The Drake Hotel during TIFF 2012

TIFF 13 music, drink and party highlights at The Drake Hotel

by W. Andrew Powell

The city is buzzing with events and parties as the Toronto International Film Festival takes over the city for 10 days of celebrity and film fueled fun, and one of the big places to be each and every year has to be the Drake Hotel on Queen Street West.

For their 10th year at TIFF, the Drake will be throwing parties throughout the festival, kicking off with their 70s-inspired Brit rock event, Down The Line, with special programming running around the hotel from September 5 to September 15. Catch bands, enjoy their rock-inspired drinks, and catch the Future Projections exhibition.

Here are some of the highlights from the Drake Hotel’s lineup during TIFF:

Down the Line Launch Party: Thursday, September 5, 9:00 PM to 4:00 AM, $10
Forget your press pass and ditch the tuxedo; Drake’s TIFF launch party is a massive one-night experience for local music lovers. Whether you choose to bring the Nancy to your Sid or your rock star entourage, everyone can walk the black carpet as Drake kicks off its Festival festivities. Sponsored by Budweiser Crown, Stella Artois and others, get ready for an interactive Drake party that will have the west end hopping.

Back by popular demand, Drake’s Room 222 will be transformed into a tattoo parlour providing free tattoos to help get further into rocker character (if you dare). Select from one of six Down The Line-inspired tattoos and get inked on the spot. Amidst all the activity, Keys N Krates will take to the stage in the Drake Lounge for a very special performance before a critically-acclaimed DJ and producer begins spinning Underground for a secret midnight set.

Down the Line pays homage to all things rock, mod and the vintage underground music scene; you’ll surely be hearing London Calling. The Budweiser team will be on hand for guests to sample the made-on-site malt, a key ingredient of musicians’ beverage of choice (beer!). Adding to the atmosphere, Toronto-based Brazilian artist Baby Steinberg presents her project “Silence Film”, a series of wearable artworks and elaborate gowns made from knitting and crocheting together era-appropriate VHS tapes film.

Down the Line Cocktail List: Thursday, September 5 to Sunday, September 15
Created exclusively for TIFF by Drake’s libation pros, Down the Line cocktails are available for a limited time-only. Inspired by 70s rock icons and the Brit scene, these sips will have you thinking you can always get want you want. You won’t be singing the Moody Blues after trying The Sid Vicious (El Dorado 12-year-old Demerara Rum, Campari, Averna amaro, Enmascarado 45% Mezcal, $14), God Save the Queen (basil, strawberry and black peppercorn-infused gin, lemon juice and carbonated water, $13), Quadrophenia (Tito’s Vodka, ginger liqueur, muddled basil, house-made herbed pineapple puree, ginger beer and grapefruit bitters, $13) or A Clockwork Orange (bourbon, Cynar, Aperol and orange flower water, $14).

Future Projections: Thursday, September 5 to Sunday, September 15, FREE
For the sixth consecutive year, Drake will participate in Future Projections as a proud exhibition partner. This year, the special TIFF series, dedicated to moving images in art, pays tribute to the work of famed, edgy Canadian director, David Cronenberg. Drake’s Future Projections piece, Sweat by Radical Friend, is a film of randomly collaged images from contemporary mass culture’s darker expressions: murder, bikers and deserts are all fused into a hypnotic, dystopian, multi-layered projection, referencing brain functions of Cronenbergian heroes. Sweat will be presented nightly on the façade of the Drake during TIFF beginning around 8:00 PM.

TIFF Programming: Thursday, September 5 to Sunday, September 15, select nights until 4:00 AM
This TIFF, Drake has a stacked line-up featuring local talent and internationally-acclaimed acts throughout the festival’s ten nights. Get ready to dance in Drake’s Underground for parties like Elementary, which will feature a guest DJ set by Diplo collaborator and model Jessie Andrews (Friday, September 6, 11:00 PM $10), a special edition of Never Forgive Action is proud to welcome Prince Paul from famed hip-hop trio, De La Soul (Saturday, September 7, 11:00 PM $10), Juno-nominated Skratch Bastid plays your favourite bangers with the crew from Stuck on Stupid (Friday, September 13, 11:00 PM $10) and more. Find the full line-up here.

The Drake Hotel at 1150 Queen Street West.

Drake photo by Connie Tsang.

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