From dance parties to book fests: the best online culture this autumn Cultural trips From dance parties to book fests: the best online culture this autumn
From concerts and cooking to art and poetry, the virtual world is stepping up as new Covid restrictions bite. You’ll need your diary
Barbican: From Our Hall to Your Home
From rising London jazz star Nubya Garcia performing her debut album (29 Oct), to a musical voyage through space and time with Brian Cox and the BBC Symphony Orchestra (13 Dec), the Barbican’s forthcoming season includes 12 concerts livestreamed from its stages. Also on the bill is Americana from clarinettist and saxophonist Shabaka Hutchingswith chamber orchestra Britten Sinfonia (18 Nov), and a solo set from folk-influenced Geordie musician Richard Dawson (25 Oct). There’s also a special performance as part of the EFG London jazz festival 2020, with Mercury-nominated 10-piece Seed Ensemble celebrating the 80th birthday of jazz icon Pharoah Sanders (14 Nov).
• £12.50, various dates until 13 Dec, limited numbers can attend in person (£20) barbican.org.uk
Mixcloud presents Róisín Murphy, Flying Lotus and more
Four audio-visual shows will go live globally via Mixcloud as part of the music platform’s launch of ticketed virtual events – helping musicians generate income while live gigs are still near-impossible. Flying Lotus, aka Steve Ellison, will play a Halloween set accompanied by artists from his electronic label Brainfeeder. Music and film come together in a performance of new material from Irish singer-songwriter Róisín Murphy. Plus deep house DJ Leon Vynehall presents a new audio-visual show and there’ll be electro-acoustic chamber ballads from Lafawndah, live from St James Church in Clapton, east London.
• From £9.60, 25 Oct-21 Nov, mixcloud.com
Southbank Centre’s Inside Out
Artist in residence and Icelandic pianist Vikingur Ólafsson, violinists Tasmin Little and Alina Ibragimova, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and a jazz takeover by cellist Abel Selaocoe are among the highlights of the Southbank Centre’s virtual Inside Out programme. Also on the bill of more than 40 events, are refugee and migrant comedy collective No Direction Home, and talks from writers and activists including Angela Davis, Kae Tempest, Arundhati Roy and Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter.
• Free-£12, southbankcentre.co.uk
The Sofa Singers
Warm up the vocal cords with a twice-weekly choir session, often alongside 500 or more singers from all around the world. Set up by vocal leader James Sills during the first lockdown, it aims to help tackle global self-isolation. No experience – nor melodious tones – is required for the 45-minute simultaneous singalongs, which encourage people to break into song as if no one is listening. It is followed by a 45-minute open mic session where people share songs, poems, stories, pets, creative endeavours, and much more! People can register with a suggested donation or join the members’ club for £10 a month (most come to a few sessions for free, then join as members).
• Sessions 7.30pm Tuesday and 11am Friday (UK time), thesofasingers.com
Defected Virtual Festival presents … We Dance As One
Defected Records is throwing three free online events to unite partygoers worldwide as it seeks to raise awareness of the nightlife sector’s plight. After a successful summer run of virtual festivals, the first event will feature dance music legends performing from their homes or favourite nightclubs, including Carl Cox, CamelPhat, Dennis Ferrer, Disciples, Mike Dunn from Smartbar in Chicago, Natasha Diggs from New York’s House Of Yes, and Sam Divine from Ministry Of Sound in London. Sets will be livestreamed on YouTube, Facebook and Twitch, with more acts to be announced.
• Free, 30 Oct, 27 Nov, 31 Dec, defected.com
Todmorden book festival
Although bookworms won’t be able this year to visit the Todmorden book festival in West Yorkshire’s Calder Valley, an area rich in literary heritage, its organisers are running a programme of free events online. Talks will come from poet Andrew McMillan (pictured), environmentalist Jonathon Porritt and author Amanda Owen, AKA the Yorkshire Shepherdess. There’ll also be a screening of short film Walking the Watershed Landscape, which explores the south Pennines landscape through the eyes of the Rochdale-based Kashmiri Ramblers; rehearsed readings of the festival’s six shortlisted plays; an open mic performance night and more.
• Free, 6-14 Nov, donations welcome, todmordenbookfestival.co.uk
Online bookbinding workshop with We Make Books
Hands-on Zoom workshops from artist-led educational organisation We Make Books, aim to teach skills in the craft of bookbinding, and encourage appreciation of “the book as an art object in its own right”. Upcoming courses include how to make a hardcover notebook, with folding, sewing, covering and casing in (£47, inc materials, 14 Nov); and experimental bookbinding, creating three unique book structures, including a star accordion from reclaimed paper (£21, 9 Nov, workshop only). Tailor-made workshops for groups are also available.
Cambridge literary festival
Conservationist Dara McAnulty, who recently became the youngest winner of The Wainwright prize for UK Nature Writing, will be in conversation with author Robert Macfarlane, at this year’s virtual Cam Lit Fest. Diagnosed with autism at the age of five, McAnulty has a connection with the natural world in Northern Ireland that became a lifeline, inspiring him to write Diary of a Young Naturalist. Also on the bill so far is an evening of poetry with artist and activist Jay Bernard and deaf spoken word poet Raymond Antrobus, both Ted Hughes award winners. There will also be events with children’s author Jacqueline Wilson, comedian David Mitchell (pictured), poet, novelist and playwright Simon Armitage and novelist and journalist Matt Haig, with more to be announced.
• From £5, 19-22 Nov, cambridgeliteraryfestival.com
Withlocals cookery classes
From Roman aperitivi to tacos dorados in Mexico City, Sri Lankan curry to Hungarian goulash – livestreamed private cookery classes for groups can be booked with chefs around the world via the Withlocals platform. The aim of the site is to connect people with different cultures and support local hosts, who share skills, flavours and hidden gems from their home nations. Most of the online experiences are customisable, lasting 1-2 hours, and participants can invite friends and family to join virtually from any location: they’ll all receive a shopping list in advance.
• From £32, withlocals.com
Chocolate-making and tasting with York Chocolate Story
The former home of Terry’s, Rowntree’s and Craven’s, York has a long history of chocolate-making families, and since 2012 has been home to visitor attraction York Chocolate Story. The city still produces80,000 tonnes of confectionery a year, the museum is now offering interactive virtual chocolate experiences for large groups of friends and colleagues (for 10-plus people). There’s a live one-hour online tour (£22.50pp including samples sent in advance), a masterclass hour with a chocolatier who teaches making, decorating and piping handmade chocolates (£35pp inc ingredients, 10-person minimum), and an indulgent one-hour tasting session (£35, inc a range of chocolate, 10 person minimum). Bespoke events and chocolate cocktail add-ons are also available.
Grace Dent in conversation with Felicity Cloake
The Guardian restaurant critic Grace Dent talks to food writer Felicity Cloake about her new book, Hungry: a Memoir of Wanting More, on the day of its release on 29 October. Both a personal culinary biography and a record of 40 years of British cooking, Dent’s nostalgic tales recount growing up eating beige food and Tunnocks teacakes, cheese and pineapple hedgehogs and days spent as a schoolgirl eating chips in a Carlisle canteen. The live broadcast will be followed by a Q&A.
• From £5, 28 Oct, theguardian.com
Tate talks and screenings
Late at Tate is among several events heading online this month, with a special edition exploring the reflective nature of life in lockdown, short films, talks, music and audio artwork (23 Oct). Also coming up, curator Tamar Hemmes tells the stories behind Don McCullin’s photographs (24 Nov); a panel discussion explores the ethics of photojournalism (12 Nov); and a screening of Zanele Muholi’s documentary Difficult Love will be followed by the South African artist in conversation with UK Black Pride’s Lady Phyll (17 Nov).
• Free, various dates, donations welcome, tate.org.uk
Workshops with the Guggenheim
From portraiture to collage, miniature masterpieces are in the making at the Guggenheim’s themed art classes for kids, with live sessions streaming from New York for ages from four to 14. During the 45-minute online sessions, process-led creative projects are inspired by artwork from the Guggenheim’s collection, as well as the museum’s architecture itself ($15, a list of materials will be emailed in advance). Responding to Art workshops for adults ($20) run alongside, dealing with still life (23 Oct), pattern printmaking (6 Nov) and relief printmaking (13 Nov).
2020 marks the Serpentine Galleries’ 50th anniversary, which will be marked by a series of virtual events. Some also form part of the gallery’s long-term environmental project General Ecology, including the Long Time Sessions, a series of free live fortnightly talks on creating a better world for future generations. The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish is a two-day virtual festival (free, 5-6 Dec) bringing together artists, scientists and fforagers to explore the teeming ecology of the Earth’s soil. Plus, there are several digital archives now online as well as experimental app-based artwork.
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