Saturday, September 29, 2012

Nuit Blanche - report from an early quitter

Yes, at 10 p.m. it's all still raging out there, and I'm already home. A beautiful night for Nuit Blanche, the city-wide art installation. I asked my son this afternoon if he was going to go. "Probably not," he said. "I don't care for huge crowds and weird art." And that's what the night is - huge crowds and weird art. And le tout Toronto, all types, all ages, pouring into the jam-packed streets to see something new and interesting and weird. I felt jaded before I set out to cycle around and take it in, but there's no doubt ... it's pretty great. 

 Yonge Street, 8.30 p.m., Saturday night. Impassable, as was Bay Street, Queen, King ...
 An installation. A car, some video, apparently about the life of a student. Hmmm.
Young revellers. Many of these light plastic people were being carted about all over the place. These girls were thrilled. "We were being followed by the Globe and Mail!" they cried. "We're taking her to school on Monday. Her name is Sarah."
Nathan Phillips Square - giant platters with film - about the end of the world? I saw a segment of floating jellyfish. Quite beautiful.
My favourite - the Renegade Parade on King, a big truck blaring great music, preceded by fire jugglers, followed by crowds of kids dancing, some in costume. Art students? It was very Mardi Gras. Meaningless and fun.
In the middle of Jarvis - hundreds of cardboard tubes filled with long plastic pipettes of light, delighted kids walking through. A man in a suit asked the artist incredulously, "My God - how long did it take you to set this up?" And I thought, there are undoubtedly more misses than hits, but this is what the night is about - introducing lots and lots of people to artistic concepts. There were music installations, tons of film - one using the giant walls of City Hall as a screen - people lecturing about Canadian history, an installation of filmy sheets being blown by fans, one of xerox machines making smoke ... Well, yes, weird. I saw a cop, in the middle of a vast crowd, laughing. Much good will. A full moon, and a great deal of street food, including a cupcake truck and our very own poutine.

It'll go all night, till dawn. Not for this old bird, though, safely home with the crabby cat.


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