The Best Things to Do While Staying Home and Staying Safe This Weekend: May 15-17 2020

May 14, 2020
(Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

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Friday, May 15

The Class of 2020 Graduates w/ Oprah Winfrey
COVID-19 has been particularly rough on schoolkids. It might not seem that way if you take the most superficial of looks at the situation, i.e. "Hey, they don't have to go to school, I wish I didn't have to go to school, har har!" But not only have kids had their educations interrupted and their friends kept at a distance, but for the class of 2020, all that work they put in was in danger of being unrewarded, or rewarded sorta poorly (if many "virtual" ceremonies are anything to go by). ENTER OPRAH. Effectively taking over all of Facebook (starting at 8 am, so get your kid up early), Oprah will deliver a commencement speech to the graduating class of 2020, before turning the stage over to other stars with their own inspirational speeches and performances, including Awkwafina, Jennifer Garner, Lil Nas X, Simone Biles, and Miley Cyrus. Will Oprah figure out a way to hide the keys to a new car under your teen's seat as they watch? Would you put it past her?

Prince and the Revolution: Live in '85
Prince bless the vault, and all the purple treasures contained within it. For three days only (May 15-17) Prince's YouTube channel will make this 1985 show (taped at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY) available for the first time since the days of VHS. And this isn't just some quick 'n' dirty VHS rip, either—this concert has never looked or sounded as good as it does here, with remastering by the legendary Bernie Grundman, so feel free to turn it up as loud as it can go, and remember: if the elevator tries to bring you down, go crazy, and punch a higher floor.

The Robyn Party: Livestream Edition
Of course, Prince isn't the only option for better living through dance, music, sex, and romance. We don’t talk enough about Sweden’s favorite daughter, Robyn, whose high-energy electropop has been some of the world’s finest since the late ’90s. (2005’s Robyn is still 10,000 percent perfect.) God bless Holocene, then, for hosting a livestream edition of their regular Robyn party tonight at 8 pm, which is exactly what it sounds like: All Robyn, all night. It will make all other dance nights sound like garbage. ERIK HENRIKSEN

The 15th Annual HUMP! Film Festival
We at HUMP! were crushed to cancel our originally planned Spring re-screening, with the coronavirus crisis forcing us all inside. But after receiving enthusiastic support and permission from the filmmakers to show their films online, we knew that the show must go on! Even if we can’t watch together in movie theaters, we can still watch the 16 all new, sexy short films, curated by Dan Savage, in the privacy and safety of our homes. Dan will introduce the show (starts 8pm tonight,) and then take you straight to the great dirty movies that showcase an amazing range of shapes, colors, sexualities, kinks and fetishes!

The Russo Bros. Pizza Film School
The superstar sibling directing team behind Avengers: Endgame are looking to already shake up the still-nascent Watch Party groove people are settling into by turning online gatherings into impromptu moviemaking classes. Starting tonight at 5 pm, the Russos will gather all their Insta followers together to have some pizza and discuss one of their very favorite movies, and a big influence on their filmmaking. This week's title? The 1995 French drama La Haine, written and directed by Mathieu Kassovitz, who Americans probably know best as the "Gimme the cassshhh!!" guy from The Fifth Element. So that's mind-blower number one, right there. Mind-blowers two through 115 will certainly come as the Russos and special guest film critic Pete Hammond deconstruct the groundbreaking title, which stars Said Taghmaoui (The Elder in John Wick 3, Sameer in Wonder Woman) and Vincent Cassel (Brotherhood of the Wolf, Eastern Promises).

Avatar: The Last Airbender
If there's a binge you're looking to begin this weekend, maybe one of the most rewarding options is new to Netflix starting today. Avatar: The Last Airbender was a Nickelodeon cartoon that shares a name with a weirdly-forgettable blockbuster, and was itself turned into a weird-and-unforgettable live-action blockbuster of its own, and its absence from major streaming platforms of late has caused the show to reside in those awkward, mostly unrelated shadows. But now the three-season fantasy epic is on Netflix, and while there are no shortage of those kind of stories to work through now (thanks, Game of Thrones) many of them invariably become sort of a trudge or a slog. That never happens with Avatar. The show isn't just a potent example of modern myth done right, but a great example of how animation can unlock both action and emotion in a way live-action just can't touch.

Into the Badlands
Conversely, there are feelings that only live-action choreography and cinematography can convey, and if you're looking for a combination of mythology, fantasy, and horrifyingly beautiful acts of wanton violence, maybe this weekend is the time you finally start binging Into the Badlands, an AMC show that—like almost everything on AMC not named Walking Dead—was under-watched and under-appreciated when it was airing. It's definitely worth mentioning that the acting is pretty damn good, and the storytelling—while admittedly pretty derivative—works well for what it's trying to do. But the real draw is the fight scenes: There are a lot of them, and they make every other television show that has ever tried to incorporate action look like a squad of eight-year-olds clumsily rough-housing in the backyard.

Laugh in Place
Broken Zipper presents this online stand-up showcase aimed at giving local comedians some shine even though we're all sheltered-in-place. Tonight's all-star lineup (7 pm, $10-25) is particularly choice, including sets from Andrew Sleighter, Susan Rice, and Tyler Boeh, so show up, laugh a lot, and kick in some coin if you have it. Hosted by Nancy Norton. All donations benefit the performers and Curious Comedy Theater.

Charli XCX
In 2014, Charli XCX won "Hitmaker of the Year," an award presented by Billboard Women in Music, and not that there should have been any question at the time, but here in 2020 we can confirm: That award was rightfully given. Charli XCX is the queen of catchy earworms: from her own hit "Boom Clap" to her feature on "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea (don't act like you don't know that chorus by heart), this woman is here to conquer the world, and her newest album, How I'm Feeling Now—created entirely in quarantine—is the next decisive step in that impending conquest. KATHERINE MORGAN

Saturday, May 16

Beyond Now: A Virtual Fundraiser for PICA
PICA is an absolute good for this community, and for anyone who values art in all its forms, and wants to make sure they're supporting creative acts and local arts. The "Beyond Now" fundraiser features over 30 artists sharing new performance, video, and visual works, as well as conversations with creators, dance parties, and more, and the three-day online gala that started on Thursday culminates in today's special livestream starting at 5pm, hosted by Carlos the Rollerblader, and featuring new performance works by artists including Allie Hankins and Ahamefule J. Oluo; video works by Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch and more; guest appearances by artistic luminaries such as Linda Austin, Miranda July, and Eiko Otake; and a silent auction featuring one-of-a-kind works. Pay the stream a visit, and if you can, literally pay the stream to help keep the arts alive in Portland.

Block by Blockwest
Who could have predicted that in 2020, a global pandemic would have closed down most of the economy and relegated most of the world's citizens into self-quarantine? And further, who would have predicted that festival concert season would not only not slow down, but would instead move online? And then, THEN: Who would have predicted the number one place to host these online mega-concerts would be the video game Minecraft? And yet, here we are. In 2020. Staying home, staying safe, and starting at noon, raising money for COVID relief by donating during performances from Pussy Riot, Sir Sly, Hunny, Cherry Glazerr, The Wrecks, The Polar Boys, and many, many more.

Tropitaal: A Desi-Latino Soundclash
For seven years now, DJ Anjali & The Kid have been commandeering the Tropitaal Desi-Latino Soundclash to the delight of knowing Portland audiences. The fact people can't go out to the club won't stop that seventh birthday party from going off in grand style, as they've been livestreaming DJ sets since the early days of the lockdown, and they're bringing all their formidable dance powers to this party on, tonight at 8 pm.

Muppet Guys Talking: A Special Conversation to Honor Jim Henson
The stars of 2017's documentary/conversation/storytelling session Muppet Guys Talking (and by "stars," I mean Muppet legends like Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Jerry Nelson, Fran Brill, and Bill Baretta) are reuniting today at 1pm for a livestream to pay tribute to Jim Henson and raise funds in his name to help frontline workers fighting the spread of COVID-19. Attendance is free, but everyone who pre-registers to attend the event will be asked to make a donation to a selected coronavirus-related cause. Also, if you haven't yet watched Muppet Guys Talking, why not rectify that oversight while you're waiting for the charity stream to start. These are the folks who brought Gonzo, Piggy, Snuffleupagus, Pepe the Prawn, Fozzie, Bobo, Boober Fraggle, and so many more to life. Don't you wanna be in that room when they start reminiscing?

Little Shop of Horrors: Director's Cut
Hey, speaking of Frank Oz; most people who were both Fozzie Bear and Yoda probably would have rested on those laurels, safe in knowing they'd altered the face of pop culture for all time. But Frank Oz got bit by the directing bug on The Dark Crystal, and thus began the second phase of his career, one marked by a string of successful big-screen comedies shot through with his satirical sense of humor. Near the top of his filmography is his first real step away from Muppetland, a musical remake of a Roger Corman schlockfest from the '60s called Little Shop of Horrors, starring Levi Stubbs as a carnivorous alien plant from outer space who completely upends the life of Rick Moranis. The Director's Cut (now streaming, HBO Now) restores the film's original, apocalyptic monster-movie-appropriate ending, one that gives the film the sort of mean-spirited bite felt in Oz's other successes (Bowfinger, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels). Co-starring Ellen Greene, half the cast of Martin, struggling banjo player Steve Martin, and Bill Murray in what might be his best performance ever.

Sea Wall
While Phoebe Waller-Bridge was deservedly and rightfully showered with awards for Fleabag season two, it can be argued (and she's made this case herself) that if it wasn't for Andrew Scott as Hot Priest, the season would have never happened at all. But before he was Hot Priest (and before he was Moriarty in the BBC's Sherlock, before that show became flaming crap), he was the guy that playwright Simon Stephens wrote Sea Wall for in 2008. The 30-minute play was then recorded in 2012 after a theatrical run in 2012, and is now being made available to stream, for free on YouTube, until May 18. And even if this play—and Scott's performance in it—weren't described by multiple critics as "a life-changing experience," the fact it's an opportunity to literally spend a half-hour in a locked room with Hot Priest should be enough to get you to click it.

The Mystery Box Show
The coronavirus has us all cooped up indoors, but good true-sex storytelling can set you free, and that's why The Mystery Box Show is taking their long-running, successful local storytelling show to YouTube tonight at 6:30 pm, with tales from Jason Rouse, Heather Marcus, James Cox, and Reba Sparrow. The stream isn't behind any paywalls either, but if you're feeling generous, there are donation and Patreon links to click while you watch.

Roberta Flack: First Take 50th Anniversary Listening Party
One of soul's all-time finest vocalists and songwriters takes over the Rhino Records YouTube channel at noon for a listening party celebrating the 50th anniversary of her landmark LP First Take, which is one of those albums that even if you swear you've never heard it, you've heard it—either via basic cultural osmosis, or due to the fact damn near every song on both sides became a radio mainstay over the last five decades. Don't believe it? Refresh your memory by listening to the album below, and then hanging out with Roberta at noon today. Proceeds benefit Feed the Children.

Sunday, May 17

The Last Dance Finale
The absence of sports has turned ESPN's 10-part Chicago Bulls documentary The Last Dance into the NBA Finals, the World Series, and Wrestlemania all in one. Apologies, did we say "Chicago Bulls" documentary? Because it's not really that. It was kinda-sorta that at first, but now it's essentially a highly entertaining, endlessly fascinating peek into the perpetual grievance machine that is Michael Jordan's petty, bullying brain. Seriously, the man has two speeds: "Smoke cigar" and "Kill Bill siren", and the toggle between the two was damaged somewhere in 1988. The documentary wraps up its final two episodes tonight, sure to unleash an untold number of meme-able moments, and some sadness for sports fans who had come to rely on this doc's ability to give them a fix for their basketball jones.

MOFAD x Gastro Obscura: The Beer Pantry
The Museum of Food and Drink partners with Gastro Obscura to host this special livestream event helping focus you stay-at-home-foodies on the potential that beer holds as a paired beverage for your planned meals, and also as an ingredient in those meals. Executive Chef Adam Dulye and author Michael Harlan Turkell recently released their cookbook The Beer Pantry, and they're going to sit in front of a camera at 5pm tonight and beam themselves, their knowledge, and their love of beer into your living room. Level One tickets ($15) get you access to the stream, Level Two tickets ($55) get you the stream and a copy of the cookbook. It's up to you to get the beer, though.

Virtual Sunday Bingo!
You know how this works: Same good ol' Bingo fun you remember from the last time you hit the Siren and daubed (and dabbed, who knows) to your hearts content, or from the days when nicotine-stained Bingo halls dotted the landscape. But this time, it's all happening online (11 am, $5-18), hosted by Erin Jean O'Regan and Jed Arkley. Prizes include Siren T-shirts, tickets to shows when the big re-opening finally happens, homemade cloth face masks, and of course, cash prizes.

2020 has been a very surprising, unpredictable, and alarming sort of year, which explains how Trolls: World Tour ended up being the movie that caused movie theater CEOs to plunge into existential terror and throw some industry-shaking tantrums. And this weekend sees Warner Bros giving it their own computer-animated "sure, why the hell not" type of shot on VOD with Scoob!, an origin story (!?!) for Scooby-Doo and Shaggy, that is also apparently the first movie in a (checks Wikipedia) "Hanna-Barbera shared cinematic universe." That's... jesus, okay, sure. So, if you're looking to occupy the little ones this weekend and feeling like doing your part to upend an entire entertainment industry, why not rent this thing! Maybe you weren't there when Iron Man changed the game back in '08, but now you can say you had a front row seat at the birth of the (re-checks Wikipedia in disbelief) "Hanna-Barbera shared cinematic universe."

Miss Janet, Cause We Nasty
You've spent your whole lockdown trying to perfect the chair routine from the "Miss You Much" video, and now, Shi Shi and Passports provide you the perfect opportunity to nail it in the best way possible: Safely, in your own home, and with nobody watching for when you accidentally biff it or smash the chair into something expensive. Alternatively, you could just dance your ass off in your living room as decades of hits flow through your speakers starting at 8 pm on Holocene's Twitch channel, in celebration of Janet's birthday!

The Joy of Painting
Look, sometimes the obvious choice is the obvious choice because it's the right one. No matter what situation might be stressing you the hell out (There's certainly no shortage of options right now), an hour (or 12) of Bob Ross (now streaming on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube) is like Calamine lotion for your nerves. (Editor's Note: Calamine lotion is Calamine lotion for your nerves, bright eyes.) It's almost impossible to watch him paint and not feel some level of comfort when he pulls a landscape out of thin air with a brush, a knife, and that weird blue he always uses (Pthalamo? Prusha-flush? Whatever). Is it cliche to suggest this balm for the anxious soul? Maybe. Who gives a shit. It's The Joy of Painting.

Gone Home
There are myriad opportunities for virtual escape from your home while self-quarantined, because no matter how cool your pad might be, after awhile, the desire to visit someone else's house, to go wandering down new halls and looking at the art on new walls starts to really pull on you. There was a game made in Portland in 2013 that lets you do this. It's called Gone Home (now available, all gaming platforms, $7.49), and it was made by the Fullbright Company. It's the story of a girl who returns to her family's Portland home in the middle of the night, in the middle of a rainstorm, and finds a quiet, low-key mystery awaiting her. Ben Coleman wrote about it for the Merc when it first came out, and all the things he said about it then, things like "one of the medium's best—and most important—video games" are just as true today. Maybe even moreso, since getting to explore "a time capsule filled with other people's lives" and being rewarded with "a surprisingly moving, intensely personal story" is a gift not many games can offer to those feeling squeezed by self-quarantine.

A little bit ago, Drake up and dropped a brand-new-mixtape out of nowhere for people to consume with reckless abandon while on quarantine, and now his frequent partner-in-crime, Future, is going one step further with his own brand new LP, High off Life, which used to be called Life is Good, same as the single he dropped with Drake a little bit ago. Future's always trying to switch things up on you, and this new album is likely no different. Keep in mind: this is a man who loves himself some Tom Brady highlights chased with sensational midnight cheesecakes. You're in for a trip when you hit play.

Don't forget to check out our Things To Do calendar for even more things to stream while you stay home and stay safe!