The Hunger Games (YYZ does SMUT Soirée)

27 Jun

(*Note: ClementineYYZ will be invading this post via italics!)

The guilty pleasures that I am willing to admit while in polite company include: consuming too much dessert on weekdays, drinking expensive ornate cocktails and reading too much. I publicly own that I love those things, so much so that I started this blog with two of my friends who also love those things! But… no one looks down on you for loving those things too much. My real guilty pleasure is celebrity gossip. People don’t think well educated girls should like gossip. Particularly ones who present themselves as being so “cultured”. Well… my celeb gossip tastes are just as refined as my culinary tastes: I pretty much exclusively read LaineyGossip. Sometimes DListed. But when time is tight, I only make time for Lainey. She writes for advanced level gossips who want to know more about the mechanics of celebrity and sociological implications of how we talk about celebrities. She even did a Tedx talk about it!

Being a Lainey fan in 2006, it felt like you were a member of a small and private club, or a fan of a band that no one had heard of quite yet. In 2013, it’s a totally different story. She is the Canadian name in gossip. She still writes her blog in her engaging style, while also being a correspondent for CTV, is writing a book and is going to be staring in a new talk show in the fall! I don’t just enjoy her blog (a little too much) but I also admire what she has achieved. (Note: when I found out we both attended the same school, I was overjoyed!) When Cherry says she loves Lainey, she means she LOVES Lainey. I was not a fan but because of her persistence, I now occasionally peruse her site.

And who doesn’t want to celebrate their success and share it with the people who support them?! Lainey has been hosting “Smut Soirees” for 8 years. I’ve known about them since the beginning but I was either out of town, the country, or too shy to go by myself (which I now regret!). But, then I found a kindred closet gossip fan in Clementine! We went to our first Smut Soiree last year. We LOVED it. Beautiful location (Evergreen Brickworks), TONS of perks (hairstyling, nails), LOTS of food and drink — all included in the price of the ticket. Best part: live Q&A with Lainey and Dan Levy, which revealed some truly delicious gossip. Oh, and a really kick ass gift bag that had Lainey’s favourite book of the year (Your Voice in My Head by Emma Forrest). How could we miss it this year?! I even set aside my new frugal way of living to splurge on the ticket!!

So, Clementine and I dutifully bought our tickets for this year’s event. After we thought the event was SOLD OUT!  We were expecting it to be much like last year : it shared the same location and promised to be just as smutty and exclusive as last year.

But, that’s the problem with high expectations, isn’t it? They are unattainable and unfair. If we didn’t expect it to be like last year I would have LOVED the event. But, we did, and we were surprised when the reality didn’t match the image in our memories. Perhaps the torrential rain and thick wall of humidity that began the day and made the trek there so uncomfortable should have been read as signs …

It started out with tons of promise: a sample of peaches and prawns from The Chase. Great flavour combination, and refreshing in the oppressive heat!

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Then loads of free drinks!! Including Mike’s Hard Lemonade! And wine! And all served by ridiculously hot and good looking men! It was a nice touch to have male models circulating throughout the crowds and topping glasses off. It was a little less nice to see all the women flirting with these prepubescent beauties. Is it a universal truth that women in their 30s, with wine and 100-calorie chocolates, must harass the help?! How obvious. The lines to the bars were quite long so it was a good idea to get two drinks in one go. Last year, Cherry triple-fisted … I was on pain killers so I couldn’t drink. 

Mini-cupcakes and wine!

Mini-cupcakes and wine!

Oh, and free mini cupcakes from Pretty Sweet. I liked that they were mini cupcakes so that we could have more room for “necessary” calories. So, with hindsight, we should have grabbed five of these!

Clementine and I also got our nails done. The lineup moved fast and the woman who did my nails did the best 10 min manicure I have ever gotten. She was also a great saleswoman. I’m definitely picking up the colour she put on me (pictured below… along with a bit too much of my bust … and my third – empty! – drink).

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After all this awesome, Clem and I looked around for food… and we didn’t see any other than a parade of hot men serving “skinny cow” snacks. Were they trying to tell us something?! So I had a skinny cow snack. I had THREE. That’s what’s great about “100 calorie”-type snacks, I get to eat TEN of them. It confirmed I needed at least a few canapes before I could enjoy chocolate. I was starving, but people were starting to sit down for the Smut Q&A so Clementine and I snagged seats because it really didn’t seem like there would be enough for the 1000+ crowd. Last year, we wandered for longer and ended up closer to the back. I wanted to see what was happening on stage!

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Once we sat down – we watched servers enter the room with trays of food only to be swarmed by hungry women. The medical term is “HANGRY.” Last year,  servers with a wider selection of finger foods were plentiful. We didn’t have to search for the food. I fully recognize that it wasn’t a foodie event but, like last year, I was hoping to at least stave off starvation with mini-foods. So I left my bag with Clem and went off in search for food! A hungry-Cherry can be a dangerous thing. She also has laser-like focus in this heat. While I saved the seats, she zipped off and brought us back enough sustenance so that I wouldn’t cause a scene by passing out.

I wasn’t the only one. There was a crowd of us who had figured out where the servers exited. Not everyone looked like a disgusting slob who had just come from work (like I did) – instead these were well dressed, well groomed and well mannered young women who were just really fucking hungry. Maybe I wasn’t the only one who was fast on her way to becoming seriously drunk and was looking for a solution. When a server came out, all they had to do was take 5 steps and the food would be GONE. I managed to get Clem and I some excellent finger foods: the classiest mini-pogo ever, grilled cheese (with RHUBARB! holy yum), and mini-burgers. We got some major cut eye from hungry people who were sitting close to us. I heard the women behind us exclaim: “THIS GIRL FINDS FOOD EVERYWHERE!”

But we were there for the gossip, right? Not the food. Even if the food was a highlight of last year’s event (womp womp).

The event was co-hosted by the founders of The Society, which is, as far as I can tell, some sort of members-only social club for TO yuppies who consider themselves “opinion leaders”. There’s something about these two women that just rub me the wrong way. It might be their dead eyes, gleaming bleached teeth or that their hair is way too flouncy for the 100% humidity in the air. They also spoke in that nasal-Paris Hilton-baby voice that is ubiquitous with this class of women. Silver lining – they made quick exits and introduced live music. Rant over.

The Q&A was preceded by a mini performance of a band that I now forget. Local indie band: Elsa. They looked like they were trying to dress like Nirvana. I would have forgotten about them if I hadn’t tweeted a photo of them. And if the girl who was sitting behind us (a winner of Four Weddings Canada!!!) hadn’t said: “I hate guys who are skinnier than me!!!”. The band was too loud for the venue. THANK GOODNESS it was only a 3-song set.

Dan Levy took the stage with Lainey and they started off with a mini interview of each other (I am certain that was semi-scripted, but they did it so well that I didn’t care!) before taking questions from the crowd. They were really funny, told wonderfully smutty stories that we were there for, and everyone was really really into it. Girls around me were shouting out answers, laughing… and then Lainey mentioned that she was moving to work on “The Social” and wanted us to meet her co-hosts. Great way to do a mini-intro about another project of hers to her fanbase, right?! The smut-session was uber short this year. They seemed to jump right to the Q&A and then abandoned the Twitter questions almost immediately. Lame.

So Traci, Melissa and a forgettable brunette came on stage. And stayed. And stayed. And that was it. Everyone who was there was there to hear from Lainey, not her future co-hosts. If they had come on stage and each shared a gossipy story and said they wanted us to watch their show and then wrapped it up and walked off stage, it would have served the purpose of being a promo for their show but kept the focus on Lainey. But that’s not what happened. They essentially hi-jacked the Q&A – and Lainey become the smallest contributor to the conversation. Five minutes into this, I saw alert postures relax and smartphones come out. Many people even started to leave – some went to see if they could get their hair done and others got a head start on collecting their gift bags. If this is the dynamic of “The Social,” I think I’ll pass.

I still had fun, enjoyed the event and am in LOVE with my swag bag. The evidence from the night suggests that this event will only get bigger. What will it look like when 4000 people want to attend?!  

I’m just going to have to accept how special last year’s Smut Soiree was and that while I will still go to these events, next time I’ll bring snacks (like the Squawking Chicken did this year!).

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The Haul: Greta Gerwig & Claire Messud made the mediocre gossip night!                                                                          (Those are Clementine’s words… not mine!!! – Cherry)

 

PS. Much love to the “Lurvers” – and special shout out to the person who said getting food was “Hunger Game”-like! Yes, this is me confessing that I am part of that “crazy facebook group”. -Cherry

 

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One Response to “The Hunger Games (YYZ does SMUT Soirée)”

  1. aliceyyz June 27, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    “A hungry-Cherry can be a dangerous thing. She also has laser-like focus in this heat. ”

    Amen. ❤

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