Local Author Series, online Philly theater, and remembering Fred Ho this weekend

4 minute read
Remembering avant-garde musician and activist Fred Ho with the Stream of the Week. (Photo by Michael A. Schwartz.)
Remembering avant-garde musician and activist Fred Ho with the Stream of the Week. (Photo by Michael A. Schwartz.)

This week has a few evergreen online picks for you in case you’ve been showing up to streams late. Also, we’ve got some more physical activities to get your mind and body moving, and the Stream of the Week digs into a late avant-garde artist’s catalog.

Happy Streaming, Philly!

Dancin’ for the kids

If you’re looking for more ways to spark your kids’ imaginations, then ZoomDance has something for you. The dance company is offering interactive virtual classes targeted at children ages 9 and younger, with new themes appearing each week. Classes are offered on a sliding scale, and you can sign up online.

Ursinus College Annual Student Exhibition

The kids are the future! And this week, Ursinus College, in collaboration with the Berman Museum of Art, presents a digital version of the Annual Student Exhibition. The exhibit features the art of nine student artists, ranging from painting, drawing, sculpture, video, mixed media, and photography. Themes touch on family, identity, the environment, and more, and is open for viewing now through July 15.


Phyre is a digital fable about loneliness and looking for a connection—I bet many of us can relate to that alone. The story follows a young woman who had recently moved to Philadelphia to care for a family member and now finds herself alone in a new city in an empty apartment that isn’t hers. Told in chapters using videos, songs, hip-hop, Instagram posts, blogs, TikTok, and more, Phyre looks to be a unique digital experience with a relatable story. Experience it online now.

Celebrating 500 with Philadelphia Jazz Sanctuary

Last year, the Philadelphia Jazz Sanctuary celebrated its 500th event. Now, the performance is available for streaming, featuring 45 minutes of jazz by great Philly musicians. If you need some jazz in your life, here’s your ticket.

Virtual chat at Penn Museum

Penn Museum’s own Lucy Fowler Williams, Ph.D., is hosting a happy hour chat. Williams’ work with Penn Museum’s Native American collections and current exhibit Native American Voices: The People—Here and Now looks to amplify Native American artists and specialists. Tune in on Thursday, May 21, at 5:30pm.

Local Author Series

On Friday, May 22, at 7pm, the Free Library hosts a pair of local authors for a live online conversation. Stephanie Feldman, author of the novel The Angel of Losses, and Andrew Katz, author of The Vampire Gideon’s Suicide Hotline and Halfway House for Orphaned Girls, will be in attendance. Register ahead of time to make sure you don’t miss out!

Muffled Drums

Looking for an activity that’s both digital and physical and isn’t a livestream? Check out Muffled Drums, an audio project created by local sound artist Susan Philipsz. Muffled Drums invites you to take four different tracks she’s created using multiple devices and experiment with them in different areas and with household tools to create different effects. If you’re into sound experiments (like me!) then this might be right up your alley.

Miscast Cabaret

Quintessence Theatre Group is celebrating 10 years with a virtual cabaret. The Waist-Up-Black-Tie Miscast Cabaret streams Sunday, May 24, at 3pm and features Quintessence regulars performing songs that flip genders. Fancy dress and cocktails are encouraged, and donations are suggested. Find out more online.

One Man Apocalypse Now

Remember Apocalypse Now? Imagine that performed by one actor, condensed into an hour backed by the soundtrack weaved into dance and comedy. That’s what One Man Apocalypse Now is, written and performed by Chris Davis with sound design by Adriano Shaplin and direction by Mary Tuomanen. Tickets are pay what you can, and the show goes live on Wednesday, May 27, at 8pm.

Stream of the Week: Fred Ho and the Afro-Asian Music Ensemble

Thanks to BSR contributor Aaron Pond, and via a piece we published back in 2014, I stumbled upon Fred Ho (also known as Fred Houn), a jazz performer and composer who blended his music with plays and ballet operas that sometimes mixed in martial arts. He passed away six years ago, but his work lives on.

Ho was known for his art and his activism, and the two weren’t separate. He was an advocate for Black American politics and progressive feminism. He was also known to make his own clothes, he never owned a car, and he opposed technology—which makes his work a little hard to find online. You can find his albums on Spotify, and a hearty collection of interviews and performances are curated on this YouTube playlist. I’ve also got his collaboration with Paul Chan, All Power to the People: The Black Panther Suite queued for my Saturday afternoon watch.

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