I’m sure anyone who made it out to our lovely downtown core last Saturday for Car Free Day is now filled with serious London pride because of what creative, enthusiastic community members can do with four blocks, a lot of love, and endless dedication. Dundas Street was like straw spun into gold and the event was the perfect kick off to outdoor festivals that will take over the Forest City this summer. Let’s keep the momentum going, shall we? So stock up on sunscreen and drink your h2o because we’re going to be out and about, soaking up the sun for about three months straight!
On Friday afternoon (11:30am-2pm), the Grand Theatre is giving you the opportunity to peruse and frolic about their stage while enjoying a tasty and oh so summer (which is roughly one week away!) BBQ lunch. At the Backstage Bash, you and your friends can mix and mingle in a space most of us have never experienced and who wouldn’t want to get an entirely new perspective on one of London’s most cherished entertainment hubs? Also, you can learn everything you need to know about this year’s exciting programming which includes the likes of My Fair Lady and Miracle on 34th Street as well as a variety of events and activities for all age groups. This event is sure to be a blast and tickets are only $10! Oh you Grand Theatre folk, you know how it’s done.
Friday is supposed to be all sun, no rain and zero chance of showers sooooo after you fill up on Grand Theatre goodness, take some time out in Vic Park. There’s always so much to see there. Adorable dogs, crazy squirrels, skateboarding, longboarding, people on stilts, and tightrope walkers (...honestly), all set to the soundtrack of Gerard Pas’ wicked awesome bell sculpture. And on top of all of this, Friday marks the annual Kids Expo (running until Sunday) complete with live entertainment, carnival rides, food, activities, and more. So take the little ones or perhaps just your inner child and enjoy! Oh yeah and did I mention free admission? Vic is such a circus, I love it.
After taking in these DT sights, make your way on over to Hot Dog in the evening for the Cold Warps show at 7pm. This Halifax band’s sound has been described as “Joey Ramone beating Paul McCartney over the head with songs about science fiction, teenage apathy, and summer love”, a brawl at which I would be a willing bystander....amazing...don’t miss out! For more info, click here, and for an interview, right here.
Saturday is always a hustling bustling good time in London. Whether you’re out marketing at Gibraltar, Western Fair, or Covent Garden during the day, lazing about at home, or enjoying friendly company on a downtown patio, make sure to save some energy for this evening’s festivities: hellooooo Nuit Blanche! For the second weekend in a row, Dundas Street between Clarence and Ridout, will be turned into a breeding ground for creativity and artistic inspiration. During this third annual ‘White Night’ festival, downtown London and contemporary art become synonymous. Explore museums and galleries as well as unusual spaces like sidewalks, alleyways, and parks which will all become sites of artistic expression. Nuit Blanche intends to engage the audience and bring them into participation and conversation with contemporary art, giving everyone the opportunity to partake and enjoy. Is London getting cooler by the second or what!?
To jump start the evening, head back to Hot Dog (...you know you missed it...) for the pre-Nuit Blanche party with Man Made Hill, Holzkopf and Pon de Replay. This will be an innovative show that could be called “a future conference of some of the most imaginative Electronic performers the Forest City has ever seen”. In other words, this will put you perfectly in the mood to comb through every avant garde aspect of Nuit Blanche from one block to the next. There’s just something about the shows Hot Dog brings to us, as if they have an unspoken promise to deliver exactly what you need and want and then some. So from here on out, we should undividedly listen. The show starts at 4pm and admission is free, for any more info click here.
Museum London has some great activities planned with its Night of Noise at Nuit Blanche. Beginning at 9pm there will be live performances by sound artists and musicians Audio Lodge, Transmorphous Sound Ensemble, Exit 2012, and London legends: The Nihilist Spasm Band (throw back photo above, I mean it by legends). These performances, together with other activities like an art making party are sure to keep you enthralled and intrigued from 9pm-2am, the entire duration of the festival. Admission is free and more info can be found at museumlondon.ca. This night will be yet another Dundas Street experience like no other, do not miss your chance to partake! For any additional info and a programming list of all participants visit nuitblanchelondon.ca.
Amidst your artistically drenched, Nuit Blanche escapades, stop by apk Live (speaking of artistically drenched...) for the Brasstronaut and Utidur show. These two bands are strikingly unique and will make for an awesome show. Vancouver based Brasstronaut is an experimental orchestral ensemble of electronic music incomparable to most. Utidur (pictured below) is a twelve piece group coming all the way from Iceland to play for you poppy, folk-styled, indie rock as well as just about every instrument imaginable. Tickets are only $5 which is well worth it to contribute to your night of cultural promenade and artistic inspiration. If you’re looking for more info than akp Live, doors at 10:30pm, $5, 19+, be there, then click here.
On Sunday, when you’re all rested up from your busy night of art, culture, and music, make sure to wish dad the happiest Father’s Day ever! Now, if your dad is anything like mine and would prefer exercise to any other activity on the planet, check out the London Prostate Cancer Father’s Day 5K Walk/ Run which begins at 8am at TD Waterhouse Stadium, UWO. After the run enjoy live entertainment, snacks and refreshments. You can register online here and feel wonderful about contributing to a great cause which in itself could be a lovely Father’s day present!
OR you could treat dad to one of the many shows playing on the last day of the Fringe Festival. There are so very many going on, in a variety of locations so check out londonfringe.ca to get the full program details. A day out and about with dad would be the perfect end to a great weekend. Perhaps a nice dinner or relaxing on a patio (Symposium perhaps? Pictured above)? Or, we all know a little band called Gwar is in town that night, depending on what dad’s into, that might be just the ticket!
SO there you have it, once again, London does not disappoint. Each day there’s something great going on and it’s all up to you what you make of it. As we come into summer full swing, just expect more and more to be going on and the decision regarding what to do to become increasingly harder! After all variety if the spice of life friends so embrace the freedom and enjoy every moment of it!
Friday (afternoon) June 15: Backstage Bash, 11:30am-2pm, The Grand Theatre, $10
Friday June 15-17: Victoria Park Kids Expo, 11am-9pm, Victoria Park, free
Friday (evening) June 15: Cold Warps, 7pm-9pm, Hot Dog Musique and Cinema, free
Saturday June 16: Nuit Blanche, 9pm-3am, Dundas Street b/w Clarence and Ridout, free
Saturday June 16: A Night of Noise at Nuit Blanche, 9pm-2am, Museum London, free
Saturday June 16: Brasstronaut and Utidur, 10:30pm-2:30am, apk Live, $5
Sunday June 17: London Prostate Cancer Father’s Day 5K Walk/Run, registration 8am, start 10am, TD Waterhouse Stadium, UWO
Sunday June 17: London Fringe Festival (final day), various times/venues/prices