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Ordway launches two streaming series; MNspin Virtual Fest at the Hook

ALSO: History Theatre’s “All the Way With LBJ”; “The Golden Ass,” a virtual opera screening; and more.

The Red Hot Chilli Pipers have invented their own kind of music, a mix of bagpipes, drums and electric guitar they call “bagrock.”
The Red Hot Chilli Pipers have invented their own kind of music, a mix of bagpipes, drums and electric guitar they call “bagrock.”
Courtesy of the artists

The Ordway will launch two new streaming series just a few days apart. One is a weekly concert series, the other an invitation to meet artists in live conversations. One is pay-what-you-wish, the other is free.

Starting this weekend (Friday, Jan. 22 through Sunday, Jan. 24), “Winter Weekends at the Ordway” will feature five concerts by artists working in a variety of styles and genres – something for everyone, and family-friendly. All will be available to stream on demand over the following weekends through Feb. 21. Give yourself something new to look forward to each weekend, or binge on all five. Start and end wherever you like.

The featured artists are Lee Rocker, Naturally 7, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers (not a typo!), Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra, and MOJO and the Bayou Gypsies.

Rocker is a double bassist and founder of the rockabilly revival band Stray Cats. His show will include songs and stories from 35 years on the road. The seven singers of Naturally 7 use their voices to mimic instruments, creating a full-band beatbox with vocal play. The Red Hot Chilli Pipers have invented their own kind of music, a mix of bagpipes, drums and electric guitar they call “bagrock.” You’ve never heard “Smoke on the Water” played on pipes? Tune in.

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In the Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra, indie rock meets a Latin beat. The 11-piece group plays an ever-changing setlist of songs by Arcade Fire, the Black Keys, and more. Led by Mister MOJO on accordion and voice, MOJO and the Bayou Gypsies perform all-original Louisiana music certified by the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, a fiery, foot-stomping mix of zydeco, Cajun, two-step, rock and blues.

FMI and tickets. Pay-what-you-wish for access to all five performances.

Beginning Monday, Jan. 25, continuing into March and likely beyond (the Ordway plans to keep the series going after it resumes live programming), “Meet the Artists” will bring audiences and artists closer, so important in a time when a pandemic has kept us apart. Hourlong free-flowing conversations hosted by the Ordway’s Producing Artistic Director Rod Kaats will be followed by 20-minute Q&A sessions. Some will be co-hosted by other Twin Cities artists.

“These conversations will be fun,” Kaats said in a statement. “The artists we’ll be talking to are witty and wise, insightful, entertaining and often hilarious. These are artists you definitely want to meet.”

The following guests have been confirmed to date. Each event (with one exception) will start at 6 p.m. All are free, with reservations required.

Bailey McCall
Bailey McCall
On Monday, Jan. 25: Andrea Macasaet, the Filipino Canadian actor who played Anne Boleyn in the Ordway’s pre-Broadway production of “SIX: The Musical” in Dec. 2019. Theater Mu’s Lily Tung Crystal will co-host. Thursday, Feb. 11: Bailey McCall and David Socolar, co-stars of the musical “Waitress,” which will be part of next season’s Broadway at the Ordway. Feb. 13-21: Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal. This will not be a livestream, but a rebroadcast of a popular event from Fall 2020, available for a week on demand. Rapp and Pascal were in the original cast of “Rent,” and Feb. 13 is the show’s 25th anniversary.

Tuesday, Feb. 23: Samantha Pauly, who played Katherine Howard in “SIX” at the Ordway – and before then, Eva Perón in “Evita” in London. Tuesday, March 9: Brittney Mack, a Chicago native who plays Anna of Cleves in the Broadway production of “SIX.” Tuesday, March 23: Tamara Tunie, who dazzled in the Ordway’s 2019 production of “42nd Street” and spent 21 seasons as medical examiner Melinda Warner in the NBC TV series “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”

The picks

V is for virtual, L is for live and in person.

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V Streaming all day today (Thursday, Jan. 21): Deep Tones for Peace Presents “Change Has Come.” In August 2020, bassists Mark Dresser and William Parker launched a daily public stream of live meditations for peace, healing and transformation. Open to bassists everywhere, the group grew to nearly 3,000 members (including many celebrated artists) in more than 40 countries. Today is the final presentation. Sounds and silences of 90 performers will continue unbroken until everyone has been heard. “The musicians/healers will play to help our world get back in tune – to soothe wounds inflicted by the serial lies, injustices and escalating hate so prevalent in recent years.” After today, when live transmissions end, you can still access the page and the media archive. On Facebook.

V Streaming now: History Theatre Radio Hour: “All the Way With LBJ.” In 1997, the History Theatre produced the play “Favorite Son: The Humphrey Perspectives.” Starring Fred Wagner as LBJ and the late Julian Bailey as Humphrey, it was written by four playwrights: John Olive, Kim Hines, David Hawley and Jeffrey Hatcher. “All the Way With LBJ” was written by Hatcher. Recorded by MPR, this Radio Hour presentation includes a short interview with Hatcher and a 20-minute post-show discussion with former Vice President Walter Mondale, historian Hy Berman and Humphrey’s son, “Skip,” moderated by Karl Gehrke. On demand through Feb. 4. Free.

This “Hookstream” concert features a live performance by Nur-D.
Courtesy of the artist
This “Hookstream” concert features a live performance by Nur-D.
V Tonight (Thursday, Jan. 21) at 7 p.m.: The Hook & Ladder: MNspin Virtual Fest (Part 1). Celebrating the growing collection of local music at the Hennepin County Library – all accessible and downloadable with your library card – this “Hookstream” concert features live performances by Nur-D, Wax Lead and Superior Siren and music videos by Erik Koskinen, Kiss the Tiger, Mae Simpson Music, Radio Drive, Red Eye Ruby, the Trappistines and TWAIN. A multi-artist, multi-camera (with robust audio) event available in 1080 HD. Free, with registration required. Part II, one week from tonight (Thursday, Jan. 28) will feature live performances by Fanaka Nation, Kiss the Tiger and Venus DeMars. Same deal – free, but register.

V Tonight (Thursday, Jan 21), 7 p.m.: Soo Visual Arts Center: A conversation between Yijia Li and Pujan Gandhi. Li is a painter focusing on discovering how people connect with the world around them. Born in Shanghai, China, she moved to Minneapolis in 2015 and earned her MFA in Visual Studies from MCAD. Gandhi joined Mia in 2018 as assistant curator of South & Southeast Asian Art. Li’s current show at SooVAC, “I Love You 3000, A Farewell” is a collection of moments that have emotional resonance for her.  The show is a farewell because Li will soon return to China. FMI and Zoom link. Limited gallery hours have resumed: Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Masks required. Closes Sunday, Jan. 24.

“The Golden Ass” is a modern setting of the Cupid and Psyche myth.
Courtesy of 113 Composers Collective
“The Golden Ass” is a modern setting of the Cupid and Psyche myth.
V Saturday (Jan 23), 7:30 p.m.: 113 Presents “The Golden Ass” virtual opera screening. A livestream of the one-act opera by composer Tiffany Skidmore and librettists Patrick Gallagher, Apuleius and C’hu Yuan. A modern setting of the Cupid and Psyche myth, it features Carrie Henneman Shaw as Psyche, Adam Zahller as Cupid and Elizabeth Pearse as Venus, Psyche’s jealous mother-in-law. Free on YouTube.