Next Best Thing

Attending live events is my thing. It’s one of the reasons I continue to live in an expensive city in a small yard-less one-bedroom apartment with my partner. I need access to concerts, lectures, book readings, theater. A LOT of access.

The pandemic has brought an end to live events for the foreseeable future, which makes me unbearably sad. But the next best thing is…virtual live events. I like to complain about technology, but I currently find myself so grateful for the technology that is making virtual live events possible. I’ve watched concerts, book readings, poetry readings, and even events with Oprah, for God’s sake!

One of the people who has been instrumental (pun intended) in helping me through the pandemic is Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie. He was there at the beginning phase of the pandemic in the US. On March 17, he started livestreaming an hourlong concert. Every night. For two weeks. Having that routine of watching Ben at 7:00 pm EST every night was a welcome distraction from the horror of each day’s unfolding events. He then switched to weekly livestreams for a while, raising money for local nonprofits every session by asking viewers to donate a few dollars if they were able to. All of his shows are on Death Cab’s YouTube channel if you’re interested!

Ben Gibbard

I enjoyed a book reading with Dani Shapiro, moderated by Callie Cross. It was sponsored by the Boston Book Festival, a fantastic festival that I volunteer for every October. Dani’s latest book is a memoir about doing a DNA test for a laugh and finding out that her father was not her biological one.

Oprah was another grounding figure to watch during a few Saturday mornings. She covered a different theme every week and invited multiple guests/experts to share their thoughts. The program was sponsored by Weight Watchers (for which she is a spokesperson), so there was also a WW component in each session. There was never an overt sales pitch, though. I don’t know about you, but I need all of the self-help I can get my hands on right now.

Are there any virtual live events that you’ve enjoyed recently? Stay safe and healthy.

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