Oregon Symphony Gala
The Oregon Symphony perseveres in the face of the coronavirus crisis by ensuring their 2020 Gala still goes on—just in a more online, intimate manner than the normal Schnitz-based show might otherwise have been. Local diva Storm Large will sing while backed by a virtual performance from the Symphony, and while "attendance" is free, any donation you can give to the Symphony will be very, very much appreciated. They'd like to be able to return, someday, to filling the Schnitz with the finest orchestral sounds being made in the whole country, and that mission starts here, with them turning your living room into the setting for their big fundraising gala.
(Sun April 19, 7 pm, free, all ages)
The Last Dance
Basketball heads have been fiending for something to scratch that hoops itch, to get a fix for that b-ball jones, and the NBA 2K tourney was... not that. Hopefully they up the production values a little on the next one. But ESPN might finally have the hookup: Their highly-anticipated 10-part documentary series on the final season of the Chicago Bulls dynasty begins with the first two episodes tonight, and continues with back-to-back hour-long episodes every Sunday until the documentary is done and behind us like Bryon Russell watching that jumper fall from the sky.
(Sun April 19, 8 pm, ESPN and ESPN.com)
I loved Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird so much that I went into Little Women with trepidation. Making a follow-up to a movie everyone loved is tricky! And every hater on my block asked why we needed another Little Women movie when the 1995 version is “perfectly fine” and “has Winona Ryder in it.” The answer: You don’t know how good you can have it! You don’t know how good Little Women can be, you poor fools! Gerwig’s Little Women is Romance-era-oil-painting gorgeous, but it’s also realistic, thanks to the performances of the film’s star-studded cast of March sisters: Saoirse Ronan as Jo, Emma Watson as Meg, Florence Pugh as Amy, and Eliza Scanlen as Beth. We see the Marches as we see many families: A force bursting into a room. Laura Dern—for the first time in cinematic history—gives the girls’ mother a full personality. And when the girls’ father turned out to be universally beloved Bob Odenkirk (!) my friend straight-up punched me in the arm because she was already crying and couldn’t talk.
(Now available, iTunes, Prime Video, Google Play, Vudu, $5.99 rental, $14.99 purchase) SUZETTE SMITH
SXSW Pilot Season
South By Southwest is slowly but surely making its way out to the people even though the massive arts festival was one of the first to be severely affected by the coronavirus crisis. This weekend is the first to feature SXSW's showcase for up-and-coming makers of television, sharing pilot episodes for programmers to hopefully pick up and turn into successful series. The shows are available for free on Vimeo, and include an interesting blend of documentaries and situational comedies. Click here for a full list of participating shows.
(Now Available, Vimeo.com, free)
Usually, podcasts spring out of TV shows, like the aforementioned Way Down in the Hole, focused on The Wire, for example. But sometimes, that creative pipeline flows in the opposite direction. One of the first podcasts to become a TV show is also one of the best shows in the last five years, thanks to showrunner and director Sam Esmail, who took almost every lesson he learned while making Mr. Robot for USA and applied it to his 2018 adaptation of Homecoming, Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg's psychological mystery about a soldier returned from war and trying to transition to civilian life. Esmail plays with sound, with aspect ratio, with editing, and with genre expectations to create a thriller that evokes the best of '70s paranoid cinema (The Parallax View, The Conversation) while feeling so new that it might take another two-or-three years for TV to catch up with it. (Oh yeah, and Julia Roberts, Bobby Cannavale, and Stephan James are in it.)
(Now Available, Amazon Prime Video)
If you enjoy the aesthetics of Homecoming but were like "You know what would be awesome? If this show were about 300% more cheesy, and had super-weird guns you could shoot at freaky floating possessed bad guys," guess what, there's a video game for that! It's called Control, and is maybe the most strikingly art-directed third-person shooter of the current generation. It's storytelling is overheated, glassy-eyed hokum most of the time, aiming for David Lynch and winding up a lot closer to Neil Breen; but the way it looks, the way it moves, and the way it plays is more than enough to make up for that shortcoming. And honestly, if you're familiar with AAA gaming, you're already well-practiced in giving that sort of shit a pass anyway, so you'll be all set to seriously enjoy the dreamlike fun Control offers up.
(Now Available, PS4 Deluxe Edition $47.99; Xbox One $59.99)
This is probably the Homecoming you thought we were recommending earlier. For real, just put this on once a weekend anyway, because you could watch it every Sunday, like it was morning service, from here until a vaccine finally gets produced, and the miracle of how Bey pulled this off live, twice, without a single damn flaw even remotely spottable by electron microscope, will still be beautifully unfathomable.
The Glass Hotel
In this new, time-hopping novel by the author of the National Book Award-nominated Station Eleven (which you probably shouldn't read in the middle of a quarantine due to global pandemic) a woman disappears off a container ship, her husband tries to float a Ponzi scheme, and her brother, an aspiring musician, copes with a drug problem. The plot is very difficult to summarize, actually, but that's part of the fun.
(Now Available, ebook and audiobook at MultCo Library w/ card; hardcover, Powell's.com, $26.95) JOULE ZELMAN
Virtual Sunday Bingo!
You know how this works: Same good ol' Bingo fun you remember from the last time you hit the Siren and daubed (and dabbed, who knows) to your hearts content, or from the days when nicotine-stained Bingo halls dotted the landscape. But this time, it's all happening online, hosted by Erin Jean O'Regan and Jed Arkley. Prizes include Siren T-shirts, tickets to shows when the big re-opening finally happens, homemade cloth face masks, and of course, cash prizes.
(Sun April 19, 11 am, Zoom, $5-18)
Carly Rae Jepsen
Of all the things Mercury Editor in Chief Wm. Stephen Humphrey will not ever forgive the coronavirus for, ranking pretty high up there is the fact its proliferation led to the cancellation of the April 16 concert Ms. Jepsen was set to perform at the Roseland. If you seek consolation, as he does, try doing what he'll be doing this weekend: playing her latest LP Dedicated at top volume while losing a good three-to-four pounds from dancing and singing along the whole time.