I saw a lot of disappointing things (Conversation #2, Sound Forest, House of Leaves, Time-Piece), and I'm still mixed on Domaine de l'angle #2, but there was a lot I liked as well. I again was inspired by the dancers at the Casa Loma stables. I sat down in Maple Leaf Gardens, looked around at the sections that were devoid of seats as well as those that remain, started picking out where I sat for different events, and cried. I loved the changing images playing out on City Hall and wished I had stayed longer. (The exhibit, Stereoscope, is still going on until Saturday. There's some great video of it here, here and here.) I enjoyed mellowing out at Byron Wong's soundscape at Dundee Place. And I had a really great laugh at The Greatest Falls: Mounties in sequins, a grand piano on wheels, and a Superman in a wheelchair was the most whacked thing I saw all night but it was whacked in a really good way. I ended the night talking to strangers, trying to place locations in the photographic installation Toronto Nocturnes I at Brookfield place. (Check out the Flickr pool for shots of all this plus others.)
In all, I wasn't out as late as last year, starting after work at 11pm and finishing off around 4am. But considering my feet were hating on me from about 7pm onward and had actively disowned me by the end, I think I did alright. And through it all, I saw people interacting with the city, claiming the streets, talking to strangers. It was one of those nights where it seemed everyone was really connected and for that alone, I think it was a huge success.
I am sad that I didn't realize that the Sam's sign was being lit up one last time. Annoying that I was right around there but not that section of Yonge. Wish I would have seen it - it and the Gardens had so much to do with my musical education and it really does feel like a passing of an era.
To read other people's experiences, Catherine writes about it in Play Anon, the incisive James Bradshaw outlines his evening in the Globe, and the Star sent out an intrepid reporter to cover their night.
And just to keep people updated on the arts funding issue, Mark-Leiren Young has written a fantastic opinion piece on arts funding in the Vancouver Sun, and Margaret Atwood has just finished doing a very interesting Q&A at the Globe website.