Nuit Blanche is this weekend! The “all-night contemporary art thing” is one of my favourite Toronto events of the year. There’s an energy you can feel in the city during Nuit Blanche that is absolutely electrifying. People who would never usually stay up all night give themselves a special pass, the night owls and party animals are in their element, and it’s all in the name of ART! What a wonderful, encouraging thing to have Torontonians (and GTAers and tourists from all over) come out and take a night to celebrate art.
But before you leave your house on Saturday night – you’re gonna want to make sure you’re ready. It’s not as easy as it looks to really take in an event like Nuit Blanche. It’s fun, for sure, but it can also be long, cold and exhausting. Not to brag, but I consider myself a bit of an all-night art party expert, so allow me to submit for your consideration: My Nuit Blanche Survival Guide.
1. WEAR LAYERS.
I can’t stress this enough. Nothing kills yo’ adventure vibe like being too cold. In the fall it’s easy to leave the house at dusk thinking HEY I’m fine without a scarf, shoes-with-no-socks and a light jacket BUT YOU ARE WRONG. Bring them. You will be so happy later when it’s midnight and everyone is shivering and you are a toasty burrito of smug coziness. Being chilled is not chill.
2. COMFY SHOES.
Nuit Blanche is not about fashion, honey. Do you have orthotics? Tonight’s the night to break ‘em in! You’re going to be walking A LOT. Wear shoes that are a) warm and b) flat and c) comfortable. I’m not tolerating ANY WHINING from ANYONE whose “feeeeet huuuwrt” — no stragglers. You’re getting left behind. With blisters.
3. PHONE CHARGER.
Between checking the Nuit Blanche app and endlessly texting your friends saying “meet you thurr”/”ok ya we’re here where r you”/”k see you soon” (forever and ever and ever and never actually meeting up because that’s what happens EVERY year) and tweeting and instagramming cool shit, you’re going to kill your battery. Don’t be lost alone and afraid. Don’t be that friend who never texted back. Make a pit stop and plug ‘er in.
4. A PAPER PROGRAM.
You know, in case your phone dies and you can’t find somewhere to charge it. Or you forgot #3. Or you drop it or lose it or the app stops working or whatever. Paper never fails! (Except in the face of fire! Avoid that.) You can make your own program here.
5. HAND SANITIZER.
Last year around ONE MILLION people attended Nuit Blanche in Toronto. All of those people have hands and are covered in germs. A lot of the exhibits include touching-of-things. Oh, and if you have to do a secret sneaky park pee, you’re gonna want to clean up.
It’s a long night. Stay hydrated.
For the TTC, for snacks, for drinks, for whatever. No one wants to wait for you to go to the ATM. (Unless you can convince your friends the ATM is an art exhibit about the excesses of the developed world and our need for capitalist convenience. Then, maybe.)
8. A PLAN (BUT ALSO, AN OPEN MIND & WILLINGNESS TO GO WITH THE FLOW)
There is a TON to see at Nuit Blanche. For some best bets on what to check out, take a look at our recommendations, and make sure that before you go, you have a general route idea. The worst is when you just wander out there with no idea where you’re going or what you’re doing.
If you really want to see things, you can’t hang around and wait for people for ages, you have to keep moving. “All night” might sound like a long time, but with so many exhibits (and line-ups), the time flies. Also, if your friends are being impossible to meet up with (or are whiny, or too slow, or whatever) be ready to bail – OR, alternatively, be ready to go with their plan. Sometimes the greatest parts of Nuit Blanche can be the adventures that happen when you just follow along. Say “YES!” to weird stuff, wander into strange buildings, join parades, get involved in the art around you. Be spontaneous within your route and try not to stress too much.
9. A FLASK.
Full of, uh… whatever you want. I’m not saying you should drink at Nuit Blanche but I’m not not saying you should not undrink whenever or wherever or whatever you like. And if your flask runs out, consult this list of bars with extended last call just for Nuit Blanche!
SEE YOU OUT THERE! If you need me, I’ll be the one gazing slack-jawed and pawing at something covered in multi-coloured lights. Happy Nuit!
(Main Image: Eric Parker)