Night Lights Light Nights Of Bucharest

Sometimes glowing colorfully in the dusk air, as doors of museums open up for late visitors, or, some other times, its dark sky flushed by lasers for white nights of entertainment, Bucharest often begins to live and breathe anew after sundown. White NightsNow that the city has joined the European club of white nights, the autumn equinox of 2007 saw a white night with "shows, concerts, street theater, and folk music" on September 21, 2007, according to Ziua daily's D.C. "Lasers and tri-dimensional light projections shaping faces and bodies between 6 PM and 4 AM the next morning" added to the fiesta atmosphere, along with the "theaters, museums, and art galleries that were open all night, to mark the 548th birthday of the city." Street Entertainment The venue of this event was the area between Union Square, Constitutional Square, and Dambovita River, and the happening included "three shows produced by the Saltimbanco Italiano company and entitled Puppets Parade – a parade of four-meter-tall puppets with carnival characters," and a "Vertical Concert staged on a metal structure, with suspended singers performing." Foreign groups were also invited, such as the "Extreme and the Malabar acrobatics corps." Also, the "Luminarium Levity III was constructed for Bucharesters to go into: it was a huge, inflated structure, made up of mazes and tunnels, small palaces of light, colors, music, and perfumes." "On an enormous water screen placed on Dambovita River," D.C. continues, they told "the story of Bucharest through a combination of light projections and lasers," accompanied by the "Urban Art multimedia event: there, visual creations especially designed by artists were projected on Parliament Palace to add color to this building." That night, a joint Romanian-Italian "cultural project" came to life as well: "called Via Cultura, it staged the event Le Arti pe Via, a combination of a walking museum, street theater, and folk music." "Concerts that night included those given by the Zdob and Zdub and Proconsul groups, followed by the one performed by the Acapella group." (1) Back in Time: The Middle Ages For those who wanted a taste of Romanian Medieval architecture, the "museum of the Old Court princely palace" was open to visitors that night. This place was the "residence of Vlad the Impaler, first mentioned in a historical document dated September 20, 1459, which has remained the birthday of Bucharest," as reported by Frontnews. Writers' Houses Also open all night were the "memorial houses of poets and writers Tudor Arghezi, George and Agatha Bacovia, Ion Minulescu and Claudia Millian, and Liviu Rebreanu and Fanny Rebreanu." Old MusicClose to Bucharest, in the village of "Mogosoaia, visitors were able to see the Brancoveanu Palace, which hosted a Medieval music concert by the Pontice Group and two classical music concerts by the Remember Enescu Quintet and the Sempre Quintet." Free TheaterThe theaters included in the white-night program offered free shows to the public. The National Theater "produced a show called Hanjo/Seijo – Forbidden Loves, made up of two plays by Japanese playwright Yukio Mishima. Japanese actress Kana Hashimoto was joined by major actors of the Bucharest theater, such as Teodora Mares, Marius Bodochi, Brandusa Mircea, Carmen Ungureanu, and Marius Manole." The Nottara Theater offered "free shows of A Stormy Night by Ion Luca Caragiale and Peter Shaffer's Whom Do I Have the Honour of Addressing by Petre Bokor, a Romanian-born Canadian director, with Victoria Cocias as the only character in the play." The Act Theater produced "two plays by Neil LaBute: Bash. A Contemporary Trilogy, in which four ordinary people have a perfectly natural conversation about the murders they have committed, and The Shape of Things. The two shows were directed by Vlad Massaci." Other shows included were those of "the Lucia Sturdza Bulandra Theater, which produced A Jewish Story by Elie Malka, The Small Theater – by Gianina Carbunariu, the Mask Theater – The Two Venetian Twins by Carlo Goldoni, and the Metropolis Theater – The Truth Game by Lia Bugnar." Kids also had fun with the shows "staged by the Tandarica Theater: Pacala the Trickster," starring a famous Romanian folklore character, "and Pinocchio." Opera buffs were offered a production of the Romanian opera A Stormy Night by Paul Constantinescu directed by Catalina Buzoianu, with soprano Mariana Colpos singing the role of Veta. This was followed by a ballet show, At the Market Place by Romanian composer Mihail Jora, in which Chiva, a pretty woman aiming high, enters into a conflict with the rest of the world: the action 'takes place in one of today's markets,' according to director Livia Guna," reports FrontNews. (2) Night of MuseumsThe fourth edition of the "Museum Night has brought together 12 museums, which joined forces to offer a museum tour during the night of May 17, 2008," writes HotNews' D.G. This "was done to mark the international day of museums, with several shows including theater, music, dancing, witchcraft, acrobatics, and juggling." Museum of Cotroceni Presidential Palace Opens The Presidential Administration "prepared a special program as the museum of the Cotroceni Presidential Palace was opened to visitors that night." The events included "a visit to the exhibition of costumes dating back to the 19th-mid-20th centuries, workshop with the students of the Architecture School, and children doing society and folklore dances." Also, the Presidential Administration "hosted the exhibition entitled Inter-War Artists and Their Continuators. "That exhibition showed works from private art collections by painters who were active between the wars (1920-1945), and painters who continued that tradition (1945 to this day). Some 200 works were exhibited." (3) President Meets With Visitors"The 'Day of Open Gates' started early, with a group made up of some 30 people, who showed up first thing in the morning at the official residence of the president of Romania," reports Andrei Craciun in Evenimentul Zilei daily. "The organizers established a tour including the alleys of the inner yards, the main lounge, the salons, and Union Hall (where the president carries out daily activities, such as receiving his foreign counterparts, administering oaths of office, granting awards, and holding political consultations." Plus, the visitors had a chance to see the "library, the theater, the garden, and the Cotroceni Museum," adds Evenimentul Zilei's Roxana Dumitru. "In the afternoon, President Traian Basescu came to Cotroceni and played host to the visitors. He announced this: considering the fact that so many people are interested, the visiting hours would be extended up to midnight. 'The gardens are beautiful to visit even at night,'" the report quotes the president as saying. (4) Cezar Paul Badescu adds in Adevarul daily that President Basescu has said "from now on, May 19 will be the day of open gates at Cotroceni every year." Also, the reporter writes "according to the estimations of the organizers, some 100,000 visitors went to the 12 open museums that night." (5) Several museums "became temples of the muses," "in places where patrimonial items came out of their glass boxes for an encounter with music, film, performing arts, and gastronomic experiences," reports the Smart Financial web site. Those museums included the "National Art Museum of Romania, the Museum of Art Collections, the King Ferdinand I National Military Museum, the Contemporary Art Museum, the National Geology Museum, the Grigore Antipa Natural History Museum, the Romanian History Museum, the National Village Museum, and the Romanian Peasant Museum." At the Antipa Museum, an "event called Nocturne in Yellow Rectangle was organized, with music, a photography exhibition, documents, and albums of the National Geographic Channel, plus an insect and bat hunt in the museum yard. The Geology Museum made it possible for visitors to dive into an Indian Night through photos, music, and cooking; and the Peasant Museum offered a video-musical-cooking event that included chatting with artists, an exhibition of traditional art, and the launching of a photography album." Also, the walk in Calea Victoriei Street "necessarily included a stop at the George Enescu Museum," which commemorates the Romanian classical music composer: there, visitors "had the opportunity to attend recitals of art songs and religious music, and to watch documentary films about the composer; the events went on all night." And the National Art Museum of Romania offered "theater animation shows, video projections, and light and sound games based on works of art that belong to the museum." Again, those events lasted all night. (6) White Night of Art GalleriesFollowing in the footsteps of the museums, art galleries staged their own white-night events on May 23, 2008, reports Alina Neagu for the HotNews agency. "Fourteen art galleries" were open "all night," showing "works by 70 artists. Apart from the exhibitions currently hosted, the galleries also offered special concerts, video projections, and workshops." (7) Guzzling Commercials On June 28, 2008, the "night of advertising guzzlers invited people for a special show, which began with Balkan rhythms, such as Shukar Collective," according to the Mediafax news agency. Such nights for the people who wish to guzzle commercials are an event that has reached its "13th edition," but "this time the public was slow to react because of the extreme heat, in spite of the music with robust rhythms." Before the commercials were shown, "Jean Marie Boursicot, who initiated this 28-edition world event, gratefully spoke to the public, saying 'thanks to you, I can collect 25,000 commercials a year.'" Of all the presented commercials, "the public loved the ones advertising cars, mostly due to their technical achievements. Also, the guzzlers enjoyed watching commercials about politics, as well as some parodies of certain taboos." Mediafax says that this edition "also presented commercials that had been awarded international prizes, including at the international publicity festival in Cannes." All in all, the event was made up of "450 commercials, grouped into four themes." The show was attended by "some 4,000 people," and organizer Dan Chisu is quoted as saying "3,000 tickets were sold and 2,500 invitations were handed over for this event." (8) Or the number of people attending the guzzling event may well have been much higher: Realitatea TV puts it as "5,000 publicity lovers, who sweated to watch the newest and most non-conformist commercials from all over the world and from all epochs." The television channel points out "there was no censorship whatsoever, everything was included: alcohol, tobacco, and sex!" (9) NOTES 1. Ziua daily, September 21, 2007. 2. September 22, 2007 3. May 17-18, 20084. Evenimentul Zilei daily, May 18, 2008. 5. Adevarul daily, May 18, 2008. 6. May 17, 20087. May 23, 20088. June 28, 20089. June 29, 2008.

by Monica Voiculescu