Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project: Toronto

Dancers: A night of beauty begins
To be honest, I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself in to when I accepted the invitation from the lovely Lisa to cover the Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project.  An ambitious event undertaken by Smirnoff, 14 countries all participated on November 27th, exchanging crates filled with the best elements from their sister country’s nightlife.  Canada was lucky enough to be paired with India, swapping personalities for a night. A trip to India and I won’t have jet lag? Alright, sign me up! 
Bazaar: the gateway to a night in India
The night was a feast for the senses. Held at The Munition Factory in the Toronto port area, the entrance into the space was converted into a lively Indian bazaar, complete with jewelry vendors, food stands (mmmm pakoras), mendhi artists and of course a fully stocked bar, brimming with Smirnoff inspired cocktails. (side note: nice touches- we were even given actual Indian Rupees as drink tickets and social networking was encouraged with a foursquare contest). 
Bangles: Pretty bling for all (right) and Rupees: Having a drink with Gandhi (left).
 Foursquare: Mayorship awaits (below)
Chandeliers: They didn’t skimp on setting the mood!  Kama Sutra statues (right).
The fabulous Tika Simone was on the scene
The part that I was most excited about (besides the samosas)? The performances by Canadian favourites Isis (of Thunderheist) and the adorable Dragonette, who delivered awesome sets that had the crowd bumping. 
Jalebee Cartel also performed, a Bombay-based electro-ska band whose lead singer OWNED that stage. (side note: a Jalebee is a super sweet Indian dessert, kind of like a funnel cake on steroids. Not literally though).   Their music was a reflection of the global reach of musical styles – confession, I thought the band would be something more “Bollywood-ish”, but then again, this was a display of current Indian nightlife, not the records my parents played when I was a kid. It was a pleasant reminder to shake up my outdated perception of the new India. 
The night was an awesome glimpse into the modern Indian scene, infused with cultural touches and a lively crowd. Cheers! - Nelu Handa.  Photos courtesy of www.nicholaanderson.com 

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