“I'm not a one-trick pony, Shinan!” cried Jorn Weisbrodt when I cornered the guy at his party, held Thursday inside an abandoned power generator.
For the second year, we'd assembled here at the so-called “Hearn” for an arty party hosted by the fearless and mischievous leader of Luminato. A tip-top kick-off consisting of dinner and hijinks took place in the same locale, but it was definitely done up differently – something quite feasible to do in what is a fabulous blank canvas. Putting the industrial in chic, the space – complete with its mysterious corridors, naked beams, and even some leaky pipes - contrasted fabulously with the Toronto social crowd, done up in their finery. To my eye, the place looked more Dark Knight than ever, and I kept waiting for guerilla terrorist Bane to show up.
Enjoying the event – which included a rave-like multi-hued space-within-a-space, a short-but-sweet English-style maze and super-long, circus-worthy swings – were doyennes like Lynda Prince, scion like Duncan Jackman, heiresses like Taylor Thomson (seated at the same table as Jorn's ever-fab husband, Rufus Wainwright) and "Bird"-like artist Nelly Furtado. Oh, and perhaps, most amazingly – Charlotte Rampling!
The sixties-sprung icon – who ranks up up there with era-definining divas like Catherine Deneuve and Bridget Bardot – is in town for the multimedia bonanaza that is Luminato, and she did briefly appear at the bash, causing some to wonder if they were, um, hallucinating.
“I was thinking, 'that woman looks a lot like Charlotte Rampling,' and then it hit me: it isCharlotte Rampling,” a party-goer was heard to exclaim.
Though known to younger fans her for her steely turn in a season of Dexter a few years back, and to others for her way-cool turn as the face of Nars cosmetics, Charlotte, as many others might remember, has been giving that imperial fabulousness ever since her days as an “It Girl” during the Swinging Sixties and her role in the seminal film Night Porter. Seeing her across the room, I was struck by those catlike eyes, her seductive gaze.
Not only was she giving the full Rampling, I thought, but if she wanted to she could single-handedly power up this generator we happened to be in!
When David Furnish steps into the role of “Grand Marshal” at next week's Toronto Pride Parade – the biggest such gay event in North America – it will be a poignant moment for the man who's been with Elton John since 1993. While in his 20s, as he's revealed, he lived a “double life” while residing here. After saying goodnight to his girlfriend on many a night, he'd run off to Church Street in “the village.”
“I look back now,” he tells InToronto magazine, “and know I was running away.”
Asked about his marshalling strategy, so to speak, 52-year-old David – who's a film and TV producer, and also the chair of the Elton John AIDS foundation – admits he's not sure. “I've never been in a parade before.” He adds, reflecting on this homecoming, “I've seen Canada go through amazing political and social change. I didn't think Canada was very cool when I left. It got much cooler while I was away.”
Among the many parties on David's agenda while he's here, by the way, is an event being hosted by Harry Rosen at their Bloor Street flagship. He's appearing at the men's retailer to support the launch of a collection of jewellery designed by Tateossian London – with all proceeds going to benefit the Elton John Foundation.