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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Art is.....weird

Some would say that a personal-type post containing the sort of minutiae that takes up my weekend has no place on a blog this.

I say eff all y'all. It's Sunday, I can do what I want. I'll even put it behind a cut, you babies.

Continue reading this post.
All anybody can talk about today is the giant hangover that Nuit Blanche has left over the city. I don't know if I ever elaborated, but the event is a giant art festival that runs all night through numerous sites all over the downtown core of Toronto, from the CN Tower to Queen's Park to the Ontario College of Art and Design and back again. After a productive practice with the Fabulous Ictusband [This Friday at the Avalon Front. You know you want to come] Greg, Sarah and I met up with the Lady at Queen and Spadina and it was a madhouse. Not like it isn't any other time, but Nuit Blanche gave everyone an excuse to be out on the street acting like idiots, a theme we would return to numerous times before the night concluded.

We began our night at OCAD, which is cool enough to look at on its own but takes on added excitement when the posterior park is filled with people having images of their dancing selves inserted to Bollywood romances via bluescreen or sitting on the grass watching video installations. The College itself was open for visiting but the lineup to enter was prohibitive. Besides, we had one destination in mind: Dumpster Hotel. On the way to the installation we happened upon an event at a local church. Thinking we might experience something transcendent, we took some seats at the back and watched the movie. This is what the event program had to say about the piece:

Made in collaboration with a group of children from a cultural centre outside Zagreb, Croatia, this film records the rehearsal of the song "magical World". Written in...1968, the lyrics speak of personal personal transformation with both pride and melancholy.
Nice enough sentiment. What we saw was what seemed like a loop of some creepy children singing a six-note melody repeating the same line over and over. After three minutes the women got up and left. "I think I get it. It's a magical world," said Sarah. We hummed the song all night.

After a brief encounter with spontaneous dance in a townhouse's front yard, we found the Dumpster Hotel. A five-star hotel, spa and bar constructed in large part from the detritus society leaves behind and centered around a massive City of Toronto dumpster, it drew quite a crowd. Reservations for both the spa and the hotel were unfortunately full.

Not having planned our itinerary very effectively, Greg suggested heading down to UofT to see what we could find. "Man, these are all galleries," said Sarah, "I want the trash!" Thankfully the replica alien crash at the King's College Circle met that need for us. As we leaned on the surrounding fence poking logistical holes in the exhibit [last I checked, beekeeper suits did not guard against radiation poisoning], I turned to Sarah and said, "So I suppose if anyone ever asks what the Ictus band's artistic sensibilities are, the answer is loowwwwww brow."

It was around 1.00 a.m. at that point and everyone was fading fast, so we headed back to the cars. During the walk we encountered:

  1. A young man who looked like a drowned rat singing a song of his own creation entitled "Poontang" through a rolled up poster.

  2. A class war developing between a crowd of mooks and a young mohawked dude and his dreadlocked girlfriend. The mooks won the exchange with "It's okay, mohawk, I hate my parents, too." I believe the mohawk kid responded by threatening to stab the mook in the neck.

  3. A crew of drunks on a street corner in Kensington Market who made sexual slurs at Lady Trail. On a whole, I think I decided that Kensington should probably have a bomb dropped on it. Infidel, I know.
Home by 1.45, we were asleep by 2.00.

A much more civilized affair, the Word on the Street festival took place in Queen's Park today, with readings, signings and more discounted books than you could dream of. We met up with a friend of the Lady's and made a round of some of the exhibitors before stopping by the Vincent Lam reading. It was nice to finally hear him read, after my aborted attempt in Kingston last year. He got bonus points for reading from the story about corpse dissection, while there were children in the audience. The Lady and her friend hit the Pride tent to hear playwright and author Sky Gilbert read while I had my book signed by Lam. He was extremely personable, if not the greatest public speaker. Gilbert was the exact opposite.

Having rolled up on his bike a few minutes before his reading was scheduled to begin, he locked it to a tentpole and hopped on stage. Because he and Lam overlapped I didn't get to see much, but I found him a very engaging reader, due to his drama background no doubt. But whereas Lam signed for everyone who stopped by, Gilbert ran offstage following his reading, stopped by the signing tent, scribbled his name in a handful of books, left them with organizers and vanished, never to be seen again. Lady Trail was bummed, especially as this is a man she's done work on academically, and even interviewed personally for a paper in undergrad.

We capped off the afternoon by walking the rest of the way around Queen's Park. The Lady was kind enough to buy me a copy of Murakami's Norwegian Wood [with the UK cover, which is so much better] for three bucks, and she grabbed a first edition of Coupland's Shampoo Planet, just in time for the signing tomorrow, which she may or may not even have signed.

That was our weekend. How was yours, Windsor?

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