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Toronto

Thirsty and Miserable
We had to go straight to the bar, because we'd be over an hour late. Charles said we needed to check in, so I had him just drop me off on Agusta and I waked over to Baldwin and joined my friends at Thirsty & Miserable: my favourite hole-in-the-wall bar in the Kensington Market. I wasn't sure I'd recognize Ian without his beard, but I heard that Australian accent right away and ran up for a hug. He sat on the corner with a fellow Whitechapeler I never met before (even online) named Peter. We had a great conversation about who-remembers-what and then Charles got there maybe an hour into it and sat between Peter and me. They got along immediately, both being in the media business.

A group of others showed up, only one more that I knew: Mike Parsons (of Hey Apathy and local mural fame), and a couple others (Trevor and Cass, if I recall their names correctly). I bounced conversations between Charles & Peter and Ian & Cass before half of us went outside for some air and whatnot, and I had my first puff of a cigar. Charles and Pete stayed inside, completely engulfed by their chat, while the rest of us shot-the-shit outside in the cool air. They joined us shortly after midnight as we all collectively decided to head our separate ways.

Hugs exchanged, and then Mike and Cass told us about Nuit Blanche on Saturday night. I've always wanted to be in town for Nuit Blanche.





I've never entered Toronto too busy to check in and too busy to check out, but there's a first time for everything.


Nuit Blanche.
Less sleep, more art. A city transformed by artists in the night, through the night, from sunset to sunrise. 91 officially marked installations around the city, plus a myriad of street performers.


We were already on Bloor, so we tried to find a few installations up that way first. The Firefly Effect at the Royal Conservatory of Music was gorgeous, and a good start to the evening. The creator turned the garden into an electric firefly habitat, where passerbys could control the sounds with their own smartphones.



After we failed to find good stuff elsewhere on Bloor, we headed down to Queen and got food - Burger Priest had the greatest burger I've ever tasted in my life. We walked out as a couple of teens walked in. I heard one tell the other, "You're about to eat the greatest meal of your life," and I verbally agreed. I texted my location to Mike. We were on opposite ends of Queen, headed toward the center. We met up with hugs and discussed what to do. Charles had plans, I had fewer plans, Mike went with the flow.


We walked down John Street to catch some acts that we didn't find, or didn't find very interesting. Halfway down to King, Mike opened his field bag and handed me a Heineken and opened one for himself too. We toasted the night and drank two more after as we made our way down toward Union and looped around back up to the other end of Queen, at City Hall, where the two installations I wanted to see were set up. Mike said he was glad he got to revisit this one, because it was not impressive when he started there.


OBLIVION was the name of the collective piece: three artists explore the elemental aspects of our cosmic existence. "Ocean" was the one I wanted to see because the website and artist's rendering made it look amazing. "Death of the Sun" turned out to be my favourite - a giant ball with the sun projected onto it. We watched as the center turned white until it was just a glowing orb, and then it burned out and went dark. We didn't see "Pheuma," but I suspect the crowd concealed that one from us.


Charles and I never walked this much of the city before - we always took transit. It's smaller than we imagined. Mike walks the whole city every day. Amazing. He walked us back up Yonge til we got to our street where we went our separate ways. My face hit the pillow so hard. I'm glad we didn't stay out the whole night (this thing goes til 7am, but most people thin out by 4. We ended the night around 2 or so) because I had somewhere to be in the morning.



IMATS
International Makeup Artist Trade Show. I originally came up to Toronto to grab a few beers with Ian (he moved to New Brunswick, so on the occasion he comes down, I said I'd meet him for drinks), but then I heard IMATS is the same weekend, so I got my ticket last month. Even though Mike told me how close of a walk it was from Queen, I still didn't want to have to get up early enough to make that walk, so I took the subway to Union Station (where Mike had an installation piece that I still didn't get to see, as Union is kind of a labyrinth) and walked Front Street to the convention center. Not as long a walk as advertised, in my opinion, but maybe my legs were just glad for a sit-down. I crouched down on the platform because my heels were so tense.

I waited in a line the entire length of the convention center, but at least it moved fast, and I got my bracelet within ten minutes - just enough time to cool off from the walk. I got a free IMATS bag, thankfully, since I didn't have pockets and didn't want to carry my phone and wallet in my hand the whole time (I forwent a purse).

First stop: Shopping. Jordane Cosmetics (one of the sponsors), where I met some very helpful folks who had me sold on a nice SkinFX palette, as well as some body dirt (fake filth in a jar) and a free bottle of brush-cleaning solution. After visiting their biggest sponsor, Royal Langnickel, for a fancy set of makeup brushes, I went back to Jordane for a custom eye-shadow palette. I also bought an IMATS pin from the Makeup Artist Magazine booth.


Lime Crime had the tiniest selection, and I didn't even get to see it up close as the line to get into their booth had a ten minute wait. Kat Von D's booth had a Game of Thrones type throne with giant tubes of lip gloss bursting from behind it. I considered having a seat and a photo, but their line wrapped back almost as far as the line to get into the show. NYX not only had a long line, but also a GIANT crowd. I was really bummed I didn't make it into that one. I don't know what the big deal about Morphe Brushes is, but their line was longest of all!

I checked out the horror makeup museum along the back wall and swooned over the Pyramid Head and Nurse statues, as well as so many other gross things. I also caught the Battle of the Brushes models being made up and then photographed for Makeup Artist Magazine.








There were a few made up faces that were not included in Battle of the Brushes, from keynote models to booth demo models. I wish I'd seen some of the earlier models get made up. There was one who I saw at a booth from the time I got in til the time I was ready to leave. That's a long sit-down.




The educators' key-note demonstrations were hit-or-miss in weird ways. Thomas Surprenant had amazing work, but his Monster Call demo was boring - he started work on a couple of models, but didn't finish. He continued on a model backstage and I got to see the completed beauty at the Makeup Artist Magazine photo shoot. Neill Gorton's demo was amazing, but boring and hard to see - he aged his model with prosthetic cheeks and a bit of makeup. It was cool to see how flawless the transformation was, but not great to watch, since you couldn't see the colours or items used unless you were in the front row (I was as close to the front as I could get and still could barely see it). Randy Daudlin's is the one that kept me all the way through. "Street Fight 101" gave a walkthrough of basic bruising and blood techniques, as well as applying some small prosthetic cuts. He's directly related to Jordane Cosmetics, so I'm glad I got to see my new kit in action. And I got the ball rolling when he asked for questions and no one raised their hands, so I felt somewhat useful.


I snuck a front-and-center seat (reserved for Pro Card members) at the Battle of the Brushes award show and took a million photos. They were mostly great. They were almost all amazing. One model had a kind of devil-may-care attitude, but it worked for her. And there was one plus-size model who just had absolutely no model quality in her whatsoever. She looked miserable, her outfit wasn't fitted right, her makeup was lazy, and it looked like she got her posing techniques from the Jan Brady. The prizes were awarded in reverse of what I believed should have won. First place seemed like third place material to me, and third seemed like first.








I had a great time, and I'm eager to try to make it next year!






The Faint
Ending on a slightly sour note that lasted over an hour of contemplative driving out of the city. We passed by Velvet Underground on the way out and I saw on their marquee: THE FAINT. They played Sunday night. The fucking Faint. One of my favourite bands from my early 20s. In the same town as me. $30cad. Playing with other cool acts. Which meant they wouldn't go on til after 9pm. We'd get out so late, we'd have to stay another night. Can't get home at 5am and go to work the next morning, and I'm covering my boss as far as holding the fort down goes while he's on emergency leave.

The fucking Faint. God, that'd have been a great end to the weekend.