Plum Viewing

Maggie Fairs
4 min readSep 17, 2021

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

Hello lovely readers. Well, we made it through another week and HOW is it already mid-September?! I feel as though June was just yesterday. Alas… here we are. At least for those of us in the eastern parts of our respective countries, we can cheer ourselves up with cute sweaters and boots (if we can’t get excited about fashion, all is truly lost!).

So with that, here are this week’s picks…

The Montreal Jazz Festival is back. My goddess this festival is such an important part of Montreal culture, and honestly it is so much fun to experience in person. After canceling last year, the festival organizers decided we had suffered enough, and the festival is back — both in person (yay for me!) and online (yay for you!).

It runs until Sept 19 and there are so many great performances to be enjoyed. I won’t dare make recommendations. My suggestion: pour yourself a well earned Friday night cocktail, randomly pick an artist and enjoy. You can take a look at the full calendar here.

Ok, I don’t want to date anyone but I think I can go out on a limb and say that all Plum readers will remember Frank McCourt’s beautiful memoir Angela’s Ashes, about growing up in the ‘Lanes of Limerick’ and the movie by the same name (or both). It is a touching, heartbreaking and brutally honest account of growing up very poor in Ireland in the 1950’s. I devoured it.

Well our dear readers, our friends at the Irish Rep Theatre have transformed McCourt’s words into a musical, which is having its North American premiere this week and can be enjoyed online. Described as ‘bringing audiences to tears one minute and laughing out loud the next”, I can completely believe this to be true. It’s streaming until Sept 22 at a special price of $30. You can reserve your ticket here.

Can I live is a play by British artist Fehinti Balogun that uses hip-hop and spoken word to explore the ways people of colour have been excluded from environmental activism. It’s a powerful and provocative one hour performance that grapples with the question of inclusivity in environmental activism not only by connecting it to class and race but to geopolitics, imperial history, and our performer’s own journey into activism in the context of his British Nigerian family’s cultural attitudes. Delivered with a combination of anger and whimsy, it’s an important topic and one we must all tackle. Watch it here.

WNYC’s virtual book club, Get Lit is back for the fall season. Hosted by Alison Stewart, this month’s book is The Great Mistake by author Jonathan Lee. It’s described as “the best American crime book of the year, written by a Brit” by the Guardian.

The novel chronicles one man’s rise to fame and fortune, and his mysterious murder in New York City at the turn of the twentieth century. Along with the Guardian, The Wall Street described it as ‘engrossing’ and the New York Times had nothing but praise as well. You can join your fellow book lovers for an online discussion on Tuesday, Sept 21 here.

Toronto’s Soulpepper is throwing open its doors and inviting us all along for a virtual tour of their gorgeous space with Signature Soulpepper: From Where You Are, the theatre’s annual gala.

We are invited to spend an immersive, virtual evening with Soulpepper’s artistic and executive directors, along with the actors, travelling through the theatre, where we’ll be treated to performances and creative inspiration at every turn. Mark your calendar for Thursday, September 23 from 7–8 pm ET. Tickets start at just $10 and can be purchased here.

Let’s stay in Toronto and head uptown to Tafelmusik, “an orchestra, choir, and experience that celebrates beauty through music of the past.” Founded over 40 years ago, Tafelmusik brings new energy to baroque music and beyond. Having gone to many of their concerts, I can attest personally to the power of their performances.

We can enjoy a snippet of their unique sound and also experience a powerful visual with Musik in Motion. Here’s a favourite of mine: Mozart Music Video. Here, Tafelmusik collaborates with artist Alex McLeod, who created a 3D sculpture which moves, grows, and changes — all soundtracked by Mozart’s Requiem.

And, let’s end with a little bit of Broadway. Hamilton re-opened this week on Broadway and needless to say it was glorious. Here’s just a snippet to make the weekend even more joyful!


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!

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