Theatre, Dance, Opera, Music, Magic, and so much more; the 2013 edition of the Luminato Festival has something for just about everyone. You can read our preview coverage, or keep track of our ongoing coverage right here.
Presenter Melissa Owac has collaborated with chef Christopher Matthews and eight different single malt distilleries on Blending Creations: Scotch & Art, a hybrid scotch tasting and art exhibition event. And $100 tickets seem like a very good deal when you consider you’ll be sampling eight top-shelf scotches, plus food pairings, while taking in the current exhibit at the Norman Felix Gallery, Reality Vs. Illusion.
Cats is a challenging musical to stage for a number of reasons. The narrative is thin and strange; the lyrics are drawn primarily from T.S. Eliot’s poetry collection Old Possum’s Book Of Practical Cats, with more borrowed from some other Eliot poems, “Rhapsody on a Windy Night” (which original director Trevor Nunn adapted into the song “Memory”) and “Moments of Happiness.” The result is not so much a story as ideas and character sketches. Old Deuteronomy, patriarch of the Jellicle Cats, calls the creatures together once a year to celebrate, and for one cat to be chosen to ascend to the Heaviside Layer (essentially, to die and be reincarnated). Most of the songs detail the adventures and virtues of a single cat in particular, essentially serving as that cat’s audition for the honour of ascension.
Stand-up comic Sabrina Jalees is a Toronto hometown gal, but she hasn’t been here much the past few years. She’s been in New York and all over the United States, getting called things like a “Top Ten Female Comic to follow on Twitter” by the Huffington Post, and appearing on NBC’s Last Comic Standing. Now, she’s on her “Brownlisted” Canadian tour, and her first stop is T.O., appearing at Innis Town Hall with openers Kathleen Phillips and Sara Hennessey.
A poetic and acrobatic one-woman show, Sappho…In 9 Fragments has already played to acclaim in London, England. Directed by Jessica Ruano and starring Victoria Grove, this show by Jane Montgomery Griffiths plays with myth and modern day romance, juxtaposing Greece’s first female poet with the seduction of an American chorus girl. The play has a brief two-night run at Videofag before moving on to dates in Ottawa and Montreal later this month.
Ronnie Burkett has solidified his reputation as Canada’s premiere solo puppeteer with complex full-length plays, like the Memory Dress Trilogy, or last year’s “apocalyptic comedy” Penny Plain. So it’s a rare treat to see him cut loose and perform The Daisy Theatre. It’s a free-wheeling show that’s different each night, with audience participation, special guests, and some new marionettes and stage trappings paid for out of Luminato’s coffers.
Jason Collett’s Basement Revue has long been a local hot ticket for those with an interest in what the lanky musician and his Broken Social Scene pals are up to—with a generous mix of other literary, theatrical, and cultural talents mixed in. The nightly late-night Luminato edition, the Courtyard Revue, staged in the lobby of Canadian Stage’s Berkeley Street Theatre (and spilling out into the open-air courtyard), is offering more of Collett and co-producer Damian Rogers’ carefully selected programming. The difference, however, is that, with a larger venue and profile due to Luminato, some of the acts look to be more than one-night-only tryouts.
It’s hard to believe, but if North by Northeast was a person, it would be old enough to drink this year. The festival, which started out 19 years ago as a pale imitation of Austin’s South by Southwest, is now a force to be reckoned with in its own right. It’s a place where up-and-coming acts from around the world come to get noticed. It also provides a few of Toronto’s best free concerts in any given year, lined up back-to-back.
Every year, we come out of NXNE with a new favourite band that we refuse to shut up about for the rest of the summer. The only problem is, finding that new favourite band involves sorting through literally hundreds of contenders. We’ve managed to come up with a totally subjective list of acts worth seeing, broken down by genre, to help you separate the wheat from the chaff.
Here are a few key tips that apply to fans of all genres.
HUNTCLUB brings Montreal artist Fred Caron’s Trust Isn’t an Issue to its gallery for a two-week exhibition, beginning with an opening on Monday, June 10. The street artist is focusing on aspects of Stockholm syndrome for his installation’s short run in Toronto; later this summer, he’ll be the co-curator for on-site art at the Osheaga Festival. In addition to the opening, Caron is also doing an artist’s talk on Tuesday, June 11 at 7 p.m.
Canadian indie music label, Arts & Crafts, are celebrating their tenth anniversary. As part of the celebrations, they’re showing a new exhibition from Toronto photographer, Norman Wong. The exhibition features images of various artists over the years including Feist, Kevin Drew, Emily Haines, and many more. You’ll be able to buy a book of photography there and a portion of the proceeds from the event will go to Testicular Cancer Canada and MusiCounts.
It’s a sure sign of summer when theatre productions start popping up in green spaces across Toronto. Launching into their eighth season, Bard in the Park is happy to present The Merry Wives of Windsor. In this Shakespearean comedy, the vain, yet cowardly, knight Sir Falstaff attempts to pursue two wealthy women in hopes of financial gain. Embarrassment ensues.
There are a lot of chefs in the kitchen for the Canadian premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play, a triptych set in three time periods that tells the stories of amateur actors (played by real actors) involved in staging performances of the story of Christ. Three different Toronto independent theatre companies, all with reputations for innovative staging and creation in their past work, each tackle one of the three acts. Ordinarily, such a complicated arrangement would be to a show’s detriment, but not in this case. While you need to be prepared for a marathon of theatre (the show runs four hours, incluing two intermissions), you’re certainly going to get your money’s worth.
Set your phone to vibrate and prepare for a voyage into uncharted territory with Asiansploitation: The Text Generation. Self described as “sketch comedy with a slant,” the show tackles important issues such as our culture’s dependency on technology, while imagining what the love life of Star Trek‘s Data might be like. Audience-influenced scenes and song parodies abound!