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Arts & Culture

Social Distancing Entertainment: Ultra Virtual Audio Festival, Virtual Movie Theaters And More

Alexia Fodere
Miami Herald
Ultra Music Festival was canceled this year because of the coronavirus. It returns as a radio broadcast this weekend via Sirius XM.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced closures of restaurants, bars, nightclubs, concert halls and theaters -- the places that would've taken up our weekends.

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Some cultural venues are offerings workarounds via radio broadcasts and live streaming to give folks some relief while they're cooped up at home in a time of social distancing.

Here's a short list that'll be updated over time:

Virtual Movie Theaters

South Florida art house cinemas are shifting operations online after they’ve had to close due to the coronavirus.

Miami’s O Cinema launched its Virtual Theater Project Friday to offer a movie-going experience from people’s homes.

“I think it’s a scary times. People are stressed, nervous. People are certainly experiencing some cabin fever,” said Kareem Tabsch, co-director and founder of O Cinema. “Film is such a wonderful way to kind of connect with different worlds and also offer some escapism.”

O Cinema will screen new releases on certain days. Other theaters that offer similar programming include Coral Gables Art Cinema and Tropic Cinema in Key West.

You can also check out your local library to access free streaming apps.

Poetry Events Online

April is National Poetry Month and the O, Miami Poetry Festival has a series of events planned to celebrate the art form, all from the comfort of your couch. 

For nine years, O, Miami has brought some of the premier poets from around the country to South Florida for readings and conversations, but this year the fest has shifted its celebration to online due to coronavirus.

"This is a new world for us, and we are tryign to have fun with it and provide some type of arts programming and we hope that brings some joy and solace to people," says P. Scott Cunningham, the founder and director of O, Miami.

Some of the events this year include Poetry In Pajamas: An open mic for kids and Astro Poetry Readings with 11th House.South Floridians will be able to connect through Crowdcast, a digital platform used to host online events.

Ultra Virtual Audio Festival
Updated Friday, March 27 at 12:03 p.m.

Sirius XM radio recently hosted a virtual Ultra Music Festival. There were live DJ sets from artists -- including Afrojack and Major Lazer -- who were supposed to perform at this year’s outdoor concert.

Ultra was one of the first major public events to be canceled due to the coronavirus. Local government officials were concerned about folks traveling internationally and potentially spreading the virus.

You can find some of the DJ sets on YouTube.

Live Stream Concerts

Concerts are moving online.

Rhythm Foundation, a Miami Beach music nonprofit, is organizing with South Florida music acts to live stream concerts. In the comfort of your own home, you can get on Facebook, start a dance party, and listen to a local act like Miami’s electro duo Afrobeta, which performed a closet set on Thursday, March 19.

The foundation said it's working on a lineup of future performances. On Thursday, April 18 at 8 p.m., folk, pop, and indie duo Jay Thomas, will perform a closet set.  

Coral Cam

Need a moment of zen? South Florida has the largest coral reef ecosystem in the U.S. and one way to admire its beauty is via the Coral City Camera, an underwater camera that live streams the coral reef located on the northeastern tip of PortMiami on Dodge Island.

The visibility ranges from 10 to 20 feet, and it's currently the best time to view the underwater garden because the water clears up as we get closer to summertime.

You can also listen to this soothing playlist while watching these beautiful ecosystems and fish in the water.

Alexander Gonzalez produces the afternoon newscasts airing during All Things Considered. He enjoys helping tell the South Florida story through audio and digital platforms. Alex is interested in a little of everything from business to culture to politics.
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