Who else is tired of the words “social distancing,” “isolation,” “self-quarantine” and “the new normal”? Everyone? Yeah, me, too. Still, at a time when very little interaction is taking place face-to-face, we have to find ways to adapt and overcome, reconnect and maintain some sense of normalcy.
Small things that used to bother us likely are falling to the wayside as the bigger picture becomes clearer each passing day under the restrictions of COVID-19. I’m hearing more from family and friends, who often do a once-a-day, every-few-days check-in. Folks are using FaceTime and Zoom more than ever, making arguments over household screen time a worry of yesteryear. Heck, even at encore we suspended print production for the first time in 35 years, by going all-digital until this pandemic passes and small, local businesses who carry our free paper can open again. It just seems fitting as we’re entering level one of our new “Black Mirror” life.
During this time, many people are turning up their imaginations and immersing in more thoughtful creativity—making art, producing music, writing, and even livestreaming their projects. (Don’t believe us? Check out the wave of virtual poetry readings, educational tours, theatre productions, art exhibits, and concerts to go online in the past week.). A slew of (sometimes free) classes are coming hard and fast by the minute via distance learning, too.
As part of this ever-evolving paradigm, we have culled a list of virtual offerings for readers to consider indulging upon in coming days—something more inspiring than merely binging the latest Netflix show, or scrubbing floors and countertops for the upteenth time. A tidy life is all well and good, but the free spirit within us all can still be inspired, entertained and unleashed even if from behind a screen.
Best Seat in the House
When the university announced it was closing for the semester and going to full distance learning for students, it meant numerous arts performances had to be canceled, too. Kenan Auditorium, the Cultural Arts Building, and UNCW’s other halls and event spaces, normally rife with springtime concerts, readings, theatre productions, movies and more, wouldn’t be filled with the chatter of people and excitement of new works.
Though UNCW Presents had to cancel their final performances of the season, including 9 Horses bluegrass show and Ballet Folklorico, last week they launched Best Seat in the House. The virtual program features artists who have visited Kenan Auditorium over the years; it also offers workshops, tours, concerts and more.
For instance, Teal Tunes will focus on local music normally heard on the bustling campus throughout the week. Hosted by Campus Life, Teal Tunes will be livestreamed on the Campus Life Facebook page Tuesdays at 8 p.m. The lineup includes: March 31, Justin Cody Fox; April 7, The Jared Show; April 14, Stray Local; April 21, Striking Copper; April 28, Jacob Dixon.
UNCW Presents also curated numerous links folks can access while hunkered down at home. This list features content like comedy sketches from The Second City, music from Jazzmeia Horn, work from Ragamala Dance Company, David Sedaris’s sardonic humor, and others who have been a part of past seasons.
The full lineup is available at uncw.edu/arts/bestseat.html.
National Theatre London
Royal Opera House
While normally dealing with copyright infringement laws that prohibit free viewings of many famed stage shows, publishers in the new age of coronavirus have taken mercy on the arts-deprived masses. National Theatre in London will stream cinema-quality recorded productions from their archives on their YouTube channel for free every Thursday at 2 p.m. EST. A Q&A session with the cast will follow, plus the production will be available for free one week after its air date if you happen to miss Thursday’s showing.
The program kicks off April 2 with James Corden in Richard Bean’s “One Man, Two Guvnors”; April 9, Sally Cookson’s adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre”; April 16, Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island,” adapted by Bryony Lavery; and April 23, Tamsin Grieg in Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.”
The Royal Opera House also has scheduled free streams of famed operas and ballets, ready to launch on their Facebook and YouTube channels. Folks can access the shows anytime, such as March 27’s “Peter and the Wolf” from The Royal Ballet.
The rest of the schedule follows: April 3, 2 p.m., The Royal Opera’s “Acis and Galatea; April 10, 2 p.m., The Royal Opera’s “Così fan tutte”; April 17, 2 p.m., The Royal Ballet’s “The Metamorphosis”; April 24, 2 p.m., Royal Opera’s “Gloriana”; May 1, 2 p.m., The Royal Ballet’s “The Winter’s Tale.”
Free How-To Art Illustrations
Maya Murano YouTube
Maya Murano is a local teaching artist at SOLA Wilmington. The pre-school, afterschool and summer camp programs are well-known for their dedication to arts, music and educational playtime. Though the school is currently closed, Murano is teaching virtual how-to art classes for free! So far she has posted four kids’ drawing lessons, and even invited her 4-year-old daughter, Jilly, to join her to show how easy it is. The simple shapes and sweet asides (“I want to switch them and color!” Jilly exclaims with excitement while making a squirrel) that take place during instruction are pure joy to watch. Together, they prove how easy it can be to learn how to draw a dolphin, koala and even a family of ducks.
Murano will post more videos in coming days at youtube.com/channel/UCy6efG0JUyUijo0tCk3HXGQ. Bookmark it!
Other virtual arts programs, covered in last week’s edition, include Wilson Center and Arts Council of Wilmington and New Hanover County’s Ghostlight Series, promoting local musicians via live performances and paying them with public contributions. encore also covered #ConnectWithCAM, which focuses on Cameron Art Museum moving all of their programming, from tours to classes to educational opportunities, online.
Cape Fear Museum
Now that school is officially held at home statewide, kids are missing out on the fun extra stuff that also comes with school—like field trips, for one. Cape Fear Museum’s virtual programs can help supplement extra learning opportunities with a little fun. They have posted a variety of topics for a variety of ages; space and astronomy, for example, links to videos posted by NASA. They also post activities to pair with instruction, like creating a constellation or a dipper finder.
The museum has posted interactive prompts, too, like a nature walk and observation, complete with questions to ask the kids as you walk your neighborhood, or an ants-go-marching singalong. They also host live story times with Ms. Jorey on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. (April 1, “I Hear a Pickle”; April 8, “Friendship”; April 15, “Weather”; April 22, “Music Makers”) and do Little Explorers with Ms. Pepper on Fridays, 10 a.m. (April 3, Dynamic Dinosaurs; April 10, Wild About Animals; April 17, My Place in Space; April 24, Amazing Adaptations).
More can be found by heading to capefearmuseum.com/programs.
Old Baldy Lighthouse and Smith Island Museum
Old Baldy Foundation YouTube
Bald Head Island may be closed to all nonresidents currently, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn about the historic markers peppering the remote island, a mere 30 minutes south of Wilmington. Old Baldy Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in North Carolina, with 108 steps, five landings, and a ship’s ladder leading to its breathtaking view of the island’s wetlands and maritime forests. Donations to tour the lighthouse and Smith Island Museum of History help preservation projects, and though these places are closed for real-time tours currently, the folks overseeing their preservation are still hosting virtual tours at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and offering free history lessons. Oftentimes, kid-friendly activities accompany the programs as well. They can be accessed on the Old Baldy Foundation’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.
For more information about the museum and lighthouse, check out oldbaldy.org.
Virtual Wine Tasting
Soif de Vin on Zoom
Though we may not be able to travel to a vineyard currently to explore the grapes, or even to our favorite wine shop for in-house tastings, the folks at Soif de Vin are bringing the intimacy of their shop to our homes. Every Friday they’ll welcome different wine reps to talk about chosen flavors as participants sip and, most importantly, make their pours as heavy as they wish!
Friday, April 3, will feature two wines: Steven Vincent Cabernet from Napa and Kysela Pere et fils Pinet from Southern France. The total price is around $40 for the wines, which folks can pick up at their store in Monkey Junction. Soif also offers delivery service. Just call them at 910-338-4027 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the tasting list (go ahead and download the Zoom app to your device and Soif will provide instructions on how to join).
Terra Sol Sanctuary
Now that fitness studios are closed by Governor Cooper’s mandate, making time to take a breath, rebalance your chi and gain clarity and energy through physical exertion must be done from the comfort of home. It can be a challenging time for many, who must channel their willpower harder than ever, but the folks at Terra Sol are making it easier.
Anyone who has bought a class package from them can convert them to their distance classes. Drop-in rates are $12. Currently, they’re offering:
Mondays: 9 a.m. Power Flow, 12:30 p.m. Beginner’s Yoga and 6 p.m. Flow
Tuesdays: 9 a.m. Yogalicious, 12:30 p.m. Stretch + Destress and 6 p.m. Flow
Thursdays: 9 a.m. Align + Shine, 12:30 p.m. Pranayama (by donation only), 6 p.m. Flow, 7:30 p.m. Mindful Resilience
Fridays: 9 a.m. Flow, 12:30 p.m. Begin
Saturdays: 9 a.m. Gentle, 12:30 p.m. Breath + Alignment and 4:30 p.m. Flow
Sundays: 9 a.m. Flow Level 2 and 12:30 p.m. Flow
Folks can sign onto their website and type in which class they want, and Terra Sol will respond with instructions on how to participate.
In Balance Pilates
For 18 years, Carrie Pages has been the name to know when it comes to the best pilates workout in ILM. Pages reopened her boutique studio, In Balance Pilates (at 39th and Oleander behind Whole Foods Market), last summer after renovating it in the wake of Hurricane Florence. Her personal and group classes on top-of-the-line equipment have helped many clients improve endurance, balance, core stabilization, strength and flexibility. Now, she’s shifting in the time of crisis once again by taking her classes to the Zoom platform.
Though clients won’t have access to the equipment, the workout will remain just as challenging. Pages’ mat classes are $15 each and are offered Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at noon. She’s also offering multiple-class packages and a new client special, along with memberships.
Myriad options abound from well-known gyms opening online classes for free because of the COVID-19 shutdown. Among them is 02 Fitness, which has instructors from their numerous facilities posting free videos on the 02 Facebook page. Most times, a Spotify playlist accompanies the workout for maximum motivation. Workouts need minimal props, if any (a chair, a set of dumb bells, or heavy books if you don’t have weights, resistance bands, etc.), and the options vary from beginner to pro, legs to upper body, and all things in between.
Planet Fitness is stopping membership dues for the time being until all COVID-19 shelters-in-place are lifted and gyms can open again. In the meantime, they’ve posted free videos, a.k.a. United We Move, for everyone to access on their YouTube channel. Most clock in around 20 minutes, and there are full cardio workouts and family workouts, plus dance-themed ones to break away from boring regular routines. They also have celebrities show up, like Jerry O’Connell (who works out at home), or sessions with Biggest Loser trainer Erica Lugo.
YMCA is offering Stay Fit at Home virtual classes, too. They have plenty of fitness videos at YMCA360.org, including mini bootcamp videos, challenge rounds, barre and yoga classes, plus a section dedicated to active older adults. Also, they’ve teamed up with Les Mills so members can access more than 100 videos offered in both Spanish and English. There are martial arts, dance, strength training, and their BODYCOMBAT series available at watch.lesmillsondemand.com/at-home-workouts.