SPLIFF Film Festival
If you've never experienced the mind-altering fun of SPLIFF (from the crazy, creative minds behind HUMP! and SLAY) you are in for such a treat. This year you can expect 22 brand new wildly entertaining weed-inspired shorts (all 4:20 or less... of course) featuring funny psychedelic trip-outs, stoned flying cats, side-splitting animation, aggressive dolphins, sexy shenanigans, wandering potatoes, and... dancing Burger Kings? SURE, WHY NOT? Trust us, you've never experienced anything like SPLIFF before. Even better? Each of these limited, special online screenings of SPLIFF 2020 will be hosted LIVE by the fantastical, divine talents of Seattle drag queen duo BETTY WETTER and COOKIE COUTURE! Tell your friends which screening you'll be watching so all of you can get baked and share the glory of SPLIFF 2020 from the comfort of your individual couches!
(April 17-20, Fri-Sat & Mon, 7 pm, Sun 5 pm, $15-25)
Corona Relief Done Quick
Gaming as spectator sport has always been part of the phenomena—everyone has a fond memory of watching from the couch as a sibling or parent fumbled through a game, but Twitch.tv was the first platform to make that experience a big fat moneymaking thing. As with anything popular online, some of its biggest stars are some of its worst people, but Twitch's unassailable saving grace is Games Done Quick, a twice-yearly telethon built around watching people absolutely demolish your favorite games as fast as possible while raising money for charities. The series started as a broadcast from a single couch, and is now barely contained by the convention centers they occupy, routinely raising multi-millions with every new installment. This weekend's edition is going back to those couch-bound roots: While these mad gaming geniuses won't be filling ballrooms anytime soon, they'll still be marathoning games and raising money, this time to help first responders and fight COVID-19. Click here to check out the schedule, and then kick down a few bucks if you can.
(Fri-Sun, April 17-19, Twitch.tv, free, all ages)
That Thing You Do Watch Party with
The O-needers The Wonders
Tom Hanks is a national treasure for so many reasons, and one of the shiningest jewels in his filmography is That Thing You Do, his directorial debut and one of the sweetest movies about rock 'n' roll ever made. It's also kind of a minor miracle that, unlike many of the real one-hit-wonders this movie was inspired by, it's literally impossible to get sick of the song at its center. This Friday, the band is getting back together (Tom Everett Scott, Ethan Embry, Steve Zahn, and Johnathan Schaech) to watch the movie, and they want you to watch along with them, and help raise some funds for the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.
(Fri, April 17, 4 pm, YouTube)
The Best of Cat Video Fest
Feline enthusiast and Henri the Cat creator Will Braden, bless his heart, has plucked 40 minutes of quality content from the CatVideoFest—an annual celebration of the divine conjunction of cats and internet—for your viewing pleasure. Sure, you could probably just thumb through Instagram and hopefully find even a fraction of the feline entertainment Mr. Braden's packed tightly into his 40-minute "treat reel," but why put your poor thumb through such stress when it can just click the "$1" button here instead, and be guaranteed the best of the best.
(Fri-Sun, April 17-19, CatVideoFest.com, $1, all ages)
Sling TV for Free!
In a promotion strangely being titled "Happy Hour Across America" (there's a lot of things going on across America but "Happy" is not the prevailing emotion I'd lead with) Sling TV is making a case for their cord-cutting platform by... giving it away to prospective new subscribers from 5pm-midnight, every night, presumably for as long as your state governor or city mayor (and not our idiot slumlord president) says your shutdown will last. The "Blue" tier of their service will unlock once you sign up (and you don't have to put any payment info in, either) and then you're free to watch any of the 50+ live channels they have available from 5pm-midnight, including TBS, USA, FX, AMC, BET, Comedy Central, TNT, Bravo, Cartoon Network, Lifetime (!) SYFY, and more.
(Now available, SlingTV apps on Roku, AppleTV, iOS, Android, FireTV, Chromecast, free)
The Wire and Way Down in the Hole
Sling isn't the only media company getting in on the free sampler action. Last week HBO opened the doors to 500 hours of content,and one of the most recommended shows of all time is now freely available: The Wire, a show so good it's almost never actually compared to other TV shows, but to the literary works of masters like Dostoevsky and Dickens. And that exact phenomena is partially why The Wire can feel a little daunting for newcomers. That's where Way Down in the Hole comes in, a brand-new companion podcast from The Ringer starring Jemele Hill and Van Lathan, aiming to recap the show episode-by-episode. You may not have been there for everyone else's first (or 15th) trip to David Simon's Baltimore crime epic, but if you haven't started the show before, this is probably the best time to give it a try.
(The Wire now available, HBO, free; Way Down in the Hole now available, updates Tues & Thurs, Spotify, Apple Music, free)
The last in this unofficial "free stuff to watch" trilogy is Comcast/Universal's new-to-the-game platform, Peacock! The most unique thing about Peacock at launch is its name, really: Of all the media's attempts to duplicate Netflix's paradigm-shifting success plan, Peacock's (!) is the only one so urethrally named, sharing its moniker with a particularly phallic bird. Past that, you've probably seen everything on Peacock somewhere else before. This early release comes with some catches: You have to be an Xfinity x1 or Flex subscriber right now (that's still a lot of you considering what a near-monopoly Comcast has here), and you won't be able to connect through anything that isn't a Comcast box yet. But by April 30th, all Comcast users should have free access to Peacock's basic tier, and that access will include shows like Law & Order, Parks and Recreation, and Universal library classics like E.T. the Extra Terrestrial and Jurassic Park.
(Now available if you have Xfinity X1 or Xfinity Flex, free w/ Comcast/Xfinity service)
Wake the Town: Livestream Edition
Wake the Town is bringing plenty of bass for your face as you practice safe social distancing, thanks to Holocene dedicating themselves to making sure the show goes on via their YouTube and Twitch channels, and to the fleet fingers and fine selecting minds of Danny Corn, Barisone, and PRSN. Looking to have a local dance party in your living room? Here you go.
(Fri, April 17, 8 pm, YouTube, Twitch.tv)
Live from the Starlight Coffeehouse: Neil Diamond Storytellers
There are other tributes to Neil Diamond out there, but nobody does them with the showmanship and flair that Tony Starlight's been doing it for over 20 years. Tony's been broadcasting live from his home for a few weeks, but has held back from breaking the seal on Neil but today? The floodgates are open. Hear Tony's faves, and the stories behind them. He promises that some of them might even be true!.
(Fri April 17, 7 pm, YouTube, free)
Save the Old Church!
Never Come Down, one of the Pacific Northwest's most prolific bluegrass, country, and folk outfits, headlines this benefit concert to raise funds for one of Portland's most well-loved venues, presented by The Old Church (the aforementioned venue in question), Ear Trumpet Labs, and MusicPortland.
(Fri April 17, 7 pm, Facebook)
Ishmael Butler and Tendai Maraire of Seattle hip-hop duo Shabazz Palaces are masters of abstract texture and otherworldly sonic drift. trips through a world that has mistaken the map for the territory. When this strange dream of a universe clarifies and coheres, Butler can flip the modern nightmare into something sublime. The new album, The Don of Diamond Dreams, dropped today. Go have an adventure. CHRIS STAMM