Sarah's Stay-At-Home Long Weekend List, May 15-18
For students missing their commencement this year, Facebook presents a lengthy virtual grad, chock-full of celebrities and a healthy dose of optimism. #Graduation2020 is hosted by Oprah, with Jennifer Garner, Lil Nas X, gymnast Simone Biles and Awkwafina popping in. Musical guest is Miley Cyrus. (The ceremony will feature grads and schools in each US state; FYI, a Canadian grad ceremony is coming May 22!) Whether you are actually graduating or just want to feel optimistic, catch it on Facebook, at 2pm Friday.
Ste Catherine Street closes to cars between Bleury and St Laurent as of Friday. The organizers say it will be a safe place for pedestrians to get takeout and enjoy the warm weather, at a distance of course. There are also new playful art projections aaround the Quartier des spectacles: En Forme! can be spotted at the façades outside of Saint-Laurent Metro Station, The Grande Bibliothèque and UQAM's Pavillon Président-Kennedy, from nightfall to 10pm. See an example above!
Feel like baking? Try this week's recipe from Chef Ricardo: ultra-moist banana bread.
Take a free virtual tour of the Diefenbunker, Canada's Cold War Museum. Finished by 1961, the massive, four-storey underground station was to serve as a refuge for Canadian leadership in case of anything. It's now accessible online on your computer or VR headset, with colouring pages available, too! A fan and photographer who had his wedding there shot 360 images of the museum, allowing us all to visit from home.
The National Arts Centre in Ottawa has a jam-packed scheduled of live arts, from music to dance to theatre and just about everything else. #CanadaPerforms is part of an initiative to help support Canadian artists weather the pandemic. Hear Music from the Métis Friday at 1pm, or author Lauren McKeon talking about her latest book, No More Nice Girls. Edmonton-based comedy magician Lucy Darling is joined by special guests, Friday at 9pm. Or Toronto-based power pop band Communism, on YouTube Saturday at 8pm. For the full upcoming calendar, visit here.
Looking for local funny people? The Sketch Republic assembles its team for Porch sittin', streaming on Facebook, Saturday at 9pm. And comics like Reese Turner and Darren Henwood spill the beans for the seventh livestream of Comedy Confessional, Sunday at 7:30pm. Follow the host Ben Cardilli's Instagram, @BenCardilli. Indie improv troupe Commotion Theatre presents the latest episode of Night Slime, a sketch show inspired by the '90s era public access TV talk shows. Friday at 10:30 pm.
Cirque de boudoir presents its first 'sexy virtual party', Cyberotica. Get dressed up, pay the suggested $10 entrance fee, and see various performances while grooving to ongoing DJ sets. There's a costume contest, to boot. Saturday, 9:30pm.
Miss live burlesque? House of Hush is an Alberta-based burlesque troupe that is now hosting livestream shows every other Friday, where the audience can tip the performers (from Montreal and Alberta) and pick a treat from a 'menu' of options, like a sexy hand wash, a personalized poem or pep talk or the song of your choice played on a toy sax by Montreal's own Sucre à la Crème. Friday, 10:30pm.
And if you have extra cans and beer bottles collecting dust because you haven't been able to bring them in, consider 'donating' them! Seven grocery stores with IGA, Metro and Super C are collecting cans with safety protocols on hand this Saturday from 10am to 4pm, and you can choose to donate the return to one of three charities: Moisson Montreal, Fondation Charles-Bruneau or Le Valoristes. More info here.
Some music going up this weekend: The Grateful Dead replay one of their greatest live shows, from June 1991, on YouTube on Friday 8:30pm.
Progressive bluegrass jam band String Cheese Incident replays a 2014 concert Friday, 8pm. Also, click over to see Martha Wainwright's rooftop concert from last Tuesday, where she invited singers from the Outremont Hasidic community as this week's guest stars.
And Live From Out There is a four-week calendar of content, streaming live and pretaped music, comedy and cooking shows. You do have to pay, and the revenue goes towardsa artists as well as covid-19 relief. This weekend's show includes Montreal DJ duo Chromeo, Friday at 11pm. It all kicks off Friday until June 7. ($50 give you access to all four weeks, $25 for one weekend and $5 for individual shows.)
Bird Protection Quebec is leading virtual birding 'field trips' every Saturday morning. You don't have to go anywhere...just record which birds you see from home, then share your findings online. They recommend birding from 7am to noon. Register at birdprotectionquebec@yahoo.
The National Theatre School graduating students have put their final projects online instead of at Monument-National Theatre downtown. Catch The Game, about a pair of siblings who grow up playing the iconic N64's Super Smash Brothers. Performed on Zoom with audience interaction, face filters and greenscreens, the show is now online. As is i am entitled to rest, a fairy tale-inflected meditation on the relationship between mothers and daughters. The School (NTS) is also putting up online courses about the many disciplines within theatre, available to all. Also check out Art Apart, the program supporting creators during this pandemic.
How about learning a new instrument, or polishing your skills? Fender Guitars has made guitar, ukulele and bass lessons free for the first million users over the next three months. Check it out here. And thank you to listener Mark, who sent in this resource for the erstwhile uke players out there like myself: the Ukulele Orchestra in Lockdown.
Advice columnist and relationships guru Dan Savage has moved the 15th edition of his Hump Film Festival online. Instead of bunking down at Cinéma l'amour, enjoy this year's edition of quirky, wild and always eye-opening home videos when it streams online, once a weekend until June 12.
If the outside world is too scary or not scary enough, consider this Sunday evening activity: Festival de la bete noire hosts Live Screaming Sundays. Tune into live horror stories, and consider submitting your own poem, fiction, story or music to email@example.com.
Monthly storytelling series Confabulation has shelved their live shows, so intead, theya re collecting stories from Montrealers about isolation. The stories are not from what's going on now, but memories about illness, being stranded or just feeling alone. You can submit a story yourself: it must be two to five minutes in length, and filmed at home. Email them to Storiesinisolation@
Up for some bricolage? Consider making a rainbow to put in your window... it's the cool kid thing to do to encourage our first responders and health workers, who are working to keep us safe and healthy.
Catch up on some great Canadian movies like Bon Cop, Bad Cop or The Trotsky, with a 20-movie list here. Or delve into the American Film Institute’s list of 100
The Segal Centre is using Facebook to keep in touch. They are streaming daily dance classes at noon, Monday to Friday. And band leader Nick Burgess hosts a Broadway Happy Hour on Thursday and Saturday at 5:30pm. Request your fave show tune in the comments!
The Montreal Museum of Fine Art is making new content available each day on social media, like videos, podcasts, quizzes: find the morning update on Facebook or Instagram. On Fridays, they are sharing a new art-therapy activity on their Facebook, devised by the museum's art therapist, Stephen Legari. And visit EducArt, a free online resource that draws links between 350 works of art in the Museum's collection and subjects like math and social sciences. There are 75 videos featuring local luminaries like author Kim Thuy.
A bevy of other Canadian museums are putting their offers online: Winnipeg's Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Art Gallery of Ontario and The Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau are making their works and exhibits available online. The Calgary Zoo is also sharing their Panda Cam, where you watch their two giant pandas, Er Shun and Da Mao, frolic for a few hours every day.
International museums like the Louvre, the Sistine Chapel, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the British Museum in London and the Hermitage Museum are also online. The Metropolitan Opera has a nightly stream. And visit Yayoi Kusama's mesmerizing Infinity Mirror installation.
And if you're looking for something different visit Open Culture, a fantastic website that lists dozens if not hundreds of free books, audio books, movies and online courses. The selection here is a mix of the classic, indie and the offbeat. Pick up a Jane Austen novel, watch the original A Star is Born or browse through videos of poets like Maya Angelou reading their work.
With libraries closed, consider finding out if your local branch allows for ebook downloads. With my membership at the Bibliothèque nationale, I have thousands of books, audiobooks and sheet music compilations at my fingertips through an spiffy app called Libby.
And remember: take care of yourself, and others! Get plenty of sleep, eat well and focus on what you can control in this crisis. Donate to your favourite charity and food bank, call your mom, give meditation a go. Stay home, stay safe!