Virtual art listings for the week of June 15: Your 10 best bets for online events

CBC Arts has your weekly guide to all the things Canadian artists are doing to help us pass the time at home.

CBC Arts has your weekly guide to all the things Canadian artists are doing to help us pass the time at home

From Bidemi Oloyede's BL|ARCHIVE series. (Bidemi Oloyede)

During quarantine we've been missing concerts, theatre, dance, and all other sorts of live entertainment. While folks continue to remain physically distant, we've been putting together a list of the best live digital events happening each week across Canada. Below is our list for the dates of June 15th-22nd.

Engage with the powerful images of BL|ARCHIVE

In BL|ARCHIVE, emerging photographer Bidemi Oloyede uses street photography and studio portraiture to reframe and reckon with Black Canadian identity. Oloyede's stunning pictures offer viewers a glimpse of the world from the photographer's perspective, with his documentary style standing in for the inner dialogue between Oloyede and his subjects. At 24 years old, the Nigerian-born Toronto based artist has already proven himself an immense talent. Catch the digital exhibit of BL|ARCHIVE here to June 20th.

Push boundaries with CBC Arts presents Queer Pride Inside: A Buddies in Bad Times Cabaret

Pearle Harbour. (Graham Isador)

Update: this event has been moved to Wednesday, June 24th at 9pm ET. The folks at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre are teaming up with CBC Arts for a one-night queer extravaganza featuring some of the country's brightest queer performers in burlesque, drag, music and storytelling. With art from scene superstars like Tawiah Ben M'CarthyYovska, the Femmes FatalesGay Jesus, and the incomparable Pearle Harbour, the cabaret is sure to be an evening of boundary-pushing and absolutely wild expression. Get in on the fun and find all details here.

Celebrate Indigenous artists at the Indigenous Voices Awards

Established in 2017, The Indigenous Voices Awards support and nurture the work of Indigenous writers in lands claimed by Canada. The nominees and winners represent some of the most important writing happening across the continent, with vital voices creating material in Indigenous languages, French, and English. This year's gala is hosted by ktunaxa poet Smokii Sumac and features readings and stories from nominees. You can watch The Indigenous Voices Awards Sunday, June 21st, National Indigenous Peoples Day, at 4pm PT (7pm ET). Details can be found here.

Learn to DJ with Chippy Nonstop

Chippy Nonstop is an internationally acclaimed DJ, rapper, songwriter, and musician who was born in Dubai, grew up in Zambia, and has lived in cities across the world. Currently residing in Toronto, she has been a leader in the local music community, pushing boundaries with her own work and championing underrepresented creators in the electronic scene. On Wednesday, June 17th at 7pm ET, she'll be teaching a workshop on how to get started as a DJ called Intersessions by Chippy Nonstop on Pride Toronto's Twitch channel.

Strip down with Boylesque TO

Earlier this week, Boylesque TO released a statement acknowledging how the group — which does not currently feature any Black members — have benefited from Black artists, Black art, and Black labour. They also noted how the burlesque scene has often glorified insensitive and racists behaviour. So for their next scheduled performance with Glad Day TV, the troupe have decided not to perform themselves and instead use their platform to highlight Black artists in the scene. On Tuesday, June 16th at 8:30pm ET, catch numbers by Mahogany Storm, Zyra Lee Vanity, Ivory, Kage Wolfe, Ocean Giovanni, and Obskyura. Hosted by the fabulous Ryan G. Hinds, the show is sure to be a blast. Proceeds from the performance are being donated to Black Legal Action Centre.

Watch Vancouver's art scene respond to the pandemic

Vancouver's Upintheair Theatre usually presents the Revolver festival at The Cultch every May. The festival features both local and national artists offering adventurous, high energy, and sophisticated new work, showcasing emerging and mid-career talent who bring their boldest ideas to life in a theatrical setting. This year's Revolver was cancelled due to the pandemic, but in its place Up in The Air are offering e-Volver,  nine digital performances responding to the isolation caused by COVID-19.  Highlights include Strangers on the 'Net — an immersive digital roleplay experience where audience members are invited to a chatroom in 1999 created by Montreal artists Soft Chaos — and House of Rice: In Rice-olation, a digital art drag show talking about experiences being both queer and Asian in Vancouver (produced by Canada's a Drag album Shay Dior). The festival starts Thursday, June 18th with events happening daily. Check their schedule for performance times.

Get writing tips from one of Canada's most beloved playwrights

Michael Healy. (Graham Isador)

Each week, Edmonton's Citadel Theatre has been hosting masterclasses with top theatre talent from around the globe. This week, the company is hosting esteemed playwright and noted Twitter personality Michael Healey. Healey — best known for his smash hit play The Drawer Boy — will be walking viewers through common missteps people make while writing plays and riffing on the advantages actors have writing plays over non-actors. Healey has been one of Canada's most thoughtful, comedic, and inquisitive artists for decades. Learn from the master Monday, June 15th at 1pm MT (3pm ET) at this link

See the Group of Seven in a new light on a guided exhibition

On Wednesday, June 17th at 12:30pm ET, The McMichael Canadian Art Collection of Kleinburg, Ontario will be hosting an hour-long guided tour spotlighting work by the Group of Seven. "A Like Vision": The Group of Seven at 100 celebrates a centenary since the esteemed Canadian artists' first exhibition and contextualizes their work for modern audiences. During the guided tour, expert McMichael Docent walks audiences through old favourites and new surprises from The Group's paintings. Audience sizes are kept extremely small to allow for questions. All information can be found here.

Take in some live jazz with Jazz Niagara

In place of their usual concerts, Jazz Niagara has been live-streaming performances directly to your devices, with recent spirited performances from the likes of esteemed Toronto pianist Thompson Egbo-Egbo and dynamic Vancouver vocalist Jillian Lebeck. This week, they'll keep things going with appearances from guitarist Greg Rodman on Friday, June 19th and pianist and composer Chris Gestrin on Saturday, June 20th. Both performances start at 7pm ET and more details can be found here.

Join a street dance workshop with Bboyizm

Founded in 2004 by dancer/choreographer Crazy Smooth, Bboyizm is Canada's premier street dance company. During the month of June, they've been holding weekly street dance workshops with performers Crazy Smooth and Melly Mel walking participants through a series of moves. Bboyizm's motto of "Dance to express! Not to impress!" means that all dancers can have fun and participate regardless of their skill level.  The next session happens Wednesday, June 17th at 11am ET. You can find more information at this link.

CBC Arts understands that this is an incredibly difficult time for artists and arts organizations across this country. We will do our best to provide valuable information, share inspiring stories of communities rising up and make us all feel as (virtually) connected as possible as we get through this together. If there's something you think we should be talking about, let us know by emailing us at See more of our COVID-related coverage here.


Graham Isador is a writer and theatre creator based out of Toronto. He trained as a part of the playwright unit at Soulpepper Theatre. Isador's work has appeared at VICE, The Risk Podcast, and the punk rock satire site The Hard Times, among other places.

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