We didn’t expect the best dance party we’d been to in a while to be at a book launch, but sometimes Tuesday nights surprise you. To celebrate the release of his new book, 1982, Jian Ghomeshi took to the stage with the Arkells and a round up of special guests to rock covers of amazing 80s classics.

The crowd milled about the Opera House with a sense of somewhat confused anticipation until Ghomeshi emerged, wearing a snug blue blazer and a giant grin. He kept his speech brief, but touched on some key themes from the book: his love of Bowie, and his struggles growing up as the son of Iranian immigrants in the early 80s. He encouraged anyone who has felt like an outcast to read his book, “without calling them Little Monsters…in a Gaga way.”

The real party started when The Arkells arrived to back up Ghomeshi for a cover of “Psycho Killer” by the Talking Heads. The crowd loved the unexpected performance, and went crazy for the subsequent special guests, who included Kevin Drew and Lights. Ghomeshi even came out to recreate a scene from the book and sing “Ebony and Ivory” with Grammy award winner Kim Richardson. Justin Trudeau, Olivia Chow, Atom Egoyan, and Maestro Fresh Wes were all there to celebrate. We also enjoyed running into our very own Finishing School columnist, Karen Cleveland, on the dance floor, and the flock of gorgeous girls who guarded the hallway to the men’s room, causing double takes from many bathroomgoers. “We’re the Persian mob!” They giggled.

The love coming from the crowd and and the artists was a testament to Ghomeshi’s support for Canada’s arts community over the years.

1982 is in stores now

~ Haley Cullingham, photos by Ryan Emberley