As we enter our fourth season, Cultura has grown into one of the city’s biggest and best summer arts festivals! Cultura 2013 brings back all of the great features of previous years – fabulous music, food, performance, art and film – and mixes in some new ingredients, such as parading musicians, freestyle dance, and a door art exhibition from Habitat for Humanity. Presented in partnership with North York Arts, take a look at the awesome line-up for 2013.
Opening Week: Friday, July 5, 2013 – 6:00 to 11:00 PM
Our opening week street performers include Cultura favourite Brant “the Fire Guy” Matthews – “Oh yeah” – busker Boobily the Clown, parading musicians Baque de Bamba, street dance presented by Gad Fly, and the 25 doors for 25 years exhibit to mark Habitat for Humanity’s 25th anniversary.
We’ve brought back crowd favourites Pondicherry (Malaysian rotis), La Fiesta (pulled pork sandwiches), New Life International (fish balls) and Sunshine Shakes (fruit smoothies). New this year is Banjara Indian Cuisine (voted Toronto’s best Indian food by NOW Magazine, serving butter chicken, samosas, chana masala), Sunrise Jerk Sensation (jerk chicken, roti & curry, dumplings), and Gushi Japanese Street Food.
Our 8:00 PM main stage performer, Long Shen Dao, was recently voted China’s top new band. The group brings Chinese-style reggae to Mel Lastman Square as part of its Canadian tour. This will likely be your only chance to experience their music.
Brant Matthews will perform again in the amphitheatre while we’re setting up the outdoor screen for our feature film, Life of Pi. This winner of four Academy Awards is director Ang Lee’s story of a young man who survives a disaster at sea and is thrown into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. Start time is approximately 9:20 PM, but you may wish to arrive much earlier to be sure of getting a seat.
This week’s charity is Sanfilippo Children’s Research Foundation. All proceeds given to the buskers and from sales of lemonade, popcorn and ice cream will be donated to the nightly charities!
Week 2: Friday, July 12, 2013 – 6:00 to 11:00 PM
The action begins at 6 PM with great international street food, street dancing, parading musicians, stilt walking, unicycling, and a performance by “the Funny Waiter“. Seb Whipits will be showing off his “fire whipping”, and the Woodshed Orchestra will travel through the square blending a variety of musical influences that could best be described as “celebratory”.
Don’t miss an amazing exhibition by Habitat for Humanity ReStores, featuring a series of front doors used as an art canvas; the doors are being auctioned off to support the charity. Each week will feature new additions to the collection – come check them all out!
At 8:00 PM on the Main Stage, get ready for one of the best musical performances ever seen in the Square. La Bottine Souriante, a household name in Quebec, brings 11 top performers to the stage for a fusion of traditional francophone music, jazz, salsa and folk – presented with a vitality that underlines the band’s pride in presenting its culture to audiences outside its home province.
At 9:30 pm, “Midnight in Paris” – Woody Allen’s romantic comedy – will bring us to the streets of Paris. It’s about a young man’s great love for the city and the illusion people sometimes have that a life different from theirs would be much better. An all-star cast includes Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates and Carla Bruni.
This week’s charity is MusiCounts, an organization helping keep music alive in schools across Canada. MusiCounts provides grants to help ensure that all children, regardless of socio-economic circumstances or cultural background, have access to a music program through their school. All proceeds from buskers and Snack Bar sales will go to support their cause!
Week 3: Friday, July 19, 2013 – 6:00 to 11:00 PM
We start things off at 6 PM with the Heavyweights Brass Band, emerging as one of the most exciting new acts on the Canadian jazz scene. Dance troop B-Boy Stuntz will be showing off their moves while circus, stage and street busker PyRomeo entertains the crowds with his high energy performance.
Be sure to come early enough to try our great international street food, and don’t miss the Habitat for Humanity 25 doors for 25 years exhibit. North York Arts presents the Oh Dear art Exhibit curated by installation artist Paola Poletto, exploring the past, present and proposed future of North York territory.
At 8 PM, be close to the main stage to catch a performance by Chic Gamine, featuring four powerful female voices singing a capella. Great individual singing and great harmonies. For a preview, you can catch Chic Gamine this Thursday at 6 PM on CBC’s ‘Le Telejoural.’
My vote for best movie of 2012 would have gone to the amazing and inspiring Beasts of the Southern Wild. Made on a shoe-string budget with unknown actors, the film nevertheless received nominations for Best Film and Best Actress – the latter for a truly astonishing performance by 6-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis. Catch the film this week starting at 9:30 PM.
This week’s charity is Newtonbrook Drop Inn, which provides food, clothing and other support services to those in need. All busker proceeds and snack bar sales this week will be donated to this worthy program.
Final Week: Friday, July 26, 2013 – 6:00 to 11:00 PM
The New Orleans style Magnolia Brass Band, buskers Little Joe and the aerial acrobats Hercinia Arts along with street dance performances from Gad Fly will start shows in the Square at 6 PM. Our food vendors will be hoping to make up for their losses during last week’s thunderstorm; please come out early to enjoy our roving performers and support our vendors by trying a fantastic array of food from around the world.
Our 8 PM main stage performer, Amanda Martinez, was such a hit in 2011 that we’ve brought her back for an encore performance. Amanda is a Toronto based singer-songwriter who blends her Mexican and South African roots with flamenco soul. Her solo CDs have earned her multiple nominations for Latin Jazz Performer of the Year, and her songs have appeared on several Putumayo World Music collections.
Given the news of recent weeks, our 9:15 PM film has become a somewhat poignant selection. Invictus is the story of Nelson Mandela’s initiative to unite the apartheid-torn South Africa through the 1995 Rugby World Cup. The film earned Oscar nominations for both Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. Join us for our final Cultura 2013 film in honour of Mandela’s 95th birthday.
Our snack bar sales and busker proceeds will go this week to the Toronto City Mission, supporting local youth and families through a variety of programs. This is also a final opportunity to catch Habitat for Humanity’s 25 doors for 25 years exhibit and the North York Arts presented art exhibit Oh Dear, curated by installation artist Paola Poletto, exploring the past, present and proposed future of North York.