Great Escapes

Monday, September 14th, 2009. Filed under: Canada Festivals & Events
The beach(es) in east Toronto.

The beach(es) in east Toronto.

After getting caught in Jonas Brothers fandemonium on Bloor last week when the Toronto International Film Festival opened (no, I didn’t spot Joe himself jogging, just the swarm of fans and paparazzi chasing him), I escaped TIFF madness on Sunday by going down to Toronto’s eastern Beaches. I started at Woodbine where the volleyballers – and white cruiser bobbing offshore – reminded me vividly of Miami, then walked along the water’s edge past Kew, Leuty and Scarboro beaches. It was a gorgeous day with big tumbles of cloud overhead so I flicked my camera to video mode and made my own souvenir record.

There were a record number of female directors at this year’s TIFF which made me think of Ida Lupino, who made the jump from starlet to Hollywood’s first female director (of mostly low-budget, issue-driven films) and first female director of a noir. Her best title? Hard, Fast and Beautiful (1951), in which she both starred and directed.

Beaches and movies, both great escapes. Famed director (In the Heat of the Night, 1967, and The Thomas Crown Affair, 1968, for two) Norman Jewison grew up in the Beaches, witnessing the daily parade of human drama through his parents’ Depression-era convenience store at the corner of Queen Street E. and Kippendavie. He got so good at telling stories that his buddies would pool their pennies to send Norman to the local movie house, knowing they’d get their money’s worth when he returned and reenacted the afternoon’s feature down to the last dramatic detail.

Shadows grew long, I went home and turned on Turner Classic Movies, another favorite escape. Fiddling with my camera I accidentally deleted the little movie I’d made and so far haven’t been able to figure out how to retrieve it.  Perfectionist Ida wouldn’t approve.

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