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Sunday 30 September 2018

Nuit Blanche 2008 Revisited

Nuit Blanche Open For Business.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address: Liberty Village
Date: Oct 2008
Website: nbto.com

  Nuit Blanche took over the streets of Toronto again this weekend.  During the event it is hard to tell what is art and what is not.  The "Open For Business" sign above could be art or just a clever sign that was discarded in the street.  We thought we would go back and revisit some of the exhibits from ten years ago when the all night arts festival was still in its infancy.  Here are a few highlights of what we experienced between dusk and dawn.

Euphemisms For The Intimate Enemy
Euphemisms For The Intimate Enemy

This exhibit is made up of 55-gallon drums with letters painted on their bottoms.  It was making some commentary on language that may become clear when the piece of art is explored more closely.

Future Perfect
Future Perfect Fog

In a haze of fog some storage containers sit in the dark.  People gather around to see what is going on.

Future Perfect Light

Then suddenly a glow of light emits from one of the containers and more smoke machine fog is released.

Imagine Peace
Imagine All The People Living For Today

Yoko Ono started the Imagine Peace project based on her husband John Lennon's Imagine song.

Imagine Peace Wish Tree

The exhibit includes a tree where guests can tie one of their wishes.  After the event the wishes were all said to be taken to the Imagine Peace tower in Iceland.  Who knows how many will come true?

SMASH! Dropping Stuff
Hmmmm Drop!

The next project was called SMASH!  The whole purpose was to get some stuff and then drop that stuff and watch it smash.  The pile of smashed stuff was growing as the night crept on.  3...2...1...Drop!


Original Soundtrack
Now Where Did I Put The Universal Remote?

This project consisted of TVs all playing the menu screen of a different DVD.  The sound was all mixed together and would evolve and change as the menus loop through the night.  This exibit reminded us of a busy electronics department on a Saturday afternoon.

Original Soundtrack Window.

When we turned away from the television screens we liked the way the light was coming in through this window.  We left the wall of sound behind and ventured outside to see what was causing this glow.

Over Flow
We Will Fix That Leaky Faucet Later Tonight Is Nuit Blanche

The glow appeared to be coming from this building which for tonight only included a waterfall coming out of an upper floor window.  This seemed like something we wouldn't mind seeing permanently.


This next piece was untitled and like most of the things listed here is open to interpretation.  On any given day you may be surprised but what you see walking around the city.  When Nuit Blanche is in town, surprise is always expected.

Map of Our World
Nuit Blanche Liberty Village
Nuit Blanche Liberty Village

Post # 228

Thursday 20 September 2018

Something Smells At The Zoo

Here Come More Of Those Smelly Humans.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address:  2000 Meadowvale Road
Date: Sept 2018
Website: www.torontozoo.com

  Many people head to the Toronto Zoo for the sights and sounds of the animals.  What is often unexpected is the smell.

Gaur House.  In The Middle Of Our Zoo.

  The former gaur exhibit wins top prize for the stinkiest exhibit.  Nothing like a small, closed house filled with the largest bovines in the world.  Many a visitor would open the door just to recoil from the wall of stench.  "Eeeewwww!!" cried the children.

Son, I Think It's Time Your Hockey Bag Was Cleaned.

By the way it is pronounced "gow-er".  We always used to call them "gar" like in cigar. 

Little Stinker.

  Other contenders for worst smell are the marmosets.  In the Americas Pavilion you can find a group of these tiny primates.  While you might share your exhibit with sloth, saki, and double-striped thicknee, when it comes to smell we are looking at you common marmosets.  What gives these little guys such a big smell anyway?

First Corpse Flower To Bloom In The Greater Toronto Area

  We visited the zoo recently for a special olfactory reason.  A titan arum or corpse flower was in bloom.  This flower may bloom for anywhere from 8 to 36 hours.  We had seen these plants before in Niagara Falls.

That's Ringo In The Second Row.

  When a titan arum is in bloom it smells much like a rotting corpse.  This helps attract the bugs that help it pollinate.  The zoo had some of these beetles out on display.  We were also attracted to seeing the corpse flower in bloom.  Finally, Thursday evening the bloom was on.  We were not able to visit until Friday night.  Good thing we did as by Saturday the show was over.  The zoo extended its hours for those wishing to see and of course smell the plant.

Titan Arum In Full Bloom.

 We lined up and moved slowly forward until we entered the greenhouse where the plant was on display.  Suddenly there it was.  We didn't even smell it coming.

Plant On The Left.  Bloom On The Right.

  The titan arum plant usually looks like the tall green plant on the left.  Once every 4 or 5 years it produces a flower.  The flower at the Toronto Zoo grew to be almost 43 inches tall.  It was named Pablo “Pe-ew” Caso.

  When it was our turn the staff was letting us get right up close to really get the scent.  We leaned in and took a long breath in through our noses.  Not much.  Just a faint unpleasantness.  A staff member we chatted with told us that first thing in the morning it had been downright offensive.  With the greenhouse door open to visitors all day and the bloom fading, the smell had dwindled.

I Need This Plant For Medicinal Purposes.

 In the African Pavilion the gorillas sometimes have a strong scent coming from their exhibit.  It is probably just Charles letting us know that this is his domain.  After over 40 years at the zoo Charles, we know you are large and in charge.  The zoo had grains of paradise growing in the greenhouse.  The plant acts as an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory for the gorillas.

Yo Homes Smell Ya Later.

A hockey bag mid season?  A dead mouse under your porch in the summer?  The gaur pavillion?  Maybe if we had been there when it first bloomed the titan arum may have been the strongest smell at the zoo.  We still give our vote to the gaur, but we have got our noses on you too little marmosets.

Map of Our World
Toronto Zoo (Indo-Malaya Pavilion) , Toronto Zoo (Americas Pavilion) , Toronto Zoo (African Rainforest Pavilion) , Toronto Zoo (Gaur Pavilion)
Toronto Zoo Greenhouse

Post # 227

Monday 10 September 2018

Old Town San Diego

Welcome To Old Town.

Location: San Diego, California, USA
Address:  Old Town
Date: February 2014
Website:  www.parks.ca.gov

  Old Town San Diego is said to be the birthplace of California.  Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo discovered the area in 1542.  In 1602 Sebastian Vizcaino named it San Deigo de Alcala.  The area became a bustling hub, military post and religious mission.

American and California Flags

  In 1846 the first American flag was raised in Old Town's plaza.  In 1968 Old Town became a State Historic Park.  In 2014 we made a visit to take in the history, sights and food that Old Town had to offer.  We entered the Old Town area through the market.  We would come back here later for some souvenirs.

Two Churros Please.

  The first order of business was to get something to eat.  We had some churros from one of the food vendors.  After enjoying our deep fried treat we headed further into the town for some history.

Order In The Court!  I'd Like A Churro Please.  That's A Little Further Back Up The Road.

  San Diego's first courthouse was built in 1847.  It is also the first brick building built by the Mormons after the war with Mexico.  At one point it served as the mayor's office.

La Casa de Estudillo

  La Casa de Estudillo is an adobe mansion and was built in 1829.  Adobe means it was made from earth and other organic materials.   This building is located in the center of town and was the social and religious center during the Mexican Era.  The Mexican Era ended in 1846 when the United States declared war on Mexico.

La Casa de Estudillo Garden.

  In the center of La Casa de Estudillo is a garden with many interesting plants and flowers growing.

Tall Cactus Plant. Cactus and Catcus.

  Around Old Town there are also many plants, especially cactus.  There are also some resident cats.

La Casa de Machado y Silvas

  La Casa de Machado y Silvas was built in 1843 and used to be a restaurant.  This building is also said to be where the Silvas family hid the Mexican flag during the war in 1846.

Covered Wagon

  A covered wagon sits in the middle of the street.  This was the primary means of transportation for anyone who came to Old Town.

The Cosmopolitan Hotel.

  Across from the covered wagon was the Cosmopolitan Hotel.  Back in 1827 it used to be the home of Juan Bandini and later in 1869 a second floor was added and it opened as a hotel.  The hotel has undergone some renovations but still maintains some original features such as the floorboards.  We sat at a table over these floorboards as we enjoyed a meal in the hotel dining room.  A highlight was the deep fried brussel sprouts.

Fiesta de Reyes.

  After lunch we enjoyed a walk and some shade down by Fiesta de Reyes which housed some other vendors.  It had a nice pineapple topped fountain out front.

Next we shall play Enter Sandman.

  In the garden was a metal mariachi band.  Old Town plaza was a popular place for music, bullfights and other forms of entertainment.

Colorado Hotel.

  The Colorado Hotel is much smaller than the Cosmopolitan.  This is a reconstruction as we belive the original from 1851 was destroyed in a fire.

Cygnet Theatre

  As we headed out of Old Town we passed a theatre.  It wanted to be like The Swan theatre in England so it was named after a young swan.  The Cygnet Theatre runs performances throughout the year.

Immaculate Conception Church

  We headed back to our car and passed the Immaculate Conception Church.  This church was built in 1865 and was the first church in California built outside of the mission system.  Just outside of Old Town we purchased some souvenirs from one of the many shops.  There was so much on offer but we took a small vase as a memento.  The mixture of food, fun and history had made for a great day.

Map of Our World 
The Cosmopolitan Hotel (Old Town)
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Post # 226