Luminato moves closer to its home stretch, but shows no signs of slowing down!
Performers of Catalyst Theatre in Nevermore (photo by Bretta Gerecke).
Thursday, June 11
You need only to skim an Edgar Allen Poe biography to understand why he was never known for his sunny disposition. The fact is, people tended to die on him, like his mother when he was still a child, and his 15-year-old wife after only two years of marriage. Yes, death haunted Poe at every turn. It is this harrowing existence that informs Nevermore, the latest production by Edmonton’s Catalyst Theatre. The play, based on Poe’s unusual life, mixes original songs, burlesque dancing and creepy costumes, and has been heralded by critics and audiences alike. Definitely a Luminato must-see!
Winter Garden Theatre (189 Yonge St.), 7:30 p.m., $40 to $50
We may not have flying cars or summer homes on the moon, but we’re certainly living in the future. Why, you could be reading this on your laptop and talking to your friend who lives in China, or France, or wherever. Yes, as they say, the future is now, yet we rarely reflect on what it means to be so plugged in. Continuous City, a multimedia production by the Builders Association, tackles our “technological disconnect” and the notion that we’ve become “networked selves” through travel and modern gadgetry, and examines how this state affects our relationships with others. Combining live performance with video shot in Toronto and other cities around the world, this project is sure to have you pondering your own modern existence.
Isabel Bader Theatre (93 Charles St. W.), 7:30 p.m., $35 to $45
Nederlands Dans Theater
Words tend to fail us when describing a program of experimental dance—especially one that combines video projection, a rotating set, puppets, and some of the best dancers in the world. There is just no way to truly capture the essence of this production byrenowned Nederlands Dans Theater; however, we can tell you that the show comprises three of the company’s most acclaimed pieces, and that you’ll be witnessing its first Toronto show in fourteen years.
MacMillan Theatre (80 Queen’s Park), 8 p.m., $60 to $80
Tales of the Uncanny
It only took 90 years, but Tales of the Uncanny is finally here! The silent horror film from Germany (known in that country as Unheimliche Geschichten) finally reaches its Toronto audience tonight at Yonge-Dundas Square. As if the screening of a silent film wasn’t enough, Luminato—in association with the upcoming North by Northeast Music Festival—have brought in Berlin electronic artist Robert Lippok, local post-rock band Do Make Say Think and Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy) to provide the live soundtrack for this historic presentation.
Yonge-Dundas Square, 9:30 p.m., free.
A couple of gothic-themed events and a show about Lenny Breau get you primed
for the week ahead.
An illustration from Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book.
MONDAY, JUNE 8
An Evening with Neil Gaiman
What a coup for Luminato! Master of the macabre Neil Gaiman—author of Coraline, Anansi Boys, and The Sandman graphic novel series—chose the festival to mark his first visit to Toronto in three years. Gaiman reads from his latest award-winning children’s novel, The Graveyard Book, and participates in an on-stage question-and-answer session. Fans can fawn over their British lit hero at the book signing to follow.
St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, Jane Mallett Theatre (27 Front St. E.), 7 p.m., $15.
Poe Cabaret: A Dream Within a Dream
If you prefer your spooks to be more spine tingling than out-and-out scary, then being a guest for the Poe Cabaret. The varied evening of Edgar Allan Poe–inspired entertainment begins with the Canadian premiere of Mark Campbell and Lance Horne’s opera The Tell Tale Heart. Then CBC radio host Tom Allen will read “The Raven,” accompanied by Alexina Louis’ score. Your gothic treat is completed by French composer André Caplet’s take on The Masque of the Red Death.
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander St.), 9 p.m., $45.
The Genius of Lenny Breau
Lenny Breau did a lot of things during his short life. He was Randy Bachman’s first guitar teacher, a session guitarist for CBC radio and television, and the star of his very own television program, The Lenny Breau Show, all before he turned 25. Yes, it’s safe to say Lenny Breau was prolific. Unfortunately, his life off-the-record was tumultuous; it ended mysteriously in 1984. Tonight the National Film Board hosts a free screening of a feature-length documentary about the virtuoso’s life.
National Film Board Mediatheque (150 John St.), 7 p.m., free.
The third annual Luminato Festival brings international creativity to Toronto from June 5 to 14. This year, a significant part of its programming celebrates the concept of the macabre, partly inspired by the 200th anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s birth. Check out these gothic happenings.
Neil Gaiman brings a gothic sensibility to the city (photo by Phillipe Matsas).
TALE FROM THE CRYPT
JUNE 8 Fantasy enthusiasts need no longer seclude themselves in darkened rooms, casting 12-sided dice and conjuring Lovecraftian visions, for the genre is now enjoying a popular renaissance. British writer Neil Gaiman is one of the prime movers behind fantasy’s contemporary cachet. The creator of The Sandman comic series, as well as bestselling adult and all-ages novels like American Gods, Anansi Boys and Coraline, graces Toronto with a reading from his latest work, The Graveyard Book. Winner of the 2009 Newbery Medal for children’s literature, the mildly macabre story has been described as The Jungle Book set in a cemetery. Gaiman also discusses his writing in an onstage interview and participates in a book signing following the event. St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts (27 Front St. E., 416-366-1656), 7 p.m., $15.