The entertainment industry is, like the rest of us, still trying to make the best of a bad situation, even as the novel coronavirus has created an unprecedented paradox: an insatiable need for content to fill the quarantine hours, but overwhelming obstacles in creating it. So at a time when gathering crews is impossible, some entertainers have resorted to just filming themselves.
Next week, Fort Worth’s Kelly Clarkson will join the many other talk show hosts—like Irving native Tamron Hall—filming new episodes in isolation, shooting segments for her freshman series The Kelly Clarkson Show from her cabin in Montana. She’s already given viewers a sneak peek with a digital exclusive, in which Clarkson’s husband catches her drinking Bailey’s Irish Cream alone in the bath. And this Sunday, Fixer Upper’s Joanna Gaines will preview her upcoming cooking show (soon to debut on the Gaineses’ recently announced Magnolia Network) with an hour-long special filmed by her children in the family’s sprawling Waco home. According to the teaser, Gaines will make you feel bad about how you don’t have the energy to make an elaborate homemade lasagna for your own kids right now.
SXSW Films to Screen on Amazon
Meanwhile, South by Southwest is still trying to make up for this year’s canceled festival by finding audiences for the many films left in the lurch. As we reported last week, Mailchimp Presents is currently sharing more than seventy narrative and documentary shorts for free. And this week, Amazon announced its “Prime Video presents the SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection,” a ten-day event during which all SXSW filmmakers can opt in to have their films screen, free of charge, to anyone with a free Amazon account. There’s no set launch date for the collection yet, although Amazon says in a press release that it’s currently aiming for late April. And while it’s obviously not the same as screening for a live SXSW crowd, there’s a fairly good chance these filmmakers could actually see their movies attract even more viewers, given how many entertainment-starved people are trapped at home right now.
Alamo Drafthouse Launches Alamo-At-Home
The Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse has temporarily closed all of its locations as well, but it’s also trying to find a way to endure online. This week it debuted its Alamo-At-Home Virtual Cinema, where you can watch first-run arthouse films like Bacurau and Corpus Christi, as well as keep up with the Alamo’s weekly Terror Tuesday and Weird Wednesday programming, all from your home screen. Both the Terror Tuesday and Weird Wednesday series will also feature preshow content, introductions, and post-film discussions through Birth. Movies. Death.—and, even better, the Alamo has shared the recipe for how to make one of its most beloved dishes, the vegan buffalo cauliflower. Make a big bowl of that, turn down the lights, and have your roommate shuffle awkwardly through the dark to collect the drink orders you’ve scribbled on little pieces of paper, and it’s almost like you’re there!
Post Malone Hosting Charity Beer Pong Tournament
While it’s tempting to lose ourselves in these kinds of passive self-indulgences right now, we can’t forget about the needs of others, which is why Post Malone will be home playing beer pong. Somewhat making up for his refusal to cancel concerts during the coronavirus’s spread, Grapevine’s native son has announced an eight-day virtual beer pong tournament to be held on Instagram Live, with proceeds going to various charities fighting COVID-19. Contestants in the “Ballina Cup” will pay an entrance fee to compete for this enormous trophy Malone showed off on social media, along with undisclosed “wrestling belts” and bragging rights, with each two-person team facing off in a bracket of matchups that will be spread across all of next week. Confirmed participants so far include rapper Machine Gun Kelly, country singer Morgan Wallen, Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Camille Kostek and her boyfriend, former New England Patriot Rob Gronkowski, as well as Cleveland Indians pitcher Mike Clevinger, who kind of seems like a ringer. Anyway, although getting drunk with your friends on video chat might not seem like the most altruistic of gestures, remember that a lot of us are doing that without donating anything.
Lizzo Sends Lunch to Hospitals Across the Nation
Meanwhile, Post Malone’s fellow Texan superstar Lizzo has been practicing a more traditional form of humanitarianism throughout all of this, buying meals and recording video messages for health care workers all over the country. This week, the Houston-bred singer bought lunches for emergency room doctors and nurses in Michigan, Minnesota, California, New Jersey, and many more, sending each personalized statements of love and support. It’s the kind of grand gesture that can make you feel like there is still good in this world, and that we really can pull through this thing if we look out for each other. But if that alone doesn’t lift your spirits, maybe watch this video of Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek speak-singing his way through Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts.” We’re gonna make it, everybody.
THIS WEEK IN MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY
After a couple of weeks spent offering words of reassurance and gentle admonition, Matthew McConaughey put some of his money where his mouth was (after carefully wiping it down). The actor and entrepreneur announced that his whiskey partners at Wild Turkey have pledged $1 million to Another Round Another Rally, a campaign supporting the many bartenders, waiters, and other service people who are currently out of work because of COVID-19-related closures. McConaughey urged his three-million-plus followers to join him in throwing in to the “virtual tip jar,” which has already collected more than $1 million in donations. I’m not sure how much of that you can credit to McConaughey directly—but of course, when Matthew McConaughey tells you to tip, you tip.
Meanwhile, McConaughey once again lent his voice to a new coronavirus PSA, this time targeted at all Americans, and with a notably more aggressive tone than his previous, “stay home if you can” message for Texans. The ad urges everyone to stay home, period, with McConaughey declaring, “We are at war with a virus … Staying home is not a retreat. It’s the most brave and aggressive weapon we have against this enemy.” Even in Matthew McConaughey’s usual warm, gregarious intonations, the language has taken on decidedly more urgency and gravity, as befits the moment. Hopefully it’s enough to convince any remaining stragglers and skeptics to start taking this thing seriously, before McConaughey has to start calling them out by name.