Welcome to the latest edition of Plum Viewing, my weekly roundup of arts and culture to view online. Happy viewing!
Well, dear readers, here we are again, another Friday. In the Fairs home this means ‘Cocktail Friday”, a time honoured tradition that consists of cocktails of choice, a gorgeous cheese board and jazz (streamed nowadays but no less delightful!). It’s truly the little things now that get us through week :)
So, as you’re enjoying your own version of “Cocktail Friday”, there are a few things to sink your teeth into.
Belfast Blues, a play written and performed by Geraldine Hughes, filmed at Belfast’s Lyric Theatre in 2019, is an autobiographical account of a little girl coming of age in the war-torn Belfast of the 1980s. It’s told through a series of funny, moving and something harrowing stories. For anyone who had followed this time in history, it is well documented The Troubles made anything resembling normal life difficult. And, for anyone wanting to learn more about this time, do check out Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe. It is storytelling at its finest and offers a gripping firsthand account of the people and circumstances behind The Troubles. It is unputdownable! I think we’ll find ourselves in similar territory with Belfast Blues. The Wall Street Journal called it “a grippingly acted mixture of wide-eyed Irish whimsy and arresting tough-mindedness…” It’s streaming until Sunday, Sept 27, free of charge but you need to register to get the link. You can do so here.
A week ago today, we lost a real life superhero, the Notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justice Ginsburg was many things: a brilliant litigator, a fierce defender of human rights and of course, a feminist icon. But, she was also a lover of arts and culture and amongst her most beloved were opera and classical music. In tribute to Justice Ginsburg, the New York Philharmonic this week performed Gershwin’s Embraceable You featuring countertenor and Bandwagon producer Anthony Roth Costanzo and bassist and arranger Pedro Giraudo. We can enjoy it here.
While we might not be able to enjoy live performances at Toronto’s Soulpepper at the moment, we can take a walk down memory lane and revisit the music from many of their shows, which they have cleverly turned into albums. Going through them, I am reminded of how many of these wonderful performances I was lucky enough to see in person. I highly recommend Promised Land: Steinbeck through Song. And, I strongly suspect A Moveable Feast: Paris in the ‘20’s will be the soundtrack for tonight’s Cocktail Friday. Pick your favourite and settle in.
Ok, now this is a treat sent in by a reader. The Cultch, in Vancouver, a venue known for bringing world-class cultural presentations to its East Vancouver community, has now moved many of its performances online, including the Transform Cabaret Festival. Only in its second year, the festival describes itself as ‘a concert like no other in that it is focused on empowering Indigenous artists and encouraging collaboration with non-Indigenous artists.’ It begins today and runs until Oct 3 and spans theatre, music, drag, burlesque, circus, comedy, and everything in between. I’m sold! Check out the full line of shows here.
Ok, let’s stay with the cabaret theme. The Public is making all of our lives better by giving us this — Kiki & Herb: Seeking Asylum. Described as “demented, raw and pointedly political” (The New Yorker), it comes from incredible creators Justin Vivian Bond and Kenny Mellman, both of whom have been described as among the best cabaret signers of their generation and a tornado of art and activism. It was a sold-out show 2016 and is now streaming for free, on demand, until Nov 4. And, my boyfriend Alan Cumming introduces the performance. It doesn’t get better than this. It really doesn’t. Here’s the link and you’re welcome :)
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!
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