What to see at Luminato 2019
Summer is actually here. I was starting to think she was gonna be on season 12 with her lack of presence around our city, but just in time for the annual Luminato festival. Encompassing everything from performance, visual arts and music. Each year Luminato gets bigger and better and this time around they are stacked with amazing pieces. We here at Yohomo have made a short list of 5 of the events that tickled our fancy, that being said please check out their website to see a complete list of their programming…literally they all sounds amazing so go out and support this shit if you can.
(sidenote: the below descriptions were lifted directly from Luminato, and we’d like to thank for for the help in pointing out the queer goodies to us this year.
Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools
Berkeley Street theatre | 26 Berkeley Street
Starts at $50
Inuk artist Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory and queer theatre-maker Evalyn Parry met on an Arctic expedition from Iqaluit to Greenland. Now they share the stage in Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools; a concert, dialogue, and symbolic convergence between the North and the South of our country. These two powerful storytellers map new territory together in a work that gives voice and body to the lived histories, culture, and climate we have inherited, and then asks how we reckon with these sharp tools.
Forget Me Not
Joey & Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre | 227 Front Street East
Starts at $75
Welcome to "The New Now", where written words are forbidden and an underground movement of hand-drawn love letters is a powerful act of defiance.
Those determined on composing or reading a written declaration of love must first make a treacherous journey to a secret and illegal camp to find She, The Keeper of the Lost Hand, and one of the last people to retain the knowledge of reading and writing in cursive.
While pilgrims brave the harsh conditions to find their way to She, the tale of Zacko Budaydos and His Dancing Bear unfolds in parallel, illustrating the turmoil of “The Before” when all the travelling performer had to rely on was his wit, love and knowledge of the outlawed language of Polari to survive.
Unlike anything you’ve ever seen, Forget Me Not is a tender, absurd, romantic, and provocative call-to-arms for poetry and the enduring power of love.
Triptych (Eyes of One on Another)
June 22 only
Sony Centre for the Performing Arts | 1 Front St. East
Starts at $35
30 years after Robert Mapplethorpe’s death, the world still cannot turn away from the compelling nature and emotional complexity of his influential photographs; nestled between erotic heat and cool classicism, his controversial works were images of a generation, shattering mainstream conceptions of conventional beauty.
In this new work, Bryce Dessner (The National), in collaboration with librettist Korde Arrington Tuttle and director Kaneza Schaal, explores Mapplethorpe’s uncanny ability to make the viewer question the commonly held beliefs on race, gender and politics that underpin most of society. Featuring poetry by Tuttle, Essex Hemphill and Patti Smith, sung by the Grammy Award-winning eight-person choral ensemble Roomful of Teeth, Triptych (Eyes of One on Another) sets Dessner’s music against some of the most electrifying and divisive words and images in contemporary art.
Through music and large-scale projections of Mapplethorpe’s work, Triptych is a bold take and close examination of one of the most brilliant photographers of the 20th century.
Hell’s Fury, The Hollywood Songbook
Harbourfront Centre Theatre | 231 Queens Quay
Starts at $45
A new music theatre production featuring internationally-renowned baritone Russell Braun portraying the life of Hanns Eisler, one of Europe’s most gifted mid-century composers. A Jewish Marxist born in Austria, Eisler fled Nazi Germany in 1933, eventually settling in Hollywood where he would go on to be nominated for two Academy Awards for his film compositions. At the beginning of the Cold War, a decade after he migrated to the United States, Eisler was blacklisted by Hollywood film executives, labelled an “unperson” by the House for Un-American Activities Committee and exiled from the United States. He returned to East Germany where he was initially revered, writing the new country’s national anthem but, growing increasingly disillusioned, he retreated into silence.
During the 1940s, Eisler achieved great success in Hollywood, composing music for many films, including the Academy Award-nominated scores for Fritz Lang's Hangmen Also Die and Clifford Odets’s None but the Lonely Heart. In private he wrote Hollywood Songbook, a brilliantly evocative song cycle full of anger, melancholy and wit with many of the songs using poems written by his friend and frequent collaborator Bertolt Brecht. The songs speak of the horrors of Nazi Germany, the appalling seduction of Hollywood and a deep longing to return home to a better future in post-war Europe. Hollywood Songbook helped to establish Eisler’s reputation as one of the 20th century’s great lieder composers.
June 23 only
Harbourfront Centre, Lakeside | 231 Queens Quay
Stand by the water and close your eyes; listen. Is there a drum-like pulse in the sound of the city? A single voice raising its melody to the stars? Or a noisy fury blaring out a cacophony of frustrations and dreams?
Maada’ookii Songlines features 200 voices from 11 diverse choirs, 4 soloists and a fusion Indigenous musical ensemble in a new massive choral experience composed by Luminato veteran, Juno Award-nominated Cris Derksen. As the sun descends and this free outdoor massive choral event begins, the city will be enveloped in sound coming from the land, water and from above. A soundtrack for the city, the performance comes with a powerful history and a promise.
The Art of Resistance
519 Community Centre | 519 Church
In 1988, Robert Mapplethorpe’s controversial photography exploring queer sexuality was deemed too shocking and was censored in the United States. From the streets to the halls of power, LGBTQ2S communities continue to face erasure and censorship in expressing how and whom they love. Thirty years on, the debate around artistic freedom and expression Mapplethorpe sparked is more relevant than ever.
Throughout the first week of the festival, Luminato and The 519 are throwing open the doors of their historic venue, and providing a space where the LGBTQ2S community has the right to their own voices as artists and activists – without censorship.
Anyone is invited to participate and offer their own responses to the prompts of Grieve, Rise, and Resist. Art supplies will be provided, along with creative tools to encourage meaningful dialogue about LGBTQ2S censorship that still exists today.