International intrigue, political drama, armchair travel, and deep thoughts

Cate Blanchett plays Phyllis Schlafly in "Mrs. America."
Cate Blanchett plays Phyllis Schlafly in "Mrs. America."Sabrina Lantos/FX

Welcome back to HomeFront, our temporary takeover of the Weekender. After three or four weeks of working from home and social/physical distancing, new routines and habits are feeling less new, but the need for diversions is only growing — like that sourdough starter your video-conference pals can’t shut up about. We’re here to help.

COMFORT ZONE: The no-longer-that-new Comfort Zone section of the Globe 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 shout from the rooftops? The editors want to hear from you. Drop them an e-mail at arts@globe.com.


Back when we crowded together in public spaces to enjoy the creativity of others, The Ticket was a weekly compilation of our critics’ top entertainment picks for the week. Its for-the-duration stand-in is The Click It, a curated collection of digital programming. It launches Sunday with hot tips from Globe experts including Don Aucoin (theater), Jeremy Eichler and Zoë Madonna (music), Karen Campbell (dance), Murray Whyte and Cate McQuaid (art), and Nick A. Zaino III (comedy).

TV: The battle over the Equal Rights Amendment springs to life in “Mrs. America,” starring Cate Blanchett as Phyllis Schlafly. The nine-part miniseries “looks into all sides — with equal gusto and imagination — of the national debate,” writes Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert, and “the cast is remarkably good overall.” The first three episodes drop Wednesday on Hulu.

The tiger emoji flooding your social media feeds are a sure sign that the Netflix true-crime series “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” is a phenomenon — but what kind? Gilbert, no fan of the adventures of Joe Exotic, acknowledges that the series’ success means he was “wrong about our culture’s hunger for depravity porn.” But the Globe’s Mark Shanahan says he “learned a few ugly yet important truths that make ‘Tiger King’ worthwhile.”


And in this week’s Ask Matthew, a true, albeit unexpected, balm for the soul: advice for a fan of silly comedies who wants to watch something new. Reminder: You could be one of the readers Gilbert makes recommendations for!

Vlad Ivanov and Catrinel Marlon in "The Whistlers."
Vlad Ivanov and Catrinel Marlon in "The Whistlers."Vlad Cioplea/Magnolia Pictures

FILM: “​If you know your Romanian New Wave cinema” is not a phrase I thought I’d ever find myself reading, but Globe movie critic Ty Burr is so high on “The Whistlers” that I’m double-checking my streaming rental options. “The movie’s a modern-day film noir replete with a morally compromised hero, a bewitching femme fatale in red, double crosses, shady cops, a cache of stolen millions, and a mysterious Mr. Big pulling the strings,” he writes in a 3½-star review.

Burr also offers house-bound, budget-conscious fans of film and theater the scoop on free content available on Facebook and YouTube. “Mallrats,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and “Jane Eyre” are on deck in various places, but some productions are available only for a limited time, so plan wisely.

Talk about uncanny timing — books are one of the forces helping a lot of us hold it together, and “The Booksellers” is an inside look at the world of antiquarian retailers. The subjects “are an engaging bunch, whose treasures stir the senses and imagination,” writes Globe correspondent Peter Keough. D.W. Young’s documentary is available via the Coolidge Corner Theatre website. And speaking of books ...


BOOKS: The stay-at-home advisory includes a provision for going outside to exercise while keeping your distance from anyone you don’t live with. In other words, Globe classical music critic Jeremy Eichler reminds us, “the original form of transportation has not yet been prohibited.” Check out his picks of five books to inspire your next walk outdoors.

While stuck at home during the pandemic, do you find yourself searching for scientific understanding? Pure comfort? Are you reading to escape into new worlds, or are you tackling classics you never got around to? Send an e-mail to books@globe.com and tell us what you’re reading. We’ll be publishing selected answers.”

The full "Pink Moon" over Long Sands Beach, where Georgia O'Keeffe retreated in the 1920s.
The full "Pink Moon" over Long Sands Beach, where Georgia O'Keeffe retreated in the 1920s.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

FINE ART: This week’s Pilgrimage column finds Globe art critic Murray Whyte on a Maine beach that inspired Georgia O’Keeffe. A century ago, before she made New Mexico her home base, the modernist genius fled the nonstop whirl of New York for the solitude of Long Sands Beach in York. “Look due east, over the Atlantic," Whyte writes, "and everything else slips away.”

VIRTUAL TRAVEL: If Whyte piques your interest in beautiful faraway places (he does), check out these online tours of seven museums and parks rounded up by Globe correspondents Diane Bair and Pamela Wright. “[A]ll our you-need-to-see-it-for-yourself travel arrogance has dissipated,” they write — and realistically, how high was Alaska on your pre-pandemic bucket list anyway?


CLASSICAL MUSIC: The Boston Symphony Orchestra commissioned “The Emerald Necklace,” a chamber symphony celebrating the ribbon of iconic Boston parks. Berklee professor Andrew List’s three-part composition runs 15 minutes and is available as a free download, reports Globe correspondent Grace Griffin.

FOOD & DINING: Our chronologically rootless existence runs up against two major religions this week in the form of Easter and Passover. A brisket-fest with the extended family and/or splashy hotel brunch must wait, but former Globe food editor Sheryl Julian has advice for whipping up a festive meal with (mostly) pantry ingredients.

Julian also checks in with local chefs, who are cooking for their families while negotiating the suddenly topsy-turvy restaurant business. Douglass Williams of Mida is in the same boat as us amateurs, raiding the cupboards and mixing and matching ingredients: “What are we going to do with these beans, with this pasta?”

MENTAL HEALTH: Not only is Love Letters columnist Meredith Goldstein great at giving advice, she’s also terrific at seeking it. In her new interview series, Taking Care, mental health professionals discuss pandemic life. This week’s guest is Drea Letamendi of UCLA, whose approach to helping her clients includes a healthy dose of pop culture — namely, superheroes. “I have learned so much about how to manage my emotions through this connection with fictional media,” she tells Goldstein.

Whether you’re battling insomnia, grabbing a nap whenever possible, or “only” fretting about random scenarios at weird times, expert advice for dealing with the physical disruption we’re all feeling can be helpful. Globe correspondent Rachel Raczka tracks down six podcasts that boost your mood through self-care for the body as well as the brain.


BUT REALLY: If bingeing “Parks and Recreation” is on your sequester schedule, you might remember a quick, crucial scene from the Season 2 finale. A budget crisis has shut down the government, but here’s Leslie Knope, striding into a meeting sporting a new ID badge — she’s officially “essential.” Everyone reading this can do so in (relative) peace because other people are out in the germ-filled world keeping society functioning. Have you thanked an essential worker lately?