Welcome to the latest edition of Plum Viewing, my weekly round-up of arts and culture to enjoy online.
Hello lovely readers! I hope those of you reading in Canada enjoyed your long weekend and shorter week. And, for our US and UK readers, you have an equally relaxing long weekend to be enjoyed, or as it’s known at Chez Fairs — bonus cocktail tonight! Remember: This is a NO judgment place :)
And with that, here are this week’s picks!
Mark your calendar for this event. On June 11, celebrated Canadian photographer (and all around wonderful human) Edward Burtynsky is headlining this year’s Luminato Festival with a takeover of Toronto’s Dundas Square. 40 years in the making, here’s how it is described: “this major multimedia project bears witness to the impact of human industry on the planet. This spectacular immersive public art piece challenges us to have an important conversation about our legacy and the future implications of sustainable life on Earth.”
If you have followed Ed’s work during his very storied career, you know that he is a passionate environmentalist who has documented the impact of climate change across the world. His images, which at first glance are visually stunning, so skillfully capture the destruction we’re inflicting on Mother Earth.
This exhibit, titled In the Wake of Progress, opens on June 11 at 8 pm ET and will be the world premier, featuring new and never before seen pieces. For those lucky enough to be in Toronto, do check it out. For those of us not in the city, here is Ed speaking at this year’s Sony World Photography Awards, where he was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Photography Award.
On Sunday, May 29 at 7 pm ET, we are invited to the cool kids’ table, aka an evening with the cast of Netflix’s Emmy Award-winning hit Russian Doll, which is back with season two. If you haven’t yet watched season one, my god are you in for a treat. It’s brilliant. Here’s the story: Nadia Vulvokov (Natasha Lyonne), an East Village video-game engineer, gets hit by a cab on the night of her thirty-sixth-birthday party. The accident is fatal, but instead of expiring Nadia finds herself in a “Groundhog Day”-like loop of reliving the same night and then dying in increasingly gruesome and unlikely ways. Sounds fun, right? Trust me when I tell you it is. Really and truly. Best described as a macabre comedy, it’s worth watching if only to hear Lyonne, whose accent is a mix between an NYC cabbie and old rabbi. She describes herself as a “Joe Pesci wannabe’.
On Sunday, we’ll hear from Lyonne, who as well as being the star is also co-creator, Annie Murphy (she of ‘Ew David’ Schitt’s Creek fame) and Chloë Sevigny (the ultimate cool girl) on the long-awaited second season. Tickets are $20 and you can reserve yours here.
Now, here’s something on which I suspect all Plum Viewing readers will agree: Judy Garland was a legend. Yes, I thought so.
So imagine my delight in discovering this event. On Thursday, June 2 at 7:30 pm ET, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter (and Montreal’s second favorite son — after Leonard, bien sur), Rufus Wainwright will join Lea Michele and Molly Ringwald for a conversation with Broadway producer extraordinaire Jordan Roth about the many sides of Judy Garland on what would have been her centennial birthday.
Rufus has never been shy about showing his love for Judy and in his new album, he recreates Garland’s legendary 1961 comeback show and debut at Carnegie Hall, along with collaborators Ringwald and Michele.
In front of a live audience at the 92Y, they will discuss the significance of that concert; their personal connection to Garland’s work; her still-evolving legacy; how grief over her death helped to spark the gay rights movement at the Stonewall Inn in 1969; and much more. We can enjoy the live stream from our corner of the world by reserving our tickets here.
And, click here to see Rufus performing Garland’s iconic Over the Rainbow.
WNYC’s Get Lit book club is also back on June 1 with its latest selection Trust by Pulitzer Prize finalist Hernan Diaz. Here’s a description: “The novel tells the story of one man’s massive fortune and turbulent life. It contains four different stories, presented as various documents. There’s an early 20th century novel written about a reclusive man who made his fortune in the stock market… an unfinished memoir by the man who seemed to serve as the inspiration for that novel… the diary of that man’s wife… and the memoir of a journalist. Taken together, these four documents present an at times competing, at times illuminating, versions of the same story — — how one man became wealthy beyond his wildest dreams, and what happened to his wife.”
The event is streaming for free and available by clicking this link.
If you’re interested in hearing more from the author himself, there was a great interview with him on the NY Times book review podcast, which you can find here.
Yes, I am a total book geek and a very proud one at that :) So, on that note, having finished Tina Brown’s delicious book, The Palace Papers (which I honestly cannot recommend enough), I am now digging into The Night Watchman by the wonderful Louise Erdrich. Recommended by my lovely friend and fellow Minneapolis-based author and poet (thank you Greg!), it was inspired by the life of Erdrich’s grandfather who motivated other members of the Turtle Mountain Reservation to resist the Indian termination policies of the 1940s-1960s.
In 2021, the novel was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and deservedly so. I am halfway through and can say it is utter engrossing. We meet a cast of characters and get to ‘see’ the world from each of their unique perspectives. The NY Times described it perfectly as “a magisterial epic that brings Erdrich’s power of witness to every page.” Erdrich is indeed a master storyteller.
And, we can see Louise Erdrich herself discussing the novel at Washington’s famed Politics and Prose here. It will be an hour very well spent.
To end, this has been an awful week. Just awful. So, here’s a small respite. The gorgeous Hannah Waddington (aka Boss Lady Rebecca from Ted Lasso) singing At Last. It’s wonderfully soothing and warm, which is just what we need right now.
Have a great weekend and see you next week!
And, an ask: Please continue to support your incredible arts community however you can.
And, if you’d like to receive Plum Viewing weekly, send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add you to my mailing list.