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

Who doesn’t love George Gershwin? No one. That’s who. Certainly no one reading this newsletter (for shame!!). Well, our lovely friends at 59E59 are treating us to George Gershwin Alone, Live from Florence. It’s the story of this great composer’s musical journey, beautifully captured and told by the incredible Hershey Felder in a performance that has been described as “Glorious, Poignant and Moving”. It is a bit spendy (tickets at $55 per household) but hey, what else are we doing? (I am phantom online shopping, but I digress!) It airs on Sunday, September 13 at 8:00 pm ET and tickets can be purchased here

We featured FreeUp! Emancipation Day 2020 in the July 31 edition of Plum Viewing but for those who have missed it, the CBC has released one standout performance from this incredibly powerful and talent-filled day: Amaka Umeh’s haunting performance of Hamlet’s iconic soliloquy (you know the one), which she performed at Stratford without any audience. Umeh, who is a truly gifted artist, won a Dora Award in 2019 for her performance in the Howland Company and Crow’s Theatre production of The Wolves, and made history as the first black woman to play Hamlet at Stratford. Watch her here.

I am the geek who loves the boardgame Clue (that’s Cluedo to my British friends). You know you do as well, it’s okay to admit it — you are amongst friends :) Well, a group of very clever artists (of course!!) also like it and have turned Clue into a virtual murder-mystery musical comedy. Seriously, how fun is that?! With a cast of Broadway actors, catchy songs and a plot set in Duluth, MN (the birthplace of the great Bob Dylan), I am sold!! We can all join the fun here.

While I am a fan of most all forms of art, if I’m honest, dance is the one I know least about. I think it’s always scared me a little because I don’t even have the vocabulary to describe what I am seeing. But, since lockdown, I have been watching more, across a broad spectrum of styles, and I have to say I am SO enjoying it. So, I am thrilled to share this treat from the Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) (and for those of you who have already discovered this gem, well done you!!) This NYC based company has been called “the preeminent modern dance organization of our time” by none other than Yo-Yo Ma. This is the third installment of their series, Dance On! Video Vault, and it features four rarely seen solo works. It is available from Aug 14 — Sept 20. I think these performances will convert us all!!

Let’s revisit WNYC’s monthly book club, Get Lit (I really do love this title!) for a conversation with acclaimed novelist Emma Straub about her latest novel, All Adults Here. Straub is a wonderful writer and when you’re reading her books, you can’t help but feel a sense of calm. My favourite description of this book is, “it is soothing in the way a Nancy Meyers kitchen is soothing.” I am already reaching for my second soy milk latte! And, as if this wasn’t enough, the conversation will be followed by a live performance from Rufus Wainwright. Settle in because this will be a good night! It’s all happening on Monday, Aug 31 at 7 pm ET. Register and stream it for free here.

There is no way we can end this without a mention of TIFF, the Toronto International Film Festival. A fixture in many calendars this time of year, which needless to say, this year will be quite different indeed. But, it is still happening and we can still enjoy it! Among the many things to be enjoyed online is the TIFF 20, In Conversation With… series, which this year features such greats as Ava DuVernay, Denzel Washington and Halle Berry, who is making her directorial debut.

Enjoy!!

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.