Twenty years ago today I went to see The Smashing Pumpkins play at Maple Leaf Gardens. It was by far the biggest concert I’d ever been to – my first arena show. It almost didn’t feel real, having the tickets. I went with a few friends from high school. One of their parents drove us up to Toronto. We spent the early part of the day wandering Queen Street, checking out record shops, acting like numbskulls on Speakers Corner, exposing our young brains to the chaos of Yonge Street and all its advertisements for fake IDs. It was the first time I saw the MuchMusic building in person. The first time I saw a bootleg album. The first time Toronto stepped out of a teenage dream and into reality. On the way home, the girl I had a crush on, who trusted me like a friend, put her head on my shoulder and slumbered, darkness stretching out of both sides of the 401.

The Pumpkins were touring on Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. During “Tonight, Tonight,” they screened Georges Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon on two big screens. It was the first time I’d ever seen it. The band had recreated the movie for the video of the song, but the source material was utterly new to me. The sight of it has stuck with me ever since, and it’s what I remember best about the show.

Twenty years later, I’m sitting a few hundred feet from the spot where I saw that movie for the first time. I spent today’s Early Film and its Preservation class looking at chronophotography and watching old Lumière movies. This evening I made Samantha dinner. We talked. We’re heading to bed pretty soon for a cuddle, and otherworldly dreams.


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