Nuit Blanche staged a press event yesterday with precisely no news whatsover, to tell us what we already know -- the program, that is -- and to launch its notably flimsy "5 year retrospective," Some Enchanted Evenings. I told you all about it in the paper today -- or at least I tried to, but a good half of the story I wrote didn't end up making the print edition. Interesting.
In any case, I'm more than happy to reprise it: My view was that the city never lets an opportunity to trumpet the greatness of Nuit Blanche pass unnoticed -- and not having such an opportunity, is happy to create one, like yesterday. Meanwhile, the retrospective was an unintended monument to NB's maddening impermanence; printed on flimsy vinyl sheafs and draped on oversize clothes hangers scattered throughout the lobby of an office tower, the installation had all the charm of an ad campaign for dental floss.
That said, the content -- for which Fern Bayer, a longtime champion of Nuit Blanche, not to mention its potential as an event that lasts more than 12 hours, is responsible -- is great; it was like visiting old friends, like Jon Sasaki's brilliantly futile mascots from Lamport Stadium in 2008 (above), or Michael Snow's video loop of grazing sheep, projected on the outside of the ROM's planetarium dome in 2006. But it also reminded me that these things deserve a longer life, and that Nuit Blanche's main function -- as a fireworks display for tourists -- isn't much more than a splashy civic branding campaign, piggybacked on artists' efforts. And that ain't right. As ever, I love the spirit of the thing, but its momentum can be used to greater benefit to everyone, can't it?