In the wake of Nuit Blanche's second coming to Toronto, many downtown locals were asking, "Who are all these people?" - referring to the nearly 1-million who descended onto the streets of the downtown core.
Specifically some were wondering why all these folks don't come to T.O. more often to give their support to conceptual art - once a year's kinda useless, is the sense I'm getting from these critics.
This reeks to me of the old anti-suburban snobbery that's got a rich and long history. Kids from the 'burbs used to come down to Yorkville in the late 60s to get a whiff of the counter culture developing in the area. Yorkville denizens called them weekend hippies, which I always thought was unfair. Some people didn't have the freedom to just drop out and hang out seven days a week and the fact that these invaders - most of them high school students - wanted to be part of a movement, even if it was just for a couple of days a week, was something to celebrate, not denigrate
I feel the same way about downtown residents who complain about 905ers coming to Clubland on the weekend. What are cities for, if not to attract people to the core for entertainment and culture?
Same goes for Nuit Blanche. Most of the thousands who came downtown have probably never seen an art installation in their lifetimes, let alone a conceptual art installation. Only good can come from turning the town into one huge freakin' outdoor gallery.
Yes, the rowdiness factor got out of hand in some areas, especially in Kensington Market, in which case let's debate the virtue of extending bar hours til 4 am.
Yes, there were too many people at many of the event's hot spots and there were safety concerns because traffic threatened pedestrians in the key zones. So, let's get the city to close down West Queen West, the Yorkville gallery zone and the area around the Grange to make room for the art lovers. That way, some of the work can be shown in the street instead of in smaller spaces that can't handle the crowds and people can walk around without fear of being run over by drivers looking around at what's going on.
But for god sakes, don't blame people for wanting to get a taste of a unique art event.