In a normal year, the 44th annual British Arrows Awards Ceremony would have been held in London in March. Because COVID, it was postponed to March 2021, and now even that seems iffy.
So where does that leave those of us who looked forward each Christmas to watching the Arrows at the Walker? And where does it leave the Walker? This would have been its 34th straight year of hosting multiple screenings of the winners’ reel. In 2018, more than 30,000 tickets were sold.
We’re happy – no, really – to report there will be a British Arrows at the Walker this year. Not the one we’re used to, but one we wouldn’t have a chance to see if it weren’t for the pandemic. Working together, the Brits and a team from the Walker have curated a “British Arrows Greatest Hits” of some 40 ads spanning 40 years.
Even if you’ve gone to the Arrows at the Walker each year since they began, you haven’t seen the ads from the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The oldest dates from 1976 and shows its age. The newest date from 2019, and if you saw last year’s reel, you’ll remember them: Greenpeace’s warning about plastics in the ocean, Nike’s spectacular “Nothing Beats a Londoner,” three minutes long.
Other recent masterpieces make their return: the first “David Beckham and Kevin Hart” ad for the clothing retail company H&M (six minutes long!). Director Wes Anderson’s quirky and touching Christmas short, also for H&M, set on board a train and starring Adrien Brody. The incredible “We’re the Superhumans,” made for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio, featuring several British Paralympic athletes. And “Go On Lad,” in which a young boy runs through 122 years of British history, carrying a loaf of Hovis bread, “as good today as it’s always been.” We didn’t mind seeing any of those again. They’re still great.
There’s no indication of whether an ad won gold, silver or bronze, or its category. There’s no obvious meaning to the order – an ad from 2010 follows one from 1999 that follows one from 1978 that follows one from 2014 – and no themes threading through, as they might in a normal year. Nearly all the ads reveal the Brits’ gift for telling a story in seconds or minutes, something they’ve always been better at than we are.
The 2020 reel ends with a selection of commercials created during COVID. The Arrows has added a new category to the 2021 awards: Made in Lockdown.
Most of the ads in the 75-minute program have a feel-good edge; they’re upbeat, inspiring or funny. The public service announcements did not make it in. In previous years, those have covered such topics as domestic abuse, cyberbullying and suicide. We’ve left some British Arrows screenings a bit stunned. This one leans more toward entertainment. We’re fine with that. It’s a tough year.
“British Arrows Greatest Hits” means there’s at least one holiday tradition we won’t have to give up this year. It will be available online starting Thursday, Nov. 19, and run through Jan. 4. Tickets ($12/10) will go on sale later this month. FMI and trailer.
V is for virtual, L is for live and in person.
V Available now online: Children’s Theatre Company: “Last Stop on Market Street.” Filmed over two performances in October 2018, based on the Newbery-winning book by Matt de la Peña, this play follows a young boy who learns to see the beauty and fun in his own life and routine. With Alejandro Vega as CJ and Greta Oglesby as Nana; music and lyrics by Motown’s Lamont Dozier and Paris Ray Dozier. FMI and tickets; pay-what-you-want starting at $25. All ages. Ends Nov. 22.
V Friday (Nov. 6) on the Minnesota Orchestra’s website, TPT MN and Classical MPR: “Spirit and Soul.” A concert that features every section of the orchestra (brass, percussion and strings), with music by Sibelius, Zivkovic, Ballard and Mendelssohn. Livestreamed from the stage of Orchestra Hall. 8 p.m. Free.
V Friday and Saturday (Nov. 6 and 7) on TPT 2: PBS’ Great Performances: “One Man, Two Guvnors.” James Corden (“The Late Late Show with James Corden”) won a Tony for his performance in Richard Bean’s riotous comedy about a man who serves two masters, one a small-time East End gangster and the other an upper-class twit. 9 p.m. Friday and 3 a.m. Sunday. This was originally broadcast to cinemas around the world as part of Britain’s National Theatre Live.
V Friday through Sunday (Nov. 6-8) online: Cantus: “Brave.” Are you strong enough to be sensitive? The second concert in Cantus’ 2020-21 season explores what it means to identify as a man. The music is by Fanny Mendelssohn, Sara Bareilles, Griffin Candey and other composers. The concert will be livestreamed from the stage of the Ordway Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and available on demand through 7:30 p.m. Sunday. FMI and tickets (pay-what-you-can starting at $5; suggested $20 per household).
V Tuesday (Nov. 10) on the Westminster Town Hall Forum website and Facebook page: Eddie S. Glaude Jr.: “James Baldwin’s Lessons on Race in America.” A professor at Princeton, where he chairs the Department of African American Studies, and an in-demand pundit, Glaude will have plenty to say about the election when he visits the Forum. His latest book, “Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own” is a New York Times bestseller. 12 noon. FMI. All forums are recorded and archived for later viewing. Here’s Glaude at an earlier forum (Sept. 2016).
V Tuesday (Nov. 10) on the Schubert Club’s website: Midori, violin, and Ieva Jokubaviciute, piano. The internationally known violinist recently told Strad magazine (where she appears on the cover of the October issue), “Music is something that can bring smiles back to people, it’s something that can help people grieve, it’s something that can help people be consoled, or to dream.” Her concert for the International Artist Series – music by Grieg, Mozart and Franck – will be livestreamed from the stage of the Ordway Concert Hall. 2 p.m. Free. FMI and a link to the program book. A recording of this concert will be available to watch on demand for four weeks after the livestream.