Welcome back to HomeFront, our temporary takeover of The Weekender. Here, the calendar is fluid, the waistbands are elastic, and the entertainment is abundant.
If you’re still going out to work every day, you’re essential to keeping society functioning, and the rest of us will never be able to thank you enough. For everyone else, whether you call it isolation, sequester, quarantine, or an awful lot of family time, pandemic life strongly resembles something New Englanders have all too much experience with: being snowed in. Our suggestions this week are something of a grab bag — with life in a groove that lends all the days a certain sameness, switching up your diversions can introduce a welcome shot of variety into your routine. Leave your germy shoes outside the front door and join us.
COMFORT ZONE: This is your periodic reminder that the Globe’s new Comfort Zone section is for you, and it’s packed with stories, advice, and tips for staying on an even keel while we wait out the coronavirus crisis. Do you have a personal story to share? Perhaps a workaround to suggest? Or an act of kindness to tell us about? The editors want to hear from you. Drop them an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TV & FILM: A mere two weeks after movie theaters started closing for the duration, the already-porous divider between television and film lies in tatters. For the duration, the small screen is also the big screen.
Between movie rentals and catching up on prestige series you somehow missed, your entertainment budget may be ballooning, and Globe critics can help. Approaching from the film critic’s perspective, Ty Burr offers a slew of free options for home-bound movie buffs, including Hoopla and Crackle. TV critic Matthew Gilbert’s roundup of streaming services offering free trial periods includes the big three (Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix) as well as lower-profile, more specialized options — guess what AMC Networks’ Shudder serves up!
Gilbert also sifts through a fresh crop of theatrical releases rushed to home video, including “Emma” (a $20 rental he deems “worthwhile”) and “Birds of Prey.”
Burr awards three stars to “The Banker,” starring Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson. Based on the true story of Bernard Garrett, a real estate mogul who helped desegregate Los Angeles in the 1950s, the Apple TV+ production “is overlong, but the story is an eye-opener and the central performances are terrific.”
The 2019 Cannes Jury Prize winner, “Bacurau," arrives Friday via “virtual release” and garners 3½ stars from Burr. A remote Brazilian village is in turmoil, but which of the "indelible” characters to root for isn’t immediately clear. The Brazilian film “feels as though it’s teetering right on the edge of an oncoming apocalypse,” Burr says. “As such, it’s exactly right for these times.” The rental, with a five-day viewing window, costs $12.
With stages shuttered (and the Tony Awards postponed), Globe theater critic Don Aucoin is, like so many of us, catching up on streaming TV. He recommends “Gomorrah,” “a dark, bloody drama about dog-eat-dog warfare among rival drug gangs” on Netflix.
FINE ART & STREET ART: Globe art critic Murray Whyte continues his Pilgrimages series, bringing housebound readers to some of New England’s most fascinating art history stops. This week he explores Helen Frankenthaler’s Provincetown. The creative mecca isn’t exactly thronged at the end of March even in normal times, and Whyte’s off-season tour offers an unexpected angle on the abstract painter’s work. “It’s a world of color and texture. For a sensualist painter like Frankenthaler, devoted to the undulations of color and paint thinned to inky, aqueous washes, it must have felt like a dream.”
For more regional history, Globe correspondent Diti Kohli headed to the Quincy Quarries Reservation, a public park with a dark past that recently became “an amphitheater for vivid graffiti.” The onetime granite mines now boast “thousands of works by amateurs and professional street artists alike.”
Another tip from me if you find yourself missing museums: Follow your real-life favorites and bucket-list destinations on social media, and keep an eye out for hot hashtags. #MuseumBouquet flooded Twitter with flowers this week, mere days after #MuseumMomentofZen facilitated some badly needed disconnection.
FOOD & DINING: With just one non-pantry ingredient (fresh parsley), the first recipe featured in Devra First’s Cooking From Home newsletter is a great fit for these cooped-up times. The two-week newsletter by the Globe’s food writer and restaurant critic launched Wednesday with instructions for a tempting pasta dish and some great tips to “help things feel normal for a minute.” Sign up here.
Spaghetti with tuna sauce, the first recipe shared, came from former Globe food editor Sheryl Julian, who has searched the Globe archives and returned with suggestions for cooking with what’s in the pantry. This week: hummus, tomato soup, and sugar cookies.
Julian also offers the latest food-safety pointers (spoiler: You’re not done singing “Happy Birthday"), and Globe correspondent Liza Weisstuch searches out advice from professional bartenders for thirsty amateurs. “Just keep in mind: It’s not an exact science,” she writes. “Don’t be afraid to improvise.” Well, if you insist.
FOR THE KIDS: Massachusetts-based authors are among the writers stepping up to help their young audiences cope with being cooped up. Videos of writers reading their books are one popular strategy. “It’s a silver lining in a situation like this,” author Kate Messner tells Globe correspondent Melissa Karen Sances. The Greater Boston Illustrators Group’s daily StoryMarch activity asks participants “to make a piece of art based on a one-word prompt,” reports Globe correspondent Nina MacLaughlin.
DANCE: To battle feelings of isolation and confinement, a virtual dance class can be a powerful weapon. Studios and teachers in a huge range of styles are keeping residents of Greater Boston — and anyone with an Internet connection — moving to the beat. “[W]e really need to be there for our community as much as we can,” Meghan Riling of the Haitian contemporary dance company Jean Appolon Expressions tells Globe dance correspondent Karen Campbell.
CLASSICAL MUSIC: The launch of the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s “BSO at Home" programming doesn’t make up for the cancellation of the rest of the season, but it helps. Offerings include audio and video not just for adult aficionados but also for children studying at home, reports the Globe’s Zoë Madonna.
PODCASTS: “If only I had a little time for that great-sounding Globe podcast,” you’ve said to yourself. Maybe now is that time. “Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc.,” is the Spotlight Team’s deep dive into the life and death of the Patriots tight end. In “Last Seen: The Largest Unsolved Art Heist in History,” the Globe and WBUR probe the 1990 robbery of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. And perhaps the greatest mystery of all, the human heart, animates the three seasons (so far) of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast.
MEDITATION: Finally, for no particular reason, now might be a good time to start a meditation practice. Concentrate on baby steps and build from there, local experts told Globe correspondent Jenna Pelletier last year. “Simply see if you can sit for one, two breaths without your mind jumping in and telling you do something else,” said meditation instructor Andy Kelley.
BUT REALLY: Show your appreciation for the restaurants that are managing to stay open by ordering takeout or delivery. Check on a neighbor who might not have the wherewithal to venture out. Get some fresh air every day. Wash your hands!