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Date: 4/6/2020
Subject: Keeping Busy During These COVID-19 Days
From: Beacon Hill Village

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April 6, 2020


In Beacon Hill Village we have lot of members with lots of interests.  Some individual members have generously sent to the office info about what, in these hard days, they are finding diverting, stimulating, even enlightening.  They plainly weren’t writing just to inform the office.  They wanted us to tell everyone else!  It’s like the “vetting” that members do of Beacon Hill Village’s service providers, only applied to things to do. 

The first part of the list will always be recommended one-off events for the week, arranged by date; ‘’one-off” means that, so far as we know, it will be the only time an event appears.  This first week’s one-off events will be for April 6-12, 2020.

The second part of the list will be resources available 24/7.  These are broken out by category.  Many are online, for viewing or listening, but some are reading suggestions we’ve received.  We’ll update the 24/7 list frequently in red with new items from members. 

Be well, be safe—and be engaged!  Tell us how you are filling your days, these days.  The weekly calendar and the 24/7 list depend on your involvement.  We’ll do them for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency, until BHV resumes its normal programs.  Send any suggestion to, and please add the subject line “BHV suggestions for staying busy”.

Beacon Hill Village

COVID-19 Response Team

Doug Fitzgerald, President; Karen Garvin, Vice President and chair, Program Committee; Betsy Peterson, Secretary; Charley Davidson, board member; Joanne Cooper, chair, Member Services Committee; Barbara Roop, chair, Living Well/Ending Well Committee; Steve Roop, board member; Gina Morrison, executive director

ONE-OFF EVENTS, Week of April 6-12 2020

Monday, April 6, 2020

free only 7:30 pm-6:30 PM on 4-7.  Metropolitan Opera.  Verdi, Aida,

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

free only 7:30 pm-6:30 pm on 4-8. Metropolitan Opera.  Puccini, La Fanciulla del West,

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

12 pm EDT.  Environmental League of Massachusetts.  Dr. Aaron Bernstein, Interim Director of the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, talks about the relation between climate change and human health, parallels between COVID-19 and climate risks, and how public policy can help or hurt.  Free, but registration for a Zoom link required:

free only 7:30 pm-6:30 pm 4-9.  Metropolitan Opera. Verdi, Falstaff,

Thursday, April 9, 2020

6-7 pm EDT.  Conservation Law Foundation, Right Whale Art, Info and Q & A, register at

free only 7:30 pm-6:30 pm on 4-10.  Wagner, Parsifal,

Friday, April 10, 2020

free only 7:30 pm-6:30 pm on  4-11.  Gounod, Roméo et Juliette,

Saturday, April 11, 2020

free only 7:30 pm-6:30 pm on 4-12.  Donizetti, Don Pasquale,

Sunday, April 12, 2020

free only 7:30 pm-6:30 pm on 4-13.  Mozart, Così fan tutte,  

9 pm EDT.  World on Fire, 7-part series on PBS Masterpiece, WGBH-TV (premier was April 5)



Boston Symphony Orchestra offers new selection from past concerts every week, but all the music released remains available once it’s released, apparently:

Handel and Haydn Society offers a number of free archived concerts, including earlier-this-season’s Messiah; all six of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos and his St. Matthew Passion; Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas; and the Monteverdi Vespers.

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, free online concerts, at least for now, with simple signup at 

Chamber Music Society of New York offers dozens of free solo/small ensemble programs, including historic performances of major classics from CMS’s first 50 years.  Some lectures as well.

Rockport (MA) Music offers classical, folk, jazz, pop:

From Passim, Cambridge’s venerable emporium of folk, rock and bluegrass, listen to livestreamed and recorded concerts:

Beethoven—you’ve heard the first movement of the 5th Symphony many times but you’ve never seen it visualized like this!  Huge fun and very clever:   

You don’t have to speak French to get the point of this in-these-times Offenbach riff:

All at home because of the COVID-19 crisis, musicians from three orchestras nonetheless together (stunningly) play excerpts from the Beethoven 9th finale, from Copland’s “Appalachian Spring,”and from Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik:


National Theatre at Home (UK) offers a new free production once weekly, changing every Thursday and streaming for a week more.  For April 2-9 view “One Man, Two Guvnors,” which resituates the 1743 Carlo Goldoni comedy “Servant of Two Masters” to 1963 Brighton (U.K.).  The April 9-16 play will be “Jane Eyre.”  Details and the current play’s YouTube link at



Mozart, “The Marriage of Figaro,” Vienna State Opera--free enrolment at

Willem Jeths, “Ritratto.”  The inspiration for this work is Luisa Casati—essentially, a wealthy art groupie who once said, ‘I want to be a living work of art.’  The recent Dutch National Opera world premiere had to be canceled because of the COVID-19 crisis, but the dress rehearsal was recorded.  In English (mostly), at .


“Peter and the Wolf,” Royal Ballet/Royal Ballet School,     

Handel, “Acis and Galatea,” Royal Opera/Royal Ballet,

Dutch National Ballet, Don Quixote (April 4-11, 2020 only), and scroll down


Rian Johnson, Knives Out (Amazon Prime TV), a comedy/murder mystery

Coolidge Corner Theatre, various films available for 5-day rental periods:


Michael Apted, The Up Series.  Celebrated documentary series in which fourteen British children, starting in 1964, are revisited every 7 years for over five decades.  A portrait of changing lives and changing  British society.  Bingeworthy!  Subscription info at

Sarah Burns and David McMahon, East Lake Meadows:  A Public Housing Story (2020), presented by Ken Burns,   This history of an Atlanta public housing project from its construction in 1970 to its demolition in the mid-1990’s, raises searching questions about how marginalized Americans, especially African-Americans, find housing in America and what might be done to improve their lives.

Homes by the Sea.  One BHV member calls it “documentary escapism.”  On Netflix,


Peabody Essex Museum, podcasts (mainly) on art, 

Google’s art materials will yield hours of viewing pleasure, , notably artists online, by the hundreds: ;   art movements online, ; and museum tours on line, hundreds of them, for travel planning, travel reminiscing or armchair traveling:

Google’s extraordinary Frida Kahlo compendium, almost to the point of TMI:   

Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, a 5+ hour tour  You know you have the time….

The Art Newspaper (UK) has dozens of podcasts about art, artists, art museums and exhibits, the art market, etc.: 


Architecture:  on the Google website,, search “architecture” to access many modules on many aspects of architecture from the Romans to Renzo Piano.  One example of what is available:  Google’s brief but arresting appreciation of Frank Gehry’s Museum Guggenheim Bilbao,


The English Game (Netflix)—the origins and class-transcending power of English football (aka soccer).

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, available for a fee through Amazon or Amazon/Acorn.  See the March 23, 2020 review in Slate,  

Foyle’s War (series).  The classic British detective series, set during and shortly after WWII, debuted in 2002 and ran 8 seasons.  Widely available, for a fee; just Google it.


Grolier Club (NYC),  America’s oldest society for book lovers and graphic arts fans, has dozens of talks at 

Harvard Environmental Economics Project—COVID-19, climate change, and other environmental policy issues; publications, papers and lectures.

London Review of Books is offering non-paywalled LRB selections, chosen for their “… compulsive, immersive and escapist qualities…”  They are wide-ranging but there is “… a complete absence of references to plague, pandemics or quarantine.”

London Review of Books has a wide variety of podcasts and videos, many of which appear to be available non-paywalled on YouTube.  See the selections at



Barbara Kingsolver, Unsheltered (2018)

James Nelson, All the Brave Fellows (2000)

Richard Powers, The Overstory (2018)


David Abulafia, The Great Sea:  A Human History of the Mediterranean (2011).  A sweeping tour de force and a quite different view from that of the great French historian Fernand Braudel in his iconic 1949 The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II.

Alex Beam, Broken Glass:  Mies van der Rohe, Edith Farnsworth and the Fight Over a Modernist Masterpiece (2020).  Beam recounts the torrid relations leading to the creation of Mies’s modernist masterpiece in Plano, Illinois, and how things went south afterwards and wound up in court.  Beam discusses his book with the eminent and urbane urbanist Witold Rybcynski at Harvard Book Store’s first program for these COVID-19 times, 

Cyprian Broodbank, The Making of the Middle Sea: A History of the Mediterranean from the Beginning to the Emergence of the Classical World (2013).  Another epic synthesis of the Mediterranean world.

Daniel C. Dennett, From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds (2017).  A philosopher’s speculations on the origins of human consciousness.

Walter Isaacson,  Leonardo da Vinci (2017)

Erik Larson, The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz (2020)

Peter Padfield, Maritime Supremacy and the Opening of the Western Mind:  Naval Campaigns That Shaped the Modern World (2000)

Nancy Seasholes (ed.), The Atlas of Boston History (2019).  Wonderful maps and illustrations.  Seasholes and other contributors discuss the book in a Massachusetts Historical Society talk,


Wide-ranging discussions of a wide range of current books can be found at the Harvard Book Store Channel:


COVID-19:  the science

BHV members Kim Bottomly and Wayne Villemez—retired immunologist and demographer, respectively—have developed a terrific reading list about various aspects of COVID-19 here.  Kim has a great primer on immunology here.  They welcome an ongoing discussion via your comments and questions.  They will update the readings to assist this discussion and as new information becomes available.

Other COVID-19-related articles

Calabria, Stephen. “The Hidden Mental Health Toll of Coronavirus,” Who.What.Why (March 23, 2020),

Correia, Sergio and Luck, Stephan and Verner, Emil. “Pandemics Depress the Economy, Public Health Interventions Do Not: Evidence from the 1918 Flu” Social Science Research Network (March 30, 2020),  or

Dalton, Clayton. “A Boston Hospital [MGH] Nears Its Limits,”  The New Yorker, April 2, 2020,

Economists overwhelmingly urge need to get COVID-19 under control before restarting US economy,

The Forward Staff, The 11th Plague?  Passover in a Pandemic

Gawande, Atul. “Keeping the Coronavirus from Infecting Health-Care Workers,” The New Yorker, March 21, 2020,

Atul Gawande, “Why Americans Are Dying from Despair,” The New Yorker, March, 2020,  Gawande, concluding his article, underlines why the coronavirus will likely only compound this despair.

Gluck, Abbe, and Erica Turret. “Happy Tenth Birthday, Obamacare: This Crisis Would Be Much Worse Without You,”  Health Affairs (March 23, 2020),

“Lessons from the Spanish Flu:  Social Distancing Can be Good for the Economy,”  The Economist (March 31, 2020),

Robert Peckham, “Past Pandemics Exposed China’s Weaknesses:  The Current One Highlights Its Strengths,” Foreign Affairs (March 27, 2020),

David Price, MD, Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York, on protecting and empowering COVID-19 patients, their families and friends:

Micah Zenko, “The Coronavirus is the Worst Intelligence Failure in US History,” Foreign Policy (March 25, 2020), 

Free coverage of COVID-19 news

Boston Globe coronavirus coverage is purportedly free but access can be irregular.

The Christian Science Monitor,

The Guardian is always free.  But sign up for breaking COVID-19 info at      

Health Affairs has free COVID-19 coverage at 

The New York Times has free coronavirus coverage but you may need to create an account, 

State House News Service, whose annual subscription normally costs thousands of dollars, has made all its COVID-19 coverage—focused almost exclusively on Massachusetts government’s reaction to the crisis--, fee for the duration.  Check it out at

Technology Review’s coronavirus coverage is free but you need only sign up, at 

Many other periodicals are offering free coronavirus coverage.


Boston Public Library.  Massachusetts residents can avail themselves of abundant BPL digital and online resources at and at  For access use an valid BPL library card or get one at   

Digital Public Library of America, headquartered at BPL Copley Square,, has numerous online exhibitions, sets of online primary source materials, and online genealogical and scholarly research resources, but its 37+-million items are also completely searchable.

The Making of America, a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction, is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology.  Browsable by subject.   


Try Trickstercards for nine card games; easy to use—much easier, for bridge players, than, say, BridgeBase, though without all BridgeBase’s bells and whistles.  Simple, free enrollment at ,

Paint-By-Number for Adults,