luminato 2016

The top 12 events at Luminato 2016

Some of the events at Luminato 2016 are next level. The 17-day arts and culture behemoth officially sets its roots down in The Hearn Generating Station this week. There are a ton of free shows to check out, but the ticketed shows will also be a feast for your ears, eyes, mouth, nose and mind. I'm not kidding, all your senses are covered this year from June 10 to June 26.

Here are my picks for the top shows and events at Luminato this year.

Opening Party (June 9)
The opening party to end all opening parties this summer in Toronto, Luminato opens with a big bang. This is a ticketed event with lots of drinking, DJs, and parkour demos, but most importantly it's a chance to get into the building and roam around before everything really pops off the next night.

Le Pavillon (June 10-26)
A Parisian-style bistro in the control room of a former power plant? Stranger things have been conceived, but few as intriguing as this in Toronto's dining scene. FrĂŠdĂŠric Morin (Joe Beef) and John Bil (Honest Weight) bring classic French cuisine to the Hearn for two weeks. Tickets are sold out, but there are seats available daily for those willing to line up.

Situation Rooms (June 10 - 26)
I'm just going to use the official description for this one: "Equipped with an iPad mini and headphones, an audience of 20 follows a range of real-life characters: an Israeli soldier, a Swiss weapons manufacturer, a Pakistani lawyer or a Mexican drug cartel administrator, with the help of a screen used to augment reality."

Unsound (June 10 - 11)
Last year Unsound "set the bar for future music fests in Toronto." So to say there's excitement about this one is an understatement. Check out the exciting list of performers or don't. Just get to this thrilling blend of sound and technology like your party-life depends on it.

Epic Night At The Hearn (June 11)
Choir! Choir! Choir! never stand still or shut up. And we love it. This time around Nobu Adilman and Daveed Goldman take over the Hearn to teach, sing and record an emotional rendition of Rufus Wainwright's cover of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah.

Monumental (June 14 - 15)
Nine contemporary dancers move to a live show from Vancouver's The Holy Body Tattoo and Montreal's rarely-spotted-in-real-life Godspeed You! Black Emperor for this wild dance show. It all happens on something that resembles a miniature cityscape.

The James Play Trilogy (June 16 - 26)
Hailed as "Scotland's answer to the Game of Thrones," this massive theatrical trilogy will take place in the brand new 1200 seat theatre inside The Hearn. This is three plays about three Scottish kings in the 15th Century. I picture a lot of yelling drinking from goblets. You can see them together (you can save money by buying a package) or see them individually throughout the fest.

Yes Yes Y'all X Dudebox (June 17)
One of the city's most queer and inclusive dance jams teams up with party master Dudebox for a hip hop, dancehall, reggae jam, which will most likely be the sweatiest party of the festival. Yes Yes Y'all DJs will spin alongside special guests Bambii and Skratch Bastid.

Post Apocalypse Dance Party (June 18)
Toronto's freshest new gallery, Younger Than Beyonce, throws a great big dance party. Filled with "art rebels," DJs and a monstrous post-apocalyptic, postmodern, end-of-the-world-but-I-still-have-to-party dance space, this event will feel like a Canadian Mad Max (but with way more water for hydration).

Rufus does Judy (June 23 - 24)
Rufus recreates the legendary 1961 Judy Garland Carnegie Hall show from start to finish. Originally hailed as the "greatest night in show business," Wainwright takes the stage with an orchestra and a fancy suit and sings for over two-hours. His version of the show at Carnegie Hall has in itself become legendary.

Doggie Show (June 24)
Who the hell gave the wonderfully disgusting House of Filth drag queens free reign at Luminato? A brilliant person, that's who. Doggie Show is part costume contest, part dance party, hosted by the queens Jal's BATHSALTS project, described as "Electric Circus on bad street drugs."

66 Wheels (June 25)
One of the planet's most innovative DJs, and a national treasure, Kid Koala presents 26 bikes, 14 turntables and six snacks. It's a bike tour of Koala's fave spots in the city, set to music that begins at Bellwoods and ends at The Hearn where folks can kick back and take part in his Music To Draw To event.

Check out Luminato's official site for all their event listings and have fun!

Photo by James Anok in the blogTO Flickr pool.


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