Inspired by necessity and aided by innovation, Marin County’s community is banding together like never before. Though cultural institutions are being asked to adapt their programming in most extreme fashions, the desire to celebrate our collective, creative spirits persists. Faced with no alternative, now is the time to think outside the box — even if that sometimes means staring at a laptop.
AUTHOR EVENTS FROM THE COMFORT OF HOME
Book Passage is one of Marin’s most frequented literary institutions. With the store’s normally hectic schedule of in-person author signings and events on indefinite pause, owners Elaine and Bill Petrocelli are offering a complimentary “Conversations with Authors” series on the store’s website. In addition to hosting digital dialogues with the likes of David Mitchell and Amy Tan, the store will also debut a virtual edition of Anne Lamott’s immensely popular writing workshop, “On Writing,” this August.
Out in West Marin, Point Reyes Books is also getting in on the action with a virtual series of events that will double as a fundraiser for the store.
GET INTO AN “ALTERED” STATE OF READING
If you have enough books to read, why not get some to frame? Each July, the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art offers locals just such an opportunity with its annual Altered Book Exhibit and Fundraiser. Want to see it for yourself? The eleventh installment of the festival is available to view and purchase in-person (in groups of up to ten people) through August 29. In addition, MarinMOCA is also offering virtual tours of two additional exhibitions through their website.
THE POWER OF PICTURES
Art can soothe the soul. Here are some local art galleries to visit, either online or in-person:
- Marin Museum of Contemporary Art (Novato)
- Museum of International Propaganda (San Rafael)
- Seager Gray Gallery (Mill Valley)
MAKE IT A MOVIE NIGHT
Do you think the projectors at the Rafael are getting lonely? The empty seats at the Lark must surely be missing the smell of fresh popcorn! While their doors remain closed, both institutions are doing what they can to ensure cinematic treasures (along with some sillier fare) are never in short supply. In partnership with the California Film Institute, the “Rafael @ Home” program is now giving films meant for the theater a chance to find their audiences.
Meanwhile, the era of the drive-in movie theater has unexpectedly returned. You’ll need to bring your own snacks, but this summer, the Lark is presenting classic films to be enjoyed from the comfort of one’s vehicle at the Bon Air Center. So far, announced titles include “Flashdance’ and “Dirty Dancing.”
REVISIT MARIN THEATER
With a return date on live local stage productions yet to be determined, the Ross Valley Players have generously made the company’s 2019 production of “Moll Flanders” available to stream. Starring San Anselmo’s own Amber Collins Crane as the titular Flanders, the show can now be viewed at any time, free of charge, offering viewers the opportunity to transport themselves back to the Barn for an evening.
NON-PROFITS IN NEED OF HELPING HANDS
Community means giving back. Right now, there are a thousand ways to help — many of which can be done from the comfort of home. Here are a few important Marin non-profits looking to actively help the community during this a uniquely difficult moment:
DOES LAUGHTER STILL COUNT AS MEDICINE?
There have not been many valid reasons to bust a gut laughing as of late, but that may soon be about to change. The team at 142 Throckmorton — the Mill Valley theater that’s played host to everyone from Robin Williams to Dana Carvey over the years — is currently hoping to crowdsource $12,000 in funds to develop a “live-streaming system” to deliver future programming of all stripes.
If you can’t see comedy, why not make some? ImprovMarin is selling a slew of virtual improvisational comedy classes that will happen on the video-chat software Zoom. There are also digital shows to stream for those who aren’t interested in tapping into their funny bone quite yet. True beginners can try ImprovMarin’s “Intro to Improv” drop-in online classes. There are also additional, more specifically-focused adult classes as well as courses for children.
FEED YOUR SOUL AT THE FARMER’S MARKET
Does anything compare with the splendor of a busy Farmer’s Market in full swing? The smells, the shouts and the Nutella-drenched crepes are, for some, an integral aspect of our communal experience. Sadly, the downtown San Rafael farmer’s market has been cancelled for the summer, but two other options remain in operation for now:
- Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael)
- Sundays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael)
The 2020 Arts & Entertainment Category was sponsored by Istanbul Rug.
How to Help
For more ways to support local businesses, go here.
For more on Marin:
- Keep the Olympic Spirit Going in Marin: Join the Marin Magazine Decathlon
- Fighting for Change: How Marin Organized a Protest In Support of Black Lives Matter in Only 4 Days
- Ultimate Guide to Grilling: Tools and Tips for the Best Backyard Eats
Zack Ruskin writes on music, cannabis, and culture. His bylines include Vanity Fair, Billboard, Entertainment Weekly, Variety, Merry Jane, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Danielle, and their cat, McCovey.