Plum Viewing

Maggie Fairs
4 min readJan 28, 2022


Welcome to the latest edition of Plum Viewing, my weekly round-up of arts and culture to enjoy online.

Congratulations everyone for making it to Friday! Between the bone chilling temperatures, the never ending snow and general lack of anything to do, I think we ALL deserve a cocktail (or two!) tonight. There is no judgment here.

Whilst it has been another strange week, at least we were given some good news: restaurants and some art venues can plan to reopen across parts of Canada at half capacity. So, there’s that….

As we wait for those happy days, here are this week’s picks:

As was the case with so many performances, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra was forced to cancel its 2022 season opening. But, rather than let this beautiful piece go unheard, they decided to record it and stream it to be enjoyed for free. And, we are so grateful to them! We have until Jan 31 to watch Rafael Payare conducting Brahms’ first symphony. You can find it here.

For the second year in the row, NYC’s Winter Jazzfest has been online only. Running over four days, this is such a fabulous way to discover new and emerging talent and experience so many different types of jazz. You could literally choose any of this year’s concerts (and I encourage you to do so!) but I’ll get you started with this one: NYC Winter Jazzfest artist-in-residence composer and multi-instrumentalist Angel Bat Dawid.

Inspired by Fats Waller, Dawid presents a new original score using the traditional framework of a musical revue (a type of multi-act popular theatrical entertainment that combines music, dance, and sketches). Think of it as a combination of gospel, dancing and a chorus of instruments, all working in perfect harmony. Just what your soul needs right now.

Our friends at the 92Y have a terrific archive of past conversations and interviews. I missed this one when it took place on Jan 17 but discovered it today and well, it’s certainly worth sharing. It’s a conversation between Jeremy Irons and resident 92Y film critic Annette Insdorf. Jeremy Irons is one of those people who always makes it onto your list of dream dinner partner guests. He is so eccentric and eclectic and I imagine a conversion with him would take you down so many delightful rabbit holes that hours would pass and you would still be thoroughly entertained. (I also put Jeff Goldblum in this category. My god, imagine them both at a dinner table together!)

As part of her Reel Pieces series, Insdorf spoke to Irons about his new Netflix film, Munich: The Edge of War. Based on the international bestseller by Robert Harris, the film is set during the Munich Agreement of 1938, with Irons playing Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. See, here we have someone going from Humbert Humbert in Lolita to Neville Chamberlain. I mean, this is the person you want to meet!

Thanks to the 92Y, we can enjoy the full conversation, for free, here.

The Guardian has also been hosting a series of interesting online conversations with their top journalists on a range of topics. For news junkies, these one hour conversations feel like you are in the pub with your favourite reporters and hearing what they really think is happening on any given topic. Mr. Fairs and I tune in regularly — it’s such fun.

One topic of late was the UK PM himself, Boris Johnson. As we know, “Partygate” is the topic that just keeps giving, and it had our panel asking the question (and quite rightly), Will this be the end of Boris Johnson? The particular conversation is available on demand and you can find it here. And, if you like this, another to look out for is Will Russia Invade Ukraine, taking place on Feb 8.

The National Arts Centre continues to be incredibly active, treating us to a wide range of performances (Thank you!!). I have enjoyed so many of their past concerts, which are all available to view online. Here’s a link where I’m certain you’ll find any number of gorgeous pieces to enjoy. Such a welcome background to the grind of 10 hours in front of a computer screen.

And a reminder for new Plum readers (welcome!), the Toronto Fringe Festival’s Next Stage is once again digital only and is streaming until Jan 30. As ever, they are serving up a full line-up of Canadian talent to be enjoyed. Each show is presented both live and on demand, making it very easy to watch at your own convenience and support these talented artists. Here is a link to the full schedule of shows. Tickets are $15 for single tickets and $50 for a full pass. Enjoy!

And to end, there is a new documentary about Brian Wilson titled Long Promised Road soon to be released. So, to help mark the occasion, our friends at the Guardian have compiled a list of the 40 greatest Beach Boys songs, ranked. So, break out those old vinyls and enjoy!

Enjoy and see you next week!

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 and I will add you to my mailing list.