Fuck the federal election. Tonight’s the night you have to make the biggest, most important decision of the year: is it gonna be Dîner en Blanc or Ce Soir Noir? Well, for me the answer is the same as it’ll be on October 19. I’m gonna abstain and watch Netflix because I don’t give a fuck.
A bit of background for those of you who have amazingly been able to avoid all of this: Dîner en Blanc is a thing that some people really like. You get to dress up in white and get drunk with 4,500 other people at a secret outdoor location.
It is also a thing that other people really do not like for harmless reasons such as its air of exclusivity and its whopping $45 admission. Mostly you can chalk this all up to basics loving to complain about any event they’re not invited to that costs more than free.
Out of this tension arose Ce Soir Noir, which is essentially Dîner en Blanc: Cynical East Van Hipster Edition. It’s a free gathering at Crab Park in the DTES where everyone is welcome until some of the park’s regulars inevitably start hurling obscenities at you. One day when I was eating lunch at Crab Park a drunk man kept yelling at me, “GET OUT OF MY YARD” and I kind of couldn’t argue with him.
The organizers were probably banking on 50 of their friends showing up, but the event went viral so quickly it’s astonishing the Fat Jew didn’t aggregate it. Last time I checked, around 2,000 people had RSVP’d for it on Facebook. (Let’s be real though: it’s the sort of thing that people like to say they’re attending but don’t actually go to. Like art openings, protests, and your band’s first show.)
Meanwhile the city’s population—minus 4,900 or so would-be park partiers—is sick of hearing about all this bullshit. I get it’s a Tuesday night, but c’mon. How depressingly dire are things in Vancouver right now if this is what people are getting excited about?
Sure, if you’re lucky there’ll be some inflatable foil letters or those balls emblazoned with “LOVE” to pose next to, but that’s a below average Instagram opportunity at best. Hell, I’ll pay you $45 if you can recommend a bar that isn’t rife with those sort of narcissistic assholes that self-identify as “creatives” and think flash mobs are still relevant. Sadly, I think this means I’ll never make it past the HR department interview at Hootsuite.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against people gathering in parks and having fun. That is totally fine unless it’s after 8 p.m. and you’re in the one across the street from my condo. (I love my bohemian neighbourhood, but seriously, I’m trying to get my kid to sleep.) It’s just that the build-up to these mundane events has been the social media equivalent of a slow, never-ending Brazilian wax. (It’s a habit I picked up in prison.)
Of course, counter-events are nothing new. The Slamdance Film Festival started as an underground alternative to the Sundance Film Festival. Closer to home, artist entry fees to the now extinct New Music West are what inspired Music Waste. (Did that even happen this year?) But in 2015 we have competing colour-coded picnics in parks that’ll draw identical, equally terrible, over-sharing douchebag crowds.
Pick out a good movie and keep off the internet tonight, because it’s going to be bad. If only Pretty in Pink were available on Netflix. John Hughes sure knew how to tell a good story. With black and white divisions between the rich preppies and the cool kids from the wrong side of the tracks, it was so easy to decide who to cheer for. Unfortunately, with Dîner en Blanc and Ce Soir Noir the only side the rest of us can root for tonight is rain.