Metro Weekly

Out On the (Virtual) Town: Arts and entertainment highlights — May 28-June 3, 2020

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

One Small Step

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. The lineup of new titles this week include the past four annual Animation Show of Shows, curated collections featuring inspiring and profound shorts from the 17th through the 20th annual editions; Sasie Sealy’s Lucky Grandma, a hip Chinatown crime caper in which an ornery grandmother becomes embroiled in a gang war; Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s Blackfish, an emotionally wrenching documentary about an orca that killed several people while in captivity; and The Grey Fox, a 1982 revisionist western focused on an aging bandit and presented in a 4K restoration. 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,” 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 is 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

Among the new offerings to come on Friday, May 29, through the “Virtual Cinema” of the Avalon Theatre in Upper Northwest D.C. is Papicha, about an improbable fashion show an 18-year-old female student in Algeria puts together in spite of a rise in social conservatism during the height of the Algerian Civil War. Other Avalon offerings include 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, and 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 continues offering streams 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 available 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”; 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.

 

JXJ VIRTUAL CINEMA

The Edlavitch DCJCC has teamed up with independent film distributors for select screening runs of new releases and restorations of classics, with 50 percent of all proceeds going toward its new (but currently shuttered) cinema space Cafritz Hall. Highlights include Fourteen, about two adult women who have been close friends since middle school; Agnieszka Holland’s thriller Mr. Jones, focused on a young Welsh journalist working to uncover the truth about Hitler’s rise to power and Stalin’s Soviet propaganda machine pushing their “utopia” to the Western world; and Outdoors, about a couple intent on fleeing the city for a fresh start in the countryside who can’t move quickly enough to save their relationship. Tickets are $10 to $12 for multi-day screenings per film, with passes also available. Visit www.jxjdc.org/virtualcinema.

Sordid Lives

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 “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, naturally, moved everything online in the year of COVID-19. On the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, the organization unveiled its “latest work-in-progress, our new Internet home and archive.” New short plays are being added to the website every night until Sunday, May 31, as part of a celebratory, all-virtual festival. A reimagined and expanded version of ACT’s annual Black Pride showcase, Out & About offers 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, many of them playfully, provocatively titled. Early offerings include I’ll Show You Mine…If You Show Me Yours,” reenacted by Edwin Brown III and Darrell Johnson; Over Sex Ed, featuring Dolly Turner, Wilma Lynn Horton, and Abbey Asare-Bediako; The Tea… with August Bullock and Maggy Denise Lewis; and The OTHER One featuring Davon Harris and Jordan Brown. In addition to the “Now,” ACT offers, under the “Next” tab on its new website, a two-minute peek at a play now in production. Negotations focuses on an ominous, late-night encounter between two mysterious men, portrayed by Morgan Duncan and Maurice T. Olden. Visit https://a-act.org/.

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 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.

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.

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 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 True Tragedy of Richard the Third, an anonymous Elizabethan play that may have influenced Shakespeare and performed by Fireside Shakespeare Company in a production co-directed by Rosemary Armato and Sarah Duttlinger, on Monday, June 1; and Perkin Warbeck by John Ford (‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore), about a man who claims to be a lost descendant of the House of York and provokes a challenge from Henry VIII, on Tuesday, June 2. Performances stream from www.youtube.com/bravespiritstheatre on Mondays and Tuesdays starting at 7:30 p.m. Free, but donations are welcome. Visit www.bravespiritstheatre.com.

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 series kicked off with “Connect!,” a 12-minute episode written by humorist and Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri, and then continued with Karen Zacarías’ “Human Resources” featuring Ebrahimzadeh and introducing Alina Collins Maldonado as his HR manager, Farah Lawal Harris’ “We Wear the Mask” with Wallace and introducing Chinna Palmer as his niece, and Liz Maestri’s “Together Alone,” returning to Ebrahimzadeh in self-isolation and pursuing friendship with a character played by Jamie Smithson. The series has now reached its midway point with ‘Double Entendre,” a 12-minute work from Psalmayene 24 featuring Wallace on the phone with Yao Dogbe, portraying a colleague breaking the news of a life-changing decision in response to the pandemic and the state of the nation. Subsequent weeks will offer episodes from 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 “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, 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 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 (June 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.

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.

SPOOKY ACTION THEATER’S NEW WORKS IN ACTION: ONLINE READINGS

Spooky Action sets out to explore the online possibilities with its New Works in Action program, presenting free live streamed readings of four new plays, all one-time-only offerings on the company’s YouTube channel — that is, they will not be recorded for posterity and archived, so you snooze, you lose. Audiences are invited to stay afterwards for talkbacks with the actors, director, and playwright. The series continues with Matthew Kelly’s We Victorians, billed as a radical interrogation of power in the #MeToo era as a 21-year-old assistant files suit against a respected attorney in a collision of queer empowerment and old-school privilege, on Sunday, May 31; Jack Novack’s Transferal, about a woman who loses her partner in a plane crash and the parents who are trying to reconnect and move on, on Sunday, Jun 7; and Laura Shamas’ Circular, exploring what actually happened in combat between a soldier and her commanding officer, revealed gradually as part of the healing process, and portrayed by actors Lisa Hodsoll and Jonathan Holmes in a reading directed by Katherine Chase Bryer, on June 14. All performances at 3 p.m. Call 202-248-0301 or visit www.spookyaction.org.

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 Variety Thursday program with guests Mairi Dorman-Phaneuf, Rob McClure, and Anneliese van der Pol, on May 28, at 8 p.m.; an evening with Cheyenne Jackson on Friday, May 29, at 8 p.m.; and a reunion of the Falsettos original Off-Broadway cast with Stephen Bogardus, Janet Metz, Faith Prince, Michael Rupert, and Chip Zien, on Saturday, May 30, at 8 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 “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.

THEATER J’S ONLINE YIDDISH THEATER LAB READINGS

Online readings of two new plays will close out the third year of programming for Theater J’s signature Yiddish Theater Lab. Miriam, a commission from playwright Alix Sobler (Sheltered) that has been freely adapted from Peretz Hirschbein’s Miryam, will be livestreamed first, on Sunday, June 7, at 5 p.m., followed by Paula Prilutski’s One Of Those, adapted and translated by Allen Lewis Rickman, on June 18, at 5:30 p.m. Free, but registration for tickets required; the streams will continue on-demand for three days after the reading. Call 202-777-3210 or visit www.theaterj.org.

The American Pops Orchestra: APO Jukebox

MUSIC

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 the 2013 production of Berlioz’s Les Troyens starring Deborah Voigt, Susan Graham, Bryan Hymel, and Dwayne Croft, on Thursday, May 28; the 2009 production of Bellini’s La Sonnambula starring Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Flórez, presented as a “Viewer’s Choice” selection on Friday, May 29; Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, the 2018 production starring Pretty Yende, Matthew Polenzani, Davide Luciano, and Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, on Saturday, May 30; and Strauss’s Salome, the 2008 production starring Karita Mattila, Ildikó Komlósi, Kim Begley, Joseph Kaiser, and Juha Uusitalo, on Sunday, May 31. 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 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 a live concert from 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.

STRATHMORE’S 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 traditional bluegrass and roots musician Patrick McAvinue on June 3, the local gay multifaceted singer-songwriter Chris Urquiaga on June 10, the soulful D.C. queerpop singer-songwriter Be Steadwell on June 17, and innovative string player and international recording artist Chelsey Green on June 24. In addition, 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.

SUNSET SESSIONS AT THE PARK: LUKE JAMES SHAFFER

The Alexandria-based folk-pop singer-songwriter Luke James Shaffer is the next to get the virtual spotlight in a biweekly, five-event summer series being broadcast from the Great Lawn at the Parks at Walter Reed — in lieu of a live performance from the grassy knoll. Shaffer is expected to play selections from a forthcoming new album at his @TheParksDC concert, which will be livestreamed via Instagram on Sunday, June 7, at 5 p.m., and then featured on YouTube later. Visit https://theparksdc.com/events/sunset-sessions-at-the-parks/.

THE NORTH COUNTRY

Until it can once again host live events under the dome in its acoustically rich former synagogue space, Sixth and I has launched a Living Room Sessions series, co-presented by DCist, featuring select artists in free livestream performances from their homes. Next up in the series is Andrew Grossman, the bandleader, guitarist, and lead vocalist for D.C.’s The North Country, said to blend polyphonic psychedelia, classic American songwritership, and soulful indie-rock compositions. Friday, June 5, streaming from Sixth and I’s Facebook page starting at 4 p.m. Free, although both RSVPs and donations, which will be shared evenly among the venue and the featured artists, are appreciated. Call 202-408-3100 or visit www.sixthandi.org.

Whitney — Photo: Olivia Bee

WHITNEY

The young Chicago-based indie-folk band Whitney is gearing up to perform a livestreamed concert presented by independent concert venues around the country, including D.C.’s I.M.P. Productions (9:30 Club, the Anthem), and intended as a benefit for new trade group the National Independent Venue Association (www.nivassoc.org), formed in the wake of COVID-19 as a way to focus attention and assistance on these local entities as they struggle to reemerge once concerts can resume. Thursday, June 4, with stream starting at 7 p.m. (A 36-hour rebroadcast period will start at 11 p.m.) Tickets are $15 to $20. Visit www.noonchorus.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. Coburn Bruning leads “The Rise of Ballet in America,” an overview of the people, companies, and organizations that drove growth of the art form in the 20th century, with a discussion following the presentation on June 2. 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.

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 show features Billy Sorrell, Ever Mainard, Tommy Taylor Jr., and “a surprise guest,” plus host Blaire 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

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.

SPRING DREAMS VIRTUAL GALLERY

Gallery Underground, the visual arts space for the Arlington Artists Alliance and part of Crystal City’s Art Underground, goes virtual for its May art exhibit, a display of new, colorful works made while featured artists worked in isolation and created with the intention “to inspire and offer respite in current circumstances.” Spring Dreams features artworks in a range of subjects, styles, and media, from painting to glasswork, sculpture to mixed media. On display through May 31. Call 571-483-0652 or visit www.galleryunderground.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.

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 include: 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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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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