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story.lead_photo.caption Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington gets a hug from bluesman Bobby Rush in this 2018 photo. Rush, who grew up partly in Pine Bluff, is an international blues star who will livestream a concert for fans on Facebook Live at 2 p.m. Tuesday. (Democrat-Gazette file photo/Cary Jenkins)

Social distancing is threatening to change our world as drastically as social media did. Who knows how long the coronavirus will prevent us from getting together for movies, music, drinking, dancing, dining or daily routines? We need to have fun. We need togetherness. We need to socialize, and not from a distance.

But right now we must keep our distance, the health experts and government officials insist. So we must find Alternative Entertainment, and that's what we're calling our new feature in the Tuesday and Thursday Style sections (and for the remainder of our isolation.


Bobby Rush, the 83-year-old bluesman born in Homer, La., and raised in Pine Bluff from 1947 to 1953, when his family moved to Chicago, has announced that he will live-stream a concert from his home in Jackson, Miss., on Facebook Live at 2 p.m. today. It's free. To sign on, go to his Facebook page, @bobbyrushbluesman.

Rush is a member of the Blues Hall of Fame, won the Grammy for best traditional blues album in 2017 for Porcupine Meat, and scored his first gold record in 1971 with the song "Chicken Heads."


Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Food editor Kelly Brant shared a game that some of her friends have been playing together, but apart, on Facebook. Remember scavenger hunts of the olden days? You come up with a list of weird stuff and teams go out in search of them. Whoever collects all the objects and gets them back to the starting point first wins.

Well, it turns out you can do that online without leaving your neighborhood. Instead of collecting the objects on the list, Brant reports, one takes a photo and posts it to the group. The following is a suggested list to start with, but you can certainly make your own.

Virtual Scavenger Hunt

  1. Spot where two neighborhoods/towns/counties/states meet
  2. Biking or walking trail/public park sign
  3. A bus stop with a shelter/bench
  4. Public artwork
  5. A stone that looks like a heart
  6. Sunrise/sunset
  7. Quartz crystal
  8. A bridge
  9. A swing
  10. Animal tracks
  11. Two different remnants of a foundation
  12. A historical monument
  13. Sasquatch
  14. A "Haunted" house
  15. A waterfall
  16. Directional sign
  17. Someone doing a yoga pose
  18. A mushroom
  19. A rusty old car
  20. An overlook or spot with a good view
  21. Someone putting litter in a trashcan
  22. A purple flower
  23. An out-of-state license plate
  24. Animal waste
  25. A crazy looking tree, rock, plant, or animal that deserves a pic
  26. A squirrel, rabbit or other "wild" animal
  27. A wrought-iron gate
  28. A tombstone
  29. A cat
  30. A bird's nest

Have fun!


"It turns out that 20-year-olds, and those younger and even slightly older, are just as good as Best Buy's Geek Squad for solving all computer issues — even if the 20-year-old has NEVER used a Mac in his life. But he has also made fun of what he calls my 'ancient' equipment. Instead of 'Hey Siri,' I just have to say 'Hey, Cal.' He doesn't respond as quickly as Siri, and he is pretty grumpy, but he gets the job done," High Profile and features editor Rachel O'Neal reports.


Another suggestion from a colleague is to get a hold of as many books as possible. Good, old, actual hardbound and paperback books. You probably have at least a few around the house. Blow the dust off them and crack them open. Each one should be good enough for a couple of hours of attention. If you absolutely cannot stand the idea of dealing with a physical book, e-books are available, many for free or at low prices, from public libraries (the New York Public Library is making 300,000 titles available —, academic sites and online vendors.

The Central Arkansas Library System is touting its digital library, with hundreds of books available to check out. CALS even offers audiobooks online, with no waiting or holds. Just follow this link to find one:


The invitation from the podcast production company Pineapple ( reads like this:

"Hey kids! Help us make a brand new podcast. Just like you, we are stuck at home and we need help. We need your podcasts. We want to make a podcast with kids all over the world who are stuck at home, to hear what it's like where you are — what you are doing to fill the time. Making a podcast is really easy, literally anyone can do it. You can do it on your or your parents'/guardians' phone, or laptop, or their professional music studio (If your mom is Beyoncé, please tell her we love her). Here's what to do..."

  1. Ask your parent/guardian for permission.
  2. Come up with an idea and record it using a smartphone voice recording app.
  3. Give your podcast a name and tell us where you're making it from.
  4. Send us your podcast; email it to

Just follow this link for more instructions:


A British online operation called Kegel8 is looking "to help spread the love and inject some passion into our lives during this tough time" by revealing "the world's most listened-to songs during sex, according to Spotify data." According to their study, "[Canadian singer/songwriter] The Weeknd is the world's most listened-to artist on Spotify during sex" and "Neighbors Know My Name" by [American singer, songwriter and rapper] Trey Songz is the go-to track." (If you're not familiar with that artist or that song, you are probably too old for this to make any difference.) The methodology involved following different sex-theme playlists on Spotify, using the search terms "Sex," "Netflix and Chill," "Date Night," "Make Love" and "Baby Making." The Weeknd was apparently made famous as having provided the lead single from the soundtrack to Fifty Shades of Grey, which Kegel8's news release understates as "a film known for its erotic scenes."


Spend a little while using painters tape to make a design on a wooden fence or shed wall. The one suggested on Facebook that a teacher in El Dorado pointed out was a large stained-glass design.

Then, use your best Tom Sawyer charm to get the kids involved. Give them either paint or colored chalk to color in the taped-off shapes. If you use chalk, you can wash away the evidence. Paint, of course, would be more permanent. So you better hope it's attractive if you let the kids use paint.


From Style writer and columnist Helaine Williams comes this suggestion. "Start a 'selfies unplugged' group page on Facebook. Encourage friends to join a group in which — instead of posting glam photos with flawless hair, makeup, clothing and a 'duck lips' Facebook pose — members put up their 'work from home' selfies ... how they REALLY look, sitting in front of those computers. What's under that makeup? What's that 'bed hair' look like? How do those lips look not seductively pouted? Show off those pajamas! The most interesting selfie gets the It Just Got Real trophy with the prize of a bathroom-tissue bouquet."


The Little Rock Zoo is telling Arkansans to attend spring break at the zoo via the internet. Every day through March 29, go to the zoo's Facebook page for "an exciting tour of animals from around the world, as we highlight a different animal each day."

Little Rock zookeepers will offer insights into the wild residents in their care. Find out more here:

Got Alternative Entertainment ideas? Email them to

Style on 03/24/2020

Print Headline: Stream, paint, read or search, keeping apart in this crisis

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