PASSOVER IN THE TIME OF CORONA
This year will be a challenging one for those observing one of the most sacred Jewish holidays. As COVID-19 has changed everything about the way we live for now, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia is recommending that families limit their gatherings only to the people in their household. Here is a list of online resources including kosher food retailers, virtual seders and family-friendly activity ideas. And here are recipe ideas that can be adapted to fit current circumstances.
This week, we’ve got a “Hot Ten” courtesy of Kindred The Family Soul. Aja Graydon and Fatin Dantzler are the Philadelphia-based married duo who released their first album “Surrender to Love” on Hidden Beach Records in 2003. Their breakthrough single “Far Away” put them on the neo-soul map. Since then they’ve produced five more albums… and six children. Here is the “Hot Ten” list of their all-time favorite songs from Philly or Philly-adjacent artists.
- “Say Yes” – Floetry
- “Soul Sista” – Bilal
- “You Got Me” – The Roots
- “He Loves Me (Lyzel In E Flat)” – Jill Scott
- “So Beautiful” – Musiq
- “Love, Need and Want You” – Patti Labelle
- “Let Me Make Love to You” – O’Jays
- “Stars” – Kindred the Family Soul
- “Let it Burn” – Jazmine Sullivan
- “Baby Hold on To Me” – Gerald and Eddie Levert
Camden’s Adventure Aquarium has shut down to the public until at least May, (or until New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy issues new directives,) but the animals are still being cared for by their team of biologists. They will be available via the Aquarium’s Facebook page every Tuesday and Thursday at 4 p.m. to answer your questions. The Aquarium also has a daily printable worksheet for kids. Hippo, shark and penguin feedings will be posted at noon on Wednesdays and Fridays.
A VIBE CALLED QUEST
The Roots’ drummer/podcaster/music historian Questlove is broadcasting his eclectic music collection from his undisclosed quarantine location, spinning live via his Instagram account. If you miss his live DJ sets, they are reposted on the Roots’ YouTube and Facebook pages. Quest is also doing a live storytime for kids on his Instagram (check the page for times) and you can check out his podcast “Questlove Supreme” where he interviews pop culture personalities ranging from musicians to actors to TV writers. Even the former first lady, Michelle Obama, has been a guest.
If your family’s annual vacation involves a Disney property, you must be profoundly disappointed that COVID-19 has closed the parks. Fortunately, Disney does its best to replicate the experience of its popular attractions via the Virtual Disney YouTube channel. You can check out Epcot’s Soarin’ Around the World “Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain,” and Splash Mountain, among others, via their 360-degree visuals. It’s best viewed with a VR headset, but even with a laptop, desktop or tablet, you can control your experience by dragging and clicking in the video.
For more than five decades, The Montreux Jazz Festival brought the world’s greatest musicians and their fans together, first focusing on jazz music, then expanding to all genres. This year’s festival is scheduled for July 3 – 18 and it hopes to go on as planned, though nothing has been confirmed at this time. For now, festival organizers are providing free access to over 50 full-length concerts via Stingray Quello. The performances available include ones from Wu-Tang Clan, Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, Etta James and Lou Reed.
SAFARI FROM HOME
Yearning for the great outdoors? Who isn’t? Even if you can go to the tri-state’s many great parks and practice necessary social distancing, if you’re an international traveler you may be yearning for the days when you could pick up and go anywhere. For some, the greatest thing about travel is seeing the beauty of animals in their natural habitats. Now, you can experience safari remotely via the live cams of Africam.com and Explore.org. You can watch the Big Five via footage from South African game reserves including Balule Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park and Sabi Sands. Explore.org also provides live cams from various animals all around the world – everything from frisky rescue kittens to playful pandas. On WildEarthTV’s “The Cat Report” (which requires a paid login) you can follow the real-life stories of several lion prides, along with input from guides who provide a greater understanding of the lives and habits of the big cats. Wild Earth also offers a free interactive safari for kids 4-18 that homeschooling parents and teachers can sign up for HERE.
LATE FOR HOME
Quarantined late night talk show hosts have provided a level of access to their lives we’d not seen before. Usually buttoned-up and firmly in control, “The Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon looked like a befuddled sitcom dad as his wife recorded his shows from their home (awesome in-house slide, interesting animal-themed den) while his daughters pranced around. Jimmy Kimmel managed to retain some snark from a sunroom covered in floral wallpaper he probably hadn’t chosen. Stephen Colbert was a literate deer caught in the proverbial headlights as he pressed his family into service as crew and failed miserably at getting his dog to obey simple commands. James Corden, host of “The Late Late Show” was undaunted, converting his garage into a credible TV set and corralling A-list musicians like BTS, Billie Eilish and Andrea Bocelli from all corners of the globe for his inaugural #HomeFest. But Trevor Noah of the “The Daily Show’’eclipsed them all. He was completely comfortable broadcasting from his New York City apartment, explaining to Jimmy Fallon that as a self-professed homebody, he’s doing quite well. (We don’t know if he has any company – as of 2019, he was single). Noah’s “Daily Social Distancing Show” on YouTube showcases his best qualities providing entertainment, comedy, credible coronavirus updates, and biting political critique that has made our forced quarantine little easier to digest.
If you haven’t already indulged yourself in a binge watch of NPR’s “Tiny Desk” concerts, you can now enjoy the pleasure of discovering them. The desk belongs to NPR’s Bob Boilen, host of “All Things Considered,” and has become one of music’s most reliably entertaining performance outlets. Artists of all genres, from emerging to superstars, have graced the desk with intimate, eclectic shows. NPR has kindly grouped them into playlists ranging from ‘best dressed’ to ‘calming’ to ‘uplifting’ so we didn’t have to. And as everything has pivoted due to coronavirus, so has Tiny Desk, seamlessly transferring the shows from Boilen’s desk to artist’s domiciles for its new incarnation – Tiny Desk Home Concerts. Watch performances by Soccer Mommy, Tarriona “Tank” Ball and Margo Price.
While you have some downtime, get to that stack of books you’ve been wanting to read. Out this week: “More Myself: A Journey” a memoir by R&B/pop singer/songwriter Alicia Keys; “Valentine” a well-reviewed debut novel by Elizabeth Whitmore about a horrific crime in 1976 Texas; “Child of Light: A Biography of Robert Stone” – a comprehensive look at the life of acclaimed novelist Stone, a member of Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters; “Waiting to Exhale” author Terry McMillan’s latest “It’s Not All Downhill From Here” and the extremely well-timed nonfiction book “The Velvet Rope Economy: How Inequality Became Big Business” by Nelson D. Schwartz, which we see playing out right now as people from all sides of the socioeconomic spectrum grapple with a global pandemic.
LIFE IMITATES ART: “CONTAGION” ACTORS STAR IN PSA
The 2011 Steven Soderbergh film “Contagion” is practically a primer on pandemics, effectively and eerily foreshadowing the current real-life crisis. Here, its stars — Kate Winslet, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne and Jennifer Ehle — urge the community to adhere to public health directives in a PSA.
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.