The ambiguously moist Luminato

Posted on June 17th, 2010 3 great comments. Room for one more!

Last year’s Luminato experience, at least for me, consisted of a giant red ball, a pricey half pint of beer, and a few moments with Disco Inferno. I didn’t quite know what to make of the festival then and, to be honest, I still don’t really have a handle on what it’s supposed to be.

On the one hand there are events such as live theatre, literature, and artsy staples such as painting and photography, but on the other hand many of the free family-friendly events would be difficult to classify as anything other than pure entertainment.

For a hardcore art experience, Nuit Blanche is a safer bet, and free outdoor entertainment can easily be found, well, just about anywhere during the summer. If you like meaty literature, it’s not tough to find, and getting your live action fix is easily doable too.

But for a festival that seems to be trying to be all things to all people, they do sometimes succeed in breaching the niche in a very satisfying way.

Last night, for example, Luminato had The Moist Towelettes throwing down on the main Yonge-Dundas stage as part of the J-Pop Divas thing.

the moist towelettes, luminato, 2010, performers, japanese pop, yonge-dundas square, yds, stage, toronto, city, life

Haha! Okay, “throwing down” is perhaps not that accurate. And, if you ask me, neither is “divas”. Adjectives such as “cute” and “adorable” are probably more correct — but great international fun nevertheless.

luminato, 2010, the moist towelettes, performers, music, japanese pop, yonge-dundas square, yds, toronto, city, life

I’d originally wandered down to catch Maki Nomiya of Pizzicato Five. Their funky, soulful Japanese pop sound is a good mood waiting to happen; not the Hello-Kitty-inspired schlock one might imagine either.

Unfortunately, I missed Maki but did enjoy some toe-tapping goodness from the Towelettes. Apart from playing up the humorous connotations of their name (“Are you ready to get moist?!”), they did a really good job of preventing me from leaving with their snappy music and syncopated dance moves.

Emi did most of the shy, heavily-accented introductions for the group while Mike (behind), wailed on guitar…

emi, mike, the moist towelettes, luminato, 2010, performers, japanese pop, yonge-dundas square, yds, toronto, city, life

…and Yuko and Dave completed the moist foursome. And yes, that is a keytar! (That alone makes the group pretty darned cool.)

yuko, dave, the moist towelettes, japanese pop, music, performers, luminato, 2010, yonge-dundas square, toronto, city, life

The last time I sang along at a concert was never. Not a once. Even concerts I paid to see. So the fact that the Towelettes managed to get me singing along, in Japanese no less, speaks volumes.

Funny thing is, aside from the ubiquitous fog machines and the late-day gusts of wind that bore down on the square, it wasn’t exactly what you’d call an action-packed performance. I mean, they had their acts down, but other than their I am Ninja tune where they released hand-held streamers (not sure what the actual title is), the performance was limited by the girls’ dresses and the guys’ instruments.

Despite this, and despite mentioning Maki Nomiya a number of times throughout their performance, I managed to completely forget why I had come in the first place. Apparently The Moist Towelettes filled my Japanese pop quota adequately and I left feeling quite satisfied. A little moist too.

crowd, audience, performance, the moist towelettes, luminato, 2010, yonge-dundas square, yds, toronto, city, life

So I still can’t really say exactly what Luminato is. A festival, yes, but I’d be hard-pressed to go into any greater detail. There are more complete and engaging events that cover just about every aspect that Luminato does. But that same ambiguity that makes Luminato a jack of all trades (and master of none), also somehow manages to attract these neat international acts, unique personalities, and unusual groups that don’t seem to fit in anywhere else.

3 Comments on “ The ambiguously moist Luminato ”

  • Singleton
    June 18th, 2010 6:56 pm

    You should have stayed longer because Maki Nomiya's set was scheduled last at 9:30 PM.

    Read more from Singleton at:
  • Patrick
    June 21st, 2010 6:40 am

    Yeah, I realized that later, Singleton. Oh well, I wasn't really dressed for it anyway.

  • Lorne M.
    June 23rd, 2010 3:31 pm

    Great, there's never enough Japanese pop (good old Monkey Majik…).

    If you were up for more internationalism, I hope you tried the 1000 tastes food fare!?

    – Lorne

    Read more from Lorne M. at:

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