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Apparently, we didn’t go to Luminato last year. I guess it wasn’t that interesting. I looked at this year’s schedule and it wasn’t engaging either, and didn’t have concrete plans of going. But we ended up going to various things on the closing weekend since we were downtown already.

The first place we went to was the Wish Come True Festival at the Bay Adelaide centre. From the website and description, we thought this would be a large exhibit of various cute things. But it turned out to be only one big “star burst” thing:

On Saturday, we headed to Queen’s Park for Luminato’s closing ceremonies. They had more of the Wish Come True Festival things scattered around Queen’s Park! Much better than the Bay Adelaide centre.

Also on location was the 1000 Tastes of Toronto and various premium restaurants from Toronto. We arrived after having dinner so didn’t partake. They had some interesting displays though, like this roast pig

It sure is unlike Chinese BBQ.

Telus was also sponsoring ecocab by giving free cab rides to various destinations around downtown.

we rode the ecocab for a quick loop around the U of T campus since we had parked close by. We were one of the last people to get a ride and by then a lot of the bikes had run out of batteries. We actually had to get out at one point so the bike could make it up the hill!

This weekend, Pauline and I went to the final Luminato festivities of the year. It was head in two locations, Distillery District and Harbourfront. We started off at Distillery because it was closer by car and parking was only $2.70 (yay for weekends)! The other reason was that we had never been to the Distillery District before, although we had tried to on occasion. The problem was that I was never entirely sure where it was (King/Parliament) and so could never find it. This time it was easier since there was a backup of cars looking for parking.

DD was not-surprisingly what I expected it to be. It’s Toronto’s equivalent of Yaletown; and I guess every large city needs some sort of neighborhood like this. We walked around the neighborhood for awhile amongst the crowd but there wasn’t really much to do there. It looks like most people came out for the crowds and the nice day since I only saw a couple of art pieces.

We then took the shuttle bus (TTC bus) version of the Luminato Link to Harbourfront. The Luminato events at Harbourfront was called Carnival H2O and was more interesting. There were the usual static art pieces, and the usual street festival tents (food, crafts); but also constant Carribean music from the ampitheatre, and after the sun set there was a FireWalk (although we didn’t see a lot because we were eating).

At the end of the night, we took the boat version of the Luminato Link back to the Parliament pier and then a walk back to our street parking.

The Luminato contest I won on Saturday gave me a pair of tickets to each of The End of Cinematics, A Throw of Dice, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Of the three, I only actually made it out to AMSND. At first the problem was that I had to pick up the tickets within business hours (9-5) at the Luminato office (downtown Toronto). Then they switched it to the box office, but still I wasn’t very enthusiastic about the events. In fact, I’ve read the description for the first one 3 or 4 times and I still don’t understand what it is.

This version of AMSND is also non-traditional. The Toronto Star describes Tim Supple’s version of AMSND as:

Supple’s play is cast with actors from all over India and while 50 per cent of the text is still spoken in English, the rest is delivered in seven different Indian languages, including Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Sinhalese and Sanskrit.

As you can expect, it was very confusing. Athough I studied the play in English class, and read the synopsis beforehand; it was difficult for me to understand what was happening. Even when the players were speaking English, I had trouble comprehending because there was a double barrier: first I had to parse their Indian-accented english, and then I had to translate the Shakespearean English to what they’re actually saying.

It was because of this that I was immediately put off. I don’t think I was alone, because the reception during its North America tour hasn’t been stellar, and there were a lot of empty seats. Our entire row was empty! and we had decent seats (2nd row Mezzanine).

I didn’t think it was a complete waste of time though. If you’ve read AMSND, you’ll know that a large part of the story revolves around faries. By using ribbon acrobatics and wooden supports on the sets, the faries were able to be mimic spying of the humans. There were also no breaks between the acts (except for the one intermission) so Puck had the responsibility of updating or cleaning up the set while some of the other actors continued. There was also some dancing (not Bollywood style) and the aforementioned ribbon acrobatics.

While it wouldn’t be something I would pay to see, it wasn’t that bad; and if I had an Indian background, I would probably enjoy it.

Last weekend was the start of the Luminato festival in Toronto. Looking over the activities, they weren’t as interesting as last year’s (i.e., ROM crystal or random art), nor were there as many. It kind of looks like the festival is losing momentum after only one year!

On Saturday, Pauline and I went to the Telus’ Light On Your Feet, which was supposed to be a huge dance lesson in Dundas Square. It turned out to be disappointing because 1) they had scheduled Celtic/Scottish music for Saturday, and 2) there wasn’t actually any dancing! It was more of people standing around waiting for things to happen. Anyways we left while the dancing lesson was getting organized.

While there, I saw a mobile contest which involved going to all three Luminato sites, finding two letters at each site, and texting the solved anagram to win a prize. Luckily, the two letters I found were C, and R and after some extrapolation, I guessed that the word was CREATE. I got a text a little while later telling me that I had won a prize! But it turned out that my prize was a pair of tickets to a couple of Luminato events. I was kind of disappointed with this (since the activities weren’t that interesting) and would have been happier with a Luminato t-shirt or something. Oh well, you can’t win them all!

Like the soon to be finished NE corner of Yonge & Dundas, I remember walking past the ROM numerous times and seeing the big construction facade of the Michael Lee Chin crystal. Well this weekend, four years and $270 million later, the crystal was finally completed and they held a Luminato event to celebrate its official lighting. This was the first time I had heard of Luminato, which is Toronto’s festival of Arts & Creativity. After arriving downtown in the afternoon, we wandered around and ran into another Luminato event in Yorkville. Apparently it was the Summer of Love, which kind of made sense because they were giving out flowers which people were putting in their hair and there were all sorts of other hippie things around.

The whole ROM event was kind of confusing, because there was a free FCFS event, and a ticketed event, except it wasn’t clear which was which. Eventually it seemed like you needed tickets to actually go into the museum, but if you just wanted to enjoy the celebration you could simply show up. Anyways, we lined up for free tickets. Joe, Horace and Peter had mentioned to me earlier in the day that the line was crazy, 2-hours long; but fortunately by the time we got there, it was down to about 20 minutes. We got our tickets, met up with Nelson & Kitty’s friends and slowly made our way over to Spadina for some dinner.

We settled on going to Madison because they had TVs on which we could watch the Sens game, but the drawback to that was that the only place we could find with enough seats was a non-AC’d, non-patio part. We were joined by Victor, Peter, Horace, Richard and some cheap pints. After dinner, we moved to the AC part and enjoyed some gossip about the newly arrived Ben and some pool action. Eventually by 9:30, we decided to head back out to the ROM since we couldn’t figure out how to waste a couple of hours of time before the Architectural Opening.

Since the concert started at 9:30, the street was already packed. We couldn’t make it into the “official” area, so we instead stood around and watched a screen of the action. I saw various people taking pictures of the “screen”, because they couldn’t get near enough to the real thing, which I think is kind of funny. It was a very eclectic show with a variety of performances from various genres. I recognized a couple of performers (Eva Avila, Jann Arden) but I couldn’t figure out who many of them were. It was also annoying because half the time, they would append the name of the performer to the bottom of the screen, but then they wouldn’t do that for others. There was also a running theme of Time allowing humans to continue living even though they haven’t been very good to the planet; potentially educational to kids, but I thought it was pretty dumb. Why should a museum, which records history, talk about the future?

After the 75-minute concert, we went over to Future Bakery for some desserts and to kill some time. Ben had 4 tickets for the 2AM entrance, while Richard and his friend also had tickets; so they were going to tour the crystal that night. I went with Victor the next day after some lunch at Sushi on Bloor, and even then there were a huge number of people in line. They said they were letting in 700 people every half an hour, and the museum was definitely crowded (although not overcrowded). The empty crystal itself held a lot of people, and many of them were posing and taking random pictures of walls. I didn’t think the crystal was overly spectacular; the insider were just rooms which didn’t have rectangles for sides. It would have been better if it was made entirely of glass, and we were walking on glass floors and looking through glass wall.

Anyways, even though we didn’t go early in the morning, walking around through the museum was tough work. After two hours, we left, grabbed some BBT at the Tea Shop 168 at Yonge/Bloor and headed back uptown.