Nuit Blanche can be one of the best or worst nights of the year depending on your plans and your expectations. Some streets become as cramped as the subway during rush hour, and being in a large group is often a setup for disaster. Attempts at reuniting after being cast adrift by the sea of distracted and intoxicated people is frustrating and stressful. After years of Nuit Blanche blunders, I now prefer to keep my companions to a few or none at all.

A more introverted approach to the night has less stress and can be just as memorable, rewarding and fun. Here are some ideas that I’ve found to be worthwhile:

1. Get lost in the AGO.

This was my game plan last year, which worked really well. Upon entering the AGO, there may be a few more people than what’s ideal for an introvert. But once you’re well inside, it’s quiet and you can get lost in all that the AGO has to offer. Admire, critique, draw, write and contemplate in a near-silent creative space. It’s a rare experience to be in the AGO after hours, and it’s a safe haven from all the chaos outside.

2. Create a found poem from overheard conversations. 

Carrying a journal is a valuable practice on any day, but Nuit Blanche is a gold mine for overheard quotes from people you’ll likely never encounter again. You’ll hear plenty of terrible / hilarious / thought-provoking / intoxicated commentaries on the projects and installations. You’ll hear tales of debauchery and degeneracy so outlandish that you won’t know what to think, but write them down anyway. Keep your eyes and ears open and put the little auditory fragments together.

3. Bike around by yourself.

As long as you avoid the really crowded areas like YongeDundas and University, you’ll be able to see more of Nuit Blanche biking around than if you were walked around with a group. Bike through all the neighbourhoods of the downtown core and see how each neighbourhood has transformed for the night. It’s a more efficient use of your energy and stamina, instead of being drained out slowly by walking and being in crowds constantly. You also don’t have to deal with all the drunken people on the subway.

4. STAY IN (with a few friends, if you’d like).

Invite your friends over, and do any artistic / creative activity where anyone can participate and contribute. Play writing games like exquisite corpses. Do arts and crafts together— doodle, collage, make zines. Watch experimental short films and confuse yourself. You’re transforming your own space for the night, so it’s all up to you. Have fun at home and enjoy a Nuit Blanche without the stress.

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