“Do you know the feeling?” asks Jorn Weisbordt, artistic director of Toronto’s Luminato Festival. “Spring’s playful caresses invite summer sultriness. Skirts get shorter, hips curvier, buttocks tighter. And the Luminato Festival wraps Toronto in its passionate embrace.”
Weisbordt can’t help but talk about sex during the press launch for Luminato 2014; it’s a sort-of accidental theme that pervades the festival’s many offerings. Isabella Rossellini’s Green Porno, Live on Stage, for instance, takes a fun interspecies look at the quirks and risks of reproduction and sexuality, donning costume versions of various creatures’ fur, scales and wings, proving that “even the kinkiest of humans are tame by comparison.”
Then there’s the Canadian premiere of All the Sex I’ve Ever Had: The International Edition. Toronto-based Mammalian Diving Reflex heads up the Canadian installment, exploring the sexuality of our elders in a youth-obsessed culture. It’s going to be shown for five days of the festival, with a special showing for high school students.
There are many more risqué productions, but sex isn’t all about doing the nasty. For some, it’s actually about love, too. And that’s where Rufus Wainwright comes in, in lovely company.
“What Rufus has put together for this evening of celebrating love is simply mind-boggling and something I would not have been able to pull off as the artistic director by myself,” Weisbordt says. “If I Loved You is not about turning something from ‘straight’ to ‘gay’ by singing love duets with only men, but instead, to declare the universality of love and to celebrate love that comes in every shade.”
If I Loved You: Gentlemen Prefer Broadway is a romantic salute to love songs from favourite Broadway musicals, sung by men, to men. With Wainwright at the helm, this is a chance to feel the love among musical heavyweights such as Josh Groban, Ezra Koenig (Vampire Weekend), Andrew Rannells (HBO’s Girls, Book of Mormon) and the great Boy George. It is at once a look at the universality of love and a tribute to the loveliest songs of the Great White Way, as well as a salute to WorldPride, which kicks off in Toronto the following week.
As usual, the festival spans the disciplines, from music, dance, literature, art, theatre to food (Kid Koala pairs with Joe Beef’s Fred Morin to serve up a mysterious culinary/music experience in a train for an extremely exclusive crowd). Keep your eyes on the festival hub in Pecaut Square, which will be transformed into a huge, licensed, beach-inspired hangout by Cuban collective Los Carpinteros. The space will also be home to a killer lineup of concerts — including The Hidden Cameras; TV on the Radio; Buffy Sainte-Marie; and Keys on the Street, a mashup of classical music played by Angela Hewitt — and urban dance choreographed by So You Think You Can Dance judge Tré Armstrong.