Welcome to the latest edition of Plum Viewing, my weekly roundup of arts and culture to view online. Happy viewing!

Well dear readers, I think we can all agree that it has been a week. If there was ever an excuse for Cocktail Friday, this week is it! I can speak on behalf of Mr. Fairs, who will be pouring himself a gin martini (stirred never shaken) and I think tequila might be in order for me, so I shall be requesting a tequila gimlet. Yep, that’s where we are.

So, let’s turn CNN off and enjoy these wonderful performances together.

It will be VERY hard not to get on your feet when you hear this: the Harlem Gospel Travellers. An education programme created to introduce New York youth to the sound of classic gospel, this wonderful group has just released a new album, He’s on Time, and thankfully for us, there is a video recording. The album has soaring, gorgeous vocals and music that is guaranteed to lift your spirits. You can see and hear it here. Enjoy!!

Let’s move from gospel to jazz. Toronto’s Kensington Market Jazz Festival, which was started by the indelible Molly Johnson, is now in its fifth year. This year’s event has moved online and is offering two days of live stream performances to be enjoyed by all. Running from Nov 7–8, we’ll have the chance to hear Champian Fulton, who has been described as “one of the most gifted and pure jazz musicians of her generation.” Other performers include Paul Marinaro, Carol Welsman, Jane Bunnett and many, many more. You can see the full schedule here. Can’t wait!!

Let’s take the bus to Stratford (why not!!) to see someone we can agree is a true Canadian treasure — Martha Henry in Eugene O’Neill’s semi-autobiographical masterpiece A Long Day’s Journey into Night. The play pulls back the curtain on the Connecticut home of the Tyrone family, where deep-seated resentments and bourbon-fueled tirades cause a family to expose their darkest natures. It is timeless and powerful. It’s being offered as part of Stratford’s Stratfest@Home, where for a subscription of $10 per month we get to enjoy so many of Stratford’s treasures. For me, it’s like being Carrie when she discovers Vogue’s shoe closet. Heaven!!

Okay, here’s a confession. I am a very proud Canadian who grew up in Newfoundland skating on frozen ponds (as one does!) and obsessively watching figure skating for many, many years (again, as one does!) but I had not heard of this Canadian skating troupe. How is this possible?! Well, for readers who have also lived in ignorance, I am here to change that. Meet Le Patin Libre. Founded in 2005 by a group of figure skaters, they are a contemporary ice skating company from Montreal who describe their performances as “contemporary dance on ice”. Their show Vertical Influences is 20 minutes of athleticism, skill and pure majestory. I was completely mesmerized!!

Now, how’s this for a fantasy dinner party guest list: Gertrude Stein, Alice B Toklas, Dorothy Parker, Lillian Hellman, Agatha Christie and Muriel Gardiner. Sign me up please!! Well, in Steven Carl McCasland’s drama, Little Wars, we get to spend an evening in their company. This wonderful play, performed at London’s Union theatre, is now streaming online with a cast that includes Juliet Stevenson, Linda Bassett and Sarah Solemani. It is available until Dec 3 and you can book your ticket here.

And, let’s end on a happy note. This is quite genuinely the most heartwarming thing I’ve seen in a while and we NEED this today! Sea Otters hold hands when they sleep to keep each other safe in open waters. I mean. You can’t top that. Hope has been restored!


And, an ask: While we’re enjoying these wonderful performances, let’s remember that for the arts organizations producing this incredible content, this is their livelihood; not a hobby. If we can, now is our time to continue to support our incredible arts community!

And, if you’d like to receive Plum Viewing weekly, send me a note at maggiefairs@gmail.com and I will add you to my mailing list.