Who: Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Ben Harper, Dave Grohl, Sheila E., Sheryl Crow, Gary Clark Jr., Jackson Browne, T Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Peter Frampton, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, Keb Mo, Willie Nelson
What: Ringo Starr’s eightieth birthday celebration
Where: Ringo Starr website and YouTube channel
When: Tuesday, July 7, free (donations accepted), 8:00
Why: No matter what side of any argument you are on these days, we can all use a whole lotta peace and love — and Richard Starkey is just the man to bring it to us. The Liverpudlian better known as Ringo Starr turns eighty on July 7, and he’s celebrating with a gynormous virtual party that everyone is invited to. Among his special guests chiming in with music and congratulations from wherever they’re sheltering in place are Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Ben Harper, Dave Grohl, Sheila E., Sheryl Crow, Gary Clark Jr., Jackson Browne, T Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Peter Frampton, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, Keb Mo, and Willie Nelson. It’s free to watch, but Ringo is soliciting donations for Black Lives Matter Global Network, the David Lynch Foundation, MusiCares, and WaterAid. You can also honor Ringo and his wife, Barbara, by posting #peaceandlove Tuesday at noon all over social media.
Who: Anna Winger, Shira Haas, Amit Rahav, David Canfield
What: Live Q&A with cocreator and costars of Unorthodox series
Where: 92Y online
When: Tuesday, July 7, free, 5:00
Why: One of the runaway television hits of the pandemic has been Netflix’s Unorthodox, about a young married Orthodox woman in Brooklyn who runs away to Berlin to escape the suffocating life she is trapped in. The four-part series has led to the breakout success of Israeli actress Shira Haas, who has a smaller but critically significant role in the earlier Israeli series Shtisel, which also involves Orthodox marriage. On July 7 at 5:00, Haas, who stars as Esty Shapiro in Unorthodox, will be joined by Amit Rahav, who plays her husband, Yanky, and showrunner Anna Winger for a free live online discussion with Entertainment Weekly’s David Canfield as part of the online partnership between EW and the 92nd Street Y.
Who: Willie Nelson & Family, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, Particle Kid, Sheryl Crow, Lyle Lovett, Margo Price, Shakey Graves, Ziggy Marley, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Robert Earl Keen, Asleep at the Wheel, Steve Earle, Kurt Vile, the McCrary Sisters, John Doe, Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen, Devon Gilfillian, Nathaniel Rateliff, Charley Crockett, the Peterson Brothers, Johnny Bush, Matthew Houck, Vincent Neil Emerson, Kinky Friedman, Gina Chavez, Kalu James, Monte Warden, Parker McCollum, Trey Privott, the War and Treaty
What: Virtual Independence Day celebration
When: Saturday, July 4, $35 in advance, $45 day of show, 4:30
Why: Since 1973, Willie Nelson has been hosting July 4 week picnics with great music, food, and more. This year the festivities go virtual, with Willie hosting from his Luck ranch in Texas with an all-star lineup either performing live from the Luck saloon and chapel, at Nelson’s Pedernales Studios, or from wherever they’re sheltering in place. The roster features live sets by Charley Crockett at 4:40, the Peterson Brothers at 5:40, Particle Kid at 6:40, Shakey Graves at 7:00, Vincent Neil Emerson at 8:00, and Asleep at the Wheel at 9:00, followed at 9:30 by a prerecorded ninety-minute finale with music, interviews, and stories by such luminaries as Sheryl Crow, Lyle Lovett, Ziggy Marley, Robert Earl Keen, Steve Earle, Kurt Vile, John Doe, and Kinky Friedman as well as Willie and his sons, Lukas and Micah. Food and drink are also on the menu, with a “Prime Cuts” episode with chef Scott Roberts of Salt Lick BBQ, cocktail suggestions from mixologist Jessica Sanders, and delivery packages if you live within spitting distance of the ranch. Tickets are $35 in advance and $45 day of show, with one dollar from each sale going to the Luck Reunion Fund, which “is dedicated to preserving and supporting the musical and cultural community inspired by the work of Willie Nelson and the Luck Reunion family.” Happy birthday, America!
Who: Olivier Tarpaga, Eva Yaa Asantewaa, Aaron Mattocks
What: Online premiere of prerecorded dance work with live Q&A
When: Thursday, July 2, free (donations accepted), 7:00 (performance can be streamed through July 31)
Why: During the pandemic lockdown, the Joyce Theater Foundation has been presenting limited-run streams of previously recorded works by Trisha Brown Dance Company, Batsheva — The Young Ensemble, Malpaso Dance Company, Stephen Petronio Company, Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE, and others, accompanied by live Q&As. On July 2 at 7:00, JoyceStream will feature the online premiere of Olivier Tarpaga’s Declassified Memory Fragment, followed by a live Q&A; the piece will be available through July 31, while the Q&A will be added to the growing archive you can watch here. Declassified Memory Fragment was directed and choreographed by dancer, choreographer, Princeton professor, and musician Tarpaga, exploring power, history, political corruption, and culture clashes in Kenya, Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe, and, primarily, his native country, Burkina Faso.
Tarpaga designed the costumes and also appears in the production, along with Ousséni Dabaré, Aziz Dermé, Jérôme Kaboré, and Adonis Nébié. The music was conceived of and composed by Tarpaga and his band, Dafra Kura Band, and is played by Flatié Dembelé, Boubacar Djiga, Daouda Guindo, and Tarpaga; the lighting is by Cyril Givort, with sets by Face-O-Sceno, props by Sahab Koanda, and dramaturgy by Esther Baker-Tarpaga, Olivier’s wife, who runs the Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project with him. (Previous works by the company include Whiteness Revisited and When Birds Refused to Fly.) Olivier Tarpaga will take part in the Q&A with Gibney Dance editorial director and senior director of artist development and curation Eva Yaa Asantewaa and Joyce director of programming Aaron Mattocks.
Who: Billy Porter, Morena Baccarin, Simon Kinberg, Win Rosenfeld, Audrey Chon, Scott Collura
What: Livestreamed discussion and Q&A about The Twilight Zone
When: Wednesday, July 1, free, 5:00
Why: The classic CBS show The Twilight Zone was a one-of-a-kind program, an anthology series created by a visionary man from Syracuse; Rod Serling was an extraordinary writer and narrator who had a deep social conscience that makes so much of what he accomplished still relevant today, from dozens of TZ episodes to Patterns, Requiem for a Heavyweight, Seven Days in May, and the 1968 Planet of the Apes. Over the years, several producers have tried to recapture the genius that was The Twilight Zone, resulting in revivals in 1985-89 and 2002-3 that failed to live up to the name. In fact, the shows might have been more successful if they just treated themselves as new anthology series and not as a reboot of the Zone.
The latest attempt to re-create TZ comes from the mind of Jordan Peele, formerly half of the comedy duo Key & Peele and the writer and director of Get Out and Us. The second season of his version of The Twilight Zone just launched on CBS All Access, and just like previous reboots, it has its ups and downs and would probably be better served by being its own thing, although Peele is doing a fine job of appearing on camera for his introductions. On July 1 at 5:00, the 92nd St. Y is hosting a virtual discussion on the new season, with executive producers Simon Kinberg, Win Rosenfeld, and Audrey Chon and actors Billy Porter (Pose, Kinky Boots) and Morena Baccarin (Deadpool, Homeland), moderated by IGN journalist Scott Collura. Porter plays a psychic in The Who of You, a faced-paced look at personal identity written by Rosenfeld, while Baccarin takes the lead as a woman trapped in a seemingly alternate reality in Downtime, which was written by Peele, whose overall reimagining of TZ has its moments, but it’s no Black Mirror.
Who: Rita Moreno, Norman Lear, Pacquito D’Rivera, Arturo O’Farrill, Eduardo Vilaro, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Gloria Estefan, more
What: Ballet Hispánico fiftieth anniversary celebration
Where: YouTube, Facebook, Instagram
When: Tuesday, June 30, free with RSVP (donations accepted), 7:30
Why: Founded by Tina Ramirez in 1970, Ballet Hispánico has been “bringing communities together to celebrate and explore Latino cultures through innovative dance productions, transformative dance training, and community engagement” for fifty years, as its mission statement explains. As part of its golden anniversary, the Upper West Side institution is going virtual with “Noche Unidos: A Night of Dance and Unity,” an evening of world premieres by Latinx choreographers along with special celebrity appearances. Debuting new works will be Kiri Avelar, Rodney Hamilton (Punto De Vista with Paulo Hernandez-Farella), Michelle Manzanales (Cautivadx), Andrea Miller (Orilla), Annabelle Lopez Ochoa (Pajarillo Escondido with Dandara Veiga), Pedro Ruiz (Sobre el Siglo de la Luces with Lyvan Verdecia and Melissa Verdecia), Carlos Pons-Guerra (Gazpacho with Omar Rivera and Antonio Cangiano), Gustavo Ramirez Sansano (Lady of Spain with Shelby Colona), Nancy Turano (Mambo for 50 with Lenai Wilkerson), and company artistic director and CEO Eduardo Vilaro (Serenata with Laura Lopez). "Noche Unidos is beyond anything we could have imagined several months ago. This will be a spectacular virtual celebration of Ballet Hispánico with a group of amazing Latinx artists from across the nation coming together to honor the legacy of Tina Ramirez and Ballet Hispánico’s roots while looking forward, beyond our fiftieth anniversary. There is still work to be done, and Ballet Hispánico intends to pave the way and create these opportunities for Latinx voices to be amplified through dance, education, and our communities,” noted Eduardo, who will be hosting the event.
Among others joining in the festivities are EGOT winner Rita Moreno, legendary television producer Norman Lear, Hamilton creator extraordinaire Lin-Manuel Miranda, three-time Grammy winner Gloria Estefan, Cuban sax and clarinet great Paquito D’Rivera, and Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra artistic director and pianist-composer Arturo O’Farrill. There will also be performances by Ballet Hispánico School of Dance students and Nuestro Futuro scholarship recipients Julienne Rane Buenaventura and Ruby Castillo, choreographed by Hamilton (Ayer y Hoy) and Avelar (Mi Baile en Casa, A Film by Kiri Avelar), respectively. “Now more than ever it is important that we, as artists, learn about the rich history and meaning behind Black/Latinx dance forms, that we no longer whitewash the field and instead celebrate all cultures,” Buenaventura wrote in a letter to the Ballet Hispánico community. For a limited time you can also see the troupe’s previous watch party, Somebrerísimo by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, while the next event will be Edwaard Liang’s El Viaje on July 8, both from last year’s Joyce season and each followed by a “Choreographers & Cocktails” talk led by former company dancer Vilaro.
Who: Amber Iman, Danielle Brooks, Alia Jones-Harvey, Audra McDonald, Lillias White, Pilin Anice, Jamila Souffrant, Rashad V. Chambers, Lelund Durond, DJ Cocoa
What: All-day virtual conference presented by Black Women on Broadway
Where: Online (information given after registration)
When: Monday, June 29, free with advance RSVP, noon - 10:00 pm
Why: On June 19, I watched the inaugural Antonyo Awards, and it was an eye-opening experience. Sponsored by Broadway Black, the evening celebrated the best of the Black theater community, from actors, writers, and directors to composers, designers, and special honorees. I’ve seen a lot of awards shows, but never one quite like this one, which was by, about, and for the Black community. The presenters and winners made speeches that they probably couldn’t do at the Tonys, the Obies, or the Drama Desk Awards; accepting his Lifetime Achievement Award, Chuck Cooper said, “I am honored, and more than a bit surprised, by this. At this point in my life, it feels like my major achievement was to survive long enough to reach this age being a Black man in America.”
On June 29, Black Women on Broadway, an organization founded by Amber Iman, Jocelyn Bioh, and Danielle Brooks, is hosting the all-day virtual conference “Black Women in Theatre Appreciation Day,” consisting of more than ten hours of panel discussions, interviews, and a closing dance party, chosen through a poll of thirty artists who were asked, “What do you need?” The lineup features “Meditation & Movement” with Pilin Anice at noon, “Money Talks!” with Jamila Souffrant at 1:15, “Producing” with Alia Jones-Harvey and Rashad V. Chambers at 2:30, “Mastering the Art of the Self-Tape” with Lelund Durond at 3:45, “Girl Talk on Zoom” with Amber Iman at 5:00, “The Main Event” with Lillias White and Audra McDonald at 6:30, and “Ladies Night: Let’s Dance!” with DJ Cocoa at 8:00, with Brooks serving as conference moderator.