Some of us like what we've seen of Japanese food TV: "Samurai Gourmet" and "Midnight Diner." Here's a chance to explore longer works:
Monday, December 21, 2020
Thursday, December 17, 2020
Thursday, December 10, 2020
Get away from your streaming device and enjoy Portland Ballet's "A Victorian Nutcracker" on your TV! Just tune in to WLBZ or WCHS on Saturday the 12th, at either 9:00 AM or 8:00 PM. This is a real, staged ballet, not a Zoom thing, but has fewer dancers because of the need to distance. You can also watch on the News Center Maine website or Roku app.
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
"A Christmas Carol" comes to you in different ways this season. Check the dates; most run for the bulk of December. All but one require paid tickets, but the prices are reasonable.
The New York Times praises Jefferson Mays' one-man reading at the LaJolla Playhouse. He acts all the parts, but it looks more like a movie than a reading, with a ton of special effects. Expect a darker "take" than you may be used to.
The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis has the reputation of being one of the very best regional theaters in the country (this writer has been thrilled with the three plays she's seen there). Its version reimagines Dickens' own readings when he took the story on the road.
And what about Scrooge with dozens of paper puppets? This double version presents contrasting approaches, one traditional and one highly contemporary.
And one more, from Trinity Rep in Providence; this one's free:
Tuesday, December 1, 2020
The Boston Symphony Orchestra has a concert available for viewing through December 19:
Sunday, November 29, 2020
The days of lots of free stuff seem to be coming to an end, as theaters struggle to make ends meet without a live paying audience. One free venue that continues to provide free productions is the Theater of War. They are doing excellent Zoom readings of mostly Greek plays, followed by discussion. It's all aimed at making social change, or at least raising awareness of vital issues. Coming up: productions centering on "Antigone," "Philoctetes," and "The Book of Job." December 3, 6, and 8. Check them out:
And if you're wondering why a company devoted to social justice and health awareness is called Theater of War, have a look at https://theaterofwar.com/about.
The Waterville Opera House has a film of their current production, the well-known chronicle of a town in Maine called Almost, where the women are strong, the men are . . . well, you know. $40 tickets for specific dates through December 13.
Saturday, November 28, 2020
Want to see all the lights in the Bangor area? The Bangor Rotary Club has made it easy for us. Just go to their website and download a map when the time comes. What a nice way to brighten up these long evenings, December 5-January 2!
On another note,
Barack Obama is the headliner in a big-time set of presentations at the PEN Gala. PEN America "stands at the intersection of writing and human rights to protect free expression," and gives annual awards for writing that furthers those goals. (PEN/Faulkner, which gives annual literary awards, is a different organization.)
This even features other familiar names, from Spike Lee to Emma Thompson.
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
TV and streaming documentaries may be the learning method that requires the least exertion of those brain cells.
If you have a smart TV and/or streaming device, you have access to a ton of documentaries on YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. This long weekend, when you may be stuck at home instead of enjoying a big family feast, might be a good time to dig in and explore things you've scrolled past before.
To name just one, the Smithsonian Channel has a wealth of possibilities, and you can enjoy them on your tablet or phone, too. Check out https://www.smithsonianchannel.com/about/ways-to-watch.
And if you want to spend a little money on a virtual trip abroad, check out Context Travel's many offerings: https://conversations.contexttravel.com/collections/seminars?sort=created-ascending
Monday, November 16, 2020
Short editorial here: All arts and entertainment companies are struggling, of course. Local groups are smaller and have fewer resources than, say, a major New York theater. They need our help to survive the pandemic. Maine theaters have made it easy for us, by offering things we can love from our own living rooms. And please note: it takes smarts, imagination, and a ton of persistence and hard work to switch from what you know how to do well to a completely different means of production. It also takes money.
Penobscot Theatre Company has put together an impressive, innovative season, with a sizeable variety of audio and video releases. We can be proud of our very own local productions. There's a lot of fun to be had: https://www.penobscottheatre.org/
Down the road, Waterville Opera House is offering the perennial favorite "Almost, Maine" at the beginning of December. https://www.operahouse.org/shows/almost-maine.
And Portland Stage has the romantic play "Talley's Folly" available through November 22. https://www.portlandstage.org/events/talleys-folly/?event_rdate=20201114140000,20201114153000
Saturday, November 14, 2020
Here's a site that lists a dozen European theaters offering streaming dance, opera, and music, including much that is free. It may be a sort of mini-travel adventure. For example, I registered in Italian--it was easy--and saw the Rome opera company performing at the stunning Roman Baths of Caracalla. Subtitles may not be in English for opera, but dance speaks no language except that of beauty.
Friday, November 13, 2020
We'll keep adding to this list as we go along. Here are a few sites for starters:
Highly recommended: Maine's own Jewish Film Festival, with movies you'll never see anywhere else. Many offer a glimpse at cultures unfamiliar to most of us, like ultra-conservative Israelis. It's underway right now, so check out the remaining offerings at https://mjff.org/.
A big help: the updates provided weekly by the wonderful folks at the Collins Center at UM. Get on their mailing list, if you aren't already. They include all the performing arts. For example, coming up this weekend is West End Unplugged, with performances by London musical theater stars: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51imb1n9rEo,
The Stratford Festival, Canada's Shakespeare theater, offers a sizeable choice of filmed plays for a $10/month introductory subscription. (You could always drop out later.) https://www.stratfordfestival.ca/AtHome
Stay tuned for more!
Sunday, November 8, 2020
Friday, November 6, 2020
As we move more indoors, it's time to start noting upcoming arts, learning, and entertainment opportunities. So here we go!
Broadway and more
TodayTix gives you some streaming shows, some with big-name performers (Matthew Broderick! Ellen Burstyn!). Start times begin next weekend; new shows every few weeks. See details:
Your trusty local events concierge
The good folks at the Collins Center for the Arts post their excellent, weekly "Six picks" of upcoming shows each Friday. They also include a wealth of other arts and entertainment to explore.
Enjoy this beautiful weekend and check back for more to do indoors at the beginning of next week!
Sunday, November 1, 2020
It's November, and there's no getting around the big question: how will we get through the winter with body and soul intact?
We'll use this space to bring you as many resources for keeping fit, mentally and otherwise, as we can find. Stay tuned!
Our first recommendation:
While you can certainly watch and listen on your PC or laptop, a streaming device hooked to your TV is a big asset. If you don't have one, consider getting one, probably for around $35. There are different kinds, depending on the age and capabilities of your TV. Get a savvy family member to help you buy and set one up. Then you can curl up in your favorite comfy chair with your popcorn and a beverage for your viewing.
We'll be posting a lot of streaming offerings among our other suggestions. Enjoy!
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Today's the day! Courses begin this very day, and we're so excited. We have a nice selection of topics, from zoology and pet care, Maine poetry, and race/privilege to watercolor painting, and so much more!
Yes, we're still on Zoom, like so much of the rest of the world. But that's OK. We're still offering great courses, just in a little bit different way. Our summer Zoom offerings were a huge success, and we see no reason why fall shouldn't be just as wonderful.
If you've missed the start date but wanted to take a class, never fear. This year we plan something new: a winter term with at least a couple of offerings. So stay tuned!
Meanwhile, happy fall!
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
It's amazing how many ways there are for seniors to keep learning. Of course, our fall semester catalog is the place to start: https://pvsc.myrec.com/info/default.aspx
And of course, if you're a member, you can take courses at Senior Colleges across the state. The Lewiston-Auburn SC has just opened its fall courses to members of other SCs, so their lineup is worth a look: www.usm.maine.edu/seniorcollege
Monday, August 31, 2020
Monday, August 17, 2020
. . . Summer learning continues into fall at Senior Colleges around the state. Check out the last-minute opportunities at nearby SCs.
And if you're thinking about fall courses, our catalog is about to come out. Lots of good stuff, from race and privilege to Poe and Maine poetry to watercolor painting.
Thursday, August 13, 2020
Bari Newport wowed us with her discussion of regional theater and Penobscot Theatre Company in particular. (Keep your eyes open for the Theatre's announcement of its exciting line-up for next season. No, it's not live, but there's tremendous fun, stimulation, and creativity in what they're offering. Check it out!)
Coming up in our lovely Variety Show:
African-American history in Bangor, Wednesday, August 19
German POW camps in Maine in World War II, Wednesday and Thursday, August 26 and 27
The ins and outs of self/cooperative publishing, Monday, August 31.
To register, call or email Sheila Krautkremer, firstname.lastname@example.org or 659-1359.
Saturday, August 1, 2020
Friday, July 17, 2020
Folks attending the Variety Show on Wednesdays at 4:00 have learned about a critical Supreme Court decision from the current session, Ramos v. Louisiana, and heard an overview of how waves and beaches work. Next week we'll take up "Brainstorming the Bicentennial: Past and Present Perspectives on Maine at 200," with history professor Liam Riordan.
Good things are happening at PVSC, despite the restrictions imposed by Covic-19!
Saturday, July 4, 2020
PVSC’s Variety Show, a series of one-hour Zoom presentations on a fascinating range of topics, starts Wednesday, the 8th, and there are still seats left.
One sign-up gets you any or all of 8 weeks’ worth, every Wednesday at 4:00. Check out the delicious choices on our website:
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
*Beginning July 8: The PVSC Variety Show, with speakers on fascinating topics, sort of like a mini-mini-course. One hour/week on Wednesdays at 4:00.
* July 10: A virtual tour of UMaine's Food Science Innovation Center, which finds new ways to use Maine food products. Learn about everything from cheese pressing to blast freezing.
* Beginning July 16: Short Stories for Our Time, a book-group-style discussion of short stories. One hour per week on Thursdays at 4:00.
Programs are free, but you must register to get a Zoom link. Details are on our website: http://www.penobscotvalleyseniorcollege.org. Click "Register," then "Courses."
Friday, June 19, 2020
To help us keep learning through the rest of the summer, PVSC is proud to announce two new, FREE Zoom series, beginning in July:
- The PVSC Variety Show, one-hour mini-mini-classes on hot topics: Maine's Bicentennial, German POW camps in Maine, waves and beaches, what the Bible doesn't say, and more. Wednesdays at 4:00, beginning July 8.
- Short Stories for our Time, book-group-style discussions of stories by contemporary authors. Thursdays at 4:00, beginning July 16.
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Meanwhile, here are a few more "best of the best" at-home learning resources:
- Online shopping that's not Amazon: https://pollybarks.com/ethical-alternatives-to-amazon/
- What's up at UMaine, including Cooperative Extension: https://calendar.umaine.edu/. Pick your category.
- Virtual tours of scenic places: https://www.expedia-aarp.com/blog/virtual-tours/?MDP.US.TPS.AARP.SOCIAL-VIRTUALTOURS.GENERIC, and also https://www.northernnewengland.aaa.com/publications/travel/us-destinations/virtual-tours-of-national-parks.html?zip=04430-AAA&area=email_EPubs043020&cid=999999532904100&jid=667980
Friday, June 12, 2020
Fastest way to know what to watch streaming:
Best local resource lists:
- The weekly newsletter from The Strand in Rockland https://www.rocklandstrand.com/. Click E-news signup.
- The Collins Center, previously mentioned. Weekly updates. https://www.collinscenterforthearts.com/,
Thursday, June 4, 2020
NY Times free newsletters
Daily news and features in your inbox. Especially helpful: the coronoavirus newsletter. Your email program might need to train itself to recognize these as legit; at first they may appear in your junk mail folder, so be checking after you sign up.
Collins Center: performing arts listings
One of the best ways to know what available both from local musicians/performers and nationally, your trusty local Collins Center for the Arts maintains a terrific list.
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
So the next few posts will be recaps of some of the most useful things we've found in our 65-day journey through these strange times. That way you don't have to scroll back forever to find something to do today.
Meanwhile, you can support local arts by getting tickets to New Surry Theatre's streaming production of "The Laramie Project," about the murder of Mathew Shepard. The Theatre calls it "a stunningly honest and provoking dive into prejudice, the complexity of our understanding of one another, community, and what we mean to each other." Actors perform from their homes.
Saturday, May 30, 2020
TheAmerican Shakespeare Company has several filmed plays to stream, but the offer expires May 31. See updated versions of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (set in New Orleans), "The Grapes of Wrath," and "Cymbeline." Give what you can, starting at $10. We want to support the struggling arts, yes?
More streaming theater
The Goodman Theater is Chicago offers "2666," about recent Mexican history and murdered women. Free. https://www.goodmantheatre.org/watch2666
Learn about art
High-quality streaming films about art and artists come your way from Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. Small rental fee.
Shopping from home without Amazon
A list of ways to order what you need.
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Go to the dogs
We're not sure what this is, but if you're a dog lover, it might be worth $5 to find out. Apparently it's a 90-minute "medley" of doggy film. Proceeds go to animal rescue.
Saturday, May 23, 2020
Your friendly neighborhood Collins Center for the Arts has thoughtfully assembled huge menus of treats from the performing arts, from YoYo Ma and Tennessee Williams to barbershop and letter-writing (and reading). You could spend hours browsing.
Friday, May 22, 2020
The UMaine System's Cooperative Extension arm has several online presentations coming up, from fiddleheads, rhubarb, and pickles to growing native plants and backyard chickens. Check out their offerings at
Food and drink in Italian Renaissance art, anyone? Women painters? Chinese landscapes? Drawing lessons? Loads of art adventures await you with a free 6-month subscription to Princeton University's art museum.
Thursday, May 21, 2020
This isn't exactly learning, but it sure looks like fun! The Strand's offers the film it would be showing live if it could: "Lucky Grandma," about a Chinese elder who wins big at the casino, then has to deal with gangsters who want the money. Billed as a dark comedy. There's a ticket price; get all the info at https://www.rocklandstrand.com/event/virtual-cinema-lucky-grandma.
NT Live's play this week is a strong, dark production of that all-American classic, Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire." Hear Stanley's famous shout, "Stella!" On YouTube beginning tonight. Search "NT Live." Warning: there's domestic abuse.
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Houston Symphony principal violist Joan deHovesepian plays from her home on Sunday at 8 PM only, for $10. Presumably that's 8:00 Central Daylight Time, so 9:00 here.
Fish migration in Maine May 27th
Brought to you my Maine Audubon, this one is live on the 27th at 2:00. You must register, and space is limited, so act now!
Blackbirds in the Maine woods
A UMaine graduate student presents his research on the rusty blackbird in the northern Maine woods
Ken Burns' "National Parks" series
If you missed it on TV, Maine Public Television has Ken Burns' national park series available for streaming.
Two Zoom productions about Mark Twain will be aired on Thursday, the 21st. Your trusty blogger has no idea what this is like, and there isn't much information, but if you're feeling like an experiment, check it out:
Streaming theater, music, etc.
As sheltering in place drags on, more and more theater companies are putting their productions online. Some charge for their shows, as arts organizations are desperate to stay afloat without ticket sales.
Your best source of things to watch from your couch seems to be https://www.timeout.com/. It's updated each week, so keep checking back.
One particularly interesting-sounding play to consider: "Boxcar" ("Vagon") tells the story of five men who cross the border in a boxcar and must deal with a conflicted immigration officer. Available free through June 7 in Spanish with English subtitles. You will register and be given a password to view the video.
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
If you can afford it, this is a rare opportunity for big-time learning and discussion on one of the icons of our culture: The New Yorker. Cultural critic Adam Gopnik begins a lecture-discussion series on the history of the magazine this Wednesday, May 20:
Learn a language
As a recent New York Times article pointed out, what better time than now to start learning a language?
The Times offers a number of helpful suggestions. One is using a phone app. Babbel, CofeeBreak, and Memrise all offer thorough instruction at a cost. Duolingo is rated as easy and free.
Another is using flashcards, either homemade or on an app. Apps have the advantage of pronouncing the words for you.
YouTube has a language-learning channel; who knew? It's called Easy Languages. A gentleman named Luca Lampariello has made a specialty of this. A good place to start is with his website, https://www.lucalampariello.com/youtube-learn-foreign-languages/. He also has a YouTube channel.
If you have a Times subscription, the complete article is at https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/28/travel/language-instruction-apps-television-youtube.html
Monday, May 18, 2020
Lectures about a huge variety of topics are offered by OneDayUniversity. There's an $8/month fee, so check the sample videos to see if you want to invest.
And don't forget that you can always listen to free lectures and even take free courses on your own time at the top universities in the country. https://www.edx.org/ or https://www.coursera.org/
Lots of theater, streaming
[UPDATE] TimeOut is a great source for what's playing that you can tap into. Check it out at
Sunday, May 17, 2020
Cooperative Extension has some webinars coming up this week that might be of interest, especially if you're a gardener. Rhubarb preservation, anyone? Invasive plant identification?
Saturday, May 16, 2020
There are lots of videos with views of popular tourist sites on YouTube. But if you want to learn anything, you need a guide. So look for videos with narration. You can spend happy hours searching out the best. A good example is this one, of Machu Picchu; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d09AwPp5nag. An interesting short explanation of the engineering of the Great Wall of China is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BefKbn6LisI.
"Go" to a museum (again)
We've posted links to museum virtual tours before, but this seems like a good time to revisit (haha). This is quite a compehensive set of links:
Friday, May 15, 2020
Each week, The Strand streams a film you'd never see in the big-box cinema. They do cost money, just as they would if you went to the actual theater ($12). Worth a try to see something special. This week: the music of New Orleans.
Cirque du Soliel in quarantine
The folks at The Strand also suggest a video by Cirque du Soliel; how do their artists get through quarantine?
There are also full-length Cirque performances on YouTube, just search their name.
Explore music at Tiny Desk concerts
NPR has had this series running for a while now. Check out some music you might not hear about otherwise. For those of us still stuck in the music of our youth, this is a good way to sample some indie-folky-rootsy-rocky stuff, along with music in some categories you've never heard of (got psych-folk?).
Thursday, May 14, 2020
Monday, May 11, 2020
We've said it before, but lest you grow fretful and weary, be sure to put some newness in your days. Figure out something to make with the coconut that's been sitting in your cupboard. Find a new place to walk. (Maine Trail Finder is a good resource for more adventurous outings. https://www.mainetrailfinder.com/trails.) Dig out a book you've been avoiding. Try drawing with your non-dominant hand. For that matter, try drawing at all! Figure out what all those weird apps on your phone do.
Creativity in isolation
We think our current situation is tough; imagine being in forced isolation for fifteen years. A remarkable film shows how one woman's confinement led to fascinating art. The Strand in Rockland makes this 30-minute film available to us with the password isolation. You may have to create an account in Vimeo (a platform for posting homemade or professional videos).
Friday, May 8, 2020
More music, music, music
Here is a frequently updated source for live TV and streaming concerts, listed by date:
BDN virtual events
If you're a Bangor Daily News subscriber, there are regular online events that might interest you. Coming up on Tuesday: three area chefs show and tell. Upcoming events include such topics as pandemic and climate change, handling finances in difficult times, and nature journalism.
Thursday, May 7, 2020
The Bangor Symphony continues to offer ways to listen and watch our favorite local orchestra:
A rerun of a past performance: this Sunday, May 10, at 3:00, on MaineClassical (106.1). Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann.
Wake up your ears with some big trombone sounds. The "Artists in Residence" (get it?) series currently features the low brass playing a little Mahler. Search "Bangor Symphony Orchestra" on YouTube.
Of all people, Air B&B is offering virtual experiences that will get you out of your routine. You can visit sheep or goats, or learn to dance the Argentine tango. You can cook pasta while your chef/instructor sings opera. You can even make dumplings with the drag queens of Lisbon. There are many, many possibilities, most of them less exotic than these examples. Fees and available dates vary. Some require purchasing ingredients or supplies.
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
It's a thing. If you're feeling restless and cranky, it's not surprising. This has gone on beyond our expectations and capacity to deal easily. But if there's anything age has taught us, it's resilience. We know the survival basics: have a schedule and a social life (at a distance), get outdoors, exercise, try something new.
Here are some interesting articles about the way people are feeling and how to cope:
And if you're scientifically inclined, this is a thorough study:
Tuesday, May 5, 2020
The next warm(ish) day, grab your lunch and lawn chair and head outdoors. Back yard picnics are great for putting a spring (ha ha) back in your step. Even a sandwich on the front porch steps can provide a change of scene. If you're feeling adventurous, head for a park where you can have plenty of distance from others.
Try some yoga
If you decide to try yoga, please be very careful! Not all yoga is for everyone, and these links have not been vetted by experts. They are labeled "for seniors," but use your own judgment. The first one might be a place to start if you have limited mobility or balance: chair yoga.
Monday, May 4, 2020
Somewhere in a bathroom drawer, you have a peel-off mask or other form of facial stuff. Or make your own; some recipes are at https://www.thehealthy.com/beauty/face-body-care/homemade-facial-masks-recipes/. If you live with someone, get him or her to do it too. (Men like facials, too!) Take pictures of yourselves masked with foamy stuff and send them to someone who needs a laugh.
Try some brand-new operas
Philadelphia Opera is offering a short opera series in May--four world premieres of very contemporary works and one classic, The Barber of Seville. Check out the list at
Stretch those brain cells! A musician friend is memorizing some Bach, a few measures a day. Or a poem that makes you laugh, some helpful quotations, the state capitals? If you're feeling blah at this point in our quarantine, this may give you something to feel good about.
Saturday, May 2, 2020
Today at 1:00, there's a live concert. This isn't Zoom--it's an actual concert, in the concert hall, with a smaller orchestra and no audience. Today's program includes Mahler, Barber, and more. https://www.digitalconcerthall.com/en/concert/53366
Pre-recorded concerts are also available. https://www.digitalconcerthall.com/en/concerts
"Visit" some national parks
AAA has thoughtfully put together links to 10 national parks, where you can find videos and other ways to explore the parks from your couch. Go to this link and click on "Plan for visit" for each park you want to explore. https://www.northernnewengland.aaa.com/publications/travel/us-destinations/virtual-tours-of-national-parks.html?zip=04430-AAA&area=email_EPubs043020&cid=999999532904100&jid=667980
Friday, May 1, 2020
Your friendly local library has access to Cloud Library, and you can check out e-books free. An introductory webinar is on MONDAY, May 4. Here's the info and free registration spot:
If you're not a subscriber to the weekly newsletter from The Strand Theater in Rockland, now might be a good time to get connected. Each newsletter has a set of links for a variety of at-home viewing, thinking-about, and/or listening. This week's reminded us--among other things--of the great free theater performances on NT Live (YouTube). Starting now: the fabulous Benedict Cumberbatch "Frankenstein."
In addition, there is information about
- How to access a film that would have been playing at the theater, "Capital in the 21st Century," described as "an eye-opening journey through wealth and power, based on the international bestseller by rock-star economist Thomas Piketty. https://www.rocklandstrand.com/event/virtual-cinema-capital-twenty-first-century
- A discussion on Monday the 4th called "Midcoast Women via Zoom: Making Lemonade." Area leaders talk about what the post-pandemic economy in Maine might be like. https://www.midcoastwomen.org/