Sunday, October 2, 2011

white night.

nuit blanche (2)b
harbinger by ryan livingstone

for those not from toronto, nuit blanche is an annual, city-wide (kinda), all-night art party. from sunset to sunrise, the city is encouraged to stay out and do stuff. some events are official and some are just chaotic ad-hoc happenings. it happens in the fall and usually i am away somewhere. but not this time! fresh back from tour, aitor and i decided to take in some night sights to welcome ourselves home. we both agreed that planning and research were recipes for disappointment and decided to just walk from roncesvalles east along queen street until we got tired of it and then come back. easy peasy!

the last year i was around for nuit blanche, i remember parkdale being a total wasteland. don't get me wrong, i prefer wastelands to club districts but it was really nice to find out about the parkdale bia's leitmotif cube van artist installations. the programming was all over the map as far as style, quality and realization (in my eyes), but i liked that about it. most pieces, even those with heavy concept, provided an easy entry point for observers/participants. a program that spans everything from white noise to a capoeira circle really expresses the community nature of bia activities. in this way, the vans provided a wide range of engagement to the actual community of parkdale, families included.

nuit blanche (3)b

nuit blanche (4)
brian's songs by caroline and gord langill

nuit blanche (7)b
infinity in the palm of your hand by quality slippers

nuit blanche (11)b
all night stitch and bitch at the workroom

nuit blanche (12)
chromatic high five by amanda browder

the vibe totally changed after we crossed dufferin. it no longer felt like the programming was for the community it was in, the streets were jammed with taxis, drunk people were screaming at aitor about his moustache and the 'art' felt like a thin decorative veneer over the normal drinking that goes on at all the bars that have overtaken the strip. in spite of all the really lovely things going on at the smaller galleries and spaces (like the knit cafe), the might of the big bars was winning out. by ossington, i was getting anxious and everyone was pointing cameras at aitor. our nice date was turning ugly. we strolled back along side streets and relaxed immediately upon crossing dufferin again.

the giant, flaming, bloody altar at queen and dufferin has progressed somewhat. a woman was now scrubbing the entire concrete seating area on her hands and knees, the foamy red spill-off trailing onto the sidewalk and into the sewer. everything smelled like lavender.

after bemoaning the growing night club culture of our neighbourhood, we found a party that was more our speed:

nuit blanche (14)b

nuit blanche (17)b
your special day by brette gabel

yup, brette gabel's your special day at gallerywest invited folks in from the street with balloons and signs promising an awesome party just for you. once an hour, the gathering became a surprise party for whoever walked through the door next - complete with sparklers, people singing, homemade cake, a pinata and a fresh-delivered pizza. up there is our birthday boy breaking his pinata. such a wonderful way to end the night - a party about people instead of posing and drinking. we went home beaming and said goodnight to the neon crow at the top of our block.

No comments: