Monday, December 21, 2020

Something different

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:

The Strand Theater in Rockland has had a steady output of films (paid) and other goodies (free) to get us through the pandemic. Get on their mailing list: and look for "E-news signup" at the top. While you're there, check out their current offerings, right there on the home page.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Holiday music!

Maine holiday musical events coming right up:

Friday: our own local talent, Danny Williams (Collins Center director) and Emily Cain, plus vocal director/singer Fran Vogt, present a concert of holiday music: 

Saturday night, you'll have to make a tough choice. Both are on YouTube and free:

Thursday, December 10, 2020

A local Nutcracker on TV

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

Coming right up! The Boston Symphony, Jane Austen, and more

The Boston Symphony Orchestra has a concert available for viewing through December 19:

OK, this one's a little odd, but then, so are the times we're living in: a Jane Austen virtual birthday party. Send her a card by December 6, and/or join in on the live get-together (well, she's not alive, obviously, but you get the idea) on the 16th:

Shakespeare fans, or anyone interested in the Tudor period, will enjoy browsing the Fogler Shakespeare Library's (at Harvard) digital collection. Everything from doublets to hand-written cookbooks can be found.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Time for theater!

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

"Almost, Maine"

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

Coming up soon!

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

Learning the easy way

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

And if you want to spend a little money on a virtual trip abroad, check out Context Travel's many offerings:

Monday, November 16, 2020

Buy local

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:

Down the road, Waterville Opera House is offering the perennial favorite "Almost, Maine" at the beginning of December.

And Portland Stage has the romantic play "Talley's Folly" available through November 22.,20201114153000 

Saturday, November 14, 2020

More performing arts

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

"Going to" the theater

Now that the pandemic is in full swing again, theaters are trying to keep or regain their audiences by offering archived movies and films of live shows. In fact, there are so many possibilities out there that it can be hard to sort through it all. They're desperate for funds, so many of the shows have a fee. But there's also a lot that's free.

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

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:,

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.)

Stay tuned for more!

Sunday, November 8, 2020


Don't stop reading just because you hate opera. Do you picture screechy sopranos in helmets? Boring, unrealistic stories full of tenors dying for hours and laughable plot twists? Weird music in foreign languages?

Those images are outdated. Today, the stories and music haven't changed, but productions certainly have. Audio technology eliminates screech and today's stagings are dramatic, engaging, even exciting. Carmen in sneakers? A tattooed woman playing Nero? Sure.

The pandemic brought a few good things, and one is the chance to experience things you couldn't in normal times. You don't have to go to New York and buy an expensive ticket to see an opera; you can do it for free in your living room. In some ways, HD broadcasts are better than in the theater; the cameras put you right in the singers' faces. Subtitles translate for you. Check it out: what do you have to lose?

For a donation, you can watch Wagner in 3D! Check it out at the Minnesota Opera:

Free: The Metropolitan Opera offers a different top-of-the-line show each evening:

Also free: The San Francisco Opera offers productions on weekends:

And, for laughs, there's this goofy comic opera that combines Mozart's music with commentary life during COVID-19, by the Finnish National Opera: 

There's lots more, some free and some paid, including the Met's brilliant concert series, featuring its stars in exquisite European castles, seafront terraces, chapels, and such. A good umbrella site is


Friday, November 6, 2020

What's on?

 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

What now?

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:

Many, many sources of learning and amusement are streamed via the Internet--everything from drama and comedy--including the Penobscot Theatre, Portland Stage Company, and regional/international theaters--plus lots of  programming from Great Courses, the Smithsonian, and many more.

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

And so fall begins . . .

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

Learning, learning, learning!

It's amazing how many ways there are for seniors to keep learning. Of course, our fall semester catalog is the place to start:

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:

Monday, August 31, 2020

It's here! it's here!

The Fall course catalog is out! Courses begin September 29, and we're excited about the slate we've put together. Classes cover everything from A(rt) to V(eterinary medicine), with lots in between. 

Courses will be on Zoom, because that's what we have, these strange days. But fear not--it's easy, and help is available. 

Check out all the goodness on our website,

Won't it be good to be back in class?!

Monday, August 17, 2020

And did we mention . . .

 . . . 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

On through August with the Variety Show

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, or 659-1359.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Summer learnin’, cont.

Our summer offerings are halfway along, but it’s not too late to get in on the deliciousness. The Variety Show runs to the end of August. Next up: Prof. Steve Norton and “The Iceman Cometh: Maine Lakes”—exploration of water, ice, weather, and climate to explain some of Maine lake behavior.

Still ahead: The history of regional theatre in the US, African-Americans’ important role in Bangor’s history, and a two-part presentation on POW camps in Maine In WWII.

We’ve been thrilled with the turnout for all our experiments with Zoom presentations. The Variety Show attracts 40-50 members each week, as have our one-time special events. The short story discussion group is going strong with more dynamic discussions every week.

We’re grateful for our trusty Board of Directors. They saw the lockdown coming, met it head-on, and, as the business people say, pivoted nimbly to keep folks learning and engaged all summer. 

Friday, July 17, 2020

Summer learnin'

Your trusty blog writer has been absent for a bit, working to help get our two summer series underway. It's exciting to see how happily local seniors are taking to learning on Zoom: both series are pretty well at capacity. Turns out, not only can you teach old dogs news tricks, but old dogs can learn new tricks all by themselves!

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.

Our book group-style discussion class, "Stories for Our Time" launched yesterday with a wonderful sharing of ideas about two pieces by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Next week, two startling stories by the ever-unpredictable George Saunders.

Good things are happening at PVSC, despite the restrictions imposed by Covic-19!

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Variety Show

Happy 4th of July! Maybe the barbecues and fireworks are in short supply, but there’s excitement ahead!

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

At-home learning just got lots better!

PVSC's free, innovative summer series is in place on our website, where you can register for any or all of the following. Click the images for information about each.

*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: Click "Register," then "Courses."

Friday, June 19, 2020

And now for something completely different . . .

Big announcement!

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.
Details will appear here and on our website shortly. Meanwhile, check in on friends who may be interested but aren't computer-savvy. Perhaps you can find a way to team up with them (safely, of course). 

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Recap #3

It's almost time to stop posting these resources for learning at home and move on to something else. Like two exciting series we've put together for you: a lecture series and a short story discussion series! Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, here are a few more "best of the best" at-home learning resources:

Friday, June 12, 2020

More recap

Continuing with a few of our favorites from the long list of at-home learning suggestions:

Fastest way to know what to watch streaming:

Best local resource lists:

Thursday, June 4, 2020

At-home learning recap

This begins our "the best of the best" list, culled from well over 100 suggestions for at-home learning we've been posting since March.

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

At-home learning #65

We've reached a milestone: 65 posts about ways to learn at home. The well is beginning to run dry in terms of new resources. Plus, PVSC is working on its own set of ways to learn later in the summer.

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

At-home learning #64

Streaming theater: act now!
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.

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

At-home learning #63

Library books are back!
At least in Bangor they are. Your friendly Bangor Public Library will take your book orders and you can pick them up curbside.

While you're on the library's website, check out their "pandemic postcard" contest, the Maine Bicentennial exhibit, and more.

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

At-home learning #62

A potpourri of treats
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

At-home learning #61

Chickens and rhubarb
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

Free art
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

At-home learning #60

Who would have imagined, a few weeks ago, that we'd hit our 60th day of posting these ways to learn at home?

"Lucky Grandma"
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

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

At-home learning #59

Viola concert this Friday
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.

At-home learning #58

Encounter Mark Twain
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 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

At-home learning #57

Take a class
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, He also has a YouTube channel.

If you have a Times subscription, the complete article is at

Monday, May 18, 2020

At-home learning #56

Go to school
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. or

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

At-home learning #55

Gardening and the environment
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

At-home learning #54

Tour a bucket list place
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; An interesting short explanation of the engineering of the Great Wall of China is at

"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

At-home learning #53

See a movie "at" The Strand (Rockland)
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

At-home learning #52

Theater for for the weekend
We've mentioned these before, but they bear repeating:
  • The Folger Shakespeare Library and Theater at Harvard has a full version of Macbeth with lots of extra features: what's the deal with Mrs. Macbeth? Is there really humor in this grim tale of naked ambition and murder? Available through June. Check out a full page of goodies:
  • NT Live continues its free streaming, with a new play each week. Beginning today, it's the sellout The Barbershop Chronicles, focusing on the central role barbershops play in the lives of African and Anglo-African men. It's a "heartwarming, hilarious and insightful new play that leaps from a barber shop in Peckham to Johannesburg, Harare, Kampala, Lagos and Accra over the course of a single day." Go to YouTube and search "NT Live. For upcoming productions, go to and scroll to the bottom.

Monday, May 11, 2020

At-home learning #51

Try something new
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. 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

At-home learning #50

Fifty days and counting. We'll keep on sending you suggestions for staying sharp and engaged while sheltering at home for as long as we can come up with ideas.

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

At-home learning #49

Music, music, music
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.

New experiences
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

At-home learning #48

Quarantine fatigue
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

At-home learning #47

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

At-home learning #46

Give yourself a facial
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 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

Memorize something
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

At-home learning #45

Listen to the Berlin Philharmonic
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.
Pre-recorded concerts are also available.

"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.

Friday, May 1, 2020

At-home learning #44

Check out digital books free!
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

Other links, courtesy of The Strand: