Arts

Virtual art listings for the week of June 8: 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

Fatuma Adar. (Graham Isador)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, artists across Canada have been finding fresh and innovative ways to perform their work while remaining physically distanced from their audience. For the past few weeks CBC Arts has been curating a list of some of our favourite live-digital performances, spotlighting music, theatre, dance, visual art, and more that you can stream directly to your home. Below is our list for the dates of June 8th-15th.

Take a nap as an act of resistance

Fatuma Adar is a Somali-Canadian writer and performer based in Toronto. For the past few years, she's been working on Dixon Road — a strikingly ambitious musical about displacement and immigration — with Obsidian Theatre and The Musical Stage Company. In her downtime Adar has been churning out solo material. Using skills honed at The Bar Workshop at New York's prestigious Public Theatre, Adar writes smart and hilarious songs about topics ranging from the expectations put on "model minorities" to the intersections of mental health and trap music. Her latest track "Nap Anthem" celebrates naps as an act of resistance against burnout culture. The song plays equal parts Bo Burnham stand-up set and Pharrell Williams club jam. To celebrate the launch of the track, Adar is hosting a Slumber Party with Bad Dog Comedy TV. On June 9th at 9PM ET, Adar and her "Nap Anthem" collaborators Zeniba Now and Clear Mortifee will have a hilarious chat before premiering the video for the song. Hosted by Avery Jean Brennan, the Slumber Party is a perfect opportunity to get cozy, put on some pjs, and join in for some fun.

Learn new dance choreography with Axelle "Ebony" Munezero

Axelle Munezero is a world-renowned dancer, choreographer and teacher based out of Montreal. With her company Asymmetry, Munezero showcases the artistry of waacking, a form of dance with origins in the the queer disco scene of 1970 Los Angeles. Munezero's work is mesmerizing to watch. She's able to draw audiences in with an incredible sense of rhythm and pushes the boundaries of the shapes bodies can make. During the month of June, Munezero is sharing her skills and teaching choreography with the goal of using movement as a form of self-expression. The next class happens June 10th at 1pm ET. Details can be found here.

Listen to a talk about Black fatherhood and how to be a better ally with Casey Palmer

Casey Palmer blogs about parenthood, speaking with heart and humour about his experiences as Black father. Palmer's knack for articulating the everyday challenges and joys of being a dad make his work must-read material. On June 11th at 8pm ET, Palmer will be having a frank and illuminating conversation with fellow parent blogger Amy Worrell of Milk and Coco via Instagram. The two are taking questions about how non-Black people can be better allies to the Black community.

Reset your day with Necessary Angel

Between COVID-19 and the protests against anti-Black racism happening across North America and the rest of the world, many people are feeling overwhelmed right now. To combat that feeling, theatre company Necessary Angel has made their project The Stillness Room digital. Run by artistic director Alan Dilworth, The Stillness Room offers 15 minutes of calming meditation where audiences can focus on their breath and attempt to be present in a collective online environment. Sessions run Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:30pm ET.

Watch 24 hours of storytelling

On June 13th, Toronto's Replay Storytelling is teaming up with other storytelling groups across Canada and Internationally to bring audiences a 24-hour live-stream of true personal stories. Featuring over 100 performers ranging from top level comedians like Hisham Kelati to first-timers coached through their anecdotes, the day-long event shares tales around them theme "When the impossible becomes possible." Each local storytelling group will be donating ticket sales to a charity of their choosing. In Toronto, ticket sales will be going towards Black Lives Matter and Supporting our Youth (SOY). The 24 Hour Storytelling Festival is the brainchild of the charming and affable Paul Afalo and is sure to be a unique and memorable experience. (Full disclosure: the author of this article is doing a short set during the show.)

Check out world-class performances at Luminato

Since 2007, Luminato has been one of Toronto's premier festivals for arts and ideas. Since its inception the annual fest has hosted over 1,000 artists from 40 different countries and has commissioned over 80 new works of art. This year, Luminato is taking things online with visual art, music, theatre, films happening from June 11th-13th. Highlights from this year's offerings include THE REVELATION — a night of music, dance, and video installation with Les Femmes Fatales, a burlesque troupe composed of Black women, femmes and persons of colour — and a performance by incredible soprano Measha Brueggergosman dubbed The Singing Salmon: An Edible Performance with Measha Brueggergosman.

Experience the Festival of Live Digital Art

Join Kingston's SpiderWebShow for the Festival of Live Digital Art happening June 10th-13th on their website. This year, the curation behind the festival is centered around two main questions: how do we create live performances when we aren't able to be in the same room, and how do we create live performances that can address the impact of climate change? One show brilliantly offering answers for both questions is Alanna Mitchell's Field Notes From the Future. With the performance, Mitchell — an award-winning science journalist best known for her acclaimed play Sea Sick — brings her style of theatrical interview to chat with special guests about the current carbon crisis and what steps forward might be found in reflecting on the pandemic. Field Notes From the Future happens June 11 at 7:30pm ET.

Immerse yourself in audio drama with Ghost River Theatre

Calgary's Ghost River Theatre has teamed up with Vertigo theatre to create an immersive audio adaptation of Ray Bradbury's Retro-Futurist masterpiece Tomorrow's Child.  Originally presented as a live blindfolded experience, the show has been remastered for an online audience and should be listened to through headphones. In Bradbury's short, two new parents confront the fact their new child has been born into another dimension. The companies have brought that story to life using innovative sound design that goes way past everyday listening, creating a multi-layered sonic environment. Tomorrow's Child runs June 11th-13th.

Witness some of Canada's best emerging artists with Sage Theatre's Ignite Festival

From June 10th-13th, Sage Theatre's Ignite Festival will showcase some of the most exciting emerging artists coming from Calgary and the surrounding areas. Since 2005, Ignite has offered young talent a chance to hone their skills in front of an audience and push their work to the next stage. Some highlights from this year's streaming edition of the festival include The Banana Conundrum — a performance where half-Japanese/half-Scottish actor Devin Kotani questions what roles he can perform as a mixed-race person — and Anonymous, a show looking at sobriety during the pandemic. Details can be found here.

Bring music to your ears with Beau Dixon

Catch award-winning actor and musician Beau Dixon as he performs his album From Here to East City in its entirety live from his living room. Dixon is a hyper-talented, multi-instrumental, singer/songwriter who has shared the stage with the likes of Feist, Rufus Wainwright, and Serena Ryder. His music has a wide range of influences, seamlessly transitioning between funk, soul, and rock on the back of his powerful vocals. You can watch Dixon's can't-miss concert at this link until mid-week, starting June 7th at 7pm ET.

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 cbcarts@cbc.ca. See more of our COVID-related coverage here.

About the Author

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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