Wednesday, July 9, 2014

City of Night - Whatever Wednesday #11

 By Vicky Nardone

 On June 28th, Buffalo held it's third annual City of Night Festival.  This was actually my first time attending but I'd talked to friends who'd been in the past and they said it was very cool to see.  I'll start with a brief history of Buffalo.  Back around the turn of the century (1900s), we were a happening city.  We were especially known for our grain elevators.  Fastforward 114 years and we're no longer the boom town that we were back then.  We still have the General Mills factory here (My city smells like Cheerios!) but a lot of the old grain silos and grain elevators  sit in disrepair now.  For City of Night, a whole bunch of artists come in and set up cool art installations in the Silos, many of them based on cool light and sound designs and people can walk through the old silos.  They also have bands and performance art and lots of food trucks.  This even was so popular we had to park about 15 minutes away from the festival.  It goes from about 4pm to 2am and it's free - there's a $5 suggested donation.

The first thing we did when we got there around 7pm was to eat.  I don't know about the rest of the country but Buffalo loves it's food trucks.  We must have 20 to 30 different food trucks that come to all the different events.  The biggest one that I've seen so far is a weekly one that they do at Buffalo's Larkin Square on Tuesdays.  Every food truck in Buffalo is there.  There was about 10 different ones at City of Night.  I got a pulled pork sandwich at R&R BBQ (right middle photo) to start.  Matt had a scallop slider from the Knight Slider Food truck.  My friend Lauren came back with a cheese pirogi and truffle brownie from the Betty Crockski (Bottom Middle photo) food truck and it looked so delicious that I had to go get one for myself.  While we were in line, they started releasing all of these mini luminaries into the air (corner photo).  They're hard to see in that photo but they looked super cool in the air.  Later a number of us got snacks from House of Munch which has carnival foods including fried dough, birch beer, lemonade and cheesy fries.  And of course a lot of our friends made trips to the beer tent.  Not pictured here but probably the best food truck in Buffalo is Lloyds Taco Truck - they've made tacos like you've never had before and they are soo delicious.  At big events like this though they usually have 30 people in line and they are definitely not the fastest food truck in Buffalo.  They have a website that tells you where they are parked every day so we usually try to hit them on week nights when the line isn't so crazy.

 After we ate, it was time to check out some art.  This mask was my absolute favorite exhibit.  It was a huge mask - probably about 10-15 feet tall and it was hung on the the wall and there was a projector constantly projecting different images onto the mask.  Some of it was video as well.  I had a couple other pictures of it but they came out a bit blurry.  The installation itself actually has a webpage if you're interested in learning more about it.

There was a ton of different exhibits in the art and sound silo.  The large picture in the collage above was Matt's favorite.  This girl had attached a circular wheel with images to the middle of the grain tube and had it lit up and spinning to project the images onto the wall.  She also painted a number of images on the wall and was dancing around projecting her own shadow on the wall.  Unfortunately all my pictures with her in them came out blurry.

In the picture on the top right you can see what one of the grain tubes looks like.  This particular one had bumpers around the edges so you could actually go and stick your head in the tub to see what it was like in there.  I didn't go in but people said it was very quiet.  In this photo, our friend Brandyn was pretending like he was getting sucked up the tube.  You can only see his feet poking out.

Below that is a cool projected image that they had high on the wall of one of the silos.

The top right photo is some neon mosaics made on recycled paper.  They almost looked like designs that I used to color in mosaic books that my mom bought me when I was growing up.

The bottom right sculpture is made out of laundry baskets.  It was starting to get really dark by the time we walked through the art exhibits but the lights from the exhibits themselves still allowed me to get some good pictures.

I also really liked the planet exhibit they had in this silo (large picture).  It was hard to get a clear picture since the light in the room was so low so I gave my camera to Matt.  Yay for filmmakers with steady hands.  The top two smaller pictures and the lower right picture were from this really neat interactive exhibit.  These pictures had strings on them that were hooked up to a speaker and you could strum the strings in different ways to produce different sounds.  Kind of like an artistic electric guitar.

The bottom left photo looked like a map.  It was in this small little tunnel in one of the silos that had a little window on either side.  They had two of the maps set up that you could look through the little windows to see.

There were also a lot of performers at the event.  The top left picture was from a couple of musicians playing in one of the silos.  The silos go up forty or fifty feet so the acoustics are really cool for music.

The top middle picture was this crazy interpretive dancer.  Her dancing wasn't too crazy but her outfit was.  Her hair was all in her face and she was wearing a mask over her mouth.  I saw her after the dance with her wig and mouthpiece removed and she looked totally normal!

The top right photo is a cool painted jungle gym they had set up for people to climb on.

The left middle pic, though hard to see, is from the performance of our local fire entertainers, Pyromancy.  They do fire juggling, breathing, eating, dancing.  I've seen them at a number of our artsy events.

The right middle and bottom left photos were from a really bad performance piece.  That's all I'm going to say.  45 minutes of my life I'll never get back.  Unfortunately some people in our group knew these guys so we had to stay.

The bottom middle photo is from some aerial dancers doing acrobatics.  They were really cool to watch.

The last photo is this fire torch thing they had going on at the festival.  I couldn't figure out exactly what was going on with the exhibit.  There seemed to be some reasoning behind when and why the torches lit up but I'm not sure what it was.

It was definitely a neat festival to experience.  I don't know if I'd go back next year but I'm glad I checked it out at least once.