Tag Archives: Toronto

Halloween Celebrations

I’m a huge fan of Halloween. Always have been, always will. When you’re little, Halloween is exciting because you get out to get candy. When you’re 18-21ish, Halloween is exciting because it’s an excuse to party, and as you get a bit older, it’s great to hand out candy and coo at adorable kids. Really, there is something for every age group (except maybe angsty 13-15 year olds… sorry guys).

Halloween 2011 brought with it some fun, and some “I’m too old for this”, but mostly it brought me to the realization that I won’t do a popular costume again (HELLO there were 6 Black Swans at the bar with me on Saturday!!)

My weekend:

TUESDAY NIGHT: Yelp Masquerade Party

Easily the best prelude to Halloween party I’ve ever been to, Yelp hosted an Elite masquerade party on the Tuesday prior at Bar Vespa in Liberty Village. It was a trek for me, and pouring rain, but ended up totally worth it. The food (such as Risotto Balls) are amazing – for my full review, check out yelp: http://tinyurl.com/3ceoo99

Hiding our faces at the Yelp Masquerade

FRIDAY NIGHT: The house party of horrors.

I went to a house party which turned out to be more of a wild kegger, at a location close to my house. $10 all you can drink sort of thing. I lasted about 20 minutes before I realized the combination of crowd/alcohol/music/dark corners in a creepy house is something I’m just not quite into anymore (if I ever was?). I left and went for Chinese food with my friend / makeup artist (who did my Black Swan that evening).

Note: there was only one other Black Swan at this party

Kelly and I - Firefighter and Black Swan

SATURDAY NIGHT: Round II

Saturday I hit up Clinton’s, a 60s bar with NO LINE on Halloween! Couldn’t believe our luck with that one – and only a $5 cover charge!

Bangs & Blush, the female DJ duo, were playing their 60s regulars, with a few Halloween inspired tunes thrown in (I heard Thriller, no Monster Mash though!). While the party was good, I can’t say I was too impressed by all the other Black Swan costumes – as I said, lesson learned about attempting the “bound to be popular” costumes. There was one point when I was in the ladies room, that I came out of the stall to discover TWO OTHER Black Swans waiting for it. Damn it!

Overall this was a pretty solid night. Best costumes I saw: CN Tower (who won the costume prize) and “ocean” who had a spray bottle to symbolize the ocean mist, most random/outdated costume: Group “Up!” costume – this movie came out too long ago and yet is not enough of a classic for this to have been a good idea.

MONDAY NIGHT: Actual Halloween!

So, my Halloween activities were limited to the office, where I convinced my co-workers to come in costume. Turns out we were the only department in the office to do it, so we actually ended up having a photographer come by, and our pictures ended up in the bulletin! Have to say, I was pretty impressed with our spirit. I see this becoming an annual thing.

On Halloween night, I got a total of ZERO trick-or-treaters, and went and saw Puss in Boots – not very Halloween inspired, but review to follow.

 

 

Anyone do anything special for Halloween, or have a cool (or Black Swan?!) costume?

Black Swan - not exactly as original as I thought.

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Scotiabank Nuit Blanche; 2006 – Present

Like every Nuit Blanche, 2011 had some amazing installations that just couldn’t be ignored. This year, my heart was stolen by a few specific installations, but they got me thinking about previous years as well, and all the amazing other installations I have seen over the years.

My 2011 favorite by far goes to The Heart Machine, the interactive fire sculpture located on a parking lot on Bay Street. All I have to say about this one, is holy shit. If you can’t grasp the awesomeness of this solely by the name a description (interactive!! fire!!!) there here goes. The sculpture was a series of tubes from the ground, all representing different parts of the human heart. By touching different pads, and working as a team, people could get the machine to put out giant fireballs in certain patterns. It was absolutely breathtaking (alright, maybe I like fire a bit too much, but it really was cool!) and bonus: it also warmed the freezing cold crowd.

Other 2011 gems of note: Through the Gorilla Glass (interactive sculpture and light installation), The Free Shop, where the artist gave away his belongings if you could convince him you were of need (I was too cold to wait in line for this one!, and Intensity, which even I was fooled into thinking was a condo tent until I read the official Nuit Blanche description.

Other years have given other spectacular displays that I won’t forget, and that I was lucky enough to have a camera present for, to help me remember.


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

 


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!