’88 days and the party is outside’ : our nuit blanche edition mantra – a chant you could hear down to queen street up to dundas over to shaw and all over trinity bellwods park. some said they’d never seen such a renegade exercise in a public presentation since the early days of the block party in brooklyn… described as ‘epic’ we had no such expectations as we put together the party, callin in all the local and live talent we could muster, sound support and make-shift structure equipment, we did not consider sound permits, noise by-laws nor any sort of rule or regulation – the singular shared intention: throw an all night art party in the tradition of parisian nuit blanche.
lover sun, jamilah malika and ayo leilani arrived at 6pm to set up our tents, the video projection and power.
alejandra luz and blak mazk arrived to support the set up. trusted eddie v brought in the sound.
first the tents posed a problem – solved with team work and perseverance.
then the power presented itself as an obstacle – resolved with the help of an understanding employee named nelson at the trinity community centre.
finally powered and covered by tarps we saw the sound systems required some elevation from the mucky mud floor of our two-room nuit blanche home. so we walked the two blocks to heartbeat 960 (local art initiative 960 queen west) to grab milk crates and a red door to build a table – perfect; the beat machine, cdjs and soundboard shared a sturdy new home and all three techs could move around comfortable lit up projected film on a white sheet backdrop as passerbys took pictures and video – nobody had seen anything like this – emcees and vocalists were the spinning sound satellites of the electronic centre – the arms and legs spawning as far as mic cables could reach into confused crowds, straying from the scotiabank approved light installation at the centre of the park to see what sounds were streaming from the tents in the trees. nuit blanche spectators searched their pretty scotia pamphlets for an explanation – but 88 days did not appear in their promotional materials – no guided map could direct you; just follow the overwhelming sounds – all of queen street was subject to 88 days of fortune live to air radio, every ear, every open car window, every person was tuned into one station, every channel, one frequency : 88.
nobody wanted to shut us down. not the nuit blanche officials who inquired who we were as we set up. not the nuit blanche security guards who held their flashlights to help us set up. not the bike cops who came at 10:15pm and tapped their toes for a half hour before they waved over lover sun to notify us we were in violation of city law, forget nuit blanche.
i’ll tell you – that’s a lot of love for such a shady crew of unbelievably loud misfits: ayo leilani in red, jamilah malika in toxic waste angel with chin guards and chest plates and skunk head, blak mazk in full camouflage and ski mask and lover sun in googley eyes and rabbit ears. our two tents were make-shift at best, one held up with a long branch standing in as a tent pole.
blue tarps tied down and across and up and over. ducktape holding it all together. so clearly not a scotia-sanctioned nuit blanche-approved installation; so clearly a few dedicated artists taking the opportunity of toronto’s all night art party to occupy the soundspace with local live love.
as people streamed toward us of all different ages and races, we knew this was an unbelievable blessing – all kinds of people who would never come to a show, checkin out 88 days of fortune’s crew of tricks and talent – and lovin every aspect: the film, the dancers, the costumed characters, the organized chaos, the unrelenting message of positive, conscious collaboration; each spectator feeling apart of the highly unlikely scenario. i am certain the full moon had our backs.
needless to say, we want to do it again – find a way to infiltrate the city’s sound sphere with pure 88 days of fortune.
email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and check out the 88 myspace.