Nuit Blanching

One of the joys of no longer living in my rapidly deteriorating apartment building is no longer having to deal with neighbours on the edge of sanity. In my final days in my old place, I was entertained by a series of notices places on the public board. The first, by management, encouraged dog owners to not allow their animals to urinate by the front door. A reasonable request, I thought, but one that elicited all sorts of irrational commentary from the menagerie of pooch-toting weirdos who cluster in that particular hovel. Perhaps you can make out some of the vitriol:


While I’m showing off the low-res crappy photos taken from my smartphone, dig this great decal I saw on the side of a car:

A couple of weekends ago (Oct 3), I attended nuit blanche in Toronto. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a magnificent free evening, inspired by similar events in Europe, in which, from 7pm till dawn, the entire city is turned into an art installation.

I arrived with my curmudgeon hat squarely fitted to my blockhead, and roundly enjoyed mocking some of the sillier things I saw. But I cannot deny that the overall experience was magnificent. There were literally hundreds of exhibits spanning the entire city, with unlikely venues like shopping malls, grocery stores, sidewalks, parking lots, corner stores, private homes and alleyways all transformed into glittering art galleries.

My voyage through the night was one dipped in surrealism, as if I was exploring some trippy parallel universe or post-Apocalyptic meta-world. I was particularly impressed by four experiences:

(1) a continuous awards show in which any passerby can step onto the stage and be heralded for being a star

(2) the Drake Hotel’s use of its wall to project audience Twitter tweets, sent to the hash tag “#bumpinyournuit”. The lag time was so great that I was not able to see my own tweet (“Boogers! Boogers!”) Instead, I give you two images of other people’s tweets:


(3) Something called “The Apology Project“, wherein a battalion of weirdos with paper bags on their heads bump into you and apologize profusely, in a display of classic Canadian passive aggression.

(4) “Dance of the Cranes“, in which two construction cranes atop growing skyscrapers dance a synchronized ballet to classical music, beneath glittering, mesmerizing moonlight.

There are some better photos of the Crane Dance here.

Overall, Nuit Blanche was a wonderful experience, made more so for the spectacle of seeing hundreds of thousands of people peacefully shuffling about Toronto in the wee hours, engaging in somewhat intellectual explorations, all for free.

In Other News…

The Other Ray sends us Charles Darwin’s blog from the Beagle voyages. And P-Dawg sends us this, about the classic “3-body problem”. Yes, it’s nerd humour. If you don’t get it, too bad for you.