As far as live entertainment goes, there aren’t too many things competing for your attention these days. But good art takes time, and as the quarantine drags on and on, artists and organizations are starting to rise to the challenge.
Here are five hand-picked, worth-your-time, probably-uplifting things to do or see this week.
May 4: Live Concert with Stephanie Anne Johnson
Few things are bringing me joy during Quarantine Season like Stephanie Anne Johnson’s performances. Every Monday night, the singer/songwriter/musician performs for an hour or so, solo or with fellow guitarist Dan Tyack. And every morning, Johnson does a one-song show, sometimes in hoodies or pajamas, somewhere in their Tacoma home. (I’ve taken to calling these the Bathroom Sessions, as they occasionally plays from their bathroom.) The approach is deeply personal. And the music is delightful. Johnson’s mastery of the guitar is obvious, and their voice is a mixture of buttery and blues that exudes warmth.
For a taste, try this one (from their new album, with the Hidogs). This week’s performance is held in conjunction with Kirkland Performance Center, where they and Tyack opened for Mavis Staples last year.
May 5: Virtual Cake with Anne Allgood (The Rendezvous)
I’m not entirely sure what this will look like, but anything related to Bon Appétit! — the combination of a Julia Child operetta (featuring actress/singer Anne Allgood and pianist Mark Anders) and storytelling from Julia Child Prud’homme (actress and Child’s real-life grandniece) — is bound to be both entertaining and joyous. (Read NWT’s review of the show here.) Will Allgood make a mess of her home kitchen like she does (comically, as Julia) on the Rendezvous stage? We’ll find out!
Tune in on YouTube at event time; info here.
Thru May 6: One Thousand Pieces (Pacific Northwest Ballet)
Back in March, when this show was supposed to happen live in a packed McCaw Hall, PNB made a recorded version of the full-performance dress rehearsal available. It was only active for a limited time, and only sent to those with show tickets, who were instructed not to share the link. But oh, how I wanted to share it! This new work from Alejandro Cerrudo is a gorgeous performance, told in bite-size pieces, with an army of talented dancers, water sprays, and a moody feel. Now — oh happy day! — you can view it, for a limited time. And while it’s not live performance, this particular video is in some ways better, taking you right into the pit and right up on stage, in between the full-stage views.
Available on YouTube here; link expires May 6 at 7pm.
May 7-10: Translations – Seattle Transgender Film Festival
Every year for the past 15 or so years, the Translations festival has showcased a whole slate of films centering trans and gender non-conforming communities. This year it remains undaunted by distancing, putting up a virtual version as its usual Capitol Hill venues are shuttered. The festival includes feature-length films and shorts, across genres.
Tickets sliding scale ($0-$25); info here.
May 10: Play Snippets with Rain City Projects
(Update: the series is taking a break this week and will return next week)
Do you miss humans? Do you miss new works? Do you miss the ability to talk in real-time with humans about new works? This live, informal reading might be just your ticket, with 20- to 30-minute snippets from two works-in-development by local playwrights, performed by local actors, and discussed live via chat and Zoom. It’s a close-up, human-connected, living room salon-style feel, for a social distancing age.
Capacity is limited, so advance registration by email is required. Email raincityprojectsinfo at gmail.com to sign up.
Plus: Watch People Talk (Or Not Talk)
Lots of virtual talk shows have sprung up. A few suggestions:
May 6, 6:30-7:30: Happy hour with Village Theatre. Associate Artistic Director Brandon Ivie talks with a different theatre artist every week. (Held every Wednesday. Shown through Facebook Live on the theatre’s page.)
May 6, 8-9:30: The Living Room with Randy Ford, J Mase III, and Dani Tirrell. Three queer Black artists have a candid conversation, this one called Desirability part 2: The Politics of Social Media and Self Esteem. (Held on various platforms; info here.)
May 8, 8-9 pm: TPS Tonight with Jimmy Shields and Alexandria J. Henderson. The ebullient co-hosts of last year’s Gregory Awards move to the virtual stage, in conversation with other artists. (New show every Friday in May. Held on Zoom; info here.)
And then there’s the polar opposite: the gathering where people show up specifically to not talk. It’s The Stranger‘s perennially popular Silent Reading Party, virtual edition. Fancy watching other people read? Aching for some ambient piano tunes in your life? Need a fixed time slot to make progress on your Summer Book Bingo card? This is the party for you. (Held every Wednesday on Zoom — next one May 6, 6-8 pm. Tickets $5 and up; info here.)
NWTheatre is largely on hiatus right now, but will occasionally bring you features like this.
This post has been updated.