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Streaming Channels

Shows To Binge-Watch While You’re Social Distancing

While we’re all stuck at home for an indefinite amount of time, our streaming services have become our best friends. It’s important to get up and move your body every day, and also just as important not to get caught up in 10 hour binge marathons of your favorite Netflix show. However, in times of extreme stress and anxiety, it’s just as important to make sure we’re doing things everyday  to enjoy ourselves and just disconnect from this scary world. Here are a few shows to start streaming now to get your mind off of this pandemic for a little while:

“The Office”: At this point, if you haven’t seen The Office and are too embarrassed to say anything, now would be the perfect time to binge all 9 seasons. The mockumentary style show follows the workers at a mundane paper selling company as they deal with the trials and tribulations of adulthood in Scranton. Currently the series is available on Netflix.

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“The Great British Bake Off” or “The Great British Baking Show”: This Netflix show is the perfect blend of reality competition, and food network entertainment provided by light-hearted British bakers with a desire to win. 

“Queer Eye”: In this Netflix resurgence of the early 2000’s show “Queer Eye For The Straight Guy,” five gay men travel around Georgia, Atlanta, and now Japan, to help individuals who are lacking confidence and need a bit of a “life makeover.” Each guy has a specific field of expertise – cooking, fashion, interior design, haircare/beauty, and culture – and they use their vast knowledge to teach their “heros” how to implement better lifestyle habits into their everyday routine to lead to a happier and healthier state of being. 

“Modern Family”: This critically acclaimed ABC comedy is officially ending this year, but before it does, go back and fall in love with all of the characters all over again by watching on Hulu or with your cable subscription. 

“Gentefield”: This dramedy is available on Netflix, and follows a multi-generational family working hard to rebrand their Boyle Heights Taco Shop. The show discusses themes of gentrification and cultural identity based on one’s environment. 

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“RuPaul’s Drag Race”: This extremely popular reality competition series follows a dozen drag queens as they race to compete for the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar. Each week, the queens face new challenges that test their skills in acting, singing, dancing, and whatever else it takes to be a drag queen. Certain seasons of the series are available on Hulu and Amazon Prime, and you can catch up with the current season, currently streaming on VH1, using your cable subscription.

“Love Island (UK)”: Another widely popular reality television series, Love Island UK puts a bunch of young singles in a dream vacation home for eight weeks with the hope that they might just find love. The series, currently streaming on Hulu, sprinkles in elements of physical challenges, trivia, and of course, good old fashioned drama. 

“Dr.K’s Exotic Animal ER”: This National Geographic series, available on Disney Plus, is like a real life Grey’s Anatomy except the patients are exotic animals and the doctors actually get along with one another. Doctor Kelleher’s wide range of patients include rabbits, lizards, pigs, goats, birds, and even monkeys!

Regardless of what you decide to watch during your time in quarantine, make sure you are finding the time to do other things and disengage from any sort of screen time at least once a day. It’s important that we keep our minds occupied with positive thinking, so while Netflix can be a great distraction from all things Covid-19, take a minute to be with yourself, and relax.

Streaming Services

The 5 Top Free Movie Streaming Services

There’s no question that streaming video technology has fundamentally changed the world of entertainment, as physical entertainment media has all but disappeared in favor of on-demand content delivered over the Internet in exchange for a monthly subscription fee. Subscriptions for these services can add up, however, particularly during a time when content is made exclusive to competing services like Hulu, Amazon Prime, and now Disney Plus, requiring pop culture aficionados to subscribe to multiple platforms to keep up with the most-talked-about stories of the moment. That being said, a tremendous amount of content can now also be found on free, legal, ad-supported services which provide valuable alternatives for those who don’t mind ads but want more out of their television-watching experience. While these platforms won’t host the most recent, blockbuster productions, they often include classics from the history of cinema, making them a valuable resource for fans of the storytelling medium.

Plex, for instance, has recently expanded its business to include free access to stream a wide selection of content. While Plex has long been well-known as a platform for streaming media hosted on one’s desktop computer or server to any number of other devices, the service now also grants access to a wide variety of classics such as Rain Man and The Terminator. Considering the fact that accessing these critically-acclaimed titles from the 20th century requires only that users sign up for an account, taking advantage of Plex can enable hours of entertainment without spending a dime.

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Another service, Crackle, offers a similarly impressive collection of titles and doesn’t even require users to make an account, though the option is available for those who wish to sync their watching history across multiple devices. In addition to classic titles, Crackle includes some recent movies as well, such as Captain Phillips and Whiplash as well as several popular TV shows. As the service is broadly compatible with a wide range of devices, requiring little more than a modern web browser to function, it’s likely worth checking out.

IMdB TV, a service owned by Amazon and previously called FreeDrive, makes for another worthy Netflix alternative. The platform gives access to a number of titles that may be difficult to find elsewhere, particularly for free, including David Fincher’s excellent The Social Network and classics like The Shining and Groundhog day. However, the service only works on Windows and Fire TV devices and requires users to create an IMdB account.

Though its library of content is not as impressive as others on this list, Tubi offers a polished and streamlined interface as well as access to thousands of movies and TV shows, which include critically-acclaimed selections like Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Nightcrawler. Similarly, the Walmart-owned Vudu lets users stream a selection of titles, but also gives users the option of renting or buying films from the service directly for a small fee. While the platform’s selection of ad-supported content is understandably less than stellar, the option to rent or buy recent hits like Once Upon a Time in Hollywood makes Vudu an attractive option, particularly because the first rental on Vudu is only 99 cents.

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Lastly, Hoopla is a service that, in coordination with your local library, allows you to digitally “borrow” films as well as other media like music and eBooks using your library card. There are some obvious drawbacks to this service; not everyone has a library card, and not every public library works with Hoopla to enable access to content. That being said, Hoopla is the only service on this list not to serve ads, as the business is funded by library systems. Also, its selection of content is unique relative to other platforms, particularly when it comes to audiobooks and eBooks, which may in fact be the most valuable aspect of the service. Public libraries are an under-utilized free knowledge resource, but with services like Hoopla that enable easy and free access to library materials, that could soon change.

The variety of streaming media services, both free and paid, can be overwhelming, especially because navigating the enormous selection of (mostly mediocre) titles available on each platform can be tiring. That being said, free, legal access to media of all sorts via the Internet has never been greater, and many hidden gems await those who are willing to navigate various services and libraries.

Silhouette of Singer

Kacey Musgraves Announces Christmas Show Spectacular On Amazon

Kacey Musgraves is coming at the holidays full force this year, and she’s doing it with a little help from Amazon and some other stars excited to celebrate the holidays in a full on traditional Christmas special spectacular! The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show along with an accompanying soundtrack will be released on Amazon Prime Video on November 29th, also known as black Friday, the official beginning of the Christmas season. The soundtrack will include studio recordings of all the performances and duets, along with some dialogue interludes from the Christmas special itself.

“I can say without a doubt that this project is unlike anything I’ve ever done before. What started as the small seed of an idea one night over a year ago has turned into something I’m so proud of. Some truly brilliant comedic and musical guests are featured in the show – as well as my own Grandma. My vision was to bring my old Christmas album to life visually and create a modern and fashionable, fresh take on a classic format. It’s a nostalgic, Wes Anderson-inspired re-imagining of the holidays. It’s heartfelt, funny, and most of all, real. I can’t wait to finally share,” said Musgraves when she made the official announcement yesterday (11/4).

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As stated above, Musgraves already has her own Christmas album, “A Very Kacey Christmas,” which was widely received as a perfect Christmas album when it made its 2016 debut, and now she’s back to take that album experience to the top possible level. Musgraves took to all her social media platforms yesterday to post a series of tweets and Instagram pictures showing off each individual who would be involved in the holiday project. Actor, writer and producer Dan Levy, known for his current television role in Schitts Creek, will be the coveted narrator for the entire special. Fred Armison from Saturday Night Live will join Musgraves for their own rendition of the holiday classic “Silent Night,” although the official announcement credits the song to be titled “(Not So) Silent Night,” which should be a holly jolly twist. 

Kacey and Leon Bridges will perform their hit “Present Without A Bow” which the two collaborated on originally for Musgraves Christmas album. Other singles from the original album that are getting a new exclusive re-recording specifically for this special include “Let It Snow” which will now feature late night talk show host James Cordon, who’s actually classically trained vocally, as seen in his many Carpool Karaoke skits. Musgrave’s will also be performing her iconic Bing Crosby cover of “Mele Kalikimaka (Hawaiian Christmas)” and this time will be accompanied by Indie singer and actress Zooey Deschanel. The last track that is getting remastered from her original album is “Ribbons And Bows” which will now be performed with the New York City Rockettes! It doesn’t get much more festive than that. 

Other collaborative performances include “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” featuring up and coming singer and former Fifth Harmony member, Camila Cabello. Troye Sivan will also join Musgraves on a brand new track titled “Glittery.” Finally, Musgraves will collaborate with ethereal alternative pop beauty Lana Del Rey for an old school classic cover of the track “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.”

Amazon App

Amazon Opens Largest Office Building And Isn’t Stopping Anytime Soon

This week, Amazon opened its biggest office building in the world, and it’s in the city of Hyderabad, India. This building is the first fully owned Amazon office space outside of the United States, covers over 9 acres of land, and has 1.8 million square feet of office space.