Kicking off #TIFF with #TWIFF

photo (22)Tweet 1They put a ‘W’ in it.

No, not twerk.  #TWIFF.  TIFF, or the Toronto International Film Festival (if you’ve never heard of it *shakes head slowly*), starts September 5 and runs until the 15, when the hottest and brightest stars descend on Toronto for parties, premieres, and red carpets.  This year, Fairmont Royal York Hotel and Omega group, in partnership with EtalkCTV, Porter, Grolsch, Rémy Martin, and Twitter Canada, hosted a pre-party for the who’s who of the Toronto social media crowd to mingle, mix and tweet!

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I met my sister for drinks before heading to the soirée.  Despite being relatively on time (I’ve never been good at the fashionably late thing) the crowds were already swarming and my name appeared on the guest list without any troubles.

But, before that, I went to the powder room in the EPIC Lounge and Restaurant located in the lobby at the Royal York.  My favourite part of any night is the anticipation before it begins and it was fun being in the buzzing cocktail lounge as I snuck in to freshen up.  However, for some reason, I walked right into the men’s room and was a good six feet in before realizing that there was a urinal in front of me.  The place was empty so I deeked out as quickly as I could, only to see a man in the process of walking into the woman’s room right beside me.

Was there something wrong with the signage?  No. The usual little ambiguous man and woman sat respectively on their doors, but for some reason, at that moment, he and I had decided to swap genders and hit the loo of the opposite sex.  I joked with him that I had just done the same thing he did and we shared a moment, his white hair glistening in the lounge’s spotlight.

The night continued and the ballroom that hosted the festivities was decked out to the nines.  Low lighting, mood music DJ with real life saxophone accompaniment (this was a highlight of the evening, a guy walking around and playing the sax) tempered the party with light tunes until more rhythmic jams came on throughout the night.

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This was a party where it was perfectly acceptable to be on your phone – but my battery was hovering around a scary 31% mark. I dimmed the brightness and kept tweeting.  I tweeted about the drink tickets – tipping off new arrivals that the seemingly expensive wine at 2 tickets (actually reasonable for a glass of Kim Crawford) could be countered by a 1-ticket spend on a Grolsch.  I tweeted my location (which I never do) and invited other guests to come see me in the room.

At one point I finally met a Twitter friend @TwistMyMind.  I had never been introduced in person, and he was one of two guys standing solo near the spot he tweeted he was standing in.  I approached the wrong Shawn and asked if he was @TwistMyMind.  The real Shawn, standing immediately beside this fake Shawn, piped up with his true identity.  #mybad!

I saw a few tweets from Etalk’s Tanya Kim and was really eager to go catch a glimpse of her and see what she was wearing so I headed to the Imperial Room (a small bar outside the ballroom and tucked away to the side) to investigate.  I only saw her from a far but that was pretty cool.  A friend of mine from work arrived and we agreed to meet up in the ballroom.  Just as I was walking out, I spotted Kirstine Stewart, the new Head of Twitter Canada, in the Imperial Room and I thought “This is my chance to say hi!”  I did and she was very gracious.  I said the usual embarrassing thing as we parted and decided I’d had enough Grolsch.

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I’m sad I missed Amanda Blain and Huffington Post’s Ron Nurwisah, but the crowds at peak time made it impossible to spot your real life Twitter folks – it was easier to just locate them using that 2″ x 4.5″ screen in my hand.

All in all, it was an awesome time!  It could have used a bit more to do with TIFF or had a host/MC but maybe they’ll ask me to do that next year.  If you haven’t heard, my MC-ing is in demand.

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