“Anti-TIFF” party at Lo’La delivers old-time Hollywood with flair

“Anti-TIFF” party at Lo’La delivers old-time Hollywood with flair

TIFFed off: Biko Beauttah poses at Lo’la during her anti-festival party (Photo by Wingo Du) 

What does an anti-TIFF party look like? If we judge by the shindig at Lo’La last night—where Kenya-born transgendered fashion model Biko Beauttah hosted her annual 4 Toronto By Toronto Film Fest Party—it is full of gay men, African drummers, dressed-up ladies and martinis. The dress code? Golden Age Hollywood.

The Kenyan beauty held the event in support of Youth Life International Relief and for her fellow Torontonians, who she says “are excluded from the festivities by the tourists.” “Tourist” is Biko-speak for the huddled masses that swarm the city during the Toronto International Film Festival. “They use the city as a rental space,” says Beauttah. “These people do predictable parties, the same people, the same things. There are no Torontonians, nothing uniquely Toronto about these parties. It’s the same for Sundance, Venice, wherever.”

Guests with Biko Beauttah. The hostess is wearing a vintage wedding dress from the 1950s (“It even had confetti trapped in the tulle”), a gold belt from Gucci and pearls from “this one Jamaican lady at St. Lawrence Market” (Photo by Wingo Du) 

There was definitely nothing predictable about Beauttah’s party. The highlight of the evening was a performance of pounding African drums with some spirited dancing. Most guests seemed to enjoy it, but one was heard to remark, “that’s going to give me a headache in no time.” Most attendees did not believe the revelry was anti-TIFF so much as an excuse to come see Beauttah. She is a star in her own right, flitting gracefully from guest to guest and not afraid of having her picture taken. As Karl Lohnes, of CTV’s Canada AM, says, “Biko’s party proves that you can celebrate TIFF anywhere, not just King Street.”

We asked Biko if she would go to a fabulous TIFF party if one opened up. “Well, I’m going to the D Squared party, but only because I’m getting paid.”

We, however, are not so choosy. Free booze counts as being paid, right?