nuit blanche. Sleepless night.
It seems everyone is sick this time of year; I’m no exception. I woke up yesterday feeling like crap. I’ve wanted to go to nuit blanche since this time last year, but I wasn’t sure I would be able to. Luckily my friend and his girlfriend nudged me into getting out and going. After all that, however, they decided they were cold and tired and packed it in at 10:30. Sick little me managed to make it until 1:30. I had planned on a marathon dusk-till-dawn evening, but considering that I was far from 100% I think I did pretty well for myself.
This post isn’t so much about what I saw last night. I’m sure there will be lots of other bloggers that are far more into the arts talking about that. First of all I’d like to thank the organizers. They managed to take a cool idea and deliver. Expose a city to the arts in one night. And they did. The streets were packed with people out to see the sights. Last year had 800,000 people in attendance. I would not be surprised if we cracked a million this year.
Now, my gripes and observations.
nuit blanche is a huge draw and creates an enormous amount of pedestrian traffic. Cars have no place on downtown streets when something like this is going on. There were a number of confrontations between pedestrians and vehicle simply because the sidewalks are nowhere near big enough to accomodate all of those people. Planners knew in advance there would be crouds and should have closed the roads or at least some lanes near the art installations. Obviously TTC and emergency vehicles still need to be able to get through. Last night the traffic was so intense it was downright dangerous.
Another poorly planned aspect of the event. With almost a million people in attendance, a lot of people will need to use the facilities at some point during the evening. Many art installations were in public spaces, like parkettes or on the sidewalks, where Toronto is not known for having any truly public washrooms. Some pieces were on display in buildings, however, some buildings were only open enough to view that piece of art. Walk in, look at the art, leave. The Toronto Eaton Centre is a prime example of this failure. There was a piece of art on display that looked like a giant rotating blue blob of whipped cream, although I’m convinced that part of the art was the Eaton Centre being in creepy darkness packed with people as if the mall were open for shopping. The washroom I attempted to visit was closed and locked. FAIL. Toronto City Hall also had a big crowd, but the building itself was locked up tight. There were rows upon rows of portable toilettes that were locked! FAIL. Luckily City Hall has an outdoor washroom that was open, but it was not well marked. Something to work on for next time, okay planner folks?
The smokers were out with a vengeance. Hordes of people are out on the streets, often crammed together into each other’s personal space. Every fucking time I was trapped in a throng of people, at least one inconsiderate fuck (usually a group) were smoking within five metres of me. Fuck that pisses me off. If you’re a smoker, please don’t smoke when you are in the middle of a large crowd. It’s rude and socially unacceptable. And you wonder why the rest of society is out to ban smoking entirely. We don’t want to put up with it. If you need your fix, get some nicorette or something.
What’s better to do on a Saturday night than take your boyfriend, girlfriend or significant other and look at art, along with a million other people? How could I tell? Handholding? pfft. Apparently art turns people on — I saw several couples making out, including one sexy pair of lesbian zombies getting it on in the shadows near City Hall. To all of those couples: thanks for reminding me just how single I am. *sigh*
Hopefully the planners will do something about the traffic and washrooms for next year. Despite the gripes I’m very much looking forward to the fourth annual nuit blanche.