Mid-January keeps us home
with more streaments
A variety of entertainment offerings to warm us up on these cold winter days
By Byron Toben
January 20, 2022
Well, folks, here we are in mid-January and live theatre still a-waiting the times to be a-changing but until they do, at least we got us several ‘streaments’ to occupy our time.
In the next ten days or so, the one I most eagerly await, which runs from January 27 to 31 streamed from the Segal Centre main stage, is…
Yidlife Crisis: Pandemish
In 2014, Montrealers Jaimie Elman and Eli Batalion launched their web series Yidlife Crisis in Yiddish and English. It has since grown to 3 million worldwide watchers. They now live in California but return to Montreal to perform their latest timely show Pandemish to deal with their take on the current pandemic that you may have heard of.
Originally set live, in der fleish (in the flesh) from January 22 to 30, it has now been curtailed to streaming only from the Segal Centre main stage. Billed as a ‘Omicromedy’ that you can see on your couch, with a blend of comedy, music and video. English subtitles are provided for the colourful Yiddish expressions.
A free virtual Sunday at the Segal backgrounder panel moderated by usual host CJAD’s Sarah Deshaies is slated for Sunday, January 23 at 11 am.
Pandemish tickets are CDN$18 and $36 for a household.
Here are other recent and upcoming streaments…
January 13 to 16
The Segal Centre is resourceful in keeping things moving even as in-person events are on and off. Witness the four-day presentation, in cooperation with Toronto’s Musical Stage Company of…
Uncovered: The Music of Dolly Parton
This ‘digital experience’ is a sort of biopic of the legendary country and pop performer Dolly Rebecca Parton (still going strong at 75). Six talented Canadian singers, backed by six fine instrumentalists, perform twelve of Dolly’s most famous songs (nine written by herself), all linked by a connecting text. The singers were Jully Black, Beau Dixon, Sara Farb, Hailey Gillis, Kelly Holiff and Andrew Penner. They each have impressive CVs and awards.
Although this show has since terminated, you can see free videos of Dolly herself rendering most of these selections. I readily conjured up 9 to 5, Coat of Many Colors, Islands in the Stream, I Will Always Love You, Jolene and Tennessee Mountain Home.
Let me know if you fetch up the other six – Here I Am, Here You Come Again, Joshua, Light of A Clear Blue Morning, Muleskinner Blues and Two Doors Down.
This eventful day marked two notable events:
Martin Luther King Day
The third Thursday of every January was designated as a United States federal Holiday in 1983 to celebrate the birth of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 15, 1929. This tireless fighter for non-violent action to secure fair voting rights was assassinated in 1968.
Most famous for the huge 1963 march on Washington and the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, he was honoured with a 15 cent postage stamp in 1979 and the 1964 Nobel Peace prize. Although all U.S. states now recognize the Federal holiday, two – Alabama and Mississippi – hold it in conjunction with honouring Confederacy General Robert E. Lee.
On this year’s January 17, the torch is passed on as MLK’s 13-year-old granddaughter urges passage of the current voting rights bill on steps of the capital.
The Legacy of Raoul Wallenberg
Also on January 17, the Canadian B’nai Brith sponsored a video on The Legacy of Raoul Wallenberg. Introduced by former Canadian Attorney General and internationally renowned civil rights lawyer Irwin Cotler, the centrepiece is a new documentary film about Wallenberg, a scion of the powerful Swedish family who, as the youngest foreign counsel in Hungary in 1944, saved about 100,000 Hungarian Jewish lives from extermination by the Nazi occupiers by granting them Swedish citizen documents and arranging for safe houses and transport.
Some elderly such survivors, now Canadians, appear in the film. For such good works, he was dubbed “The Angel of Budapest” and later became the first foreigner to be granted honorary Canadian citizenship.
Alas, with the Soviet takeover in 1945, he was jailed in Moscow and joint Swedish and Canadian efforts to document what happened to him have met with denials and delays.
January 19 to 29
Imago Theatre’s latest show, Foxfinder, set for live performances at the MAI, has just now been postponed until circumstances re-allow live shows. When it does, most of its dates are in French, but those who may prefer English can watch three dates to be announced later.
The script is by award-winning British playwright Dawn King, and it deals with a dystopian future of crop failures due to climate change.
January 20 to 30
Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival
Established in 1978 in Utah, the Sundance Film Festival has become a major force in introducing independent films. In 2021, the festival was forced to go 100% virtual. The 2022 festival, planned to be ‘hybrid,’ has now announced that it too will go all virtual.
In addition, my cursory scan indicates that most viewership is restricted to U.S. viewers. At U.S. $20 per film, non-refundable, it seems a bit rich for Canadian viewers. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to visit their press release to get a feel of what types of films are coming down the pike. Rolling Stone magazine has chosen to suggest 22 of them.
Nostalgia fans might enjoy Lucy and Desi, the couple (Lucille Ball and Dezi Arnaz) who revolutionized TV programming.
January 22 to February 19
15th Annual Israeli and Jewish Film Festival
The Jewish Public Library hosts its 15th Annual Israeli and Jewish Film Festival featuring five films all streamed at 7:30 pm ET at CDN $10 per film or $40 for an all-inclusive pass.
Here is the schedule:
January 22 – Neighbors (Swiss/French production)
January 29 – Forgiveness (Israel)
February 5 – Golden Voices (Israel)
February 12 – Greener Pastures (Israel)
February 19 – Persian Lesson (German/Russian production)
Feature image: Imago Theatre’s Foxfinder promotional material
More articles from Byron Toben
Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.
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