While we adjust to the “new normal” imposed by the coronavirus and things begin to open up, the Portland Phoenix will continue to list virtual offerings from artists, venues, community organizations and beyond. We hope to transition back to a regular events Calendar soon, and we’ve added a “Mark Your Calendar” section below to included dated events. And, too, we’ll continue to add to the activities you can engage in at home, from local online events, to educational resources from across the country.
We welcome your suggestions, too; email us at [email protected].
FOOD RESOURCES AND DINING NEWS
Portland Food Map is the definitive go-to for information on local dining. Its big take-out and delivery list continues to update restaurants’ offerings, and the outdoor reopening list lets you know who’s up and seating. Other lists include black-owned restaurants and bars, Maine hospitality workers resource guide and the pandemic casualty list, comprising places that have permanently closed.
Wayside Maine Food Programs lists community and statewide resources, soup kitchens and food pick-up sites. Visit https://waysidemaine.org/community-resources.
Support your local fishermen: Gulf of Maine Sashimi offers fresh fish pick-up for home cooking. Sign up on their site.
CreativePortland, the host of Portland’s First Friday Artwalk, has added a Virtual Events Calendar to their website and a portal where you can add your own virtual event to their listings. For more information, click here. Let’s keep Portland arts alive!
The Bates Dance Festival in Lewiston is sharing its archives on Vimeo, releasing a new set of videos each Tuesday through May and June. The performances and show-and-tells will be available at [email protected].
Maine Museum of Photographic Arts offers “MMPA Antidote,” an online newsletter with links to artists’ works, audio clips of artist interviews, slide shows of exhibitions and studios, and more. Visit often to see what’s new.
A documentary on the North Pond Hermit is available to stream for free on Vimeo. “The Hermit,” follows the story of Christopher Knight, who lived in the woods of Central Maine for nearly 30 years without any human contact. Knight survived by breaking into homes and stealing food and other survival items. He was finally arrested at his camp, which was within a mile of summer cabins, on suspicion of over 1,000 burglaries. “The Hermit” was filmed in 2014 and directed by Lena Friedrich, and premiered at the Camden Film Festival in 2015. The documentary is available on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/406217619.
Out Maine has online programs and resources for LGBTQ+ youth and allies. Virtual youth programs include workshops, conversation groups, games and live-streaming events. Check it all out at OutMaine.org.
Royal River Conservation Trust has trails and maps to get you out of your stir-crazies. Remember to keep your distance from others; dogs are OK.
Mindfulness and meditation helps bring peace to global chaos. Check in with OpenDoorPortland.org to join their weekly meditation sits and for more information about the meditation community in Portland.
To help you stay active, the federation of YMCAs is offering YMCA 360: On Demand, a free streaming program of yoga, active adult classes, boot camp and more.
The Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine’s JCA Virtual Experience brings you local resources including online adult education classes, programs, exercise and yoga, and now, Mah Jongg! Keep checking in to see what’s new.
The Center for Small Town Jewish Life is posting a daily “Ten Minutes of Torah” on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.
Visit the website of The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland for information and links to churches offering live-streamed and on-air masses. You can join Bishop Deeley for 10 a.m. Sunday mass from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception by clicking here.
KEEP YOUR CHILDREN ENGAGED (at least for a few minutes)
July 21 – August 4, The Public Theatre in Lewiston is offering pay-what-you-can theater classes for children ages 9-12 and 13-17. Virtual PLAYground has staff professionals teaching theater fundamentals via Zoom. For information, go to thepublictheatre.org, call 782-2211 or email [email protected]
Through August, Indigo Arts Alliance presents Beautiful Blackbird Children’s Book Festival celebrating Black illustrators and children’s book authors. You can also follow them on Instagram or Facebook.
If you know a family without internet access, The Lewiston Public Library (LPL Kids) is offering Storytime Phone Line for children 12 and under. The program gives all children a chance to have a chapter book read to them over the phone, and you don’t have to be an LPL patron to participate. Call Sara at 207-513-3133 for more information and to schedule a reading session, available Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Portland Stage Theater for Kids regularly updates their virtual education resources, including past videos of their Facebook Live “Play Me a Story: Living Room Series” (streaming every Saturday at 10:30 a.m.), juggling tutorials, activities and games. The Banana Song with Isabella is ever a delight.
Ongoing at the Boston Museum of Science is their #MOSatHome science series, with subject matter that engages kids and adults alike. Check out their scheduled livestreams and register (free) for a chance to engage in Q&As.
Mr. Nicky’s World History Songs will make you wish you were learning history all over again. Learn about Ancient India (to the tune of “Hotline Bling” by Dr. Drake), The Mongol Empire (“Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish), West African Empires (“Walk It Talk It” by Migos ft. Drake), and so many more.
Art for Kids Hub is a family Youtube channel with fun instruction for drawing things like bikes, the SpaceX capsule, ATVs and more, plus origami and folding card projects.
GoNoodle activates your little ones with song, dance and mimicry. You can “Make Your Move,” by copying “Frozen” characters in a stop-action game; dance and “Snap Along with the Addams Family”; or learn how to get unfrozen in moments of anxiety by “Melting.” It’s a fun site for you and your kids.
J.K. Rowling is publishing a new story for young readers, The Ickabog, appearing online for free in 34 installments. The book will be published later this year, and you can enter a contest for a chance to have your illustration appear in print.
Thanks to the magical creativity of Sydney Krawiec, a librarian at Peters Township Public Library in McMurray, Pennsylvania, there’s now a Hogwarts Digital Escape Room experience waiting for you online. Team up, sharpen your minds, and enjoy the challenge.
If you’ve been wanting to don Hogwarts’ Sorting Hat, you can get your chance at WizardingWorld.com, the official home of Harry Potter. The site is featuring live readings of the series, starting with Daniel Radcliffe (“Harry Potter” himself) reading the first installment. You’ll also find discussions and activities enough to engage clever witches and wizards. And, yes, there are also quizzes for the Hermiones of the world.
Check out Google’s popular doodle games. Remember PacMan? Can you make music out of thin air like Clara Rockmore did with the theremin? Or revisit the first Google Doodle, Coding for Carrots, which came out in 2017.
Do you know what “ego” means? Follow Maine children’s author, Chris Van Dusen, on Facebook, as he engages your kids and draws them into his stories. Look for “King Hugo’s Huge Ego” to find the answer to our question.
What could be cooler than having a real live astronaut read to your kids? Check out Story Time from Space, brought to you by the Global Space Education Foundation.
For students grades K-8, NASA has a [email protected] site full of science and engineering activities to keep young minds challenged. Make an ocean you can eat, run through the A-MAZE-ING Women of STEM, construct a balloon-powered rocket, or engage in a number of other activities, including coloring and reading.
“Smart Fun for Kids” from the Library of Congress has a few ideas, too. Record family history on StoryCorps by downloading the app, find copies of rare children’s books to read aloud, and who can resist creating an “exquisite corpse” bit of writing? (According to the description, “This is a game in which players construct a story by stringing together disconnected sentences or phrases. It creates a ‘Frankenstein’s monster’ type of tale, hence the ‘corpse’ moniker.”) Find all this and more at The Library of Congress.
“Color Our Collections” from the Library of Congress offers coloring pages in PDF format to download and print. Select from their Japanese Woodblock Prints, 1935 WPA posters, Thomas Jefferson Building, or Minerva Mosaic. There is also a Fun With Braille activity sheet. For these and other educational resources, click here.
If you’re studying nature and local wildlife, or if you just love animals, The Center for Wildlife in Cape Neddick is hosting “Morning Meeting with Wildlife Ambassadors,” a 10 a.m. daily Facebook Live series where you can meet turtles, owls, turkey vultures and more, and take virtual walks to learn about the environment and how wild things live. You can also find the videos on Youtube and on the Center for Wildlife’s website.
There’s more wildlife to be seen at the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray, which is hosting its own virtual field trips. Zoom registration is closed at this time, but you can view the most recent videos at Maine Wildlife Park. For a look at some of the information covered, watch Carnivores of Maine.
Wolfe’s Neck Farm has a slew of educational activities to engage your family. From farm life story time videos to nature treasure hunts, there’s a lot here to keep young eyes and minds busy: wolfesneck.org/educational-activities.
Time Magazine is offering free access to four grade-specific digital editions of TIME for Kids, full of teaching tools, quizzes and current events articles. You have to register, but access is free through July.
Ready for a roller coaster ride? Canada’s Wonderland has virtual stomach-turners for you and your kids to experience at home. Click here for a preview of their rides and how to access their full-screen Youtube adventures, along with ideas on how to simulate rides with the kids.
Goats are irresistible, especially when they’re local. Watch the live goat cams at Sunflower Farm Creamery in Cumberland. Even though kidding season has ended, there is plenty of action in the barns. To keep your own kids engrossed, play all the Love Notes from the Goats.
Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems; search different episodes with #MoLunchDoodles.
The Portland Museum of Art is open. To help support the museum while staying home, consider renting movies at PMA Films.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History offers virtual tours of exhibits both current and past. Stroll through their permanent exhibit (site map included), or cruise through the former fossil hall full of skeletons and ancient sea life. Have your kids look for the camera icons that offer close-ups, like the ones in the Mammal 1 exhibit.
Closer to home, the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland has opened its virtual doors to tours of The Farnsworth Homestead and The Olson House. The homestead was home to Lucy Copeland Farnsworth, the museum’s founder. The Olson House was Christina Olson’s home and is the backdrop of Andrew Wyeth’s painting, “Christina’s World.” Learn more at farnsworthmuseum.org/visit/historic-homes.
You can also visit Maine Public for their Maine Museum Portal, an extensive list of local museums and their links.
Since we can’t travel to Australia, The National Gallery of Victoria brings us tours of their art exhibits, including Petrina Hicks: Bleached Gothic and Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines. The full collection can be found at ngv.vic.gov.au/channel.
The British Museum has its own gallery tours at britishmuseum.org/collection/galleries.
Explore more of the world’s museums with artsandculture.google.com/partner; stroll the courtyard at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, explore Anne Frank‘s family home in Amsterdam, amble through 12th-century art at The National Museum in Krakow; or if you enjoy the thrills of vertigo, go to the “insane views from the tallest skyscrapers.”
We’re all missing live music right now; jambase.com can fill that void. Livestream concerts are happening now and are regularly updated. Find something new, or search for your favorite shows.
Metropolis Ensemble, founded by Maine native Andrew Cyr, invites us to a series of videos featuring bite-sized performances of newly commissioned, classical, and contemporary works from musicians sheltering around the country. For more information and to watch past clips, click here.
The Portland Symphony Orchestra invites us into musicians’ homes with PSO: Notes From Home. Short videos introduce you to the members of the orchestra as they perform short pieces, tell you about themselves and their instruments, and even give a tip on how to get your kid out of bed.
Bluegrass lovers unite as Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn present Banjo House Lockdown, with performances in pajamas, in the shower, with the children and even with Legos. It’s fun and warm and full of family vibe.
NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts have become Tiny Desk (Home) Concerts, and can be viewed on Youtube or on NPR.org. The Tiny Desk Contest is now closed, but you can browse this year’s entries at tinydeskcontest.npr.org/2020/browse.
For more live music, check out the “Together, At Home” live music series by various artists; search #TogetherAtHome concerts.
Renowned jazz pianist and composer, Fred Hersch, performs on Facebook Live, daily at 1 p.m.
The Boston Symphony Orchestra gives us BSO at Home, where you’re invited to hear archived performances, learn what it’s like behind the scenes, and meet the musicians as they, too, cope with being cooped up.
Be a part of Maine history by contributing your story of life during COVID-19 to the Maine Historical Society’s Maine Memory Network. MHS is also seeking stories of other critical moments in history, like the polio epidemic and the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, so get your mics out and have a good long chat with older friends and relatives. Further details and guidelines for story submission can be found on mainememory.net/mymainestories.
Maine’s Community Colleges are giving the Maine High School Class of 2020 a gift: Free online summer classes for a head start on college. Courses such as Creative Writing, Intro to Business, Public Speaking, Calculus, and more, can earn credits towards a college degree. Visit mccs.me.edu/our-programs/class-gift-2020/ for details.
Harvard University has, at last count, 71 free online courses which you can browse here.
Poets reading their own poetry can be found interspersed on The Writer’s Almanac Facebook page. Among the many readings is Maya Angelou performing “Still I Rise,” and Naomi Shihab Nye with “Kindness.”
There’s nothing like filling your free time with free e-books. Gutenberg has over 60,000 pre-1924 titles available in different formats, open to the public, free to read and download. You’ll see classics like “Pride and Prejudice” and “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” but there are also fun surprises like the pulp science fiction magazine called “Planet Stories.” Explore Gutenberg.org. If you want to contribute to the Gutenberg project, the home page lists volunteer opportunities.
Planet Publish has a list of free public domain classics downloadable in PDF format.
Take advantage of Maine’s mostly dark skies by watching for the International Space Station as it travels over us. NASA’s “Spot the Station” will give updates on when the ISS can be seen from your location, their “Live Space Station Tracking Map” gives a detailed overview of its progress, and the ISS HD Earth Viewing Experiment sends a live video stream from space.
The Library of Congress has a crowdsourced volunteer opportunity for history voyeurs. This is your chance to read and transcribe historical letters that need to be digitized for the library’s archives. It’s a collaborative project that allows you to select your own letter campaign and work at your own speed. The atmosphere is supportive, there are checkers and reviewers, and a forum to discuss the process: https://crowd.loc.gov/.
If you’re a researcher at heart, Zooniverse.org is the place for you. It’s a citizen science portal that utilizes volunteers to contribute to scientific research. Some of the active projects include “Mapping Historic Skies,” which seeks help in identifying constellations on old celestial maps; “Offal Wildlife Watching,” which asks you to “Help us better understand scavenging of deer gut piles” (viewer discretion encouraged); and numerous transcription projects like anti-slavery manuscripts and the groundbreaking work of women astronomers.
Got a library card? Here’s another reason libraries rock: Free streaming films, documentaries and more at kanopy.com, or through your library website. All you need is your library card number.
Feeling spaced-out? Get grounded with NASA’s image and video library online: https://images.nasa.gov/.
Take the family, or go alone, on a 360-degree virtual tour of “The Hidden Worlds of Our National Parks,” with Google Arts and Culture.
Explore.org offers some quiet time with their live nature webcams. You get to spy on everything from puppies and raptor nests to beehives and tropical reefs. Use it as background noise as you’re working; it’s soothing.
For teachers: Maine Public and PBS are offering free teaching and learning resources at PBS Learning Media.
— Compiled by Suzanne Piecuch