Keeping Cultured During Quarantine

Find out how our Teen Editorial Staff is staying artistically engaged while socially distant.

The Beatles

Just because COVID-19 cancelled many arts events, that doesn’t mean art stops! We here on the Teen Editorial Staff have been spending our quarantine keeping cultured with the plethora of great art we now have the pleasure of catching up on. From music, crafts, TV, movies, books, scrapbooks, knitting, and cosplaying, we all have our own way of taking advantage of this time. So if you’ve been sitting at home longing for the outdoors like the Disney prince/princess you are, read on for our recommendations on how to beat the collective cabin fever!

OLIVIA:

I’ve been feeling extra nostalgic lately, so a lot of my time has been spent reminiscing about the good ol’ days (that is, before the plague hit). After all, I’m a senior in high school, and it won’t be long before my childhood ends, and the next chapter officially begins. So, I’ve spent a lot of my time at home reliving memories through various arts and crafts.

I’m currently in the middle of transforming an old planner into a 2020 scrapbook of memories & thoughts using photos from my phone, colored pencils & markers, stickers, washi tape, and souvenirs. It's therapeutic and transports me into some happy moments--even amid the chaos that 2020 has been so far.

I also finally dusted off the piano, which I hadn’t touched since 6th grade. My skills are definitely rusty, but nonetheless, I’m excited to relearn a few of my favorite tunes (including Imagine Dragon’s Demons and Chopin’s Nocturne in C# Minor).

Of course, I've also had plenty of time to indulge in my guilty pleasures: I re-downloaded TikTok and am consuming unhealthy amounts of reality TV. Watching Love is Blind and American Idol has given me some over-the-top drama to look forward to every day since I’m living a rather uneventful quarantined life myself.

Next on my list of crafty to-do's is creating a vision board to hang up on my wall. Despite my nostalgia, I’m definitely hopeful for the future.

Continue staying healthy, keeping positive, & loving art!

KENDALL:

I want to start this by saying, no, I don’t have HBO. This fun little tidbit, along with my heinously busy schedule, is mostly what prevented me from watching gay tumblr daydream, Euphoria. HBO offers a free trial, which, in quarantine-free life, I didn’t have time to redeem. Long story short, sometimes life brings you an HBO free trial.

Euphoria, as it were, was good. It had most of what I look for in any piece of art: soapy drama, trans representation, kitschy eyeshadow lewks. It tenderly guided me through my first few days of quarantine-based shellshock. The characters, all high schoolers, all played by people obviously not in high school, split their time between various dramatique plotlines and aesthetically impeccable house parties. The stark contrast between their life and my own was palpable. I spent high school between various grinds, believing I could cement myself as a semi-successful student, activist, and artist, and then do my Euphoria-ing. The strategy, so far, has worked. Now, quarantined in the spring of my senior year, I can’t help but think that the time I saved for fun is slipping away. I’m definitely privileged in terms of this crisis, as someone who is young, upper class, and able-bodied. Still, I can’t help it. I wish I had worn more eyeliner.

ANYA:

I've been reading a lot recently. Unfortunately, I do not have anything remarkably good to say about what I've been reading. The following books range very slightly in genre, but they are all alike in their ability to lose your interest after the first chapter. (Nevertheless, I did read all of them all the way through for the Goodreads clout.)

1. Anna K: A Love Story by Jenny Lee. A modern-day retelling of Anna Karenina.

I have never read Tolstoy, and based on this book, I do not particularly want to. The materialistic characters lacked depth, their interactions seemed forced, the same word would appear in three consecutive sentences. Also, these kiddos did a ridiculous amount of drugs. I'm giving it points just because I like romance. Rating 4/10.

2. I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley. A book of essays.

This book reads more like a third-tier biography: these essays are supposed to be humorous, but I didn't always get the joke. The author went to… camp? She lives in… New York? She collects… ponies? (There was a lot of simultaneous over-and-undersharing going on.) Maybe once she develops a stronger voice, I’ll be more interested. Rating 5/10.

3. High Fidelity: Nick Horby. A novel about a man who works in a record store.

Oh my god. This book was SO MANY PAGES of just... I don't even know. This man gets dumped by the love of his life but he quickly meets this other woman and they start dating except he's still not over girl number one and he finally gets her back. The whole novel reeked of low-grade sexism and obscure music references. Rating 2/10.

I meant to list out five books, but after the meh-to-awful first three, I don’t think I can continue. PLEASE do not read these books unless you like pain and poor writing.

Also, send me book recs.

TOVA:

My daily quaran(rou)tine is making playlists, dancing in my room, and not completing my homework, which is...not so different from how I spent my time pre-pandemic. Trying to stay connected to people, and taking this time to introspect and get through my pile of unfinished art projects.

I’ve also been watching some movies on Kanopy, which is a huge database of film you can access for free with a library card. My favorite so far has been A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014), a feminist Iranian vampire spaghetti western. Those categories don’t seem like they would go together, but open your mind and enter the black-and-white desert town of Bad City. The Vampire, a ghostly-pale girl in a chador, stalks the streets at night preying on shitty men to an atmospheric soundtrack of Iranian rock and techno. It’s slow and strange and goth and romantic. The loneliness and tension inherent in the vampire archetype (you like someone, but if you get too close you might kill them) gives it some weird resonance. Not that giving into Edward-Cullen-type bloodlust is anything like unknowingly infecting someone with COVID-19 but...whatever, anyways, if you like moody art movies, soft horror, and #girlpower, you should check out A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night.

COVID-19 Playlist:

"Before the Fever" - Grimes
"Wash Your Hands" - Jean Grae
"Germs" - JPEGMAFIA
"Superbug" - King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
"The Fever" - Bruce Springsteen
"Fever" - Carly Rae Jepsen
"The Plague" - Jenny Hval
"Mask Off" - Future
"A Lot’s Gonna Change" - Weyes Blood

LILY:

If anything, this pandemic-induced quarantine has brought out my inner grandmother. No, seriously– since most of my workplaces are shut down, and my school is on spring break, I’ve spent this first week of the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order knitting socks for practically everyone I know, drinking a lot of tea, baking, and spending quality time with my cat.

Of course, in between all that knitting, I’ve made time for art. Pretty much every night, a few friends and I have done virtual movie nights--we struggle through setting up a four-way FaceTime call, then all try to press play at exactly the same moment on our pick of the night.

In case you’re looking for some suggestions for a quarantine movie night of your own, here’s what we’ve been watching:

  1. Romeo and Juliet, 1998: Starring a young Leonardo DiCaprio, this is easily one of the gayest movies ever made, even though it’s an adaptation of perhaps the most quintessential straight love story. 8/10
  2. Kid Gorgeous, 2018: Easily the best of all John Mulaney specials, and absolutely delightful. 11/10
  3. Contagion, 2011: This is that movie some are saying predicted the coronavirus outbreak. Watch for some anxiety-inducing, but important, public health messaging. 10/10
JOSH:

We all have ways of coping with COVID-19. Mine just so happens to be making an Iron-Man suit. Currently being constructed out of cardstock and hot glue using a program called Pepakura Designer, I plan to later fiberglass and paint it. Well, I’ve been planning to for years, but something always went wrong before I got to that part. This time I’ve learned from my mistakes and I’m going to use this time to finally see this project through to the end.

It’s a rather tedious process, so to pass the time I’ve been watching a LOT of American Horror Story. It’s this big horror anthology series where each season follows a different cast of characters with the same cast of actors. The diversity of the cast is laudable, and the variety of the show is spectacular, ensuring that there’s something horrible and grotesque for everyone!

I’m also currently watching (while I’m writing this actually) Netflix’s Tiger King. A true crime mini series documenting the insane lives led by exotic cat owners, words cannot do this show justice. Just look at the hype and watch the first episode to understand the breakout success of this docuseries.

Lead photo credit: Photo by Visuals on Unsplash.


The TeenTix Newsroom is a group of teen writers led by the Teen Editorial Staff. For each review, Newsroom writers work individually with a teen editor to polish their writing for publication. The Teen Editorial Staff is made up of 6 teens who curate the review portion of the TeenTix blog. More information about the Teen Editorial Staff can be found HERE.

The TeenTix Press Corps promotes critical thinking, communication, and information literacy through criticism and journalism practice for teens. For more information about the Press Corps program see HERE.

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