College Street in central Toronto cuts through the neighborhood known locally as Little Italy (the big one is a ways up north). Oh yeah, it has its share of mouth-watering Italian foodie alcoves scattered along it, but now the hipsters have encroached. Of late it has turned trendy with martini bars and retro dance clubs jostling with chi-chi bistros. One evening some years ago, I had walked up the natty thoroughfare. No, not to sample any ooh-la-la lychee martinis or organic tiramisu – I had just music on my mind.

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My city, my festival



I can recall September 12, 2001 very vividly.

Sitting out on the patio at Hemingway’s, a cozy restaurant-pub in the upscale Yorkville hood of Toronto, I was having lunch. Right across the table in front of me sat Dustin Hoffman, flipping through a newspaper, nursing a drink. I had my eye on the NY Times Tootsie was reading, since the city seemed to have sold out every copy of every newspaper that morning. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted Dustin stand up with a broad smile and start chatting with two ladies across the railing of the patio. I glanced, and it was Kathy Bates and a jaw-droppingly ravishing Marisa Tomei. Right there on the sidewalk.

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Look Canada, it’s Bryan Adams !!!

Published in Cricinfo on Feb 20, 2011

Russell Peters is a funny guy. So funny that these days his stand-up shtick sells out 15,000-seat arenas. In one of his classic rants, the Canadian jokester with Indian roots explains his beef against soccer: “I hate it because they have this thing called the World Cup. But the two countries I represent – Canada and India – are never in it.”

Russell, you had better be giddy right now. You are so covered in this one, brother!

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Hand me that vuvuzela!

Published in Mint Lounge, June 2010

Roger Waters, frontman for the seminal prog-rock band Pink Floyd, is in Toronto rehearsing for a grand world tour of his former band’s album The Wall. The classic 1970s album, with songs entrenched in the rock pantheon, was a concept album, dealing with alienation as its central theme. Its climactic denouement features the roars of the crowd chanting “Tear down the wall!!”, demanding an end to the barriers of alienation.
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