This is April 2020's final weekend! When we make it to this same point in seven days, it will be May. That's sort of wild to think about, as is the remarkable way that time seems to simultaneously fly by and also sludge to a standstill while sheltered-in-place. But we are moving forward (together) and hopefully not doing anything dangerous and self-defeating (like, say, protesting in the streets against not being allowed to catch coronavirus as easily and thoroughly as we all did back in March). And if you are thinking about doing something like that: STOP. Stay on that couch. There's a ton of awesome things to do from the comfort of quarantine this weekend. Hit the links below, stay entertained, stay educated, and stay safe.
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Friday, April 24
Room Service Music Festival
Man, future generations looking back at this livestream calendar might think 2020 was the best year ever for music festivals... you know, before they realized 2020 was the year COVID-19 swept the globe and forced everyone inside to shelter-in-place and stay safe. But the music festivals sure as hell didn't slow up, and that includes this weekend offering from Trap Nation and Chill Nation, with a lineup of dance bands, beatsmiths, DJs and party-starters that is pretty hard to top, including MXMTOON, Chromeo, Hayden James, Lido, Zeds Dead, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Deorro, Crooked Colours, and a ton more notable artists on the bill. Click here to RSVP, and make sure you have some funds on hand during dance breaks for giving to Feeding America and Sweet Relief.
(Fri-Sun, April 24-26)
The I, Anonymous Show
The long-running Portland Mercury column “I, Anonymous” is famous for asking readers to send in their most whacked-out rants and scandalous confessions—anonymously! In this special LIVE-STREAMED edition of The I, Anonymous Show, your host Kate Murphy will read some of the wildest and uncensored I, Anonymous submissions we've ever received. And even better, these secret (often very naughty) stories will be dissected and discussed by a panel of hilarious, nationally recognized comedians: Solomon Georgio, Shane Torres, and Caitlin Weierhauser! So if you're looking for a night of side-splitting, jaw-dropping rants and confessions—don't miss this live-streamed edition of The I, Anonymous Show!
(Fri April 24, 8 pm, $5-15)
Views From Home: A Virtual Benefit for Furloughed Portland Theater Staff
Wishing you could hit up a local theater and take in some of the weird cinema this city is known for? So do the people who used to work at those theaters! This online benefit aims to satisfy that impulse while also helping raise funds for furloughed theater employees in Portland through a short-film-festival highlighting new works from local filmmakers, including Micah Vanderhoof, Anthony Hudson/Carla Rossi, and host Roger Stack. And even if you can't make the virtual film fest tonight, you can still donate to the theater workers' gofundme here.
(Fri April 24, 6pm, Twitch.tv)
Do Good Drawrings!
Design Museum has done what many museums are doing during lockdown: heading straight online and providing a bunch of streamed events to people looking to feed their brain that good brainfood. Design Museum Live just launched, and if you're a Design Museum member, many of their new events are free, but even if you're not, $10 covers the cost of a lot of these experiences, like Co-Founder Derek Cascio sitting down with you for an hour and teaching you very valuable sketching skills. As Design Museum puts it themselves: "you're stuck at home, why not learn to draw from the experts?" Why not indeed?
(Fri Apr 24, 12 pm, free w/ membership, $10 w/out, Design Museum Live)
Do That Yoga!
Having a healthy routine is more important than ever during the COVID-19 crisis. It's all too easy to sink deeply into one's couch and binge watch reality shows on Netflix instead of taking positive action to stay mentally and physically healthy. This weekend, the world-famous LUNA festival in Austin, TX, is going online for three days of calming practices, connections with teachers and masters, live music, and inner light, all streamed directly to your screen so that if you wish, your quarantine can become a place of healing and inner strength. Guests include CloZee, Superposition, Kino MacGregor, Alexi Pappas, Madi Teeuws, Swaylo, Oh Lawd, and many, many more; click here for a complete list of participants and schedules.
(Fri-Sun April 24-26, rsvp for free or pay-what-you-will)
Make a Whole-Ass Super Mario Game
Super Mario Maker 2 is a wonderland of ingenuity and frustration on Nintendo Switch, and the free update that went live on April 22 has finally made the dream of many a classic gamer reality: You can make your own Mario game if you want. Or you can just play other people's Mario games, too (that's probably a lot easier). Super Mario Maker 2, which used to be a repository for handcrafted platforming challenges ranging from sweetly innocent to teeth-grindingly-tough, is now more-or-less a Perpetual Mario Game Machine, harnessing the creativity of DIY-level-makers and spitting out eight-world, 40-level Mario games that jump through various Mario styles and gameplay mechanics on the way to defeating Bowser (or a stack of Bowsers riding a stack of Koopa Kids) and rescuing the princess. If you've got a Switch, you need to get this game, which is now about 30,000 games in one. Go on: eat some 'shrooms, punch some bricks, have some fun.
Square Garden: An Open Pit Minecraft Show
Welcome to the future: Virtual concerts are being livestreamed inside of video games now. If you have the Minecraft Java Edition (not Bedrock edition!) then 100 Gecs will be putting on a live concert with a ton of stars performing, including Charli XCX, Tommy Cash, Kero Kero Bonito, Parry Gripp, and a whole lot more on top of that, with proceeds benefitting Feeding America. Click here for more instructions on how to make sure you're Minecraft Concert-ing correctly.
(Fri April 24, 3 pm, Minecraft, I guess!)
The Blair Witch Project Watch-Along Party with MoPop
Just in case you were feeling an itch to leave the house and go outside, even if it was just to hike around in some unpopulated woods, let this livestream watch party—starring co-director Eduardo Sanchez, and producers Gregg Hale and Michael Monello—remind you that maybe it's better to stay inside. Less opportunity to be harassed by invisible children, or to find hand-wrapped bags of unidentifiable flesh-stuff outside your tent, or to wind up in an abandoned cabin staring into a corner while a hairy demon-thing kills your asshole documentarian friends. There's been a weird (and frankly kinda gross if you poke at it) backlash regarding this film since it became a phenomena in 1999, as if the fact it isn't really a supernatural snuff film should be held against it. But The Blair Witch Project is still as close as any movie's ever gotten to the elemental fear mined from a perfectly told campfire story at just the right age, and it deserves its place in the horror pantheon, and don't let the cynics tell you otherwise.
Fri April 24, 7 pm)
Fusebox Festival 2020 Virtual Edition
This acclaimed Arts and Performance festival goes online in high style for the last weekend of April, taking an opportunity to transform itself into an examination of what it means to gather together and celebrate art through their combination of "public access TV, international block party, and live performance." At any time, you might click into the fest and find interactive activities, studio visits, one-on-one conversations, cooking shows, and more. Guests include Brown State of Mind, Erica Nix, Choir! Choir! Choir!, Laura Latimer, TryNotToMakeSounds, and Essentials Creative among others. Click here for a complete list of participating artists.
(Fri-Sun April 24-26, fuseboxfestival.com)
Freedia is known for her high-energy live shows, and inviting a bunch of audience members on stage, where they can present their best twerking skills while Freedia hypes them up. Unsurprisingly, this translates pretty well to Instagram livestreaming concerts, and Freedia's putting them on every Friday night until the lockdowns are lifted, with proceeds from donations going to the New Orleans Disaster Relief Fund!
(Fri, April 24, 6pm, Instagram)
Saturday, April 25
Podcasts have been putting in much work in helping people get through their quarantine days, and now a whole bunch of them (over 70, in fact) are coming together for a two-day virtual festival to help benefit COVID-19 relief. Pod-A-Palooza features live, one-of-a-kind episodes, Q&A's, virtual listening parties, and an opportunity to discover stuff you should be listening to already but didn't know about because every "podcasts-you-should-listen-to" article you've ever read is just the same 20 shows the same 15 entertainment writers circle amongst themselves ad nauseum. Listen! Learn! LeVar Burton!
(Sat-Sun, April 25-26)
Portland Indigenous Marketplace
Indigenous Come Up is taking the latest in their series of marketplace events online after COVID-19 made going out and doing the in-person shopping thing a health-threatening activity. But they're dedicated to giving a lot of local makers as big a spotlight as possible, and so they're inviting you to engage with Indigenous artists in our community and offering an opportunity to show your support by purchasing the products showcased throughout the day.
(Sat April 25, 10 am, all ages)
Block by Blockwest
Who could have predicted that in 2020, a global pandemic would have closed down most of the economy and relegated most of the world's citizens into self-quarantine? And further, who would have predicted that festival concert season would not only not slow down, but would instead move online? And then, THEN: Who would have predicted the number one place to host these online mega-concerts would be the video game Minecraft? And yet, here we are. In 2020. Staying home, staying safe, and raising money for COVID relief by donating during performances from Pussy Riot, Sir Sly, Hunny, Cherry Glazerr, The Wrecks, The Polar Boys, and many, many more, while inside a game of Minecraft. What a time to be alive, right? Asimov never saw this shit coming!
(Sat April 25, noon, Minecraft!)
Beastie Boys Story
This "live documentary" from director Spike Jonze was supposed to have already been out by now, viewable on IMAX screens, following Mike Diamond and Adam Horovitz as they walk viewers through the Beasties' amazing adventures in the worlds of punk rock, hip-hop, groove holmes, and boomin' grannies. It might be awhile before anyone's watching anything in IMAX again, but thankfully, this documentary is now online and streamable through AppleTV+, and if you thought the one thing the Beastie Boys could never do is jerk tears... make sure you have a hanky, or a sleeve, or the back of a pizza box ready, because Mike D & Ad Rock have a hilarious, heartwarming, and highly emotional story to tell about their friend Adam Yauch.
(Now Available, AppleTV+, $4.99 per month, free trial here)
Loop.tv Music Festival
Loop.tv and Twitch are teaming up to turn the video gaming platform into something more like a real weekend-long music festival, but without all the gross stuff that goes along with being stuck on a plot of land for two days with some seriously unhygenic people doing unholy things to the port-a-johns. Instead, it's just the music, being piped right into your living room, directly from the artists, who include Hanson, Nicole Bus, Mayra Andrade, Kimberly Nichole, Francesco Yates, AJ Rafael, Sharaya J, Netta, and many, many more. Proceeds donated by viewers (hopefully you) will go to organizations fighting COVID-19.
(Sat April 25, Twitch.tv)
Sink Some Battleships
Video Gaming has been doing a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to keeping people busy and mentally engaged during self-quarantine, but there are ways to get that classic board-game itch scratched online (which... I guess makes board games into video games? Ehh, whatever) and one of the best board games ever invented is Battleship, a guessing/puzzle game that tests your instincts AND your ability to graph things. You can help support our big sister paper The Stranger (which also helps support us!) by getting together a four-person Battleship squad, kicking down the $50 entrance fee, and joining this Underdog Zoom event to sinking some imaginary boats for a good cause.
(Sat Apr 25, 2pm-4pm, $50 per 4-person team)
Kokua Festival 2020
Of all the livestreamed fundraisers being put on recently by all-star musicians (see: basically all of Friday), this livestreamed fundraising music festival might be the most laid-back and easygoing of them so far, with Jack Johnson headlining from his front porch in Hawai'i, and getting a bunch of friends to perform from their homes as well, incuding Ben Harper, Ziggy Marley, Anuhea, Ron Artis II, and many more. Get in your comfiest pair of board shorts, strap on those flip-flops, and get a tall stack of banana pancakes ready. Click Here for more details, proceeds benefit the Kokua Hawai'i Foundation.
(Sat April 25, 3 pm, free)
You're going to watch some reality shows (and by some, we mean hours and hours of them) while you're self-quarantined, but they don't all have to be soul-eroding trash pageants of exploitative misery. We've recommended feel-good shows before (Great British Baking Show, Nailed It) and HBO has entered into the personal makeover wing of the reality genre with We're Here, which is basically just taking Queer Eye and To Wong Foo and turning that up several notches, as Bob the Drag Queen, Shangela, and Eureka of RuPaul's Drag Race enhance small-town lives by letting people realize their drag queen dreams. Sure, it may sound derivative, but the word that more accurately describes the show is "transformative."
(Now Streaming, HBO)
While we're here in heartstring-pulling territory, let's swing around to what might be Disney's very best modern remake: Pete's Dragon. Of course, it's the one that almost nobody saw in the theater (the weekend it came out, more people decided to watch Seth Rogen's Sausage Party), and most people don't even seem to know it ever even existed. All those weirdly-lifeless "live-action" Disney successes like The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin (although that one has its charms); and there's Pete's Dragon quietly sitting off to the side, being an adorable-yet-devastating film about childhood friendship that actually has more on its mind than just blandly translating all your favorite moments from the original into "real life," and is instead trying (and succeeding) to be its own emotionally engaging story about a feral boy in the Pacific Northwest and the dragon he finds in the forest.
(Now Streaming, Disney+, $5.99 per month, free trial here)
Babyface vs. Teddy Riley
The latest in Verzuz's Instagram beat-battle series popped off earlier this week, as R&B legends Babyface and Teddy Riley got on their respective apps, spoke very politely to each other, and unleashed a full-on fusillade of late-'80s-to-mid-'90s soul classics... reduced to tinny, crackly messes while tiny digital hearts rained upwards non-stop. If you missed it live (less "live" and more "stop-start-crash-restart"), don't sweat it: The Root has all the recap you need, and Spotify collected all the songs played, in order, so now you can hear them correctly, and really time-travel back to the days of high-top-fades, boxy Versace-suits, and mixtapes that were made with actual tapes. As with all Verzuz's battles, who "wins" doesn't really matter, because we all win. Just load up the playlist, and go New Jack Swinging through a quiet storm or two.
Sunday, April 26
Sign O' The Times
Last Tuesday, CBS aired a special on the fourth anniversary of Prince's death, "The GRAMMY Salute to Prince," a concert taped in January, hosted by Maya Rudolph, and featuring a whole mess of accomplished artists putting their spin on the Purple Majesty's most memorable songs. I'm sure it was good, and many feelings were caught over the course of the concert—that's just how his music works. But no matter how great the cover, there's never been a time I've wanted to hear someone else doing a Prince song when I could hear PRINCE doing it. And so: If you're feeling like watching a Prince concert, (and that's a feeling worth having literally every day of the week) I suggest loading up Sign o' the Times on Amazon Prime. Is it the best concert film ever made? That can be argued, but it definitely belongs in any conversation on the topic. Is it a better movie than Purple Rain? Unquestionably. Will it make you feel alive and uplifted within minutes? Most definitely.
(Now Available, Prime Video)
The Beautiful Ones
Hey, while you're feeling all purple and gold on this Sunday morning, why not seek out the autobiography Prince was working on with author Dan Piepenbring before his untimely, unfortunate, and unfair death. The Beautiful Ones is an amazing look into Prince's life before he was PRINCE, starting in his early childhood and ending with his 11-page film treatment for Purple Rain. The print version features never-before-seen photos next to handwritten lyrics, scrapbooked notes, and recollections of his personal history. The Audiobook takes many of those anecdotes, and has Esperanza Spalding and Adepero Oduye read them aloud.
(Now Available, ebook and audiobook, MultCo Library w/ Card; Hardcover, Powell's.com, $30)
The Last Dance
The ESPN 10-part documentary returns with another set of back-to-back chapters in the engrossing drama of the Chicago Bulls' final championship season. After establishing the series' main villain in episode one (Bulls GM Jerry Krause, who basically was to the team what Jerry Heller was to N.W.A.), and revealing just how dirty the team did Scottie Pippen in episode two, episodes three and four will focus on one of the Bulls' worst mini-bosses(the Bad Boys-era Detroit Pistons) and the unexpected hero who used to play for them (Dennis Rodman). Still sort of shocked and titillated at hearing a cigar-smoking, cognac-sipping Michael Jordan drop f-bombs like he dropped three-pointers on the Blazers? There's more where that came from, tonight!
(Sun April 26, 8pm, ESPN and ESPN.com)
Self-quarantine has led a lot of people to binge-watching their favorite televisual comfort foods, which translates to a ton of Parks and Recreation, The Office, Cheers, etc. But if you haven't revisited Scrubs—or worse, have never visited it at all—the last weekend of April is as good a time as any to head back to Sacred Heart. Initially it was written off as a sort of spoof of ER and Chicago Hope, but ended up becoming just as good as those shows, if not better, at essaying what life is really like when you work at a hospital. Scrubs combined whimsy, slapstick, and legitimate drama like nothing else during its on-air run, and if you are jumping in fresh, you should probably subscribe to the Fake Doctors, Real Friends podcast, an episode-by-episode guide to the show hosted by its stars, Zach Braff (Dr John J.D. Dorian) and Donald Faison (Dr. Turk Turkleton, lip-sync star and keeper of silverware in the pancake drawer, whuh-thuuu)
(Now Streaming, Hulu; Fake Doctors, Real Friends now available, iHeart, Spotify, Apple Podcasts)
Under One Roof Music Festival: A Benefit for North Carolina Artists
You look at the lineup for this festival and... damn, North Carolina has turned out a lot of musical talent over the years, and that talent is getting together to help raise funds for the North Carolina Arts Foundation. Performers include Ben Folds, Petey Pablo, the Steep Canyon Rangers, Anthony Hamilton, Chatham County Line, 9th Wonder, and more.
(Sun April 26, 5 pm)
Did you forget that this landmark series, the first anime to be broadcast on Adult Swim way back in 2001, is just available, for free, on AdultSwim.com? That this visually stunning, musically amazing testament to style and sneakily substantial storytelling is just sitting there, waiting for you to (re)discover it with limited commercial interruption on Tubi? Did you like Firefly? Is Guardians of the Galaxy your favorite Marvel movie series? Have you ever sat around and wondered "Man, what if Elmore Leonard wrote a sci-fi series about bounty hunters?" That's this show! Comedy! Drama! Guns! Corgis! Get everybody and the stuff together already, and let's jam.
(Now Streaming, free w/ ads, Tubi, AdultSwim.com; commercial-free, Hulu, YouTube TV)
Restore Some Old Furniture
Okay, maybe you won't be heading out to your garage (if you even have one), getting all coverall'd up and sawing/sanding/lacquering old furniture until it's shiny and new again. But you can watch someone do just that on YouTube all day, and marvel at how goddamn relaxing it is. It's not technically ASMR-type-stuff, but the sounds of the sanding and re-finishing, and the NPR-esque voiceover describing what's happening and why certainly pushes a lot of the same buttons. Dashner Design & Restoration is a Minneapolis-based vintage furniture company, and their YouTube channel steps viewers through their efforts in taking thrift store finds and turning them into vintage furniture gold. There's some how-to knowledge in here too, but even if you never have—or never will—pick up a single scrap of sandpaper, these videos are a winning combination of soothing and fascinating, perfect for a lazy Sunday.
(Now Streaming, YouTube)