Scotiabank Nuit Blanche – the good and the bad

Scotiabank Nuit Blanche has happened every October in Toronto since 2006. If you don’t know, the concept is this: a series of art installations around the city, which are displayed (and interacted with) from 7pm until sunrise the following day. I’ve been to just about every one, with some exceptions for being out of the city. But each year brings similar moments of loving, and hating, this annual event – summarized in this list.

THE GOOD

1. Lets start with the obvious. This is an amazing, exciting and unique event, and the city comes alive in response to it. The streets are crowded, and there is such a positive vibe.

2. It allows you to have an appreciation for unique kinds of art that you may never have thought of, or had the ability to experience before it.

3. People who aren’t from Toronto, see all the cool things Toronto usually has to offer and think they are part of the event – such as statues, and lights, that we have every day of the year. It reminds us all how amazing we have it here!

4. Food vendors. I can’t resist those corn on the cobs that they dip in butter, they are my absolute weakness!

THE BAD

1. Drunk. Teenagers. That should be every item on the bad part of this list!! Kids drinking straight out of the bottle and chasing with a pop (ew, I so remember doing that), EVERYWHERE on the streets. It’s like the police don’t exist! Where are these children’s mothers!

2. The crowds. Unavoidable, yes. But if you’re not a fan of crowds, and I certainly am not, better to stick out of the downtown core and travel the outskirts. Or do what the most hardcore do, and come out around 3:30am when the drunken crowds have gone to sleep.

3. The “moochers on” – you know what I’m talking about. The companies that set up Nuit Blanche type displays in hopes that they draw people in – and they do – and it annoys me.

4. Why is it always so cold on Nuit Blanche?! It’s like the weather knows it’s coming and deliberately gets freezing cold on that night. Combine that with standing in lines outdoors and you get a ton of cold people.

If you love or hate Nuit Blanche, or have items to add to this list – let’s discuss in the comments!

 

To learn more about Nuit Blanche, check out their website: http://www.scotiabanknuitblanche.ca

 

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birthday celebrations

Is it lame to do a post on my birthday? Well… I’m going to do it anyway.

My 23rd birthday was yesterday, so I had a long weekend of celebrations to plan. That’s right – four days of birthday, including three fancy dinners, two nights of drinking, and one movie (yes, only one).

I’ll start by talking about the FABULOUS weekend of dining I had! Friday night at Luma, Saturday night at Frank, and Monday night at Guu Izakaya. Any of this restaurants would be amazing for a special night out like a birthday, but having all three just made it that much better! (I think this birthday has inspired me to write a “date night” list of restaurants in a future post). First off, if you haven’t been to Luma it’s an O&B gem. Not only is it associated with cinema by its location, it also has lovely cinematic-themed cocktails, and popcorn on their dessert menu!

“Opera Cake” dessert at Luma, featuring caramel corn!

This was followed by a Saturday dinner at Frank in the AGO – another place you need to check out if you haven’t. I had the heirloom tomato and mozzarella appetizer – and I think it was the best salad I’ve ever had!

Monday night we decided to face the (potential) lines at Guu on Church – and even if we had waited (fortunately, there was a table) it would have been worth it! Not only do I love a good tapas place, but I also LOVE Japanese. This restaurant is the best of both worlds – and it has such amazing energy! I felt like I couldn’t stop smiling for the entire visit (which was prompt – all that delicious food in 1.5 hours!) AND they had the best restaurant birthday song I’ve ever heard! (For a full review: http://tinyurl.com/3oawpkl).
 
Ah, now for the drinking. Friday night brought me to the Gladstone, where they had a band followed by karaoke (no, I did not participate!) and Saturday brought me to the Duke of York in the Annex. Why the Duke of York? While it is not the most fabulous venue in the city, the bartenders know how to make a dirty martini, and my alternate option, Oasis on the roof of Wayne Gretzky’s, randomly closed at 10pm that night (note: the weather was beautiful and they promised me they’d be open until 2am!!) Also, Duke is a great place because they have such a big venue, they can take reservations for parties late at night. Bonus: they had a big Muskoka chair.
 

Who can resist a giant chair photo op??

As for the movie, I saw Moneyball on Sunday, and wasn’t so impressed by it. You can see my movie review for more details!

Overall I’d say I had a pretty successful 23rd birthday weekend – and thank you to everyone who helped put it together!


Moneyball, a review

Ah, Moneyball. Bound to be a money maker due to the appearance of Brad Pitt, but definitely not the best of his movies I’ve ever seen.

I was desperate to see this after all the hype it got at tiff, but I knew better to watch it during the festival itself (what’s the point, when it came out in theatres a mere week later?). The movie is based on the true story of the 2002 Oakland A’s team, and how they were able to compete with teams who had 3x their budget by re-evaluating the statistics used to choose players and create a team.

I had really high expectations for this movie, which probably lead to my disappointment (I should know better than to expect greatness!) the movie was good, and well acted, but overall a little too slow for my taste. It was one of those movies that I kept looking at my watch, because it just seemed like I was in there forever.

Also, tell-tale sign – the theatre was just about empty. On opening weekend, an empty theatre is NEVER EVER a good sign. NEVER. I want to have to search for seats half an hour before the movie starts on opening weekend.  

I’ll be interested to see how well this movie does overall – I’ve spoken to other friends who loved it – so maybe I’m the only one who will write a negative review! After all, I didn’t like Bridesmaids and everyone else in the Western world did…

note: this movie was so slow that my review doesn’t event warrant spoilers!


Contagion, a review

I knew I definitely wanted to write about movies on this blog, but I want to do it in a way that won’t prevent readers (all two of you) from reading due to spoilers. So I think how I’m going to do it is by keeping the spoilers at the end of the post, so you can stop reading before you get there, if you so choose.

I watched Contagion with a friend a few nights ago and was actually pleasantly surprised – that being said, it’s not like I had high expectations. The movie, if you don’t know, stars Matt Damon, and also has Gwyneth Paltrow – not that I’m ever a believer that celebrities make the movie. The basic plot is, a new virus is found that the human population is not able to cope with. So that’s my non-spoiler summary – it’s worth watching

*SPOILERS*

If you did see it, this section (mainly comprised of questions) is for you! 

Anyone wonder how the world kept functioning so well even though it had basically stopped? Like, most of it was pretty true to life of what would happen – the riots, and looting, and protecting your family. BUT – how did electricity and cell phone service keep going? There is just about no way in hell the world was falling apart and those people stayed in their offices to keep going… just not going to happen. OR, how did people keep getting food? Because Matt Damon went to the grocery store and it was just about empty… which leads me to believe he didn’t have a crazy stock-pile anywhere.

 
The thing about this movie is, those were my only major “issues”, which really is a lot better than most. Besides these few questions that they seemed to just ignore – everything else seemed pretty true to life and overall, the movie was entertaining!! If anyone else has seen this, and come to the same (or different) conclusion – let’s discuss in the comments!


Yelp – Kick off Event at Boehmer

**Note, this post has been moved over from my tumblr, as I make the switch to wordpress**

Ahh, Yelp. Personally, I am a big fan, not just because of the amazing parties, but because it is actually a very useful site! (check it out at www.yelp.com if you haven’t already!). Most events for yelp are for ‘elites’ only, but every once in a while there is a free event that is open to the public – including food, prizes, and of course the open bar! This was one of said events, and it was packed with new faces!

This event was to kick of “Yelp Eats”, which is a week-long event where certain restaurants will donate $10 for every $30 you spend to the Daily Bread Food Bank. Definitely a good cause, and I can’t deny myself an open bar!

Boehmer, if you have never been, is an amazing trendy restaurant with great decor and ambiance. Even if you don’t go this week (which you should, to support charity!!) it is definitely worth checking out – I may even host my birthday party there this Saturday!

The moral of this post is: join Yelp. And then find my profile and add me.

http://www.yelp.ca/events/toronto-yelp-eats-sept-19-25

http://susanerg.yelp.ca


tiff 2011 Volunteer Party

**note, this has been moved over from my tumblr, as I make the switch to wordpress**

So, TIFF 2011 has finally wrapped up (what will I do with my time now??) and after a weekend of 5 movies, I attended the 2011 Volunteer Party.

This year, the party was identical to last year, but since it wasn’t new and exciting, well… it wasn’t very exciting. For those of you who don’t know, for the 2200+ volunteers who work 4+ shifts during tiff, you get to go to this secret-location after party which has an open bar (beer and wine) and some pizza (really, we need more than pizza!). Also, the secret location seems to always be *spoiler alert* ”This is London”, so really they aren’t fooling anyone anymore.

I spoke to a volunteer who has been working there for a long time, and he said that before they had this same cookie cutter party every year, they used to have new venues, and sushi, as well as other types of food! I understand your desire to use sponsors to get this party for free tiff, but you’re kind of killing me. Seems to me like you could use a fresh pair of eyes to look over the party outline (and yes, I am available!)

Overall though, it was a great festival! I even waited outside in the cold to see the People’s Choice Award winner, “Where Do We Go Now” – which I definitely recommend. I saw 7 movies total, which is disappointing based on last year… but since I’m working full-time now it’s really not that surprising.

Until next year, tiff!

posing for pictures at the 2011 tiff volunteer party


tiff 2011

**note, this has been moved over from my tumblr, as I am making the switch over to wordpress.**

Tiff is usually my favorite time of year in Toronto, but (until last night) I wasn’t feeling the love as much as usual.

Really, what’s not to like about tiff? I love movies, I love events, and tiff is like the ultimate movie/event combination. This year though, work has been so busy that I haven’t got to take advantage of it like I usually do!

Last night however, I went to see “The Day” with a few friends, which is a post-apocalyptic movie that was playing for Midnight Madness. Really, the movie was only ok – nothing special and a little slow to start, but afterwards, I got to meet Dominic Monaghan!! THAT is what the festival is all about. Celebrities, parties, people, and cinema – and it reminded me why I love the festival so much!

The best thing about tiff, is that 99% of the time, celebrities are friendly to Torontonians too – (that 1% is you, Madonna)

So basically last night was the kick off to me taking full advantage of the festival for the rest of the week (yeah, three days I know!) I’m going to rush some galas this weekend, see about getting in to the Cadillac People’s Choice screening, AND of course, hit up the end of festival party on Sunday. If you also volunteered this year – maybe I’ll see you there!