The Stone Age Institute is presenting “Popular Culture,” a six-part virtual series of musical and dance performances every Sunday until May 2. The institute, which focuses on exploring human origins, began livestreaming the series March 28 and will continue to air for the next month at 8 p.m. Sundays.
Each part features a live or pre-recorded performance, and a live Q&A with the performers who have attended IU or originate from Bloomington.
Nicholas Toth and Kathy Schick, co-founders and co-directors of The Stone Age Institute, created the series with a grant from the Kaman Foundation. Toth said the Stone Age Institute works with faculty from the anthropology, cognitive science and geology departments at IU. Toth said they specialize in making and using stone tools, sometimes known as experimental archeology.
“This popular culture series is, in a way, outside of our mission, but we are big supporters of the arts and humanities,” Toth said.
The Stone Age Institute has long worked with the university and the Buskirk-Chumley Theater to put on in-person performances, and has partnered with the theater to promote the event.
"We are extremely excited to assist spreading the word about the Popular Culture Series from the Stone Age Institute,” Jonah Crismore, executive director of the theater said. “The Buskirk-Chumley is supportive of everyone who helped produce amazing virtual events while we wait for live entertainment to return to our stages and stages across the region.”
Toth and Schick said they think livestreaming the series makes it more accessible to viewers who are not located in Bloomington.
“It’s a public service that we can provide to the university and to the community,” Cox said.
The virtual format has also allowed the performers, many of whom are not currently in Bloomington, to share their music and dance.
“The arts have been in rather tight restraints overall with live performance venues and things of that sort, but we’ve long had a mission to help support the arts,” Schick said. “It’s become especially accentuated in recent times with the pandemic.”
The next episode, airing Sunday, will showcase aerialist and Bloomington native Dreya Weber. Weber recently starred in the film “The Aerialist” directed by Jane Hawkins, and has danced for Madonna and Pink.
Admission for each performance is free, and participants can register here on the livestreaming platform Mandolin.