From Art Basel to live theater: your guide to fall’s top digital cultural events


The past seven months have seen the slowdown of countless cultural events and festivals, but that disruption has forced institutions like Art Basel to go online, bringing their offerings to millions of people stuck at home – and not just those who might have otherwise traveled to Miami or Switzerland. Social distancing has also inspired artists to experiment with new mediums – Fake Friends, a Brooklyn-based theater company, released a new play that intersperses its live stream with eye-searing internet memes.

More than anything, these online events allow audiences to connect during a time of isolation, support beloved cultural institutions during an economic crisis, and make sense of a world turned upside down.

The Joyce Theater Foundation: State of Darkness
Dates: On demand through 7 November
Tickets: $13

Seven dancers offer their take on one seminal solo: Molissa Fenley’s State of Darkness, an 1988 piece set to Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring that has been acclaimed as “a raw and daring tour de force”. All-inclusive tickets will give you access to all seven performances as well as a conversation between Fenley, the dancers and Peter Boal, a noted interpreter of the role.

Los Angeles Times: Festival of Books, Stories & Ideas
Dates: Ongoing through 17 November
Tickets: Free

The Los Angeles Times postponed its spring book festival and is now offering access to all events free of charge. Catch the likes of Morgan Jerkins, author of the bestselling collection of essays This Will Be My Undoing, or a conversation between writer Héctor Tobar and Pulitzer prize winner Marilynne Robinson, whose new novel Jack is a love story set in segregated, postwar St Louis.

New York Public Library: The Harry Belafonte Black Liberation Speaker Series
Dates: Ongoing
Tickets: Free

Inspired by this summer’s Black Lives Matter protests, which sparked a national reckoning on race, the New York Public Library is organizing several talks on race and literature. The series, whose name pays homage to the musician and activist Harry Belafonte, opened on 26 October with a discussion on The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X – a comprehensive biography of the civil rights leader that seeks to change the narrative around his life and death. On 16 November debut novelists Raven Leilani and Kiley Reid present their respective titles, Luster and Such a Fun Age, and talk about what it means to be young, Black women in 2020.

Fake Friends: Circle Jerk
Dates: On demand through 7 November
Tickets: $5-$50

Circle Jerk is a raucous, livestreamed, multi-camera play set on the fictional Gaymen Island. Produced by the Brooklyn-based theater and media company Fake Friends and backed by playwright Jeremy O Harris, it is “a queer comedy about white gay supremacy, a homopessimist hybrid of yesterday’s live theater and today’s livestream (set in tomorrow’s news cycle)”. The New York Times calls it “a lot”, but if now isn’t the time for unconventional theater, then when is?

Art Basel: OVR – Miami Beach
Dates: 2-6 December
Tickets: Free

Art Basel’s Miami Beach edition is typically a place to be seen as much as to view art, but this year the art festival will take place entirely online. The fair’s organizers will bring together works that had been slated to appear in the fair, along with a series of virtual panels between artists, gallerists and more. Art Miami, which usually runs parallel to Art Basel Miami, will put its galleries online during the same dates.