LEANNE DELAP: At the amfAR gala

Shinan Govani with Ciara Hunt at the amfAR/Dignitas Cinema Against AIDS fundraiser.

Story by Leanne Delap. Photography by Natalie Castellino.

Name-dropping is crass. Unless you are a professional. Panty-flashing personal journalism is worse. But now that we have that out of the way, I’m left with dilemma of how I gossip about a gossip columnist who is a friend.

People who go to black-tie galas all the time mark the seasons differently: April through June, then September through November are society’s hot zones. I used to take my gowns out to play in heavy rotation, but except for spin-around-the-dancefloor loans to girlfriends, my finery has been gathering dust. So I was excited and uncharacteristically nervous about the recent amfAR/Dignitas fundraiser “Cinema Against AIDS” at the Carlu.

The event was notable not just for the million dollars raised for AIDS research, but because it stands as the one glossy event at TIFF for which you can buy your way into a room to rub elbows with celebrities. I knew it would be like riding a bicycle, but I had become invested in the success of the event because I had spent the spring and summer  listening to my dear friend Shinan Govani (one of the gala’s three chairs, alongside departing Hello! editrix Ciara Hunt and Elisa Nuyten, one of this city’s most active arts advocates).

Govani is the Post’s jewel-in-the-crown social columnist (and novelist—Boldface Names, his debut fictional take on the international rabble that are his subject, was a deftly subversive volley).

It has been dead-good fun watching how his growing success and clout plays out in the real world, and a gas to watch how people simultaneously suck up and are wary of his sharp pen. I’d wager there is not a salon or soiree on the world stage to which he would not be welcomed these days. As a side note, he works damned hard, but he really has a lot of fun, which makes it all so much more of an accomplishment.

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