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Alone together: Livestreamed festivals featuring world leaders and celebrities (1-3 May)

Alone together: Livestreamed festivals featuring world leaders and celebrities (1-3 May)
Image by Jonas Denil for Unsplash

As culture goes virtual, there are plenty of online events to keep you entertained. This weekend organisers are pulling the big guns, with former US presidents George W Bush and Bill Clinton joining a long list of Hollywood A-listers for livestreamed events.

While virtual online events might not have the sense of community and the spectacle of “in real life” live events, on the positive side, without the need for physical proximity, there’s greater and easier access to concerts, entertainment and culture in general.

Examples are the exclusive, limited, online runs of theatre performances that many of us would have never had the chance to see, and limited runs of historic concerts that are typically not freely available to watch online.

While two weekends ago was all about the Lady Gaga-curated Global Citizen online festival, this weekend’s big event will like be the celebrity-studded, 24-hour, livestreamed Call to Unite event, kicking off at 8pm EST — that’s 2am Saturday morning in South Africa — and running right through until early Sunday morning. The long list of participants includes Oprah Winfrey, Alanis Morisette, Angelique Kidjo, Marie Kondo, Naomi Campbell, Quincy Jones, Common, George W Bush, Bill Clinton, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba and many more.

According to the unite.us website, where viewers can watch, in addition to on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Twitch, “Throughout the event, global leaders will join citizens of the world in sharing practices, prayers, songs, reflections and more to help you turn the pain of this moment into possibility for tomorrow.”

Also kicking off at 8pm EST on 1 May is the virtual comedy festival COVID IS NO JOKE, in support of frontline health workers. Expect appearances by Jack Black, Elizabeth Banks, Bryan Cranston, Kerry Washington, Mindy Kaling, Gal Gadot, Chelsea Handler and many many more. Visit the website here to see full line-up, and watch below:

If celeb-studded concerts aren’t your thing, remember acclaimed composer Andrew Lloyd Webber’s recently launched channel The Shows Must Go On premieres a new performance from his incredible catalogue, for a limited run. On Friday evening at 7pm UK time (8pm SA time), the channel premieres Webber’s Royal Albert Hall Celebration, “a celebratory tribute to musical compositions of Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, featuring hits from some of his most renowned productions, such as Starlight Express, Evita, Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar and more”. The performance will be available to watch for free globally for 48 hours.

Over the last few weeks we’ve been fortunate to get to view and experience a lot of innovative online artists’ exhibitions from the comfort of home. Make sure to read our review of the Goodman Gallery’s recently opened online group exhibition Authenticité. This weekend also marks the opening of Cape Town based artist Catherine Ocholla’s new exhibition, The Space Between, which runs until 16 May on gallery website StateoftheART. Of the many innovative ways we’ve seen online exhibitions done, hers most closely resembles a live gallery experience. The gallery structure is recreated in 3D and the viewer is able to navigate on screen. Unlike galleries that use Google’s streetview tools, this custom solution presents a smoother and more user-friendly experience, even for slower connections. View (and shop) the exhibition here. DM/ ML

If you would like to share an upcoming virtual event with us, please leave a comment below or email us at [email protected] and [email protected].

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