Sunday, October 05, 2008

Nuit Blanche Devereaux From Golden Girls

'Nuit Blanche' sounds pretentious, but I guess if the city of Toronto called it 'White Night,' that would've sounded vaguely racist, and the last thing this city needs is a bunch of KKK members showing up. Frankly, I would've gone with the Spanish translation....Noche Blanca. That sounds bad-ass as hell.

Though, in all fairness, 'bad-ass' is perhaps not what the city's artistic community was going for. For those unaware, Nuit Blanche is an arts festival that uses the city itself as a mural. Various public locations and businesses open themselves up to performance artists, who transform the spaces into a wide variety of WTF. I was planning to spend the evening watching the also-artistic merits of Toronto FC soccer, playoff baseball and Kimbo Slice getting knocked the fuck out, but my pal Dave and his posse came down from Ottawa for the evening and invited me out for the festivities. If nothing else, I got a lot of exercise walking my lazy ass around the city streets. The highlights included...

-- the windowed sides of City Hall being used to project Tetris and Pong games. It was pretty sweet. The only downside was that the guy who was playing Tetris was brutal --- just a myriad of ill-advised, game-ending moves. It was a far cry from my legendary 211-line game in 1994. *dusts off hands triumphantly*

-- the mascots at Lamport Stadium. About 30-40 different people in mascot gear danced around the stadium grounds. The trick was that beds and chairs were set up around the field so the mascots could rest, take a break and openly take off their outfits to break the illusion. To quote the festival website, "the dwindling of enthusiasm and the breaking of the illusion dash expectations as a celebration of futility and pathos." Good times. However, since we were there early in the night when all the mascots were still fresh, we just enjoyed ourselves without experiencing any pathos, so....suck it, display organizer. It didn't hurt that as we were there, the stadium sound system was cranking Hey Ya. Okay, we're a little more than a year away from the end of the Aughts, so it's okay to start having ___ Of The Decade discussions. That being said, Hey Ya, song of the decade? It's got to be on the shortlist.

-- talking to God. Or, at least, God as filtered through a guy in a robe and white beard, sitting in front of a video camera and green screen and answered questions asked of him through two stringed cans. A couple of people in shirts and ties were also present with a computer in order to print out 'prayer receipts.' It was the most spiritual experience I've felt since the last time I listened to a Spiritualized record.

-- the 'Scream' display at Union Station. Eight video screens showing nothing but famous screams from film history. Yet, oddly, nothing from any of the Scream movies. Highlight of the experience was Dave excitedly shrieking 'Ohh, the Scorpion King!' like a little girl.

-- Shoeless Joe's. Okay, not technically an art display, but we were hungry. We did admire the fine framing of the sports memorabilia in the restaurant.

There were also the large number of displays on Queen Street that we, uh, well, walked right by, but hey, I figure we got artsier by osmosis.


From Nuit Blanche to Apres-Midi Baseball. I joined a softball team two weeks ago and we had our second game this afternoon. Now, joining this team wasn't without its pitfalls. For one, I haven't able to wear my Packers jersey the last two Sunday afternoons, which is clearly the reason for Green Bay's last two losses. Also, I haven't played any kind of baseball in six years. Fortunately, I've yet to wholly embarrass myself thus far, though I did make a few misplays in today's game, a 20-12 loss. It was a far cry from the previous game, where I rapped out a couple of hits in a 28-8 victory (p.s. not a lot of pitching duels in this league).

The only casualty thus far is my hamstring, which I pulled? Strained? Tweaked? Footballers often use the word 'tweaked' for hammy injuries, so I'll just use that one. Anyway, I tweaked it running the bases, thus taking my speed down to a Molina-esque pace. It's not the biggest loss given that I was only at about a Pierzynski-esque pace to start with, but even still, I'll have to make up for it with extra aggressiveness on the basepaths. I'll have to sharpen my cleats.

"Uh, Mark, don't you just wear running shoes when playing?"

Hmm, you're right. Okay, I'll just sharpen the flat bottoms of my shoes. Or maybe the ends of the laces. Aw man, there's gum on the bottom of my shoe! There goes my next 20 minutes.....


We're nearly at the end of our 'worst Best Pictures' polling, with just two full decades left. For the 1950's, it was Gigi who took the (dis)honours with three votes, while Around The World in 80 Days won two votes and Greatest Show On Earth and American In Paris each took a vote apiece. For the 1940's, How Green Was My Valley (a.k.a. the movie that beat Citizen Kane for Best Picture), won with three votes, while one vote each went to Rebecca, Mrs. Miniver and....Hamlet?? What the hell? The Olivier Hamlet was awesome. Philistines. My favourite Olivier story: he and Dustin Hoffman are starring together in Marathon Man, and Hoffman shows up looking like hell. Olivier asks him what the problem is, and Hoffman says he's been up for days in order to portray his character's paranoid state after being tortured. Olivier just looks at him and says, "Why not just try acting?" Pwned. I'll bet if I had told this story before the poll, Hamlet wouldn't have gotten a vote.

Anyway, the 1930's options are up now, so pick away.

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