The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down. As we get accustomed to a “new normal,” many arts and culture organizations have shifted their programming to reach their guests and patrons while at home. We found 20 great events that can help fill the cultural void in between work, homeschooling, other obligations—like re-arranging the sock drawer for the 11th time.
ONE WORLD: TOGETHER AT HOME
Tune in to watch a global broadcast and digital special that supports frontline healthcare workers and the World Health Organization. Curated in collaboration with Lady Gaga, the mega-event will be hosted by Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert with assistance from our Sesame Street friends. Expected performers include: Alanis Morissette, Andrea Bocelli, Billie Eilish, Burna Boy, Eddie Vedder, Elton John, FINNEAS, Idris and Sabrina Elba, John Legend, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Kerry Washington, Lang Lang, Lizzo, Paul McCartney, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Shah Rukh Khan and Stevie Wonder. The event begins at 5:00 p.m. and is available on a number of broadcast and streaming platforms.
Through April 19
TCM CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL: SPECIAL HOME EDITION
Classic movie fans can enjoy films—that have screened at both past TCM Classic Film Festivals in Hollywood as well as titles that were supposed to screen this year—from the comfort of their couches. The home festival runs through April 19 on TCM and includes special hosts, guests, and events on-air and online. Films include: Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (1957), Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last! (1923), Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest (1959) and Jezebel (1938) with Bette Davis.
BOLD FACED SECRET
The Echo Theater Company’s monthly storytelling night has moved online to Zoom. On Friday, May 8 at 7:30 p.m., listen to stories told around the theme of “relativity”—about families, friends, and how things are related to others. On June 5 at 7:30 p.m., the series takes on the theme “blunders,” followed by “saves” on July 10 at 7:30 p.m. To listen, RSVP to info[@]echotheatercompany[.]com for the link.
THE SHOWS MUST GO ON!
Though the lights are dark on Broadway, a new series streams Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals on YouTube. Webber announced that his shows will be available for 48 hours beginning each Friday for several weeks. The virtual series began on April 3 with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, followed by Jesus Christ Superstar. The musicals are released on Friday at 11:00 a.m. PST. The shows are free, but the initiative is trying to raise funds to support actors in the U.K., U.S. and Australia.
THE SECOND CITY’S COMEDY SHOWS
The venerated comedy club and training ground, with theaters and schools in LA, Chicago, and Toronto, offers free comedy shows via Zoom. In Improv House Party, watch troupe members improvise, inspired by viewer suggestions. The Really Awesome Improv Show is a family-friendly, high-energy show that’s akin to Whose Line is it Anyway?. Both shows are free, but donations will be accepted for the Second City Alumni Fund, which supports members of the Second City family who are facing financial and health challenges.
PRODUCTIONS AT SHAKESPEARE’S GLOBE
Watch Shakespearean productions filmed on the Bard’s stage in London. Six free YouTube Premieres are released on a rotating basis and are available for two weeks each on YouTube. Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Two Noble Kinsmen, The Winter’s Tale and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Another way to help support the Globe during the pandemic is to buy or rent other films through its Globe Player.
ROYAL OPERA HOUSE: BALLET AND OPERA
Also from London, the Royal Opera House presents free Friday premieres that include full-length productions, musical masterclasses, and behind-the-scenes content. The full productions include The Royal Opera’s Così fan Tutte as well as upcoming performances of The Royal Ballet’s The Metamorphosis, The Royal Opera’s Gloriana and The Winter’s Tale from The Royal Ballet. The content is available on-demand on the Opera House’s website, Facebook page and YouTube channel.
THE AMERICAN NURSE
To honor nurses on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, film distributor Kino Lorber offers free streaming of the acclaimed documentary, The American Nurse through the end of May. Originally released in 2014, the film focuses on the lives of five American nurses from different specialties, offering a look at the “commitment, necessity, and compassion behind this profession that impacts us all.” Find the film on the Kino Now platform. (As a bonus, nurses receive one free contact hour for watching the film and completing the evaluation through Walden University.)
SALASTINA SOCIETY’S VIRTUAL HAPPY HOUR
The LA-based classical music society presents virtual happy hours on Tuesdays from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. PDT. Salastina Artistic Directors Kevin Kumar and Maia Jasper White have created ways to connect their audience to their ensemble’s music during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each program takes an “inquisitive approach” toward classics and new works. Upcoming performances include a duet by violinist Zeneba Bowers and husband/cellist Matt Walker who perform from their terrace in Soriano, Italy, as part of a music series they launched for their neighborhood during the current quarantine. (They moved to Italy shortly before the pandemic.) RSVPs are required for these happy hours and a zoom link and password will then be sent to each person as confirmation.
LA OPERA AT HOME
The LA Opera brings its music and performances right to your home with live Living Room Recitals, broadcasts of old performances and sing-a-longs. Listen to the classic Carmen—complete with listening tips—or the contemporary opera Dog Days. For families, LAO presents The Prospector, an accessible opera set during California’s Gold Rush.
STORY TIME FROM SPACE
Do you have a young space explorer at home? This videotaped storytelling series features astronauts from the International Space Station reading children’s books to the kids of Earth. The website also features astronauts conducting educational demos designed by Canadian Astronaut Bjarni Tryggvason, complementing the science concepts found in the Story Time From Space books. Titles include: Ada Lace Take Me to Your Leader, The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home and Khalifa And Amal Go To Space (read in Arabic).
THE GRAND CENTRAL SINGING TELEGRAM CO.
The Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana presents the virtual performance piece, The Grand Central Singing Telegram Co. by Pablo Helguera. Get free singing telegrams delivered by Helguera through Zoom. Senders can choose from more than 30 songs. And while the chief telegraphist promises to make the best attempt, deliveries are not guaranteed. One telegram order per person. The service runs 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday through May 28.
THE AUTRY ONLINE
The Autry Museum in Griffith Park offers a robust slate of online programming. Two newer live events include “Office Hours”, a Q&A that gives access to Autry experts, and a partnership with Dryland Literature for LA Poets in Place on Fridays in April. In the What Is a Western? web series, Autry film curator Josh Garrett-Davis takes any film, song, book or pop culture reference and explains how it loosely relates to the mythology of the American West. Garrett-Davis takes audience-submitted challenges for the series.
MOLAA EN CASA
Explore the Museum of Latin American Art’s temporary exhibitions online: Arte, Mujer y Memoria: Arpilleras from Chile, Dreamland: A Frank Romero Retrospective, and José Bedia and Belkis Ayón. In addition, visitors can take part in “Mindful Wednesdays” and explore the museum’s permanent collection through a robust Google Arts & Culture listing. For parents who might need additional activities for kids, MOLAA offers a section for young guests, from mask designing to “Gráfica Tú” printable postcards and a Bolivian paper doll series.
CATALINA ISLAND MUSEUM’S CIM SESSIONS
Catalina Island Museum offers online experiences through its website and social channels. Take weekly virtual tours of the museum’s immersive and interactive galleries, enjoy moments of zen through artwork from its collections, watch artist social media takeovers and livestreams, or a camera tracking four-legged friends who explore the museum during its Catalina Art Paws segment.
SAN DIEGO ZOO AND SAFARI PARK: WE’RE HERE TOGETHER
The Zoo and Safari Park might be closed to in-person guests right now, but some of the exhibitions and animals are still available for virtual visits. The Zoo has wildlife cameras everywhere, so guests can check in with the apes, baboons, owls, elephants, koalas, giraffes, tigers, penguins, butterflies and other animals. The Zoo has lots of activities online for kids and families, even a virtual spring break through April 19.
For the past few weeks, Cirque du Soleil has been offering 60-minute specials of past shows on its website. Its latest release showcased moments from Alegría, Kooza and KÀ. Visitors can also find on its website: virtual reality segments, behind-the-scenes clips, Cirque performer workouts, and kid-centric videos (including one that teaches how to juggle).
GRAMMY MUSEUM AT HOME
The museum offers a number of events to view at home, from online exhibitions to educational sessions and releases of public programs. The Grammy Museum recently honored the life and work of legendary singer, musician and songwriter John Prine with the release of last year’s Q&A with Prine at the museum. The education programs include mini-lessons on electronic music production, leadership, and skill-building. Each Friday, the museum presents a new exhibition to showcase from its archives.
Editor’s note: Looking for more John Prine? Check out his Austin City Limits performance.
Want more virtual adventures in SoCal? Check out 55 more ways to stay curious.
Christine N. Ziemba is a Los Angeles-based arts and culture writer who loves to tell people what to do (and where to go). Check out her events columns and other musings on PopRadarLA.com, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.