Phase 1, in most states, has already begun. People are rushing to beaches and stores. Some have already hurried to bars and restaurants, foregoing restrictions and protesting to challenge what some see is a premature lessening of social distancing.

Many others, however, are content to keep within the confines of their homes and, where they are able, keep the personal restrictions and sheltering in place set in the event that there is a re-emergence of the virus.

Still, all this caution, all this concern doesn’t alleviate the trite, but true issue of boredom. There are only so many shows to stream on Netflix, Hulu, and Prime. There are only so many viewings of The Mandalorian you catch without feeling a bit restless. (Yes, we know, Baby Yoda is the cutest little creature this side of Tatooine, but even he can’t hold our attention for months on end).

But if you find yourself over streaming services and exhausted by reading, writing, creating and all that baking you or your folks have been doing, (and the extra five pounds you’re lugging around because of it), there are a few other activities available that are proactive, creative or at the very least, highly entertaining we thought we’d pass along to you.

These are just a few of our personal favorites. We’d love to hear about yours in the comments below. Keep safe, keep protected (“Constant Vigilance!” as Professor Moody would say), and don’t worry about those five pounds. Summer is coming. You’ll sweat it all off soon enough.

ONLINE CONFERENCES

No. We’re not talking about that marketing training your manager is nagging you to log into this week. We’re talking about some really great, incredibly cool conferences you’ve always wanted to go to but maybe couldn’t find the time or the funds for. The past weekend, we were able to spend logged into FLIGHTS OF FOUNDRY, a sci-fi and fantasy conference that was 100% online. Outfitted with panels via Zoom and chats on Discord, the entire events allowed participants to access workshops and panels with authors, artists, agents, and editors for absolutely zero pennies. (There was an option to donate). Despite minor kinks and an overloaded system on Sunday due to online church services, the panels were so well conducted and received that many spilled over into the chat rooms afterward. It was an excellent source for networking, skill-sharing, and learning from masters of the craft.

And, FLIGHTS OF FOUNDRY isn’t a solitary event. Many yearly cons that have had to cancel or postpone their live events have moved their workshops, lectures and panels onto streaming services, cutting or eliminating registration fees. This weekend, you can participate in both BALTICON and WIS-CON.

*5/20/20 Is the LAST day to sign up for WisCon so hurry with your registration!*

CELEBRITY READINGS

Taika Waititi (and friends) read 'James the the Giant Peach ...

Want to hear your favorite actor quote Shakespeare? Feel in the mood to hear some great Brits reciting Potter just to remind you what it was like to read that book for the very first time? Here’s a small rundown of a few celebrities and the for-charity readings they’ve put on during the quarantine.

Patrick Stewart’s Daily Shakespeare Readings On his Instagram in all his lovely grandfatherly, Picard glory. (Incidentally, if you haven’t’ checked out PICARD on CBS All-Access, do yourself a favor and remedy that now!)

Emilia Clarke’s Poetry Reads for Charity – Khaleesi herself has gathered a distinguished group of actors to take to her Instagram and recite their favorite, and sometimes heartbreaking poems, benefiting their individual charities. Lovely, simple, highly entertaining.

Taika Waititi and Friends Read JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH – If you haven’t fallen in love with the Oscar-winning New Zealand filmmaker and actor responsible for Thor: Ragnarok and Jojo Rabbit among many others… can you really call yourself a person of good taste? Regardless, Taika Waititi has gathered an impressive collection of acting royalty to read Roald Dahl’s JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH to raise money for @Partners In Health. As expected, hilarity ensues.

Acting for a Cause – Do you have two hours and a good wifi connection? You can spend that time listening to full cast readings of such classic plays as Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre and Romeo and Juliet performed by “young Hollywood” actors to benefit “students from the West side of Chicago [whose aim it is to] return to their fine arts programs and private schools after the financial difficulty caused by the Coronavirus closures.” Source

Harry Potter Reading – Daniel Radcliffe, David Beckham, Dakota Fanning, Eddie Redmayne, Stephen Fry, Claudia Kim, and Noma Dumezweni recorded chapters from the first Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s (Philosopher’s) Stone, reminding us all what it was like to dip into Harry’s world for the first time. And it’s now available as a free audiobook on Spotify. Hogwarts is calling. It’s time to come home.

AUTHOR READINGS/ENGAGING

Chuck Wendig Keeps Us Chatting – One of our favorite authors, Chuck Wendig is never one to sugarcoat a thing, but he’s also taking each night to keep his followers engaged with his “Nightly Questions.” Whether it’s about the creative work that changed you the most, or the best, most perfectly perfect albums of all times, (Appetite for Destruction, Purple Rain, Jagged Little Pill and Rumors if you’re keeping track), Wendig’s topics have helped to distract many consumed by the quarantined. Stop by his Twitter feed to get in on the conversation.

Cat Valente’s The Orphan’s Tales Live Reads – With her lush description and velvet-rich voice Cat Valente has spent the past month reading from her 2006 title, The Orphan’s Tale: In the Night Garden. The readings started as live feeds on her Instagram, but have been posted in numerical order on her YouTube page. Watch each one, sit back, and get lost in this magical, consuming story about “a lonely girl[…] spinning stories to warm a curious prince. Inked on her eyelids, each twisting, tattooed tale is a piece in the puzzle of the girl’s own hidden history.”

Contact Us | Volumes Bookcafe

Authors Dancing…For a Good Cause –

To help bring awareness to the danger facing Chicago’s Volumes Bookcafe, one fo the city’s premier independent booksellers, a group of twenty-five writers recreated the “Breakfast Club dance” to help reach the bookstore’s fundraising goal.

Rebecca Makkai says she asked her friends to participate in the video to help bring awareness to the campaign and that they are “a long way from their ultimate goal, but if things go well they’ll be able to move to a new location to serve the same neighborhood, readers, aspiring writers, LGBTQIA folks, families, kids, students, open mic nights.”

PLEASE SHARE THE FUNDRAISER HERE

PLEASE SHARE THE VIDEO HERE

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