ROAR — AFI Silver Theatre: Virtual Screening
THE AFI VIRTUAL SCREENING ROOM
You may not be able to go to The AFI Silver in person at the moment, so they’re bringing the movies to you. The theater currently has several great streaming selections including Beyond the Visible-Hilma Af Klint, Halina Dyrschka’s course-correcting documentary about an abstract artist way ahead of her time who had been all-but-forgotten to art history due to patriarchal and capitalistic notions of artistic progress and value ($12 for a five-day streaming period on Vimeo); 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” ($12 for a five-day stream); Roar, the infamous (for all the wrong reasons) 1981 action-comedy, set in the African plains and starring Tippi Hedren and her family, including daughter Melanie Griffith, and a pack of wild lions who attack them as they battle for dominance ($9.99 for a one-week stream); The Dog Doc, a documentary filmed in a veterinary clinic ($12 for a three-day stream); and Best of CatVideoFest: Creature Comforts Edition, a new collection of feline-centric short films from the popular series, offered in a pay-what-you-want screening. Ticket purchases benefit the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, with additional support to independent filmmaking and distribution. Visit www.afi.com/Silver.
ALAMO-AT-HOME: VIRTUAL CINEMA OFFERINGS
While its physical cinemas remain closed, including its two locations in Northern Virginia, the arthouse film chain has put together a package of virtual streaming offerings that are as eccentric as they come. The lineup includes: a new 2K preservation of Keith Li’s 1982 gross-out classic Centipede Horror, a Hong Kong Category III horror movie never released on home video in the U.S., about a brother whose investigation into his sister’s mysterious death while on vacation leads to the discovery of a family curse and battles with wizards and lots of creepy crawlies (available for $7.75 for a one-week streaming period); 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,” ($12 for a 48-hour stream); Drug Stories, a compilation from the American Genre Film Archive (AGFA) featuring many of the U.S. government’s “classroom scare films,” attempting to warn kids about the dangers of illicit substances by showing spiders on speed and animated LSD tabs, plus straight talk from Florrie Fisher, all as wildly entertaining as they were ineffective ($4.20 for a one-week stream); and the related Reefer Madness, the preposterous propaganda film from 1936 that has become a cult classic among stoners and movie aficionados, presented in a restored 2K offering from AGFA with additional features including vintage trailers, commercials, and reefer ephemera ($4.20 for one-week stream). All tickets purchased benefit the arthouse film chain as well as featured filmmakers. Visit www.drafthouse.com/alamo-at-home.
LEONARDO: THE WORKS
Every single painting attributed to the world’s most famous artist, never seen before in a single film. That’s the premise behind Phil Grabsky’s documentary, originally released last year to mark the 500th anniversary of da Vinci’s death. Presented as part of the Exhibition On Screen series of documentaries about classic Western art and artists, Leonardo: The Works displays in Ultra HD The Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, Lady with an Ermine, Madonna Litta, and more than a dozen other artworks. Having screened the documentary last fall, the Avalon Theatre now offers it for at-home streaming via Vimeo. Tickets are $12 for a 24-hour streaming period, with all profits equally shared between the nonprofit theater and the film’s distributor, Seventh Art Productions. Call 202-966-6000 or visit www.theavalon.org/films/leonardo-the-works.
Matt Wolf’s new documentary concerns Biosphere 2, the replica of Earth’s ecosystem launched in 1991 by a group of “unconventional visionaries” who spent two years quarantined inside as an experiment in self-contained ecological sustainability. Wolf was drawn to the bizarre, true, stranger-than-fiction story in part because of how much media attention the experiment drew at the time, and even more how such a remarkable story was able to fade into the level of obscurity it faces today: barely remembered, hardly discussed, mostly unknown (with the possible exception of Bio-Dome, the 1996 comedy featuring Pauly Shore and Stephen Baldwin). All the more so given that its inventors and participants are still alive. This forgotten bit of history, according to the official synopsis, serves as “both a cautionary tale and a hopeful lesson of how a small group of dreamers can potentially reimagine a new world.” The Avalon Theatre is one among many venues around the country that will benefit by offering customers a link to screen the documentary, distributed by NEON. Streaming begins Friday, May 8. Visit www.theavalon.org/films/spaceship-earth.
In The Heights Cast — Photo:Teresa Wood
1ST STAGE: VIRTUAL COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS SERIES
With the COVID-19 pandemic keeping stages dark for a third month, Virginia’s 1st Stage becomes another area theater company taking to Zoom to connect artists with patrons and keep everyone interested and engaged in its work. The multi-Helen Hayes Award-winning troupe’s new weekly series kicks off with a “Meet the Staff” introductory event featuring the artistic and managerial staff this Saturday, May 9, then continues with: “Artistic Directors in Conversation” featuring the company’s artistic directors, past and present, discussing their history and creative process, on May 16; “Performers in Quarantine,” focused on actors from the upcoming production of the gay-themed show The Nance sharing their experiences during the shutdown, on May 23; “How 1st Stage Develops New Work,” featuring the creative forces behind some of the shows that have premiered at the company, 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,” focused on how arts and cultural organizations in the area have weathered COVID-19 and what they have coming up, 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
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 evening — building off what came before but written by a different area playwright. Launched with “Connect!,” a 12-minute episode written by humorist and Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri, the series continues this week with “Episode Two: Human Resources,” a 13-minute episode written by Karen Zacarías and featuring Ebrahimzadeh and Alina Collins Maldonado. Subsequent weeks will offer episodes from 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.
Vanessa Hudgens — Photo: Teresa Wood
KENNEDY CENTER’S IN THE HEIGHTS
This week started with the sad yet not exactly surprising news that the Kennedy Center’s sold-out summer run of Hamilton is being postponed to a later period of time, still to be determined. It could end on a much happier note while still in the key of Lin-Manuel Miranda, should you choose to stream highlights from the semi-stage concert performance of his first Tony-winning Broadway musical. Presented as part of the Kennedy Center’s Broadway Center Stage series of pared down, actor-centered productions, this In The Heights, from 2018, features a large cast led by Vanessa Hudgens (Gigi), Anthony Ramos (from the original cast of Hamilton), J. Quinton Johnson (also from Hamilton), Ana Villafañe (On Your Feet!), and Eden Espinosa (Wicked), all directed and choreographed by Stephanie Klemons, an original cast member and assistant dance captain of In The Heights on Broadway who also served as associate choreographer for Hamilton. It is uplifting, joyous, and remarkable to behold. There’s a ton of other material up on the site as well! Go nuts! Visit www.kennedy-center.org/video/digital-stage.
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, all directly or indirectly related to productions and events in the company’s upcoming Season 6. Next up: “The Arts and the Struggle for Liberation: Making of The Till Trilogy,” a discussion focused on Ifa Bayeza’s The Till Trilogy, the world premiere of which has been rescheduled to close out Season 6 with a run next summer, on Friday, May 8, at 4 p.m.; “From Vision to Opening Night: The Director’s Process,” with details to be announced, set for Friday, May 15, at 4 p.m.; and “Peace Cafe: Peace, Resistance and Reconciliation,” focused on the life and legacy of Emmett Till as seen through the lens of Mosaic’s entire Encountering Emmett Series, on Monday, May 18 at 4 p.m. Still available for streaming is the Season 6 announcement from last Friday, 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
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 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). The previous four discussions in the series are also still available for streaming, with updates from choreographer Parker Esse, actors Nicholas Rodriguez and Edward Gero, playwright Karen Zacarías, and director Charles Randolph-Wright, among others. Visit www.arenastage.org/tickets/intermission.
PLAY AT HOME
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and Baltimore Center Stage are founding members of a small coalition of regional U.S. theaters formed in the wake of COVID-19 as an attempt to inspire and engage both professional artists as well as theater amateurs and novices — connected through the act of storytelling and performance. The “Play At Home” initiative features a growing series of plays under 10 minutes in length, created “specifically for this moment of unprecedented isolation, to inspire joy and connection for all.” Available as free downloads, the plays were written with the intimate setting of a private home in mind. The commissioned playwrights were also encouraged to think outside the box and allow for the inclusion of “elements that could not be reproduced for the stage.” The lineup includes Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi (The Diaz Family Talent Show), Aleshea Harris (If, Can, Mayhap), and Mike Lew (Performance Review), all specifically commissioned by Woolly Mammoth, Noah Diaz (House), Miranda Rose Hall (What Happened in the Kitchen), and Keenan Scott II (Strike) from Baltimore Center Stage, and Timothy Allen McDonald & Rob Rokicki (The Greatest 10 Minute Musical Ever Written!), a musical and reality TV show mashup from Jose Casas (Holyyyyyyy Hottttttt Cheetosssssss!!!!!!!) and Paige Hernandez (7th Street Echo), among those commissioned by the Kennedy Center with a focus on young audiences. Visit www.playathome.org.
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 Sarah Ruhl (Stage Kiss) discussing Paula Vogel’s The Baltimore Waltz, a darkly satirical play written at the height of the AIDS crisis, and Charles Mee’s Big Love, a “(re)making of Greek tragedy” exploring gender politics, on May 7, Tim J. Lord (“We declare you a terrorist…”) on May 14, Aaron Posner (The Tempest: Classic Tale Magically Reimagined) on May 21, and Mfoniso Udofia (Sojourners) on May 28. Visit www.roundhousetheatre.org/RHathome.
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.
City Winery Mother’s Day Concert: Rosanne Cash
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.
CITY WINERY’S MOTHER’S DAY CONCERT
City Winery New York is presenting a top-notch lineup that might actually please your mother. And because it’s a livestream, it’s also a concert you could consider watching (virtually) with mom on her special day even if you’ll be physically distant or apart. Inspired by Billy Bragg’s “Can’t Be There Today,” a new song that touches on the emotional costs of the COVID-19 pandemic, the concert, Sunday, May 10 at 5 p.m. EST on YouTube, is geared as a musical celebration of mothers. The event will feature performances by Bragg and the City Winery All-Stars along with Roseanne Cash, Richard Thompson, the Indigo Girls, Rufus Wainwright, Loudon Wainwright, Mary Chapin Carpenter, the Mountain Goats, Shovels & Rope, Steve Earle, Joan Osborne, Todd Snider, KT Tunstall, Joseph Arthur, Stella Donnelly, Fink, Amy Helm, and Jorma Kaukonen. And if that’s not enough, organizers promise “additional artists to be announced.” Rita Houston of New York’s WFUV Public Radio will host. The concert benefits the United Nations Foundation and its work in addressing sexual and reproductive health and rights during COVID-19. Tickets are $10 for a viewing link to be sent two hours in advance. Visit www.citywinery.com/newyork.
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 2011 staging of Richard Strauss’ final opera Capriccio, a philosophical drawing room dramedy subtitled “a conversation piece for music” and starring Renée Fleming on Thursday, May 7; the 1977 production of Puccini’s La Bohème starring operatic supernovas Luciano Pavarotti and Renata Scotto and seen by millions of viewers tuning into the debut of PBS’ Live from the Met series of telecasts, on Friday, May 8; a screening of Susan Froemke’s 2017 documentary The Opera House, chronicling the building of the new Met at Lincoln Center and the long road to its opening in 1966, which streams on what would have been the last night of the Met’s 2019-20 season, Saturday, May 9; and Sir David McVicar’s 2015 double-bill of Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, two late-19th century one-act operas that were both scandalous in their day and remain as searing and soapy as opera gets, on Sunday, May 10. Visit www.metopera.org.
Barber of Seville
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, such as its 2020 International Opera Award-nominated production Denis & Katya, which is already streaming. The timely and immersive multimedia chamber opera by composer Philip Venables and librettist-director Ted Huffman was commissioned in collaboration with Music Theatre Wales and France’s Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier. Inspired by the true story of 15-year-old runaways Denis Muravyov and Katya Vlasova and their armed stand-off with Russian Special Forces that culminated in their own deaths, the recording of Denis & Katya features American baritone Theo Hoffman and German-American mezzo-soprano Siena Licht Miller. This Sunday, May 10, at 7 p.m., is 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 festival will continue with the online premieres of the company’s popular 2014 staging of The Barber of Seville on May 15; 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. The productions remain online and on-demand for varying lengths of time through August 31. Visit www.operaphila.org.
SIXTH & I’S LIVING ROOM SESSIONS: CAT JANICE, LAUREN CALVE
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. The upcoming lineup includes Cat Janice, a D.C.-based indie-pop/rock singer in the mold of Bishop Briggs and Alice Merton with additional inspiration from the band Portugal. The Man, on Friday, May 8; and Lauren Calve, a Northern Virginia Americana artist who is touted as “evoking Patty Griffin’s dynamic voice, Bonnie Raitt’s smoky aura, and Ben Harper’s slide style,” on Friday, May 15. Performances stream 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.
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 remaining lineup includes: a show focused on the 2013 set Broken Film on Friday, May 8; another featuring Rutstein’s “favorite covers” on Sunday, May 10; an all-requests concert on Thursday, May 14; a show focused on the 2016 double-CD LiVE at MAXiMAL recording from Rodgau, Germany, on Friday, May 15; another focused on her most recent album By My Silence, on Saturday, May 16; and concluding with a spotlight on Small House No Secrets, SONiA’s new musical co-developed with playwright Jody Nusholtz and previewed at last year’s Kennedy Center’s Page to Stage festival, on Sunday, May 17. All concerts are livestreamed at 2 p.m. and available afterwards at www.facebook.com/disappear.fear.
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 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). Fortunately, you can also access recordings of past concerts in the series 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; 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.
TOM GOSS: DANCING IN MY ROOM VIDEO PROJECT
The former D.C. resident and gay indie-pop artist Goss is grooving into new territory with a new single. “Dancing In My Room” is an upbeat synth-pop bop featuring fellow indie artists Natalie Jane, Max Emerson, and Sam Renascent, who raps in French. The song’s main video features all four artists plus a ragtag assortment of fans of all types and stripes from around the world, all dancing around their environs to relay the simple yet compelling message: you may be “stuck at home, but you’re not alone.” Goss launched the project with a built-in #AtHomeDisco challenge, encouraging others to create their own versions of the song and video; so far, another quartet of artists has created a version sung in Spanish with a rap in Mandarin, while a trio performs it in French with a Korean rap — in total, “11 artists of all ages and backgrounds across seven different countries and five continents. A reminder that we are not alone.” All proceeds from streams of the song and videos will benefit United Way Worldwide and its work in supporting community service organizations, which have been hit hard during COVID-19. Search for @tomgossmusic across social media platforms, or visit https://youtu.be/u9iDytpVHk0.
W-E-R-A-Palooza: Diane Scream at Songbyrd
W-E-R-A-PALOOZA VIRTUAL CONCERT
On Friday, May 8, many leading figures in the area’s indie-rock and folk scenes will perform from their living rooms and studios as part of a Spring Fund Drive to support local community media outlet Arlington Independent Media. Co-presented by AIM’s “Radio Arlington” channel WERA 96.7 FM, the virtual concert includes performances by Klezmer virtuoso Seth Kibel, Cathy D of RoseRiot, queer folk/pop artists Crys Matthews and Heather Mae, Rachel Levitin, Emma G, Dan Barry, Jasmine Gillison, Flo Anito, Cynthia Marie, Kaileen Marie of The Ferns, Jahnel Daliya, Jason Mendelson of Metrosongs, Luke James Shaffer, Cat Janice, Ms. Fridrich, Yellow Tie Guy, and Elizabeth II. Also the queer-led tribute act to music’s Talking Heads, named in parody of a real-life talking head, The Diane Scream Show, featuring lead singer and dulcimer player Christian Crowley and multi-instrumentalist Chris “Sea” Griffin. And D.C.’s sideshow girl Mab Just Mab hosts. Ticket-holders will be sent a link to the show in advance. The concert is from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $5; with additional support welcome, including tips to performers through virtual tip jars. Visit www.arlingtonmedia.org/w-e-r-palooza.
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. The series wraps up its original four-week run with a show Wednesday, May 13, at 8 p.m., with a likely guest performance from Chris Thile, among others to be announced and to appear as surprises. Meanwhile, the first three shows remain available for streaming, with guest performances from Billy Strings, Aubrie Sellers, Yola, Lee Ann Womack, the Watkins Family Hour, David Garza, Madison Cunningham, and cartoonist Matt Diffee in Episode 1; Ben Harper, Rodney Crowell, Sierra Hull, Margaret Glaspy and Julian Lage, Robert Ellis, and Matt the Electrician in Episode 2; and Caitlin Canty & Noam Pikelny, Avi Kaplan, Shakey Graves, Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O’Donovan, Jerry Douglas, Rhiannon Giddens & Francesco Turrisi, and comedian Jim Gaffigan in Episode 3. Visit www.thebluegrasssituation.com.
YMUSIC: TRUE TO NATURE-INSPIRED CONCERT
The extraordinary Brooklyn-based contemporary classical chamber ensemble yMusic had been scheduled to present a concert at the National Gallery of Art on April 19. The concert was planned in conjunction with the exhibition True to Nature: Open-Air Painting in Europe, 1780–1870. The museum has since posted exhibition resources online, and in turn, yMusic has also made the program it developed for the concert available online. See the light- and atmosphere-filled landscapes, seascapes, and skyscapes from the exhibition that inspired the ensemble, and hear the musical compositions the musicians have paired with these “en plein air” paintings — most of which are yMusic originals, with additional works by Gabriella Smith, Andrew Norman, Sufjan Stevens, and Caroline Shaw. The program is presented piece-by-piece through videos along with program notes from guest artistic director Kate Nordstrum. Visit www.liquidmusic.org/blog.
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. The lineup includes: Ballet master Julia Erickson, in a discussion about shifting from classical to contemporary ballet roles (May 12), and dancers Luz San Miguel and David Hovhannisyan offering a demonstration of classical ballet partnering (May 19), and then a demo of contemporary ballet partnering (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 with an email to RSVP@chamberdance.org. Call 202.499.2297 or visit www.chamberdance.org.
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 set for release this month. Visit www.ngcfddt.org/hiseyes.
THE OVERACHIEVERS COMEDY SHOW ONLINE
Touted as one of the top comedy shows in the country, The Overachievers moves to Zoom until the DC Improv can welcome people back into its subterranean laugh lair. The show is hosted by Martin Amini with music by DJ Bo, with the next edition featuring guests Matt Rife, a semi-finalist on NBC’s Bring The Funny who came to fame on MTV (Wild N Out, TRL reboot), and Mia Jackson, a semi-finalist on Season 9 of NBC’s Last Comic Standing who has appeared on Viceland and Inside Amy Schumer. Ticket-holders will be sent an email 30 minutes prior to showtime with instructions on how to log in to watch the show. (While on the DC Improv website, take a listen to “Living the Fairy Tales Vols. 1 and 2,” with comedic spins on the Brothers Grimm stories, including The Fisherman and His Wife as ready by Dylan Vattelana, and Hansel and Gretel as read by Rahmein Mostafavi.) Saturday, May 16, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5. Call 202-296-7008 or visit www.dcimprov.com/home/overachievers-online.html.
TIGHT 5 LOOSE 5: A VIRTUAL SHOW
Also 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 three scheduled shows: Neel Nanda, Natasha Pearl Hansen, and D.C.’s Dylan Vattelana, plus the show’s host, Comedy Loft regular Blaire Postman, and “a surprise guest” as the fifth entertainer, on Sunday, May 10; Felonious Munk, Mark Christopher Lawrence, Robin Montague, host Postman, and “a surprise guest,” on Sunday, May 17; and Jackie Fabulous, Hannah Dickinson, Kasaun Wilson, host Postman, and “a surprise guest,” on Sunday, May 24. Shows are at 8 p.m., with the Zoom link 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.
READINGS & DISCUSSIONS
AMY SPITALNICK: HATE OF PANDEMIC PROPORTIONS
The executive director of Integrity First for America (IFA) will discuss how far-right extremist groups are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to spread fear and hate online and off in conversation with Sixth and I’s Senior Rabbi Shira Stutman. In lieu of being able to meet in person, Spitalnick and Stutman will take to Zoom to highlight effective measures that can be taken to protect against extremist attacks. Also up for discussion: IFA’s groundbreaking lawsuit against the leaders of the white supremacist movement and the inciting of violence that erupted in the deadly altercation in Charlottesville in August of 2017. Wednesday, May 13, at 7 p.m. Free, with donations to support virtual programming appreciated; advance registration includes event link. Call 202-408-3100 or visit www.sixthandi.org.
JOHN MOE: THE HILARIOUS WORLD OF DEPRESSION
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and Sixth and I is doing its part for the cause by welcoming Moe, host of The Hilarious World of Depression podcast. Moe will also discuss his new book of the same name chronicling his journey with depression, followed by a conversation with Sean Doolittle, pitcher for the 2019 World Series-winning Washington Nationals, and Linda Holmes, host of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. Thursday, May 14, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 plus fees, or $32 plus fees for a signed copy of Moe’s book (to be mailed after the event), and include virtual access to the event. Call 202-408-3100 or visit www.sixthandi.org.
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.
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.
ART & EXHIBITS
ART TALK WITH SHANA KOHNSTAMM
A featured artist last summer at the 32nd Biennial Exhibition of the Creative Crafts Council at Strathmore, Shana Kohnstamm will discuss and demonstrate her art and its creation through felting, the ancient method of shaping and firming wool that she uses to make signature soft sculptures. Kohnstamm will give two Art Talks as part of the free virtual programming series from Strathmore this Friday, May 8 — one at 10:30 a.m. geared toward kids, the other at 4 p.m. for adults. Free but registration required for Zoom access. Call 301-581-5100 or visit www.strathmore.org.
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.
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.
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 SHOW MUST GO ON-LINE ART AUCTION
The W-E-R-A-palooza Virtual Concert is just one aspect of a Spring Fund Drive to help long-standing community media outlet Arlington Independent Media and WERA-FM make it through the COVID-19 shutdown. The campaign also includes an art auction featuring artworks donated by some of the area’s finest artists and craftspeople. Among items available for bidding: Paintings by Andrew Wodzianski, David Amoroso, and Michael Auger, photographs by Metro Weekly‘s Todd Franson and Jason Horowitz, block prints by Rosemary Felt Covey and JP Pineda, and needlepoint by Liz Martin. Also available: Virtual tarot readings, acupuncture sessions, pies by ACME Pie, a virtual art class/cocktail party with craftswomen Dawn Benedetto and Maribeth Egan, tickets to the Washington Ballet’s Nutcracker, and a recording session at Inner Ear Studio with punk veteran Don Zientara. The auction is open until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, May 10. Visit www.arlingtonmedia.org/show-must-go-line-fundraising-auction.
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. Continues to Sunday, May 24. Visit www.arts.arlingtonva.us.
ABOVE & BEYOND
DIGITAL DRAG FEST 2020
For over a month now, Producer Entertainment Group and Stageit.com have been presenting a series of online performances mostly featuring drag queens from the ranks of RuPaul’s Drag Race. The festival, which keeps getting extended, 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: Tammie Brown (“A Little Bit of Quarantined Tammie”) on Friday, May 8, at 9 p.m., and Friday, May 15, at 3 p.m.; Alaska (“Anus Album Show”) on Friday, May 8, at 10 p.m., Saturday, May 9, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, May 10, at 9 p.m.; Jinkx Monsoon (“Jinkx Monsoon Watches RPDR S12 EP11”) on Saturday, May 9, at 5 p.m.; Brandon Stansell (“Nothing But ’90s Country”) on Saturday, May 9, at 11 p.m.; Bob The Drag Queen (“Bob The Quarantine Queen”) on Sunday, May 10, at 4 p.m., and Sunday, May 17, at 2 p.m.; BenDeLaCreme (“Still Home After All These Years”) on Sunday, May 10, at 6 p.m., and Sunday, May 17, at 8 p.m.; Sherry Vine (“Sherry Vine 2051: A Drag Odyssey”) on Thursday, May 14, at 9 p.m.; Latrice Royale (“Eat It! (A Cooking Show)”) on Friday, May 15, at 5 p.m.; Darienne Lake (“A Reading (A Comedy Show)”) on Sunday, May 17, at 3 p.m.; Jackie Beat (“Beep Bop Boop!”) on Sunday, May 17, at 9 p.m.; Jill Sobule (“The Original Kissed a Girl Girl”) on Saturday, May 23, at 4 p.m.; The Digital Drag Fest Awards 2020 on Sunday, May 24, at 5 p.m.; and Bebe Zahara Benet (“New Album: Broken English“) on Friday, May 29, at 9 p.m. Visit www.digitaldragfest.com.
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, where it’s been extended to run to the second Saturday in May. 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 continues 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.