Coming Attractions

Using the arts to make the best of isolation

Recommended activities for the coming week

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Let's be honest — no one really knows what to say right now.

We're currently living through a situation that the country hasn't faced on such a massive scale in a century. And even though we've grown by massive leaps in the areas of science and technology since the great influenza outbreak of 1918, there's still only so much the average person can do.

In response to criticism of the fantasy genre (what he called fairy-stories), English author J.R.R. Tolkien had the following response — “Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls?”

While it has rarely been so critically important that we be very aware of what's going on in our communities and the world at large, we're all definitely going to need the proverbial escape from prison. As such, this column can do nothing but change while we all live through this.

For the foreseeable, my column will include a way to support Denver's artistic community (financially or creatively), an outdoor activity recommendation, and music, television and films to check out while taking care of yourselves and your loved ones.

I ask anyone with suggestions on how to support the creative community to please reach out to me and share. We've all been told this repeatedly in the last week or so, but it bears repeating—- none of us can do this on our own.

New database aims to provide artists with employers

With arts organizations temporarily shutting their doors all over the city, state and country, finding ways to support the artists whose livelihoods and passions have been taken away is incredibly important.

To that end, artists can market their skills - both creative and not as much - by sharing their information on the Colorado Artist Talent and Skills database. Created as a way to connect creatives with work until they're able to perform again, artists fill out a questionnaire that includes skills they can offer to employers, ranging from babysitting and marketing to styling and IT.

The database was created by the Rainbow Militia Circus, a group of circus performers, and gallery curator David Moke. The database can be found by Googling Colorado Artists Talents and Skills.

Outdoor activity - finding Golden's colorful signal boxes

It is extremely easy with all that's going on to feel trapped, so spending some time outdoors will be a crucial part of maintaining sanity, as well as mental and physical health. But going outside doesn't have to be some kind of draining, exercise-driven activity.

The City of Golden Public Art Commission and Foothills Art Center recently unveiled seven signal boxes around town that have been given an artistic twist. Signal boxes are large grey metal boxes located at many intersections in Golden, and the two organizations decided that rather than let them just fade into the background, why not turn them into works of art?

Spend some time exploring Golden's beautiful downtown, keep your social distancing in mind, and add some color to your life.

Visit www.foothillsartcenter.org for information.

Clarke's Concert of the Week - Ben Gibbard at your home

Since going to live music is currently not an option, many musicians have taken to performing “shows” at their homes and other venues, and broadcasting them for free. One of the first to do so is Ben Gibbard, singer and songwriter from Seattle's Death Cab for Cutie.

Every day from March 17 through 31, Gibbard is performing a half-hour-to-hour acoustic set at 5 p.m. One of the many things that has made Gibbard's music so powerful is its conversational intimacy and penetrating insights. Both features are highlighted in these off-the-cuff shows, which feature the man taking requests in real time, answering questions and raising money for organizations trying to do some good in the world.

Visit Death Cab's Facebook or Youtube pages to see all the previous performances and for the daily live shows.

Streaming style - 'The Magicians'

On ensemble shows, it's often easy to pinpoint one actor who is the breakout star - someone who carries most of the load and gets all the good moments. But on Syfy's fantasy series The Magicians, based on Lev Grossman's trilogy of books, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't ooze star-quality.

Billed as Harry Potter for adults, the show follows a group of students at a kind of magical college called Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy, and their quests to save the world. It might sound familiar, but the show is anything but - it celebrates queer culture, is full of foul-mouthed and hilarious characters, and brings a thoroughly modern take to a genre that can be too stuffy and myth-obsessed. And it has some musical moments that are just stunning.

The first four seasons are available on Netflix, and the fifth (and final season) is currently airing on Syfy, and as such, can be streamed on-demand.

Clarke Reader's column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.

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