Library of Articles

  • Library: Articles

You ain't nothin' but a Hound doc Print-ready version

by Rita Zekas
Toronto Star
May 25, 2003

In the old days, you could send away for celeb autographs from the back of movie mags.

Nowadays, they're available on eBay, at trade shows, or you can purchase them fresh off the street from autograph hounds.

First-time director Richard Budman became fascinated by the autograph hounds he'd seen around Yorkville, where he used to sell celeb memorabilia, and documented them in Hounds: What Is The Price Of Fame?, airing tonight at 9 on Life.

He was particularly fascinated with Brad Byrne, 24, the most entrepreneurial and aggressive of the lot.

"I felt Brad and the guys were a great first subject for a documentary," explains Budman, who is distantly related to Roots co-founder Michael Budman, but lacks the trademark Budman brows. "There have been indie docs about fans, but not from the hounds' point of view."

It took Budman 2 1/2 years to make and sell the doc and a better part of a year just to convince the hounds to let him trail them and film them. He didn't pay them, but picked up coffees, doughnuts and the odd dinner.

Sure, it might cramp their style, but they were used to rejection.

Joni Mitchell refused to sign a guitar for Brad because he is a "mercenary" and sells her signature. Later she refers to him as "jackal-esque."

Brad takes it as a compliment.

Brad comes off as rather obnoxious and a user. He pays Billy, a young kid, $150 to shill for him to get Paul McCartney's autograph.

"I taped 30 to 40 hours of this guy and he's not a bad guy," insists Budman.

"Paul is a difficult autograph to get. He only flew in and out and went to the ACC. He spent 7 or 8 hours here but his feet didn't touch public property."

Yeah, but Brad uses his mom to get autographs. Where does he draw the line? Would he use a person in a wheelchair?

He apparently draws the line at rudeness.

"Canadian hounds are more polite," stresses Budman. "I took Brad with me to New York and we saw first hand that New York hounds are aggressive. If the celeb won't sign, they start swearing at them. That never goes on here. Brad says, `I just want to ask.' He's not disrespectful."

McCartney is hot because he is elusive. And for everything there is a season. Last year during the film festival, there were paparazzi shots of Colin Farrell pulling his pants down after a tipple at Hemingway's. Nobody cared. Imagine what they'd sell for this year.

Who are these `hound' guys anyway? Most of the hounds are kids from good, middle-class families, according to Budman. Brad has a degree in business. And they do have their priorities.

"Hounds are one step on the ladder," Budman explains, "a metaphor for someone feeding the beast of celebrity. They'll say, `I only go after A class: Pacino or DeNiro. I don't go after B class.'"

Unless they will sign a guitar.


Rocker chick Avril Lavigne was carning out at the Keg Mansion on Monday night just before the mad cow thing hit the fan.

Yes, that was Marcia Gay Harden flying back to Toronto from NYC on American Airlines Monday night to resume work on Welcome To Mooseport.

Sasha Trudeau's blue eyes mesmerized lunchers at Oro on Wednesday.

Louise Pitre did the patio on The Looking Glass on Church St. on Tuesday afternoon prior to her benefit performance at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in aid of Ronald McDonald House. Diane Leah, her piano player, is a regular at the Glass. Pitre also managed to squeeze in a session at The Reaction Recording Studios as part of a sextet recording a new choral CD with The Metropolitan Church Choir.

It was producer week at Bistro 990. Richard Stratton, producer of the series Street Time, Bistro'd on Monday.

Robert Shapiro, producer of the feech Confessions Of A Teenage Drama Queen, dined with two of the film's young hotties.

Don Carmody, producer of the Milla Jovovich film Resident Evil: Apocalypse, skedded to start spooling here in July, did Bistro on Friday.

Hilary Duff (Lizzie McGuire) dined at Sassafraz on Thursday after she did the Bullard show.

A buff Kyle MacLaughlan tucked into an egg-white omelette at the Sutton Place eatery on Friday morning. He's here filming That Touch Of Pink.

Hawkes squared

We've always maintained that Toronto actor/director/screenwriter Terri Hawkes (The Book Of Eve) is a singular sensation.

Which could explain why in last week's column, the "s" was dropped off her surname. Oops.

Fashionista alert

Fashion Cares AIDS funder marks its 17th anniversary this Saturday with its MAC VIVA GLAM Casino, held at Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Highlights include a cocktail reception; a boutique & auction; a Vegas style casino; dinner; and a boffo show with Sarah Brightman, Lisa Stansfield and Chantal Kreviazuk. The after-party features Hex Hector, Matt C, Lena Love and Widelife.

Call 416-340-9255 or Ticketmaster at 416-870-8000.

Harvest time

It's belly bustin' time on June 8, the date for Toronto Taste 2003, where upwards of 70 of the city's top chefs execute their signature dishes washed down with everything from martinis to micro-beers.

This way you can nosh on the same goodies the celebs eat, without having to spend the big bucks.

And Toronto Taste raises almost a third of the budget for Second Harvest, Canada's largest perishable food recovery program. Call 416-408-2594.

Copyright protected material on this website is used in accordance with 'Fair Use', for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis, and will be removed at the request of the copyright owner(s). Please read Notice and Procedure for Making Claims of Copyright Infringement.

Added to Library on June 3, 2003. (2802)


Log in to make a comment