Andrew Burke

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Alpha Geeks and Jedi Hooligans
Posted on: 2007-11-17

I came back from a week with family in Ottawa, and after a brief rest went out again last night. The first event was a celebration of the mighty Sacha Chua's convocation. She had taken over most of the Live Organic Food bar on Dupont with her friends and we all got to meet her mother who had come all the way from the Philippines. I confirmed that yes they still speak Latin at you during U of T convocations - although now they don't seem to assume that you know what they're saying and provide a translation.

We left a little early and went down to the ROM to Newmindspace's Lightsaber Battle at the ROM. I have to say it wasn't what I had hoped it would be. It could have been a fun mixture of the fandom crowd and the whimsical public spaces crowd, with a bit of a friendly mosh pit vibe - but it turned out to be more of the kind of people you'd expect for a brawl on a Friday night downtown. For every person who came dressed up as Boba Fett, there were a dozen party kids yelling into cellphones and saying "Look - it's that, uh, Star Wars dude!" The plaza in front of the ROM was too small for the crowd that showed up, so there was barely space to move, let alone swing a sword, cardboard or otherwise. Further out, where there was space, drunken kids flailed about too wildly with their 'weapons' and fell over each other.

I guess this was done before at Burning Man - and I could imagine it being a lot more fun out in the middle of a desert, with lots of space and possibly a trippier and more friendly vibe than the middle of Toronto on a Friday night.

That said, the sight of hundreds of cardboard tubes flailing in the air at the front lines was kind of cool, and I really like the idea of spontaneous public events. It's just that there's sometimes a thin line between a Happening and a Riot, and this one got a bit closer to a Riot for my taste.

(quick update from Sunday - Daily Dose of Imagery has some nice shots of the event and a link to a Flickr set. You can see how tightly-packed everyone is)

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