On the first Thursday of every month, the Art Gallery of Ontario throws an after hours party that brings out Toronto’s fashionable and artsy crowd. Each month centers around one artist or theme and features food, drinks, music, interactive projects, and access to the full gallery. Much like the Royal Ontario Museum’s (ROM) Friday Night Live (previously reviewed here), but you’ll find more well-heeled urban hipsters here than in the more diverse ROM crowd.
November’s First Night was inspired by the new exhibition Introducing Suzy Lake, which features several works from the 67 year old Toronto-based photographer who focuses on gender, body, identify, beauty and aging. The night included Pop Up Talks with the artist and exhibition curators, as well as several interactive projects paying homage to Lake’s work using spoken word, puppetry, karaoke, and make-up transformations.
Food and drinks were available in two main areas: on the first floor in the Night Market and on the second floor in the Galleria Italia. There were also two bars near the entrance way, although service was pretty slow. Wine, liquor and beer were available at $6-7, with Grolsch as the official beer partner and cash/credit/debit accepted. AGO chefs provided catering and there were many little bits to try including sliders, fried chicken and waffles, foie gras mousse lollipops, braised beef, and apple turnovers.
DJ’s performed throughout the evening, but it was the night’s headliner that really drew the crowd: Majical Cloudz, a local electronic/indie pop project that has most recently been touring with Lorde. Offering a very intense and somber sound, lead singer Devon Welsh doesn’t hide the duo’s love of the melodramatic. The haunting shadows in Walker Court, along with Welsh’s intensity, captivated the crowd. My personal highlight was seeing a couple hundred people sit cross-legged on the floor of the court to listen to a few tunes. Really a special moment.
Speaking of special moments, the December edition of AGO First Night will be a partnership with the Long Winter collective so you know this will be a great party. Monthly tickets are available online for $14 (including service charge) and the party is 19+ and runs from 7-11pm. Follow #AGO1st for more about the events.