Baque de Bamba Marching Band at press conference
All This and Boy George Too
by Émilie Charlebois
Following a lovely breakfast spread and speeches from CEO Janice Price and sponsor l’Oréal, Luminato Festival Artistic Director Jörn Weisbrodt took the stage to spill the beans on the 2014 Luminato Festival program, and there were a lot of beans to spill. As always, there is much to expect and look forward to, which made the announcement somewhat dizzying as Weisbrodt took us through the assortment of innovative creations that aim to make Toronto an international stage for culture and creativity.
Big names will be present and celebrated through works that explore elements of romance, sex and attraction. Isabella Rosellini brings her series Green Porno to the stage (June 6-8), revealing the bizarre (by human standards) and sometimes risky sexual practices of the animal kingdom. Pina Bausch’s famed examination of male-female attraction and repulsion Kontakthof (June 11-14) is not to be missed as the company of the renowned late choreographer hasn’t set a well arched foot in Toronto in 30 years and may never again in its current incarnation. Rufus Wainwright and music director Stephen Oremus have prepared a celebration of love for World Pride with If I Loved You (June 14), a night of classic Broadway duets sung by an all-male line-up featuring singers such as David Byrne, Boy George, Glen Hansard, Ezra Koenig, and Josh Groban, who will revisit hetero conceptions of love.
Big names like those however often mean big money, and yes, some Luminato tickets are a little spicy (ranging from $35-$150 depending on the venue and performance). A great part of the Festival is however very public and can be enjoyed at no cost. Take On Me will hopefully ease the pain of every Toronto commuter by overriding the screens of 63 out 68 TTC platforms with a video art dialogue between local and out of town artists (June 2-15). Aline Morales (June 9) and Buffy Sainte-Marie (June 10) are but some of the musicians offering free concerts at the Festival Hub set in David Pecaut Square. Tré Armstrong and pianist Angela Hewitt have also teamed up to challenge the notion that urban dance and classical musical don’t mix with the wonderfully titled Keys on the Street (June 11). Luminato has also collaborated with the Toronto Public Library to offer discussion panels (Kill Like a Scandinavian on June 8 and Luminato #ReadWomen2014 on June 11) as well as a “day of literary intensity” featuring Literary Walks (June 15), an exploration of the unseen with various authors through the neighbourhoods that have inspired and influenced their work. And what is more public than the audience itself? Music Mob (June 8) will take place at the Air Canada Center, where any kind of musician (no level of experience required) can join the TSO to perform Ravel’s Boléro as the largest audience orchestra Toronto has ever seen.
While its venues are spread across the city, Luminato’s heart and soul can be found in David Pecaut Square, where summer will start ahead of schedule with Cuba’s Los Carpinteros’ Cardboard Beach installation. Throughout the Festival, the Hub will be re-imagined as a 'whimsical faux beach front'. As the largest fully licenced patio in the city, it will be the focal point of Luminato activity where the public can mingle with artists and staff and enjoy the sweet taste and sound pairings of ten musical artist and chef duos that will prepare delicious cookout-style favourites and summer jams.
As the introductory video at the announcement made clear, summing Luminato up in one word is challenging and like cultural Pokémon, it’s difficult to catch it all. But for a full list of events, performances, schedules, venues and ticket prices, visit luminatofestival.com and check back in with CharPo Toronto for its coverage of the Festival’s theatre and dance. See you in June!
June 6 - 15
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