What To See and Do At Luminato 2012
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What To See and Do At Luminato 2012

Wondering what to check out at the sprawling art-fest? Wonder no more.

A 2006 Toronto installation by Thomas+Guinevere, who will be staging something similar at Fort York as part of Luminato this year.

Luminato launches its sixth edition on Friday, with tons of events, shows, and exhibitions. As usual, the art-and-performance festival is an overwhelming hodgepodge of stuff, with everything from magic shows to operas on offer over the course of its ten-day run. After the jump, we’ve narrowed down the choices for you a bit.

The Encampment
Fort York (100 Garrison Road)

When: June 8-24, 7:30 p.m.

How much: FREE

Why: To mark the bicentennial of the War of 1812, artists Thom Sokoloski and Jenny-Anne McCowan have conceived an installation of 200 illuminated tents lining the grounds of Fort York. Exhibits inside each tent will be built around the stories of civilians who lived through the conflict, providing a human reflection on the war, instead of another recounting of battles. Visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic if they arrive between 5 p.m. and opening time. Each night from June 9 to 14, there will be related activities and discussions. (Jamie Bradburn)

The Alpha Project—Banachek
Fleck Dance Theatre, Harbourfront Centre (207 Queens Quay West)

When: June 8–9, 8 p.m.; June 10, 2 p.m.

How much: $35–$45

Why: Magic shows are an ongoing Luminato tradition, so we’re looking forward to this one, from the world-renowned mentalist known as Banachek. This England-born entertainer has acted as a consultant for well-known acts such as Penn & Teller, David Blaine, and Criss Angel—and he’s interesting in and of himself. In the early 1980s, according to him, he took part in a well-funded, long-term scientific study at Washington University, where he tricked scientists into believing that he possessed genuine psychic abilities (he admits that he does not). In his new show for Luminato, Banachek will supposedly perform psychokinesis, telepathy, clairvoyance, hypnotism, seances, and dermaoptics (“the magic of sensing without sight”). Knowing what we know about him, we’ll try not to believe any of it. (Laura Godfrey)

A still from Einstein on the Beach.

Einstein on the Beach
Sony Centre for the Performing Arts (1 Front Street East)

When: June 8, 6 p.m.; June 9, 6 p.m.; June 10, 3 p.m.

How much: $49-175

Why: Philip Glass and Robert Watson’s 1976 opera visits Luminato as part of a world tour that marks the first performances of this landmark work in two decades—and the first outside of New York City on this continent. (Luminato artistic director Jorn Weisbrodt calls it “possibly the single most democratic work of art on stage, as no form dominates the other.”) Those who purchase a ticket may also attend a free lecture following the final performance on June 10, during which, researchers from the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics will be discussing scientific interpretations of the work. (Jamie Bradburn)

/// Re-ply \\\
Parliament Street, between Dundas and Wellesley

When: June 8–17, all day

How much: FREE

Why: Back at the festival again is street artist Dan Bergeron, who goes by the moniker fauxreel. He’s probably best known for having pasted those stunning two-storey-high photographic portraits of Regent Park residents to the sides of buildings back in 2008. Bergeron’s past guerilla-style artwork has included hilariously hacked billboards, clever street art that was mistaken for Banksy’s, and even his own proper gallery show. This year, Bergeron has been commissioned by the City to create art that “explore[s] themes of location and transformation” for Regent Park’s new Big Park, and we can’t wait to see what he’s come up with. (Laura Godfrey)

The Toronto Carretilla Initiative.

Toronto Carretilla Initiative
Changing venues:
June 9–10: The Distillery District, alongside 1000 Tastes of Toronto
June 11–15, 17: David Pecaut Square (55 John Street, at King and John)
June 16: Evergreen Brick Works (550 Bayview Avenue)

When: Visit Luminato’s website for details on various times.

How much: FREE

Why: This Luminato exhibition is a bit of a mystery, but it combines visual art and food, so we’re game to find out what it’s all about. Dreamed up by Austrian artist Rainer Prohaska, it involves moving a mobile kitchen contained within a shopping cart around the city, while inviting the public to take part in assembling the recipe of the day (and then eating it). Meanwhile, the shopping cart, which contains “a seemingly makeshift assortment of household objects,” will be assembled into a larger sculpture. One thing’s for sure—there will be no starving artists at the festival as long as this thing is around. (Laura Godfrey)

Symphonic Finale: At the Hub
David Pecaut Square (55 John Street)

When: June 17, 7 p.m.

How much: FREE

Why: In a rare, free outdoor concert, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra will play overtures celebrating two different centuries. The performance will feature the debut of Philip Glass’s “Overture for 2012,” which will be simultaneously performed in Baltimore, Maryland, by that city’s symphony orchestra. The evening will climax with Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” as tie-in to the city’s bicentennial celebrations of the War of 1812. If you’re elsewhere in the core that night, don’t be alarmed by the roar of cannon fire, unless news reports confirm an invasion is actually happening. (Jamie Bradburn)