But since 2020 is not a normal year, here’s how to celebrate the birthday of the USA virtually, at home, all weekend, including concerts, fireworks, a reading of the Declaration of Independence by NYC school children, debut of the movie version of Hamilton, and more.
Friday, July 3 Virtual Events
Hamilton, the Movie, Begins Streaming
Be in the room where it happens with the cast of Hamilton.
The movie version of the blockbuster Broadway play begins streaming today, Friday, July 3, on Disney Plus.
The Whitney Museum of American Art continues its streaming series an animated video by artist Kota Ezawa’s “National Anthem,” an animated video depicting N.F.L. players taking a pregame knee in protest of police brutality against Black Americans.
The two-minute-long work is created entirely with watercolors and is inspired by the demonstrations spurred by quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016, when he began kneeling during the pregame “Star-Spangled Banner.” Ezawa’s translation, as he describes it, of the N.F.L. protests will stream as part of the Whitney Screens series until July 5.
The video was presented during the Whitney Biennial 2019.
In a piece tracing the impact of the gesture, The New York Times explores visual echoes of Kaepernick’s activism in the wave of protesters who have taken to the streets to call for racial justice after the police killing of George Floyd.
Image credit: Kota Ezawa, “National Anthem” (Buffalo Bills), 2018. Watercolor on paper, 11 x 16 in. (26.4 x 40.64 cm). Image courtesy the artist and Haines Gallery, San Francisco, via PBS AllArts.
- Available for streaming from 7pm Friday through 10pm Sunday, July 5th.
Watch on The Whitney Museum of American Art Vimeo channel
Saturday, July 4th Virtual Events
9/11 Memorial Plaza Reopens
The 9/11 Memorial will reopen on Saturday, July 4, to 9/11 family members, the extended 9/11 community, and workers on the frontlines of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The memorial plaza reopens to the general public on Sunday, July 5, when you can visit once again and contemplate on one of the worst days in American history.
The Museum remains closed, as are all museums in New York City.
It’s been nearly four months since the 9/11 Memorial & Museum was closed in response to government guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Like all museums, this one has not earned any admission fees, which is museum’s main source of revenue. The Fourth of July would be a good time to make a donation.
Becasue we must #NeverForget
The day’s schedule of family-friendly events includes a reenactment of Frederick Douglass’ speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July”, an arts and crafts project on the legacy of Jackie Robinson, and a sing-along of Patriotic tunes
For more educational resources, check out the Society’s online exhibitions, virtual tours and archival videos as part of its digital holdings.
- 10am to 2pm.
- See the full schedule of July 4th events here.
Independence Day at Historic Richmond Town
Join a virtual celebration at this historic location on Staten Island.
A series of videos and content will be posted throughout the day, honoring the stories of Staten Islanders who lived in the buildings, and traditional activities held in previous celebrations.
There’s also a reading of the Declaration of Independence by Staten Island youth, a virtual pie baking demonstration and tour of the Guyon-Lake Tysen Farmhouse, and host your own pinwheel parade with a craft activity for youth and families.
While the buildings are closed to visitors, the grounds and gardens are open. Face coverings and social distancing required.
Macy’s Annual Fireworks Spectacular
The annual 30 minute fireworks spectacular has been replaced this year by five five-minute displays, one in each borough, this past week. They’re being gathered up for broadcast on the Fourth of July, and edited into a finale with entertainment, broadcast nationally on NBC.
According to Macy’s, this year’s fireworks will feature a musical score that’s “a mix of pop and patriotic anthems celebrating New York City’s resilience during the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
The Young People’s Chorus of NYC will also virtually perform “America the Beautiful” and “Lean On Me.”
CNN will host a four-hour Fourth of July primetime musical special honoring the US military, frontline workers battling the coronavirus pandemic and citizens across the country demanding equality.
The Fourth in America features musical performances from Jewel, Barry Manilow, Martina McBride, Kenny Loggins, Andy Grammer, Carlos Santana and Cindy Blackman Santana, CeCe Winans, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, The O’Jays, Don McLean, Jesse Colin Young and Little Kids Rock, Billy Ray Cyrus, Burt Bacharach & Musicians from the Berklee College of Music, Harlem Gospel Choir, the original Broadway casts of Girl From the North Country and Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of the Temptations.
There also will be performances by the New York Philharmonic and the San Francisco, Colorado, Houston, Chicago and New York Youth symphonies, along with United States Marine Band, the US Navy Band and the US Army Field Band.
No spectators this year. But the event is being broadcast at Noon on ESPN.
Willie Nelson’s Annual 4th of July Picnic
It’s really a concert with top country stars, including Sheryl Crow, Ziggy Marley, Margo Price, Steve Earle, Kurt Vile and, of course, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, which is fronted by Wille’s 31-year-old son.
The event includes some live-stream performances from stages at Willie Nelson’s ranch on the outskirts of Austin, while while Nelson himself will be playing from his nearby Pedernales Studios. Meanwhile, other artists are taping their performances from remote locations for the concert-film portion.
The event also features interviews sharing memories from past picnics. And there are a lot of them: Nelson has been doing this every year since 1972.
Tickets for the digital event are $35 through Friday and $45 the day of the event. Purchase at WilliePicnic.com, where the festivities will stream beginning at 4:30 p.m.
The picnic was originally scheduled to bring fans to Nelson’s Luck, Texas, ranch on the outskirts of Austin. But now Texas has become a hot spot for COVID-19.
The combined festivities also celebrate Nelson’s new LP, which was postponed from April. The album features the single “We Are the Cowboys,” a song originally recorded by Billy Joe Shaver. And the “Cowboys” video was shot by Micah Nelson, Willie’s 30-year-old son.
Nelson will keep the collaboration all in the family when he and his 89-year-old sister Bobbie Nelson, a member of his Family band, release the memoir “Me and Sister Bobbie: True Tales of the Family Band” on Sept. 15.
Clearly, nothing — not even a pandemic — can stop Willie Nelson, even at the age of 87.
More Holiday Weekend Virtual Events –
Carnegie Hall Fridays
Each week for the the forseable future, Carnegie Hall is streaming a concert from its archived recordings.
- Watch it Friday 3am through Monday, June 1st at 3 AM EDT
- Watch here on medici.tv
Metropolitan Opera Nightly Opera Streams
Every night of the week, the world-famous Met Opera is streaming a different performance from its repetoire of recorded performances, including operas by Puccini, Verdi and Mozart, and legendary stars including Luciano Pavarotti and Renée Fleming.
Friday, July 3
Mozart’s Don Giovanni
Starring Marina Rebeka, Barbara Frittoli, Mojca Erdmann, Ramón Vargas, Mariusz Kwiecien, Luca Pisaroni, and Štefan Kocán, conducted by Fabio Luisi. From October 29, 2011.
Saturday, July 4
Donizetti’s Don Pasquale
Starring Beverly Sills, Alfredo Kraus, Håkan Hagegård, and Gabriel Bacquier, conducted by Nicola Rescigno. From January 11, 1979.
Sunday, July 5
Rossini’s La Donna del Lago
Starring Joyce DiDonato, Daniela Barcellona, Juan Diego Flórez, John Osborn, and Oren Gradus, conducted by Michele Mariotti. From March 14, 2015.