More programming from The Roots, Philly Theater online and how to celebrate Easter in the virtual realm

Easter moves online, the Roots have more programming, and Philadelphia's theater community moves onto the web.

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Easter Eggs


Easter online

It’s the holiest holiday on the Christian calendar, but Easter will look and feel different this year. As difficult as that might be, one of the upsides to the stay-at-home directive is that if you are fortunate to be quarantined with family, watching an online church service can create a bonding moment. If you are alone, it could also be encouraging. Several local religious organizations and churches will broadcast Easter Sunday services or you can choose a service from the many available online.

Pope Francis does plan to lead Easter Sunday services from an empty St. Peter’s Basilica on Sunday at 11 a.m. Rome time (5 a.m. EST). Archbishop Nelson Pérez’s Easter Sunday service, which can also be viewed online, will be broadcast live on WHYY at 11 a.m. Sunday, from the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. Here are more options:

And should you be so inclined, Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church, the megachurch in Houston, Texas, will live stream a virtual Easter service with Kanye West, Mariah Carey and Tyler Perry.

Here are more tips for Easter activities with your kids.

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Ain’t no sunshine

The incomparable Bill Withers died last week. Although he’d officially retired from the music business many years ago, his timeless songs endured. Withers’ big hits “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Lovely Day” and “Lean On Me” among others, are as etched into human consciousness as the presidents on Mt. Rushmore are in stone. As you may find yourself with some extra time these days, watching Withers’ 2009 documentary “Still Bill” is well worth it. And it’s free in its entirety on YouTube.

Home girl

Joanna Gaines and her husband Chip were the stars of the HGTV show “Fixer Upper” until they decided to move on to books, magazines, a Target home line and their own TV network under the auspices of their Magnolia brand. While Chip was the comic relief on “Fixer Upper” the gracious, unflappable Jo drew in many of most of its viewers. It’s no surprise that she’s handling quarantine with the same ease (although living on a 40-acre farm certainly helps with social distancing). While we’re all staying at home in numerous locales and have varying situations, there’s something soothing about the Gaines’ family and farm lifestyle. Joanna’s comfort cooking is fun to watch, and you might even learn a few things from her easy-to-make recipes.

Traveling bright

If the pictures do it justice, the island of St. Lucia is a place ablaze in color. Its history includes a period of French and English colonization, though the island gained its independence in 1979. It may be the mix of those cultures, as well as its mountainous topography, that makes it so vivid. I’ve never visited the island in person, but its Instagram page makes me feel as though I should. As leisure travel has ground to a standstill due to the coronavirus, virtual travel has temporarily taken its place. Imagination can sometimes be more visceral than reality and St. Lucia helps the illusion by providing live content on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11 a.m. via its Instagram page. Previous offerings have included cooking and yoga classes and a live DJ dance party.

Rooted in music 

Last week, we told you that Questlove was hosting live DJ sets via his Instagram and the Roots’ social media page. This week, the Roots have expanded on that by putting together a list of scheduled programming that includes deep dives into guitar legends from their own guitarist, Captain Kirk, more live music and podcasts from Quest. On Friday afternoon, the page will stream an NPR Tiny Desk (Home) performance from the Roots’ woefully underrated frontman Black Thought.

Tulip tour

To combat the spread of coronavirus, which has left New Jersey with the second-highest number of cases in the nation behind New York, Gov. Phil Murphy just ordered the state’s parks, forests and county parks to close. He said the parks were becoming too crowded and visitors were not complying with social distancing directives. While you have to factor in the state’s stay-at-home order, Dalton Farms has found a way to comply with social distancing while still providing families safe outdoor activities. The farm in Swedesboro, N.J. offers a tulip tour that requires families to remain in their cars while viewing the rows of flowers blooming on their property. The Easter Bunny is there for family photo-ops, though Easter Sunday is already sold out. Tickets must be purchased online, and Dalton’s staff will handle your contactless flower purchase by placing tulip bouquets directly in your cars.

Clean house

The DailyOM offered affordable online courses in self-improvement, fitness and spirituality well before the world ever heard of COVID-19. Now that we’re holed up in our homes 24/7, we’ve realized that some of us have ignored clutter that has become oppressive. If that’s the case, the DailyOM offers a Tidy in Ten workshop that can help you organize or do away with your clutter to lead a more organized and peaceful life. The course is taught by the site’s co-founder Madisyn Taylor, who started it in 2004 to make meditation, spirituality and health more accessible. Courses are offered on a sliding scale from $15-$50 and can be done at your own pace.

Virtual con

If you’re a fan of ComicCon, you must be extremely saddened by the fact that large conventions may be a long way off. The community of comic book and graphic novel aficionados and the shows they’ve spawned is tight-knit, passionate and loves to get together; something that just isn’t possible right now. In the absence of those kinds of group events, HomeCon was birthed and is happening this weekend so that fans and the stars they adore can still connect. Actors from shows like “Riverdale,” “Arrow,” “Lucifer,” “Watchmen” and more will be participating via the Twitch app on April 10 and 11. A subscription fee of $4.99 provides access to panels and other content. Instead of a signing table, actors will do one-on-one chats with fans via Zoom for an additional, premium fee. You can check out the list of actors participating on the event’s Instagram page.

YouTube drama

Theatre Philadelphia is offering many virtual options, including Shakespeare classes, playwriting workshops, a live chat, “I Put On Pants for This” from 1812 Productions and more from the area’s theaters. Their digital series offers full-length broadcasts of recent productions, including “Macbeth,” “His Girl Friday” and “Dracula.” You can find the full playlist here.

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Fire TV

If you’re trying to figure out just which show to binge-watch, you are not alone. According to Variety, Netflix released over 371 original TV shows and movies in 2019 alone. Hulu, another streamer, has led the way in women-centric programming with their critically acclaimed TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian 1985 novel “The Handmaid’s Tale.” This year, actresses Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington combined to produce and star in “Little Fires Everywhere” a mini-series based on Celeste Ng’s 2017 bestselling novel. The series is set in Shaker Heights, Ohio in the late 90s and details the varying experiences of Witherspoon’s character Elena, a married mother of four, and Washington’s character Mia, a single mother raising a teenage daughter. While the show is ostensibly about the complexities of race in a neighborhood like Shaker Heights, considered a model of integration, its main theme is the challenges of motherhood. The eight-part series is riveting viewing, with new episodes released every Wednesday. The final one airs on April 22 and after that, you can watch the entire series straight through.

Parks and recreation 

As shared above, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has closed New Jersey’s largest parks due to concerns about social distancing. Pennsylvania has yet to do the same, but diligence is required so that doesn’t have to happen. Fairmount Park remains open and so far, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation has not indicated any closings, except to buildings, bathrooms, recreation and adult centers and playgrounds on park sites.

Martin Luther King Drive, from Eakins Oval to East Falls Bridge, remains closed round the clock to vehicular traffic to allow for people to spread out and maintain social distancing. However, recent trips to  Kelly Drive have indicated that some people still don’t get it. Walking, running and biking within six feet of another person who does not live in your household doesn’t count as social distancing. Please be mindful so that parks will remain open.

Some updates: Valley Forge National Historical Park is now entirely closed. The grounds of the Winterthur Museum in Delaware have also closed to the public. Delaware state parks are open, but beaches are closed until at least May 15. The Schuylkill River Trail remains open, but it’s good to check their site for updates as the trail has multiple partners with varying mandates.

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 coronavirus pandemic updates to keep up with the latest information regionally.

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