This week, Jared Bowen delves into the documentary films of Lee Grant. Plus, virtual programming from Urbanity Dance and a preview of “Boston Baroque Live.”

“20th Century Woman: The Documentary Films of Lee Grant,” presented online via the Coolidge Corner Theatre website

Down and Out in America
A scene from the Oscar-winning documentary "Down and Out in America," narrated and directed by Lee Grant.
Courtesy of Hope Runs High Distribution

Audiences might know Lee Grant for a legendary Hollywood career including her Oscar-winning turn in “Shampoo.” But the actress also directed a substantial body of documentary films that focused on marginalized communities — from women on strike, to rural Americans displaced from their homes, to the (then) underground transgender community.

Now, the Coolidge Corner Theatre is presenting a retrospective of Grant’s films online for the first time, in partnership with Hope Runs High Distribution.

“The reason I was doing [documentaries] was to hold the mirror up to whatever was happening,” says Grant. “It took me to places that I never thought I would go to, and I had such reverence for all of those people… it was a privilege for me.”

Urbanity Dance, now hosting virtual programming via Instagram Live

Urbanity Dance Refractive Choreographies
Projections of dancers are popping up across Boston for the month of May as part of Urbanity Dance's "Refractive Choreographies."
Meg Anderson

Despite having to temporarily close its studios due to the coronavirus pandemic, Urbanity Dance is finding new ways to connect with its community — by delivering programming online and into people’s homes. The company’s Youth School and Adult School classes, as well as its Dance with Parkinson’s program, are now being presented on Instagram Live for free, with a $10 suggested donation.

"When I started with sports and then I engaged in instruments, there was always some kind of movement… and it always brought me back to dance” says James O'Gilvie, a youth dancer with Urbanity Dance. “Something that Urbanity has always inspired me to do is continue to put that into more aspects of my life, as well as bring those aspects into the dance world."

Urbanity Dance has also just announced it will present a series of pop-up projections of “mini dance films” on Boston area buildings throughout the month of May. “Refractive Choreographies” is a mix of AI, music and dance and will appear, as a surprise, on the exteriors of community centers, hospitals and schools.

“Boston Baroque Live,” presenting full-length concerts to stream via the Boston Baroque website and on Amazon Prime

Boston Baroque Live
Boston Baroque’s Orchestra and Chorus.
Kathy Wittman, Ball Square Films, courtesy of Boston Baroque

In response to the coronavirus quarantine, period instrument ensemble Boston Baroque has unveiled its first ever live-streaming platform: "Boston Baroque Live." Through their website, the company is presenting complete recordings of past performances starting with its 2015 production of Handel’s “Agrippina” starring Susanna Phillips and David Hansen.

“Delicious and perverse, even from the remove of a screen,” says Jared, “this 'Agrippina' oozes affecting smarm as we watch a family’s transparent antics as it attempts to secure its grip atop a crumbling heap. Also, it’s just straight-up hilarious.”

Upcoming releases include Mozart's “Requiem, Symphony No. 40,” and "Exsultate, jubilate," Monteverdi's “L'incoronazione di Poppea” starring soprano Amanda Forsythe and countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo,” and a Classics for Kids interactive performance of Vivaldi's “The Four Seasons.

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