Tag Archives: Installation

Luminato Artistic Director Jorn Weisbrodt

30 May

Lunch with Mary 060

Date of lunch:
Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The company:
Jorn Weisbrodt is the artistic director of Luminato. For those who don’t know, Luminato is an arts festival that takes place all across Toronto and encompasses all kinds of art from music and theatre, to dance and visual arts to literature, film and culinary. This year’s festival, the sixth year, begins June 8th and runs until June 17th. There are exhibits and events that will appeal to everyone, no matter how “arty” you may be. The festival also strives to be extremely accessible with most events free and open to the public. Throughout the festival, Jorn will be introducing several performances and exhibits. Jorn is in his first year as artistic director and just moved to Toronto in January. Prior to joining Luminato, Jorn was executive director for RW Work Ltd.in New York City, representing and managing the work of legendary visual artist, theatre and opera director Robert Wilson. Originally from Germany, Jorn studied opera direction in school and has had an incredibly interesting career that has spanned many forms of art with a definite healthy dose of opera.

The food:
We ate at Swish by Han on Wellington. I have never been here for lunch so I was excited to try it out. We each had the bi bim bap – Jorn had his with mushrooms and tofu and I had mine with chicken. The meal started with a soup that reminded me of miso soup but wasn’t. I didn’t love it. However, we both enjoyed our main. The rice got really crispy on the hot bowl and it was delish. Jorn had a cold mint tea and we both finished our meals with espressos. Total bill was $47 with tax.

The lunch lesson:
The lesson came right at the end of the lunch and will seem quite simple but it really was eye opening for me. I would say that when it comes to art, I am mostly a fan of music and dance. I find other forms of art can sometimes be confusing to me as I don’t always “get it”. I gave Jorn a few examples of performance art that I have heard about that I really don’t understand. He just looked at me and said “stop trying to get it”. He explained that it’s not about “getting it”, you don’t need to understand everything and just enjoy it. As someone who always excelled in math class and not so much in art class, I always thought I had to “get it” and everyone else was in on it except for me. It was a relief to hear that, sometimes, “getting it” isn’t the point. I think this will help me enjoy and appreciate art a lot more.

The lunch:
My lunch with Jorn was very lovely. I really enjoyed our conversation. And he got me really excited about Luminato this year. As a new Torontonian, Jorn asked me what I thought about the city. I told him how I just love the feel of the place, there is always stuff going on and people out and about. And it’s things like Luminato that make Toronto such a great place. You can just be strolling down Front Street and without expecting it, walk into a free concert by Jovanotti, a hugely popular Italian rapper. (Put that one in your calendar, sounds awesome). Or something straightforward like eating dinner ends up being so much more during Luminato as the entire preparation and eating of the meal is an art installation by Austrian artist Rainer Prohaska.

I took the opportunity of this lunch to hear firsthand from the artistic director what he was most excited to check out at the festival. As an obvious fan of opera, he is very excited about the staging of “Einstein on the Beach”, a five-hour opera collaboration between Jorn’s former boss Robert Wilson and Phillip Glass. It hasn’t been staged in twenty years and this is the first North American performance outside New York City. Jorn believes this may be the last staging with the involvement of the opera’s creators. According to Jorn, Einstein on the Beach is fun and beautiful, and can be a great intro to opera for a newbie like me.

Jorn is also excited about an exhibit at the ROM by Jorinde Voigt where she has illustrated a series of 32 Beethoven sonatas. He explained that music is an art form that doesn’t have a “place”, it doesn’t exist visually and this artist has managed to capture the music in a series of illustrations. Sounds very cool.

Since I gave away my love for dance, Jorn also recommended Sadeh21, a modern dance performance by Tel Aviv’s acclaimed Batsheva Dance Company. You can check out some snippets of Sadeh21. It looks incredible.

A big part of the Luminato experience is how you just end up being part of an art performance without even planning it. Luminato continues to have a partnership with the TIFF Bell Lightbox and this year, as people are leaving Luminato video screenings, they will walk right into a magic show in the TIFF Bell Lightbox lobby. Who doesn’t love magic?

For two weeks in June, there will be art everywhere. Before speaking with Jorn, I had no idea how much is really going on and how much is free and open to everyone. As a new Torontonian, Jorn was eager to hear from me about places to check out in the city. After leaving our lunch, I felt a bit like a new Torontonian myself with a whole list of things to see and do. Although I love Toronto, it’s been a while since I have felt like this and I’m excited.

Photographer Eamon MacMahon

20 Apr

Lunch with Mary 014

Date of lunch:
Monday, April 20, 2009

The company:
Eamon is a very amazing photographer. You may have seen his work in The Walrus, at Pearson in Terminal 1, New York magazine, National Geographic, Toronto Life and more and he was even featured on the Bravo television series Snapshot. I first met Eamon two years ago when working with the CONTACT Toronto Photography Festival. Since then I find myself often reading articles in a variety of magazines and then noticing that the beautiful photographs that accompany the story are by Eamon. I email him periodically to update him on where I see his work, I hope it doesn’t annoy him. Eamon often goes on “adventures” to get his photographs and I wanted to take him for lunch to hear about where he’s been and what he’s seen.

The food:
We ate at Ciros in the Bloor-Lansdowne area. It’s a bit of a strange place, like an oxymoron of itself – seemed like many opposites blended together. However the service was quick and very friendly and the food was fresh and good with enormous portions. I had chicken fingers and fries and Eamon had pad Thai with tofu. I drank diet Coke and Eamon had a cranberry juice. I have also learned after I returned from lunch that it has one of the city’s best beer selections – neither of us drank beer but I might return now that I know this. Total bill was $28 with tax.

The lunch lesson:
I don’t know if this is a lesson exactly, but I always find it refreshing to meet and talk with someone who knows what their passion is and have found a way to do it for a living. It’s something I wish that everyone is able to do with their lives. It’s actually something that is becoming a theme with the people I take out to lunch.

The lunch:
As mentioned above, Eamon always seems to be on an adventure. I had originally asked Eamon for lunch back in early March but got an auto-reply that he would not have access to email until the end of the month. So first things first, I had to ask him what he was up to. Nonchalantly, Eamon tells me that he was helping a friend deliver a sailboat… from the Galapagos to HAWAII! Who does that? So awesome. For anyone who knows me well, knows that I love animals and would be in HEAVAN in the Galapagos and I love beaches A LOT, so Hawaii would also be a dream. The 31 days of open-sea sailing without seeing land, those who know me would also know, I would not love that at all.

One of my favourite series of photos that Eamon does is his Aerials – taking photos from planes and helicopters over forests, Alberta’s tar sands, glaciers, oceans, communities and more. You can check them out under the aerial section of his site. With a pilot friend that he works with, Eamon also often flies into landlocked communities where he meets the people and photographs their lives. Again, check out his site under the Landlocked project.

For a New York magazine story, Eamon went to Wasilla, Alaska during the height of last year’s presidential campaign, two weeks after Palin was announced as McCain’s running mate. At the time, Palin was being made out to be a bit of a caricature and I think Wasilla and Alaska were getting a bad rep as a bit of a backwards, backwoods kind of place. Eamon said he was taken aback by the friendliness and openness of the people of Alaska and how it was quite the opposite of any stereotype that was being portrayed by the media. Seems like a place that I would like to visit.

The next adventure that Eamon is heading out on is back to the Alberta Tar Sands for a magazine story. He also plans to go to Europe this summer. Due to his success, Eamon goes from project to project and is also able to fund his own work – it’s great to see someone succeeding at something that they love so much. Like me and my lunch blog ;)