Strange Days: a head-to-head comparison of Nuit Blanche and Culture Days

This weekend, two major free arts extravaganzas are taking over the city. Nuit Blanche, from dusk Saturday to dawn Sunday, and Culture Days, which spans the whole weekend and the whole country. Either one alone is too much; how can you handle both at the same time? Let’s do a quick comparison and see what you can get out of all this artiness.


Mission statement

Nuit Blanche: “Toronto's playful overnight celebration of contemporary art once again takes over the streets for ONE NIGHT ONLY.”
Culture Days: “Culture Days is a collaborative pan-Canadian volunteer movement to raise the awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement of all Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities.”


How old

Nuit Blanche: Sixth year in Toronto
Culture Days: Second year in hundreds of Canadian cities


How long

Nuit Blanche: One night / 12 hours
Culture Days: Three days, with regular sleeping schedule


How wide

Nuit Blanche: Three zones (any more and we’d be zoned out)
Culture Days: Three territories, ten provinces


How many

Nuit Blanche: More than 130 art project destinations
Culture Days: We give up. You count ’em.


Major sponsors

Nuit Blanche: A bank of some sort, and taxpayers
Culture Days: Apparently Sun Life Financial (but they’re pretty discreet about it), and tax payers


How much

Nuit Blanche: Free (if you don’t pay taxes)
Culture Days: Free (if you don’t pay taxes)


Country of origin

Nuit Blanche: France, like so many kinds of cheese
Culture Days: A Canadian original


Planning your schedule

Nuit Blanche: Nuit Blanche planner 
Culture Days: My Culture Days


Perk

Nuit Blanche: Subway runs all night Saturday till 7 a.m.
Culture Days: Wherever you are, you’re in “the zone”


Reason not to panic

Nuit Blanche: Someone will ask you, “Is this art?” but you’ve got all night to put off answering.
Culture Days: If you want to sleep through Saturday night, there will be lots still happening on Sunday.


Sounds promising

Nuit Blanche:
Zone A “Silent Music,” seeing sounds and hearing colours
Zone B “Conversation Piece,” contemporary deaf body sculptors create a live sculpture
Zone C “Listening Portrait Booth,” artist draws you based on your conversation not your looks 

Culture Days:
Belly Dance More Than Just Jiggling
Discover the Songwriter in You
Centrefold Photography
French World Cafe
Gipsy Night


Most likely to cause a mob

Nuit Blanche: Zone A “Erratic” Artist pushes a boulder towards the waterfront
Culture Days: Mediaeval Dance at the ROM

Article exclusive to TRNTO