As a passionate believer in the unique power of live performance, the current quarantine, and its essential call for "social distancing," has come as a great blow.
Television and movies--whether watched at home on large screens, tablets, or mobile phones--are one thing. But when it comes to hearing a great symphony orchestra, or seeing a ballet, or feeling an audience's giddy response to a knockout number in a Broadway musical, there is simply no virtual experience that can come close in terms of its emotional impact. And there is nothing quite like seeing a great painting in a museum--where its actual size and texture can often be surprising if you've seen it first in a book or on a computer screen.
The choices these days are almost endless. But here is a list of some of my favorite sites. It is far from encyclopedic, and by no means meant to be definitive. Most crucially of all it comes with the hope that audiences will soon be back where they belong-in theater seats and museum galleries.
For a modest monthly or annual fee, you can stream hundreds of Broadway productions, documentaries, and more on your laptop, mobile phone, tablet, or TV. Visit broadwayhd.com. In addition, many regional theaters are now quickly getting into the streaming business. Visit the website of your favorite company for updates.
If you're on Facebook, be sure to visit Ballerina de Tutu and find videos of bravura dancers from many different companies performing a vast selection of brief but brilliant ballet highlights. Meanwhile, if you have an abiding interest in Chicago dance history, visit chicagodancehistory.org. And visit its Vimeo channel vimeo.com/chidancehistory, a digital archive full of interviews and video clips with major figures in what, until recently, has been the city's neglected dance history.
You can stream five Yiddish films (with English subtitles) for free. Quite a treat. Check them out at myjewishlearning.com.
Google this website: joyofmuseums.com. It will allow you to travel the world, germ-free, to scores of the world's grandest museums and give you an encyclopedic look at masterpieces of every description.
Hedy Weiss is a longtime Chicago arts critic.