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To-Do List: Arts and entertainment picks for Columbians in self-isolation (April 15-22)

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Prettier Than Matt’s Jessica Skinner



In the case of Kemapalooza, COVID-19 can’t keep a good fundraiser down. The annual event, which brings in cash for the CAMP KEMO Programs of the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Prisma Health Children’s Hospital–Midlands, carries on in live-streaming form with two local artists performing on April 15 (Jeff Lucero, whose latest album, All the Reasons, splits the difference between Pearl Jam and that other, Memphis-based alt-country act called Lucero) and 17 (Prettier Than Matt, a folk-pop duo that pleases with genre-hopping catchiness and the radiant pipes of Jessica Skinner). Find out more about the streams, which both start at 5:30 p.m., at the Kemopalooza: Live event page on Facebook. JORDAN LAWRENCE


Columbia Open Studios Virtual Tour

Columbia Open Studios 2020 is unfortunately one of the many events that have been postponed due to COVID-19, but you can still see work by the artists who were participating. From now until April 30, you can head over to to get the full list of participating artists, then visit each artist’s website to take a virtual tour of their work. It might not be exactly the same experience, but you can still see some pieces by talented locals. VINCENT HARRIS


Whitmer Thomas: The Golden One

Standup specials can often suffer from the structural same-y-ness of the comic-with-a-microphone setup, which is why Whitmer Thomas’ special The Golden One feels revelatory. Part quasi-documentary about Thomas returning home to southern Alabama 10 years after his mother’s death, the additional footage provides a fitting thematic counterpoint to Thomas’ evocative exploration of his Southern roots, angsty childhood and sensitive adult masculinity that gets revealed both through sharp storytelling and skillful John Maus-biting original songs. It’s got far more heart and originality than the dozens of higher-profile comedians Netflix has been throwing money at in recent years. KYLE PETERSEN


John Prine

It’s tough to come to terms with how many cherished love ones and cultural icons we’re likely to lose in the coming months, but it seems like the loss of songwriting giant John Prine will still be among the ones that stings the most. There’s also something cruelly poignant about how powerfully his songs speak to the current moment. In a time when we need to feel less alone, to find real empathy for the older and more vulnerable of us, and to find joyful, Zen-like levity in the day-to-day, you can’t do better than the treasure chest of tunes the merry everyman maestro left behind. KYLE PETERSEN


Pull Out Your Old Video Games

There’s no greater combination of nostalgia and self-satisfaction than hooking up that old game system and playing Sonic the Hedgehog or Super Mario Bros. 3. Or, if you’re not quite that old, pulling out that CD of Quake 3 or Unreal Tournament. In addition to helping you remember a more innocent time, you can also derive a great deal of pleasure from beating that once-unbeatable game again and again. Take that, Egg Man! Suck on that, Bowser! VINCENT HARRIS


Ken Burns’ Baseball

Ken Burns is a national treasure, and after missing Opening Day for the MLB season, you may want to revisit the Baseball documentary he did, which is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. The nine-part series (broken into innings) talks everything from the origin of the sport to the history of Murderers Row with the Yankees to my favorite episode about the Negro Leagues. Plus, you get to see a young looking Bob Costas and Billy Crystal geek out about America’s ex-pastime. PREACH JACOBS


Cull Your Collection

Whether it’s those three copies of Rush’s Permanent Waves or the entire X-Files series gathering dust on your DVD shelf, this is the perfect time to go through those movies, CDs and albums and pull out the stuff that you either have more than one of or don’t want anymore. Whether you donate it or sell it, the sooner you get rid of that Chumbawamba CD from 1997, the happier everyone in your house will be. You’ve got the time now. De-clutter your collection. VINCENT HARRIS


The Mountain Goats, Hiss Golden Messenger, Waxahatchee

If you’re looking for some listening that reminds you of brighter days — and hope for brighter days to come — I recommend three recent records from alums of Columbia’s Jam Room Music Festival, set to return this fall.

Songs for Pierre Chuvin finds The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle making a well-timed return to the intimate tape hiss of his early boombox-recorded acoustic collections, one filled with resilient anthems that rank among his very best. Set to eerie, alien drum machine and keyboard, “The Wooded Hills Among the Black Sea” (with lines like, “The burden of exile / Gets easy to bear / Sometimes forget / There’s cities down there”) is particularly sharp in the current moment.

Hiss Golden Messenger’s Forward, Children (a fundraiser for Durham Public Schools) is a live record bursting with infectious on-stage chemistry and yearning folk-rock jams perfect for days when you’re left asking big questions about the nature of the world.

Waxahatchee’s Saint Cloud is more nuanced and meditative than 2017’s Out in the Storm, an honest and visceral document of indie rock heartbreak. Charting a course that’s bright and graceful and decidedly more folk-y, the new album catalogs competing voices, from euphoric to deeply frustrated, in a vivid stream of consciousness. JORDAN LAWRENCE

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