Virtual art listings for the week of June 22: 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

Pearle Harbour. (Graham Isador)

During the pandemic artists from across Canada have taken their work online, bringing live performances to the internet. Each week CBC Arts curates a list of our favourite live digital events, highlighting a diverse range of shows happening throughout the country. Check out our picks for the week of June 22nd below.

Settle in for a night of top-notch queer performance with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and CBC Arts

The folks at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre are teaming up with CBC Arts for a one-night extravaganza featuring some of the country's brightest queer performers in burlesque, drag, music and storytelling. Rescheduled from its original date, the performance happens Wednesday, June 24th at 9pm ET. With art from scene superstars like Tawiah Ben M'Carthy, Yovska, Les Femmes Fatales, Gay Jesus, and the incomparable Pearle Harbour, the cabaret is sure to be an evening of boundary-pushing expression. You can get in on the fun and find all the details here.

Witness Indigenous composer Cris Derksen fearlessly blend genres

On Friday, June 26th at 8pm ET, internationally acclaimed Indigenous cellist and composer Cris Derksen will perform a concert on Facebook Live for the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto. Derksen's music fearlessly blends genres, drawing influence from her classical training, Indigenous ancestry, and passion for eletronica to create a truly unique sound. The musician has performed across the globe, from Hong Kong to Sweden, and has collaborated with some of the country's most esteemed artists including Tanya Tagaq, Buffy Sainte Marie, and Naomi Klein. Derksen is a performer you don't want to miss.

Attend a panel about Black Women's contributions to the world of hip hop

On Thursday, June 25 at 2pm ET, join Keysha Freshh, DijahSB, Tracey Kayy and moderator Brittany "Exmiranda" Manu as they discuss their experiences as Black women within the male-dominated space of hip hop. The group is particularly interested in the intersections of race, sexuality, ability and gender in music. The panel is hosted by Myseum of Toronto, and later that evening the panelists will perform a concert on Myseum's Instagram. Details can be found here.

Listen to a conversation with Canadian comedy legend Colin Mochrie

Colin Mochrie is a living legend of Canadian comedy. While the performer rose to fame for his work on Whose Line Is It Anyway? and The Drew Carey Show, Mochrie honed his craft training with Vancouver's TheatreSports and Toronto's Second City. A beloved actor, improviser, and writer, Mochrie has used his talents to champion new performers and stand for causes he believes in. Listen to a conversation with the funny man on Friday, June 26th at 6:30pm ET. The chat is sponsored by The Canadian Women's Foundation.

Experience African storytelling with Jacqui Du Toit

Jacqui Du Toit is an internationally acclaimed actor, mover, and storyteller born in Kimberley, South Africa and now residing in Ottawa. She has become a mainstay in the city's art scene and is best known for her African storytelling with her company 8thGeneration Storytelling. On Thursday, June 25th at 11am ET, Du Toit will be performing a show called Once Upon a Time via Facebook Live. The performance is great for both kids and adults and promises to take audiences on "a journey to many, many, moons ago. Where lion learns to dance and hippo sings. Where we learn how the first story came to be and adventure begins." Details can be found here.

A Black queer dance party goes digital

This year, Blockorama celebrates its 22nd anniversary at Toronto's Pride. Curated and organized by the community collective Blackness Yes!, the event highlights Black queer and trans history, creativity, and resistance through music, art, and performance. This year's event happens Sunday, June 28th at 8pm ET on Twitch and will feature performances from DJ Pleasure, DJ Prestige, and Twysted Miyake-Mugler, among others.

Watch the Queer Youth Cabaret at Soulpepper

Queer Place, Queer Space is a virtual cabaret happening Thursday, June 25th at 7pm ET. The event features young queer performers, ages 14 to 30, who are using art to redefine notions of queer space. With many performers now in isolation, their typical artistic homes — theatres, cafes, workplaces, galleries — are no longer options for queer expression. Performers at the cabaret are responding to that isolation while simultaneously attempting to create new queer communities in quarantine. Under the guidance of artistic director Weyni Mengesha, Soulpepper Theatre has made a conscious effort to make space for underrepresented voices. At the cabaret, you're sure to find some of the best emerging queer talent from across Canada.

Witness some truly unique puppetry

On Saturday, June 27th at 7:30pm ET, the folks in Concrete Cabaret — a Toronto-based group curating works of  experimental puppetry and "performing objects" —will host an event titled EXQUISITE COLLABORATION. Participants have been asked to create a three-minute puppet/performing object show based on a randomly provided script and design. Each segment will be performed live or pre-recorded in one take. The show is sure to be a weird and imaginative night full of surprises.

Join Northcote for his "Open Mic"

Matt Goud, who plays under the moniker Northcote, is a Victoria-based singer/songwriter. Goud cut his teeth in aggressive hardcore bands as a teen, but has since evolved his sound to create a soulful blend of folk and Americana grounded by thoughtful lyrics and incredible vocals. During quarantine, Goud has been performing a weekly live show he's dubbed Open Mic via his Instagram where he performs songs and covers while chatting with the audience. The next show takes place Thursday, June 25th at 4pm PT.

Attend the Art Gallery of Ontario's panel on Anti-Black racism

On Wednesday, June 24th at 1pm ET, the Art Gallery of Ontario hosts Associate Curator Dr. Audrey Hudson as she moderates a roundtable discussion on anti-black racism. The talk will address how allyship can go further than solidarity statements and also touch on how we ensure wellness during challenging times. Panel participants include Freda Bizimana, Jayda Marley, Joy Martyr-Andre, Mosa McNeilly, Emmanuel Tabi, Sam Tecle, and Quentin VerCetty. Click here for more information about the event.

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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