The composer Sarah Kirkland Snider is an artistic director of the consistently rewarding label New Amsterdam Records. Her third full-len...
The composer Sarah Kirkland Snider is an artistic director of the consistently rewarding label New Amsterdam Records. Her third full-length release, “Mass for the Endangered,” due out on Friday, features the vocal ensemble Gallicantus and the conductor Gabriel Crouch.
This “Mass” broadly follows the historical format, with some crucial tweaks. Some key phrases are sung in the original Latin; additions in English are by the poet Nathaniel Bellows. The conceptual pivot of the new text amounts to an environmentalist’s twist, through which the collaborators mean to praise “the majesty of plant and animal biodiversity.”
As with Snider’s past works, the surface details of this “Mass” can be quickly identified as mellifluous and engaging. But there are additional levels to enjoy. During the “Kyrie,” her affection for American minimalism is clear when insistent string writing powers the vocalists’ polyphonic plea for “mercy to all creed and claw.”
Equally telling is a moment in Snider’s “Credo” — as greater complexity gives way to homorhythmic writing on the words “to change how we have lived.” This emphatic articulation of purpose, sung by and for other humans, seems to be reaching beyond environmentalism and toward morality at large. The moment also calls to mind the “Credo” in the “Mass for Five Voices” by William Byrd, a Renaissance composer whose influence Snider has cited when discussing the album.
SETH COLTER WALLS
If magic is the art of make believe, mentalism goes one step further: It’s not just that audience members can’t trust their eyes; they feel as if they can’t trust their brains either.
Mind-reading has gotten pretty arty these past few years, with the British star Derren Brown taking his show “Secret” to Broadway and Derek DelGaudio’s “In & Of Itself” running Off Broadway for 72 weeks. And Zoom has been quite hospitable to illusionists — one of the Covid era’s most popular offerings has been Helder Guimarães’s “The Present.”
Now comes Vinny DePonto’s “Mental Amusements,” presented (virtually, of course) by Pennsylvania’s Bristol Riverside Theater on Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time, and Saturday at 5:30 and 7:30. (Shows will continue on various days through Nov. 6.)
Like the new generation of Jedi mind tricksters, DePonto straddles the carnival and theater: He has guessed the birthdays of befuddled strangers on the Coney Island boardwalk, and he has had a run with his show “Charlatan” at the hip Manhattan performance space Ars Nova. Working through a screen should not be a problem for him.
Note that willing subjects can purchase a “front-row seat” ($50) for a more participatory experience, while those who prefer to protect their innermost thoughts can stick to the safety of a general-admission ticket ($35).
Pop & Rock
The Old Bonnaroo, and the New
In the transition to online formats, music festivals have lost some of their allure and Instagramability. But there are benefits to experiencing these events in cyberspace: They’re more geographically and financially accessible, and tolerable for the crowd-averse. And attendance requires minimal outfit planning. This weekend, Bonnaroo is the latest festival to offer a digital proxy for its in-person festivities, normally a muddy, early summer affair held in Manchester, Tenn.
Virtual Roo-ality, as the event is called, will stream free on Bonnaroo’s YouTube channel, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Eastern time Thursday through Saturday. Its offerings include a mix of archival footage and new content. Tune in for a 2015 performance from Run the Jewels, who were scheduled for the original, in-person bill of this year’s festival; or travel further back in time for a 2005 set by the White Stripes or a 2003 set by James Brown.
Additional contributions will be made by the ever-rousing Resistance Revival Chorus; the New Orleans bounce titan Big Freedia, whose planned cooking segment may also involve twerking; and the Chicago rapper Polo G, in an unlikely collaboration with Bruce Hornsby, whose song “The Way It Is” Polo G recently sampled.
For 38 years, the Joyce Theater has been a bustling hive of dance in New York, with its signature Art Deco marquee proudly proclaiming its productions. In a normal year, that marquee changes almost weekly, but for months now, one side has read “Black Lives Matter”; the other, “We Will Dance Again.”
This week, the Joyce began the first part of a digital fall season that’s as stylistically and geographically diverse as the ever-rotating lineups that usually grace its stage. The videos are now available all at once on the Joyce’s website through Oct. 19.
From Los Angeles, Contra-Tiempo presents “She Who: Frida, Mami & Me.” Choreographed by Marjani Forté-Saunders, it explores the legacies of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and the Nigerian water spirit Mami Wata. Ate9 Dance Company, also from Los Angeles, offers “Calling Glenn,” created by the founder Danielle Agami with Glenn Kotche, the percussionist from Wilco. The work combines her urgent physicality with his evocative sounds.
Additionally, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater from Chicago performs an adaptation of “Indumba,” a piece by the South African choreographer Fana Tshabalala that tackles the continuing impact of apartheid. The London-based hip-hop collective Far From the Norm contributes four short films, including “B.R.E.A.T.H.E.,” a harrowing response to police violence against Black men, and a documentary of its founder, Botis Seva.
Smitten by Kittens? An Online Fest
Galaxy, host of the Animal Planet television series “My Cat From Hell,” and Christina Ha, co-owner of the Manhattan cat cafe Meow Parlour, are presenting Jackson Galaxy’s Cat Camp @Home on Saturday from 2 to 6:30 p.m. Eastern time. Streaming free at catcamp.com (attendees must register there to be eligible for prizes), this festival will feature an interview with Ava Dorsey, the 13-year-old founder of Ava’s Pet Palace, an online business selling her homemade organic pet treats. Other child-friendly presentations include learning how to edit cat photos, paint a watercolor feline portrait and make a scratching board. (Materials will be listed on the website.)
Galaxy and Hannah Shaw, best known as Kitten Lady, will address fans’ questions, and Adam Myatt, a.k.a. the Cat Man of West Oakland, plans to host the world’s largest Cat Man bingo game. (Players must first buy a $10 online bingo card; the proceeds help stray cats.)
Kitten Rescue, a Los Angeles nonprofit, will also host a kitten cam that’s sure to keep little humans purring.
Jonah. Pinocchio. Atsuko!
Add the comedian Atsuko Okatsuka to the list of characters swallowed whole by sea creatures, only she has used that literary device to reimagine her home during quarantine as the monster. “OHAYO!,” Japanese for “good morning,” is the show she is broadcasting from the belly of her beast, with the help of a puppet shark sidekick and whomever she can contact in the outside world with her Wi-Fi signal.
As she explained in her debut episode last month: “It’s important to keep track of the days. That way you don’t go insane. But counting down the days and screaming it into a microphone can get real lonely sometimes. That’s why I started a morning show!”
Okatsuka’s live game show, “Let’s Go, Atsuko!,” was to appear on Quibi, but the pandemic shut down production before any episodes could be filmed. So instead she has been focusing on “OHAYO!” Her guests for the second episode, on Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern time, include the comedians Kyle Kinane, Randy Feltface and Rekha Shankar, with music from William Hung (yes, that William Hung from the third season of “American Idol”). Tickets to the livestream are available on Eventbrite; they’re free for the financially distressed, but donations of $5 or $10 are suggested (part of the proceeds will go to the ActBlue fund for Democratic Senate candidates).
SEAN L. McCARTHY
Art & Museums
Photoville Spreads Out
Since 2012, Photoville has been presenting the world rather inventively, setting up several shipping containers’ worth of photo stories under the Brooklyn Bridge annually. Its organizers had to tap into that creative spirit this year, placing more than 60 exhibitions throughout the five boroughs to pull off a pandemic-safe festival. The works will be on display until Nov. 29 (a list of locations is at photoville.nyc).
The festival is also offering online programming through Oct. 10. This weekend, a few virtual events reflect Photoville’s shift toward interrogating industry norms.
On Friday, in “Photography, History and Systems of Power,” John Edwin Mason, a history professor at the University of Virginia, along with the photographers William Wilson and Sama Alshaibi, will discuss photography’s role in colonialism’s legacy. On Saturday, the focus is on women: how one makes visual sense of social justice in “The Gravity of Inclusive Storytelling With Cheriss May”; and how We, Women, a collective of female and nongender-conforming artists, has chosen to respond to critical national issues through social-impact art projects in “The Power of We.” Bringing the discussion back to New York on Sunday in “We Built This City: Destiny Mata and Gogy Esparza in Conversation,” Mata and Esparza will explore how our multiethnic city inspires their photography. (R.S.V.P. on Photoville’s website for links to the livestreams.)