The highlight of my weekend was something I've been looking forward to for a while - Saturday night was Nocturne night in Halifax! The subtitle for Nocturne is "art at night", but it was so much more - specifically over 100 art installations happening ALL OVER the city from 6pm to midnight, with everything completely free! There are versions of Nocturne in lots of other cities - Toronto, Paris - but I'm willing to bet ours could stand up to any of them.
A lot of people are ignorant and think Halifax is full of fishermen and naval officers, but there is a HUGE creative contingent here. There are actually a ton of artists, designers, musicians and other artistic types choosing to make a living (and their art) here. Um, hello we are home to one of the best art colleges in the country! It was nice to see these people (who, frankly, I think are often overlooked by the government at many levels in many ways) come out of the woodwork, so to speak, and come out loud and proud with extremely fun, thought-provoking, sometimes wierd art pieces and with the complete sanction and support of the city for a change.
I've always been into art - both making it and viewing it - and I don't think I could live without art in its many forms. Seriously, how do people go through life without ever going out there and absorbing art?! It's like water and air for me - it feeds my mind and my soul. My high expectations for the event were definitely met - we saw a lot and had a lot of fun.
I went with my bff Kim (yes, her name is Kim too...well actually Kim #2), her sister and her friend. We started out with a walking tour, which was honestly a tad boring because it was the first one of the night and a lot of the artists hadn't actually set up yet, plus there weren't many spectators yet either. However, we stuck with it down Barrington Street and up Spring Garden, ending at the YMCA on South Park Street where Kardio-Karaoke was taking place. I had read about this but considering anything with "karaoke" in the title generally makes me want to run and hide, I wasn't keen on doing it. However, my friend's-sister's-friend wanted to go in so we did and am I ever glad!
In case you couldn't figure it out by the name, Kardio-Karaoke involved participants singing karaoke while working out. This is one of those concepts that I thought was completely wierd and totally awesome all at the same time. I mean, it's just so ridiculous you can't help but smile and laugh at the concept and want to give it a try. So, yours truly, who is too chicken-shit to get up in front of a group and do ANYTHING let alone sing AND exercise, got on a stationary bike and sang "Don't Go Breaking my Heart" with her bff. Yes, that's right. Mind you, there was only about 6 other people in the room at the time so it was a lot less intimidating, but I'm still shocked I even went through with it. I have to say, I was quite proud of my bold sillyness. I would recommend singing karaoke while on a stationary bike to anyone! Unfortunately, the photographic evidence is on my friend's camera so I can't show it to you, but I'm sure you can use your imagination! (it really did happen, I swear!)
From there we went to the Public Gardens, which is normally closed to the public at night and I believe this is the first time an installation of this kind has been allowed in there, so we were really excited to see it. Highlights included the screen above which showed close-ups of various native Nova Scotian creatures (bugs, frogs, etc), a local "art rock band" playing in the gazebo, speakers tied to trees throughout the Gardens broadcasting nature sounds such as gurgling water, crickets, lit-up mini-watercrafts floating in the pond and changing colour/direction with the weather, etc. It was really neat to just wander around looking and listening - it felt like being in a wierd alternate universe like Wonderland or something!
Excuse the crappy photography - it was tough to get good shots in the dark and far back!
Other highlights of the night included: Film-e-oke at the CBC building (we watched two people reenact the "Luke, I am your father" scene from Star Wars including foam "light sabres" by reading the lines off the screen. HILARIOUS!), a fun photo session with costumes (and fake moustaches!) at a local boutique (again, don't have the photo yet but will share when I do), the site of our new city library covered with lit-up pylons marking where the important interior spaces will be located, Halifax Circus performing aerial, juggling and fire tricks, and an extremely interesting exhibit of Nova Scotian film stills and photos from 1917-1957 at the Nova Scotia Archives (an exhibit that my buddy @laurenoostveen did an amazing job curating!).
All in all it was an exhilirating, titillating, strange, eye-opening, colourful, and crowded night! Can't wait until Nocturne 2011!