Bored, anxious or got the blues during the global pandemic? The online community is sharing performances, events and activities designed to stimulate the mind, soothe the psyche and keep the body active. Florida Weekly offers these top picks to keep you occupied during COVID-19. To submit items for possible future publication, email plain text or Word documents to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Theater Series – Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts presents a series of online plays beginning at 7:30 p.m. May 21. The series continues May 28. Productions are directed by Bill Taylor and include favorites Stephanie Davis, Kayleigh O’Connell, Anna Grilli, Lemec Bernard, Imani Williams, Madelaine Weymouth, Steve Coe and Katie Pankow. Productions are free to stream, but a suggested donation supports the future of the arts in Southwest Florida. Pre-registration is required at Art- InLee.org/BestSeat.
2. NBC’s sixth annual “Red Nose Day Special” will feature Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, OneRepublic, Ellie Goulding, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, Sam Smith, James Taylor and Meghan Trainor will perform Thursday, May 21 at 9 p.m. at facebook.com/nbc. In addition to the music performances, Jim Gaffigan, Tony Hale, Ray Romano and Lilly Singh will also showcase their comedic stylings. Film and TV favorites Bryan Cranston, Mario Lopez, Milo Ventimiglia and Noah Jupe will make appearances throughout the evening.
3. Wildlife Education – The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife on Sanibel Island brings wildlife education to classrooms with virtual classroom programs called Wildlife Zoom, featuring Animal Ambassadors such as Mina, the Great Horned Owl; Lola, the American Kestrel; Gigi, the Virginia Opossum; Cobb, the Corn Snake; Irwin, the Florida Box Turtle; and Sydney, the American Alligator. To schedule a program, email email@example.com or visit www.crowclinic.org.
4. Theater Fête – Sarasota-based Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe hosts its twice-postponed April Fools Fête starting at 7 p.m. May 21. The event runs through May 25. “An Evening with Sheldon Rhoden & Friends” features popular artists Mr. Rhoden, Ariel Blue, Michael Mendez, Raleigh Mosely II and Jai Shanae singing soul classics. The cost to access the 75-minute recorded program is $50 per household. westcoastblacktheatre.org.
5. Opera Highlights – Visitors to Sarasota Opera’s website, social media and YouTube channel can relive some of the most thrilling moments of past seasons, with a wide variety of scenes from the company’s performances, including Puccini’s “La bohème,” Verdi’s “Nabucco,” Bizet’s “Carmen,” and many more. Check out the video clips at www.sarasotaopera.org/throwback-thursday.
6. Theater Programs – Gulfshore Playhouse has introduced an immersive audience engagement program called Artful Distancing. The free, weekly series of virtual theater-based content airs live at 3 p.m. on Wednesdays via Zoom. The program features online discussions with professional artists, actors, scholars and more, who provide a behind-the-scenes look at theater-making. Coming up May 27: “From Page to Stage: Planning a Season at Gulfshore Playhouse.” Learn how the shows are selected, the science behind where they land in the lineup, and process of choosing design teams and actors. To register: www.GulfshorePlayhouse.org/ artful-distancing. Free sessions are also available for on Gulfshore Playhouse’s YouTube channel.
7. Art Show – Naples Art created the Virtual Downtown Art Show, an ongoing event featuring artwork in mediums ranging from jewelry and fiber art to furniture, sculpture and painting. Naples Art is also engaging artists through fun look-a-like contests and painted selfies contests. downtown.naplesart.org.
8. Art for Opera – Sarasota’s Opera’s latest social media initiative, “Art for Opera,” features artwork created by members of the Youth Opera to show how they feel about their Opera House. Friends of Sarasota Opera are invited to sketch, color, paint or draw in any medium, and post on social media with the hashtag #ArtForOpera. Submissions will be added to the works currently displayed in the windows of the Opera House and in an online gallery. To upload the link, go to bit.ly/artforopera.
9. Film Chat – The Fort Myers Film Festival presents Thank God for Indie Mondays (T.G.I.M.) online at 7 p.m. every Monday with host Eric Raddatz. Enjoy screenings of films under consideration for the annual festival and banter with special guests. www.facebook.com/fortmyersfilmfestival/.
10. Florida Freakshow – A new, locally produced podcast called “Florida Freakshow” celebrates the Sunshine State’s strange news stories. “Florida Freakshow,” hosted by award-winning former journalists Cory and Kirsten O’Donnell of Cape Coral, shares humorous takes on Florida’s weirdest news. Follow it on Twitter (@ FlaFreakshow) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/flafreakshow) or on the podcast’s website, www.FloridaFreakshow.com.
11. Virtual Gardens – Naples Botanical Garden offers a plethora of online videos to help you do everything from gardening and crafting to cooking, with titles such as “Create Your Own Vanilla Extract,” “Make a Nature Art Bug,” Design a Dream Garden” and “Fogg Café’s Fish Tacos.” www.naplesgarden.org/stayplanted/.
12. Flamingo Cam – Get a bird’s eye view of the gorgeous flamingos at Everglades Wonder Gardens in Bonita Springs with constant streaming at youtu. be/pFawm1gsuLg.
13. Couch Concerts – The Southwest Florida Symphony has posted interactive sites full of amazing orchestral music as well as some videos of performances by its own musicians. Check these out: www.facebook.com/southwestfloridasymphony/; www.kennedy-center.org/digitalstage/; and www.digitalconcerthall.com/en/concerts.
14. Eagle Cam – Dick Pritchett Real Estate has provided a hugely popular live look into the Southwest Florida bald eagle nest for eight seasons. Viewers can catch the action of Harriet, M15 and their offspring via four cameras that stream the birds 24/7 live directly to the site. https:// www.dickpritchettrealestate.com/eaglefeed. html.
15. Itty Bitty Theater – Actors Brendan Powers and Rachel Burttram present
Tiny Theatre at 9 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, doing readings from various playwrights. The actors have transformed a back bedroom closet into a makeshift theater with a string of Christmas lights, an IKEA curtain, duct tape and a paint stirrer. Quirky elements such as “calls” from a remote stage manager to their black cat, Milo, serving as a swing technician, add to the charm. No charge and vastly entertaining. https:// www.facebook.com/ClosetAtRachelAnd-Brendans/.
16. Opera Online – Opera companies across North America offer content online for listeners to enjoy while they stay home. Here’s a sampling: Weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. EDT, through May 30, Opera Steamboat offers Real-Life Opera, a vocal training program for young artists, at operasteamboat.org/real-life-opera/. Seattle Opera’s past performances are featured every Saturday through July 25 on Seattle Opera Mornings, broadcast by KING FM at 1 p.m. Eastern time at www.seattleopera.org/kingfm.
17. Birthday Parties – The IMAG History & Science Center offers Virtual Birthday Celebrations for Adults, no kids allowed! Celebrants can gather virtually with up to 15 guests for a unique experience using Zoom for a video and audio party connection. IMAG offers various party themes, including Beers & Gears, a Harry Potter-inspired Wizards’ University, and Star Wars-inspired Happy Hour at Oga’s Cantina. Using the IMAG TV studio green screen, costumes and props, the IMAG staff puts on an interactive show and activity for parties lasting 20-30 minutes. www.theIMAG.org.
18. Museum Challenge – The Getty Museum Challenge, featuring artwork recreated with household items, is sweeping the nation. The challenge: re-create your favorite art using just three objects lying around home, photograph your re-creation, and share it through social media. http:// blogs.getty.edu/iris/getty-artworks-recreated-with-household-items-by-creative-geniuses-the-world-over/.
19. Museums & Galleries – Virtually visit museums and art galleries via The Google Art Project, which has partnered with more than 1,200 cultural institutions from around the world to archive and document priceless pieces of art and to provide virtual tours of museums using Google Street View technology. After following link, scroll to about the middle of the options to find the museums and galleries: artsandculture.google.com.
20. Music Online – Listen to music online via NPR Music, which is compiling live audio and video streams from around the world, with links out to streaming platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Some require registration or a subscription, but most are free, often with digital tip jars and opportunities to directly support artists by buying music and merchandise. www.npr.org/2020/03/17/816504058/a-list-of-livevirtual concerts-to-watch-during-the-coronavirus-shutdown. ¦