Photo by Greg Stacey in the blogTO Flickr pool (click through for full crop).
by Derek Flack via blogTO
When Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair revealed that his force was in possession of a video of Rob Ford that was "consistent with what was reported in the media," Twitter was immediately ablaze with reaction to the latest development in what has been a long lasting controversy. While calls for the mayor's resignation were swift, a great deal of tweets merely expressed excitement and satisfaction at the confirmation that the notorious video actually exists, something the mayor has repeatedly denied. Far from quelling the controversy, a statement from Ford earlier this afternoon that he has no intention to resign should mean that the media firestorm and public questioning continues until he addresses the allegations head on. Here's a sample of Twitter reacted to today's developments.
Screencap of the Toronto Trendsmap earlier today
Rob Ford briefly addressed media this afternoon in the wake of a press conference by Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair that revealed local authorities possess the notorious video in which the mayor is alleged to smoke crack cocaine. "I wish I could come and defend myself. Unfortunately, I can't. It's before the courts," a shell-shocked Ford told reporters gathered outside his office at city hall. When asked if he would resign, the mayor emphatically responded that he has "no reason to resign" and that he would return "to doing what people elected [him] to do, and that's saving taxpayers' money and running a great government."
Um, I'm not so sure about that. And I'm also not sure how long Ford can hide behind the "it's a matter before the courts" excuse. One suspects that pressure from his colleagues on city council to make a meaningful statement about these allegations will become immense. Can the mayor really pretend that it's business as usual?
Photo by BruceK
There's a new destination for tacos now open at Yonge and Sheppard. The menu features the Mexican staple fused with American and French influences alongside a stellar lineup of sour cocktails.
Read my profile of Estrella Taqueria in the restaurants section.
This Week in Film rounds up noteworthy new releases in theatres, rep cinema and avant-garde screenings, festivals, and other special cinema-related events happening in Toronto.
Dallas Buyers Club (Varsity)
It's weird to see Jean-Marc Vallée move so swiftly into Oscar-grubbing territory with his career, but then what he does here is nothing compared to the "career work" on display by Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, who've both resurrected the Christian Bale/50 Cent emaciation transformation-as-method performance strategy that I really hope doesn't catch on in a big way. The film is based on the true story of Ron Woodroof, who was diagnosed with HIV in the late-80s, and extended his lifespan by refusing FDA-approved meds and, instead, opted for "illegal" antivirals imported around the world. The title comes from the name of the service he set up to help others benefit from his efforts.
Also opening in theatres this week:
Psychoplasmic Panic! Cronenberg and the Rise of Body Horror (November 2 - December 21; TIFF Bell Lightbox)
The nice thing about TIFF's huge, spotlight retrospective series is that they tend to also compliment the filmmaker's work with an adjunct series of loosely related films - whether they be the director's favourite films, a contemporary counter movement, or a collection of films that were ostensibly influenced by an other's work. In the case of Psychoplasmic Panic, it's the latter. This Saturday, November 2 at 10PM, the Lightbox will kick off this series of Cronebergian body horror pictures with a screening of Ken Russell's psychedelic Altered States .
Also in rep cinema this week:
All the Mistakes I've Made (Friday, November 1 at 7:30PM; 230 College St., Room 103)
If you caught Daniel Cockburn's brilliant 2010 debut feature, You Are Here (and if not, for shame, check it out asap), it won't take much arm-twisting to convince you that this event is worth your time. Described as an "anti-art talk," the event is touted as follows: "After over nearly a decade of making videos, Daniel Cockburn has made some mistakes. Aesthetic ones, technical ones, ideological ones. If you have seen his acclaimed work then you may have noticed some of them. If you haven't, All The Mistakes I've Made is your opportunity to be personally guided through Cockburn's missteps by the artist himself."
The Free Screen - Backbone: Early Vancouver Experimental Cinema (Thursday, November 7 at 6:30PM; TIFF Bell Lightbox)
In anticipation of next weekend's Toronto premiere of curator Richard Martin's documentary Backbone: Vancouver Experimental Cinema", TIFF's Free Screen has invited him to guest-program this compilation of work from Vancouver's late 60s and 70s experimental film scene. "Nurtured by genre-bending organizations like the Inter-Media Arts Society, a new generation of filmmakers explored a range of possibilities of what film could be, from psychedelic head-trips to experimental dramas to feminist critiques." The Free Screen is free, as always.
Lead still from Dallas Buyers Club.
Toronto police chief Bill Blair says forensic investigators have recovered a film "consistent with a video previously described in the media." The chief refused to describe the video in any depth, but when pushed by reporters he revealed that Mayor Rob Ford appears in the digital file currently in the possession of the Toronto police.
The file had been deleted and was recovered from a hard drive collected during Operation Traveller raids. Blair also referred to a second tape, "somewhat relevant in this case," though its contents are presently unknown.
Blair initially refused to name Rob Ford, saying only the recovered file was "consistent with what was reported in the media." That would seem to include homophobic remarks Ford was reported to have made on camera.
"I think it's fair to say the mayor does appear in that video," he later added.
The chief was clear to state that there are no grounds to arrest or charge Ford based solely on what's depicted in the files, though evidence released earlier today could change that. Meanwhile, Sandro Lisi is now also charged with extortion.
"The accused made extortive efforts to retrieve a recording," a police news release says.
Blair said as a citizen he was "disappointed."
The mayor addressed reporters outside his office at city hall at 2:30 this afternoon. "I wish I could come out and defend myself but unfortunately I can't, it's before the courts."
"I have no reason to resign. I'm going to go back and return my phone calls, I'm going to be out doing what the people elected me to and that's save taxpayers money and run a great government," he said before being drowned out by shouts from reporters and a torrent of clicking shutters.
Ford then retreated back inside his Halloween-themed office and left City Hall via the parking garage.
More on the press conference here.
Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.
It's an early Halloween horror show for Rob Ford. A 500-page document containing evidence related to a police investigation into the alleged crack video contains photographs of Ford meeting with accused drug dealer, Sandro Lisi.
The papers were released at around 10:00 a.m. and suggest that Lisi, though a high-profile arrest, was not the intended target of Project Brazen 2, a spin-off of Operation Traveller, a major drug investigation by Toronto police. The target, documents suggest, was the mayor himself.
The papers, which are heavily redacted in places, record 349 phone calls and several meetings between Lisi and Ford, at least one of which involved the exchange of a manila envelope.
Police also appear to have searched Ford's garbage after encounters with Lisi and turned up empty vodka bottles. It also appears Lisi may have been aware of a police presence as he was seen turning and making erratic changes of course, according to the documents.
A crowd of media was gathered outside the mayor's home this morning. Ford shoved a Toronto Sun photographer as he left his house but did not comment on the police file.
Sandro Lisi was arrested with Etobicoke dry cleaner Jamshid Bahrami on Oct. 1. charged with marijuana trafficking, possession of the proceeds of crime, possession of marijuana and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence. He was released on $5,000 bail. Both are due back in court Nov. 12.
Although the information contained in the documents released this morning has been sworn before a judge, nothing has been proven in court.
Police chief Bill Blair is due to speak at 11:30 a.m.
More to come.
Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.
Image: Chris Bateman/blogTO.
If you're looking to dial up the creepy factor this Halloween but aren't much for dress-up, this unusual culinary event might be the ticket. Called "Beer and Bugs," the dinner is precisely what it sounds like: a pairing of craft beer and cricket canapés at the Victory Cafe. Think of it as Fear Factor meets beer fest. Chef duties will be handled by Cookie Martinez with beer pairings from Beerology's Mirella Amato. Rather than spoof, the idea here is to put together a meal that's memorable for more than just the quirky main ingredient.
Despite the icky registers that eat bugs likely has for most people, there's actually a burgeoning movement to increase the consumption of insects on account of their status as a sustainable food source. And while insects are far from a staple in Western diets, entomophagy is common throughout the world. There's even energy bars made with crickets. As to how crickets pair with beer, I can offer no impressions or words of comfort. But I know I'd dig in just for the hell of it.
Tickets are still available for tonight's event, and will be sold for $40 at the door should space remain.
Photo by soozika on Flickr