Saturday, December 25, 2010


What can I say? 2010 has been a wonderful year for Mr. Will-W.:Pop Maven, seeing many highs in terms of exciting new content and readership. Although we’re by no means Perez Hilton or Just Jared, I  maintain a humble grassroots philosophy here.  I don't believe in bashing other Bloggers by constantly calculating their shortcomings, nor do I make boastful claims of being "the best", because I'm not.  I have come with no real Media qualifications other than my opinions, but I  want always to be able to improve.

You'll find that a vast majority of the Celebrity Photos seen here are self-taken and not sold for profit.   Unlike many Celebrity Gossip sites where Bloggers sit in front of their Laptops comfortable in their often biting anonymity, I interact first-hand with many of the Celebrities who appear here. What you're reading comes first-hand - not observed from behind a bush with Binoculars nor re-interpreted.

Besides this, where else can you get detailed Reviews of Albums and Films before everybody else?  I review these beforehand so that you can make better informed choices on where you spend your hard-earned money.  And need I mention Mr. Will-W.'s Exciting Giveaways? This past year alone, we've seen Readers win Marc Jacobs Cologne, Scissor Sisters VIP Concert Tickets, CDs by artists like Rihanna and Ke$ha and Signed Photos from the likes of Katy Perry, Mariah Carey, Cory Monteith, James Franco, Sam Worthington and more!  Sponsors stand behind the quality of content featured on Mr. Will-W.:Pop Maven and this speaks for itself.

I thank you all personally for your loyalty to me. Things only will continue to get even more exciting in 2011.  Stick around.  Follow on Twitter or become a Fan on Facebook.  

Looking back on the year, there were many bright moments and narrowing it down to a Best-of has been difficult. I am blessed to live in a City which always has something exciting going on and would not be able to do any of this without Toronto. So indirectly, all of this is a big thank you to the City I love most.  I live, breathe, eat and speak Toronto. 

Without further ado, here are Mr. Will-W.:Pop Maven’s Greatest Moments of 2010:

Taylor Swift
14. Seeing Taylor Swift.  She's by far the hottest thing right now in Pop Music from a numbers standpoint - and she's not even really Pop, she's Country.  I was lucky enough to see Taylor Swift in November at CTV's Canada AM, part of her crazy day of Promotions in Toronto for third album Speak Now.  Whatever she did, it worked because she sold 1,047,000 copies of the CD in its first week.  This came soon after rumours sparked of her dating Jake Gyllenhaal whom I also got to meet in May.  Although her Publicist kept her at a distance from everyone, it was still a privilege to hear the v. grounded young Singer/Songwriter just be herself.  I'll be seeing her for the first time in Concert next July and am kinda stoked about it, really.

Sir Paul McCartney
13. Seeing Sir Paul McCartney. To say I was only a couple feet away from Sir Paul McCartney in itself is enough to brag about for a lifetime. Although he was pretty much all work, no play during his two days in Toronto this past August, his presence was felt definitely. I caught McCartney quickly rolling down the window of his Escalade to throw a quick wave to Fans outside his Hotel, before heading off to his show at Air Canada Centre. With Vinyl Records, Sharpies, CDs and Cameras all aimed his direction, it was Beatlemania allover again. It was incredibly quick and incredibly memorable.

Andrew Garfield and Me
12. Meeting Andrew Garfield. Although many of us are just getting to know him, Garfield by Summer 2012 will be everywhere due to his new high-profile role as Spider-Man. This year alone, he appeared in two widely acclaimed titles, Never Let Me Go (Mark Romanek) and more familiarly The Social Network (David Fincher). I met the talented Brit at the Premiere of Never Let Me Go this past September at TIFF. Although a bit awkward with the fame thing, he still was a Gentleman. Having seen The Social Network just days prior (thanks Nadia), I delivered him great praise to which he replied, "What?  How is it that you've seen it already and I haven't?".  I took two Photos with him and hilariously, he wasn’t quite sure which way to look both times. Just having garnered a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal as Eduardo Saverin, one of the co-founders of Facebook in The Social Network, he’s definitely a major contender for Best Supporting Actor at next February’s Oscars. Look out.

Me and Michelle Williams
11. Meeting Michelle Williams. I’ll admit that I never really thought much of her in Dawson’s Creek, but that was due more to the fact that I found its Writing grating with its adults-speaking-in-kids’-bodies syndrome. It wasn’t until I saw Williams in Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee) that I was floored by her depth as an Actress. And then came the heartbreaking Wendy & Lucy which she had to carry all her own essentially. I met Williams on a blistering hot Summer day in August while she was filming Canadian Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz in Little Portugal with Seth Rogen. Remarkably gentle-natured, I caught her on her way out to Lunch and she promised to come back to me later. Williams kept her promise, throwing me a couple smiles and waves while she was hard at work and right before heading home for the night, her Assistant came over to fetch me to her Van, where we exchanged hugs, smiles and took a Photo.

She continues to gain lots of buzz early Awards season for her daring role in Blue Valentine (Derek Cianfrance) which I loved also, but really what I’m v. excited to see is her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in next year’s glamorous My Week With Marilyn (Simon Curtis). Sorry again to my dear friend Yen as I had to miss the premiere of Inception that night!

Jon Hamm and Me
10. Meeting Jon Hamm.  AMC's Mad Men is one of the few Series on Television which I can actually sit through without having to check my Blackberry for messages throughout.  That's saying a lot as I tend to be rather A.D.D. and although I first saw Hamm during TIFF at the Press Conference for The Town (Ben Affleck), some overly-aggressive Autograph Hounds from abroad made it v. difficulty to get close. I then saw him at the Gala for the Movie, but alas was seated a Balcony away. A little depressed about not getting to meet him, my lucky moment came a couple days later when a sweetheart named Brenda tipped me off that he was spotted partying with Hilary Swank.  Before you could say "Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce", I made it in the nick of time to with my friend Cathy to catch Hamm leaving with longtime partner, Actress Jennifer Westfeldt.  And despite being in a rush, he was so amazingly nice to stop and take a Photo together after denying a line of others.  He waved goodbye to me and wished me "Good night!" before heading off in his Escalade.... and I was frozen.  Excited to view my Photo with him, I soon was devastated to learn that it came out blurry as my Camera didn't have an opportunity to focus.  Mr.  Hamm, if you're out there reading this, I'd love a Retake!  Better yet, a walk-on Role on the Show just so I can be styled by the amazing Costumers of Mad Men.

Marion Cotillard and Me
9. Meeting Marion Cotillard. The extremely beautiful and talented French Actress has an unearthly gentleness about her. Definitely one of my favourite Actresses, Oscar winner Cotillard was at TIFF this  September promoting her partner Guillaume Canet’s Little White Lies. Arriving an hour early for the Press Conference, she spent one-on-one time with a handful of Fans and I was v. lucky to have gotten a Photo Op with the Inception star. Harsh were some of the Autograph Hounds who hadn't heard of her before, "Marion Cotillard?  What can I get for her?  Let's go get Philip Seymour Hoffman!".  Like, seriously?

Interestingly, her Publicist prohibited her from signing Autographs in anything but black ink. That signed Photo now hangs on my wall and sometimes I smile at it when I think about that moment we shared.  She was glowing - a beautiful Woman.  Cotillard will be back in Toronto early 2011 to film Cosmopolis, a new David Cronenberg film alongside Colin Farrell.

Mark Wahlberg and Me
8. Meeting Mark Wahlberg. Perhaps one of Hollywood’s most underrated Actors, Mark Wahlberg in my eyes is one of the best in the business for his versatility. He can be an outright jerk, yet he can also be the guy-next-door – all convincingly. Although Award nominations are nothing new for Wahlberg with him being recognized previously for Boogie Nights and The Departed, he  transforms truly in major Oscar contender The Fighter (David O. Russell). Meeting him while in-town for Press in early December was a great honour and as expected, he genuinely was nice and accommodating. He is a Celebrity who is aware of his stature, yet also so conscious of it that it pushes him to remain humble. A wonderful Guy and an inspiration in that he is proof that you can become anything you really want to. Who would've known?

Rihanna and Me
7. Meeting Rihanna. This one I really have to thank two Stargazing Sisters Alicia and Shonagh for. Rihanna is one of the hottest acts in Pop Music right now with nine Billboard Hot 100 Chart-topping hits in her brief career, which dates back only to 2005. Although my interaction with her was quick, it was v. friendly and uh…. intense. Stopping off in Toronto for her Last Girl on Earth Tour this past August, I caught the Bajan Princess of Pop coming out of her Hotel where she did a quick round of Autographs. “One Photo only, guys!” she said with a deadpan expression. She took literally one Photo only with the Sisters and then boarded her Tour Bus for less than a minute. Disappointed, my face went from frown to ecstatic when she came back out telling me, “Okay, I’m ready for my Photo!” with a big smile. What a f*ckin’ tease! And yes, that look on my face is one of genuine Starstruck mixed with disbelief it was actually happening.

Her and her Entourage then proceeded to walk up the street that breezy day to stunned onlookers, before finally stopping at a near-by Indoor Parking Lot where she played sweetly with some Children passing by. It was a happy day and thanks to my friend DJ Sumation for taking me to see her in Concert later that night at Molson Amphitheatre. Universal Music Canada also was amazingly nice to partner up with us to give away copies of her stellar album LOUD here!

Cory Monteith and Me
6. Meeting Cory Monteith. Big Gleek here. I’ve championed FOX’s Musical Comedy series since seeing its Pilot mid-2009 and let’s face it - who doesn’t have a crush on Calgary’s Cory Monteith? The Actor who plays Football Jock/Choir Geek Finn, was here in Toronto this November to Host the Gemini Awards, honouring the best in Canadian Television. Arriving bright and early at the venue, he was escorted over to a small group of Fans-in-waiting by his Security and Publicist, spending one-on-one time with everybody. Amazingly calm, tall and kind-spirited, I’d have to say that Monteith is one of the nicest Celebrities I’ve ever met. A moment to remember.

Hilary Swank and Me
5. Meeting Hilary Swank. Definitely one of my top three favourite Actresses of all time, I lucked-out completely as one of the v. few people who got a Photo Op with the two-time Oscar winner during TIFF.  Many reported back denied/ignored requests for Autographs. Here to promote Tony Goldwyn’s Conviction, Swank worked her way through the Red Carpet at the Film’s Premiere telling Celebrity Photographer George Pimentel, “Another Photo? What, are you obsessed with me?!”. And at that moment I was just at the right place at the right time, as she landed smack dab beside me. I asked kindly for a Photo together and she obliged. Even though her Publicist was in a hurry to drag her in, she maintained that gorgeous smile for my Camera, as she was being pulled away. Somehow Swank was a lot more glamorous than I had ever imaged, opting for a sequined Chanel number which revealed those toned legs of hers. A sharp contrast to the less glamorous roles she has often taken on. I love her – really, I do.  And her performance in Conviction is one of the best in 2010, even if it isn't getting as much recognition as it should be.

Katy Perry and Me
4. Meeting Katy Perry. Every June I look forward to the pandemonium that is the MuchMusic Video Awards. For that one weekend, a strip of fashionable Queen Street is shut down completely as the hottest names in Music grace the multiple stages at the station’s headquarters. Although Miley Cyrus was Host this year, Katy Perry took over the City with her bubbly infectiousness. Over the course of the five days she was in Toronto, I got to see her a total four times.

First, I saw her at CTV’s eTalk Daily where both my nephew Kenny and I got to meet her as she stayed behind 20 minutes to greet Fans.  Clearly in awe of her beauty, he updated his Facebook status, "Just met Katy Perry.  No big deal."  Yah, right!  I saw her a second time in Yorkville and she said to me, “Oh My God! I know you!”. After a long day of Press, she complained to me how famished she was after holding a Listening Party for her then-unreleased and not-yet Grammy-nominated album Teenage Dream. I then saw her at Perez Hilton’s One Night in Toronto Party, where she previewed a track off her album on-stage.  She later gashed her leg that night dancing. And I got to see her live at MuchMusic again where I got to hear her perform eventual U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number one hit Teenage Dream, months before everybody else.

Perry signed a stack of Photos for me to give away to my Readers – an incredibly sweet gesture on her part. Impressed by our coverage here, EMI Music Canada also was amazingly nice to partner to give away copies of Teenage Dream here too! She is extremely lovely and deserving of her massive success. Nobody ruled the charts in 2010 like Katy Perry.

Sarah Jessica Parker and Me
3. Meeting Sarah Jessica Parker. As if the year couldn’t possibly have gotten any better, my first big Celebrity encounter of 2010 dates back to February when Carrie Bradshaw herself made a quick visit to Toronto promoting her Halston Heritage line at The Bay. The invite-only affair was full of Socialites and the who’s-who of Canadian Fashion. Radiant Parker did her rounds and luckily I got to meet her and tell her how much I love her before she headed-off to a dinner with our Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s wife, Laureen. Gracious and effervescent, she assured me how much I was going to love Sex and the City 2…. and despite the Critics panning it – I did love it! Thanks Warner Bros. Canada for having me screen it first!

Natalie Portman
2. Seeing Natalie Portman. Note the operative word: seeing. Natalie Portman undoubtedly is the Belle of the Ball right now with Awards season kicking off and her name appearing on pretty much every list of Nominees. The likely choice for Best Actress at next February’s Oscars began her campaign for Black Swan at TIFF, only days after it premiered in Venice. Notoriously Fan-shy, Portman looked stunning at the Gala for the Film, which I was fortunate enough to attend.  Beforehand she surprised Fans on the Red Carpet who were patient enough to queue early. While Director Darren Aronofsky praised her on-stage, humbly she smiled and stared at the floor as if undeserving of it all.

And while we’re on the topic of floors, floored is how I would describe my reaction to her devastatingly good performance as troubled Ballerina Nina Sayers. Since seeing Black Swan I have not shut-up about it, championing her on my Blog oh, at least twice a week. Although I hoped to get a chance to meet her at her Press Conference the following day, Portman as expected was her shy self, scooting in and out of the venue. One day, perhaps! I have the utmost respect for her.

Julia Roberts
1. Meeting Julia Roberts. It was a brutally hot Monday following Canada Day Weekend when some Friends and I visited the Set of Julia Roberts-produced Jesus Henry Christ, which was filming around the City this Summer. On that particular day, filming was taking place at the University of Toronto and I would already have been content to meet its stars Michael Sheen and Toni Collette.... and I did. Sheen – incredibly nice and unrecognizably scruffy; Collettemean.  And keep in mind, this was a couple months before Sheen and Toronto's own Rachel McAdams were spotted together as a Couple!  

Roberts arrived on-set incognito, wearing a Fisherman’s Hat, Shorts and a loose Button-Down. Making her way out after a quick visit, we were in a bit of a panic, pacing a few steps ahead of her. She stopped, asking us “How in the world did you know I would be here? The chances of this happening were like impossible – I was just going to pop in quickly and here you guys are!”. She had only one simple request – not to be photographed and we all obliged as she did not have any Make-up on that day. I did however get a personalized Photo, “TO WILL- PEACE, JULIA ROBERTS” as I had been carrying her 8x10 with me on a daily basis after catching wind of her possibly being in the City. Julia Roberts is an Icon to me – a true Movie Star. It was a dream come true.

Not getting quite enough, I visited the Set again the following day at Trinity-Bellwoods Park and snapped a Photo of her (above) waving at me! *faint*

So that’s 2010 for you, Mavenati! If you're in the Toronto area, don't forget to tune into CP24 as I recap some of the TIFF 2010's most memorable moments, airing v. soon.  See you in 2011.

(Photo credit: Mr. Will-W.)

1 comment:

  1. That was awesome Will!! I love the way you write! I prefer you over Perez Hilton, Just Jared and Zack Taylor anytime!Looking forward to more celeb sightings, reviews, pics and stories from you in 2011!! Love ya!!