Net Picks (Part 3)

Now that so much performance art is online, it’s almost overwhelming.

What’s working for me is to listen to radio or music while I’m doing dishes or other chores; a walk after dinner and then relax into culture / entertainment. I choose the performance or venue in the morning – all day I have a fine evening to look forward to!

Or – just click on something, check it out – the world is out there, and bursting with variety.


  • Children’s bedtime stories read by Dolly Parton; her Imagination Library has delivered more than 130m free books to children. Here’s The little engine that could on YouTube, which to my surprise has tremendous present relevance (essential work, role of the powerful, small-scale kindness, persistence, …); there are lots more stories.
  • Poetry Jukebox – requests read by actor Samuel West and friends. Completely accessible; try #2, The Lion and Albert (3min), or #6, On the Ning Nang Nong (1min), both very silly. There are also wry, loving, angry, and courageous  selections. Try #21, Wendell Berry’s The Peace of Wild Things (1½ min).
  • The Ancient Mariner Big Read  and article on this 3-year project
  • Spoken word for Earth Day (3min, top-quality performance)


  • CBC’s Laugh Out Loud not an essential service?!! Dozens of past episodes available. Laughter is good for spirit – and boosts health too.


  • ArtUK exhibits 250,000 artworks from 3,290 UK venues and 4,500 artists. In May an innovative new feature will launch – Curations – create your own virtual exhibition.
  • All the arts – a new Canadian site, Arts At Home, brings together sites for art, dance, music, theatre, and more. Find it here – Harbourfront’s Thursday Crafternoons,


  • Bella Dance online – for children and adults – from Yellowknife, NWT, Includes charming activities and resources for kids under 7yo. article
  • Article listing more dance opportunities with top ballet performers
  • Cinderella and other performances by the Australian Ballet
  • Swan (5min) – Royal Birmingham Ballet



  • UK’s National Theatre – a new play every Thursday on YouTube, free for a week.
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber is releasing musicals on YouTube each week, Fridays at 7pm BST, for 48 hours. (Also on that channel, excerpts from other Weber operas.)
  • Link list of more theatre and ballet – too many to detail! Shakespeare’s Globe, Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, Deafinitely Theatre (BSL and spoken English), the Broken Wings ballet, puppet performances of I have seen my hat, This is not my hat and We found a hat.
  • Another link list of theatre, with selections for all ages. Anansi the Spider, I wish I was a mountain, A Tiger’s Tale (! until May 24) – also Mother Courage (15-22 May), A Doll’s House, and much much more.

Inner world

  • Mondays at 7pm, Toronto’s Annie Lockerbie Newton’s 31min meditation streaming on Facebook and Instagram.
  • TED talks – short talks on new ideas and achievements. Most are high quality.
  • has a very gentle introduction to coding as a technique for breaking big tasks down into smaller ones (a useful skill : ) and making a computer do what you tell it to (highly absorbing). The “classes” are set up as puzzles – try Dance Party. There’s also a 1pm ET “Code Break” session on Wednesdays.
  • Unusual – DigVentures is waiving the fee for the June 1 course How to do archaeology. A 6-week certificate course approved by the UK’s Chartered Institute for Archaeologists. Discover the parts of a dig, the clues, the roles.

“Inspired by the DigVentures course, one woman has dug a trench a metre-deep in her back garden, in which she has found nothing more precious than a fork and a marble. ‘But a couple of days ago when sitting in my trench with my brush and my palette knife, I suddenly realised that I actually felt happy and unstressed – both feelings somewhat alien to me currently.’” [article]

Escape to the wider world

  • YouTube walking videos – it’s a thing.
  • Visit Amsterdam – article linking to excellent online resources, from the Rijksmuseum which has been digitizing for years, to photographers to music to street art.
    • Challenge: curate your own guide to another city.
  • Remote Tourism – live experience with a guide (article). Realtime is engaging : )

Participants decide which way to turn, what to look at. On Wednesday when I watched, we were in the oldest village in the Faroe Islands. There was a nasty North Atlantic storm blowing in, so the guide turned back from the hills into the village where there was more shelter. Had to avoid the geese. Who knows where next!

  • Nest-flix and other delights – article linking to the Cornell Lab birdcams, Edinburgh Zoo, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and more. “They offer connection and continuity – the transporting sensation of watching a creature indifferent to human endeavour going about its life.”
  • HotDocs at home through CBC TV. Toronto’s film festivals are known worldwide – here’s a front-row seat to documentaries about current issues – with no standing in line.
  • 10 of the world’s best museum and gallery tours (suggestion: start with the Natural History Museum, London – its online presence is excellent)
  • Go local – The Radio Garden app and article suggesting a few stations.

For light relief right now, in the moment –