Wednesday’s Luminato Picks: Ron Sexsmith, Joyce Carol Oates and the Kronos Quartet

Wednesday’s Luminato Picks: Ron Sexsmith, Joyce Carol Oates and the Kronos Quartet

Ron Sexsmith, Joyce Carol Oates and Wu Man 

The fifth edition of Luminato, the city’s annual everything-culture fest, kicked off last Friday and goes all through the week. Here, three events to check out today.

1. Music—The Canadian Songbook: Ron Sexsmith
Things have been looking a little brighter lately for CanPop’s king of the sad sacks—his new album has been garnering rave reviews, while a recent documentary, Love Shines, was a hit at last month’s Hot Docs film festival. Tonight, the soulful songwriter lives out every Canadian musician’s dream: headlining a show at Massey Hall. The CBC’s Matt Galloway hosts, while Matthew Barber, Measha Brueggergosman, the Barenaked Ladies, Julie Fader, Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew and, for a touch of old-school cred, The Band’s Garth Hudson are all scheduled to make appearances. 7:30 p.m. $26.50–$91.50. Massey Hall, 178 Victoria St.,  416-368-4849,

2. Words—Joyce Carol Oates in conversation with Jane Urquhart
In many ways, American novelist Joyce Carol Oates is a perfect fit for this year’s Luminato slate. Like Scheherazade, the central figure of the festival’s ambitious cornerstone One Thousand and One Nights, Oates is a spinner of yarns, having published more than 50 novels ranging from Gothic romances to works of piercing realism. And she cites Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland—now a dazzling Luminato ballet—as one of her prime influences. Tonight Oates appears in conversation with author Jane Urquhart to discuss her recent memoir of grieving, A Widow’s Story. 7 p.m. $20. Glenn Gould Studio, 250 Front St. W., 416-368-4849,

3. Music—Kronos Quartet with Wu Man
Sure, they’re technically a classical operation, but the San Francisco–based Kronos Quartet has a repertoire that goes way beyond Beethoven and Brahms. The ensemble has recorded works by the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Sigur Rós and has collaborated with Allen Ginsberg, Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho and even David Bowie. The fab four join forces tonight with Wu Man, a virtuoso on the ancient Chinese pipa, for an evening that will include works by Terry Riley and Philip Glass, as well as the premiere of a new multimedia collaboration called A Chinese Home. 8 p.m. $51.50–$91.50. Jane Mallett Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front St. E., 416-368-4849,