Earth Day Live
So of course, in this bizarre dystopian timeline we got shunted into somewhere around 2016, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day would be happening in the middle of a global pandemic, but: This might be the most important Earth Day of the last five decades, and that's why the 2020 version isn't just one day of livestreaming, but three, featuring a nonstop parade of artists, activists, scientists, and thought leaders, including Al Gore, Bill McKibben, Ndaba Mandela, Talib Kweli, Stacey Abrams, Patricia Arquette, Aimee Mann and Ted Leo, and many more. Day One is focused on community building and storytelling, Day Two is about reprogramming the economy entirely (because COVID-19 isn't going to let anything go back to "the way it was.") and Day Three will take a look at how best to affect political change through the youth.
(Wed-Fri, April 22-24, free, all ages)
Jane Goodall: The Hope
A really good way to celebrate Earth Day and one of the most important women to ever live is to check out this new documentary about author, advocate, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace Dame Jane Goodall, focused not just on her groundbreaking work with chimpanzees, but on the hope she's inspired in millions of environmentalists, and the hopes she has for our future.
(Wed April 22, Disney+, NatGeo)
You can also get your nature documentary needs met while satiating your British Royal thirst at the same time with Elephant on Disney+, not to be confused with Elephant by Gus Van Sant (yikes!), about a family of elephants moving out of a desert because deserts suck to live in. So where does that "royal" aspect come in? Meghan Markle narrates the whole thing! And apparently there's a part where a baby elephant "goes on a farting spree" and she narrates that, too! Bet you didn't think Earth Day 2020 was going to include adorable adventures in elephant flatulence, did you? Watch it before Disney digitally edits actual rainbows into the scene without telling anybody. You know. For the kids!
(Now Streaming, Disney+)
The Stranger Presents: Silent Reading Party
Our big sister The Stranger has a Silent Reading Party so popular in Seattle that every seat is taken and there’s a line out the door before the party even starts. But now, in adapting to these self-quarantined times, not only is the party weekly, but you can attend from anywhere in the world. Make yourself a snack, pour yourself a drink, and read whatever you feel like reading silently, to yourself, as resident musician Paul Moore plays exquisitely soft piano music for you and everyone else in the party—everything from Erik Satie to Radiohead to Duke Ellington. A perfect way to make a solo night at home feel a little less lonely, it’s also great for couples or families who want an excuse to turn off the TV and get some reading done.
(Wed April 22, 6 pm, $5-20)
A different sort of look at feminism in America, set 40 years after the events in Mrs. America and filtered through the lens of one of the world's biggest pop stars; a woman who got her start as a child-country-star and then had to figure out how to still be herself, while also trying to be what millions of fans are projecting onto her. And then you add that whole Kim and Kanye complication to the mix, and oh yeah, one of the most repugnant, disgusting, and unqualified men in American history got elected president, too, forcing her to reexamine her own adherence to apolitical stances. Miss Americana isn't quite as warts 'n' all as many viewers might like, but it's still an enlightening look at the life of one of our most popular singer/songwriters.
Now Streaming, Netflix, $8.99 per month, free trial here
If you’ve set a goal to better yourself and learn new things during this period of social distancing, then I can’t think of a more entertaining way to do so than by watching Mrs. America. The nine-episode series tells the story of the second-wave feminists who tried to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the 1970s—and the anti-feminist women who were ultimately successful in stopping them. Cate Blanchett plays toxic conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly with equal parts humanity and honesty, without veering into tired sympathetic antihero territory. Rose Byrne is criminally fun to watch in Gloria Steinem drag, and Uzo Aduba sinks her teeth into the tension of being first female presidential candidate Shirley Chisholm, caught between the Black rights and women’s liberation movements—and ultimately screwed by both. Beyond being enjoyable as hell to watch (I burned through the first three episodes after they dropped on Wednesday), Mrs. America also serves as an edifying lesson in 1970s American politics. It says something truly shameful about our society that I learned more about the dynamics of Chisholm’s campaign in an hour of television than I did in any K-12 or college class, but oh well, at least I spent an entire school year learning about the Oregon Trail!
(Wed, April 22, Hulu, $5.99 per month, free trial here) BLAIR STENVICK
The Whiskey Sour Happy Hour with Ed Helms & the Bluegrass Situation
Steve Martin isn't the only funnyman with an affinity for bluegrass music. Ed Helms has been running "The Whiskey Sour Radio Hour" out of Largo in LA for a goodish spell now, combining the sounds of Americana with comedy and interviews, and now he's going to translate that experience to the quarantine livestream era, helping benefit MusiCares and Direct Relief, and welcoming some of their favorite musical artists to their virtual stage, starting with Lee Ann Womack, Billy Strings, and proceeding from there.
(Wed April 22, 8 pm, YouTube, Facebook, free)
Blossom—AKA Keisha Chiddick—makes dreamy, mellow, and ethereal neo-soul. Her sultry vocals are particularly soft and gorgeous, wandering through twinkling, instrument-heavy production to eventually float in a space of exquisite self-reflection. Listening to it is like seeing a beautiful sunrise after a long night. JENNI MOORE