Winnipeg’s 4th annual Nuit Raunch at Nuit Blanche is being postponed because f*cking COVID
Each year since 2017, I’ve run a lil porn screening of about 7-10 short films in my hometown of Winnipeg, Mantioba, Canada. The year is now 2020, and what started as a sandwich board on a street grew to a 1000-person 3-screening event in an accessible venue in 2019. I finished that screening in 2019 looking forward to putting down a deposit on the same venue for 2020.
But alas. The world is on fire.
Manitoba has been doing “well” during the COVID pandemic. We’re at only 18 deaths as a province – something helped along by the fact that our spring break was later than other Canadian provinces, so we didn’t get that sweet returning-from-travel influx they did. Things returned to a sort of normal quicker than other cities. Our current outdoor gathering limit is something like 500 people, and so I set out to find an appropriate spot to hold Nuit Raunch outdoors.
There are a lot of considerations to make when picking a locale for an outdoor porn screening. First off, it would need to be in a location where minors would realistically not see it. Not through a fence, not from a nearby apartment window, none of that. Perfect, I thought. I have a studio with a roof that would be *so great*. But how do I get people to the roof safely? How do people socially distance in a stairwell or on a fire escape? What happens when people need a bathroom? Roofs are also not accessible to folks with different physical abilities, and how queer is my event if it’s only accessible to able bodied people?
Ok, scratch that.
AN ALLEY! We have some awesome old carriageways in the Exchange district, and it would be relatively easy to basically just canvas tarp the entrances to the alley! Wait… I’ve basically just restricted airflow and created an indoor space outdoors.
ooook, scratch that too…
Well maybe I can just have it in that same venue as last year, but open all the windows, ensure people distance, and allow in only like 20 people at a time? I mean, 60 people is better than 0 but it is down from 1000. Oh. Venue’s closed so this isn’t even possible.
Well maybe I can just have it in my studio like I used to, keep people distanced, open the windows. It won’t be accessible to wheelchairs but there is an elevator to help people with some mobility. I was kind of resting on this until I saw Nuit Blanche’s entire plan for the event, released just a few days ago. Basically… it looks like it’s going to be a shit show. We’re talking about a city that hasn’t had a major event in 6 months, opening an entire neighbourhood for what is generally a 20,000 person event – with basically no limits. Masks are recommended, and some volunteers will be going around collecting names and email/phone information of as many people as they can so they can reach out if there’s an outbreak. Not only is that actually a terrible idea for privacy’s sake, but it’s only going to capture about 5% of the attendees. It all seems super ill-thought out. It makes me feel gross. I don’t want the awesome porn we’ve got to show you to be a reason for an outbreak and deaths. I remember crowded stairwells last year, crowded elevators, crowded hallways. And drunk people in all those crowded spaces being incredibly difficult to control – something I’d have to hire *a lot* of people to do.
So. You get the idea.
I’ve really been trying to keep this as an in-person event, and I may do a very limited screening on a separate day, but I can’t in good conscience give people a reason to go hang out in crowds as part of Nuit Blanche.
I’m reaching out to the lovelies at Pink Label to get access to their streaming festival platform (which is a godsend BTW, since most streaming services block you for doing anything sexy). I’ll have an update shortly. I’m sorry this is coming so close to the date. We WILL have a screening, it’s just going to look a little different. But what I do want to maintain is a social element to the screening. Watching porn in public is an experience we don’t get often, and I’m going to strive to make that a reality again. I should have an update later this week as to a new date.
Thanks so much for all your support. This event is so damn fun and valuable, and I’m gonna make sure it happens. ❤