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Monday, April 13
Disney on Broadway
Ryan McCartan hosts this charity-supporting livestream, celebrating Disney's quarter-century of taking their animated classics and translating them to the stage, often in seemingly-impossible ways. (Seriously, getting Julie Taymor to turn The Lion King into what it became on Broadway? *Chef's kiss*) The main performance was recorded on November 4, 2019 with an orchestra and 79 performers, and McCartan will be interviewing the stars of the show live from their own homes throughout, with performers including Tamika Lawrence, Jelani Alladin, Whoopi Goldberg, Adam Pascal, and more. Proceeds benefit the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund.
(Mon, April 13, 4 pm, YouTube, free, all ages)
Go to Pickathon!
Pickathon's response to COVID trying to mess up everyone's outdoor music festival fun? A 60-day long streaming series, spanning multiple online platforms, and featuring full sets by artists including People Under the Stairs, Damien Jurado, DakhaBrakha, and many, many more. Many of these performances haven't been put online before, and all viewer donations will go to the MusiCares iniative. Click here to see each week's schedule.
(Wed April 8-Sun June 7, YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, free, all ages)
Go to the Office. Any Office. Even a Spaceship Rainforest Office.
It's funny how when you're in the office, working from home seems like heaven, but when working from home is the only option, having an office to head into becomes like an oasis in a desert. When the novelty of wearing flannel jammies at your desk wears off (and it wears off fast) you might find that you almost need the sounds of a work environment to keep you focused. Obviously you can't actually go to the office, but MyNoise.net does you one better: pipe the sounds of any workplace setting you want into your headphones or speakers. The adjustment options are plentiful, the customization is thorough, and the sounds themselves are very well designed. Want your office to be the Enterprise? Can do. How about a treehouse carefully built in a rainforest? That too. Miss working from the coffeeshop down the block? Done. Wanna put that coffee shop in the lower decks of a starship while the camping holo-sim is running? You do you, just make sure you get that TPS report finished by 5pm.
(Now available, MyNoise.net, free)
There might not be a better video game that speaks to the stir-crazy fantasies quarantine can induce than the bizarre Bandai/Namco classic Katamari Damacy, in which a put-upon prince with a weird head gets sent to earth by his terminally-grandiose dad (who happens to be King of All Cosmos) to roll a ball around and pick up whatever he can with it, so that new stars can be made to replace the ones his rainbow-vomiting dad accidentally destroyed. And... yeah. That's basically it! You roll a ball around, you pick up everything, and it is so goddamn satisfying. And that's not even getting into the treasure trove of pop grooves on its soundtrack. Sure, you could actually be picking up your room or your house if you really want to pick stuff up all day, but you can't then throw all that stuff into the sky and turn it into a star, now can you?
(Now Available, Nintendo Switch, Steam, $29.99)
A Band Called Death
In the mid-'70s, a trio of African American brothers from Detroit inadvertently invented punk rock. Led by guitarist David Hackney and supported by his brothers Dannis and Bobby, they called themselves Death. A self-released 7-inch aside, Death's tracks remained virtually unheard until record collectors got a hold of them decades later. In 2009, an album of their work was given a proper release by Drag City, cementing their reputation as cult icons and one of rock history's greatest and best anomalies. The film does Death's music a solid, but there's a lot more to admire here. A story of brothers bound by blood as well as music, A Band Called Death gives us a look at a troubled but ultimately united family. While they eventually got the admiration they deserved, Death's music and story still deserve greater recognition. A Band Called Death gives us both in the best possible way.
(Now Available, Tubi, Vudu, Pluto TV, free w/ ads) NED LANNAMANN
The Tiger King and I
Been noticing that there's a recent groundswell of negative attention focused on the quarantine-fueled success of Netflix's Tiger King? Hoping that you can get in on squeezing every last sour drop of schadenfreude before a backlash of (checks notes) "decency and basic human compassion" swallows this shitshow whole? GREAT NEWS: Netflix is providing one last bite of the poisoned apple via a Tiger King after-show hosted by Joel McHale, a veteran of looking at human trainwrecks and pouring gasoline on their dwindling fires as the host of E! Network's The Soup. He was also on a show about junior college too, apparently. ANYWAY: Special guests will include one of Joe Exotic's ex-husbands, a reality show producer and his wife, and Saff. Looks like meat's back on the menu, boys!
(Now Available, Netflix)
If you’re on the hunt for overlooked albums of the past year, Sea Caves’ excellent November release, Across the Water, is the perfect place to begin your search. The album finds the long-running Portland band expanded to a quintet, with newly added member Sydney Rohrs adding a voice that effortlessly ebbs and flows over the band’s twinkling indie pop sound. It’s impossible not to become mesmerized by stand-out tracks like “Hieroglyphs” and “Dart,” where Rohrs’ fluttering and heartfelt presence calls to mind Sheena Ozzella (of the veteran Buffalo-based indie rockers Lemuria). CHIPP TERWILLIGER
Tuesday, April 14
Sunderland 'Til I Die
One of the biggest parts of being a Timbers fan is just that: being a fan. There's a lot that goes into that level of devotion for a footy team, and if you count yourself as a member of the Army, or you're on the outside looking in and wondering what it's like to love a football team that much, this documentary series will shine a bright (and sometimes harsh) light on that phenomenon, and also on the inner workings of the club itself, which isn't as successful as its supporters would often like it to be. The drama transcends the sport, and in many ways is a tremendous realization of what documentaries like the NFL/HBO series Hard Knocks try(and frequently fail) to be.
(Now Streaming, Netflix, $8.99 per month, free trial here)
Star Wars: The Original Radio Drama
It's possible that after having seen The Rise of Skywalker you might be thinking something along the lines of "well... OK, hey, maybe the inevitable reboot will fix all this!" DID YOU KNOW: That reboot already exists, and has existed since 1981? George Lucas sold the audio adaptation rights to his breakout sci-fi popcorn flick (it wasn't a sprawling, over-important example of "the power of myth" or whatever yet, it was just Star Wars) to his alma mater USC for $1, and they— working with NPR, writer Brian Daley, producer Tom Voegli, Director John Madden (the Shakespeare in Love guy, not the football guy), the sound effects library of sound designer Ben Burtt and the music of John Williams—transformed Star Wars into 13 half-hour episodes of ridiculously-immersive radio drama. Guess what: It's better than the movie. Sure, you gotta get used to the recast roles, and if you're a "b-but canon!" nerd you might get hung up on some details. But if you want to like Star Wars more, this radio drama oughta do it.
(Now Streaming, Google Podcasts, free, all ages)
Kick Ass Oregon History Book Club
You love the true crime, you love the podcasts, you love the books: Guess what! This is a triple-decker sandwich of delicious corruption thanks to your fine friends at Kick Ass Oregon History, who have been turning out top-notch podcast goodness since before you ever even heard of podcasting. This special episode features an interview with JD Chandler, who speaks at length about the book he co-authored with Theresa Griffin Kennedy, Murder & Scandal in Prohibition Portland: Sex, Vice, and Misdeeds in Mayor Baker's Reign. That sounds juicy as hell, right? Why not get yourself a copy (or download yourself the ebook at Multnomah County Library) and spend some of your quarantine time learning about just how dirty this "quirky" city has always been. (Feel free to follow all this up with their recent episode on how Portland handled quarantining itself back in 1918. SPOILERS: Portland sucked at it).
(Now Available, orhistory.com, free)
While we're on the subject of Oregon history: One of the art world's most renowned names grew up here, and his life was so remarkable and inspiring that playwright John Logan created a multiple Tony-Award-winning play out of his struggle to complete just one job. That job? Creating a mural for New York's Four Seasons restaurant. So why the hell would an artist who takes his work as passionately, deadly serious as Rothko did, agree to "decorating another dining room for the super rich," as his beleagured assistant puts it? And that's where Logan's drama lies, answering that question through the performances of Alfred Molina as Rothko and Alfred Enoch as his assistant.
(Now Streaming, PBS.org, free)
If you've heard of the phrase "your favorite musician's favorite musician" then you could probably adapt it for this show as "Terriers is your favorite TV critic's favorite show," except that's probably not true (nobody really has a favorite TV critic, do they? And if they did, their favorite show is probably The Sopranos but whatever). ANYWAY: Terriers was a low-key noir-ish detective show on FX that died unceremoniously after one season, was eulogized thoroughly by many writers, and has only just now been resurrected on Hulu. It is utterly beloved by almost everyone who ever saw it, which is almost nobody because it's lead was Donal Logue (who is great but one of those "that guys") and its marketing was utter trash. But if you're looking for a quick binge of high-quality crime drama, this will do you just fine.
Now Streaming, Hulu, $5.99 per month, free trial here)
If the music of Gaytheist were a vehicle, it would be a semi, late on its delivery, blazing down I-5, the speed limit only a laughable suggestion as the trucker begins to have Tron-like hallucinations from 38 hours of no sleep and caffeine-pill cocktails. With only three members, Gaytheist leaves you wondering how they create such a heavy, intricate layering of sound. CAMERON CROWELL
Wednesday, April 15
You have to say it with the exclamation point. You should hear it in your head with that exclamation point. Because Roar is a movie that should not be. Noel Marshall, a film producer, agent, husband to Tippi Hedren, and notably not an animal trainer, blew $17 million trying to direct his first (and ultimately only) film, which mostly starred a few hundred untrained lions, tigers, pumas, panthers, jaguars, and cheetahs. Helping him in this quest were a rotating cast and crew (turnover is high when management is insane) and a few people who apparently couldn't escape: Marshall's cinematographer (future Speed director Jan de Bont), and Marshall's family (Hedren, Hedren's daughter Melanie Griffith, and two sons), all of whom he nearly got killed. Initially panned and buried upon release in 1981, Roar was revived by Drafthouse Films a few years ago, and they're bringing "the most dangerous film ever made" back in partnership with our own Hollywood Theatre for a special livestream event that includes a post-screening Q&A with "actor"/family member John Marshall. Proceeds benefit the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, providing assistance to theater employees furloughed during the COVID crisis.
(Wed April 15, 4 pm, Vimeo.com, $9.99) VINCE MANCINI
The Stranger presents: Silent Reading Party
Our big sister paper's monthly Silent Reading Party is so popular in Seattle that every seat is taken and there’s a line out the door before the party even starts. It has been replicated in cities around the world, but The Stranger did it first, and The Stranger does it best. Now, for the first time, you can attend The Stranger’s Silent Reading Party 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 15, 6 pm, $5-20) CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
What We Do in the Shadows
If you haven't seen the vampire mockumentary this FX show is based on, start there. It's arguably the funniest thing director Taika Waititi has ever made, which is no small feat. Once you're done with that, start this show, which is a continuation of the supernatural universe begun in that movie, centering on a completely different set of fussy, maladjusted vampires and their mistreated familiar. Flight of the Conchords' Jemaine Clement is one of the showrunners, so the quality of the writing never dips; Matt Berry and Natasia Demetriou star so the performances are maybe even better than the movie's; and as a reward for binging all of season one in a day (which is shockingly easy), season two starts tonight on FX.
(Movie: Now streaming, Kanopy via MultCo Library, free; TV Series: Now Available, Hulu, $5.99 per month, free trial here)
The Sims 4
For millions of people, Animal Crossing is the gaming obsession that's helping them get through their sheltering-in-place situation. But a lot of people don't have a Nintendo Switch—and can't get one anytime soon either (production is down, and not everyone's got the spare $300+ just laying around anyway). But if you've got a PC or a laptop, and $5 handy, you can download The Sims 4, the latest version of the original lifestyle simulator. Sure, you're not an adorable Duplo figurine shaking trees and getting bit by tarantulas on the orders of a domineering owl; but you're still interior designing virtual residences, dressing up avatars in ridiculous clothes, and taking time off of your regular job to do virtual jobs that are just as time intensive. It's great! And way cheaper, too.
(Now Available, Amazon.com, all ages))
Dolemite is My Name!
Of the many stars of the Blaxploitation genre of the early ’70s, Rudy Ray Moore may not be the most famous, but he was certainly the most original. After recording several comedy albums, he used the money to self-produce his starring vehicle, 1975’s Dolemite—about a rhyming pimp trained in kung fu who takes revenge on the rival who put him in jail. In Dolemite Is My Name, Eddie Murphy plays Moore from his days as a struggling comedian/singer/dancer who worked as a record store manager, to making comedy albums and eventually willing his cinematic visions to life. The film deftly captures the hardship of inner-urban life in the ’70s, where classism and privilege kept Black entertainers who were unwilling to play the game out of the mainstream. Dolemite Is My Name is a bittersweet, filthy-mouthed comedy that also sneakily educates its audience in the Black experience.
(Now Available, Netflix, $8.99 per month, free trial here) WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
Even if you think you haven’t heard soulful British indie-folk artist Michael Kiwanuka, you probably have—especially if you’ve ever tuned in to the HBO drama series Big Little Lies, for which his song “Cold Little Heart” was used as the intro theme. But the singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist has been coming into his own ever since he stepped onto the scene in 2012 with Home Again; his 2016 sophomore album Love & Hate was nominated for numerous awards in Europe and peaked at number one on the UK albums charts. And now us Americans are finally catching on. Kiwanuka, his new 14-track LP, has also been met with critical acclaim. Kiwanuka welcomes you into his musical world with the original “You Ain’t The Problem,” followed by “Rolling,” which sounds like it could be plucked from 1970. JENNI MOORE
Thursday, April 15
Hello From the Magic Tavern
One of the funniest podcasts in existence, Hello from the Magic Tavern is the work of three phenomenal improv artists from Chicago, and follows regular guy Arnie Niekamp, who fell through a dimensional rift behind a Burger King, landed in the magical realm of Foon, and, naturally, started a podcast. Recording the show in the Vermillion Minotaur tavern, Arnie’s joined by co-hosts Chunt (Adal Rifai), a chill, shape-shifting badger, and Usidore (Matt Young), a pompous wizard on a very important quest. Arnie & Co. are joined by all kinds of weirdos from Foon, and the results are hilarious, unpredictable, and, occasionally, deeply disturbing.
(Now Available, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, free)
Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Viewing Party
Guaranteed to be the most wholesome thing you do this quarantine, WQED in Pittsburgh, the public broadcasting station that produced Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, is livestreaming three episodes of the beloved children's program: "How People Make Crayons," "How People Make Cellos (with Yo-Yo Ma)", and "Musical Games/Talking About Feelings." That last one is probably going to be the one that causes this meme to be re-enacted live on your living room floor, but that's okay. For about an hour tonight, everything is going to be okay, because for about an hour tonight, we're all going to be neighbors.
(Thurs April 16, 4:30 pm, Facebook, free, all ages)
DJ Papi Fimbres
One of Portland's most influential and hard-working musicians is also one of Portland's most entertaining DJs, and Holocene is letting him take over their livestream tonight for a couple hours of fire in the form of choice chicha, cumbia, and afro-funk cuts.
(Thurs April 16, 8 pm, YouTube and Twitch)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Did you forget something this goddamned amazing was just sitting there on Netflix? That at any point during the day you could just hit play on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and simultaneously fall in love with literally everyone in it? Did you forget what a divine display of pure wushu gold it is? Is your favorite sequence the big showdown between Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi? The stealing of the Green Destiny? The bamboo sequence with Chow Yun Fat? The correct answer is yes.
(Now Streaming, Netflix, $8.99 per month, free trial here)
For as ubiquitous as it is now, Hip-Hop is still a relatively young artform, which makes the sheer amount of history packed into its lifespan all the more amazing. This ongoing Netflix documentary began life on HBO Canada, hosted by Juno-award winning emcee Shad. "A hip-hop documentary done by Canadians" you say? Slow down with the disbelieving hot take you got brewing there, chief: The host 100% knows his shit, and since a big part of the show's mission is to show viewers just how far hip-hop has spread in so short a time, and how transformative the artform was for so many places not named Los Angeles or New York, Hip Hop Evolution coming straight outta Canada makes perfect sense. The doc is packed with one-on-one interviews with a laundry list of absolute legends, too, and more than a few stories you've never heard before. Listen, learn, and protect ya neck.
(Now Available, Netflix, $8.99 per month, free trial here)
Shades of Style Council are wildly apparent in every sexy note of Pleasure Curses’ disco-infused dance numbers, such as the crazy-fun “Mean Streets,” where slick vocals thrum over a dirty bounce that defies you not to gyrate. The Portland duo, comprised of Jahn Alexander Teetsov and Evan Maxwell Grice, bring a strong synth-funk vibe to the party, along with a heavy scent of sex and a personality that lets you know they’re prioritizing fun over art. If you’ve come to dance and have a good time, Pleasure Curses are ready to provide exactly what you need. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY