LIVE BANDS AT YOUR HOUSE
Love From Philly
This three-day live virtual music fest — with an all-local lineup — will raise money for Philadelphia musicians and venue workers hurt by COVID-19 closures. The impressive, multi-genre cast includes Kurt Vile, Christian McBride, The War On Drugs, Ursula Rucker, Bahamadia, Low Cut Connie, G. Love, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Jeff Bradshaw, Lauren Hart, Eric Bazilian, and many more, even John Oates. Streaming at lovefromphilly.live at 5 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday (an all-jazz day) and Sunday.
— Dan DeLuca
Beastie Boys Story
Spike Jonze’s documentary is built around the 2019 tour that included a date at the Tower Theatre in which Adam Horovitz and Michael Diamond recounted their transformation from “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)” miscreants to enlightened hip-hop and funk practitioners. The saga is permeated with sadness due to the absence of Adam Yauch, the third Beastie, who died of cancer in 2012. On Apple Music and Apple TV.
Jazz Festing in Place
Were it not for COVID-19, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival would have been taking place last weekend and this one. After initially being moved to October, this year’s fest has now been canceled. Crescent City radio station WWOZ has stepped in to creatively fill the void by broadcasting archived performances from previous years, included sets by Dr. John, Irma Thomas, Bonnie Raitt, Buckwheat Zydeco, and Preservation Hall Jazz Band. From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 30-May 3 at WWOZ.org and on the TuneIn radio app.
The great Bill Withers died on March 30, but “Lean On Me” lives on as an unequaled emotional support song during the coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday night, Sirius XM played the 1972 hit simultaneously on all its channels. And now the West Chester University student organization YOUnison is urging people to post their own performances of the song using the hashtags #LeanOnUs and #DayOfGratitude on YouTube.
Post your own ‘Lean On Me’ cover
Nick Cave’s Bad Seed TeeVee
Australian rocker Nick Cave’s spring tour for last year’s superbly sorrowful Ghosteen has been postponed, though as of now he’s still scheduled to play the Skyline Stage at the Mann Center on Sept. 23. In the interim, Cave has launched Bad Seed TeeVee, a 24-hour channel that keeps up a steady steam of live performance clips, videos, and interviews. Also, Cave’s ongoing Red Hand Files Q and A sessions with fans continue to raise the ask-me-anything format to literary heights. Watch it on the Bad Seed TeeVee YouTube channel and at theredhandfiles.com.
My Darling Vivian
Director Matt Riddlehoover’s documentary focuses on Vivian Liberto, the first wife of Johnny Cash and mother of his four daughters, including singer Rosanne Cash. It’s a tender, beautifully told love story about the country great and the Sicilian-American woman from San Antonio, Texas, who was erased from history as the mythic narrative took hold of Cash being saved by his second wife, June Carter. The movie was to be shown at the canceled South by Southwest film festival, and is one of seven SXSW selections streaming for free on Amazon Prime through May 6.
COMEDIANS ON YOUTUBE RAISING MONEY
COVID is No Joke
This virtual comedy fest to raise funds for the relief organization Americares will feature Will Ferrell, Bryan Cranston, Patton Oswalt, Jack Black and Tenacious D, Chelsea Handler, Wayne Brady, Kerry Washington, and many more. Watch it on the Americares YouTube channel at 8 p.m. on Friday. Details at covidisnojoke.org
— Howard Gensler
GLOBAL THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS
The Call to Unite
In need of inspiration on the who-knows-what-day of quarantine? Oprah Winfrey, former President George W. Bush, Maria Shriver, Yo-Yo Ma, Common, Eckhart Tolle, Eva Longoria, Naomi Campbell, and some 200 "cultural, spiritual, civic, and community leaders” will join forces for the Call to Unite, a 24-hour global livestream of uplifting messages and performances. The virtual event starts 8 p.m. Friday, and will be live-streamed at unite.us and on most social media platforms. Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver leads the effort. Viewers will be able to contribute to families who are struggling right now, and to connect with local volunteer opportunities.
— Brandon T. Harden
NEW MOVIES TO STREAM
Issa Rae stars in this romantic drama as a woman who finds a mysterious photograph with clues to her family history. She investigates with the help of a journalist (LaKeith Stanfield). Available to buy ($19.99) through Amazon, YouTube, Google Play, Fandango Now, and Microsoft.
— Gary Thompson
The Half of It
This teen comedy is an update of Cyrano, about in-the-closet high school teenager (Leah Lewis) solicited by a football player (Daniel Diemer) to write love letters to a class beauty (Alexxis Lemire). Written and directed by Alice Wu. Available starting Friday on Netflix.
A woman (Camila Mendes) loses her job and lands a job taking care of a rich man on a large estate. When he dies and she unexpectedly receives a large inheritance, she and her husband (Jesse Usher) become swept up in a wave of intrigue. Available starting Thursday on Netflix.
In this week’s horror movie entry, Radha Mitchell stars as a woman who takes her stepson to a remote country home, where the two encounter supernatural difficulties. With Henry Thomas and horror movie veteran Lin Shaye. Available to rent ($5.99) or buy ($9.99) on I-Tunes, Fandango, Microsoft, and Flix Fling.
Capital in the Twenty-First Century
This Justin Pemberton documentary is based on economist Thomas Piketty’s surprise best seller, which sold over 3 million copies to readers absorbed by its groundbreaking look at the modern origins of accelerating income inequality. Proceeds from the indie movie’s virtual release, on Friday, will benefit the Philadelphia Film Society and the Culture Works of Greater Philadelphia’s CineSPEAK program. Available through kinolorber.com.
New sci-fi comedy from Greg Daniels (The Office, Parks and Recreation) stars Robbie Amell (The Flash) as Nathan, who, after a self-driving car accident leaves him near death, is persuaded by his girlfriend, Ingrid (Allegra Edwards), to be uploaded to a virtual, luxurious afterlife belonging to her family. Amazon’s also giving this a virtual premiere, with Conan O’Brien interviewing Daniels and the cast live at 7 p.m. Friday on the Prime Video Twitter account, followed at 8 by a Twitter watch party with cast commentary. (Friday, Amazon)
— Ellen Gray
The latest project from Ryan Murphy’s big Netflix deal is a seven-episode limited series. Set in the post-World War II era, it’s an alternate history of Tinseltown that’s campy, carnal, and somewhat aspirational. Stars include Patti LuPone, Holland Taylor, Jim Parsons, Dylan McDermott, Darren Criss, and David Corenswet (The Politician). (Friday, Netflix)
The Princess Bride
Long before Robin Wright was the icy first lady-turned-president on Netflix’s House of Cards, she was Princess Buttercup, and Cary Elwes was her true love, Westley. Rob Reiner’s 1987 film of the William Goldman classic is the newest addition to Disney’s streaming service, and it’s inconceivable that you’ll find a warmer, funnier way to spend 98 minutes. (Friday, Disney+)
The season’s Top 10 are announced, and they again perform from home. Will Narberth’s Louis Knight, one of the judges’ favorites, be among them? (8 p.m., Sunday, ABC)
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist
I think it might be time to get out the tissues: The season finale of the musical dramedy is titled “Zoey’s Extraordinary Dad.” And as fans know, Zoey’s extraordinary dad (played by the equally extraordinary Peter Gallagher) is in the final stages of a cruel disease, whose progress this series has followed with remarkable sensitivity. (9 p.m., Sunday, NBC)
The fifth season premiere finds Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) and his rebel protégé Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon) back working together at Axe Capital, though not without some difficulties, and Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) trying to figure out his relationship with his estranged wife, Wendy (Maggie Siff). Because coronavirus restrictions shut down production, the show will take a break after seven episodes this season, returning later with five more. (9 p.m. Sunday, Showtime)
New documentary chronicles the experiences of former first lady Michelle Obama on the book tour for her best-selling memoir, Becoming, including an event in Philly at the African American Museum that’s featured in the show’s trailer. (Wednesday, May 6, Netflix)
All 12 half-hour episodes of this adaptation of Sally Rooney’s sexually frank best-selling novel are ready to stream (and steam). Daisy Edgar-Jones stars in the BBC coproduction as the well-off high school misfit Marianne, whose secret trysts with Connell (Paul Mescal), the popular son of her family’s housekeeper, begin a complicated on-and-off relationship that will change them both. (Hulu)
CINCO DE MAYO LIVESTREAM
Altísimo Live! Music and Pop Culture Festival
Top Latinx music stars Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Luis Fonsi, J Balvin, Diane Guerrero, Ana Brenda Contreras, and many more star in a virtual concert streaming live at 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 5, on the Altísimo Live Facebook and YouTube channels, among other social media platforms. The event, which will also be broadcast by iHeartLatino radio, is a celebration of frontline farm workers and a benefit for the Farmworkers Pandemic Relief Fund.
THEATER FROM NEAR AND FAR
This Nick Dear play, based on the classic Mary Shelley tale and directed by Danny Boyle for England’s National Theatre, was a smash when it premiered in 2011. The cool twist is that Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller alternate between the roles of Dr. Victor Frankenstein and his monster. You can watch the Cumberbatch as-the-creature version on the National Theatre YouTube channel starting April 30 (through May 7). The Miller-as-the-creature version starts May 1 (through May 8). Free.
Sing Street: Grounded — At Home with the Broadway Cast
After a hit run off-Broadway, the musical Sing Street, based on the 2016 indie film, was scheduled to open on Broadway April 19. Now sidelined, the cast is gathering together, but apart, for a concert streaming live on the Sing Street Facebook page 6:30 p.m. Thursday. (Available on demand 6:30 p.m. May 4.) The show is free and will seek donations for the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund. Cast members will perform from their homes in the U.S. and U.K.
“Hold These Truths,” extended
People’s Light is extending its streaming run of Hold These Truths for an extra week, through May 10. The play, which had been in rehearsal when the Malvern theater shut its doors, chronicles the life of civil rights activist Gordon Hirabayashi, a Quaker who struggles to reconcile his admiration for the U.S. Constitution with the forcible interment of 120,000 people of Japanese descent from the West Coast during World War II. Steven Eng plays Hirabayashi and 37 other characters. Virtual tickets $35 at peopleslight.org.
— Jane M. Von Bergen
CULTURE FROM YOUR COUCH
Opera Philadelphia’s Digital Festival O
With the Academy of Music and other operatic venues all closed, Opera Philadelphia is giving “digital premieres” between now and May 29 to five of its productions from recent seasons. The series starts with Denis & Katya, with music by Philip Venables and a libretto by Ted Huffman, premiering 8 p.m. Friday on Opera Philadelphia’s YouTube channel and at operaphila.org. Other titles throughout May: We Shall Not Be Moved, The Barber of Seville in a 2014 production, Sky on Swings, and Breaking the Waves. Full schedule at operaphila.org.
— Peter Dobrin
Barnes Foundation “Takeout”
The Barnes has launched a series of short curator talks, each hyper-focused on just one of the great works crammed into that Parkway museum. Browse the archived talks for installments like Barnes research honcha Martha Lucy’s discussion of Cezanne’s Bathers at Rest. You’ll get history, interpretation, insight — and learn the right, French, way to say words like ouevre. New talks launch every weekday on the Barnes’ Takeout YouTube channel. Friday’s is about an embellished Pennsylvania Dutch storage chest that’s literally a work of art. You can sign up with the Barnes for emailed alerts when new talks post.
— Becky Batcha
Andrea Clearfield’s ‘Zalon’
Philly composer Andrea Clearfield has hosted a monthly salon at her house for nearly three decades to showcase all manner of artists. She held it on Zoom last Sunday and will rebroadcast the show in a one-time streaming event 2 p.m. this Sunday at vidiksis.com/zalon. Performers include tango composer Pablo Estigarribia, playing from Argentina, with Philly-based dancers Andres Amarilla and Meredith Klein. Mezzo-soprano Maren Montalbano sings from home in Willingboro. Group Motion Workshop cofounder Manfred Fischbeck performs poetry and music from the Saunders House in Wynnewood, where he is recovering from being hit by a car.
— David Patrick Stearns