6 Favorite Online Diversions for Beating the Coronavirus Blues

Whenever we need some cheering up, we turn to these local social media feeds, virtual tours and online performances.

Our resilient community of Sonoma creatives are seeking out all kinds of new ways to preserve our physical and mental health during these trying times. Here are some of our favorite new resources for beating the lockdown blues, all from the comfort of home.

Virtual museum tours: The Museum of Sonoma County offers online virtual tours and interactive exhibits via their website. View the works of 19th century landscape artists, explore the history of the Fountaingrove utopian community and see images of Santa Rosa’s lost Chinatown. “Finding creative ways to engage with our community online has been a new challenge, but we prepared by shooting video footage before the shelter-in-place order was implemented, to be sure we had enough content to work with while we are closed,” says the museum’s Katie Azanza. “We’re adding content on a daily basis.” Museum of Sonoma County, 425 Seventh St., Santa Rosa, 707-579-1500, museumsc.org/engage.

Santa Rosa Symphony watch parties: During the coronavirus pandemic, Santa Rosa Symphony conductor Francesco Lecce Chong has been hosting Happy-Hour Watch Parties on his Facebook page, Tuesday through Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. Chong begins the festivities with a brief introduction, followed by an hour or two of pre-recorded performances. Archived watch parties are available via YouTube. facebook.com/leccechong or lecce-chong.com

Farm tours: Get to know some of the furry and feathered residents of Charlie’s Acres Farm Animal Sanctuary in Sonoma. With the cancellation of the ranch’s regularly scheduled tours, the sanctuary has lost a key source of income and has now pivoted to virtual tours and goat-to-meetings to introduce visitors to the ranch’s 140 rescued farm animals from a distance. Their Facebook page is sure to bring a smile to your face. Consider making a tax-deductible donation if you enjoy the virtual version. Charles’s Acres Farm Animal Sanctuary, 3201 Napa Road, Sonoma, charliesacres.org

Luther locals: The landmark Luther Burbank Center has quickly pivoted to a few different virtual arts programs to engage in the arts during shelter in place orders. Our favorite? The LBC’s new Luther Locals program, featuring ten-minute (or so) mini concerts from Sonoma County musicians and songwriters, performing from their own home with high-quality sound and video via Facebook. Local musician, songwriter, and teacher Joni Davis was first up in early April, with new concerts launched each Friday. lutherburbankcenter.org/luther-locals.

A feast for the eyes: Steve Roybal’s leaning tower of double beef brisket patties with gooey melted American cheese, fry sauce, pickle chips, and a toasted everything bagel barely holding the whole thing from certain collapse is vicarious entertainment of the juiciest sort. Though he’s neither photographer nor chef, Roybal’s Instagram feed is a haunting, mouth-watering collection of painstakingly-plated dishes the Santa Rosa hobbyist makes just for fun. Using mostly local products he finds at grocery stores (Oliver’s is a favorite) and farm markets around Sonoma County, Roybal gets a lot of his elaborate plating ideas from local restaurants and chefs including “all the Stark’s restaurants”, Shawn McAnelly, Dustin Valette and Dry Creek Kitchen. “It’s a creative outlet,” said Roybal, who works as an internal investigator for a pharmacy company. “I get rules and structure all day. This is my way of relaxing and unwinding with no rules, no instruction, and no direction,” he said. The Roybal Supperclub on Instagram (@the_roybal_supperclub)

Streaming theater: Several mainstay local theater companies are moving to online platforms for theater fans to access new works and recent productions. Main Stage West in Sebastopol recently streamed online a video recording of the company’s 2016 musical “Hope,” written by singer/songwriter and activist Si Kahn. The play tells the story of the author’s European Jewish family, which emigrated to the United States in the 19th century. And Santa Rosa’s Left Edge Theater has an active website with several interesting options, including high-quality recordings of recent award-winning plays, including “Drumming with Anubis” (a $10 streaming fee supports the theater) as well as free new play spotlights. mainstagewest.com, leftedgetheatre.com