As wide as New York's Sixth Avenue, Downtown Toronto's Queen Street may be the equivalent of Greenwich Village's Bleecker Street, MacDougal, East Houston and Avenue A combined. Day or night, week day or weekend, it's lively, colorful, crowded. This Friday night, bumper-to-bumper cars brought the whole street practically to a standstill as ultra-hip City TV gave a megabash, live, to celebrate both the Toronto Festival's 20 anniversary and the opening of the Perspective Canada sidebar, which kicked off with the screening of Jamaican-born Clement Virgo's "Rude". Stars and guests invaded every single nook and cranny of the station, more guests amassed under a tent on the adjacent parking lot. Agile TV cameras were everywhere, recording every familiar face for posterity (or whatever passes as posterity in the electronic media).
After a couple of hours, a whole bunch of people left for another restaurant further downtown where the "Rude" gang were holding their own party.
"There are 10 million Nubian tales in the projects, on this sacred Ojibway ground," announces pirate radio prophet Rude. An incredibly stylish film, "Rude" tells three of those tales--"copulation, crucifixion, cruelty and a lion on the loose", says the Festival official catalogue. A former drug dealer returns from jail to his wife and son, determine to built a new life, but will guns, drugs and money allow him to escape? After taking part in a gang-bashing of a gay man in a park, a young black boxer confronts his own sexual demons. Elsewhere, a young, painfully isolated window-dresser keeps replaying videos harking back to better times with the man she loved as she struggles with the decision to terminate her pregnancy. And throughout, Rude's comments on the airwaves, in turn troubling, acid, ironic, and ultimately cathartic. After the early evening's stage fright, the "Rude" bunch, never an uptight lot to begin with, really let loose, and closed the Italian restaurant with the darndest, sweatiest conga-line.
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