The Friday List: From the storytelling spectacle dastangoi to a tour of ringmaster Gregangelo's home museum, your weekly calendar of virtual events

FP Staff
·10-min read

Compiled by Aishwarya Sahasrabudhe

For months, we have been grappling with the everyday norms of properly sanitising our homes, wearing masks whenever we go out and maintaining social distancing to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. However, the necessity of staying at home and reducing public gathering has also translated into a leisure time which is a largely virtual experience. So even as we have begun to ease out of the most stringent of restrictions, the landscape of our engagements and weekly dosages of entertainment continues to be moderated digitally, through the screen.

Every Friday, we'll bring you a curated list of online experiences €" performances, talks, tours, screenings €" to mark on your weekly calendar. On this week's #FridayList: a tour through a ringmaster's home museum, a talk on Indian horticulture in the 16th century and dastangoi, the Urdu art of oral storytelling.

€" Talks and panel discussions

In the third session of its Art Redefined Today (A.R.T) series, AVID Learning along with Kommune India is set to host a panel discussion on A. R. T. 2020: New Paradigms in Education, Creation and Identity this week. The conversation, moderated by curator Veeranganakumari Solanki, will be a discussion that attempts to trace the future trajectory of art and the evolution of the discipline. The live online discussion will also revolve around questions such as how artists can capture the complexities of identity in a globalised world, how art can act as a unifying factor and how artists adapt their approaches while dealing with various aspects of identity. With a panel comprising artist and activist Durga Gawde, visual artist Rithika Merchant and Artistic Director at St+art India Foundation Hanif Kureshi, the conversation promises to be a thoroughly insightful experience.

To know more and register, click here.

When: 20 August (6 pm)

In a livecast brought about by the Bangalore International Centre, historian Nicolas Roth will be talking about the horticulture of early modern India, tracing the new garden topology that emerged in northern and central India at the beginning of the sixteenth century. The session >Fields of Flowers, Forests of Fruit will take audiences through a tour of the horticultural practices that characterised these gardens and their prominent role in the art and literature of the period. Roth, who has received his PhD in South Asian Studies from Harvard University, will delve into the formal flower bed in his talk, which is now a sine qua but at the time was a feature that marked momentous innovation. For all gardening enthusiasts, history buffs and amateur gardeners, this talk is definitely the place to be.

To know more and register, click here.

When: 14 August (6.30 pm)

In >A Journey in Archaeology set up by the Bangalore International Centre, Padma Shree-awardee Sharada Srinivasan will be in conversation with academician Prateeti Punja Ballal around the study of metals and material heritage of southern India. Illustrating her contributions to scientific archaeology, archaeometallurgy and art history, she will discuss her study of the Chola bronze icons, south Indian wootz steel exported to forge Damascus blades, artisanal legacies of mirror crafts of Kerala and blacksmiths of the Nilgiri Kotas among others. In what promises to be a completely engrossing experience, Srinivasan's talk is the perfect fit for an at-home Sunday making it at once an informative and insightful evening.

To know more and register, click here.

When: 16 August (5 pm)

Exploring the journey of transgender rights in India, InHarmony has set up >Right to 'Be', and this week's webinar is set to delve into questions pertaining to the struggle and triumphs of the transgender community and whether it gets to enjoy all the rights as are laid down by the Indian constitution. The session >Trans Is will comprise a panel including Program Manager of The Humsafar Trust, Sowmya T Gupta, advocate Tripti Tandon, transgender activist Reshma Prasad and queer feminist Vihaan with Shaman Gupta as co-chair. A panel packed with trans women, trans men and legal experts, the session is sure to provide a deeper perspective from the transgender community about the issues that they have faced through time.

To register, click here.

When: 14 August (5.30 pm)

€" Storytelling

This weekend, the Dastangoi Collective is set to host virtually the premiere of >Dastan-e-Haroun based on acclaimed author Salman Rushdie's work, Haroun and the Sea of Stories. A collection of stories which draws both adults and children into its world, the storytelling event is a narrative of the adventures of a young boy, the eponymous Haroun, who travels through a fantasy land to the Sea of Stories to restore his father Rashid's storytelling abilities. Brought about by the Digital Dastangoi initiative, the tale will be presented through this medium of storytelling by Poonam Girdhani and Rajesh Kumar in a production directed by Mahmood Farooqui. Tune in to Dastan-e-Haroun to experience the magic of Rushdie's stories narrated in the 13th century style of Urdu oral storytelling.

To register for the event on Skillbox, click here.

When: 15 August (12 pm)

€" Dance, music and readings

Royal Opera House, Mumbai, as part of its ongoing initiative featuring excerpts of archived performances, is set to stream the >Battery Dance, informed and inspired by refugees in Europe and the Middle East. The pre-recorded snippet of this choreography brings together the music of Syrian-American composer, Kinan Azmeh with Tunisian-French composer, Anouar Brahem and the dancers of his company. A sheer visual delight, the performance, created in 2017 draws heavily from the lives and experiences of refugees and is a must watch for all connoisseurs of global dance and music.

When: 19 August

Where: Royal Opera House, Mumbai's YouTube channel

In yet another interesting event, the Royal Opera House, Mumbai is set to showcase an excerpt featuring author and historian William Dalrymple reading from his acclaimed work, >White Mughals, the story of the British Resident to the Nizam of Hyderabad's court, James Achilles Kirpatrick and his love affair with noblewoman, Khair-un-Nissa. Accompanying his words will be singer and musician Vidya Shah, who will punctuate the narrative with music from the court of 18th century Hyderabad and the poetry of the legendary courtesan, Mah Laqa Bai Chanda. Dalrymple's White Mughals is a stirring portrayal of colonial era Hyderabad, bringing to life with powerful imagery, a love story that blossomed and withered amidst the raging political winds in colonial India. For history buffs, Dalrymple reading of an excerpt from this tale is an evening to look forward to.

When: 15 August (6 pm)

Where: Royal Opera House, Mumbai's YouTube channel

€" Games

Lighthearted and fun, a trivia session is perhaps an utterly enjoyable way to unwind during a long work-from-home week. Organised by Atlas Obscura as part of its Wonder From Home series, the trivia experience, open to participants from across the globe, is a five-round contest full of brain-teasing, fact-finding and curiosity-sparking challenges. The trivia contest will have a team of five competing for two hours in an exciting session of wit, knowledge and general trivia. A trivia night, or early morning depending on the location of your couch on the globe, this gaming session promises to be a thoroughly entertaining experience with prizes in store for the winners.

To know more and register, click here.

When: 14 August

€" Virtual tours

As part of its ongoing >Weird Homes Tour, Atlas Obscura's Wonder From Home series will take its audiences on a virtual journey of >The Gregangelo Museum, once an ordinary house which has now been transformed into an artistic spectacle. The host of this week's show, Gregangelo, is the Ringmaster of the Velocity Circus and the hour-long tour of his house, which is a full-time immersive museum experience, will be an insight into how we can find our place in the world and cherish our memories. A tour of Gregangelo's weird home can promise to be that unusual, just crazy-enough-to-be-wonderful experience which is sure to add colour to a week of routine and sameness.

To know more and register, click here.

When: 18 August

€" Streaming this week

Arriving on Netflix this week is the limited docuseries >High Score on the history of classic video games, tracing their evolution right from the point it all began. Staying at home during this time of social distancing has been a treat for all gaming enthusiasts giving them ample of free time, otherwise scarce, to play on their Xboxes and PlayStations. High Score tells the story of the origin of the video game world going right back to the classics like PAC-Man, Sonic the Hedgehog, Paper Boy, Atari 2600, Street Fighter, Nintendo Entertainment System and much, much more. For all video game enthusiasts, this is the series to binge on to find out more and compare notes with your personal know-how of the video game universe.

When: 19 August

Where: Netflix

In Disney+Hotstar's upcoming thriller >Underwater, Kristen Stewart, John Gallagher Jr and Vincent Cassel star in a plot that revolves around a crew of underwater researchers who must try to save themselves after an earthquake destroys their deep-sea laboratory. But complications arise when the crew realises that the deep waters are the least of their worries and something darker and sinister lurks in the shadows. Underwater coming up this Saturday is sure to be a nail-biting thriller perfect for a weekend watch for all fans of thrillers and suspense dramas.

When: 14 August

Where: Disney+Hotstar

An upcoming show on Zee5 is the second season of the Kunal Khemmu-starrer Abhay, which follows the story of a young, broody officer solving complex cases even as he struggles with his inner demons. >Abhay 2, like the previous season, promises to be yet another thrilling ride with new crimes and new enemies in the dark underbelly of the criminal world. The eight-episode second season which also features Ram Kapoor and Chunky Panday can definitely make for a suitable weekend binge.

When: 14 August

Where: Zee5

On this Independence Day weekend, National Geographic will be showcasing >India from Above, a documentary film which captures the country's culture, geography and history in 4K drone footage. Narrated by actor Dev Patel, the film will explore the vast expanse of India through snow, rain, deserts, seas, rivers and lakes captured during one year across four seasons. The two-part show is a narrative of India's diverse provinces and their cultural practices. This weekend, tune in to National Geographic to catch a glimpse of the country while ushering in the 74th year of Indian independence.

When: 14 and 15 August (10 pm)

Where: National Geographic

Also read €" Coronavirus outbreak: A database of books, performances, courses available online in these times of social distancing

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