Always imaginative Philadelphia rapper Tierra Whack reworks Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic” into a new song about the frustrations of the quarantined life. “This song is dedicated to everyone on lockdown,” reads the intro to the video clip, which finds a blond Whack sporting an Erykah Badu “Hip Hop Is Bigger Than The Government” hoodie, storing her toilet paper in the refrigerator, doing headstands, and social distancing with her pet turtle Boots. Find it on Twitter @TierraWhack
— Dan DeLuca
New Orleans bounce music queen Big Freedia has a twice-a-weekend livestream going. Her Friday Night Shakedown at 9 p.m. features the rapper in a club with a social-distancing DJ and twerking dancers. It benefits her touring band and the New Orleans Disaster Relief Fund. Then on Sundays at 1 p.m., Big Freedia’s Gospel Brunch finds her in her Crescent City kitchen, serving up shrimp and grits. Find both on her Facebook page. Also of note for fans of Nawlins hip-hop: Cash Money DJ-producer Mannie Fresh’s Virus-Killaz party streams at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, at @manniefresh on Instagram.
The rock legend is holed up at his mountain home in Telluride, Colo., with his wife and camera operator Daryl Hannah. At his Neil Young Archives — where his voluminous catalog is available to peruse for free during the pandemic — he’s hosting occasional “Fireside Sessions” that promise “a down-home production, a few songs, a little time together.” There’s no set schedule, but last weekend, he ventured outside to sing Ian & Sylvia’s “Four Strong Winds” in the snow, then hunkered down by the hearth for his own songs like “Love and Only Love.” At NeilYoungArchives.com.
Nashville singer and fiddle player Amanda Shires has been hosting nightly get-togethers at 8 featuring a rotating cast of Music City musicians, including her songwriter husband Jason Isbell. Original songs have been mixed in with Warren Zevon and Billy Joe Shaver covers. Part of the tip jar proceeds go to the Grammy MusiCares COVID-19 relief fund. On Shires’ YouTube page.
For decades, LeVar Burton captivated the minds of young readers as the Emmy-winning host of PBS’ Reading Rainbow. Lately he’s been doing the weekly LeVar Burton Reads podcast, reading short fiction and acting out characters in different voices. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, he’s bringing his talents to Twitter @levarburton with livestreamed read-alongs starting Friday at 9 p.m. Friday sessions will be for adults. Mondays at noon are for children, Wednesdays at 6 p.m. for young adult readers.
— Brandon T. Harden
Kim Kardashian West has been using her A-list celebrity status to advocate for prison reform. In 2018, she met with President Trump seeking clemency for Alice Johnson, a first-time nonviolent drug offender who had been serving a life sentence. He granted it, and Johnson was released. In this two-hour documentary, Kim K. and her legal team plan to shed light on other criminal cases she believes to be unfair. “I went into this knowing nothing,” Kardashian West says in a clip previewing the show. “And then my heart opened up.” The documentary premieres at 7 p.m. Sunday on Oxygen.
The long-running festival was set to celebrate its 30th anniversary March 27 to April 5 in Reading. That is not happening, and the entire fest, with the same acts, has been rescheduled for 2021. Meanwhile, the void is being filled with streams of 11 concerts from the 2017, 2018, and 2019 fests, scheduled through Monday. Featured shows include a Grover Washington Jr. tribute with Gerald Albright, Andy Snitzer, and Gerald Veasley on Friday and Kirk Whalum’s Gospel According to Jazz on Sunday. Philly bassist Veasley is the online host. Shows are streaming at facebook.com/BerksJazzFest1991 and will be archived on Vimeo.
It’s the largest film festival in the country dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of people living with disabilities, and this year the fest has gone virtual, with screenings through Monday. The Friday 1:30 p.m. feature is 25 Prospect Street, about a nonprofit movie theater in Connecticut dedicated to employing people with disabilities. Saturday offers up four programs of shorts starting at 1:30 p.m. while Sunday has a full day of programming. Monday closing feature (8:30 p.m.) is Bedlam, about issues surrounding mental illness. Find it at reelabilities.org/newyork.
— Howard Gensler
Meghan Markle, former Suits star and occasionally ambivalent duchess of Sussex, is back to work. She narrates this Disney-produced nature film, which is making its debut, along with the Natalie Portman-narrated Dolphin Reef, as part of Disney’s celebration of Earth Month. Elephant, says Disney, “follows African elephant Shani and her spirited son Jomo as their herd make an epic journey hundreds of miles across the vast Kalahari Desert. Led by their great matriarch, Gaia, the family faces brutal heat, dwindling resources and persistent predators, as they follow in their ancestor’s footsteps on a quest to reach a lush, green paradise.” Friday, Disney+.
— Ellen Gray
There are some things that don’t change, even as the world does. This 1956 Cecil B. DeMille epic, returning to TV on the weekend before Passover and Holy Week, is one of them. Charlton Heston is, of course, Moses, leading his people to freedom. 7 p.m. Saturday, ABC.
Luke Bryan, Brad Paisley, and Darius Rucker will honor the late Kenny Rogers during this country-music special. Hosted by Gayle King, it will feature a mix of conversations and at-home performances. Among those expected to appear are Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Kane Brown and John Legend, Brandi Carlile, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Sheryl Crow, and Miranda Lambert. 8 p.m. Sunday, CBS.
How could I not have seen this American Idol story line coming? If you’re watching The Rookie, I’m going to assume it’s for Nathan Fillion and the rest of the cast and not for the plotting, which is beyond far-fetched, even for a show whose premise involves a 40-something rookie police officer in Los Angeles. So no one should be surprised that synergy-happy Disney, which now airs Idol, would have one of the The Rookie’s officers facing host Ryan Seacrest and the judges after responding to a call to the L.A. auditions. Can a musical episode be far behind? 10 p.m. Sunday, ABC.
Seven-part British drama stars Helen Hunt, Sean Bean, Lesley Manville, and Jonah Hauer-King in a story about ordinary people living through World War II. 9 p.m. Sunday, WHYY12.
With the series finale coming up on Wednesday on ABC, it’s possible you’re a little behind on the doings of the Pritchett-Dunphy-Delgado-Tucker clan. You can catch up on Hulu or on ABC.com, which has the most recent episodes.
This miniseries is loosely based on Deborah Feldman’s memoir, Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots. It would be a great binge for any weekend, but the story of a young woman fleeing her insular community in Brooklyn for Berlin may resonate more now. Israeli actress Shira Haas stars as Esther “Esty” Shapiro, who’s always known she was different, but perhaps not how different, until her teenage marriage to Yakov (Amit Rahav).
Philadelphia’s drama troupe Liberty City Radio Theatre feels made for this moment. Normally, they perform radio-style dramas on stage. At 7 p.m. Sunday, they’ll give it a go live via Zoom, promising answers to Life, the Universe, and Everything with an online streaming performance of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Get the link on the Liberty City Radio Facebook page. Expect an old-time radio-style broadcast with the actors “on stage” from their Zoom rooms.
— Jane M. Von Bergen
When a police officer (Ed Helms) embarks on a relationship with a single mother (Taraji P. Henson), her son (Terrence Little Gardenhigh) doesn’t like the new arrangement one bit, and endeavors to drive a wedge between them. With Betty Gilpin of The Hunt. Directed by Michael Dowse (Goon). Not rated. Available on Netflix.
— Gary Thompson
In what the Wall Street Journal describes as a “tough-minded, forthright and exquisitely tender film” that transcends polemics, Sidney Flanigan stars as a young pregnant woman contemplating abortion. She heads to New York City with her cousin (Talia Ryder). Written and directed by Eliza Hittman (It Felt Like Love). Not rated. $19.99 on Vudu.
Sequel to the horror film about a creepy doll that inspired homicidal mayhem. In this iteration, a woman (Katie Holmes) moves into a sinister mansion, and slowly realizes the doll that her son is playing with is demonic. Only PG-13, so perhaps Katie will be spared the worst. Runs a scant 86 minutes. Available on Fandango Now, $13.99.
The Philadelphia club is closed so it’s providing a weekend of virtual laughs. Friday at 8:30 p.m., Last Comic Standing champ Alonzo Bodden (with Liz Miele) hosts a topical, comical Q&A through Zoom. At 10 p.m. Friday, you’ll be the judge of who’s funny as host Todd Armstrong and four comics play “Jury Duty.” Saturday at 10 p.m., it’s a cavalcade of comedy’s “Horrible People." Sunday at 8 p.m., Chip Chantry and Mary Radzinski offer humorous advice to help you survive staying home. All shows are $7. Info on the Helium website.
Philly’s Improv Theater this year hosts its full festival weekend of comedic duos online. Pairs of comics from around the country will get you laughing from 8 to 9 nightly through Saturday. Link through phillyimprovtheater.com to receive an email for a livestream performance via Zoom. Tickets are $7.
You, the audience, can be part of the show as the long-running improv show ComedySportz hosts free interactive comedy matches via Zoom at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Register in advance on ComedySportz website, comedysportzphilly.com. You’ll get an email with the link to the Zoom meetup URL. Want to participate? You can “chat” with the announcers and referees.
Thursday, 2 p.m. (then archived). Rodale Institute, the Berks County mother house of the organic revolution, has long offered workshops on becoming one with your healthy garden. Now they’ve gone virtual, to help with social distancing. Thursday’s hour-long webinar ($25) is for growers and farmers of all skill levels and will cover the science of grafting, how grafting can improve your tomato yields, and more. Preregistration is required. Future webinars will cover transitioning to organic (April 14) and composting (April 16). — H.G.
The charming Striped Hat, based on Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat, was choreographed in 2009 by BalletX artistic director Christine Cox. It streams this week, through Sunday, in a program that includes Jorma Elo’s 2006 Scenes View 2 (set to Bach) and company cofounder Matthew Neenan’s Broke Apart (to music by Martha Wainwright, Cyndi Lauper, and others), both from 2006. BalletX is offering a new lineup weekly of taped ballet performances from their vault. You need to join the company’s mailing list to get the link. Go to balletx.org to sign up.
— Ellen Dunkel
Like so many other groups, Orchestra 2001 was poised to perform. But with the ensemble’s live performances at the Barnes Foundation this weekend canceled, the concept has been reworked. The group will stream a 90-minute compilation of 16 or more prerecorded performances (plus some commentary) recorded mostly at home and in studios of the individual musicians. The O2001/Barnes Facebook Watch Party — which includes works of George Crumb, Nico Muhly, Tan Dun, John Luther Adams, Poulenc, and Prokofiev — is Friday, April 3, at 6 p.m. on the Barnes Foundation Facebook page.
— Peter Dobrin
With its doors closed for the duration, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles is encouraging virtual visitors to rummage through its collection online to create at-home versions of its art. “Choose your favorite artwork; find three things lying around your house; recreate the artwork with those items,” tweets the museum at @GettyMuseum. And then share it on social media, of course. The results are a fun diversion for arts fanciers. — P.D.
When three women form an alliance on a reality TV dating show, hilarity follows. The play Marry, Marry Quite Contrary is Paper Doll Ensemble’s take on The Bachelor. It was staged in sold-out shows at Plays & Players in late January. Now you can watch it on YouTube, free. Meanwhile, so many local theater troupes are offering innovative virtual shows that we can’t list them all here. Theatre Philadelphia, which promotes live theater in the region, has a comprehensive list on its website, at theatrephiladelphia.org. Click on Virtual Theatre.
The McCarter Theatre Center’s ongoing monthly Shakespeare Reading Group is now meeting virtually. Registration is open through Friday for the April reading at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Go to mccarter.org and click onto the “Community” tab to make your way to the sign-up link. On tap for Tuesday is Act 3, Scene 4 of Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth, exploring the physical and psychological effects of political ambition. You can sign up to read a part, or just listen.
Fabio Luisi is among the most impressive visitors to the Philadelphia Orchestra’s podium these days, and Saturday night listeners can hear his work in opera. The Metropolitan Opera is making archival videos of productions available on its website, a different one each night at 7:30 that remains available for viewing/listening for the following 23 hours. Saturday features an encore showing of Luisi leading Verdi’s Macbeth, with Anna Netrebko, Joseph Calleja, Željko Lučić, and René Pape. metopera.org.
“I ask you this: Which way to go?” begins the Langston Hughes poem Prayer. The text may be doubting, but the atmosphere is hopeful in the setting of the poem by composer Leslie Adams. Mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves gives it an especially reassuring layer in a performance captured at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., in 2016. Laura Ward, co-artistic director of Philadelphia’s Lyric Fest, is pianist, and she has recently reposted the video. facebook.com/laura.ward.1441