Welcome to the latest edition of Plum Viewing, my weekly roundup of arts and culture to view online. Happy viewing!
Well, dear readers, this week’s picks will cover the gamut, both geography and genres. I don’t know about you but I am finding the ‘routine’ of life at the moment a bit draining. Of course, we are healthy and well, which is a lot to be thankful for, but I have to admit the sameness of everyday is wearing me down. Especially as we contend with our lovely Canadian winter. Brrr… So, I thought I’d use this week’s selections to try and perk us all up. Here we go!
For those of us who are still in awe of the powerful and history-making poetry reading by Amanda Gorman at last Wednesday’s presidential inauguration, this will help us extend that joyful feeling a little bit longer. And, I am definitely here for that!
This 20-minute concert in celebration of the 59th Inauguration Day, features members of Washington National Opera, along with a special performance of Renée Fleming singing J. Todd Frazier’s “We Hold These Truths”. With images of President Biden and Vice President Harris, it is so moving and inspiring. You can find it here.
And, while we’re here, let’s enjoy this gem. The debut of a seven year old Yo-Yo Ma performing for President JFK at The Kennedy Center, introduced by Leonard Bernstein. It is just over six minutes of pure beauty. My heart feels happier after seeing and hearing this.
Okay, from here, let’s jump back to theatre. New York’s Origin Theatre Festival, known for its wide ranging and provocative performances, went virtual this year. Among the many treats is this one-woman play called Mustard by award winning playwright Eva O’Connor is described as being about ‘madness and condiments’. This play won the coveted Fringe First Award from The Scotsman at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Filmed in Dublin, it is streaming tomorrow at 2 pm and you can reserve your ticket here. During times like these, what could be better?!
Now this looks fun and slightly cheeky- Diva: Live from Hell. Here’s the story: As president of the drama club and the star of every school play, Desmond Channing spent most of his short life in the spotlight. But when Evan Harris, a hotshot transfer from New York, challenges his throne, Desmond responds, as any diva would, with lethal force. Now, stuck in the Seventh Circle, Hell’s most squalid cabaret venue, Desmond is forced to relive his disturbing tale of woe. As he presents his one-millionth consecutive show, Desmond performs with a desperate vigor in the hopes that he can prove he’s repented and be freed from this eternal, campy torment. This musical, with a running time of just over 90 minutes, premiered in 2017 and is now online for us to enjoy for free here.
London’s National Theatre has a brilliant streaming service that gives us the option of either subscribing to their season or renting individual productions. While I would certainly recommend subscribing, for those just wanting a little taste before committing, considering starting with Mosquitoes, starring the Queen herself, Olivia Coleman. From the brain of playwright Lucy Kirkwood, this gripping play explores the moral responsibility of science through the eyes of two oppositional siblings. Here’s the Guardian’s review. It’s available to rent for $10 and you can find it here.
Okay, let’s move from London’s theatres to London’s art galleries. I so miss lazy Saturday afternoon strolls through art galleries. Just exploring and taking it all in. When Mr Fairs and I lived in London, the Tate was a favourite hangout. So, while we can’t be there live, thankfully many of London’s wonderful galleries are open for a virtual tour. Here, we can explore the Tate Modern, The Courtauld Gallery of Art, The National Portrait Gallery (another favourite), The National Gallery and The British Museum. Hours of gallery hopping and the benefit of our own wine!
Not to be outdone, Canada’s National Gallery is also offering a virtual experience. Here you can browse through the curator’s choice and dig into the Gallery’s vast archive. Fun, fun, fun!
And, one final image to properly send you into the weekend. On Wednesday, a snowy owl was spotted in NYC’s Central Park for the first time in over a century. These are such gorgeous creatures. True confession: My patronus spirit animal would be an owl (this is for my fellow Harry Potter fans). Well, if you find yourself as captivated by this image as I am, I encourage you to check out Toronto artist Maureen O’Connor who has a collection of work featuring these beautiful creators. You can see Maureen’s work here.
And, and 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add you to my mailing list.