Avant Nuit Blanche Encore

Yeah, okay, so it may be just one episode for September. I'm working on starting another podcast series (no, not replacing this one) and sort of trying to get paying work.

You might remember last year, I had an episode about Toronto's first Nuit Blanche event, which was pretty cool (if you don't remember it, go here). That event was so successful, they decided to have it again this Saturday (almost literally at the expense of the Toronto Street Festival, the baby of the previous mayor, the wacky Mel Lastman. I don't think that fest was all that great, and was maybe a bit too earnest, but it did have bouncy castles and roasted corn for just-folks who like that, and I'm not sure about taking that from them. Anyway...).

Unlike many annual events here, I think I'm going to take the iRiver around it again and do another episode about it, because also unlike most annual events here, it's going to have aspects to discover different from last year. I'm also going to try to do it later in the night - things were so busy at 10pm-1am, and I don't think I really took advantage of the whole overnight thing it had. I do think I'll stay in my local Zone A, around Yorkville and the U of T, although there are two other zones with all kinds of stuff going on.

So if you're in Toronto, or like the idea of coming here for the weekend (please like that idea!), I highly recommend you check this thing out for yourself, live and in person, without my babbling and bad audio (which you can enjoy a couple weeks later). Nuit Blanche is really about presenting art, especially conceptual-type avant-garde art, as something anyone can get into, literally and figuratively. It's probably the least pretentious modern art event in existence, and Toronto is one of the very few cities who puts it on. So come take advantage! You can find much of the info (maps, descriptions, etc) you'll need at the official site.

Update: I knew Torontoist would have a nice Nuit Blanche preview, but they waited until I posted. :-P Here ya go.


Description 44 - Okay Blue Jays

My (usually) annual trip to watch my two hometown baseball teams inspires plenty of memories of better days. Still, we can enjoy music from Great Big Sea, browse some "Yorkville Yummies", hear two cowbells and walk through the airport of the apocalypse.

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Associated links
Official Site of the Toronto Blue Jays
Official Site of the Cleveland Indians
Lovely SkyWalk photo by Snuffy on flickr.
Porter Airlines
The Rogers Centre (Skydome) in wikipedia
Pizza Pizza!
Great Big Sea
(and thanks again to the Podsafe Music Network)
Toronto's Sports Radio, the FAN 590
Tom Cheek, RIP
Toronto Mike remembers Tom Cheek with streaming audio of his greatest calls
Batter's Box Q&A with Jerry Howarth
Toronto Blue Jays history
The "OK Blue Jays" song! (via Toronto Mike again)

The stars of that night's game...
Vernon Wells, who hit that home run:

Roy Halliday, who fell short of winning us pizza:

I'm giving those guys props because I've learned in all the years I've supported teams who suck, it's really important to support and praise the guys who are still awesome and are working their asses off no matter how crappy things get.

For the record, Toronto won that game 8-6. Time of the game was two hours and fifty-seven minutes, and the attendance was 28,526.

(And yes, I know Left Behind was originally a book. Shudder.)

My favourite baseball memory does not involve the Blue Jays, but the Indians, and it's not something they'll have an exhibit about at the Hall of Fame. Back when I was a kid, Dad and I would go see the Tribe one or two times a year at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, and often these games would involve the Yankees. These were the great and universally despised Yankees of the '70's, the subject of that ESPN miniseries we didn't get to see here, The Bronx Is Burning. Indians fans hated the Yankees, with the exception of the late Thurman Thomas because he was from nearby, and regaled them during games with hardy chants of "YANKEES SUCK!" or "REGGIE SUCKS" (for Reggie Jackson) or "BILLY SUCKS" (for manager Billy Martin). Hearing 70,000 people doing that at once is pretty cool. Anyway, we happened to choose that night to sit in the bleachers, but early on in the game, it started raining, and it rained for long enough that we were allowed into the main section of the stadium to wait it out.

Time passed, it kept pouring rain. Sometimes back then, some drunk guy would try to run across the field, and inevitably, the Cleveland cops would catch up with him and beat the crap out of him with clubs. (What can I say - it was the '70's.) I noticed a group of about a half dozen guys in the front row of box seats along one foul line, and wondered what that was about. They suddenly jumped over the little barrier and sprinted to the centre of the tarp on the diamond. Of course, the cops were on their way. Then, the group of intruders all took off, each one going in a different direction!

There must have been a bet on for who would make it back off the field without being caught. I thought in its way, this was brilliant. Sure enough, the cops were initially perplexed, but adjusted themselves as best they could. The chases were on.

One by one, each guy was caught and pounded, then my eyes would dart to the next one, and the next one. As you're picturing this in your head, remember this is in pouring rain, and people on both sides of the law are sliding everywhere. The crowd would cheer and laugh and go "awww" when someone was caught. One intruder had drawn the short stick of running to the outfield fence (which at the time didn't have fancy LCD screens on it), which was maybe six feet high. It looked like he was going to make it - I cheered and yelled for him - but then he had to climb that fence. He reached and scrambled as best he could...but didn't make it. Poundpoundpound! One of them did actually make it, getting back into the box seats on the other side of the field where they'd started. It was euphoric, except for the fact he was running into the welcoming arms of more members of the Cleveland Police, who smacked him around and dragged him off to where he and his friends would dry out (in more ways than one) in a lovely local jail cell.

Yes, that is my great baseball memory from my childhood. Kinda shows you I've been this way all my life. Of course, though, there are lessons to be learned about divide and conquer, working as a team, and knowing that no matter what, eventually we all face an end of getting smacked around by cops and getting thrown in a drunk tank, so run as well and as far as you can.