In current years, not less than two main Pride occasions in New York may very well be described as half dance occasion, half arts occurring: Everybooty on the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the House Party at New York Live Arts. This yr, when each organizations had to determine how to rejoice neighborhood in a time of social distancing, they determined to make an even bigger noise by going surfing collectively.
The double-the-size, double-the-fun festivities stream on the BAM and New York Live Arts web sites on Saturday night time. And within the phrases of Tyler Ashley — who, in his drag persona, the Dauphine of Bushwick, hosts this system with the queer mannequin Andre J — “it starts at 8 and it will go late.”
Ashley likens the format to that of an outdated TV selection present: “Your hosts in costumes, improvising and sharing the moment and introducing dance, drag, spoken word, video art — a wide and lush gamut.” The lineup consists of Bill T. Jones, Migguel Anggelo, voguers from the House of LaBeija and prime drag artists from the queer collectives Oops! and Switch n’ Play. The artwork collective Papi Juice is bound to end the occasion proper.
“It’s about spreading love,” Andre J stated. “The world needs love right now. We can’t hug you physically, but we can hug you via the web.”
Celebration has hardly been the defining temper of current weeks. Even so, to mark the ultimate weekend of Pride Month, a world coalition of L.G.B.T.Q. organizations will muster a marathon of festivities on Saturday. As is commonplace within the time of Covid-19, the event might be noticed just about, with greater than 24 hours of livestream programming — obtainable on Facebook and the Global Pride website — that begins at 1 a.m. Eastern time.
With hosting duties assigned to the “American Idol” alum Todrick Hall (whose YouTube channel will also carry the livestream), the event has a wide-ranging lineup, featuring global leaders, public officials and entertainers. Musical guests will include the Chicks (who changed their name from Dixie Chicks on Thursday), Kesha, the pop singer Ava Max and the drag performer Pabllo Vittar. And in the spirit of solidarity with recent popular uprisings, Global Pride has committed to putting black voices front and center in its program.
In Philadelphia, another early summer tradition will transition to a virtual format on Saturday. The Roots Picnic, an annual music festival organized by the hometown heroes Questlove, Black Thought and company, will stream on YouTube beginning at 8 p.m. with performances by the R&B singers H.E.R. and SZA, the rappers Lil Baby and Roddy Ricch, and others.
At a recent 92nd Street Y event for HBO’s “High Maintenance,” moderated by the comedian Isaac Oliver, the show’s co-creator Katja Blichfeld said Oliver was hired to join the writing staff for Season 2 because he knows “why something is funny, like why something mundane is funny.”
Others have compared Oliver’s humor to that of David Sedaris — among them the actor Nathan Lane. When asked in an interview in 2015 which book had been the last to make him laugh, Lane answered “Intimacy Idiot,” Oliver’s collection of essays from the same year. Lane added: “There have been many comparisons to David Sedaris, and he certainly lives up that, but he is also his own man. Brilliant and hilarious and surprisingly, shockingly at times, intimate.”
Oliver, who continues to work on “High Maintenance” and also wrote for Netflix’s “GLOW” and The New York Times, is among the performers closing out the Pride Month celebrations on the Joe’s Pub YouTube channel, where the club has been posting recordings of shows from its archive.
The broadcast of Oliver’s stand-up performance from June 2018 will stream free on YouTube at 8 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday.
SEAN L. McCARTHY
Pride Blossoms Through Art
It’s hard to imagine a relationship between Pride and plants, except perhaps the rainbow of colors you see in a flower bed. But Wave Hill, the public garden in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, invites children to discover more connections on Saturday.
At 10 a.m. Eastern time, Wave Hill will post Pollinator Pride, its latest family art project video. Garden educators will explain the Stonewall uprising and how those who identify as L.G.B.T.Q. don’t conform to what many see as gender norms. The program will draw parallels between the adaptations of vibrant flowers like daffodils and irises and the evolution of gay pride.
“Just by showing up as their bright, unapologetic selves, they’re getting what they need,” said Mallory Muya, the garden’s arts education coordinator, describing these plants in a Zoom interview. During the workshop, children will make monoprints by placing a cutout floral image (or a real blossom) under a clear surface — glass from an old picture frame will do — and then tracing the outline with paint. Pressing a sheet of paper onto that design creates the print.
Ryan Davis, the family art project weekend coordinator, will also discuss how the word “weeds” can be reinterpreted, just as “queer” has been. Why not equate weeds with resilience? “No matter how much you pull them out,” he said, “they can grow right back.”
Connecting Through the Web
In her work as a vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, movement artist and storyteller, Jen Shyu wants to maintain a level gaze with her audience. Her live shows tend to feel like acts of partnership; Shyu expects listeners to sing parts, to close their eyes, sometimes to get up and physically move. To attend.
In a time of social distancing, her search for new and specific ways to keep that relationship intact is unsurprising.
On Saturday and Sunday at 7 p.m. Eastern time, Shyu will debut a new work, “Open Space: Songs of Our Distant Presence: Book 1,” for the Open Space Music livestreaming series. For this suite, she invited her Patreon followers to send her poetry and wrote music around the submissions. She also delved into records left behind by labor organizers and activists from bygone eras, and wrote another series of songs around their words.
Earlier this weekend, on Friday at 6 p.m., Shyu will lead an installment of the Jazz Gallery’s “Words & Music” livestream sessions, which are essentially workshops, for a virtual audience of no more than 15. Shyu plans to guide participants through some basic composition techniques and to perform material of her own.
Revisiting a Caesarean Tryst
In the early 1970s, when the maverick American composer Lou Harrison first prepared “Young Caesar” — an opera with a libretto by Robert Gordon — he ran into homophobic headwinds. The work’s frankness about the long-rumored gay relationship between King Nicomedes and Julius Caesar (years before he crossed the Rubicon) rankled the opera’s funders, who pulled their money.
Harrison worked on multiple editions of the opera over the ensuing decades, writing different arrangements for both Asian and Western instruments (and for his own “American gamelan” configuration). Yet no version met with total success during his lifetime. In 2017, the MacArthur-award-winning director Yuval Sharon created a hybrid of the various scores, by working with the librettist (and making some cuts). Performances with members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic received positive notices, and a live recording was issued in 2018.
The digital release, available on Bandcamp, includes liner notes that contain several worthy essays about the opera’s history. But the main attraction remains Harrison’s wealth of transporting, emotionally resonant music. An instrumental dance for Caesar’s would-be first wife, “Cossutia’s Despair,” features unpredictable blasts from the wider ensemble that project her dejection, while a later aria for Nicomedes — “Take Your Chances, Gaius” — has seductive power.
SETH COLTER WALLS
Ending on a Spectacular Note
Starting off the final weekend of Pride Month is a rare opportunity on Friday to check out “The Men From the Boys,” Mart Crowley’s overlooked sequel to “The Boys in the Band.” Returning “Band” characters, three decades older but not necessarily much wiser, include Michael (Denis O’Hare), Emory (Mario Cantone) and Bernard (Kevyn Morrow), joined by fresh faces like Rick (Telly Leung). Zachary Quinto, who played Harold in the Broadway revival of “Band,” directs.
The festival continues on Saturday with Will Davis directing MJ Kaufman’s “Masculinity Max,” whose titular character (Theo Germaine, from “The Politician”) has just transitioned and must endure such “male” rituals as a Super Bowl party.
On Sunday, Playbill Pride Spectacular, a benefit concert for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, will mine the musical-theater songbook for numbers about the L.G.B.T.Q. experience. The impressive lineup features John Cameron Mitchell, Michael R. Jackson, Mj Rodriguez, Jason Tam, Caitlin Kinnunen, Jenn Colella, Cheyenne Jackson, Shakina Nayfack and Celia Rose Gooding. Will a brave duo tackle “Take Me or Leave Me” on Zoom?
The plays stream at 7 p.m. Eastern time at playbill.com/prideplays; Playbill Pride Spectacular starts at 8 p.m.