Oh, Canada. What a country you’ve got there. We spend the weekend walking around without ever once thinking about being robbed or ‘jacked or whatever, and what happens as we’re almost literally boarding the train home? A mass shooting.
By one of these guys, because of course.
But I can’t argue with our weekend, not at all. We stayed in West Queen West, the same neighborhood we were in the last time, where dogs in fancy coats and sweaters outnumber actual children by about five-to-one. It’s January, so you don’t expect it to exactly be balmy. I thought I’d packed well, but when we came across a team handing out free — free! — long underwear from Uniqlo, I was happy to snatch it up. Of course long underwear is now known as “base layers,” for good reason — they’re not the waffle-knit separates you’re used to, but close-to-skin and undeniably-warm …base layers, I guess. They go on under the skinniest jeans and are just what the weatherman ordered.
A memory was just jostled loose: A winter weekend in the Upper Peninsula, when I learned of the one-piece base layer known as the union suit — flannel on the inside, wool on the outside, in heather gray or bright red. I bought one in bright red from L.L. Bean and wore it through some fearsome winters, with a pair of Levi’s 501s and maybe a sweater. A strange ensemble for a young woman to choose in the late ’70s, yes, undeniably, but I was very warm. Eventually it collapsed under the strain of my bustline and I retired it forever, the union-suit-bursting-its-buttons look being better-suited for bawdy postcards about deer camp or maybe cocktail napkins. It sure was warm, though.
What did we do? Walked around. Shopped. Caught part of the Chinese New Year observance. Drank cocktails and coffee, discovering that sub-niche of the cosmopolitan economy, the gay coffeehouse. (There used to be one in NYC called the Big Cup.) The waiter was very nice, but the best part was sneaking looks at a trans individual who had some really striking stick-and-poke dotted facial tattoos, with a little cloud on each temple and a line running up the bridge of the nose.
I love big cities. They’re where magic happens.
On Saturday, chilled and a little burned out on walking, we debated taxiing down to the TIFF Lightbox for a midday movie. Alan, looking at the listings, said, “‘The Silence’ is playing near here.”
“You mean ‘Silence,’ the new Martin Scorsese movie. I’d see that,” I said.
“It’s like, a block away. Starts in 12 minutes,” he said. We paid our bill, bundled up and walked the block to the theater, which was tucked in the back of an art gallery specializing in photography.
Strange place for a first-run movie to be playing, but whatever. Stranger still was the admission price of $0. But when the lights went down, the screen darkened and “The Criterion Collection” appeared on the screen, I knew we’d made a critical mistake, because we weren’t watching “Silence,” Oscar contender of 2016, but “The Silence,” an Ingmar Bergman film from 1963, all that black-and-white Sven Nykvist cinematography. You watch a 54-year-old film and marvel at how ahead of its time it was, with its frank depictions of sexuality — actual semi-shadowed fucking and a scene of female masturbation, not to mention a woman bathing with her 9-year-old son — and what Annie Hall called “that Scandinavian bleakness.”
(“I thought that shot where you see her boob while she’s washing her armpit was pretty hot,” countered Alan.)
So that was Saturday afternoon.
Here’s Sunday morning: First daughter dressed as a baked potato. (HT: TBogg)
You know what was in every furniture store window? This lamp, although I imagine most were knockoffs. Wouldn’t want to bring that through customs in this dark era.
With that, it’s time for 55 minutes of innocuous telly. See you tomorrow, all.