As we enter another week of self-isolation and social distancing, here’s our latest Hot Ten — where we ask people from our region to share 10 things in their area of expertise to do, discover or explore.
Kitsie O’Neill of the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts started out as a student, then worked there as a graphic designer and administrative assistant. Now, she’s the school’s executive director, so it’s fair to say she knows the life-changing powers of the circus arts. Many may think of a circus as the now-defunct Barnum & Bailey variety, but the circus arts range from juggling to aerials. The school has moved online with a six-day schedule of classes for adults and children.
O’Neill provides this week’s ‘Hot Ten’ with a list of circus movies:
“The Greatest Showman” (2017)
After “The Greatest Showman” debuted, we had the most calls ever about everyday people wanting to try out circus. The movie really brought circus to the forefront of the mainstream mind — especially at a time when circus arts has seen such a resurgence across the globe.
“Water for Elephants” (2011)
“Moulin Rouge” (2001)
“Moulin Rouge” showcases the magic, electricity, and drama of performance back in the 19th century — the fashion and costumes, the singing, the physical performance — it all comes together for a visually stunning night of movie magic at home.
“Wings of Desire” (1987)
This movie is about a trapeze artist and an angel who falls in love with her and decides to become human. The movie shows off trapeze skills, and it’s a drama and romance for when the kids go to bed at night.
“Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away” (2012)
One of our founders, Greg Kennedy, traveled for five years with Cirque du Soleil, and we partner with their shows when they come to the region. They are a great example of a modern contemporary circus showcasing the type of circus artistry that our sister school, Circadium School for Contemporary Circus, specializes in. You can earn a degree there in the circus arts.
“Big Fish” (2003)
“Finding Neverland” (2004)
Circus artists must be experts in not just their circus skill, but in physical theater — and this movie provides great examples of physical theater at its finest. The actors would have had extensive training in order to fly and create some of the illusions in the movie.
“The Cat in the Hat” (2003)
This is a fun family film that parents will call us [after seeing] and say, ‘Please teach our children to juggle and globe-walk like in the movie.’ Mike Myers does both circus skills in this fantastical and colorful film.
Famous contact juggler Michael Moschen is featured in the film doing contact juggling with the crystal ball.
“Man on Wire” (2008)
This year’s Major League Baseball season was scheduled for its earliest start ever on March 27, but was suspended indefinitely by the coronavirus. If the thought of not making out to the ballpark this year for that most American of summer rituals has you down, YouTube may provide some relief. Its “Classic Games” channel has baseball’s greatest games in their entirety, just as they were originally called. The games are free to watch without any login or payment required. We urge Phillies fans to skip the 1993 World Series game, though… we know how that ended. You can find the games here. If you can’t think of baseball without a side of hot dogs, soft pretzels, and Cracker Jack, we’ve got you covered. While we can’t provide the recipe for making hot dogs (and we’re not sure we’d want to know, if we could), you can find the recipe for homemade Cracker Jack here and for Philly soft pretzels here.
Originally scheduled for the Academy of Music stage in May, the Pennsylvania Ballet’s Party on the Stage has been rescheduled and reconfigured as a virtual dance event. Hosted by PAB dancers Sterling Baca and UPenn graduate Adrianna de Svastich along with DJ Ben Arsenal, the party is also a fundraiser for the company. There is a voluntary online auction where you can bid on items including a self-care package, designer jewelry, and even a 2020-2021 walk-on role. Registration is required, and it’s free, although there is a $20 suggested donation. Once you register, you’ll be sent a Zoom link to join. The party takes place on Saturday, April 25, at 7:30 p.m.
The folks at Food Network know you’re cooking your way through the quarantine, and they want to help. Their premiere personalities, “Pioneer Woman” Ree Drummond, “Sandwich King” Jeff Mauro, and Katie Lee of “The Kitchen,” among others, are hosting a Saturday quarantine marathon from their homes. It starts at 10 a.m. with Drummond (who always seems to be home on the farm anyway), and each successive host will take you through ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All the episodes were shot by the hosts themselves, with a little help from friends and family. Find the schedule here.
Fine art cooking
Like many of the city’s cultural institutions, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts has moved online. Aside from making its art collection available, it’s also hosting a series of virtual events. On Tuesday, April 28, as part of the “PAFA Pours” series, join Susannah Fishman, manager of pre-college and teacher programs, Abby King, assistant director of adult programming, and Meg Kassabaum of the University of Pennsylvania for a candid conversation about food in the time of social distancing. They will connect the current passion for home cooking to other eras when food was an integral part of socialization, as well as how artists in the collection have portrayed feasts. This will take place via Zoom, and you’re invited to bring your dinner or your favorite food stories to share. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. and is $7. You can register for it here.
This is the time of year when flowers are in full bloom and Longwood Gardens would be enjoying visitors from around the region and the world. Alas, COVID-19 has made that an impossibility, so Longwood has instead brought the beauty of the grounds to you. Longwood Gardens’ virtual effort , “Our Gardens, Your Home,” allows online access to the beauty of the gardens and its resources. You can watch videos and see pictures of what’s currently blooming, and partake in online class offerings such as floral design and orchid cultivation. Also posted are the three book choices for the community read. Unfortunately, one of the limitations of the online offering is there’s no smell-a-vision, so you’ll have to wait until quarantine is lifted to enjoy the scent of all those blooms.
Live @ home
Local artist Meghan Cary might not be able to share her music in person, but she’s found a new home online. The folk singer originally started playing her fiancé’s guitar after his unexpected death and, by doing so, found a new passion of her own. Her debut album, “New Shoes,” earned her Billboard’s Critic’s Choice Award. Cary has already done four live episodes of her #HunkeredDownHouseConcerts series via her Facebook page, so you can check there for the next installment. You can also virtually “host” a house concert by reaching out to her at email@example.com.
Life’s a (virtual) beach
Miss Delaware’s beaches or just want to plan for when you can visit again? The state’s tourism website is providing a way for you to explore the beaches using 360-degree technology. You can choose your experience — whether it’s walking the beach, bird-watching, exploring downtown, or even learning more about Delaware’s rich history. There’s also a comprehensive list of what to do, where to shop, and where to stay during your visit. Even if you can’t plan for right now, you can look around and figure out where you might want to go and what you might want to do down the line.
All that jazz
Blue Note Records is the storied label known as much for its distinctive album covers as it is for recording both old-school and contemporary jazz artists. Founded in 1939 by a musician and a record executive, the label has released albums by almost every major musician in the genre, including Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey, McCoy Tyner, and contemporary standard-bearers Kandace Springs and Robert Glasper. The label features a selection of playlists from soul jazz, to hard bop, to most sampled that you can tune into via Spotify, Apple Music, or YouTube.
If you’ve been out to a park lately, you know that depending on where, you may find social distancing a challenge. Some folks just don’t know what 6 feet really is (about the height of Allen Iverson, if it helps) or in the midst of getting in their daily miles on foot or on a bike, they’re just too focused to remember. So it requires some exploration to find the parts of Fairmount Park that are a little less-traveled. Thankfully, there’s a guide, which you can find here. You can explore each of the sites recommended using Google Street View to see if they work for you. Last weekend, I accidentally “discovered” Grays Ferry Park, which is neatly tucked under the University Avenue bridge near the University of Pennsylvania. It’s not a lengthy park for those looking to put in major miles, but it boasts skateboarding ramps and fishing piers. Who knew?
Keep checking in with “Things To Do” as we’ll continue to provide our picks for entertainment during the industry’s COVID-19 hiatus. Please consult our COVID-19 updates to keep up with the latest information regionally.