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How to Watch Film, TV, and Other Entertainment Happenings With Friends During the Coronavirus

There are plenty of ways for friends and families to come together and celebrate entertainment during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bob Ross, Art of the Chill Game. The Bob Ross "Art of the Chill Game," by Big G Creative, is displayed at the TTPM 2018 Spring Showcase, in New York. "Happy Accidents: An Exhibit of Original Bob Ross Paintings," which opened at the Franklin Park Arts Center in Purcellville, Virginia, on September 3, 2019, marks the largest display of the artist's work on the East CoastExchange Bob Ross Paintings, New York, USA - 26 Apr 2018

The Bob Ross “Art of the Chill Game,” by Big G Creative, is displayed at the TTPM 2018 Spring Showcase, in New York.

Richard Drew/AP/Shutterstock

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced many entertainment venues to shutter their doors nationwide and Americans are beginning to hole up indoors as local and state governments enact precautionary measures to halt the spread of the virus. But the show must go on.

While going out to movie theaters, concert venues, and restaurants is no longer an option for many consumers, there are a handful of ways for parties to virtually come together and celebrate all manner of entertainment events.

For the Netflix aficionados, Netflix Party made headlines Tuesday (thanks to a viral Twitter post) for allowing film and TV fanatics to come together while still practicing social distancing. The Google Chrome extension allows Netflix subscribers to easily watch the streaming service’s myriad releases with others, as long as each user has their own Netflix account. If you’re staying indoors but have still been meaning to watch “Outbreak,” the 1995 film about stopping a deadly virus, with friends or family, Netflix Party just might be the solution.

In other streaming news, Twitch.tv, the premiere video game streaming platform, is unsurprisingly seeing huge upticks in viewership. While the platform is primarily known for video gaming — fans of that medium should be plenty excited for Friday’s long-awaited releases of “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” and “Doom Eternal” — Twitch also occasionally offers free marathons of old television programs. The platform is currently airing a nonstop marathon of Bob Ross’ timeless “The Joy of Painting,” perfect for anyone who just wants to see some happy little trees.

Musicians are also adapting to the pandemic. NPR is keeping track of a growing list of bands and artists who are streaming sets to their fans and most of the concerts are free. John Legend and Dropkick Murphys streamed performances earlier today and a wide range of musicians from varying genres are planning to do the same in the coming weeks. Opera fans should also be getting their fill, as the Metropolitan Opera in New York began live-streaming nightly performances yesterday (extremely high traffic means prospective viewers should practice patience, however).

Animal lovers are also getting serviced via several zoos and aquariums, which offer live feeds of various animals. The San Diego Zoo has a handful of live feeds for animals ranging from pandas and elephants to tigers and penguins. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is offering live feeds of sea otters, sharks, jellyfish. While it might not be streaming, cat people (this reporter is part of that demographic) are also strongly encouraged to check out the #QuarantineCats Twitter hashtag for an endlessly growing list of wonderful photos.

For those looking to watch the aforementioned concerts, zoo feeds, and other entertainment happenings in sync with friends or family, a handful of services, including TeamViewer, Skype, Google Hangouts, and Discord allow users to privately stream their computer screens to others.

While the coronavirus pandemic has caused numerous delays in film and television production, a variety of entertainment companies, organizations, and creators are hustling to provide some light in the darkness. IndieWire is keeping track of all the positive entertainment industry-related happenings that are going on during the pandemic.

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