If imagination is the core of the soul, then Toronto’s spirit is strong indeed, and on full display during Luminato. This annual celebration of arts and creativity brings to the city an international array of theatrical and dance performances, world-music concerts, visual art displays, literary events and much more—all of which you can read about here daily. Expand your horizons and imagine new heights; for 10 days in Toronto, anything is possible.
TODAY’S TOP TICKETS
GLOBAL GROOVES The modern history of African music is partly based on its symbiotic give-and-take with Western genres. Luminato’s opening weekend highlights the fruits of this interaction in Rock the Casbah and An African Prom, a day-long concert featuring the likes of Algerian rocker Rachid Taha, Afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen and a collaboration between Mali’s Bassekou Kouyate (pictured) and American bluegrass icon Béla Fleck. Queen’s Park, Queen’s Park Crescent and Wellesley Street, 1 to 11 p.m., free.
THINK LOCAL It has long been acknowledged that the arts play a major role in the building and strengthening of communities. Contemporary dance troupe Coleman Lemieux & Companie does its part with a site-specific performance that marks another step in the revitalization of Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood. Nelson Mandela Park Public School, 440 Shuter St., 1 p.m., free.
MORE MUST-SEE SHOWS
>> Pay tribute to Luminato co-founder David Pecaut, who succumbed to cancer last December, by viewing the Atom Egoyan–curated film installation Solar Breath (Northern Caryatids)/Light Air. Brookfield Place, 181 Bay St., 11 a.m. to 5 pm., free.
>> He was only 12 when he hatched his dream of becoming a fashion designer; now Canadian Mark Fast’s knitwear is known the world over. A Luminato-exclusive showcase of his couture is on display today. Brookfield Place, 181 Bay St., all day, free.
>> Board a 30-foot Chinese boat as Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller explore artists’ and writers’ fascination with the image of an uncaptained Ship O’ Fools. Trinity Bellwoods Park, Queen Street West and Strachan Avenue., 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., free.
>> Three of Africa’s top writers read from their novels in a showcase of African Literature moderated by Dionne Brand, Toronto’s Poet Laureate. Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles St. W., 2 p.m., $15
>> The acclaimed Vienna Academy Orchestra makes a rare North American appearance—not only does the period-instrument ensemble provide the thrilling accompaniment for The Infernal Comedy, today it also offers a separate performance of music by Haydn, Mozart and Shubert. Trinity St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor St. W., 2 p.m., $40.
>> Bust a move at the hybrid concert/dance party Light on Your Feet. Tonight’s theme is “Latin divas.” Yonge-Dundas Square, 7 to 11 p.m., free.
>> Three points of view merge in tonight’s preview of The Africa Trilogy, an East-meets-West exploration that unites playwrights, directors and performers who ask: How do we see each other? Fleck Dance Theatre, 207 Queen’s Quay W., 7 p.m., $30 to $45.
>> Experience acclaimed Canadian literature with a trio of readings. Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles St. W., 7 p.m., $15.
>> West Side Story Suite sweeps across the stage, followed by Jerome Robbins’ Opus 19/Dreamer and the world-premiere of Pur ti Miro by Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo. Four Seasons for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., 7:30 p.m., tickets $20 to $210.
>> Laugh until you cry in (and be profoundly moved in the process) thanks to Two Faced Bastard’s comedic exploration of the duality of human life. The Joey & Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre, 227 Front St. E., 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., $50.
>> Dark Star Requiem relates the history of HIV/AIDS through poetry and music (performed by the Gryphon Trio and Elmer Iseler Singers), transcending all barriers. Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. W., 8 p.m., $30 to $50.
>> A powerful act is remembered in One Pure Longing: Táhirih’s Search, which recalls through dance, poetry and music the execution of a 19th-century Persian woman who refused to wear a veil. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St., 8 p.m., $35.
Purchase Luminato tickets daily at the T.O. Tix booth, located at Yonge-Dundas Square.