Top 10 Australia Culture On this week 29/03/2020 (COVID-19 EDITION)

Thought native Celtic harp music would never be relevant to your life? Well you probably thought you’d never have to spend weeks in quarantine as a result of a mass pandemic. It turns out those two mistaken beliefs are not unrelated.


10) Cincinnati Zoo Live

29th March-4th April

What: The Cincinnati Zoo announced Thursday that it would close temporarily to help curb the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. It did, however, introduce a new Facebook Live show, which will air every weekday and feature a new animal every episode. Each instalment will also feature an accompanying at-home kids’ activity.

Why: Take a break from pacing around in an increasingly depressed fervour as a result of your unnaturally compressed habitat and resultant lack of purpose and, you know, watch a lion do it.


9) Uffizi Gallery Online

29th March-4th April

What: The Uffizi Gallery contains one of the world’s most important collections of paintings. Besides Florentine and Italian art, it also includes a large number of foreign works and Classical sculpture. Due to the current virus, the Gallery is upping its digital content. Explore and experience their incredible archives with over 600,000 historic pieces.

Why: It’s as good-a time as ever to dispel that fantasy of yourself as someone who genuinely appreciates art and realise that when the accent, the pizza and the potential for an anecdote is removed, you’d much rather appreciate an orgy made of flesh rather than stone.


8) The Art of Making Art

29th March

What: Watch This had been gearing up for a pop-up gallery exhibit titled The Art of Making Art, set to launch on Sondheim’s 90th birthday, championing their incredible costume designers – all women – and taking audiences on an immersive journey behind the scenes. They have woven material filmed for the exhibit together with older rehearsal and production footage and photography into a Schmick series of 5 x 6-minute episodes.

Why: The man best known for writing a musical about people consuming controversial meat of various unregulated origins…is a delight. The painstaking process that goes behind staging and costuming his musicals should be acknowledged.


7) Vienna State Opera: Live

29th March-4th 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 Götterdämmerung, Roméo et Juliette, Le nozze di Figaro, L’elisir d’amore, Die Frau ohne Schatten and Peer Gynt.

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


6) Silkroad Home Sessions with Maeve Gilchrist

31st March

What: Edinburgh-born harpist and composer Maeve Gilchrist has been credited as an innovator on her native Celtic harp (Clársach) due to her uniquely rhythmic and improvisational approach to the instrument. Currently based in Brooklyn, Maeve tours internationally as a solo artist and with a variety of projects including a duo with percussive dance master Nic Gareiss and a more electronics-based collaboration with Nashville-based bass player and composer, Viktor Krauss. Experience her talents in a livestreamed performance.

Why: If one of those angels playing the harp during the foretold apocalypse was a Brooklyn-based Scottish improviser, the bible would’ve been a hell of a lot more fun.


5) Silkroad Home Sessions with Wu Man

4th April

What: Recognised as the world’s premier pipa virtuoso and leading ambassador of Chinese music, Wu Man has carved out a career as a soloist, educator, and composer giving her lute-like instrument—which has a history of over 2,000 years in China—a new role in both traditional and contemporary music. Experience her talent in a worldwide livestreamed performance.

Why: Thought cultivating an obscure talent under quarantine would make for an impressive post-pandemic party trick? Well, there are already at least a million people who know how to whittle better than you already. So your only hope for being a more interesting person post-pandemic than you were pre-pandemic is consuming as much obscure content featuring people playing ancient Chinese instruments as possible.


4) Silkroad Home Sessions with Johnny Gandelsman

1st April

What: Grammy award winning violinist and producer Johnny Gandelsman’s musical voice reflects the artistic collaborations he has been a part of since moving to the United States in 1995. Richard Brody of The New Yorker has called Johnny Gandelsman “revelatory” in concert, placing him in the company of “radically transformative” performers like Maurizio Pollini, Peter Serkin and Christian Zacharias. Experience his talents in a livestreamed performance.

Why: You know he’s “radically transformative” because you don’t know who he is. If you had already known who he is, you would have transformed into a better person by now.


3) Silkroad Home Sessions with Mike Block 

2nd April

What: Mike Block is a pioneering multi-style cellist, singer, composer, and educator, hailed by Yo-Yo Ma as the “ideal musician of the 21st-Century”. Experience his talent in a livestreamed performance.

Why: Yes, Yo-Yo Ma. The cellist mentioned once in Seinfeld via Kramer’s brain damage. See? You are, by a system of several proxies, a cultured, sophisticated person.


2) DRAG: The Darlings

30th March

What: Used as an affectionate address to a beloved person, Darling is a term used widely throughout popular art history to describe a societal wonder. Featuring four non-binary performers as they join each other to explore the format associated with drag and the subculture attached to it, this is the reclamation of the word Darling. This event is a way for people to witness new creations while staying safe in their homes, The Darlings have created a new long-form show specifically for your screens.

Why: A nuanced, complex reminder that even though the world is in a state of chaos, there will once again be a time in which being au fait with obscure, contemporary art will be a source of validation.


1) ReelAbilities Film Festival

29th March-2nd April

What: The ReelAbilities Film Festival is about bringing people together to connect, to be entertained, informed, and appreciate the artistic expressions of people with disabilities. Being together as a diverse community and enjoying films together is a special and unique experience. Due to the rapidly evolving situation in the state of Massachusetts regarding coronavirus (COVID-19), the ReelAbilities Festival will be shifting to an online platform and will be presenting films and discussions virtually. Registration for the online sessions is free.

Why: Situations such as this can often illuminate the darker aspects of the human psyche that emphasise physical and mental self-preservation above all else. So whilst your claiming that the virus is somehow negatively impacting your access to WiFi and so you can’t spend two hours talking to your lonely, isolated grandmother over Skype, watch a few films from the REELabilities festival. It’s proof that you’re a good person.

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