The Met, the Natural History Museum and the Power of Video Games

Each week, we’re sharing a few links to cultural experiences you can access from home during the pandemic, such as online concerts, theater and art. This week we suggest:

  • Every day since the start of the pandemic the Metropolitan Opera has made available a different presentation from its Live in HD series. Each performance is available for just 23 hours. The theme of Week 25 (starting Aug 31st) is “20th Century and Beyond.” Performances include works by Strauss, Britten and the Gershwins. The week starting Sept 7th focuses on French opera. If you want to watch any of the more than 700 other productions, they can be rented for $4.99.
  • Wander around the outside of London’s Natural History Museum and then explore the museum’s stunning central hall which displays a small sample of the museum’s more than eighty million specimens, one of which is a 25 meter (approx 82 foot) skeleton of a blue whale. Both these tours are courtesy of Google. While viewing these, I suggest you open up a second window to the museum’s website so you can listen to David Attenborough welcoming you and describing some of the exhibits.
  • Love them or loath them, a third of the world’s population plays video games, an estimated 2.6 billion people. In this 10-minute TED Talk titled the transformative power of video games entrepreneur Herman Narula makes the case for a new understanding of gaming, “one that includes the power to create new worlds, connect people and shape the economy.” Then, listen to game designer David Cage describe how video games turn players into storytellers.”

In addition to our Culture Corner features, you might wish to browse our Beyond the Book articles that explore a historical, cultural or contextual aspect of every book we feature.

— Davina