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Arts & Culture

It's Another Weekend In Quarantine. Here's What You Can Do

There are plenty of things to do while you're stuck at home this weekend, includinglooking through NPR's long list of Tiny Desk Concerts. The concerts range from big names like Harry Styles and Lizzo to indie acts like San Antonio's own Nina Diaz.
There are plenty of things to do while you're stuck at home this weekend, includinglooking through NPR's long list of Tiny Desk Concerts. The concerts range from big names like Harry Styles and Lizzo to indie acts like San Antonio's own Nina Diaz.

If you're enduring coronavirus cabin fever this weekend, TPR has assembled some interesting and inspiring things you still can do while staying home.

Here's one: Fresh Air interviews. Terry Gross has long been one of public radio's best interviewers. Her demeanor is disarming, helping guests to relax and reveal their more intimate sides.

Gross is one of those interviewers who makes you forget the clock. Suddenly you look up and an hour has passed. Her entire archive of programs, 40+ years' worth, is now available online. You might start by listening to her 2018 interview with John Prine.

"I learned how to finger pick trying to play like Elizabeth Cotton and Mississippi John Hurt. I used to put myself in the closet in the dark in case I ever went blind, to see if I could play," said Prine.

You will hear stories you've never heard, and you can even dial up Bill O'Reilly's contentious interview where he stormed out.

From people you know to people you've never heard of, you're really in for a treat with Fresh Air interviews.

NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts launched 12 years ago. Essentially, visiting artists are set up behind a desk in front of a bookcase in a corner at NPR headquarters. And they just play.

From Harry Styles to Sting to Lizzo, to Kacey Musgraves, the variety is amazing. There's even a tiny desk concert featuring San Antonio's Nina Diaz.

The three-song concerts are bite-sized and disarmingly intimate, and there are hundreds of them to choose from. Expand your musical directions, or get familiar with the acoustic side of your favorite performer.

Speaking of listening to music, is there any better a title to a song than Ode To Joy?

Naitsabes Barreto Perez is Champion High School's Orchestra Director. In the age of COVID-19 her students couldn't record Ode To Joy in person, so her instructions to students were as follows.

"You have to practice individually. You have to record yourself and send that to me," she said.

They each set up with a metronome to keep time, recorded their parts and emailed their performances to the teacher.

The marathon edit session shows all the orchestra onscreen in little boxes — separate, but of course, musically together. 

"They were excited after seeing the final video. I know they had fun while doing the video," she said.

The project was a neat way of coming together, but safely.

Question is: Is this a one-off, or just the first?

"We probably do another one. Yes, definitely. Yes," said Barreto Perez. 

We'll keep you posted.

Jack Morgan can be reached at Jack@TPR.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii.