One might think that taking the weekend off to cover the Toronto ComiCon for Nerd Bastards would mean that one would not have to deal with political matters for a couple of days. If only. Nope there will little hints that political matters were always on the periphery all weekend, from protests downtown to jokes by celebrities at the expense of a certain Toronto political figure.
In case you've never been, one of the signature events of the comic con is the celebrity Q&A, a chance for fans to ask questions of their favourite movie and TV stars and interact with them. One of the actors at Toronto ComiCon last weekend, oddly enough, was Giancarlo Esposito. Why odd? Esposito played drug distributor Gustavo "Gus" Fring, in several seasons of Breaking Bad, the AMC series about a high school teacher and family man's slow dissent to master criminal and drug kingpin.
As to why Esposito wanted to play a bad guy on the show, he said it was because he wanted to help highlight, in a small way, the drug problem. “I understand it’s a bit of a problem here in Toronto too,” Esposito added, referring to what has become pejoratively known as the crack-smoking mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford.
The theme continued in the next Q&A with Lord of the Rings stars Sean Astin and Billy Boyd, who played Hobbits Samwise and Pippen in the trilogy. Astin offered his admiration for Canada and Toronto, where he's currently shooting the F/X series The Strain. “It’s well run most of the time," Astin said of Canada, "present municipality excluded.” The crowd laughed because they knew exactly what, or rather who, Astin meant.
Of course, going after Ford is going after the easy laugh, he's transcended politics and became an all-purpose figure of mockery and derision, so you can write off any mention. And then on my way to dinner on Saturday night, I encountered a protest at the corner of Bay St and Queen. I thought at first it was about the situation in the Ukraine, but in all that Putin-infused madness, we've forgotten about other places in the world struggling, like Venezuela.
S.O.S. Venezuela continued to march up Bay St., and I caught this video:
So message received: I will never again think I can get away from politics and current events for the weekend.