Reading is fun-damental
May is Get Caught Reading Month, a celebration of all things literary that lasts throughout the year. The Free Library of Philadelphia’s Local Author series is one of the events that supports the month’s goal to celebrate books and readers. This virtual event on Friday, May 28 at 7 p.m. features USA Today bestselling author Xio Axelrod, author of 2019’s “When Frankie met Johnny” an LGBT love story set in suburban Philadelphia. Roan Parrish is a Philadelphia-based author whose “Riven” series got started in 2018 and is already on its second book. The event will be available via Crowdcast and you can register for free here.
Delaware’s Winterthur museum offers many attractions but has been closed since the coronavirus pandemic shut down the state. Now that Gov. John Carney has announced the state will start reopening on June 1, so will Winterthur — but only its grounds. And there are restrictions – because of state guidelines on social distancing and out-of-state visitors, you must be a Winterthur member, a Delaware resident, and you must register beforehand. (And the museum wants visitors to know if they arrive without a Delaware plate or Delaware driver’s license, they will be ‘politely’ asked to return another time.) If you fit all those requirements, you can enjoy the 1,000 acres on the Winterthur estate that include the Azalea Woods, the Peony Garden and habitats that include woodlands, meadows, streams and ponds.
Outdoor movie night
If keeping cooped-up children occupied is your full-time job right now, you’ll be happy to know that South Jersey’s Kathedral Events Center is offering you a respite. They’ve converted their parking lot into Karpool Cinema, a drive-in theater that still offers plenty of room between cars in accordance with social distancing guidelines. It’s playing family-friendly movies over the weekend: “Frozen II” and “The Greatest Showman.” Tickets are $25 per carload. Keep in mind – there are no concession stands (yet) but you can bring your own snacks. You must remain in your vehicle for the duration, and there are no bathrooms open in the event center, so plan accordingly. (You are allowed to drive out and return if that becomes an issue.)
Tracee Ellis Ross watched one of the most glamorous women alive from the most intimate vantage point as Diana Ross’ daughter. Now an actress in her own right, Ross is playing a glamorous singer in “The High Note” which will be released on video-on-demand platforms this Friday. We imagine Ross picked up a few tips from her mother to play Grace Davis, a 40-something singer at a career crossroads. “50 Shades of Grey” star Dakota Johnson (who also has a famous mother and father in Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson) plays her assistant, Maggie who has her own choices to make. Rapper turned actor/director/producer Ice Cube also stars.
There’s no better place to practice social distancing than a car and one of the great things to listen to in your car is a podcast. Actor Rami Malek came to fame in the acclaimed USA Network show “Mr. Robot,” went on to win an Oscar for his role as Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and is the villain in the next James Bond film “No Time To Die.” He’s now starring in the scripted podcast “Blackout” playing Simon Itani, a New Hampshire DJ who must figure out how he and his family can survive after a national power blackout. If it sounds more plausible now than before the pandemic, well, that’s when you can decide whether it’s a cautionary tale or an eerily prescient view of what was until recently, unimaginable. The first season of “Blackout” is available both on Apple podcasts and YouTube.
It’s a different summer for parents and kids with varying stages of reopening depending on your city, state and county. Some local organizations have been proactive, creating virtual learning environments for kids this summer. Rehoboth Children’s Theater offers film and theater camps for kids 5-14 via Zoom for a fee. Camp curriculums include video production and theater games and movement. You can register here. The Wilma Theater’s virtual studio is offering classes for adults and children that include juggling, theater mask-making, virtual bingo and a Haiku play challenge. On Wednesdays at 11 a.m. through June 17, the Barnes Foundation offers their Barnes Art Adventures via an interactive livestream on Twitch. You don’t have to have Twitch to view but if your child wants to join chat, they do need an account. Once you’ve viewed an episode, you can go here for follow-up projects. One of the great things about the world becoming virtual, at least for now, is the ability to participate in things that were once geographically challenging. New York’s Metropolitan Museum is sponsoring Virtual Teens Take the Met! on the @metteens Instagram account on Friday, May 29 from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Teens will create artwork and watch performances and tutorials during the day-long program. Register here before May 28 at 5 p.m. and receive Zoom links to follow along.
South Philly native Questlove is everywhere these days and this time, he’s on the Food Network. He’s hosting “Questlove’s Potluck” on Thursday, May 28 at 10 p.m. But it’s not just a culinary effort, the show is raising money for America’s Food Fund. Curated by Quest, it will feature his famous friends cooking from their own homes while sheltering in place — including Patti Labelle, The Roots’ Tariq ‘Black Thought’ Trotter, model Ashley Graham, comedians Amy Schumer (and her chef husband Chris Fischer), Hannibal Burress and actress Zooey Deschanel.
Philadelphia is seeking its next youth poet laureate. Creativity has been a panacea for many during the COVID-19 pandemic, so the person chosen will have a unique opportunity to promote healing in the city. They will also be mentored by Philly’s current poet laureate, Trapeta Mayson, while advocating for the arts and social justice issues. Applicants must be high school students in Philadelphia (that includes those who are homeschooled) but can’t be a member of the class of 2020, as the youth poet laureate will serve from July 2020 through June 2021. Applications are being sought through June 15 and you can apply here.