Grey Goose Bloody Marys with the Rachels (McAdams and Weisz) et al.

Sebastián Lelio, Rachel Weisz, and Rachel McAdams at Grey Goose’s Cocktails and Conversation

It’s not everyday you get be within ten steps of some of Hollywood’s biggest names, like Rachel McAdams and Rachel Weisz, for instance. With glee and anxiety, Novella took up Grey Goose’s invitation to be a part of its inaugural edition of Cocktails and Conversation, set against the backdrop of Lavelle rooftop’s stunning views. Continuing its decade-old tradition of celebrating and supporting the film industry, Grey Goose invited directors and stars of four highly anticipated films that were shown at TIFF 2017 — Woman Walks Ahead, The Current War, Disobedienceand In the Fade. Though the attendees and the location were epitomes of glamour and grandeur, with limited press presence and Grey Goose’s Bloody Caesars and Marys flowing, the three mornings of Cocktails and Conversation were arguably the most intimate and therefore worthwhile press event this year at TIFF. Moderated by Deadline Hollywood’s Joe Utichi, the panel discussed their visions and creative processes.

Jessica Chastain

The first set of Bloody Marys were had with Susana White, Jessica Chastain, Michael Greyeyes, and Steven Knight, the cast of her latest film, Women Walks Ahead. The film, based on true events and friendship between Catherine Weldon and a leader of the Lakota in North Dakota in the 19th-century, delves into the relationship between two unlikely figures. “When I first read the script, it leapt off the page for me,” said White. “First of all, I’ve been looking for a film with a strong female lead. You know, I wanted to tell women’s stories. Catherine Weldon was such an extraordinary person to do what she did at that time. […] And then to see the other unheard voices of the western, the Native American voices…[Steven] turned them into real people, not cardboard cutouts who get shot. […] So it felt very special to me when I came across it and I knew it was a film I had to make.”

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl’s Alfonso Gomez-Rejon is coming back this year with a historical blockbuster, The Current War, which explores the relationship between Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch), Westinghouse (Michael Shannon), and Tesla (Nicholas Hoult), three creative geniuses of America’s burgeoning love affair with technology, science, and business. The conversation that begin with the actors’ descriptions of their characters soon became a discussion around the impact of personal greed and capitalism on the development and usage of technology and science. Though the film is ostensibly about three great men, the detailed and honest portrayal of them defy the Great Man theory of history and opens up questions about their/our inability see beyond the immediate future.

Alessandro Nivola, Sebastián Lelio (Writer/Director0, Rachel Weisz, and Rachel McAdams

Disobedience is Sebastián Lelio’s latest alongside his acclaimed A Fantastic Woman, which was also shown at TIFF this year. The movie revolves around the complex relationships between a hasidic couple, Esti (Rachel McAdams) and Dovid (Alessandro Nivola), in London and their childhood friend, Ronit (Rachel Weisz), who’s left the community for New York. As Lelio’s first film set outside of Chile and that delves into three narrative points of view simultaneously, Disobedience is a previously unseen look into Lelio’s style and creative capacity. On what attracted him the script, which is loosely based on Naomi Alderman’s novel of the same name, Lelio said, “On a human level, I just loved the characters and what they are going through. This idea of confused human beings— which are almost like synonyms — trying to do their best, doing the wrong things for the right reasons, and operating against background of more or less fixed ideas and conceptions of the world… so there’s something relatively static in the background but [the characters] are vibrating, are closer to us, because they are changing and are in flux and are complex. I could immediately relate to the three of them.”

Fatih Akin, writer, director, producer, and Diane Kruger

Grey Goose’s Cocktails and Conversation was a unique opportunity to talk in earnest about specific films, the film industry at large, and what those involved think of films’ place in today’s cultural climate. Not to mention that it was a chance to nonchalantly sip cocktails with those the likes of TMZ would die to chase around.

You can recreate the Grey Goose Bloody Marys of the Cocktails and Conversation by getting the right ingredients and following the recipe hereContinue following our fashion and lifestyle coverage on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

LAB SERIES: The Science Behind A Great looking Complexion

TEXT: Alexander Sauve

Regardless if you’re a man or a woman, skin changes happen and it’s important to be ready for them. LAB SERIES, an Estée Lauder brand, introduced a new line of men’s grooming products guaranteed to change the way you take care of your skin. Incorporating these five essential skincare products will help to recharge, brighten, and energize your skin for decades to come.

Wash it Up: Clean and Clear

Whether your skin type is dry, oily, or a combination of the two, adding a high-performance face wash is essential for a clean and healthy looking complexion. This multifunctional All-In-One Face Cleansing Gel ($18) deeply cleans, refreshes and balances the complexion without over-drying or irritating the skin. This product also works well for guys with facial hair due to its rich and clean lather. Use morning and night for optimum results.

Moisture Lock

If you haven’t been introduced to the extreme hydrating benefits of a Solid Water Essence ($47) you’re seriously missing out. This bamboo and ginseng infused ingredient powerhouse helps to maintain the moisture and structural balance in the skin and is an innovation in men’s skincare. Use directly after cleansing for best results. Follow with your favorite LAB SERIES products to complete the regimen.

Recharged Now for Later

As we age, our skin becomes drier and less resilient, making it prone to wrinkles and unsightly sagging. Treat a dry and aging complexion with a Water-Charged Gel Cream ($50). This deeply hydrating, lightly scented gel cream maintains the moisture balance in the skin while protecting it against further signs of aging. Apply to the face and neck twice daily for optimum results.

Future Rescue and Repair

If you’re looking for an intense burst of hydration, look no further than Future Rescue Repair Serum ($60). Facial serums are well known for their high-quality ingredients and their ability to repair and benefit the skin. Brightness and skin vitality is restored. Highly concentrated to protect against environmental pollutants, stressors, and aging skin. Use twice daily for optimum results.

Intensely Hydrate

This All-In-One Face Hydrating Gel ($30) gently nourishes and cools the skin while protecting it against further signs of aging and environmental damage. This unique and multifaceted hydrating gel deeply moisturizes the complexion without leaving an oily or heavy residue. Light in texture, it dries with a smooth matte finish and is suitable for all skin types. Use as often as needed for the best results.

LAB SERIES products can be found online and in stores. Visit their website here for the nearest store near you. Continue following our health & lifestyle coverage on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Album Review: Leikeli 47 and LCD Soundsystem

Leikeli 47

Text: Toni Styles

Leikeli 47 is a rapper from New York City and quite possibly the heir to the throne of sassy, biting rhymey-rap. If Missy Elliott and the Ol’ Dirty Bastard, aka the ODB, had a child, it would likely be Leikeli 47. Like Missy, she is sufficiently other worldly with her signature attire that consists of various ski-masks, and, like ODB, she has no censor when it comes to her content. I’ll be the first to admit, the popular often stilted lyrics coming out of the studios of many of today’s female rappers just don’t do it for me. Having listened to several of her vanity themed tracks, I must admit there are some catchy lyrics. On repeat from her recent album “Wash & Go” is the single “Braids tuh’da flo(w)” — a song that puts you in the middle of a club huddle with the artist and her “girls” as she sings line after line of girl power: “Lit. Brand new outfit. Braids down to the flo. Y’all already know. My girls don’t trip, my girls keep winning, my girls don’t lose, my girls just keep on, getting braids to the flo.”

I like discovering a brand-new sound, something that knocks you out with originality — music that is confusing, ridiculous, even scary. Yes, I’m one of those annoying ’90s kids who swears by the artistic superiority of the musicians who haunted the charts during the last decade of the 20th century. Over the course of that period, everything was fresh; primarily because the music industry and labels were unafraid of taking a chance on, and ultimately courting both variety and quality. But, while Leikeli 47’s sound is not the 9th world wonder, she is a sort of wonder “kid” — from my understanding, a part of her mystique is that nobody knows her age. What really makes her stand out is her content more than her sound; she has mastered the ability to genuinely tell a story for an individual listener that remains consistent throughout her tracks. In other words, she, like the best talent, knows who her target audience is and what they want — she does not fail to deliver the goods. Perhaps, in that sense, the ski mask is a necessity, one that not only sets her apart, but also keeps the focus where it should be: on her ability to leave an impression on the listener. If Leikeli 47 can break away from the one-size fits all sound that is festering among  female rappers of the day, she may very well have something great to bring to the industry, something that can even last as long as “braids tuh’ da flo(w).”

LCD Soundsystem is a rock band from Brooklyn, who made their debut in 2002. Their sound is an ’80s-esque cooler than you, their lyrics are ’90s-esque moody distortions, and their overall delivery is an ’00s-esque startling awakening that refuses to bow to the status-quo. Think emo-pop, if you so desire. Simply put, this is music that must grow on you. Yes, that was quite blunt, but nevertheless, in most cases, quite true. LCD Soundsystem is not for a quick listen, it has too much depth to be handled so carelessly. This music is for tea time, a time when you can relax and detach yourself from yourself. On repeat from their recent album ‘American Dream‘ is the title track with lyrics “You took acid and looked in the mirror. Watched the beard crawl around on your face. Oh, the revolution was here — that would set you free from those bourgeoisie. In the moment, everything’s clearer, when the sun line exposes your age. But that’s okay.” The album does not come with many surprises, the music is thoughtful and the tracks transition well. Admittedly, the genius of LCD Soundsystem has yet to make itself fully known to me, but it does exist. I would say, give them a try if you like music that makes you think and maybe, just maybe, get up and dance.

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An Insider’s Guide to NYC Mixology Scene

Text: Peter Minkoff

The mixology scene has seen a real boom in recent years. Gone are the days of bartenders pouring beer and using a cocktail chart on those rare occasions when a guest dares to order a funny sounding drink. Mixologists are taking over. People with a passion for mixing drinks and making the perfect cocktail for every person they serve have changed the game for everyone. Using classic recipes, high-quality ingredients, fresh juices, and having a knack for experimenting is what makes a good mixologist. The NYC mixology scene is one of the finest out there and here is a list of its best renditions.

Bar Moga

Bar Moga is a little place in NYC that celebrates women and does so in great style with amazing cocktails. The name of the bar comes from the Japanese word moga. Mogas were modern Japanese girls from the 1920s characterized by their modern and independent spirit. Pictures of them hang on the walls of the bar and their style resonates in every part of this business. Drinks are devised by experienced female mixologist Becky McFalls-Schwartz, and the bar also serves female-produced wine. Their signature cocktail “the Moga” is a damn strong drink, just like the gals are, and a percentage of the money earned by selling this cocktail is donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the A.C.L.U..


Alchemiq Catering

Alchemiq is a catering service known for the stellar mixology experience they offer. The founder, Igor Zukowiec is a master of flavor pairing and he envisioned Alchemiq catering as an exclusive and artistic expression of his passion. They have true artists creating magic behind the bar and in the kitchen. Classic cocktails, bespoke cocktails, and amazing dishes are all served in unique ways at every party they cater. They have new menus every season, the cocktails are mixed with the best quality drinks, and the dishes are prepared with fresh and locally grown ingredients. The mixologists and artists from Alchemiq, with dedication for their craft and an eye for detail, make every party they cater a magical event.


This is a place that offers more than cocktails; it offers cures for every ailment you have. Apothéke is inspired by European apothecaries of the 19th century and their mixologists take their duties as seriously as an apothecary takes its. You can find cocktails that can help with health and beauty, that have aphrodisiac properties, that help with pain, and so much more. Here you will find what you need and the best part is that you can also learn the old craft of mixing. At Apothéke Academy, you can learn all about mixing cocktails and the history of this great trade, so you can fix yourself a cocktail when you need a fix for your daily woes.

Death and Company

Death & Company

This bar opened in 2006 and for more than ten years it has been serving excellent cocktails and inspiring the mixology scene. It had an important role in growing the public interest in cocktails during the early days of the mixology revival movement. The mixologists at Death & Co. have a knack for recreating classic cocktails and mixing exciting new ones. Their skillfully mixed creations have been stirring the imaginations of other mixologists and satisfying the thirst of customers from day one. The unique thing about Death & Co. is that it gives control over the drinks to the bartenders, turning them into real mixologists. Employing talented and passionate people and giving them the opportunity to develop their skills, while elevating the cocktail experience at the bar is what continues to bring customers and fresh talent to this place.

Fort Defiance

Located in the heart of Brooklyn, Fort Defiance was founded by a mixologist St. John Frizell, whose love for cocktails is on full view on the menu. This restaurant has an array of American dishes on the menu, which you can pair with the best cocktails you can hope for. They buy the best quality locally grown meat, dairy, fruit, and vegetables, but the cocktails are what you should go there for. Also, the Irish coffee they serve is the best in the city and you can’t miss it.

Correction: An earlier version of the article stated that Natasha Torres is part of Bar Moga. She is no longer involved with Bar Moga. 

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Books that Transport You Elsewhere

Art by Michelle Cheung for Novella Magazine

While thinking of a list of books that “transport you”, I could not help but think about Orientalism and its saccharine promises made to and made by people, much like myself but in different times, snugly sitting with fat cushions in a drawing room (or studio) with AC gently humming (a modern addition). Would the likes of Délacroix or Kipling be proud to know that I also could not help but come up with titles that have, indeed, made me think, albeit only momentarily, that I was somewhere I was not, that I knew things of the place that I could not possibly know. It’s not an unfamiliar feeling, to hold contradictory views with equal enthusiasm and doubt — while Orientalism, or a variant of it, is morally appalling and actually devastating, books can pull a fast one over anyone and I savor its power over me.

We could talk about the possible reconciliation of these views for hours on end, but the list, which was compiled after all, must be presented. But I think I am safe in saying that the books below, picked by our contributors Snigdha and Adina and yours truly, by no means claim to be authoritative documents of a place or time or people. They are the author’s views or perspectives; and in these books, they did an awfully good job at fooling us. (But I am writing this slightly prematurely as one of them has not yet given me their picks/reasons — if it turns out I’m wrong, poo-tee-weet.) So if you are feeling a bit tied down to the glum and monotony of Toronto and would like to see other parts of the world in the comfort of your AC, pick up one of these. — Hoon.

Hoon, Managing Editor

Slow Days, Fast Company: the World, the Flesh, and L.A. by Eve Babitz

Once, Eve Babitz played chess with Marcel Duchamp. Naked. It was photographed and Babitz’s wit, along with the photo, gained notoriety. In Slow Days, Fast Company, Babitz takes us through Los Angeles. The L.A. of the L.A. socialites. Some of the best parts of the book are descriptions of what she (or the narrator) ate and drank with who’s who at where’s where (copyright to where’s where pending). In this book, you can also learn to hate San Fransisco with L.A. smugness and imagine that you’re doing so on your way home from LAX.

Clear Light of Day by Anita Desai

The first of four sections of Anita Desai’s Clear Light of Day is set in post-Partition Old Delhi. Desai’s descriptions of the world around the Das family’s old house are so vivid that you can almost feel the walls around the house, its tree lines and wilting rose path. As the book travels back in time to Partition and pre-Partition times, alongside the Das’s family drama, we get glimpses of a country and family in crisis.

South and West by Joan Didion

One of the things Joan Didion does best is hide herself behind her words and sentences — her descriptions are authoritative, as though they were the sole truth to the incidents and objects they depict. South and West. From a Notebook. is definitely not Didion’s best or the most representative (my vote for the former category goes to After Henry), but it gives us intimate glimpses of the way she traveled around the Southern states of America. Rattlesnakes, the rain and mud, and the dilapidating effects of the road all come to life.

Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje

Michael Ondaatje takes us to Sri Lanka through his personal and family history. Running in the Family is, at its best, like a family dinner — it’s utterly unremarkable and ordinary yet it shapes the way you eat. Or, in this case, the way Ondaatje thinks about the island. It’s almost a shame that I’ve not been to Sri Lanka prior to reading Ondaatje, since until I do, it will be tinted with his sentences and poems. Ondaatje is also full of stories, action, and shameful and tell-tale family histories that take place in — sometimes it feels as though the place predicated the histories and actions — the mountains and tumultuous weather of the island.

Adina, Contributor

Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami

I adore Haruki Murakami; his dreamy surrealist style, his intriguing characters, the way he layers stories within each other. When Sputnik Sweetheart begins, our narrator, K, (like most of Murakami’s narrators) is an ordinary 20-something man living in a small town in Japan, helplessly in love with his best friend Sumire. However, the story takes a turn for the unique when Sumire is swept up in a love affair with an older Korean businesswoman named Miu, who whisks her away to an exotic island in Greece, where she disappears. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but I will say that as K reckons with his own loneliness and unrequited love, he considers the beautiful, empty island around him, full of life but lacking many people.

Dawn by Octavia E. Butler

If you don’t have to worry about money or time away from work when you’re only reading about traveling, why bother even staying on Earth? Why not travel with our narrator, Lillith, to an enormous, planet-like spaceship populated by a mysteriously benevolent alien race called the Oankali, who have chosen to rescue several thousand humans from a destruction on Earth. Butler is one of the finest science fiction writers out there, and she puts us right in the middle of the ship, its forest-like biome areas, the slippery aliens, and the stark, chrome rooms where the humans are kept, mostly. Butler alternates between fantastic wonder and frightful claustrophobia, and it works marvelously.

Snigdha, Contributor

The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

Kiran Desai transports us to three different places in this novel, from the Indian hill-station town of Kalimpong in the northeastern Himalayas to the rainy university town of Cambridge to New York City’s grimy restaurant kitchens. Shifting from the past to the present (the present being 1986, with the rise of violence within the Gorkhaland movement in India), the novel follows Sai, her grandfather Jemubhai, their cook, and his son Biju. Desai’s language appeals to all five senses, from describing how people look to how food tastes and to how the air smells — the words lift right off the pages, pull us into the novel, and have us stand in the midst of the love, the chaos, the excitement, and (as the title suggests) the loss Desai writes about.

Sphinx by Anne Garréta

Anne Garréta, one of the few female members of Oulipo (a distinguished experimental literary group in France), writes a genderless love story set in Paris. Indeed, it is a novel celebrated for its feminist inquiries and investigations, its reflections on love and loss and identity. But in addition to that, Garréta’s novel does a remarkable job of writing about the sounds of after hours Paris: bars, clubs, people — their voices, their dance moves, their bodies — all threaded together with the music of the night. The language is poetic. It is palpable. And even as I closed the covers and placed the novel on my bookshelf, I could still feel the city’s rhythm.

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