Metro Weekly

Out On the (Virtual) Town: Arts and entertainment highlights — May 21-27, 2020

Everything arts and entertainment in the D.C. area this week!

oott, out on the town

Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert in screening room for photo shoot for People Weekly, June 13, 1984; Chicago

FILM

AFI SILVER VIRTUAL SCREENING ROOM

While its physical venue in Silver Spring remains closed, the AFI offers a rotating crop of titles available for streaming. Highlights among the lineup of films starting up on Friday, May 22, include Mr. Jones, the real-life story of a Welsh journalist who was out front on several international stories that presaged the start of World War II, a 2019 feature from director Agnieszka Holland (Europa, Europa) and starring James Norton, Peter Sarsgaard, Joseph Mawle, and Vanessa Kirby; The Painter and the Thief, Benjamin Ree’s recent Sundance hit documentary painting a tale about the improbable relationship between a Czech artist and the career criminal who stole two of her paintings; and Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy, Elizabeth Carroll’s intimate, candid perspective into the world of a British expat widely regarded as the world’s expert on Mexican cuisine and featuring extensive interviews with famed chefs José Andrés, Rick Bayless, and Alice Waters.

Other highlights among the full slate of streaming selections through the AFI Silver are RBG, Betsy West and Julie Cohen’s acclaimed 2018 documentary about the U.S. Supreme Court Justice known both for her remarkable legal legacy as well as her unexpected rise to becoming a pop culture icon; Up From The Streets, a celebration of the music of New Orleans directed by Michael Murphy and hosted by acclaimed jazz musician Terence Blanchard (who also serves as executive producer and music director); and Band of Outsiders, the 1964 French New Wave classic by Jean-Luc Godard about a trio of would-be gangsters who spend more time with romantic antics and leisurely endeavors than committing crimes. Ticket purchases benefit the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, with additional support to independent filmmaking and distribution. Visit www.afi.com/Silver.

ALAMO ON DEMAND: CURATED LIBRARY OF INCREDIBLE ENTERTAINMENT

Launched shortly after COVID-19 forced the closure of its cinemas, including two in Northern Virginia, this national arthouse film chain’s Alamo-At-Home series was such a success, the company has decided to expand its eccentric virtual streaming offerings — with a focus on “challenging, provocative, and occasionally batsh*t insane films.” And the Alamo’s new video-on-demand platform features plenty of films that fit that outlandish bill, including Butt Boy, Tyler Cornack’s comedy/thriller about a detective who is out to prove his wild theory about a mentor of his, one he suspects “uses his butt to make people disappear”; The American Scream, Michael Stephenson’s documentary about “home haunters,” or individuals obsessed with turning their properties into elaborate and horrifying spectacles, scaring the pants off their friends and neighbors every Halloween; and Porno, Keola Racela’s 2019 scary tale about a group of repressed teenagers in a small conservative town “visited by a sex demon that gives them a taste of the dark side.”

Also available for streaming Portrait of a Lady on Fire, featured on Metro Weekly film critic André Hereford’s Best Films of 2019 list. Writer-director Céline Sciamma’s women-in-love feature, focused on a painter and her subject in 1760s France, “wants to look like a painting, and it does so beautifully,” wrote Hereford, who concluded that this “spare pas de deux earns its prizes, as Marianne and Héloïse’s slow-burning romance portrays, with flush familiarity, how falling in love both pins the women down and sets them free.” All tickets purchased benefit the Alamo chain as well as featured filmmakers. Visit ondemand.drafthouse.com.

AVALON THEATRE: VIRTUAL CINEMA

The “Virtual Cinema” of the Avalon Theatre in Upper Northwest D.C. is presenting Steve James’ 2014 documentary Life Itself, chronicling the life and career of Roger Ebert and based on the famed film critic’s bestselling memoir of the same title. Presented as part of the series “Magnolia Pictures: A Few of Our Favorite Docs,” the streaming starts on Friday, May 22, and includes a live virtual Q&A with Ebert’s widow and vice president of the Ebert Company Chaz Ebert in conversation with director James. Another title at the Avalon is The Booksellers, D.W. Young’s 2019 look at an assortment of antiquarian merchants and the underappreciated role they play in preserving history. Tickets range from $10 to $12 for a three-day streaming period, with roughly half of sales going toward the nonprofit theater and the remainder for the general cause of independent filmmaking and distribution. Call 202-966-6000 or visit www.theavalon.org.

CINEMA ARTS THEATRE’S VIRTUAL CINEMA

The arthouse movieplex in Fairfax begins streams this Friday of Military Wives, conceived of as a companion to director Peter Cattaneo’s previous hit The Full Monty. The feel-good, crowd-pleaser stars Kristin Scott Thomas and Sharon Horgan and was inspired by the real-life tale of a ragtag group of women who came together to form a choir while their partners were away serving in Afghanistan. Other titles continuing for streaming through Cinema Arts include And Then We Danced, Levan Akin’s well-crafted tale of two male company members in the National Georgian Dance Ensemble who become competitors, then partners, then lovers, with Levan Gelbakhiani starring as the quiet yet intense Merab; Sorry We Missed You, Ken Loach’s wrenching, intimate family drama from last year focused on the British working class and exposing the dark side of the “gig economy”; The Times of Bill Cunningham, Mark Bozek’s 2018 documentary about the iconic, gay New York Times street photographer and fashion historian, told in his own words, with narration by Sarah Jessica Parker; and Kantemir Balagov’s Beanpole, which focuses on the intense bond that forms between two women, both anti-aircraft gunners during World War II, who struggle to readjust to a haunted world and life in Leningrad after the war. In Russian with English subtitles. Visit www.cinemaartstheatre.com.

Shakedown

REEL AFFIRMATIONS ON DEMAND: SHAKEDOWN

Reel Affirmations concludes its series of virtual screenings in Black Pride Month with Leilah Weinraub’s visual tribute to the underground black lesbian strip club scene in Los Angeles at the turn of the millennium. Described by Variety as “a stream-of-consciousness, nonfiction narrative,” Shakedown is based on nearly 15 years’ worth of footage by Weinraub, capturing the explicit performances and personal relationships among the dancers and organizers of the event by that name, from creator and emcee Ronnie-Ron to the community’s “mother” Mahogany, and star performer Egypt to “Queen” Jazmine. The Variety review sums up the documentary as “a humorous, sensual, and informative look at a vibrant subculture.” Streaming starts at noon on Friday, May 29. Tickets are $12 for unlimited access through noon on Monday, June 1. Visit https://thedccenter.org/events/shakedown.

Signature Strong: West Side Story — Photo: Christopher Mueller

STAGE

1ST STAGE: VIRTUAL COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS SERIES

Virginia’s 1st Stage is taking to Zoom to connect artists with patrons and keep everyone interested and engaged in its work. The troupe’s new series continues with “Performers in Quarantine,” featuring actors Sally Horton, Patrick Joy, and Michael Russotto from its upcoming production of the gay-themed show The Nance, on Saturday, May 23; a special “Northern Virginia Theatres in Conversation” panel moderated by the Washington Post‘s Peter Marks and featuring Alex Levy of 1st Stage, Jimmy Mavrikes and Michael Windsor of Monumental Theatre Company, Evan Hoffman of NextStop, and Jason Najjoum of Synetic Theater, on Sunday, May 24; “How 1st Stage Develops New Work,” featuring two playwrights whose works the company has premiered, Bob Bartlett and his Swimming with Whales and E.M. Lewis and Now Comes The Night, on May 30; “The Life of a Solo Artist,” featuring artists from the Logan Festival discussing their one-person productions, on June 6; and “Cultural Tysons,” a discussion about COVID-19 and its impact on the local arts community with panelists Lori Carbonneau of the McLean Project for the Arts, local artist and teacher Deborah Conn, and Jen Morrow of Bad’s Alley bookstore, on June 13. All conversations are live at 2 p.m., with recordings of each posted online for later viewing. Register for each Community Conversation at www.1ststage.org.

ACT’S OUT & ABOUT ONLINE FESTIVAL, NEW WEBSITE

Instead of its annual showcase of live, in-person LGBTQ theater during DC Black Pride, the African-American Collective Theater will mark the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend in the year of COVID-19, naturally, by moving everything online. In addition to the launch of a new website, the holiday will also kick off a week-long, nationally focused, all-virtual festival. A reimagined and expanded version of ACT’s annual Black Pride showcase, Out & About will offer staged readings featuring actors breathing life into a sampling of the many plays written by Alan Sharpe, the artistic director who founded the company 28 years ago. Visit www.a-act.org on the launch date, Sunday, May 24.

AMERICAN SHAKESPEARE CENTER’S STREAMING OFFERINGS

Through a special agreement with Actors’ Equity Association, the professional theater troupe devoted to Shakespeare is one of the few able to stream full, filmed recordings of past productions. The current offerings are of two stagings from the past season of the center’s National Tour company, including a version of the Bard’s classic comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A timelier, bolder, and more unexpected offering is Frank Galati’s stage adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath. José Zayas directs a spare interpretation of the John Steinbeck Depression-era classic that relies on the 11-member ensemble for versatile storytelling enhanced with music, capped by “We Go On,” an original anthem from company member Madeline Calais that helps close out the show. Both productions are available through at least May 31 on the company’s streaming service BlkFrsTV, praised by the Wall Street Journal for its “webcasts [that] effortlessly convey the joyous experience of watching Shakespeare in Blackfriars Playhouse” — the center’s main, in-the-round theater space modeled after the original Globe Theatre and located in the historic Shenandoah Valley town of Staunton, Va. Tickets start at $10 per show in a “pay the price that works for you” scale that goes up to $100. Visit

www.americanshakespearecenter.com.

BRAVE SPIRITS THEATRE’S ONLINE STAGED READING FESTIVAL

Alexandria’s Brave Spirits Theatre, which puts a feminist twist on early modern English classics, is in the midst of a month-long staged reading festival celebrating the history plays from Shakespeare’s era and intended as a supplement to the company’s current two-year Shakespeare’s Histories project. By virtue of it being moved online due to COVID-19, the festival’s plays are being planned and performed not only by its ensemble cast but also by collaborators from across the world. Spanning historical events from 1199 to 1499, many of the plays provide sources for Shakespeare’s works and alternate versions of events and characters. The festival continues with The Famous Victories of Henry the Fifth, an anonymous Elizabethan work thought to be a source for Shakespeare’s “Henriad” history plays, to be directed by Kelly Elliott, on Monday, May 25; Edward the Fourth, Parts 1 and 2 by Thomas Heywood, directed by Claire Kimball, on Tuesday, May 26; The True Tragedy of Richard the Third, another anonymous Elizabethan play that may have influenced Shakespeare, which will be performed by the MFA class of Mary Baldwin University, on Monday, June 1; and Perkin Warbeck by John Ford and directed by Alasdair Hunter, on Tuesday, June 2. Streamed from www.youtube.com/bravespiritstheatre on Mondays and Tuesdays starting at 7:30 p.m. Free, but donations are welcome.

HOMEBOUND

Round House Theatre won’t reopen its recently renovated space in Bethesda until the fall season, 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 — building off what came before but written by a different area playwright. The first three weeks brought “Connect!,” a 12-minute episode written by humorist and Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri, followed by two 13-minute episodes, Karen Zacarías’ “Human Resources” with Ebrahimzadeh and introducing Alina Collins Maldonado as his HR manager, and Farah Lawal Harris’ “We Wear the Mask” with Wallace and introducing Chinna Palmer as his niece. The series continues with episode four, Liz Maestri’s “Together Alone,” returning us to Ebrahimzadeh in self-isolation and the virtual pursuit of genuine friendship with a character played by Jamie Smithson. Subsequent weeks will offer episodes from 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

The Mosaic Theater Company has taken to Zoom and Facebook for twice-weekly discussions with its artists and other experts on relevant topics, all directly or indirectly related to productions and events in the company’s upcoming Season 6. Next up is “A Creative Conversation about D.C.’s H Street Corridor,” a panel discussion facilitated by Mosaic’s Laley Lippard and featuring Derek Hyra of American University, Anwar Saleem of H Street Main Street, and pioneering neighborhood activist and benefactor Jane Lang, among others, on Friday, May 22; and “Season 6 Series: A Creative Conversation with the Artists of The Niceties” featuring playwright Eleanor Burgess, Angelisa Gillyard, and Naomi Jacobson, on Friday, May 29. All discussions start at 4 p.m. Still available for streaming is the Season 6 announcement, when artistic director Ari Roth unveiled the lineup for the season that starts up in the fall, followed by a live discussion and Q&A. Visit www.mosaictheater.org/alive.

MOLLY’S SALONS AT ARENA STAGE

Arena Stage is presenting 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 series continues with a salon featuring 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); a Disney’s Newsies reunion with actors Daniel J. Maldonado, Erin Weaver, and Joe Montoya (May 28); and an artistic director confab including Stephanie Ybarra of Baltimore Center Stage, Barry Edelstein of San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre, and Mark Clements of Milwaukee Repertory Theater joining Smith (6/4). The previous discussions in the series are also still available for streaming, with updates from choreographer Parker Esse, actors Nicholas Rodriguez and Edward Gero, playwrights Karen Zacarías and Craig Lucas, director Charles Randolph-Wright, singer-songwriter Mary McBride, and Maria Manuela Goyanes, artistic director of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, among others. 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 Aaron Posner (The Tempest: Classic Tale Magically Reimagined) on May 21 and Mfoniso Udofia (Sojourners) on May 28. You can also still view the seven previous discussions, including Martyna Majok (Cost of Living) on Conor McPherson’s The Weir, J.T. Rogers (Oslo) on Julius Caesar, and Sarah Ruhl (Stage Kiss) on Paula Vogel’s The Baltimore Waltz and Charles Mee’s Big Love. Visit www.roundhousetheatre.org/RHathome.

SIGNATURE STRONG

For its virtual programming offerings, Signature has been producing a discussion-centered series every Tuesday in addition to uploading short videos of standout numbers from past productions to its website. So far, the Shirlington-based theater company has presented seven episodes in a weekly #SigStrongLive series, varying in length from 40 to 60 minutes and available for viewing on its YouTube channel. Meanwhile, the #SignatureStrong series include two songs from the 2011 production of Chess starring Euan Morton, who gives a special message from his home; exclusive clips of Chita Rivera, who starred in the 2008 production of Kander & Ebb’s musical The Visit; Nova Y. Payton introducing a clip of her singing “I Am Changing” from the company’s 2010 production of Dreamgirls; and a clip of “Cool” from the company’s 2015 West Side Story, showcasing the classic choreography from Jerome Robbins as adapted by Parker Esse and performed by Max Clayton and other cast members. Visit www.sigtheatre.org.

SORDID LIVES: ALL-STAR LIVESTREAM BENEFIT PLAY READING

Beau Bridges, Bonnie Bedelia, Leslie Jordan, and Caroline Rhea are the headline names among a starry roster of performers participating in a special livestream reading to benefit 23 stage companies that have partnered with the newly established Del Shores Foundation and its mission to find and facilitate new southern queer artistic voices. The focus, of course, is on playwright Shores’ Sordid Lives, a 1996 “black comedy about white trash as a gay actor struggles to come out to his eccentric, dysfunctional Texas family.” Sordid Lives went on to inspire the cult-hit screen adaptation in 2000, the 2017 marriage-equality-themed sequel A Very Sordid Wedding, as well as LOGO’s prequel Sordid Lives: The Series. Produced and hosted by Shores with Emerson Collins, the one-night-only #SordidLiveStream will also feature appearances from Carson Kressley, Georgette Jones, Alec Mapa, Aleks Paunovic, David Steen, and Allison Tolman. Levi Kreis will perform, and a message to all will be dispensed by Olivia Newton-John. The artists are donating their time, with an auction of Sordid Lives memorabilia adding to the benefit. Sunday, May 31, at 8 p.m. on YouTube and Facebook. Visit www.delshoresfoundation.org.

Stars In the House

STARS IN THE HOUSE

Since March, Seth Rudetsky, the afternoon Broadway host on SiriusXM Radio, and his husband, Broadway producer James Wesley, have been conducting two livestreamed discussions a day as a benefit for The Actors Fund and its services, with plans to keep going until the Great White Way reopens. The announced lineup for upcoming shows include a benefit for New York foster care charity You Gotta Believe with Kerry Butler, Willie Garson, Luke Islam, Anika Larsen, Beth Malone, and Alec Mapa, on “Variety Thursday,” May 21, at 8 p.m.; An Evening with Chita Rivera and Friends on Saturday, May 23, at 8 p.m.; and Guest Host Laura Benanti & Friends on Monday, May 25, at 2 p.m. Highlights among the more than 100 past episodes, all of which can be viewed on on the Actors Fund YouTube channel, include reunions with cast members from hit TV shows Dallas, Desperate Housewives, Frasier, Glee, and Smash, plus discussion with cast members from Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood and Hulu’s Difficult People, reunions with the original Broadway casts of Les Misérables, Spring Awakening, Fun Home, and Urinetown, individual appearances by performers Kristen Chenoweth, Judith Light, Gavin Creel, Billy Porter, Varla Jean Merman, Randy Rainbow, and Matt Bomer and playwright/composers Jason Robert Brown, Benj Pasek & Justin Paul, and Marc Shaiman, plus castmates from West Side Story, The Rink, and The Visit as part of previous “Chita Rivera and Friends” discussions. Livestreamed daily at 2 and 8 p.m. Visit www.starsinthehouse.com.

THE SHAKESPEARE HOUR

Simon Godwin, the newly installed artistic director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company, and his creative crew have devised virtual solutions to keep audiences engaged during the region’s “stay-at-home” confinement. Chief among these, a weekly videocast that finds the director and dramaturg Drew Lichtenberg in conversation with various theatrical luminaries discussing Shakespearean works. Extended through June 10, the upcoming lineup includes “Identity & Ambiguity” with Michael Urie exploring the mysteries of gender identity and sexuality as portrayed in Twelfth Night and As You Like It, on May 27; “Democracy & Empire” with James Shapiro of Columbia University discussing self-rule and sovereignty as depicted in Julius Caesar and Antony & Cleopatra, respectively, on June 3; and “Marriage & Mistrust,” focused on Othello and Much Ado About Nothing and featuring a guest artist to be determined, on June 10. Tickets are $10 for non-STC members. Visit www.shakespearetheatre.org/events/the-shakespeare-hour.

Sarah Shook — Photo: Cowtownchad

MUSIC

APO JUKEBOX: THE BEST OF THE AMERICAN POPS

Luke Frazier of the American Pops Orchestra will be accompanied by director Kelly D’Amboise in a virtual event reliving favorite moments from past APO productions including The Music of Jerry Herman, Let’s Misbehave: Cole Porter After Dark, You’ve Got a Friend: Singer-Songwriter, and Coat of Many Colors: The Music of Dolly Parton. Even better, they’ll be joined by many of the featured guest stars, all logging in for virtual visits offering performance insights and answering audience questions. The lineup includes Claybourne Elder, Nova Y. Payton, Alexis Michelle, Mauricio Martinez, Garret Clayton, Neyla Pekarek, MILCK, Kodiak Thompson, and Ally Dods. The whole event is a benefit to support the orchestra’s various outreach efforts during COVID-19, including the APO Kids Club initiative delivering free music kits to area food banks intended for families with young children. Ticket-holders and those who register for the show on Eventbrite.com will receive the private streaming link 24 hours prior to its launch. Saturday, May 30, at 8 p.m. Tickets are by donation, with suggested general admission costing $20 plus fees. Visit www.theamericanpops.org.

KENNEDY CENTER COUCH CONCERTS

The Kennedy Center presents a free Millennium Stage concert every night at 6 p.m. under normal circumstances — that is, when the large campus is open to the public. Until it can reopen post-pandemic, the organization is offering Couch Concerts livestreamed direct from artists’ homes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 4 p.m. Even better, all past Millennium Stage and #KCCouchConcerts remain online for streaming anytime — a treasure trove that includes recent livestreams including the double bill of Kennedy Center Hip-Hop Advisory Council member Kokayi and up-and-coming local five-piece band Oh He Dead, and the Washington Women in Jazz Festival Showcase with Amy K Bormet, Christie Dasheill, and Nicole Saphos; plus recent Millennium Stage Encore shows from the 2013 concert by ’90s hit-making hip-hop group Arrested Development to the 2019 “Wind Me Up Chuck!” special tribute to the late godfather of go-go and featuring his namesake outfit The Chuck Brown Band, or from the 2018 concert by the four-part-harmony-focused Australian indie-folk band All Our Exes Live in Texas, to the 2019 concert featuring Mexican starlet and past Best New Artist Latin Grammy Awardee Gaby Moreno. Visit www.kennedy-center.org/whats-on/millennium-stage/couch-concerts.

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, includes Turandot, Puccini’s epic romance brought to life just last fall in a tribute to the late, great director Franco Zeffirelli as conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and starring Christine Goerke as the titular princess, on Thursday, May 21; a 1978 take on Mozart’s Don Giovanni featuring opera star Joan Sutherland, on Friday, May 22; and closing out the weekend with two French masterpieces, starting with the 2011 dreamlike, contemporary reimagining of Gounod’s Faust from Tony-winning Broadway director Des McAnuff in his Met Opera debut, on Saturday, May 23, and ending with Massenet’s Manon as seen in Laurent Pelly’s Impressionism-inspired, Belle Époque production from 2012 starring soprano Anna Netrebko as the irresistible ingénue whose feminine wiles are so overpowering as to be deemed a threat to society, on Sunday, May 24. Visit www.metopera.org.

OPERA PHILADELPHIA’S DIGITAL FESTIVAL O

With its season cut short due to COVID-19, Opera Philadelphia, touted by the New York Times as “a hotbed of opera innovation,” is another preeminent arts organization that has taken up the digital mantle by making streams available of past productions — in this case, as an attempt to raise $4 million by May 31 so the company can move forward with plans for its 2020-21 season. The digital streaming festival features video streams of five hit productions, including four recent world premieres. The festival continues with Sky on Swings, the 2018 chamber opera with an unflinching yet uplifting exploration of Alzheimer’s disease from composer Lembit Beecher and librettist Hannah Moscovitch and starring mezzo-sopranos Marietta Simpson and Frederica von Stade, on May 22; and Breaking the Waves, a 2016 adaptation of the Lars von Trier film from composer Missy Mazzoli, librettist Royce Vavrek, and director James Darrah, on May 29. Special opening-night content for each production includes pre-show interviews with featured artists. Also currently streaming: the online premiere of composer Daniel Bernard Roumain and librettist Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s We Shall Not Be Moved, a hit 2017 production directed by Bill T. Jones that returns as a way to also commemorate the 35th anniversary of the deadly bombing of West Philadelphia’s MOVE compound, where the opera takes place. The productions remain online and on-demand for varying lengths of time through August 31. Visit www.operaphila.org.

#PEARLSTREETLIVE CONCERT RECORDINGS, INCLUDING OH HE DEAD

Although live, in-person concerts remain on indefinite hiatus during COVID-19, Pearl Street Warehouse has been presenting the occasional concert livestream to its YouTube channel. The upcoming schedule includes live concerts from Sarah Shook on Friday, May 22, at 7 p.m., and Sean Della Croce on Thursday, May 28, at 8 p.m. Yet #PearlStreetLive is also home to roughly a dozen recorded performances posted over the past month. Most of these are the kind of intimate and acoustic no-frills, at-home hour-long shows you’d expect from indie artists in quarantine, including singing guitarists Tim Cook from The Subdudes, Naseem Khuri of Kingsley Flood, and Brennley Brown. Yet one outlier is a concert fortuitously recorded at the venue last year, capturing the first hour of the New Year’s Eve performance by Oh He Dead. The D.C.-based band’s amusing name captures the playfully wry and passionate sensibility of this group on the rise, a “rock ‘n’ soul band” distinguished by the vocal harmonies of founding members Cynthia “C.J.” Johnson and Andrew Valenti. Call 202-380-9620 or visit www.pearlstreetwarehouse.com.

SARAH SHOOK

A self-defined “vegan, bisexual, atheist mom in a country band from the south,” the North Carolina-based singer-songwriter performed with her band the Disarmers in February of 2019 at Pearl Street Warehouse. Now, the intimate Wharf venue welcomes back Shook for a Memorial Day weekend kickoff show — a virtual one, that is. Expect to hear some of the great songs and themes from Years, Shook’s latest album focused on overcoming challenges and accepting our differences, at this free live concert part of the series posted to the #PearlStreetLive YouTube channel. Friday, May 22, at 7 p.m. Call 202-380-9620 or visit www.pearlstreetwarehouse.com.

STRATHMORE’S LIVE FROM THE LIVING ROOM: AYO, FREDERIC YONNET

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 urban jazz harmonicist Frédéric Yonnet (May 27), while recordings of past concerts in the series remain available on the Facebook page @StrathmoreArts, among them: Christian Douglas, a budding pop artist and theater artist who most recently performed in the ensembles of Arena Stage’s Newsies and Signature Theatre’s Gun & Powder; Mark G. Meadows, another well-known local theater pianist and vocalist; Niccolo Seligmann, a gay artist merging the sounds of obscure folk instruments with early classical music; Christylez Bacon, the celebrated Grammy-nominated progressive hip-hop artist and multi-instrumentalist; and the Bumper Jackson Duo, Jess Eliot Myhre and Chris Ousley’s American roots project merging country and jazz. Call 301-581-5100 or visit www.strathmore.org.

WASHINGTON REVELS

Although best known for its flagship production the Christmas Revels, the Washington Revels stages shows and engages its diverse community of participants in other activities throughout the year, ranging from a Madrigal group to an African-American a capella group. They’re currently offering several virtual events that anyone can join, whether as an active participant or an engaged observer. There’s the monthly “Community Sing” event, a co-partnership with Carpe Diem Arts and in-kind support from Takoma Radio, held on the 21st of every month, with the event that kicks off at 6:30 p.m. this Thursday, May 21, focused on spring songs and sentiments, plus recognition of May as Asian Pacific Heritage Month and also home to Mother’s Day. In addition, there’s the Daily Antidotes of Song, in which a guest song leader guides participants in a sing-along every day at noon. The guests next week include Lea Morris with “When I Rise,” Reggie Harris with “This Joy,” and Lilo Gonzalez and “Somos El Barco,” with new songs in the queue from British folk artist Peggy Seeger, Mark Jaster and Sabrina Mandell of acclaimed devised troupe Happenstance Theatre, Michael Doucet of Beausoleil, and Ysaye Barnwell formerly of Sweet Honey in the Rock, among others. All events take place on Facebook Live. Free, but donations of at least $5 are requested to support Revels performers and guest song leaders during the pandemic. Visit www.RevelsDC.org.

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. Dancers Luz San Miguel and David Hovhannisyan showcase contemporary ballet partnering on May 26. Sessions are free, although donations are invited, and open to those who request the Zoom link by noon on the day-of with an email to RSVP@chamberdance.org. For more information visit www.chamberdance.org.

DANCEAFRICA DC: 33RD ANNIVERSARY

Every year Dance Place hosts an annual celebration paying tribute to the vibrancy of African heritage through dance, music, visual arts, food, clothing, and crafts. For its 33rd presentation, the festival goes virtual with livestreamed master classes and performances, daily greetings from DanceAfrica, a virtual marketplace, and interactive clips from Oral History interviews. Although exact details are still to be announced, the festival will kickoff on Tuesday, May 26, and run through Friday, May 29. Visit www.danceplace.org.

COMEDY

TIGHT 5 LOOSE 5: A VIRTUAL SHOW

Working to bring the funny to Zoom is the D.C. Comedy Loft with a show featuring comics, all regulars at the venue’s intimate space near Dupont Circle. The premise: five comedians performing five minutes of old jokes followed by five minutes of new. The lineup for the next scheduled shows feature Jackie Fabulous, Kelsey Cook, Hannah Dickinson, Kasaun Wilson, and host Blaire Postman, on Sunday, May 24, at 8 p.m.; and Billy Sorrell, Ever Mainard, Tommy Taylor Jr., and “a surprise guest,” plus host Postman, on Sunday, May 31, at 8 p.m. The private Zoom link will be emailed to ticket-holders the day-of. Tickets are $5, with a portion of sales going to the Comedy Loft Employee Lay Off Fund. Call 202-293-1887 or visit www-dccomedyloft-com.seatengine.com/shows/125909.

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 the nonprofits Martha’s Table and MedStar Health, 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.

ART & 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.

HILL CENTER GALLERIES: REGIONAL JURIED EXHIBITION

Over the years, this exhibition, featuring works in various mediums and subjects, has grown to include 85 artists from D.C., Virginia, and Maryland. This year’s juror is Myrtis Bedolla, owner of Baltimore’s Galerie Myrtis. Bedolla selected 94 pieces of original hanging work, in any medium, submitted by 85 artists, all of which was moved online, giving it a longer shelf life than usual. Linda Lowery’s Aya was awarded 1st Place, while Jim Haller’s Triptych came in 2nd and Sally Canzoneri’s DC Stores: 1942 and 2014, 3rd. Honorable Mentions: Kasse Andrews-Weller (In The Beginning Quilt…), Sean Dudley (Dukochanmon), Chris Hanson (Early Morning Walk), David Harris (Thorny Issues), Maria Illingworth (Rosie), James Klumpner (#57), Sharon Malley (School Churns), Khanh Nguyen (Porcelain III), Felicia Reed (Choices), and Glenn Strachan (Woman in Recline, Siem Reap, Cambodia). To begin the buying process or to inquire about specific artwork, contact Galleries@HillCenterDC.org or visit www.hillcenterdc.org/artist/2020-regional-juried-exhibition.

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.

TRUE TO NATURE: OPEN-AIR PAINTING IN EUROPE VIRTUAL TOUR

Open-air painting was a core practice for emerging artists in Europe in the late 18th- and early 19th-centuries, and those artists skilled at quickly capturing effects of light and atmosphere often went to great lengths to capture breathtaking sites in person, from the Baltic coast to the Swiss alps to the ruins of Rome. The National Gallery of Art organized this exhibition of roughly 100 oil sketches by intrepid artists from the period, including Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, John Constable, Simon Denis, Jules Coignet, and André Giroux. While the temporary exhibition’s run was cut short due to COVID-19, the gallery has worked to create a digital version by virtue of a dynamic virtual tour allowing users to zoom in on the works as well as click to read the wall texts and artist biographies. Supplemental materials available online include A Curator’s Quick Tour, or highlights as presented by curator Mary Morton; an Introduction to the Exhibition lecture from Morton, the head of French paintings at the National Gallery, in conversation with Jane Munro of Christ’s College, Cambridge, and private collector Alice Goldet; “Painting in the Open Air,” a conversation between artist Ann Lofquist and Morton; and “Weather in Art: From Symbol to Science,” a lecture from the National Gallery’s art historian David Gariff. Although available on mobile, the tour is best viewed on desktop or tablet. Visit www.nga.gov/features/true-to-nature-virtual-tour.html.

WORDS TO ART SPRING 2020: ARLINGTON COMMUNITY ART PROJECT

Arlington Arts has been asking participants to post one word a week expressing their feelings and perception of COVID-19, which will then spur five area artists to select words to turn into original sketches to be shared on social media. Originally conceived by Sushmita Mazumdar in 2018 as a collaboration with bus drivers and Arlington’s Art on the ART Bus project, the relaunched 2020 version features work by Metro Weekly contributor David Amoroso, as well as Maribeth Egan, Kate Fleming, and MasPaz. Ultimately, though, anyone is encouraged to make and post artwork based on the submitted words and tagged #WordsToArtArlington. Closes Sunday, May 24. Visit www.arts.arlingtonva.us.

ABOVE & BEYOND

DIGITAL DRAG FEST 2020

Producer Entertainment Group and Stageit.com are presenting a series of online performances mostly featuring drag queens from the ranks of RuPaul’s Drag Race. The festival continues to feature a sizable contingent of queer celebrity creators in thirty-minute shows that “will never be recorded or re-released.” Most tickets cost $10 and sales are limited to roughly 100 transactions, “to keep audience sizes small and the experience intimate.” Upcoming highlights with ticket availability as of press time include: Candis Cayne (“Don’t Touch Me!”) on Thursday, May 21, at 9 p.m.; Alexis Michelle (“I Feel So Much Spring”) on Thursday, May 21, at 10 p.m.; Trinity The Tuck, Bob The Drag Queen, and Monét X Change (“Werk With Trinity The Tuck Podcast Live!”) on Friday, May 22, at 3:30 p.m.; Bob The Drag Queen (“Bob The Quarantine Queen”) on Saturday, May 23, at 1 p.m.; Jill Sobule (“The Original ‘Kissed a Girl’ Girl”) on Saturday, May 23, at 4 p.m.; Alaska (“Your Makeup Is Terrible: An Alaska Transformation”) on Saturday, May 23, at 8 p.m.; Jujubee (“Juju in the Closet”) on Sunday, May 24, at 2 p.m.; Johnny McGovern & Lady Red Couture hosting the Digital Drag Fest Awards Red Carpet Pre-Show & Interviews on Sunday, May 24, at 3 p.m.; The Digital Drag Fest Awards 2020 on Sunday, May 24, at 5 p.m.; the Boulet Brothers (“The Boulet Brothers Horror Picture Show”) on Sunday, May 24, at 9 and 10 p.m.; Sherry Vine (“Mama Feelgood”) on Thursday, May 28, at 9 p.m.; ’90s hitmaker Sophie B. Hawkins on Friday, May 29, at 7 p.m.; Jinkx Monsoon (“Jinkx Calls Her Friends”) on Friday, May 29, at 8 p.m.; Todrick Hall (“Todrick Hall Does Beyoncé”) on Friday, May 29, at 10 p.m.; and Laganja Estranja (“Up In Smoke”) on Friday, May 29, at 11 p.m. Visit www.digitaldragfest.com.


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As a free LGBTQ publication, Metro Weekly relies on advertising in order to bring you unique, high quality journalism, both online and in our weekly edition. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced many of our incredible advertisers to temporarily close their doors to protect staff and customers, and so we’re asking you, our readers, to help support Metro Weekly during this trying period. We appreciate anything you can do, and please keep reading us on the website and our new Digital Edition, released every Thursday and available for online reading or download.

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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