Top 10 Australia Culture On this week 05/04/2020 (COVID-19 EDITION)

Sipping Drambuie from the Millennium New Year is a perfectly healthy pastime.


10) Taronga TV

5th-11th April

What: Wonder what the animals are up to while the Zoo is temporarily closed? It’s zoo-as-usual for the 4,000 animals in Taronga’s care – and they’re giving you a sneak peak! Over the coming weeks Taronga will be bringing its two beautiful zoos directly into your living room! Tune in daily to see your favourite animals via 24/7 enclosure live cams, meet the friendly keepers and learn what goes on behind the scenes at Taronga while the zoos are temporarily closed.

Why: Another colour in the spectrum of humanity’s disturbing relationship with animals, illuminated by the COVID-19 era.


9) Uffizi Decameron

5th-11th April

What: The Uffizi has launched a social media campaign aimed at bringing its art to everyone as a result of the self-isolation currently being enforced. Every day the Uffizi’s Instagram and Twitter will publish photos, stories and videos of different artworks, including from Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens. An official Gallerie degli Uffizi Facebook page has just been launched too. The name of the campaign, which has the hashtag #UffiziDecameron, is inspired by one of the most celebrated masterpieces of Tuscan and Italian literature, the Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio. “The treasures of the Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens will keep you company over these weeks, in which we make common cause against the virus,” said Eike Schmidt, director of the Uffizi Galleries. “We will tell stories everyday, just like in Boccaccio’s masterpiece. We will avoid every contagion, save that of beauty.”

Why: Escape ruminations concerning your own mortality by focusing on a giant Italian mausoleum.


8) Closet Cases (Live Comedy)

7th April

What: Closet Cases is a show where LGBTQ comedians and performers tell their coming out and transitioning stories live. The line-up includes Chewy May (She-Devil Comedy Festival), Jaye McBride (Boston Comedy Festival), Lindsay Boling (New York Comedy Festival), Mila Myles (Vogue), Walter Kelly (Heebie Jeebies) and host, Shawn Hollenbach (The Mortified Guide on Neflix). Watch the closet doors fly open!

Why: Quarantine resulting in uncomfortable psychological revelations concerning your family and loved ones? Shine the spotlight on someone else’s pain!


7) Big Girl & Friends

7th-11th April

What: Join Artistic Producer of Toronto Musical Concerts, Christopher Wilson and company Associate Director, Ryan Kelly as they live stream a concert every evening featuring a different Canadian theatre artist! Buckle in for songs, stories, and lots of laughter! The goal of each concert is to raise money for The Actors Fund of Canada. You don’t want to miss these! Each guest artist will sing musical theatre songs of their choosing and between performances, Christopher and Ryan will engage their guest(s) in fun conversation about the theatre industry, their personal career journey, how they are currently managing the realities of social distancing – and entertain questions from YouTube Live chat viewers.

Why: In the battle for superiority in the game of petty niche altruism, supporting The Actors Fund of Canada is Alekhine’s gun.


6) Silkroad Home Sessions with Haruka Fujii

8th April

What: Multi-percussionist Haruka Fujii has won international acclaim for her interpretation of contemporary music, having commissioned and performed numerous premiere works from luminary living composers. She has appeared as a soloist with major orchestras including the Munich Philharmonic, Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Nationale de Lyon, and the NHK Symphony Orchestra. She performs with her mother Mustuko and sister Rika—both percussionists—as the Utari Duo and Fujii Trio. Experience her unique contemporary style in a livestreamed performance.

Why: Quarantine with blood relations getting to you? Remember that there are families out there who use blunt instruments for good.


5) Vienna State Opera: Live

6th-11th April

What: The Vienna State Opera is sharing past performances via free daily online streams. Experience the majesty of the Viennese opera alongside a worldwide audience. This week’s schedule features La Boheme, Elektra, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Das Schlaue Fuchslein, Ariodante, and Parsifal.

Why: There’s nothing like blasting violent, bloodthirsty German opera to remind yourself that there are many worse things to fight over than a square of toilet paper.


4) The Well-Tempered Clavier’s Greatest Hits

8th April

What: Watch the live video stream as pianist Jeremy Denk curates and performs a series of events exploring Bach’s life and his most iconic work as artist-in-residence at The Greene Space at WQXR. A winner of the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship and the Avery Fisher Prize, Denk will draw audiences into the technical, musicological, cultural and philosophical elements involved in his own approach to this deeply personal work, and through this series look at how these timeless themes and shared aspects of the human experience can help to unite us in these divided times.

Why: Watch a genius interpret the work of another genius in your undies whilst eating beans right out of the can.


3) Silkroad Home Sessions with Kaoru Watanabe

11th April

What: Kaoru Watanabe is a Brooklyn-based composer and musician who specializes in the Japanese shinobue flutes and taiko drums. Watanabe creates music that is at once personal, philosophical, meditative, and virtuosic, that reflects his extensive background in Japanese traditional music, American jazz, and his decades-long devotion to cross-cultural musical collaboration. Experience his unique combination of talents in a livestreamed performance.

Why: An artist with a combination of talents so niche, if he were white, we’d be positive he had just jumped out of a Wes Anderson script.


2) Bavarian State Opera: 7 Deaths of Maria Callas

12th April

What: With music by Marko Nikodijević and scenes from works by Vincenzo Bellini, Georges Bizet, Gaetano Donizetti, Giacomo Puccini and Giuseppe Verdi, experience the premiere of Marina Abramovic’s creative project livestreamed. The project will see Abramovic play her lifelong hero Maria Callas dying in seven operas including including Madame Butterfly, who stabbed herself, and Tosca, who jumped to her death from a parapet. Abramovic’s performances will be filmed and screened as part of the new production. “I have been thinking about this romantic idea of dying for love for a long time,” she says, adding that Callas “died of a broken heart”. The original plan had been to employ seven of the biggest film directors in the world to each direct one death scene and create a series of ten-minute videos. By the end of 2014, Roman Polanski, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Marco Brambilla, Giada Colagrande and Yorgos Lanthimos had all agreed, but Polanski and Iñárritu were later reported to be no longer working on the project. The Norwegian writer Petter Skavlan has written the script, which is now being adapted for opera.

Why: The perfect topic of conversation for people experiencing the inklings of cabin fever. It’s accessibly niche enough to make everyone feel smart and mentions someone who everyone, no matter their creed, despises.


1) Silkroad Home Sessions with Wu Tong

6th April

What: Born into a musical family, Wu Tong graduated from the Central Conservatory of Music in 1994 and has appeared as soloist with the New York Philharmonic, London Sinfonietta, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. He is the founding vocalist of Lunhui (Again), the first rock band ever to appear on Chinese television. In 2008 he made his operatic debut in The Bonesetter’s Daughter (San Francisco Opera) and wrote the film score to Wong Kar-Wai’s Ashes of Time Redux. Experience his unique talents in a livestreamed performance.

Why: An ego-stabilising reminder that though you completed that 1000-piece puzzle and should be proud of it, there’s no need to let that momentary feeling of achievement percolate too long. It can result in your source of internal validation being entirely dependant upon the cardboard image of a landscape when there are film-scoring New York Philharmonic soloists in rock bands running around out there.

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