Holidays like this are emotionally fraught in the best of times, and this year it’s all even more upside down, as we each figure out our versions of safe physically distant celebrations and how to entertain ourselves at home over an even longer weekend. From a crowd-sourced telephone project to streaming opera, animated film from Poland, livestream performance art, and more, here are some at-home culture picks to help with that.
Thursday, November 26
PHONE ART: JEFF&GORDON: Not at the Dinner Table. Collaborating artists Jeff Foye and Gordon Winiemko present the 2020 edition of their seasonal, ongoing voicemail project Not at the Dinner Table. This always timely, participatory artwork invites members of the public to call and leave anonymous voicemail messages for someone in their life with whom they disagree about a contentious public issue, such as guns, but take your pick. Callers can also listen to a rotating selection of voicemails from throughout the project, which the duo debuted in 2013. So if the table or the zoom is too much, stay calm, go in the other room, and get it off your chest. All you have to do is call, any time day or night until January 1st. Phone number: 785-268-6858; jeffandgordon.net.
Friday, November 27
ANIMATED FILM: Kill It and Leave This Town. Polish artist Mariusz Wilczyński makes visually striking, deeply personal short animations, as well as unique live animation performances; but fifteen years in the making, this is his first feature. Fleeing from despair after losing those dearest to him, this dark, even disturbing film’s hero hides in a safe land of memories, where time stands still and all those dear to him are still alive. Over the years, a city grows in his imagination. A hauntingly surreal meditation on aging, mortality, and loss, the film adopts a rough, sketched-in, shadowy visual style that makes visible the traces of its own creation, and flows seamlessly between perspectives, economies of scale, fantasy and harsh realism, dream and extreme trauma. Wilczyński transmutes heavily autobiographical elements into a radically shape-shifting form in which outer reality and inner consciousness collapse into each other, and in which the laws of time, space, and identity are constantly in flux. Opens November 27 via Anthology Film Archives online platform; outsiderpictures.us.
Saturday, November 28
ART: Diana Thater: Yes, There Will Be Singing at David Zwirner. The third presentation in the gallery’s Offsite series, Yes, there will be singing is a new sound, video, and light piece by Diana Thater, accessible exclusively online via a multichannel livestream on the David Zwirner website. Responding to the global pandemic that has left people isolated and disconnected, Yes, there will be singing is viewable twenty-four hours a day, upending the spatial and temporal constraints of the traditional exhibition format and allowing anyone anywhere to experience the work live. Closing Musical Performance featuring Mark Lightcap: Saturday, November 28, noon PT; davidzwirner.com.
Sunday, November 29
OPERA: The Anonymous Lover at L.A. Opera. An unjustly neglected 1780 chamber opera by Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, a pioneering Black composer who was a contemporary of Mozart, this comic romance tells the story of Léontine, a beautiful young widow who has become disillusioned with love. Much to her surprise, she receives a steady stream of letters and gifts from an unknown man professing his undying passion. This amuses her friend Valcour, who also claims to have no interest in romance. But now, after hiding his true feelings for years, Valcour works up the courage to reveal that he himself is the devoted secret admirer. Will his (inevitably awkward) confession sway a woman sworn to resist all affairs of the heart? Probably, yes. Available until November 29 at 11:59pm (PST); free; laopera.org.
ART: Olivia D’Orazi: Golden State of Mind at Open Mind Art Space. The ongoing global pandemic has presented difficult challenges for many and has significantly affected how people spend time with each other under new limitations on social gatherings and travel. For D’Orazi, this unique moment in time has allowed her more space for introspection, fostering a deeper, more mindful connection with others and nature, as well as within herself and in her own art practice. A new series of work combines human imagination and emotion with nature’s majesty. Online exhibition through December 4; openmindartspace.com.