Shinan Govani: That time Bill Murray led a star-studded conga line at Patria


What does it say in the “International Handbook of Party Columnists” about the rules and procedures of exiting a shindig at which Bill Murray is currently leading a 'conga line' to Whitney Houston's "I Want To Dance with Somebody"?

I stood there, remembering, as I idled at Iberian hotspot Patria, off King West, at 1:35 a.m. on Saturday. My eyes were drooping. It had been the latest in another full night of parties. I had a 9 a.m. commitment that morn. And yet. And yet. Bill Murray! Boogie'ing! And not just him, but a Vanity Fair Oscar party's-worth of dance-floor conspirators, including Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy.


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It was the most energetic party held at TIFF thus far, what with this after-soiree for the premiere of St. Vincent (Bill's poignant new one) breaking out into a gawker's heaven when he and Kristen got the dancing started. Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" was the song that broke the dam, and was what had Kristen and Bill doing a consortium of semi-choreographed moves. And don't go around breaking young girls hearts! For the laconic cultural figure that is Bill – who tears up dance floors wherever he goes, and has been known to crash random bachelor parties – this was business as usual, perhaps, and that biz, this night, also involved doing a full-bodied wave to "Sweet Dreams Are Made of These," c/o The Eurythmics.

It must have been contagious, because soon enough there was Kirsten and Melissa sticking their hands together in a Bridesmaids reunion, whilst jumping up in unison to Robyn's "Dancing on My Own," and actor Chris O'Dowd, also there, going full-stop Glee when Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" came on.

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Tedious, this party was not. Hosted by Hudson's Bay, Grey Goose flowing and lorded over by Harvey Weinstein, it only started at 11 pm, and was musically plotted by DJ Michelle Pesce, in from L.A. Clearly, too, it was the one to end up at this night for a smattering of celebs in town. Josh Charles, for instance. He's alive, he's alive! Ditto, Scott Speedman, who spent a lot of his time chatting up Kristen. Naomi Watts, who plays a Russian prostitute in the well-received St Vincent – she apparently mastered the accent, in part, by hanging out at Brooklyn nail parlours – did her part in fancying up the room, looked stunning in her Stella McCartney jumpsuit. Taking a seat in the narrow, covered-over terrace at Patria, meanwhile? That was Tom Hardy, wearing a tight, white, unbuttoned-just-so tuxedo shirt that gave maximum insight into his tats and muscles.

The torrential rain that had pounded Toronto this night – it was biblical out there, alright – had only managed to bring out a kind of tribal undercurrent inside. “Can you believe it?” Melissa, who co-stars in St Vincent, was exclaiming, having arrived at the do with four people holding umbrellas over her head and, at one point, standing under a canopy, with photographers that was threatening to come undone any minute. It was a dramatic scene – but perhaps not as sweeping as her own career swoop, over the last few years, from barely known bit-player to one of Hollywood's MVPs. (By the way, I couldn't help but note, when we briefly chatted, that Melissa's eye contact was extraordinary. Confident. On it. Nothing to hide.)

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Meanwhile, Monsieur Murray. Having just come off a day that will go down in Toronto infamy as an officially sanctioned 'Bill Murray Day' – during which he premiered his new movie, did a special Q&A for a screening of Ghostbusters, went biking around town and just generally spent a lot of time being awesome – I couldn't help but nudge him that the clock had well passed midnight, and it was over. “All good things...” he told me. Dot-dot-dot.

But...hey...did you bring this crazy rain? I had to ask. “The heavens opened up,” he replied, in between dance moves.

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