I was thrilled when I heard that D.C. was following in the footsteps of Montreal, Miami, Riga, Toronto, Brussels and New York and throwing its very first Nuit Blanche this year. Thrilled because the all-night contemporary and performance arts festival combines some of my favorite things in any event: arts, free and proximity to my apartment. But thrilled mainly because it’s a great concept that started in my hometown of Paris 9 years ago. As a matter of fact, I attended the very first Nuit Blanche back in 2002! During the night of October 5-6, 2002, I got to see my city in a completely different light. I walked up to the third floor of the Eiffel Tower (at midnight) where artist Sophie Calle had set up a bed and was reading some of her stories in her pajamas. I visited the old public swimming pool where I used to spend gym class back in middle school and checked out their red-light installation before heading over (around 3am) to l’Hotel de Ville, which was turned into a musical lounge for the occasion. By early morning, I meandered home through the Marais, which had become the stage for a dark promenade where “participants” had to solve a mystery by interpreting various clues created by performance artists throughout the streets. It was new and exciting and I can’t wait to see what Washington’s take on Paris’ sleepless art night will be!!
D.C.’s Art-All-Night event will take place on September 24th at some twenty venues throughout the Shaw, Mount Vernon and Chinatown neighborhoods. Unlike its Parisian inspiration, it will not actually go on all night, ending at the more reasonable hour of 3am. Which is probably a good idea anyways, do really want to be wondering the streets of Shaw at 5am? I know I don’t 😉 You can see a full map of the venues on the Art All Night website. One of the most interesting ones, in my opinion, is the Old Wonder Bread factory (pictured above). The abandoned bakery will host a contemporary art show with projections, edgy performances and live paintings and will also be the site of the official “Nuit de la Mode” after-party so you can expect to see all sorts of fashionable and artsy people there! Other cool stops include: an a fashion presentation at the sleek new Shaw Library (9-11PM), a tribute to Duke Ellington Flash Mob, a graffiti art street performance with German tagging and hip hop artist Scotty 76 outside the Goethe Institute and a screening of 24 Hours in Berlin inside or a timely exhibit on 9/11: 10 years later at Pepco’s Edison Gallery on 8th Street, NW. Throughout the night, check into the various venues on Facebook and Foursquare for a chance to win tickets for Cirque du Soleil. A free shuttle service provided by U Street Parking will make it easier to get around too, looping 7th and L Street, Rhode Island and 7th Street and 9th and N Streets.