Jazz, Cocktails, and Conversation Abound for This Week's Round of Virtual Events

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Shanelle Genai
·6 min read
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Alright, alright, alriiiiight. April is here and what better way to commemorate yet another month in this pandemic (booo) than by attending some fun (online) events! Though the seemingly unending nature of this panoramic continues to relegate our good times indoors, if there’s anything we’ve learned over this past year— it’s that just because it’s virtual, it doesn’t mean we can’t still have a good time! Just ask Swizz Beatz and Timbaland. Just ask D-Nice. (Although admittedly, while I’ve enjoyed virtually cutting a rug in my PJs to D-Nice’s sets this entire quarantine, I can’t wait to actually attend an in-person gathering of his because VIBES.) Anywhooo, let’s get into this week’s virtual events shall we?

April 8

BRIC, the Brooklyn-based leading arts and media institution presents BRIC Jazzfest 2021—a virtual musical marathon celebrating the best of jazz. Streamed live from BRIC House, the event will span across three nights (April 8-10) and feature global legends, groundbreaking artists, and exciting newcomers like: Roy Ayers, Phony Ppl, Nikara Presents: Black Wall Street, Meshell Ndegeocello, Keyon Harrold, Justin Hicks, Robert Glasper, Nate Smith & Van Hunt and more. Single-day and three-day passes are available now, you can get them by going here.

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On-Air Fest, the premiere cultural event for audio creators, will also be kicking off its 2021 celebration. This year’s free event will feature an “expansive range of emerging and established voices to explore the creative possibility of sound.” Features speakers include Roxane Gay, Rhiannon Giddens, Thelma Golden, Hanif Abdurraqib, Gene Demby, Renay Richardson, Open Mike Eagle and many more. Further details and registration info can be found by going here.

April 9

LA Opera is launching a new Signature Recital Series to showcase world-class artists in intimate online performances. Tenor Russell Thomas launches the series on April 9, with subsequent recitals featuring mezzo-soprano J’nai Bridges, soprano Christine Goerke, soprano Julia Bullock and mezzo-soprano Susan Graham. Filmed in performance venues across the country and in Europe, the five full-length recitals will be available for on-demand viewing for several weeks after their initial streaming dates, through July 1. Thomas will be joined by pianist Mi-Kyung Kim for a performance of Schumann’s song cycle Dichterliebe [Poet’s Love]: “a heartbreaking journey from bliss to bitterness, it’s a pinnacle of Romantic-era song repertoire, perfect forthe golden sounds of [his] solid, well-honed tenor voice.’ Filmed at Atlanta’s Spivey Hall, the program also includes ravishing love songs by American composers Adolphus Hailstork and Robert Owens. For access and more information on the entire series of performances, visit here.

April 10

Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theater, in partnership with the Black Women’s Expo and Black Owned Chicago, presents the 5th Edition of the Black Beauty Festival (BBF), April 10-11. Offered virtually for the first time, Black Beauty Festival: Joy & Magic is a free two-day event that uplifts Black-owned businesses while creating conversations around beauty, health, and wellness. This year’s theme is Joy & Magic, two words that perfectly encompass the celebratory BBF experience. BBF will include online shopping for Black-owned businesses, free performances from The Black Monologues, a jam session with up-and-coming artists, a haircut tutorial, yoga hour, paint & sip afternoon, raffle giveaways, and much more. Each event is free, though pre-registration is required. For more information or to RSVP for an event, be sure to go here.

Backline will host Set Break, their first-ever free livestream fundraiser on the Relix Channel, exclusively on Twitch—featuring live performances from all over the world, public service announcements from music industry professionals, and immersive wellness experiences. The nonprofit org, which connects music industry professionals with mental health and wellness resources, has added more musical performances from guests like: Wyclef Jean & Jerry Wonda (The Fugees), Leon Bridges, Bailey Bryan, Fruition’s Mimi Naja, Phoffman of Greensky Bluegrass, Souleye, and a DJ set from Vacationer’s Kenny Vasoli and more. Set Break will also feature experiences from partners the Black Mental Health Alliance, National Independent Venue Association, and Tour Health Research Initiative (THRIV) with an opportunity for folks to donate. For more information, you can visit here.

April 12

The Goodman Theatre’s Encore series—four plays from the theater’s “video vault,” curated by the Goodman’s Artistic team—continues with Smokefall, available now through April 25.) Directed by Anne Kauffman, Snowfall tells the story of “Violet” as she “prepares to bring twin boys into the world. Inside her womb, her unborn sons contemplate their future, while the world around her is in transformation: her husband is secretly planning to leave her, her father is slipping into senility and her daughter has taken a vow of silence. Haunting and slyly funny, Smokefall explores the lives of this family in a lyrical treatise on the fragility of life and the power of love.” Tickets are free with reservations, which you can make by going here.

April 13

The Public Theater’s presents the world premiere audio play SHADOW/LAND, written by Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence Erika Dickerson-Despenza. Directed by Lilly Award winner Candis C. Jones, SHADOW/LAND is “a harrowing new drama set amid the ongoing devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Ruth coaxes her mother, Magalee, to sell Shadowland, the family business and New Orleans’s first air-conditioned dancehall and hotel for Black people. But as Hurricane Katrina begins her ruin, Ruth is forced to wrestle with all that she’s ready to let go. SHADOW/LAND is the first installment of a 10-play cycle traversing the Katrina diaspora in an examination of the ongoing effects of disaster, evacuation, displacement, and urban renewal rippling in and beyond New Orleans.” The audio play will be available as a podcast for free on-demand streaming via The Public’s new Public Play Now platform and wherever podcasts are available through April 13, 2022.

Join Vanity Fair for their live cocktail hour series, starting today through April 15, featuring inspiring conversations from some of your favorite artists and entertainers all from the comfort of your own home. Day one’s events, hosted by Vanity Fair EIC, features Michael B. Jordan in conversation with Serena Williams, Gal Gadot in conversation with Vanity Fair’s Anthony Breznican, Kathryn Hahn and Judith Light, Andra Day in conversation with Yohana Desta. To see who else on the roster and for more info on how to get your tickets, be sure to go here.