Nuit Blanche stories

I have been to the Winnipeg Art Gallery only three times in my life before Saturday night. I can say with absolute confidence that Nuit Blanche at the WAG was unlike anything I had ever experienced before.

Portraits-landscape-faces-photos-carvings-acrylic-oil all swirled around me and have now blurred together in a breathless mass of memories.

Lionel LeMoine Fitzgerald’s “Poplar Woods” stopped me dead. I could barely take my eyes off of the trees, emerging out of a forest floor like hair follicles. Charles Comfort’s portrait of Felix Walter caught my flickering attention with a big, white, sharp pair of hands. I thought his knuckles were a pair of herb mincers.

It goes without saying, the art was beautiful, but there were other, even better things about the evening. The WAG was packed! There was a line out the doors, all the way past the front of the building and down a side street.

All kinds of artistic folks were out in packs — some of whom were so pretentious they could have pooped a scarf. A younger man wore a Sony PlayStation as a chain around his neck. While people were waiting in line outside in the strangely warm October evening, braver people than me took turns dancing in the spot lights that shine down on the runway in front of the gallery — ranging from a lovely girl in a painters coat, to a fragile, but fearless old man.

The whole night was spectacular. Everything (except the alcohol) was free.
—Amy-Anne Smith, staff

Saturday night found me and three friends at the Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers variety act cabaret at the Rachel Browne Theatre. The set up was true cabaret form: a small square stage was lit by a single spotlight, a lone stool with a microphone sat off to the right, awaiting wisecracks and words of wisdom. We sat ourselves down with a drink and a pretty spread of cheeses, bread and grapes.

The evening began with a poetry reading by Carmelo Militano and was followed by a dance group performing excerpts from a dance called “Between the Sycamore.” It was less of a dance and more of an epic tale of growth, play, predator and prey.
Poetry, dance and then came song. The Angry Dads, a guitar playing duo, took to the stage and entertained us with banter and Bob Dylan covers. It was great to be able to listen and groove to the music but also to talk amongst ourselves about the various acts and our interpretations of them.

The show ended the way it had begun, with a poetry reading, this time by Debbie Calverely. It was a well rounded show with delights for all senses. It made for a wonderful night and inspired lots of discussions amongst the four of us who had gone. Winnipeg really is a cultural city.

—Kayla Say, staff

My first destination of Saturday night was Ragpickers Anti-fashion Emporium. Nothing too special happening there, but hey, I found a super sweet brown leather jacket to kick off Nuit Blanche.

Live music was pumping at Old Market Square and it seemed like every traffic post in the Exchange had been “yarn bombed,” dressed up with a cool knit appendage graffito-style. My crew of four had serious designs on checking out the WAG next, in particular the ARTcadia exhibit inspired entirely from video game culture. But by the time we got there around 11:30 p.m., the line for the front door had bent around the block and was only growing bigger by the minute.

Disappointed but strong in our resolve, we turned back the opposite direction and ended up at the ’60s themed party held at the Manitoba Museum. For Nuit Blanche the museum offered live music, free admission and a whole lot of ’60s pageantry. I’ll admit, there is something a bit unsettling about roaming around the museum past midnight; it felt kind of taboo.

—Ryan Harby, staff