Returning for its fifth year, the Luminato festival has become a summer arts and entertainment highlight in Toronto. In addition to its multidisciplinary range of shows and its impressive mix of local and international talent, Luminato is also loved for its accessibility: there is much to enjoy for free. Here’s a rundown of the very special events you can enjoy without charge at Luminato 2011, running from June 10 to June 19.
Festival Stage concerts
An exciting lineup of musicians grace the stage at David Pecaut Square, at the intersection of King St. W and John St., just west of Roy Thomson Hall. On Friday, June 10, two Canadian acts open the Luminato festival: trip-rock duo Beast and indie-rock veterans The Joel Plaskett Emergency. Then, throughout the festival run, many more renowned artists perform live, including Brooklyn fun rockers They Might Be Giants, Grammy-winning string ensemble Kronos Quartet, Canadian crooner k.d. Lang and The Siss Boom Bang, Arabic vocalist Natacha Atlas, and for the festival closing night party, virtuoso composer-producer-songwriter Nitin Sawhney.
A truly groundbreaking exhibition, Sargasso by Philip Beesley Architect Inc. introduces “responsive architecture” to the Torontonian public. What exactly is responsive archiecture? It’s architecture that responds to humans and the environment through computer sensors, changing their shape, size, even colour and composition according to the detected motion and proximity to nearby people and surroundings. Sargasso is part art installation, part experimental architecture that will surely wow audiences with its provocative “living building” concept and execution. It’s on display from June 8 to June 18 at the Allen Lambert Galleria in Brookfield Place.
Another radical exhibition, Habit by David Levine fuses theatre, reality TV, visual arts, and around-the-clock performance together into a unique experience. For eight hours a day during the Luminato festival, three actors occupy a house open to public viewing, acting spontaneously while also reciting dialogue from a script by playwright Jason Grote. Besides watching through the windows and open ceiling, festivalgoers can also watch the “show” on a live and randomly edited video feed. Check out Habit in the Great Hall of OCAD University, June 10 to June 19.
The Luminato Reel
Grab some popcorn and enjoy free movies at Luminato! The featured shorts, features, and docs are all chosen to complement Luminato artists and programs, in addition to a spotlight on Arabic films. Works include Requiem for a Dream, Lawrence of Arabia, The Battle of Algiers, Incendies, and several installments of the Music of Central Asia documentary series. Theses screenings take place in Cinema 5 at TIFF Bell Lightbox or outdoors in David Pecaut Square.
The Luminato mp3 Experiment
Building on the popularity of flash mobs, the Luminato mp3 Experiment invites the audience to become the artists. Go to the event page to download the event mp3 file (but don’t listen to it before the event or you’ll ruin the surprise!), then show up at a specified party location on Sunday, June 19, and play the mp3 at exactly 12:50p.m. Get ready for ridiculous laughs and zany hijinks across Toronto as the audience/participants follow recorded instructions given by Steve the narrator.
For more information on the event schedule, venue locations, and tickets prices of other Luminato events, please visit the festival’s official site. For more free content and videos, visit the Luminato Youtube channel.