As fall is slowly turning into winter, Toronto hasn’t slowed down in festivities.
Nuit Blanche – an all night art exhibition that takes place all over downtown Toronto where everyone can wander and experience various forms of art. It was great to spend time with the bf and friends while exploring different parts of the city. We stayed mainly on University Avenue and there were some interesting exhibits including a projection of a man’s hand embroidering onto a statue, a gigantic balloon squid, a self playing band, cars remotely controlled travelling in a figure eight that as they intersect, almost hit each other as well as an Ai Weiwei piece called Forever Bicycles. The irony with the last one is that the mayor of Toronto has been against bicycle riding in the city and the piece is actually sitting in front of City Hall (with an extension of the installation showing).
Ai Weiwei: According to What? – I took my sister for her birthday to the Art Gallery of Ontario to see this exhibit. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was a very powerful exhibit. There is a massive wall full of pictures of the construction of the Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest. The significance of it lies in the fact that he was one of the designers for it but he later started to criticize/boycott the Beijing Olympics because of the way the citizens were treated during the Games (displaced from their homes and pretty much told to not be a part of the Games). Other pieces included a lot of woodwork pieces, a long long with the centre hollowed out in the shape of China, photographs of him dropping a Ming Dynasty vase, vases dipped in paint/painted with a Coca Cola logo. The most powerful piece was the 2008 Sichuan earthquake that killed over 5,000 children due to the collapse of a school building that was shoddily built. He aimed to compile all the names of students that had died. In the exhibit, there is one wall the displays all the names that he has so far collected and there’s a voiceover that is reading out the names of the children and where they’re from. On top of that, after the earthquake, his team set out to buy the steel rods that held the school together that were then straightened out through people hammering each rod over 200 times per rod. These rods were on display. Overall, it was very moving and it gave me a better understanding as to why he does what he does and the messages he is sending out.
Toronto Raptors – I got free tickets to a pre-season game last week so I went with a co-worker of mine. They were great seats and was a good time. Basketball is not really my sport of choice to watch because it’s a really small court when you’re in the stands and the players all look really tiny. However, the advantage of watching sports live is the atmosphere and the people who are really passionate about it. There was a group of ladies sitting next to me and they kept on yelling at the players. It was entertaining nonetheless. I also got the largest beer I’ve ever consumed – it was the size of my forearm and I had to drink it with a straw. I know, drinking beer with a straw is blasphemy but it was the only way.
Sister’s Convocation – This past week my sister graduated from her Master’s program and the convocation was at 2:30 in the afternoon on Thursday. A very inconvenient time for most since most people work during the weekday but I took time off since I was the only sibling available to go. I’m really glad I went because it is a big deal to graduate from a Master’s program, it’s not a right but a privilege to do so. I’m immensely proud of her since she’s been working and studying the past two years to complete the program. I jokingly said to her boyfriend that she might want to do a Ph.D. and just groaned. I can only imagine what he’s gone through in the last two years while she’s been at school. My favourite part was actually the family dinner that we had. As the five of us sat eating, I realized how important it is to spend time with family and just enjoy each other’s company.
Games night – we held games night at bf’s place and it was a great way to just relax, eat great food and play some Cards Against Humanity. The bf just got the Bigger, Blacker Box to house all of his cards. He was so excited when it came in the mail – at work and he got some weird looks as he walked home with it (it says Bigger, Blacker Box on the lid). We made tacos – with ground beef and red kidney beans for the vegetarians. An easy meal to make that with leftovers the next morning, we made breakfast tacos!!! I’m trying to cook more and this was an easy way to get back into it. Tons of veggies and some protein with little a little carbs but we cooked and ate home instead of eating out. We drank and ate and then drank and played. It’s a lot of fun, especially when you know the other players quite well. If you haven’t played yet, you should.
David Bowie is – This is another exhibit at the Art Gallery of Toronto. This time with went with the bf, knowing that he’s a huge music guy. I didn’t know much about David Bowie but now I feel the need to listen to more of his music and learn more about how he has changed the world of entertainment. He was not only a singer but also a writer, designer, actor and so much more! There were a lot of costumes on display that showed his many sides correlating to which stage of life he was in. My favourite was the music and costumes from his Berlin era (1976-79). There were mainly black and white pieces that really highlighted his figure as well as a minimalist side. I did find the flow of the exhibit a bit awkward because everyone was given a headset and when you went into a room, the headset would pick up on the recording for that room – whether is was music or a voice recording but there was no guidance as to where to start or end. Also, I found it a bit disorienting when you took the headphones off because there was some ambient background noise/occasional music but otherwise there wasn’t a lot of talking since everyone was listening. It seemed as if everyone was a part of the exhibit. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in Toronto – the exhibit runs until the end of November.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks and I’m looking forward to the next couple of weeks because I’m planning a trip. More details about that to come!