This year’s Toronto International Film Festival was touted the biggest in years, as far as pure star power goes, with the trifecta of Clooney, Pitt, and Gosling topping most people’s to-stalk list. If last year was any indication, Grey Goose Soho House would again be ground zero for all things A-list, and it was, with The Ides of March duo and a host of others descending on the members only club’s weekend pop-up on Saturday night. The venue–3 levels of typical Toronto loft, exposed brick walls and floor-to-ceiling windows–was retrofitted to suit Soho House’s sophisticated but comfortable palette: pillowy, velvet couches, rustic lamps and table sets, and tribal rugs strewn across the hardwood floors. The party, which was officially the post-game for David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, quickly achieved shit-show status when Clooney arrived with his ex-girlfriend-to-be Stacey Kiebler, as lesser stars lined up to greet the couple.
But the real star of the night was Win Butler. The Arcade Fire frontman (with his ethreal date Regine), had Hollywood’s elite geeking out, and in particular, Blackbook cover boy Alexander Skarsgaard, who was spotted showing Butler footage he had shot of Arcade Fire on his phone while a nearby Bono chatted with Clooney, most likely about future let’s-save-the-world initiatives. Upstairs in a battle of crushes old and new, Gosling took on Dave Matthews in a game of ping pong, while lovebirds Chris Pratt and Anna Faris, and Kate Mara and Max Minghella,looked on. And though Pitt didn’t show, his Moneyball co-star Jonah Hill did, and was seen chatting with Keira Knightley, probably about how to handle all those eating disorder rumours.
The sheer wattage of Soho House was hard to match, especially after Harvey Weinstein closed it out Monday with his annual bash. But we have to hand it to the folks at Blackberry who mounted a valiant effort at King West’s newly-renovated haunt Brassaii, for a trio of nights that doubled as the perfect pre-drink spot for Soho House’s late night shenanigans. Tops of the three was the after party for 50/50, the buzzy cancer comedy (trust us, it’s good) starring Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Both leading men showed up to fete their premiere, along with co-stars Anna Kendrick and a very pregnant Bryce Dallas-Howard, who was a good sport all night despite being as big as a house. Speaking of good sports, Rogen who came off as one of the most approachable stars throughout the fest, happily obliged photo-seekers all night, while his beaming fiance stood by and watched.
So with Soho House and Brassaii establishing themselves as the biggest star magnets of the fest, the Gansevoort Hotel’s partnership with the low-key Toronto speakeasy goodnight provided a low-key but just as exclusive alternative to the usual TIFF red carpet clusterfuck. Although “Goodnight Gansevoort”, as it was dubbed, started with typical TIFF bombast–we were chauffered to the festivities in a shiny black BMW X6–the Moet and Belvedere sponsored evening was much less Hollywood, much more Toronto scenester than the typical TIFF bash. But after standing around awkwardly all week, guzzling double vodka sodas and hoping that tonight is the night Emily Blunt finally notices us, Goodnight Gansevoort’s deluge of equally wasted Torontonians (most in really short skirts) proved to be a welcome relief.