Month: September 2012

Picture This: Nuit Blanche 2012

Fortune-ate at the Gladstone


Nuit Blanche came and left like a thief through the night. It always seems endless and yet for me, ends too soon! I didn’t get around to many zones this time because I was manning my own installation (wanna see it?) but here are some photos from what I saw on Queen West!

Nuit Blanche 101

On Saturday October 5th from 6:51pm- 7am, Nuit Blanche transforms Toronto to an all night art hub. This is my #1 favourite festival in Toronto. It’s incredibly fun to explore the streets of the city after hours collectively. Thousands of people roam the streets searching for unique experiences. Every year is different, and unique. Nuit Blanche is in it’s sixth year. It’s organized by the City of Toronto and sponsored by Scotiabank.

Here’s my mini guide to the festival and my recommended stops.

Understanding Zones

This super handy map shows you where all of the projects are. The city is split into three main zones.

Zone A Downtown South / West (King Street, from John Street in the west and Jarvis Street in the east.)

Zone A has 57 projects and 35 independent projects.

“Curated by Shauna McCabe, the Exhibition in Zone A transforms architecture and landscape in ways that highlight memory, history and imagination that converge in our everyday experiences.”

Zone B: Downtown Central/East (Dundas Square, Eaton Centre, Queen Street)

Zone B has 62 projects and 49 independent projects.

“Curated by Christina Ritchie, the Exhibition in Zone B invites viewers to consider how their passage through the city inflects its shape and how their encounters with its spaces contribute to the construction of its chronicles and traditions.”

Zone C: Downtown East (King Street East & Jarvis)

Zone C has 29 projects and only 12 independent projects.

“Curated by Helena Reckitt, the Exhibition in Zone C presents works which reference and evoke repetition and emotion, recognizing the power of memorial and re-enactment.”

What Should I See?

As much as you can! Check out the Nuit Blanche website to see what the night has in store for you.

Getting Around
Nuit Blanche is from dusk till dawn, and out subway system dies around 1am. Luckily for us, TTC has been a partner with the festival since it’s inception. The Bloor-Danforth Subway will run all night from Keele to Woodbine and the Yonge-University-Spadina Subway will run all night from St. Clair West to Eglinton. The last train is 7am. The subway will be closed from 7:30 – 9am on Sunday, September 30.This is a good time to catch a nap while you wait for your subway home. (seriously)

Go Transit is finally getting in on the action, and will be running extra trains to and from Union Station on these lines: Lakeshore West – Lakeshore East, Barrie – Milton, Richmond Hill – Kitchener.

From personal experience, taking the Queen Street car becomes INSANE. If you can walk it, do it. It’s much better.


  • Don’t plan out your night. That’s right, don’t plan it out. The night is much more successful if you wander around the city and find projects randomly. Pick an area where you know there will be some projects. It’s really stressful to be looking forward to a project and have to wait for hours in line. The lines can be long, and they fluctuate throughout the night.
  • But if you do plan your night… Try to choose large scale projects that are outdoors and won’t be crowded.
  • Bring snacks! You will be hungry and thirsty so be prepared! Stores are catching on and are staying open later, but can’t always be depended on.
  • Dress warmly The weather is unpredictable and can be freezing cold or even raining. Be prepared and check the weather before you go.
  • Don’t try to see everything. You can’t, and will just end up frustrated and sad. Check the website and pick some of your favourites. Wander around the area that hosts your favourite projects. Try to see your project, but if you can’t, keep checking other projects in the area.
  • Take the TTC With the exception of the Queen Street car, the subways are the perfect way to get around during Nuit Blanche. If you don’t have a metropass, then get a special event pass for you and a friend.

My Nuit Blanche Picks

There are so many amazing projects this year at Nuit Blanche! Are you going on September 29th? Take a look at some of my choices!

Zone A

Green Invaders, 2012 Presented for the first time at Lyon fête des lumièresGreen Invaders reconciles Yves Caizergues’ interest in video games and his expertise in lighting design through the creation of an army of fluorescent green creatures that will invade Toronto’s downtown core. Offering the viewers the possibility to re­connect, in an entertaining way, to a time where the low-tech technology was part of our lives and the practice of saving energy had yet to be thought of.

Fly By Night at the Gladstone Hotel Fly By Night’s theme of Into the Wild will feature the raucous creations of makers from all disciplines, including contemporary art, sculpture, photography, performance, new media, and textiles. Temporary and site-specific installations by dozens of artists and designers will be showcased on the hotel’s exterior and first and second floors. Look for a special feature by Broken City Lab on the Gladstone facade.

Fortune-ate Okay, shameless plug here. I’m so happy to be part of Nuit Blanche this year, at the Gladstone Hotel. Please stop by and see my project at 2am! Everything that can happen in this world has already happened to someone else, and will probably happen to you. Traveling through the hallway at Gladstone, you will have the chance to explore the idealist and realities of others fortune through a series of hanging fortune cookies. At 3am, the installation turns interactive. You will have the chance to tear down a fortune, break it open and see what’s in store.

Zone B

All Night Convenience, 2012 Two thousand smaller lanterns are displayed upon shelves inside the store, illuminating its translucent walls.  These small lanterns, laboriously assembled by the artists, represent a cornucopia of products ranging from toothpaste to canned pork goulash. During the course of the evening the store will gradually darken, as visitors enter the see-through building and select lanterns, which are offered for free, to carry off into the festival atmosphere of the event.

The Jelly Gene Machine At the epicenter of consumerism in downtown Toronto, The Jelly Gene Machine dispenses jelly beans inscribed with super human traits like x-ray vision, telepathy and invisibility. Personalizing genetics like trying on a pair of jeans may sound like science fiction, except the debate is both historic and contemporary.

Glow in the Park, is as if a large meteor hit Toronto leaving thousands of meteorites glowing in the grass.  Mirroring the night sky can help us to reflect upon our contemporary understanding of time and what it means when we bring concepts from outer space into our inner space.  Each time we reflect on an idea we refract moments of it in isolation.

Zone C

Thought Balloon, 2012  explores what happens when intimate messages are available for public consumption. Participants write on typewriters and project their words onto the surface of large, glowing balloons.

The QR Poetry Project engages viewers by having them scan paintings using their own smartphone in order to activate the work. The act of scanning the large-scale QR code paintings will reveal each to be an original poem on the theme of night.


Cool Shop: Sausage Partners

Sausage Partners is an awesome little shop in Leslieville on Queen street. It’s run by Kyle, Lorraine and Lilly Deming, and they make their own sausages using the pork of small-hold farmers.

The sausages have fun names like Naked Pig. They sell them fresh and they also have them frozen. Fresh cuts of meat and burgers are also on hand. They have a small selection of fresh veggies and french bread from Le Matin Bakery down the street.


Sausage Partners also offer a selection of gourmet sauces, jams and preserves, and many are made in-house. If that isn’t awesome enough, you can join the “Meat Club” and purchase a box of sausage, bacon and some new products. Every box is different, and monthly costs start at $60. You can also sign up for a class to learn how to make your own sausage!

The Sausage Partners are at 1378 Queen St E.

Much Ado About Nothing TIFF Review

Okay, so I need to have my fan girl moment here. I’m a huge Buffy, Angel, & Dollhouse nerd. So when I heard that Joss Whedon was coming to Toronto for the premiere of his new movie, Much Ado About Nothing, I was so there. (and so was the rest of Toronto. HUGE line!)

Much Ado About Nothing is a modern take on the play by Shakespeare. I’ve actually never seen the play, and know nothing about it, so I was a bit worried about seeing this. Joss had also said that he was using the original dialogue, but removing some text to make it more modern. He also filmed it in his backyard/estate in 12 days, because he’s just cool like that.

Claudio (Fran Kranz) and Benedick (Alexis Denisof ) have just returned home to Messina after a successful campaign abroad. When earnest Claudio announces his adoration for the lovely Hero (Jillian Morgese), daughter of Messina’s governor Leonato (Clark Gregg), the acid-tongued Benedick teases him mercilessly. Benedick’s scorn for love is matched by that of his long-time nemesis and verbal sparring partner Beatrice (Amy Acker), Leonato’s niece. As the lovestruck Claudio and Hero make plans to marry, Benedick and Beatrice resume the “merry war” of insults they have long waged. Yet there are many who believe that for all their antagonism — or even because of it — this pair of incessantly sniping cynics is surely meant to be a couple. As matchmaking schemes are put into play and disguises are donned, loathing and love soon prove to be close cousins.

This movie was amazing, and really, I shouldn’t have expected anything less of Joss! It was beautiful in black and white, I didn’t miss the colour at all. Beatrice and Benedick’s relationship was fascinating and hilarious. The film was very emotional, often leaping from sadness to hilarity. My favourite character was poor Claudio, and of course Beatrice and Benedick. The dialogue seemed natural after time, and the use of cars, cell phones and a modern lifestyle juxtaposed against the language was interesting. Jed Whedon did the soundtrack, and it was perfect and haunting at some points. The ending is lovely and satisfying. I hope this film gets picked up, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t…it’s Joss!

Picture Day TIFF Review

Tonight I saw one of my first TIFF picks of the festival, Picture Day! I love watching Canadian films, and was delighted to find that it was shot in Toronto!

Picture Day is written by Kate Melville, a scriptwriter for Degrassi and other shows. This is her first film.

Claire is a cheerful high school student doing her “victory lap” and failing miserably. She isn’t really going to classes, and doesn’t particularly seem to care. She also has some issues with her classmates (no one likes her, and there are some pretty nasty rumors) and things aren’t great at home either. Three weeks into school, Claire bumps into her old baby-sitting ward, Henry, is now in grade 9. She befriends him and tries to remake his image. Henry has a bit of a crush on her, but she can’t see it because she’s too busy falling for an older rocker (Jim) in his “Jesus year” and hanging out at his shows.

This film had hilarious moments juxtaposed in familiar Toronto spots. (Active Surplus, anyone?) It really captures what high school is like, and got the characters just right. Tatiana Maslany is a natural and fits right into the role of Claire. Spencer Van Wyck’s wide eyed, innocent portray of Henry was perfect. I’d also like to point out that Susan Coyne is fantastic and funny as Henry’s mom. Fun fact! Jim’s band actually exists! It’s a real Toronto band called the ElastoCitizens!

I really enjoyed the soundtrack of the film. During the Q&A, Kate told us that all of the songs from the movie can be found on the movie website, which is awesome, because I was trying to scribble down the titles of songs.

The thing that tied it all together for me was the end of the movies. As we exited the theater, we were handed a glowing LED light to add to the fence outside (tying into one of the best scenes in the film). It made for a magical ending of a memorable film. Go Canada!

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