The Rabbit Hole: 36 hours watching virtual entertainment

Here’s how you can spend 36 hours exploring the wild livestream ecosystem.

By Will Pankey

 

In the most official sense, a “livestream” is a “live transmission of an event over the internet.” To the many people privy to the currents of the internet, though, the livestream is a maligned, barely-working, oft-forgotten method of disseminating information. Glitchy, muffled, not always legible, these are recordings that don’t quite replace television or an in-person experience. 

But in recent times, the internet and its millions of users have warmed up to the pain-in-the-ass exercise that is the livestream. Streams have experienced a renaissance, gained a new lease of life when they were so often kicked into the corner. Today, the livestream sits at the top as a go-to entertainment experience that people all over tune in to when they are looking to unwind, let their minds wander, or get their bodies moving. With streams offering diverse programming that appeals to audiences of all walks of life, the livestream is deserving of a second look. Join us as we explore what 36 hours looks like in the livestream wilderness.

FRIDAY

1) 3 p.m. A livestream grand opera

Start your weekend livestream adventure with a little bit of high culture with the Tulsa Opera. Though Tulsey Town might have a reputation as a high flying oil city, since the early 20th century, the city has forged a strong commitment to the arts and theater. 1904 marked the first opera performed in Tulsa where Gounod’s “Faust” hit the stage at the Epperson Opera House on Main Street. The Tulsa Opera has routinely livestreamed performances from singers and performers so this is a good start for the weekend. Grab something fancy to drink (a negroni?) and tune-in as Jarrett Porter (a baritone) goes live on Tulsa Opera’s Facebook for a breathtaking performance. The weekend is here. 

2) 5 p.m. The magic of New Orleans Jazz Fest

After a stop at the opera, head down to the bayou for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Founded in 1970, Jazz Fest has carved out a reputation as one of the most distinguished and distinct festivals in the nation. What makes it different is that Jazz Fest stays true to its roots. The lineups consistently blend the local musical heritage with a-list headliners and arena touring bands. The spot to listen to classic Jazz Fest performances is online at WWOZ’s official website. The New Orleans radio station will broadcast archival Jazz Fest performances this entire weekend. Settle in with a Pimm’s Cup, two pounds of crawfish from a boil carefully prepared in your backyard, and catch a little cajun flavor with a sojourn to the virtual Jazz Fest fields. 

3) 6:30 p.m.  The sun settles, the stretch Hummer limo awaits

Your living room sounds like an unlikely location for white tuxedos, ball gowns, and the heartbreak and regret that comes with school-sanctioned dances, but for prom 2020 it sounds about right. The annual springtime tradition comes our way this year by way of the KIIS FM Virtual Prom. Dillon Francis and Joe Jonas will play all of the hits that are dominating the airwaves and, of course, will prime the dancefloor with a classic ballad that will lead to coy looks and furtive glances at dance partners from across the room. We’re swooning. Make the prom even more memorable by splurging some cash on timeworn prom traditions. Order a bottle of Mad Dog and a bottle Popov from your local liquor store and order a family bundle from Carrabba’s Italian Grill, about $35 plus gratuity.

4) 7:00 p.m. Hoedown Hour

Known for his love of ten-gallon hats, t-shirts with no sleeves, faded blue jeans, and large bodies of water both natural and manmade, country crooner Kenny Chesney remains a Nashville legend. In 2018 he released his 18th studio record Songs for the Saints and this Friday, the country titan will celebrate the next chapter in his considerable discography with the release of Here and Now, a set of songs that cast a weary yet inquisitive eye towards a changing world. Normally not one for social media, Chesney will go live on his Facebook for a discussion about the new record along with a fan Q&A. Imbibe a Tecate with extra lime and don’t forget your boots.

 SATURDAY

1) 9 a.m. Breakfast, the most experimental meal of the day

How do you like your breakfast: Traditional and straightforward with eggs and bacon or experimental, slightly wigged out, full of obscure artists and even more obscure music that isn’t streaming on Spotify? For the latter, wake up with NTS’ Remote Utopias livestream. The online radio station will bring DJ sets from Jorja Smith, Erykah Badu, and Skrillex. And if you’re thinking that isn’t that obscure, well then go look at the poster. Have you ever had avocado toast and a chai latte while gqom and musique concrete played loudly in the background? Saturday’s the day. 

2) 3 p.m. Club Quarantine

Saturday is the day to shed all your thoughts and concerns for the week, to forget that the world is on its last legs as you indulge in the biggest party online, Club Quarantine with D-Nice. Bask in the glow of warm nostalgia and the hits of yesteryear as the DJ serves up a set that checks the boxes for all genres. This time he is bringing friends Stretch Armstrong, Tony Touch, Rich Medina, and Clark Kent. All free, but pour up some brown liquor and huddle around the phone, it’s gonna be a good one. 

3) 11 p.m. Diplo Late Night

When the sun sets on the internet and the hours roll on, the after-dark livestream scene provides night owls with a good variety of DJ sets and performances to keep the party going. Much like the tensions and ecstasy of a real club, the virtual nightlife scene presents dancefloors and experiences where the shackles of the imagination go down easier than a well-crafted Cosmopolitan (or 10). Leave your inhibitions at the door as you venture to Mad Decent’s Twitch channel for a live set from Diplo.

SUNDAY

1) 12 p.m. Down dog and breathing

Rouse from bed, put on some tights, and shake off the previous night’s wild ending, it’s time to stretch. There are more than enough virtual yoga studios for you to get your child’s pose on but we suggest the unpretentious and relatively easy Sky Ting. Tune in and you’ll be transported to a faceless downtown loft with too many plants on the floor as an instructor runs you through the hot yoga stretches of the day. 

2) 1 p.m. The lo-fi unwind

The week has come to an end and Monday morning is staring you down. Don’t worry, there is still plenty of time to hang out and watch a restorative livestream, and the only right answer for that is the stream that is always on, the “lofi hip hop radio – beats to relax/study to” YouTube video. Does the lofi hip-hop beats channel ever stop? Where do they find all these dusky, borderline amateur hip-hop beats that capably lull you into a deep reverie? We don’t know. But the channel remains a strange corner of the internet (a popular one, too) that is, in many ways, the only way to detox from 36 hours in the digital wilderness.