slogan and Bernier not pursuing charges after getting egged in Saskatoon.


What I’m telling you is that we’re an immigrant family and we had nothing.” The father of Leylah Fernandez, who’s headed to the U.S. Open women’s final, gave an interview to TSN about what it means to represent Canada. Jorge Fernandez was a former professional soccer player who had no tennis experience before coaching her.


TIFF in the time of PCR tests

The stay-at-home portions of the Toronto International Film Festival began with a malfunctioning platform that made some titles inaccessible due to browser issues. And flight delays from New York and L.A. brought on fear of PCR test expiration. But a red carpet scene proceeded for an opening night premiere shielded from public view:


The mystery of whatever Grimace is. A recent CBC News interview with Windsor’s award-winning McDonald’s manager, Brian Bates, had him describing the purple anthropomorphic being as “a taste bud.” Verification attempts came up short beyond a 2012 tweet from McD’s calling their mascot “the embodiment of a milkshake.”


Finally, a new side of a mirror

Records is the title of the follow-up to Vinyl, a 2000 documentary film in which Alan Zweig met music collectors while confronting his similar obsessions. The style was used for two other movies before he took his camera elsewhere. But a second spin on his first subject is set to premiere via the Vancouver International Film Festival:

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