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Distance Learning (and Laughter and Music)

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Courtesy Insomniac

A scene from the 2019 Electric Daisy Carnival, which you can relive on Insomniac's Insomniac Rewind YouTube channel.

Sing Along, Learn Along: Music and Concerts

Live Concert Livestreams: Jack White’s Third Man Public Access show offers fans daily livestreams from the Blue Room at Third Man Records HQ, featuring TMR acts and friends free on their YouTube channel daily at 10a. And New York-based event company Nowadays has launched Virtually Nowadays, streaming DJ sets daily from 8p to midnight.

Master Classes: Many artists have taken to digital outlets to inspire and teach fans their tricks of the trade, and sometimes offer insight on their other passions, like cooking, painting, and more. Check these out for all that and more: TAUKing Tuesdays, Mike Messer, Arkells, and Live Lesson Masters.

In Home Sessions: Ever wish you could sit around the fire with Neil Young and his pups as he strummed through Harvest? Or maybe request a favorite tune from Death Cab For Cutie with a bonus backstory? Search these artists offering special online performances: Questlove/The Roots, Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie), Neil Young, Diplo, Katherine & David Foster

Classic Concerts: So many to choose from. Try Bruce Springsteen in 2009 London Calling Live at Hyde Park, one of the last official recordings to feature the big man Clarence Clemons on sax; Relix Live, in which the unofficial home of the jam community features daily past concert streams; and Insomniac Rewind’s Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas, letting you relive the festival’s most iconic performances under the electric sky.
— Chris Bitonti, director of marketing, Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas

The Shows Must Go On(line): Theater and Entertainment

Station Casinos At Home Sessions: Station Casinos jumped into the “living room concert” trend by inviting its casino lounge performers to rock the company’s Facebook page. Good things came of it, such as Ray Allaire of Phoenix and the Windjammers using his “unexpected free time” to write a charming song called “No Circus Left in Town.”

Quarantine Cabaret: Burlesque performers got their ostrich feathers clipped too. With her bookings canceled, L.A.-based burlesque performer Michelle L’amour (pictured right) quickly turned living-room burlesque into an online variety show, featuring separately filmed contributions from the likes of Las Vegas magician Murray SawChuck and physical comedian Jimmy Slonina. (michellelamour.com)

Majestic Repertory Theatre: When the shutdown suspended the live production The Garden Party, one character from the ’60s spoof, the Rev. Eugene Dolor (Mike Vargovich), made the jump to Instagram with an online show Dial S for Salvation. Majestic Artistic Director Troy Heard says the first installment drew 200 individual views, as far away as Atlanta and Chicago.

CirqueConnect: Cirque du Soleil consolidated some of its previous ventures into film, television, and making-of documentaries at this new digital hub. CirqueConnect proved the strength of Cirque’s fan base when 500,000 fans logged in for the March 26 launch of an hourlong special that included sequences from O.
— Mike Weatherford, veteran entertainment journalist

Turn a New Page: Books

The Pandemic: If you want to begin to understand why our country is failing to contend with the pandemic, both morally and materially, you might start with Robert B. Reich’s The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It. It’s short, direct, accessible — and just might light a fire in your mind.

Social Justice: There’s never been a better time to read the work of venerable leftist Barbara Ehrenreich, whose collected essays have just been published in a volume titled Had I Known. Ever the commonsense radical, Ehrenreich survived the culture wars and is as relevant as ever.

Dystopian Lit: There’s a never-ending catalogue of post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction. If you’re looking for an allegorized spin on present-day disasters, why not read the best? Octavia Butler’s The Parable of the Sower has proven shockingly prescient, and feels like escapism with a purpose.

Horror: I find the horror genre to be a strange comfort food in our strange times — perhaps it’s a relief to be afraid of something that isn’t real? To that end, I’d recommend Shirley Jackson, who’s been enjoying an ongoing renaissance. We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a very on-the-nose novel of domestic imprisonment, and a fitting read for life under quarantine.

Big Fiction: I never decline an opportunity to recommend C.E. Morgan’s 2016 novel, The Sport of Kings. If you’re looking for an epic, big-picture, spiritually capacious novel while you’re trapped at home — this is it. She’s our modern Tolstoy, and if you have a bucket reading list this needs to be on it.

Serious Fun: Samantha Irby is a laugh-out-loud personal essayist in the vein of David Sedaris, and her latest collection, Wow, No Thank You, is coming out right in the midst of our collective crisis. But her earlier collections are just as good, and are worth reading in order.
— Drew Cohen, The Writer’s Block bookstore

(Note: The Writer's Block is currently closed for in-person browsing, but is still fulfilling orders from their online store, and offering shipping specials and curbside pickup.)

Out-There Art: Sculpture worth the Drive

Seven Magic Mountains: Part mood-booster, part mind-boggler, Ugo Rondinone’s Seven Magic Mountains (2016) deserves more than a glimpse from Highway 15. The candy-colored mega-cairns —built from 33 boulders weighing up to 25 tons — are an engineering marvel and playful artistic achievement. Can you spot the pattern in the palette? 

Double Negative: Among land art’s holiest shrines, Michael Heizer’s Double Negative (1969) is worth the pilgrimage. Longer than the Empire State Building is tall, the work spans a canyon, rutting 1,500 feet of mesa and displacing 244,000 tons of rock. While the crisp cuts dulled over decades, the slotted Zen emptiness still mesmerizes. Note: You’ll need a four-wheel-drive vehicle and GPS capabilities.

Sloan Canyon: Sloan Canyon is the Eye Spy of rock art: How many of the 1,700 petroglyphs can you find? Some images are as recent as 1800 AD, others as ancient as 8,000 BC. And don’t forget the “petraforms” — centuries-old turtle sculptures gazing across the canyon at Red Rock's Turtlehead Peak. Note: The parking lot is closed, but street parking is available.
— Dawn-Michelle Baude, art critic

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