This weekend represents our making it through to the end of May, a month that (like all the months in this pandemic) seemed to move at warp while simultaneously crawling like a sloth. There's space in this weekend you can carve out to give yourself a break (or 10) when you need it, and there are a whole bunch of enriching, fulfilling, and flat-out entertaining ways to spend those breaks if/when you take them, from visiting international film festivals, gala benefit concerts, whole new streaming platforms, Bugs Bunny, and Lady Gaga, too. Hit the links below and enjoy yourself accordingly.
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Friday, May 29
We Are One: A Global Film Festival
Way back in March (which feels something like four or five years ago) one of the first real signs that our federal government had well and truly botched their response to COVID-19 were that festivals were shutting down. SXSW, Cannes, Tribeca, the New York Film Festival, they all canceled, because the people who run them have a little more compassion for humanity than, say, the folks running resorts and hotels at the Lake of the Ozarks. But into this film-loving void came... YouTube? Yes! The land of failed film majors making avant-garde six-hour "video essays" about how the SJWs ruined Star Wars is looking to make amends for said crimes against cinema by hosting this online festival, screening accepted entries from all those canceled festivals (and a few more for good measure) for 10 days straight (May 29-June 7, click here for the full schedule). For 2020, not only are you going to Cannes, but to Tribeca, and the NYFF, and you never have to leave your living room. Not bad!
We at HUMP! were crushed to cancel our originally planned Spring re-screening, with the coronavirus crisis forcing us all inside. But after receiving enthusiastic support and permission from the filmmakers to show their films online, we knew that the show must go on! Even if we can’t watch together in movie theaters, we can still watch the 16 all new, sexy short films, curated by Dan Savage, in the privacy and safety of our homes (Fri, May 29, 6 pm, $25). Dan will introduce the show, and then take you straight to the great dirty movies that showcase an amazing range of shapes, colors, sexualities, kinks and fetishes!
Slay at Home: A Virtual Metal Music & Art Festival
It was only a matter of time before the dark forces of rippage and shreddage, headbanging monsters of heavy metal music one and all, convened for probably the densest, hardest, most hell-raising-est COVID-19 fundraiser in our lockdown's brief-but-still-too-long history. And so: the Slay at Home fest, two days of finely polished, sharp as hell, horn-throwing metal in the name of supporting MusiCares and Global Giving. Artists include Cadaver, Allegeaon, Khemmis, Mantar, Nite Soil, and many more. Click here for the full two-day schedule.
Tuca & Bertie
In 2019, Netflix debuted a new animated comedy from creator Lisa Hanawalt called Tuca & Bertie, about a pair of bird-women living together and being hilarious (and sad, and real, and great). When it came out, we added our two cents to its massive pile of critical acclaim, writing that the show (which starred Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong) "couldn't miss if it tried." Two months later, Netflix canceled it. Hanawalt took to the social medias and pointed out that the show was everything she wanted it to be, although "none of that makes any difference to an algorithm," and told the world she was hopeful Tuca & Bertie could continue their adventures. Last week Adult Swim announced a 10-episode season 2 of Tuca & Bertie was coming to their channel (Yes. We are now occupying the timeline where TV networks are waiting to acquire winning shows from shortsighted streaming networks, instead of the other way around). You know what'd be funny? If between now and T&B's 2021 premiere, people made the 10-episode Season 1 a mainstay in Netflix's top 10. Maybe we can start to make up for all the bad karma we incurred back in March for our shameful wallowing in all that Tiger King filth.
XRAY.fm House Show: Y La Bamba
Luz Elena Mendoza’s folk-art-rock project Y La Bamba reveres Mexican tradition, with songs touching on themes of humanity and higher faith in ways that are relatable and enjoyable to the ears they fall upon. Let those sounds rain down inside your living room as part of XRAY.fm's House Show livestream series tonight.(Fri May 29, 7 pm)
Dropkick Murphys, Bruce Springsteen
Boston's prized punkers the Dropkick Murphys are getting the full run of an empty Fenway Park for this fundraising livestream concert (Fri May 29, 3pm), and they've enlisted the help of their good friend (checks notes) Bruce Springsteen!?! And they're going to be trading songs back and forth on the night? Well... damn! Proceeds benefit the Boston Resiliency Fund, Habitat for Humanity Greater Boston, and Feeding America.
Sharon Van Etten: because i was in love Anniversary Concert
An impressively large number of the most personally thrilling musical moments I've experienced over the past couple years have been due to Sharon Van Etten. The New York songwriter just gets it right: Her music is wholly, rewardingly moving without being cloying. Her songs skillfully explore the raw, dangerous edges of those battered-heart and frayed-nerve emotional landscapes you'll find in most pop songs. But in the end, Van Etten finds hope and catharsis inside those familiar chords. She's also a masterful live performer, fully in command of her gifts but never precious about them. Sharon Van Etten possesses the kind of talent that leaves me awestruck and dumbfounded. To put it simply: Watch this show. (Fri, May 29, 2 pm, $12-25) NED LANNAMANN
Hannah Gadsby's Douglas
Last year (jesus was it really only one year ago?) Hannah Gadsby—after successfully upending the world of stand-up for a hot minute with her Netflix special Nanette—retired, then unretired, then embarked on her first world tour, which sold out every stop (including four shows at the Newmark here in Portland). Douglas is streaming now on Netflix, and it differs from Nanette in that there isn't a show-stopping ending that turns your heart inside out (Gadsby addresses that expectation pretty early on), but it's also a more finely-tailored, comfortable, and confident hour of stand-up, one that touches on the controversy of male comics completely disqualifying Nanette as stand-up at all, somewhere before she turns the whole concert into a renaissance art lecture. According to Gadsby, "It's gonna be good! Unless you don't like it! Then it's still gonna be good, and you'll be wrong."
Lady Gaga: Chromatica
Okay, let's see what this fabulous goddamn weirdo has in store for us this time out, huh? It's been four years since Joanne, and two since Bradley Cooper dragged her all over the talk-show circuit to do the "Shallow" bit 300 times in three weeks (of course, it never failed to get tears welling and brimming, so there you go: The power of Gaga). We already know Ariana Grande's on this piece and they killed it. Elton John's in here somewhere, too, and apparently the whole thing is set on some sort of sci-fi EDM playground after Gaga, according to Wikipedia ...uhh, canceled and then deleted the Earth. Well, can't say we didn't have it coming.
Saturday, May 30
The Confinement Online Film Festival
Funny films, sad shorts, first responder documentaries, anxiety spirals (think Trader Joe’s meets Walking Dead), homeschooling horrors, pot-influenced journeys, films about being trapped with an ex (or in-law)—all of these have a home at CoFF! Tonight (Sat May 30, 6pm & 8pm) you can watch a collection of films sent to us from around the globe and see what (and how) everyone is doing in confinement. $500 Prizes will be awarded, and you will help determine whose short films will win those prizes in our three categories: Most Creative, Funniest, and They Lost Their Goddamn Mind.
David Guetta: United at Home
One of EDM's biggest stars is doing his part to help raise funds for fighting COVID-19... by doing what he does best and delivering hours upon hours of high-energy dance music that will likely leave your living room a sweat-soaked neon wasteland once he's done. This time around, after leaving Miami in his wake, he's taking on New York (Sat May 30, 4 pm) and if you don't think that's going to add an extra level of energy to the night, just watch. And keep that wallet open, too.
Shogun Assassin w/ Commentary from RZA and the Hollywood Theatre's Dan Halsted
Are you missing the Hollywood Theatre? Of course you are, you're a sane, rational human being who loves independent cinema and the sort of care in presentation that Dan Halsted and the Hollywood staff provides. Especially when they schedule outright kung fu classics like they regularly do. This afternoon (Sat May 30, noon, $10) is a great opportunity to capture some of that magic in your living room as The Hollywood re-airs Dan's team-up with the RZA (yes, that RZA. Bobby Digital, himself. Bong bong.) to deliver a live commentary over Roger Corman's 1980 grindhouse classic re-cut of the Lone Wolf and Cub series, Shogun Assassin.
The latest contender coming for Netflix's streaming crown is one of the oldest movie studios in Hollywood history: Warner Bros has (pretty confusingly) taken their (already confusing) HBO Now/HBO Go streaming platform and "Max"-imized it, adding a ton of classic catalog films (the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Cabaret, Enter the Dragon) a sizable chunk of the Criterion Collection (Seven Samurai, Eraserhead, Godzilla, Paris, Texas), A bunch of Looney Tunes shorts both old and new, Doctor Who and other BBC offerings; and as a particularly fine feather in their acquisitions cap, the North American streaming rights to the Studio Ghibli library (Castle in the Sky, Princess Mononke, Spirited Away). The cost is a little bit higher than Netflix, but if you're already subscribed to HBO through most online means—like we said, it's kind of confusing, make sure you doublecheck how you subscribed—you don't have to do anything, or pay any more per month to get the HBO Max content, which will eventually include a Friends reunion.
The Wire and Way Down in the Hole
Now, you don't need to subscribe to HBO Max in order to watch The Wire—it's been available on other streaming platforms for awhile now—but if you're thumbing around the Max (nobody calls it this) over the weekend, you might consider clicking on one of the most recommended shows of all time; a show so good it's almost never actually compared to other TV shows, but to the literary works of masters like Dostoevsky and Dickens. And that exact phenomena is partially why The Wire can feel a little daunting for newcomers. That's where Way Down in the Hole comes in, a brand-new companion podcast from The Ringer starring Jemele Hill and Van Lathan, aiming to recap the show episode-by-episode. You may not have been there for everyone else's first (or 15th) trip to David Simon's Baltimore crime epic, but if you haven't started the show before, this is probably the best time to give it a try.
Or maybe you don't want to binge-and-discuss a thick, complicated novel for television. Maybe you want that smooth-brained reality goodness to help you just relax a little instead. Just remember: they don't all have to be soul-eroding trash pageants of exploitative misery. We've recommended feel-good shows before (Great British Baking Show, Nailed It) and HBO has entered into the personal makeover wing of the reality genre with We're Here (Now streaming, HBO Max), which is basically just taking Queer Eye and To Wong Foo and turning that up several notches, as Bob the Drag Queen, Shangela, and Eureka of RuPaul's Drag Race enhance small-town lives by letting people realize their drag queen dreams. Sure, it may sound derivative, but the word that more accurately describes the show is "transformative."
An interesting side-effect of statewide lockdowns being enforced? Emptier streets! An interesting side-effect of emptier streets? Death-tempting youths taking to those streets to get their Fast & Furious ya-yas out. This has led to a lot of arrests, wrecks, and other increasingly negative repercussions, on top of just being generally unsafe and kind of stupid in the first place (You're not Vin Diesel. Vin Diesel isn't even really Vin Diesel.) So instead of risking your expensive motor vehicle and/or landing in jail, why not play this video game? And it's not just one of those "hold the right trigger and press left" type of racing games, either. Onrush (Available on PS4 and Xbox One, $24.99) is more like... hmmm, how to describe it. Okay, it's kind of like a roller derby, that's also sort of like a game of dodgeball, but the dodgeballs are other cars and motorcycles, but it's also like a downhill ski slalom, where the competitors can also full-body-tackle people! It's also about 20 degrees shy of being a full-fledged Mad Max game on top of that, so... yeah. Don't wrap your car around a telephone pole. Slake that War Boy thirst with a controller instead.
Quarantine Comes Alive
When you invoke the power of Frampton this nakedly, you'd better be ready to deliver on that man's formidable '70s might, and this Live for Live Music fundraiser for COVID relief (Sat May 30, 11 am, $1-1000) is doing its damndest, with a lineup that includes Greensky Bluegrass, The Infamous Stringdusters, the California Honeydrops, Galactic, Fruition, Moon Taxi, The Motet, Ivan Neville, Railroad Earth, Turkuaz, and 50 other bands. Hosted by Ari Fink.
Portland trio Candace describe themselves as witchgaze, and I think that's a pretty apt description of their lush, dreamy sound. If you've ever been a fan of the Cocteau Twins or felt yourself melting into a song like sugar into coffee, you're gonna dig it. Their newest album, Ideal Corners, is fresh out the (c)oven (ha!) so why not melt along while you can?
Sunday, May 31
If you didn't get a chance to watch this year's SPLIFF Film Festival—featuring short cannabis-themed films made by stoners just like YOU—in its livestreamed glory on 4/20, you can now see the 22 weed-inspired shorts, hosted by fabulous local drag queens Betty Wetter and Cookie Couture, on-demand. Tune in (Now streaming, $10-20) for funny psychedelic trip-outs, stoned flying cats, side-splitting animation, aggressive dolphins, sexy shenanigans, wandering potatoes, and more wild and crazy stuff.
Pride month begins... (checks calendar) oh damn it begins tomorrow. And to kick it off properly, Ari Shapiro hosts this combination time capsule from the Smithsonian and virtual concert celebrating LGBTQ+ history and culture (Sun May 31, 8 pm). Between looks at key moments in queer American history, you'll see some performances and appearances from notables including Cameron Esposito, Big Freedia, Tig Notaro, the Pet Shop Boys, mxmtoon, Roxane Gay, and many more.
There's an idealized version of MTV that people of a certain age (i.e. the olds) still hold in their head. A version where you turn on your TV and all it would then do is shuffle up short films of varying artistic quality set to popular music. It didn't have to be MTV, either. It could have been The Box, or (gasp) even VH1. No matter the channel, the memory is the same: Vegging out into the wee hours of the night, lit by the glow of music videos. YouTube can sort of replicate this experience, but what if there were a whole streaming network out of The Netherlands (!?!) that replicated this experience exactly, and maybe even improved it by letting you select from 60 themed channels? That's XITE (Now available on Xfinity, Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV). There's a pay tier ($4.99) but honestly, the free-tier's commercial interruptions every five-or-six videos just adds to the authenticity. Now they just need to get Kurt Loder in the mix somehow and it'd be perfect.
In January, the Golden Globes gave their award for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical TV series to Ramy Youssef, the star of Ramy, a semi-autobiographical half-hour sitcom about a guy named Ramy trying to navigate the trials and tribulations of being a second-generation Egyptian-American muslim millennial in New Jersey. Right up until he won that award (TSA flagged the trophy at LAX a couple days later) most people didn't even know Hulu had a show called Ramy on its platform, much less one so good it got nominated for (and won!) Golden Globe awards. The second season (starring Mahershala Ali as Ramy's spiritual advisor!) debuted on Friday, May 29, and that's a great excuse to binge the first season ASAP, because it's a smart, beautiful, and often surreal half-hour experience every time out.
It's only fair that the parody of government that the White House has become since our idiot president took office become an actual parody via The Office's co-creator and star (Greg Daniels and Steve Carell, respectively) bringing a new satirical workplace sitcom to Netflix. Space Force's first season launched (ha!) this weekend, and it's got a pretty stacked cast (John Malkovich! Ben Schwartz! Lisa Kudrow! Did we mention John Malkovich! MALKOVICH!) although early reviews say it's a little wobbly. But to be faiirrrr; The Office didn't have all that great a first season, either, and it's tough to parody something (our government) that is consistently breaking reality with every new day.
Letterkenny is ostensibly a sitcom about the escapades of small-town Canadian cliques bumping into each other, but it's really just live-action Looney Tunes for linguistics nerds, a love-letter to the silly ways silly people communicate their serious passions. Sure, there's a few duds in its run—you don't hit eight seasons without stubbing your toe once or twice—but when it's good? It's fuckin' great.
Then again, while "a live-action Looney Tunes for linguistics nerds" is all well and good, nothing can beat the real classic Looney Tunes for comedy greatness. And buried in the massive pile of all-caps-and-bolded CONTENT available on HBO Max, you might be happy to know that unlike Disney Plus—which houses a very incomplete and hard-to-search-for catalog of landmark comedy shorts on its platform—putting "Looney Tunes" in the search bar on HBO Max brings up a metric ton of archived Bugs, Daffy, and Porky misadventures, starting at 1931 and continuing all the way to Max's newest Looney Tunes series. Going through these shorts isn't just drawing yourself a nostalgia bath, either: It's more like going to comedy school, and learning at the feet of absolute masters like Tex Avery, Friz Freleng, Michael Maltese, and Chuck Jones.
Much Ado About Nothing
While a lot of the state's parks have been re-opened for awhile, it's understandable if you're still wary of venturing out into them. But just because you're not actually going to the park doesn't mean you can't enjoy some Shakespeare in the Park, and thanks to PBS' Great Performances series, one of the very best versions of Much Ado About Nothing is available, for free, through June 7th. This "bold interpretation" of the Bard's much-loved comedy was recorded live at Delacorte Theater in NYC's Central Park, directed by Tony Award-winner Kenny Leon, and stars Danielle Brooks (Taystee from Orange is the New Black!) as Beatrice.
Nicole Atkins: Italian Ice
Not since Leon Bridges appeared on the scene a few years ago with Coming Home has a modern recording artist so reliably released new music that sounds less like it was freshly-created, and more like it was discovered on a dusty stack of reel-to-reels hidden in an abandoned recording studio's basement. Nicole Atkins' gift for channeling classic Americana, roots music, and horn-laced R&B of the '50s and '60s is downright uncanny, and her latest LP, Italian Ice, follows the same path Bridges followed on Good Thing; moving her sound into the '70s and '80s (the album starts with a song called "AM Gold," for chrissakes), lacing those "pop-noir" notes with touches of funk and smooth groove for a timely-yet-timeless, nostalgic-yet-immediate long player.
Don't forget to check out our Things To Do calendar for even more things to stream while you stay home and stay safe!