This year, the art world’s ability to rally and produce engaging and vital works has been a constant glimmer of hope amidst global turmoil. With the revived Friday Five, we bring you our weekly choice of the top five things to check out in the near future—highlights from all over, as well as from the Flynn. And as you enjoy, please consider supporting these artists and arts organizations. Every donation counts. We hope these diverse works from all corners of the art world ignite your curiosity, fuel your imagination, and help strengthen and energize our community.
In addition to these weekly selections, we also keep a more comprehensive rolling list of ongoing and upcoming happenings at our ONLINE ARTS GUIDE.
In this duet, Vermont dancers Christal Brown and Lida Winfield explore their similarities. Even as they recognize their differences—some superficial, others deeply-rooted—they keep an unwavering focus on how their individual paths led them to this point of collaboration and connection. Both artists are 41 years young. Both recently lost their mothers. Lida grew up in the North, Christal in the South; both come from small towns. Lida is white; Christal is Black. They’ve both lived the rigor of being artists, educators, and survivors.
Same But Different is presented by the Flynn and was created with support from Middlebury Performing Arts Series. This performance will stream through the Flynn website and is available January 30 at 7 pm through February 6. Tickets can be purchased and redeemed any time within that period.
FEBRUARY 2, 7 PM
FEBRUARY 9, 7 PM
The Vermont Burlesque Festival celebrates the local burlesque community and talent, offers continuing burlesque education and culture, introduces the greater Vermont community to culture and talent from outside of its borders, gives to breast cancer research, supports gender equality, promotes health and wellness projects including “love your body” positivity.
The 2021 festival is told by the producers, staff, and emcees who lived it. This festival is a 106-minute exclusive video review (a movie!) of the last seven years of VTBF events, favorite performances, and behind the scenes moments the audience never knew. Hosted by Luke Warm and Kyla Waldron with guest appearances and archived performance reveals by and of: Miss Astrid, Lili vonSchtupp, Foxy Tann, Blanche DeBris, Lady Mabhuay, Leif Peepers, Alexa Luthor, Ellie Quinn, Rusty DeWees-The Logger, Ray Gun, Lou Lou D'vill, and just about every performer who ever appeared on a VTBF stage.
Mirrorbox Theatre's Out the Box is a new reading series of fresh contemporary plays, streamed live and to a limited audience. Their next live reading takes the audience deep in a holler of the Shenandoah Valley, where Juniper prepares to spend a perfect life in a perfect cabin with her perfect partner, Blake. Until Maeve appears. Telling tall tales and crooning high lonesomes, Maeve beguiles Juniper return to Gin—a past self who once lived and loved in this here house. As Juniper attempts to exorcise her pursuit of passion and maintain the stable life she's created with Blake, Down in the Holler witnesses a collision of class and queerness, ultimately asking how we reconcile who we were and who we thought we would become. Down in the Holler was written by Val Dunn and directed by Lexy Leuszler.
The annual Ann Arbor Folk Festival, is The Ark's largest annual fundraiser. This year's festival brings some of the finest folk and roots performers into your home on Friday January 29 and Saturday January 30 starting at 7 pm EST each night. Each night includes a blend of well-known and up-and-coming artists performing 20–40 minute sets exclusively for the 44th Ann Arbor Folk Festival providing you with an opportunity to hear artists you know and love while discovering great new talent. The lineup delivers the full spectrum of “Ark music,” presenting a taste of what’s happening on the leading edge of acoustic music while delving into the very heart of folk and roots traditions.
Artists on Friday include Raul Malo, Colin Hay, Alan Doyle, The War and Treaty, Kiefer Sutherland, Joe Pug, Glen Phillips, Amythyst Kiah, Gina Chavez, Willie Watson, Ron Pope with Jeff Daniels, MC; on Saturday: Bruce Cockburn, Dar Williams, David Bromberg, Todd Snider, George Winston, Vance Gilbert, Dom Flemons, Matt Andersen, Crys Matthews, Sierra Ferrell, Andrea von Kampen with Jeff Daniels, MC. Then on Sunday, January 31 at 7 pm catch many beloved musicians with Michigan roots paying tribute to John Prine by offering covers of his classic songs. John Prine was the headliner for the very first Ann Arbor Folk Festival in 1976, at a time when the club was deep in debt, and closing the doors was a distinct possibility. And he played for free, asking only that his transportation be covered.
Toronto has a new virtual hip-hop and R&G music festival presented by Waveland, a Canadian non-profit arts organization. The festival features an all-Canadian lineup including the sounds of Joyia, Gary Beals, Aphrose, Del Hartley, Kei- Li & HMLT, Dallas, 3409, The Free Label, Quincy Morales, and Osé.