Local performers respond to the coronavirus quarantine with virtual performances and programming
As the country grinds to a halt and almost all public spaces have been closed, many have taken to the internet to cope. While many films and albums are readily available to stream online, the age of COVID-19 brings with it an expanded world of digital performances and live-stream content.
Read our latest coverage on the coronavirus in Colombia
Service industry workers have been laid off due to business closings meaning that many current working artists, who often rely on the gig economy for their income, have had everything cancelled or postponed. Next time you’re looking for entertainment and are thinking about binge-watching something on Netflix, consider supporting local artists instead by tuning into a live-stream
Here are just a few Bogotá-based options:
When Bogotá drag queen Lesley Wolf started planning Home Drag Festival, she was responding to an immediate need in the drag community. The country’s quarantine orders had left drag artists like herself with cancelled and postponed performances. Wolf, in collaboration with Bogotá production company Victoria Films and the related YouTube channel, Raros Queer Experience , decided to put on Home Drag Festival, a virtual drag series that had its first installment on Sunday, March 29.
Wolf said she had low expectations for the event and was pleasantly surprised to find that over 500 people tuned in for Sunday’s stream. After seeing that the drag community in Canada was putting on virtual shows while practicing social distancing, Wolf decided to produce something similar but with a Colombian twist. Sunday’s show featured over 30 Colombian drag artists from all over the country.
“This initiative has several purposes,” said Wolf. “It seeks to shed light on Colombian drag art-- we had queens from Pereira, Cali, Medellín, Bucaramanga, and of course from here, from Bogotá. It also serves as a platform so that the artists can receive tips for their performances.”
Each performing drag artist has two minutes to perform, choosing to compete in one of the following categories: lipsync, makeup, and outfit. During each performance, the queen’s name, social media information, and payment platform information- Nequi, Paypal or Daviplata- appears on the bottom of the screen.
“We didn’t expect such a marvellous and massive response. We also didn’t expect the donations to be so spectacular,” said Wolf as she expressed her gratitude for last Sunday’s audience generosity.
Tune into Raros Queer Experience this weekend for the next installment of Drag Home Festival to support Colombian drag art.
When they saw unknown artists struggling to gain exposure, friends Pablo Chilito and Lucas Muñeton formed a production collective, NoiseNoise in April 2016. Though the collective stopped producing in mid-2019, Chilito and Muñeton decided to celebrate their fourth anniversary through a four-day festival, which has now developed in the form of a virtual lineup of curated local talent.
“Though we couldn’t do it on stage, we’re excited to open doors to these new names. People are home, they can tune in, they have time,” said Chilito.
Chilito added that the silver lining of hosting a virtual event is that there are no physical boundaries. Musicians who are currently outside of Bogotá, including those from Medellín, Mexico, and Chile, are participating.
The full line up is José Vitola, Tobogán Andaluz, Pavlo, Ahtu y los animles sueltos, Babelgam, El cómodo silencio de los que hablan poco, 100 años de monstruos, Bella Álvarez, Encarta 98, Viaje del Héroe, Las de Hiroshima, Los Viles, EV, Prehistoricos, and some surprise acts.
“Our focus is to create space and form audiences, to really open doors and highlight unknown artists. Our purpose has always been to convince people that just because they don’t know an artist doesn’t mean they’re not worth seeing,” said Chilito.
Since its opening, Bogotá’s Cinemateca has been extremely popular, offering cinephiles excellent programming. It isn’t letting up during la cuarentena. Here’s how your inner movie buff can stay connected to the city’s cinematic epicentre through a range of virtual offerings.
- Cine Latinoamericano or Latin American film: A selection of two Chilean films available for streaming on Vimeo via the Cinemateca’s website: El viento sabe que vuelvo a casa and De jueves a domingo
- Launching the online course “Ciudad y cine Colombiano” or City and Colombian Cinema. Registration is open until April 5th and is open to all, both Colombians and non-citizens, who are interested in the topic.
- A range of virtual workshops, lectures, and live streams, including local short films.
Keep tabs on the Cinemateca’s website for up-to-date calendar updates as they expand their offerings throughout the quarantine.
Colombia’s national symphony orchestra, the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Colombia released a video on Monday with “un obsequio para el mundo,” a “gift to the world.” Each symphony musician individually recorded their part of the piece from home using mobile phones. Director Olivier Grangean is featured in the film conducting the piece, Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations, IX Nimrod, as if he were in front of the full orchestra.
The video is accompanied by a brief caption including these simple comforting words: “Music will always be with you.”
The city’s philharmonic orchestra, the Orchestra Filarmónica de Bogotá is making virtual concerts available to the public. Its first, which took place on March 27, was a Bach concerto by the organization’s youth chamber music group. The professional orchestra also recorded a virtual performance of “Colombia, tierra querida.”