The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us a lot of important lessons: the fragility of our global economy & healthcare systems; the importance of blue-collar workers and people in the service industry for keeping society afloat; and for those of us stuck at home with our families and/or significant others… all work and no play probably really did make Jack a dull boy.
Another important lesson we are learning is the importance of the arts in providing a sense of community and helping fight depression/anxiety during times of immense stress. While some efforts by celebs to help fill this need fell flat—i.e. Gal Gadot’s cringe-worthy celeb-filled rendition of John Lennon’s Imagine—others have really hit the mark. Here are a few of the more interesting efforts from celebs to help us all break the monotony associated with our new (and hopefully temporary) normal:
Debbie Allen’s Instagram Dance Classes
Debbie Allen is offering FREE dance classes on Instagram live.
The classes have been a huge hit with over 30,000 people joining Debbie and her adjunct teachers for tap, salsa, ballet, jazz, flamenco, African dance, and hip hop. There’s also a special class available for children 3-7 on Saturdays at 11 (PST), a perfect way to get little ones to burn off some of their energy just in time for afternoon naps! Additional details and class schedules can be found on the Debbie Allen Dance Academy website.
— Debbie Allen (@msdebbieallen) April 2, 2020
Ben Folds Takes Apartment Requests
Ben Folds, lead singer of acclaimed 90s alternative band, Ben Folds Five, is hosting free weekly livestream concerts on Patreon. Each Saturday, Folds will perform songs requested by the public, live from his apartment in Sydney, Australia. Despite a little confusion about time zones, the concert series has been a huge hit with so many people tuning into Patreon to view the first livestream, that the site crashed. The live stream events are hosted on Patreon and Youtube.
Note: There are actually a lot of musicians that have offered and are currently offering free streaming concerts including Matt Nathanson, John Legend, Chris Martin (Coldplay), Gavin Rossdale (Bush), Death Cab for Cutie, Pink, etc. Odds are your favorite musician is looking to pass the time doing what they do best, entertaining fans. So now would be a good time to follow your favorite musical artists on social media if you already aren’t.
Patrick Stewart’s #SonnetADay
Sir Patrick Stewart has lent his soothing voice and beautiful accent to bring a bit of elegant sophistication into our lives every day of this pandemic. For the duration of society’s social distancing efforts, the classically trained Shakespearian actor is releasing daily videos of himself reading Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets. The #SonnetADay series can be viewed on Facebook and Twitter. The wildly popular videos have brought in over 200,000 views each. Here’s to hoping he continues gracing us with the series long after the Coronavirus scare is over.
— Patrick Stewart (@SirPatStew) April 3, 2020
Joseph Gordon Levitt Hits Record
Former child star and eternal heartthrob, Joseph Gordon Levitt, has committed to doing something creative every day during the Covid-19 crisis and has invited the public to join with him. Through @HitRecord—a unique online community for artists and content creators founded by Lovett in 2004— both expert and novice writers, musicians, actors, voice actors, visual artists can collaborate on various projects. This is an amazing way for the arts community (and anyone who is bored and looking for something to do) to maintain a sense of togetherness while social distancing. Since announcing his commitment to daily creativity, Levitt has lent his skills to several projects started by HitRecord members. How awesome is that!
Starting today, I’ve made a commitment to do something creative every day while I’m home during quarantine… and I hope this inspires you to be creative too. As you know, I like making art together 🙂
— Joseph Gordon-Levitt (@hitRECordJoe) March 18, 2020
Musicians Team Up for iHeart Radio Living Room Concert for America
The 2020 iHeart Media music award show was replaced by the iHeart Radio Living Room Concert for America benefit concert. The event was hosted by Elton John and featured performances by musical artists from nearly every genre of music including Alicia Keys, Dave Ghrol (Foo Fighters) Billie Eilish, Mariah Carey, Billy Joe Armstrong (Green Day), Tim McGraw, Shawn Mendes, and more. The performances were interspliced with messages of optimism and togetherness from the performers and various celebs. Heeding the message Americans came together and raised over 10 million dollars for Feeding America and the First Responders Children’s Foundation. The breakout performance came from the Backstreet Boys whose rendition of I Want it That Way sent social media ablaze with nearly everyone in agreement that it was the pick me up the world needed.
Fox will air an encore presentation of the special on April 6th at 9pm EST and the special is currently available for viewing on Hulu.
Are any of your favorite artists or musicians doing anything noteworthy to cheer up their fans, raise money for charities, or just to make life a little less awful right now? Let me know in the comments below.