Luminato 2014 Preview
It’s early June, and in Toronto that means one thing: schedules just got a lot tighter. On top of patio dates, intramural games, enjoying novels in the park, and all of your friends’ weddings, you’ve also got many of Toronto’s beloved arts festivals begging for your precious summer hours. Among them is the Luminato Festival: its eighth edition kicks off this Friday and wraps up on Sunday, June 15. And there are enough events—from magic shows to late-night concerts to marathon pieces of performance art—to keep even the most dedicated festival-goer occupied. The festival’s categories are not all rigidly defined and feature a certain amount of exchange and overlap–but they provide a sense of the range of experiences on offer. We’ve picked one highlight from each of the them to help you devise your Luminato plan of attack.
SummerWorks Launch Party and Fundraiser
SummerWorks will announce its full 2014 festival lineup at a launch party and fundraiser, featuring exclusive performances by special guests from the lineup, including Patrick J. Adams from Bravo’s Suits. After the exclusive (at $100 a ticket) VIP party and announcements, the grounds will be opened at 9 p.m. to the public on a PWYC basis, with DJ Warren Bray of Grand Analog, a locally sourced food market, and more special happenings going until 1 a.m.
Nathan For You Season 2 Sneak Peek
The eponymous star of Comedy Central hit Nathan for You, Nathan Fielder, honed his idiosyncratic style of deadpan comedy and satire here in Canada, live in Toronto with members of the Laugh Sabbath collective, and on television with CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Following up on the success of the first season, which included the Dumb Starbucks venture and the viral “pig saves goat” video, Fielder has a second season nearly ready to go, and he’s previewing it live exclusively at Comedy Bar, with questions after.
IsKwé Live in the Stacks
IsKwé is the latest musician to be featured in the Toronto Public Library’s Live in the Stacks series. The Cree/Dene singer-songwriter was recently a semifinalist on CBC’s national Searchlight competition, representing from Winnipeg, though she’s now based in Toronto. This will be the last chance to see her perform here for a while, though, as she is headed out on a European tour for the summer.
Veda Hille, with John Southworth and the South Seas, Thom Gill
Vancouver-based musician and interdisciplinary artist Veda Hille, who was here briefly in May for a Canadian Music Week showcase, is back in Ontario and playing a late-night show at the Tranzac, with John Southworth and Thom Gill opening. Hille is currently working on both a new musical (a follow-up to last year’s Craigslist Cantata) and a new album, and will surely be trying out some of that material here.
The Animal Project Release Party
The Animal Project, which headlined our cinema selections for this week, is celebrating its long awaited Toronto release (at the TIFF Bell Lightbox) with a release party. The film, directed by Ingrid Veninger (who was on our People to Watch list last year), features many local performers and locations, and has multiple screenings all opening weekend. After the 7:15 p.m. screening, where Veninger and members of the cast will take part in a Q-and-A session, they’ll all move to the Monarch Tavern, where there will be live music, giveaways, and “costumed” animals in attendance. Entry is FREE with a movie stub (it can be for any screening over the opening weekend, including Saturday and Sunday pre-purchases).
A Journey Into the Forbidden City
If The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors has a mascot, it’s Emperor Yongzheng. The image of the 18th-century Chinese ruler dominates the promotional material of the exhibition, which is one of the centrepieces of the Royal Ontario Museum’s centennial year. His portrait certainly has visual appeal, but Yongzheng is also a figure associated with surprising elements of life within the former imperial palace.
Vulnerability, Suffering, and Strength
“The greatest art always returns you to the vulnerabilities of the human situation.” – Francis Bacon
“In the human figure one can express more completely one’s feelings about the world than in any other way.” – Henry Moore
These quotations, which welcome visitors to “Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty,” immediately establish the exhibition’s tone and focus. Each artist’s distortions of the human figure, shaped by their wartime experiences, capture the vulnerability of our mortal forms.
Reduce waste and grow healthier gardens this summer by getting into Backyard Composting. Join compost facilitator Mike Nevin and agronomist Orlando Lopez Gomez to learn how you can turn your veggie peels and other organic cast-offs into rich soil in just one month. The workshop will cover best practices for household composting, troubleshooting, and more.
AGO First Thursdays
Canadian art is the name of the game at the June edition of AGO First Thursdays. Artists will be creating interactive one-night-only pieces all throughout the gallery’s Canadian collection, with opportunities for everyone to try their hand at creating an artistic work of their own. Oh, and Sloan will be playing live. Act quickly on this one—these nights tend to sell out, and there won’t be any walk-up sales at the door once all the tickets are gone.
Love and Human Remains
If we’ve learned anything from slasher flicks, it’s that having sex leads to death. Returning to the stage to mark its 25th anniversary, Brad Fraser’s Love and Human Remains pursues this dark train of thought. Set in Edmonton, the play tells the story of a bunch of sexually frustrated and dysfunctional twenty- and thirty-somethings grappling with life and love, while a killer lurks in their midst.
Few fads have stood the test of time quite so well as dance movies from the 1980s. Now, one of the best films from this era has been adapted for the stage. Flashdance—The Musical revisits the story of a young female steel welder with a desire to dance, set to a score of iconic songs such as “Flashdance… What a Feeling,” “Maniac,” “I Love Rock and Roll,” and many more.
A Spirit’s Face
Unexpected sparks fly when Aboriginal palliative care worker Hunter meets and falls in love with anxiety-ridden addictions counsellor Jake in A Spirit’s Face. Watch as the characters remove their masks in this story of heartbreak and discovery, brought to the stage by Spiderbones Performing Arts. Some shows feature ASL interpretation; those performances are June 5 at 8 p.m., June 8 at 2 p.m., and June 11 at 8 p.m.
Dead Metaphor: Foul Mouths, Weak Characters
The dead metaphor in George F. Walker’s Dead Metaphor is the term “freelancer.” As government bureaucrat Oliver Denny explains, it originally referred to a knight in the joust who didn’t belong to any particular family or military—a free lancer. For those without a full-time employer (and there seem to be more and more of them every day), this is a pretty bad-ass piece of information to bring with you out of the theatre. Unfortunately, there’s very little else in this production that feels new—although the play, on now as part of the Off-Mirvish series, does have a long list of positive qualities pulling in its favour.