Terence Koh, the artist who created tomorrow’s snow and a way to the light. Photo courtesy of Luminato

Spring is here, which means festival season is moving into full swing. The Luminato Festival starts Friday, June 6, and runs until Sunday June 15 — ten days packed to the brim with music, art, literature, theatre, film, and dance. Luminato offers a staggering range of artistic content, which makes it, at first glance, a little overwhelming. However, it can also be one the most accessible and rewarding festivals the city has to offer. Many of the events are free and held in public downtown spaces. We’ve lined up our best bets for an inspiring Luminato experience.


Take On Me

When: June 2-15, all day
Where: TTC stations
Price: Free

Take On Me is a series of free films that make up a virtual dialogue between artists, and will be played at TTC stations throughout the city during the festival. Toronto-based artists created short videos representing their work, which non-Toronto based artists then created video responses to. It’s part of the on-going Art in Transit program that seeks to engage people in an artistic and imaginative way during their commute.

tomorrow’s snow and a way to the light

When: June 6-13, 7 pm shuttle departure
Where: Metro Centre Wellington Tower, 200 Wellington Street
Price: Free, shuttle: $10

tomorrow’s snow and a way to the light is an art instillation and consists of a tree-filled plaza that comes to life once every night, with snow fashioned from tapiaco powder. Participants will experience a temporary winter wonderland in the middle of spring. The installation was created by Terence Koh.


The Roots are set to perform on June 7th. Media Photo

The Roots are set to perform on June 7th. Media Photo

The Slaight Music Series

Where: The Luminato Lounge Stage
When: Every night, 5:30–7 pm
Price: Free

The Slaight Music Series takes place during evenings throughout the festival. Entrance is free, and the series showcases exclusively Canadian talent. Highlights from this year’s line-up include Eva Avila, Digging Roots and The Arsenals.

Basement Revue
Where: Edward Day Gallery
When: Every night, 11 pm
Price: $20

The nightly Basement Revue hosted by Jason Collett was one of the most popular music events at last year’s festival. It is well worth the entry as the night’s headliners are only revealed at the beginning of the show, making for many surprise appearances and unique finds.

The Roots

Where: Festival Hub, David Pecaut Square
When: June 7, 9 pm
Price: $35

Known most recently as Jimmy Fallon’s in-house band, The Roots have been around for over 25 years and are listed as one of Rolling Stone’s top 10 best rap groups of all-time. Tickets are pricey by the festivals standards, but well worth it and sure to sell out fast.

Symphonic Birthday Party

Where: Festival Hub, David Pecaut Square
When: June 21, 8 pm
Price: Free

Luminato ends with a free performance by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. This year’s theme is a musical travelogue of the Western hemisphere, in honour of the upcoming Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.


A still from The Cremaster Cycle. Media Photo

A still from The Cremaster Cycle. Media Photo

The Cremaster Cycle

Where: TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 2
When: June 7, 4 pm
Price: $10 (student price)

Matthew Barney’s award-winning The Cremaster Cycle is a series of films that explore potential in its purest, most original form. Barney mirrors the ascent and descent that occurs during the full development of the male genitalia with the use of choreography and various other mediums. The films run a total of 7 hours and are not for the faint of heart — but they approach a seemingly taboo topic in a new and often beautiful way. If you want to see something that will surprise you at the festival, look no further.

Kid Koala’s Nufonia Must Fall Live

Where: TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 1
When: June 7 to June 9, 7:30 pm
Price: $35

If contemporary, avant-garde art films aren’t your thing, Luminato is also presenting Kid Koala’s Nufonia Must Fall Live — a film directed by K.K. Barrett, director of Oscar-nominated Her. The film depicts a robot love story, which occurs to a diverse soundtrack including pianos, strings, and turntables. Ticket holders can join a talk with the filmmakers after the screening on June 8.


Performers at All the Sex I've Ever Had Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of Luminato

Performers at All the Sex I’ve Ever Had Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of Luminato

All the Sex I Ever Had

Where: Isabel Bader Theatre
When: June 12 to June 15, 7:30pm
Price: $35

Breaking the taboo of the older generation not talking about their sex lives, Toronto performance company Mammalian Diving Reflex bring their internationally acclaimed, convention-breaking All The Sex I’ve Ever Had: The International Edition to the festival. In seven unique monologues, a group of older performers share the stories of their past sexual encounters. Each performer is from a different city around the world, and the stories are told in their native language with subtitles provided.


Where: MacMillian Theatre
When: June 7 – June 9, 7:30 pm
Price: $35–$55

Argentinean author and director Mariano Pensotti presents Cineastas — a split-screen stage that presents the audience with the daily routines and lives of film directors in one stage, and the actual film they are working on the other. The contrasting stage stories are based on interviews that Pensotti himself conducted on the lives and current work of prominent film directors.

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