Nine-and-a-half hours on my feet - my key statistic for this year's Nuit Blanche.I missed last year's inagural edition, so I don't have the same sense of letdown that marks many accounts of the evening. My overall impression was that even if the art was a mixed bag, it was still a good opportunity to wander around the city in a nighttime party atmosphere and observe the reactions of others, at least until a combination of sore legs and non-existent streetcar service kicked in. One thing's for sure: crowds were definitely interested in checking out what was on view.
* Notepad, to mark down where I was, in case I didn't get around to writing this post unitl Christmas
* Official Program, to provide rough ideas of where to go
* Multi-pocketed corduroy jacket, to hold the first two items
* TTC day pass
You be the judge.
2:20 AM (right): Next stop was the Art Gallery of Ontario. Unlike the Gardiner, it was not wide open, which would have been appropriate given the theme was "goodbye party" (next week, it shuts completely for eight months to finish its current expansion). Instead of a last glimpse at the Henry Moores for awhile, an area was set up for passers-by to write goodbye cards. Another room was reserved for a DJed party, complete with screens showing a yule log video, but not much appeared to be happening, so I moved on. I poked my head into Cinematheque Ontario to check out 1916's Les Vampires, accompanied by a live pianist. Unfortunately, it was standing room only, so, again, I moved on.
After this, I wandered towards Zone C. I was starting to feel a little worn, but figured there would be enough ahead keep my brain distracted.
3:00 AM: Walking along Queen West, the Nuit crowd mixed with those emerging from bars and clubs. Not quite the ocean of people I saw in Yorkville (you could squeeze onto the sidewalk), but still busier than a regular Saturday night. I considered hopping on a streetcar to Trinity-Bellwoods, but all appeared to be headed east. Near Spadina, I saw a white limo door open. Out came a steady stream of spew.
3:05 AM: Overheard at Queen and Augusta - "I'm freakin' out, don't you f**kin' understand? I need to smoke!" Guess the crowd and withdrawl were a bad mix. Observing the stream of bypassers was entertaining, with no one sounding too aggressively blitzed. For several blocks I walked behind a group decked out in contrasting neon flapper wigs, bright wings and goth clothing.
raised the ire of this piece - I'm good at tuning such corporate advertising out). It felt as if there had been activities earlier which had wound down. Fluorescent Dome was intended to serve as "a beacon for the city", but the only signal I got was that I should have gone back to Zones A and B.
3:50something AM (right): I carried on westward, popping into the occasional crowded gallery. Weariness started to tell on bypassers, some showing the same lack of enthusiasm about this zone that I felt. One exception was a jam-packed Knit Cafe, where a crowd was busy making pom-poms.
I attempted to check out a workshop at Mercer Union, but missed the session by a few minutes and didn't feel like waiting 25 minutes for the next one. I headed down to King, hoping to catch a streetcar and avoid jams on Queen. Bad move - no service on King during the 4 o'clock hour, so I kept walking, to the detriment of my feet (I know, I should have flagged a taxi, but I had a day pass to use up, darn it!). Wound my way back up to Queen to catch a streetcar at Trinity-Bellwoods. After 10 minutes of waiting, I moved on, figuring I'd catch on car at another stop. I made it, very slowly, to Osgoode station without seeing a single eastbound car (at three westbound cars passed me).
I nearly let out an unearthly sound when I sat down in the subway.
I headed down, the first time I had ever been in the fabled station/filming location. Two cars were stopped, with rattling sounds all around, made more effective when a train rumbled above. I like how the eerie glow of the car number turned out in the picture on the right.
My final stop was at the Toronto Reference Library. I paid no attention to the displays, making a beeline for a set. I didn't even mind that they were running Ghost for the weary souls. I stayed for half-an-hour, then headed home.
Only six hours until I got up for Word on the Street!
Full photo set of the evening.
All photos taken September 29-30, 2007