The fall season in Calgary got off to a tremendous start last weekend, with the first ever Nuit Blanche event in Calgary as well as the opening of Alberta Ballet’s season. I attended both events on Saturday, September 15th and I felt like one classy young gentleman that evening!
The first stop was the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, where my friend Sarah and myself had the pleasure of watching the exquisite world-class Alberta Ballet company perform their season opener production, Great Masterpieces of the 20th Century. The evening’s program featured three world famous pieces: Divertimento no. 15 and The four temperaments, choreographed by George Balanchine; and In the upper room, choreographed by Twyla Tharp. All three pieces were absolutely superb – my favourite was In the upper room. It was my first time seeing a Tharp piece live and I was completely blown away by the mastery of the choreography and the performance.
The fun didn’t end there! Next stop was Nuit Blanche. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the annual art exhibit, Nuit Blanche happens every year in Toronto and Montreal. What’s so cool about it? It happens in the middle of the night! Yes, if you feel like attending an outdoor art exhibit at 2 am, come on down to Nuit Blanche!
This was the first year in history that Calgary had the honour of having a Nuit Blanche, thanks to the efforts of Karen Ball and the Calgary Arts Development. So, after the ballet, Sarah and I headed down to Olympic Plaza for some Nuit Blanche fun! And we certainly were not disappointed.
The main focal point of the event was an exhibit that was made up entirely of light bulbs and resembled a cloud. You can just imagine how this gigantic mecca of light stood out in the centre of Calgary in the middle of the night. We had a lot of fun pulling the stringy things that turned on and off the lights. For a while, there was an endeavour going on amongst the event’s attendees to turn off all the lights. But it just wasn’t possible! Don’t ask me why it wasn’t…it just wasn’t!
What else was there to see at Nuit Blanche? There was a woman dressed all in white, standing by a white chair, over top of a sea of white powder (it was probably baking soda mixed with sugar to make it sparkly) and this woman danced with audience members the whole night! Yep – you just had to wait your turn and she gladly danced and chatted with you.
You could also send a message to the top of a mountain! Yes, there was a tall mountain display set up, with an announcer on top. If you wanted to send a message to him, all you had to do was write the message on a piece of paper and his messengers delivered it to him. Then he would ring a bell, saying “Heree, Heree….”, and then proceed to announce the message!
What was my favourite message? It was, “Hey I just met you and this crazy. But here’s my number, so call me maybe.” Best of all, the person who wrote the message really did write their number, and the announcer gladly proclaimed it to the entire crowd.
What else was there at Nuit Blanche? Well, if all of that wasn’t enough yet, you could also send a message to the moon (same kind of idea as the mountain exhibit). There was also a man sitting on a little concrete island, surrounded by water in the middle of Olympic Plaza. Guests were welcome to pull on a pair of rubber boots that were supplied by Nuit Blanche and stroll through the water to go and have a chat with the nice gentleman.
And if all of that still wasn’t enough to have a good time, there was also a food truck on site and a beer garden! I forget the name of the food truck, but I saw some people eating fries from the truck and the fries looked very enticing indeed! The beer gardens looked like a lot of fun but Sarah and I had other plans. At Nuit Blanche, we met up with my friend Dustin and his roommate, Dan. Dustin and Dan just moved into a new place and they were kind enough to have us over on Saturday night after Nuit Blanche!
All in all, it was a wonderful evening and a fantastic start to the fall. Like I said, I felt like one classy dude. I mean really…attending the ballet and an evening art exhibit – how much classier can you get?