Thursday, April 7, 2016

A Dim View at Light City

Saturday was a cold day that threatened rain, and then threw down a few showers accompanied by noisy strong gales. I did little outside except to drive to Blandy and snap a few images of the daffodils that are shooting up through the grass. I'll be keeping an eye on these, with the dogwood buds tentatively opening with the red bud trees this scene will look beautiful in a few days. That's if we get any more warm weather, it seems that winter decided to return, like one of those obnoxious persons who storms up beside you, grinning wildly, and claps you heavily on the back with a very loud, "Did you miss me?"
So Sunday started with sunlight bursting through my bedroom window and looking like maybe the weekend would be salvageable after all. I was meeting the Urbexia crew, and picking Jeff up on route, to drive up and see Baltimore's first ever Light City Festival. We met at Waverley Brewery to quaff a few pints and eat while waiting for dusk to fall.
Rob struck an awesome pose by one of the stuffed impalas that graced the wall behind our seats. Not really sure why there were trophy heads in this place but it was an interesting area and a welcome change from all the industrial, cold and echoing tap rooms that so many breweries seem to favor. It was after dark when we realized the time and drove down to the festival. We were fortunate enough to find cheap parking close to the Inner Harbor and wrapped up warm, as once again it was chilly outside.
This was a holographic display that was being shown on the water. We all stood watching it while a dire depressing soundtrack thundered across the water, then wove our way forward through the crowds.
This pink contraption had huge flat white eyes on the front so that it resembled a lobster but I preferred the view from this angle where the eyes weren't visible. They really didn't enhance it.
These lanterns were in the shape of paper hats, changing colors as we stood and watched.
There were a couple of people dressed in lights from head to foot, looking awesomely magical. They reminded me of when I'd been to the Glastonbury Festival in England, these were so eye catchingly beautiful, especially when they moved. There was a guy I spotted later who was wearing a jacket made completely of lights. These individuals made the festival for me, far more innovative than the static displays, which were pretty far apart. As we walked we were continuously craning our necks, trying to look for the next bright lights. I had imagined the place would be lit up like daylight with vibrant colors, beams of lights sweeping the harbor, buildings painted with colored gel spotlights, a sensory overload of neon lights. It wasn't so.
We came across this huge illuminated peacock which caught our attention for a while. The feathers changed colors and laid down.
A brightly lit bridge which we could only cross very slowly due to so many folks stopping and looking up. Which, of course, we did too. Walter joined the kids and had a go sliding out of a huge metal shell bathed in a reflex blue light.
These girls spent an inordinate amount if time taking selfies by this tubular installation while their guys friends were more interested in banging it to produce hollow deep tones that reverberated through the ground. The girls never noticed me taking photos of them. At every installation people were using the displays as props for self portraits, it really got old. There were a lot of blue framed structures along the quay which I realized, after reading the article linked at the bottom of this blog, were diamonds. These were all being used as giant portraiture frames by young girls holding up cell phones.
As we worked our way around the harbor the winds were progressively getting worse and I was actually grateful for the huge throngs of people that acted as barriers for me against the cold drafts. We had only got about half way round when the misty, damp air took on a wetter, heavier feel and huge drops of rain started sprinkling, and then hammering down upon us. We ran for cover as thunder cracked above and lightning flashed across the water.We stood with others watching the sky and it soon became apparent that this was here for a while. Shortly after all the lights closed down and we knew the evening was over. Folks started flocking to their vehicles and we joined the crowds, pushing against the gales.
We had to seek sanctuary in a Little Italy bar, the winds pretty much pushed us there. Lines of cars were backed up every street trying to leave the city. We were going to be here for a while...
So overall I wasn't impressed with the festival, there was nothing that had made me go, "Wow!" which disappointed me, I had been expecting a brilliant display of wondrous lights and colors. The others didn't share my view, they thought it had been fine, but the overall consensus from people had not been overwhelming delight. I found this report pretty quickly online, which summed it up rather adequately for me. But it does have a couple of videos of the displays I did like.
And so, rather than finishing on a low note, here's a photo of the gorgeous grape hyacinths that are brightening up the meadows at home.

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