Metro Weekly

Out on the (Virtual) Town: April 30-May 6

The best arts, entertainment, and eats in D.C. during social distancing

Andrew Lloyd Webber Celebration

STAGE

AN ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER CELEBRATION

The new YouTube Channel The Shows Must Go On was launched by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment to provide “theater lovers with a West End and Broadway experience in their own homes, online for free.” A new show is available to stream for free each weekend — but only for that weekend — starting at 2 p.m. ET on Fridays and continuing to Sunday, 48 hours later. A new title is announced at the start of each week. The series continues on Friday, May 1, with Andrew Lloyd Webber: The Royal Albert Hall Celebration, a recording from 1998. Glenn Close, Elaine Paige, Donny Osmond, and Antonio Banderas were among the stars who toasted Webber and his songs to mark his 50th birthday. Viewers are encouraged to make donations that will go to charities supporting theater professionals impacted by COVID-19. Visit www.youtube.com/theshowsmustgoon.

HOMEBOUND

Round House Theatre won’t reopen its recently renovated space in Bethesda until the next season starts up in the fall, but the company has hired back nine actors who were slated to appear in three canceled spring productions for Homebound. An original web series that explores life under Stay-at-Home orders in the Nation’s Capital, the series stars Craig Wallace and Maboud Ebrahimzadeh and is progressing in a 10-episode “chain story” style, with each episode — one available for free every Monday evening — building off what came before but written by a different area playwright. Launched this week with “Connect!,” a 12-minute episode written by humorist and Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri, the series will continue in subsequent weeks with episodes from Karen Zacarías, Farah Lawal Harris, Liz Maestri, Psalmayene 24, Tim J. Lord, Audrey Cefaly, Dani Stoller, Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi, and Caleen Sinnette Jennings. The company’s artistic director Ryan Rilette and associate artistic director Nicole A. Watson are offering remote direction during rehearsals to the actors, who are filming their parts from home with additional guidance on home lighting by designer Harold F. Burgess II and wardrobe by Ivania Stack. Through June 29. Visit www.RoundHouseTheatre.org/Homebound.

MOSAIC ALIVE

Until it returns to regular programming at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in August, the Mosaic Theater Company has taken to Zoom and Facebook for twice-weekly discussions with its artists and other experts on relevant topics. The next planned event is the company’s Season 6 announcement this Friday, May 1, at 4 p.m. Artistic director Ari Roth will share the lineup for the season that starts up in the fall, followed by a live discussion and Q&A with members of the Mosaic team in charge of casting, design, direction, and production. From there, the company will continue to elaborate on Season 6 themes and preview the upcoming offerings through its alternating Monday series of Peace Cafe and Book Club programming, as well as planned Livestream Round Tables as well as pre-recorded Watch Party Happy Hour panels on Fridays, all on Zoom. Visit www.mosaictheater.org/alive.

STREAMING SHAKESPEARE

The Folger Shakespeare Library is offering every play, sonnet, and poem written by William Shakespeare, free on its website. But you can go well beyond the page to the stage courtesy of the institution’s Folger Theatre and its current offerings, such as a video-recorded performance of the company’s 2008 Macbeth, starring Ian Merrill Peakes in the title role. Previously only available for purchase from Simon & Schuster, the video comes with special features, such as interviews with the cast and creative teams. Additionally, Folger has made available full-cast audio recordings of seven Shakespearean classics, produced with Simon & Schuster Audio and featuring professional actors from the company. Titles include everything from A Midsummer Night’s Dream to Romeo and Juliet, from Richard III to Macbeth. All video and audio recordings will be available for free through July 1. Call 202-544-4600 or visit www.folger.edu.

National Air and Space Museum –Through the Distance: A virtual concert

MUSIC

A NIGHT IN WITH THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA: BEETHOVENNOW

In lieu of presenting spring concerts, including the return of the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra to the Kennedy Center, Washington Performing Arts has been promoting a “DIY package of content” through its Digital Engagement Focus Team for at-home cultural consumption. One highlight is the world-renowned orchestra’s “BeethovenNOW: Symphonies 5 & 6” program. On March 12, music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin led the symphony in a concert, closed to the public due to COVID-19, that was performed and recorded in an empty Verizon Hall. The program opened with the world premiere of Iman Habibi’s Jeder Baum spricht, written in dialogue with the two celebrated symphonies from the German master, who was born 250 years ago this year. Visit www.philorch.org/performances/special-performances/live-stream.

METROPOLITAN OPERA’S NIGHTLY STREAMS

The Met continues sifting through its trove of “Live in HD” recordings of past productions for free nightly streams from its website. The upcoming lineup of encore presentations, starting at 7:30 p.m. and remaining available up to 23 hours later, ranges from a classic screening — “Viewer’s Choice: Verdi’s Aida,” a 1985 production starring Leontyne Price, Fiorenza Cossotto, James McCracken, and Simon Estes, on Friday, May 1 — to several relatively new productions, including “Nico Muhly’s Marnie,” a contemporary opera, recorded in 2018 and featuring Isabel Leonard, Iestyn Davies, and Christopher Maltman, on Thursday, April 30; “Verdi’s Luisa Miller,” a lesser-known work from the master also recorded in 2018 and starring Sonya Yoncheva, Piotr Beczała, and Plácido Domingo on Saturday, May 2; and director Dmitri Tcherniakov’s new vision for “Borodin’s Prince Igor,” a 2014 production starring Oksana Dyka, Anita Rachvelishvili, and Ildar Abdrazakov, on Sunday, May 3. Visit www.metopera.org.

SONIA: DIGITAL ACTS OF KINDNESS

Sonia Rutstein was supposed to be on her annual concert trek through Germany right now. Instead, the Baltimore-based folk-pop singer-songwriter, who records and performs as SONiA disappear fear, has entered the brave new world of livestreaming. While many of the physical appearances in Germany are being rescheduled for later this year or early 2021, all the virtual concerts are being performed on their original dates, most organized to celebrate a different album from SONiA’s 30-plus year recording career. The roughly hour-long shows, captured from her home music room, are presented on Facebook for free, though donations through PayPal are accepted. The lineup over the next week includes: a toast to the 2010 album Blood, Bones & Baltimore on Friday, May 1; a tribute to the songs of the late Phil Ochs as inspired by the 2011 recording Get Your Phil on Saturday, May 2; a show focused on the 2013 album Broken Film on Friday, May 8; and another featuring Rutstein’s “favorite covers” on Sunday, May 10. All concerts are livestreamed at 2 p.m. and available afterwards at www.facebook.com/disappear.fear.

SPACE SONGS

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum is offering a special virtual concert with performances from pop and folk artists, all filmed in their own homes, sharing songs about space and isolation. Sting, Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast, Dan Deacon, Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie, Valerie June, Lukas Nelson, Grace Potter, Vagabon, Clipping, and Wolf Parade are featured in a concert, hosted by Adam Savage of MythBusters, that is intended “to spotlight the creativity and community that can be found in distance and isolation, in both music and spaceflight.” A collaboration with Grammy-winning designer Lawrence Azerrad and BYT Media, the #SpaceSpongs special, free and open to the public, premieres on YouTube this Thursday, April 30, at 8 p.m. Visit www.airandspace.si.edu/events/space-songs.

STRATHMORE: “LIVE FROM THE LIVING ROOM”

Every Wednesday, Strathmore offers livestreams primarily featuring solo performances of its multi-genre Artists in Residence, both those from the current 2020 class as well as a select few alumni of the esteemed A.I.R. program. Each concert presents bite-sized performances — roughly 20 minutes in length — captured live from the living rooms of local musicians and streamed via Facebook Live starting at 7:30 p.m. The lineup continues with Josanne Francis, an acclaimed steelpan musician and educator (May 6), Mark G. Meadows, a well-known local theater pianist and vocalist (May 13), AYO, a smooth pop vocalist known for confident lyrics and empowering messages (May 20), and urban jazz harmonicist Frédéric Yonnet (May 27). Call 301-581-5100 or visit www.strathmore.org.

 

Ed Helms Whiskey Sour Happy Hour

WHISKEY SOUR HAPPY HOUR

Last week, actor and comedian Ed Helms, best known from NBC’s The Office as well as The Hangover film trilogy, kicked off a new “21st-century online variety show” along with his band the Bluegrass Situation. Presenting a mix of music, comedy, and interviews, the four-part series was launched to raise money for charities supporting both the musical and medical communities through MusiCares’ COVID-19 Relief Fund and Direct Relief. Confirmed guests include Chris Thile, Yola, Sarah Jarosz, Rhiannon Giddens & Francesco Turrisi, Rodney Crowell, Aoife O’Donovan, Robert Ellis, and Watkins Family Hour, with additional guests to be announced. The series continues with shows on Wednesday, May 6, and Wednesday, May 13, both at 8 p.m. The first two shows remain available for streaming. Visit www.thebluegrasssituation.com.

DANCE

CHAMBER DANCE PROJECT’S VIRTUAL CHAT SERIES

A month after launching its first-ever online auction to make up for a canceled spring gala, the young contemporary ballet company debuted another virtual component, “Get Closer to the Art.” This series of free multimedia Zoom sessions features the company’s choreographers, dancers, and designers discussing and previewing their craft, particularly as it pertains to the company’s work and its upcoming seventh season, New Works 2020. Launched in mid-April with artistic director Diane Coburn Bruning’s “300 Years of Ballet History in 1/2 Hour” presentation and discussion, the virtual series continues every Tuesday at 5 p.m. Dancer Grace Ann Powers kicks off May with a presentation on pointe ballet slippers (May 5), followed by ballet master Julia Erickson (May 12), dancers demonstrating classical ballet (May 19), and dancers demonstrating contemporary ballet (May 26). All sessions are free, although donations are invited, and open to those who request the Zoom link by noon on the day-of by contacting RSVP@chamberdance.org. Call 202.499.2297 or visit www.chamberdance.org.

CHRISTOPHER K. MORGAN & ARTISTS: COCKTAIL HOUR & SCREENING

Until it can reopen its doors, Dance Place will continue offering virtual programming options, including the free livestreaming presentation series featuring artists whose performances have been postponed. Next up in the series is the Dance Place resident company originally scheduled to debut a new evening-length work, Native Intelligence, Innate Intelligence, the first weekend in May. The presentation includes a discussion with the company’s namesake, who is also Dance Place’s artistic director, as moderated by Christy Bolingbroke of the National Center for Choreography, plus a Q&A session with the “at-home” audience, and video excerpts from the company’s work. Saturday, May 2, at 6:30 p.m., with a rebroadcast on Facebook Sunday, May 3, at 6:30 p.m. Visit www.danceplace.org/virtual-presentation-series.

DISSONANCE DANCE THEATRE: HIS EYES SAW DANCE

Earlier this year, Dissonance Dance Theatre and the company’s artistic director Shawn Short debuted a new streaming docu-series, one that has landed in this COVID-19 time when the company’s regular programming has been put on hold. His Eyes Saw Dance follows the day-to-day work and artistry of Short, the gay black choreographer who leads both Dissonance and its school, the Ngoma Center for Dance, as he works to navigate — to quote the official release — “the white-dominated world of D.C. concert dance” and to chart a black dance legacy. Short’s company is the only “nationally recognized, black-managed contemporary ballet” organization, despite D.C. having a majority-black population. In a recent interview with Metro Weekly, Short revealed that the idea for the series came from a former student of his who now works for Netflix. As Short recalled director Donovan Johnson’s pitch: “As much as you’ve done, it would be really cool if there was some type of episodic something that we could watch. So that if you die today or tomorrow, everybody knew what the hell you did.” The first three episodes, ranging in length from 15 to 40 minutes, are now available for streaming through Vimeo, with a fourth being released in the coming weeks. Visit www.ngcfddt.org/hiseyes.

READINGS & DISCUSSIONS

MOLLY’S SALONS AT ARENA STAGE

While the Mead Center for American Theater remains dark until September with the start of its next season, Arena Stage has come up with an eclectic package of free online programming, mostly taped discussions and performances. Among the offerings is this free, weekly series of half-hour discussions led by the company’s artistic director Molly Smith and featuring a rotating mix of Arena artists, leaders, and outside affiliates. Available for streaming from Arena’s website every Thursday night at 7 p.m., the upcoming lineup includes New York-based actor and singer Nicholas Rodriguez, New York-based performer and choreographer Phil LaDuca (Arena’s Newsies), and Camille Busette of the Brookings Institution’s Race, Prosperity and Inclusion Initiative (April 30); playwright Craig Lucas, set designer Ken MacDonald, and Maria Manuela Goyanes, artistic director of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (May 7); Jenn Sheeetz, Arena’s properties director, Aerica Shimizu Banks, public policy and social impact manager of Pinterest, and singer-songwriter Mary McBride (May 14); and playwright Lauren Yee, Kirk Johnson of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and Anita Maynard-Losh, Arena’s director of community engagement and senior artistic advisor (May 21). Visit www.arenastage.org/tickets/intermission.

ROUND HOUSE’S PLAYWRIGHTS ON PLAYS

One of the earliest offerings in its new digital programming slate “Round House at Your House,” this series features Round House Theatre-affiliated artists engaging in conversation with the company’s literary manager Gabrielle Hoyt, with a focus on the artists’ own work and a play of their choice that inspired them. The discussions are livestreamed every Thursday at 7 p.m., allowing participants to submit questions for the playwrights in real-time via comments. The series continues with Charly Evon Simpson (it’s not a trip it’s a journey) discussing A Midsummer Night’s Dream on April 30, Sarah Ruhl (Stage Kiss) on May 7, Tim J. Lord (“We declare you a terrorist…”) on May 14, and Mfoniso Udofia (Sojourners) on May 28. Visit www.roundhousetheatre.org/RHathome.

FOOD & DINING

CLYDE’S, KNEAD HOSPITALITY: FOOD IT FORWARD INITIATIVE

The public is encouraged to “buy a meal for those in need” from participating restaurants in the Clyde’s Restaurant Group and Knead Hospitality chains — including Clyde’s, The Hamilton, Old Ebbitt Grill, Succotash, and Mi Vida. The two local restaurant groups are also working to keep some of their restaurant workers employed through this initiative, a partnership also including Martha’s Table, which will work to distribute the prepared meals to those directly affected by the COVID-19 crisis. A donation of $13 feeds an individual for one night while $54 covers a family of four, with $91 covering an individual’s meals for a week and $378 feeding four for a week. Visit www.fooditforwarddc.com.

SLATE WINE BAR, XIQUET: MOTHER’S DAY TO-GO MEALS, GIFTS

You can’t go with a simple restaurant reservation to celebrate mom on her special day this year, set for Sunday, May 10. Among the many creative ideas for a culinary offering that doesn’t require much time at all in the kitchen while also adhering to our current stay-at-home predicament, consider the extensive Heat & Eat menus that Danny Lledó has put together as a culinary toast to both your mother and his motherland. At the chef/owner’s two restaurants in Glover Park, Lledó offers an extensive selection of small plates and entrées-to-go chiefly inspired by the diverse cuisine of Spain, including that of his hometown of Denia in Valencia — all of it available for take-out or delivery only if ordered at least 24 hours in advance. At his revamped Slate Wine Bar, in addition to the to-go items offered a la carte, you could spring for one of two packaged multi-course options: the Vegetarian Meal for 2 ($45), which includes a Cheese Platter with three types of cheese, three types of salads, and two chocolate chip cookies, or the Mediterranean Feast for 4 ($140), including Cheese and Charcuterie Platters with three types of cheese and three types of cured pork, plus two types of salad, four Meat Pies, Four Chicken Lollipops with hot sauce and chips, Oxtail Stew with potatoes, and four chocolate chip cookies. Meanwhile, upstairs at Xiquet, the Valencian-focused restaurant the chef opened at the start of March, meal options for two include a Roasted Amish Chicken Meal ($60), the Wood-Fire Grilled Salmon Meal ($50), and the Xarcuteria Ibèrica Platter with ham, loin, and chorizo offerings served with crostini ($30), while a family of four could enjoy the Roasted Duck Meal ($170) or the Roasted Strip Loin ($90) — all capped off with a Biscuit de Carlota Carrot Cake ($20) for dessert. To wash it down, consult Slate’s curated list of 16 red, white, rosé, and sparkling wines, available at prices ranging from $19 to $90 per bottle, or Xiquet’s wine list with eight varieties priced from $23 to $90 per bottle. Xiquet also offers a Mimosa Kit, including sparkling wine and orange juice, for $20.

If that’s all too much — or not quite enough — Lledó also offers two sure-to-please specialty gift baskets: The Spanish Gift Box, which includes full-sized bottles of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and cava from the Mediterranean nation as well as packages of Tartana bomba rice, Agromar white tuna in olive oil, and milk chocolate pieces, all for just $68, or the Happy Hour Gift Set, featuring a full-sized bottle of Tierra Tempranillo Crianza wine, 7oz packages of manchego cheese and Iberico chorizo, and Carr’s cracker collection ($75). Slate Wine Bar and Xiquet are at 2404 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Call 202-913-4671 or visit www.slatewinebar.com or www.xiquetdl.com.

ARTS & EXHIBITS

BECOMING JANE

To honor Jane Goodall’s 86th birthday, the National Geographic Society gave new, virtual life to a recent exhibition, developed in partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute, whose run at the museum was cut short due to COVID-19. Refashioned into a Virtual Tour, enhanced with 360-degree videos capturing the layout of the physical exhibition, Becoming Jane online allows viewers to explore at their own pace and immerse themselves in whatever details they desire. The multimedia-rich Becoming Jane tells the story of the intrepid explorer and renowned scientist through multi-screen experiences and iconic images, plus video captures of the original exhibition’s advanced projections and augmented-reality features — the latter including footage of a hologram-like projection of Goodall regaling viewers with her memories of Tanzania’s Gombe National Park, which is then shown and explored through a virtual expedition. Gombe is where Goodall launched her groundbreaking career 60 years ago, ultimately helping pioneer the genre of nature documentary as the subject of National Geographic’s very first television program. The exhibition highlights the key breakthroughs and scientific achievements of Goodall’s career working with chimpanzees while also showcasing her more recent work in conservation. Visit www.nationalgeographic.org/events/exhibition/becoming-jane.

DE NOVO GALLERY’S SPECIAL ONLINE EXHIBITION

A Capitol Hill bankruptcy lawyer by day, avid art collector Ryan Dattilo launched his first pop-up gallery last year. Now, in response to COVID-19 and its impact on visual artists through the loss of shows, sales, and side hustles, Dattilo has revived De Novo Gallery as an online incarnation. The display includes works of art in a range of media created by a mostly local crop of 10 artists, all of whom were featured last year at the physical gallery, including Adrienne Gaither, Tom Bunnell, Alex Ebstein, Rex Delafkaran, Dean Kessmann, and Nara Park. The gallery will forego its customary cut of sales to further help the artists. Visit www.denovo-gallery.com.

OUTBREAK: EPIDEMICS IN A CONNECTED WORLD

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History offers tours of its current and permanent exhibitions from its website, enhanced with Simulated WebVR (or Real WebVR if viewed through a WebVR-compatible browser, or if you happen to own a VR headset). And this exhibition has become timelier than ever in recent months. Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World is set up with displays about how “to prevent animal viruses from spilling over into humans” as well as how to properly respond to disease outbreaks — always in “quick, effective, and cooperative” fashion — all supplemented with case studies of historical epidemics, including smallpox, HIV/AIDS, Ebola, and SARS. Visit www.naturalhistory.si.edu.

QUEER ART LIVES HERE: DIGITAL CONTENT AND COMMUNITY RESOURCES

Just last year, the New York Times referred to the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art as “the only museum in the world dedicated to artwork that speaks to the LGBTQ experience.” If you’ve never been to the gallery in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood, now is as good a time as any to visit — but only online, of course. While the physical location, like every other arts organization, remains closed due to COVID-19, organizers have been working to enhance the museum’s digital offerings, with its Instagram page in particular updated regularly to include virtual tours, collection highlights, and artist profiles. Meanwhile, the museum has stocked its Vimeo page with recordings of lectures and panel discussions from past events. You can also browse the museum’s vast collection by selecting Random Images in the fully searchable Online Collections Database available through its website. Visit www.leslielohman.org.

THE DEADLY VIRUS: THE INFLUENZA EPIDEMIC OF 1918

For a deep dive into a deadly virus from a century ago that has echoes in today’s COVID-19 pandemic, the National Archives offers this online exhibit telling the story of the spread of the 1918 influenza pandemic through assembled documents and artifacts including letters, telegrams, and photos — many featuring face mask-wearing officials and public citizens. That epidemic directly affected one-fifth of the world’s population and is responsible for an estimated 50 million deaths, killing “more people than any other illness in recorded history.” Visit www.archives.gov.

THE STORY OF TELL ME A STORY

Virginia’s Del Ray Artisans kicked off March with the exhibition Tell Me a Story, which was nearly double the size of a typical show at the gallery, featuring 189 works of narrative art from 95 artists. After COVID-19 forced it to close just a few weeks later, organizers created a Flickr album to continue showcasing the art, and continues that with The Story of Tell Me a Story, an online exhibition in which visual art and literary works offer viewers an imaginative journey. The works are on display online and available for purchase until June 10. Visit www.delrayartisans.org/tell-me-a-story.

ABOVE & BEYOND

GEORGETOWN’S VIRTUAL FRENCH MARKET

Every year, on the last weekend in April, the Georgetown Business Improvement District (BID) presents an outdoor event in its charming Book Hill corridor intended to evoke the outdoor markets of Paris. Since there can be no open-air market and sidewalk sale this year, the affair — minus whimsical street performers, face painters, and live French music and gypsy jazz — will still take place online, as more than 15 locally owned boutiques, cafés, and galleries on that particular stretch of Wisconsin Avenue will offer online promotions plus special programming ranging from virtual storytime and music for children to a French baking demonstration. Specific promotions include: A “Survival Six-Pack” of six French wines for only $60 (plus donated delivery fee) from Bacchus Wine Cellar; a selection of croissants, cakes, and quiches available for order from Patisserie Poupon; a sale with discounts on antique prints, paintings, and drawings, plus 200 new promotion-specific artworks, from Calloway Fine Art & Consulting; a specially priced collection of limited-edition photos of France from Washington Printmakers Gallery; a sale granting 10-percent off gift cards and all online sales of $40 or more from the British-centric home and furnishings store Pillar & Post; and a half-off sale at T&U Mongolian Cashmere by GOBI. The online market runs from Friday, May 1 through Friday, May 8, when 10 percent of sales from participating retailers will benefit the COVID-19 relief efforts of Martha’s Table and Christ Child Opportunity Shop. Visit www.georgetowndc.com/frenchmarket.

 


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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @ruleonwriting.

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