Nuit Blanche, September 30, a free all-night contemporary art fest at three different zones in the core.
Something truly unique happened in this city last Saturday night. Toronto threw a party and it didn't suck.
And the capper is, sometime during the dusk-to-dawn celebration, I stopped thinking of modern art as over my head.
My Nuit Blanche excursion starts at the MaRS Centre on College, where videos and conceptual art are sadly overshadowed by corporate branding. Paris (site of the first Nuit Blanche) is represented here, and sponsors are shilling goodies in a space one volunteer describes as "like a French shopping mall.'
Not what I'm after. Pressing on, I pass modern Irish dancers, squeeze into theatres at OCAD and stroll among giant sculptures in Grange Park. Surprises everywhere.
While wandering the streets, my friend gets a call tipping us to "the best thing ever'- Ballroom Dancing at the University Settlement House, complete with 10-year-old DJs and a McDonald's playroomesque floor covered in plastic balls.
My visions of elegant foxtrots are quickly squashed when balls start ricocheting off my head and I realized this is in fact a giant dodgeball game. My friend flirts with guys by attacking them, and I get to knock a fedora off an all-too-Toronto guy - one of the most exhilarating things I've ever done in this city.
This isn't, it turns out, what curator Darren O'Donnell had in mind. "I was expecting ballroom dancing,' he says. "This is fucking violent.'
But he comes around. The sudden music switches that come with the child DJs' short attention span "coupled with the fact that everybody is practically killing each other with the balls - it just makes total sense," he says.
At Sunday breakfast the next day, people are feeling a little different than they do on the usual morning after. Daniel Williams, a U of T stu Lee Towndrow dent who volunteered at the MaRS Centre, eats his free breakfast at OCAD to cap off his revelry.
"It's the best all-nighter I've ever pulled,' he says.