Our strange new world of all-virtual entertainment is not without its benefits: This weekend you can virtually sample dance, theater, an art opening, even a beerfest. But we can’t go on forever without live performance (and neither can the performers), so consider urging your legislators to #SaveOurStages (see below).
8/6-8: Dance Theatre of Harlem. The ground-breaking company celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, and this special program from Jacob’s Pillow features highlights from that celebration. RSVP here for the free YouTube Premiere on Thurs., Aug. 6, at 7 p.m., when you can live-chat with the artists and audience members from around the world, or watch the video later on the Jacob’s Pillow website until midnight on Sat., Aug. 8.
8/6-13: Ailey All Access: Love Stories. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater continues to feed our hunger for dance with another gem from its archives, Love Stories. A collaboration between legendary dancer/choreographer Judith Jamison, hip-hop pioneer Rennie Harris and modern dance maverick Robert Battle, it includes a dance set to Stevie Wonder’s “Fingertips Part II” (“Everybody say yeah!”) that is pure joy. Watch it from Thurs. Aug. 8-Wed. Aug. 13 at Ailey All Access.
8/7-29: “Sounds Good” opens at MIZE Gallery. Each of the show’s 60 participating artists selected an album to interpret by musicians ranging from Nirvana to Taylor Swift to Tyler the Creator. Guided VR tours of the show on Fri. Aug. 7 at 6 p.m. at facebook.com/mizegallery and at 7 p.m. at instagram.com/mizegallery. Exhibit runs August 7-29, open Saturdays 11 a.m.-7 p.m. or by appointment. 689 Dr. MLK Jr. St. N., Suite C, St. Petersburg.
8/8: Dance in the Time of Coronavirus, Episode #5: Constellation. This news-making series of outdoor dance shifts into virtual mode on Sat. Aug. 8, when a series of short solo performances by dancers all over the country will be shown every 15 minutes from 11 a.m.-2:45 p.m. on The Studio@620’s event page, Next week, look for part two when a video installation opens in the Studio’s front window on Sat. Aug. 15 at 5 p.m.
8/8. Groundhop Day at Tampa Theatre. Tampa’s venerable cinema has moved its annual beerfest into virtual territory this year. Unfortunately, the very tasty-sounding beer sample boxes are sold out, but you can still join in the fun virtually on the theater’s Facebook page from 6-8:30 pm. on Sat. Aug. 8. There’ll be music by Ronnie Dee and the Superstars, brewmaster talks and a Netflix watch party of, what else, Groundhog Day (though if you weren’t one of the lucky beer-o-philes who snagged a beer box, you might have to cozy up to someone who did and ask them to share the watch-party link with you).
8/9: Tampa Bay Noir. If, like me, you missed Tuesday’s online discussion of Tampa Bay Noir hosted by St. Pete’s Tombolo Books (previewed last week), you get another chance to enjoy a chat about this terrific new anthology on Sunday afternoon. Tampa’s Oxford Exchange is the host this time around, when the anthology’s editor, Colette Bancroft, speaks with contributors Tim Dorsey (Palma Ceia), Lori Roy (Tierra Verde) and Eliot Schrefer (Safety Harbor) from 2-3 p.m. Why the place names? Because among the many shivery pleasures in this smartly edited collection is the fact that each story takes place in a different Tampa Bay location, handily identified in the table of contents so you can quickly determine whether any of the fictional mayhem lands in your own neighborhood. Dorsey’s ethically motivated serial killer Serge Storms set loose in Palma Ceia? Imagine the possibilities. RSVP for this free event on the bookstore’s Facebook events page.
8/9: St. Pete Opera’s POPera! On Sunday evening, opera will be popping up all over St. Pete. Four singers and a pianist from the St. Petersburg Opera Company will be cruising St. Pete on a popup outdoor opera float, giving free public performances at Westminster Suncoast, 5 p.m.; the St. Pete Side Lot, 6 p.m.; the Museum of Fine Arts’ north lawn, 7 p.m.; and the parking lot to the east of The Palladium, 7:45 p.m.
Through 8/19: A Killer Party. A brand new live-streamed murder-mystery musical available in quick three-episode installments for $9.99 or buy the whole season for $12.99 (a portion of the proceeds benefit the Straz Center). Stars include Jeremy Jordan, Carolee Carmello, Alex Newell and Laura Osnes. The storyline (“When Varthur McArthur, the artistic director of a failing theater in Duluth, invites his troupe of disgruntled actors and collaborators to the first read of an ‘immersive murder mystery dinner party,’ no one knew that he would be the victim. Or did they?”) and the character names (Justin Case, Shea Crescendo, George Murderer) suggest the proceedings will be decidedly tongue-in-cheek (or maybe knife-in-back). Available for streaming anytime through Aug.19. To sign up, go to akillerpartymusical.com.
Emmy Watch: Unorthodox. A bit of a dark horse in this year’s Emmy sweepstakes, the Netflix limited series Unorthodox nevertheless snagged eight nominations, including Outstanding Lead Actress for its star, Shira Haas. She gives a riveting, deeply felt performance as a young woman living in an arranged marriage in the ultra-Orthodox community of Williamsburg, Brooklyn who flees to Berlin to reconnect with her estranged mother. Just four episodes long, it’s eminently bingeable and hard to forget.
#SaveOurStages. Live performance venues, particularly the smaller ones, are suffering mightily during the pandemic — the first to close and likely the last to re-open, according to the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), which is encouraging support of two bipartisan bills now before Congress: S. 4258, the Save Our Stages Act, and S. 3814/H.R. 7481, the RESTART Act. For a cogent explanation of why these bills are needed and what they will do, go here. To urge Senators and U.S. Representatives to vote for the bills, go here.