Luminato is an annual festival of arts and culture with performances and talks in the fields of theatre, music, dance, visual arts, magic acts, puppet shows and literature, held in venues throughout downtown Toronto. Many of the events are ticketed, ranging from $20 for an evening conversation series featuring topics such as Verdi vs Wagner and gala readings from Canadian authors, $25-35 for a puppet show by Ronnie Burkett, $25-65 for a Chinese opera directed by Atom Egoyan, up to $175 for the top priced ticket to hear artists including Rufus Wainwright, Glen Hansard from the musical and movie "Once", Esperanza Spalding, and Herbie Hancock paying tribute to Joni Mitchell in honour of her 70th birthday.
Free daily "Lunchtime Illumination" talks feature interesting conversations, sometimes between artists from various fields, including one between a scratch DJ, author/musician and a screen writer, and another where magicians compared their art to the culinary magic created by a molecular gastronomist.
Tyson's signature song, written by and performed with her by then husband Ian, was "Four Strong Winds". This was one of the first songs to describe Canadian climates and locations such as Alberta. She wrote the smash #3 Billboard hit "You Were Always On My Mind" in five minutes, a feat her accountant has been trying to get her to replicate ever since. Sylvia tells the story about being at the infamous Newport Folk Festival where legendary folk hero Bob Dylan was thought to have "sold out" the folk scene by "going electric". She remembers it as being really loud and commented that it might not have sounded so bad if his band had only practiced more.
McLauchlan's big song was called Farmer's Song, but he also wrote songs about Toronto including one called "Down by the Henry Moore" where he references Kensington Market, The Silver Dollar, The Palm Grove, and City Hall where he skates by the titular "Archer" Henry Moore sculpture. Murray obviously had a crush (and probably still does) on Joni Mitchell as he mentioned her several times in the talk and praised her fine "assets" at length. McLaughlan told an amusing story about having Patti Labelle as his opening act one evening in a small bar, which was packed with gay black men dressed in shiny silver mylar space suits, there to see Labelle sing her hits like Voulez-Vous Coucher Avec Moi. Murray was nervous to go on next with his folk-song act, since that was clearly not their scene, but Labelle reassured him that they would love him... and they did, since luckily they thought he and his bass player were cute!
This was a very unique opportunity to get so up close and personal to gorgeous high-end designs, and the closest that I will probably ever get to experiencing a Paris fashion show. This exhibit will be on display until June 30, so there's still time to go see it!