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Broadway’s Billy Hipkins Launches Bonnet-Making Campaign for COVID-19 Relief

It looked like there would be no Easter Bonnet competition this year—at least until legendary designer Billy Hipkins stepped in.

Billy Hipkins - Post Tony Noms News


Each spring since 1987, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has honored the season by hosting an Easter Bonnet Competition.

On a chosen date, Broadway stars and employees come together to share songs and to show off their unique, creative bonnet designs, all while raising money for a good cause.

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Did Nintendo Create COVID-19 to Make "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" the New Way to Socialize?

Could Nintendo really be behind the COVID-19 pandemic?


Why spend your day isolated in quarantine when you can spend it relaxing on a tropical island surrounded by cute talking animals and all of your real-life friends, too?

As if being the first mainline Animal Crossing game to release in over eight years isn't exciting enough already, Animal Crossing: New Horizons arrives at a time when life as we know it has been flipped upside down. Amidst the coronavirus pandemic–characterized by social distancing, food shortages, and rampant joblessness–Nintendo's patent brand of life simulation feels like an all-too-necessary escape to a far better world.

Coronavirus may have been capable of destroying the dream vacation to Japan that I booked in May of 2019 and spent close to a year planning, but when I booted up Animal Crossing: New Horizons on my Switch, everyone at the Nook Inc. travel agency seemed entirely unconcerned about my upcoming flight to a deserted island getaway. Within hours of meeting Tom Nook—the island's tanuki (raccoon in the US version) proprietor who gives out houses with interest-free loans—I had already made friends with my jock squirrel neighbor, Sheldon, eaten a ton of fresh pears, and hoarded roughly 20 fish in tanks stacked outside my tent with plans to start an aquarium.

Animal Crossing New Horizons SheldonNintendo

Animal Crossing is the perfect distraction from everything horrible going on in the real world right now. The aesthetic is overwhelmingly adorable, the island locale is relaxing, and the gameplay experience is entirely tailored to your own inclinations. You can spend your day exploring new islands, hanging out with your animal villagers, or creating custom art to display on your wall. You can also visit your real-world friends' islands and just hang out.

As it turns out, that latter feature is especially useful during a real-world quarantine. During the weekend of the game's launch, I discovered that nearly every one of my friends who owns a Switch had also purchased Animal Crossing—even people I wouldn't expect to play a cutesy life sim game. On Saturday, I visited five different friends' islands to hang out and chat. On Sunday, my friends and I took things to the next level, getting together on the same island and hopping on Discord voice chat so we could all literally talk to each other while fishing and gazing at virtual shooting stars. Amazingly, hanging out in Animal Crossing actually feels like socializing during a time when hanging out in-person isn't possible.

Throughout the weekend, I heard roughly the same sentiment from nearly everyone I met up with in-game: "Animal Crossing couldn't have come out at a more perfect time." I agree wholeheartedly. It's a thought I had many times during the weeks leading up to the game's launch. As the world seemed to crumble around me, as my long-held plans for the coming months fell to the wayside, I kept thinking, "At least Animal Crossing is coming out."

But then something dawned on me, a notion so chilling that it sent...well, a chill down my spine: Animal Crossing: New Horizons is timed so perfectly, that maybe, just maybe, it's too perfect.

If the past few years have taught me anything, it's that the world is a godless sh*tcircus wherein the most stupid, bad faith takes are usually correct and no attribution of evil intentions are ever too far-fetched for humanity's boundless penchant for villainy.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons stands in stark contrast to this worldview. Animal Crossing is good and wholesome, a happy game worth being excited over, a genuine reprieve from everything gross and vile. The laws of the universe practically mandate that, in the midst of a global pandemic, something as pure as Animal Crossing must be secretly tainted. Seeing as the game wasn't delayed, and it really is as great as everyone always wanted it to be, it follows that Animal Crossing's toxicity isn't upfront but, rather, behind the scenes.

It follows that Nintendo was behind the entire COVID-19 pandemic. Their plan? To create a deadly virus forcing humanity into quarantine, with nothing to look forward to other than Animal Crossing. Then, when everyone is playing and realizes that they can hang out in-game, chilling in Animal Crossing: New Horizons will become the new default form of socialization. People, by and large, will never leave their homes again, preferring to live vicariously through their cute little avatars on their happy fictional islands. By this point, Nintendo will have successfully cultivated an army of dependent consumers who will buy whatever Animal Crossing: New Horizons DLC they need in order to maintain their new form of social status.

Yes, I submit that COVID-19 is all about selling DLC.

Tom NookNintendo

The open secret of DLC is that even though gamers constantly complain about how much we hate it, we continue to buy DLC because it adds more content and, by proxy, longevity to our favorite games. On a baser level, in multiplayer games where the DLC is largely cosmetic, we buy DLC to flex on other people by making our accounts look better than theirs.

There are no paid Animal Crossing DLC items yet, but there is a Nook Inc. Silk Rug DLC that you can download if you subscribe to Switch Online (which costs $20 per year and is necessary to hang out with non-local friends in-game). Of course, Nintendo can't just come swinging right out of the gate. They're playing the long-game. That's why they possibly released this pandemic. It's not hard to imagine a future where nobody wants to go to your island to hang out unless you have the coolest new virtual firepit or virtual sound system that you can only get with real money. At that point, when socialization is conducted exclusively through Animal Crossing, your options will be to buy whatever new item Nintendo is shilling or become a social pariah.

In order for Nintendo to make their plan a reality, people need to emotionally fuse themselves with the game. Due to COVID-19, it's working. I wasn't the only person who spent my weekend substituting real-life human interaction with Animal Crossing chill seshes.

All across the Animal Crossing subreddit, users have shared stories of the genuine human interactions they've experienced in-game. People are going on virtual museum dates and connecting with family members from different countries, all from the safety of their own homes. In short, human interaction via Animal Crossing is becoming the new normal.

All of this would be genuinely beautiful if I wasn't so certain that Nintendo engineered the entire thing to sell DLC. Because if Nintendo didn't engineer the whole thing, if Animal Crossing: New Horizons really did just coincidentally come out at the time when it was needed most to provide people with a novel, wonderful means of human connection amidst a crisis, well...that would mean there's still goodness in the world. And if there's still goodness in the world, that means there's also hope that things can get better. I can't accept a reality where it takes a virtual squirrel named Sheldon who always talks about lifting weights to make me recognize that my worldview is flawed. Because if I did, one might say that Animal Crossing has shown me...a New Horizon.

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The 5 Worst Celebrity Responses to Coronavirus

Some of us struggle to survive. Others complain on Instagram.

Photo by Hahn Lionel/ABACA/Shutterstock

Sometimes being a celebrity with millions of dollars leads a person to become just a tad out of touch with the rest of humanity.

While millions of Americans struggle to pay rent, afford food, and take care of their children in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, some celebrities have more pressing things to worry about—things like how unfair it is that they can't do whatever they want, and also what even is coronavirus? These are the five worst celebrity responses to coronavirus, ranked:

5. Gal Gadot

For Gal Gadot, six days in self-quarantine got her "feeling a bit philosophical." This manifested in the Wonder Woman star employing the help of her famous pals to put together an all-celebrity cover of John Lennon's Imagine. In fairness to Gal Godot—and unlike the other celebrities on this list—her heart is absolutely in the right place. It's a sweet sentiment, but at the same time, the result is just kind of off-putting. The singing isn't great, but more importantly, why do a group of multi-millionaires need to "imagine" a better world when, if they combined their vast resources, they could actually make a pretty substantial difference? At the very least, a lot of lower-level people in the film industry are currently out of work, and this small group of "dreamers" has hundreds of millions of dollars between them. Maybe they could find a way to help?

4. Jared Leto

Jared Leto is consistently terrible, so posting on Instagram about missing the entire start of the coronavirus pandemic hitting stateside due to a 12-day desert meditation retreat is 100% in-character. Leto's post feels less like a genuine show of concern than a humblebrag about being on a desert retreat and a reminder that he has many friends. How can one man possibly be so awful?

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A post shared by JARED LETO (@jaredleto) on Mar 16, 2020 at 10:26pm PDT

3. Vanessa Hudgens

Vanessa Hudgens had one job during the pandemic, and that was sitting in her mansion and basking in her wealth. Instead, she decided to use her time to make a video seemingly complaining about the massive response to the virus. "Even if everybody gets it, like yeah, people are going to die, which is terrible... but inevitable?" said Hudgens without a single shred of care for older and immunocompromised people who are currently living in fear. At least she apologized afterwards.

2. Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh

In the comedy world, there are few improv theaters better known than Upright Citizens Brigade. Founded and co-owned by Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh, UCB has launched the careers of many comedians and comedy writers. While the theater has received flack in the past for not paying their performers, they do employ a number of staff members including teachers, cafe employees, and technicians. Or at least they did before the coronavirus hit, after which they immediately fired nearly everyone. Of course, it's understandable that business need to make cuts, but when one of the owners has 30 million dollars to her name, it's not right to leave already low-paid employees floundering in a crisis.

1. Evangeline Lilly

For whatever reason, Ant-Man and the Wasp actress Evangeline Lilly is currently on a crusade against quarantining herself or her children in the face of COVID-19, because apparently nothing says superhero like helping to speed up a pandemic. So while others worry about their own well-being and care for their communities, Evangeline Lilly sends her probably infected kids to gymnastic camp, and then seems to b*tch about Marshall Law from Tekken, for god knows why.

"Where we are right now feels a lot too close to Marshall Law [sic] for my comfort already, all in the name of a respiratory flu. It's unnerving…Let's be vigilant right now. And kind. Watchful and gracious — keeping a close eye on our leaders, making sure they don't abuse this moment to steal away more freedoms and grab more power."

Major yikes.


All the Best Coronavirus Memes to Keep You Laughing Through Quarantine

When your healthcare system is entirely broken, memes are the best medicine.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

The COVID-19 pandemic may be one of the lowest points in modern human history, but it's definitely a high point for memes.

As it turns out, the more time we spend holed up in quarantine, the more time we have to spread stupid images of people hoarding toilet paper. During trying times like these, memes are more than jokes. Looking at the lighter side of things is more important than ever when trying not to spiral into depression, and given the current state of the world, that makes memes a borderline medical necessity.

Anyways, there are some great coronavirus memes out there, so if you're going to get infected with a horrible, potentially deadly virus, you might as well get infected with some laughter, too.

Toilet Paper Memes

Despite the fact that COVID-19 is primarily an upper-respiratory virus, people have been hoarding toilet paper like they're expecting dysentery.

That's not to say it's not a good idea to have extra toilet paper to last through a quarantine, but there are definitely more important things to consider.

Also, buying more toilet paper than you actually need is incredibly selfish. One family can only sh*t so much.

So enjoy being surrounded by toilet paper as the world falls apart around you. At least you won't have a dirty butt.

Handwashing Memes

Aside from quarantine and social distancing, washing your hands is one of the primary defenses against coronavirus. It's of the utmost importance to learn how to do it properly.

For those of us who do wash our hands properly, dry hands will likely become the bane of our existence.

Also, don't forget to sanitize surfaces. Wipe down your doorknobs, light switches, countertops, etc. to avoid the spread of germs.

Oh, and any face mask other than an N95 respirator mask—which are only needed by medical professionals right now and are in short supply—isn't particularly useful against coronavirus. So stop buying up masks. They won't help you.

Introvert Memes

To some extent, the whole social distancing/quarantine shtick is kind of old hat for introverts.

If anything, it's the ultimate excuse for those of us who already dislike social interactions.

That's not to say that the pandemic is a good thing, but hey, might as well seek out the positives.

Quarantine Memes

For most people, though, quarantine is a massive disruptor to daily life. It's important to establish routines wherever we can to establish a new sense of normalcy.

The internet can allow us to maintain work relations and social interactions to avoid total isolation.

Although the unfortunate reality is that major life events for many people will still be disrupted and potentially ruined.

It's hard to consistently stay positive during a period as stressful as this one, so remember to prioritize self-care.

Even if your plans are ruined, there are plenty of ways to still have fun from home. Like video games. Or...

People Taking Coronavirus Seriously Memes

Ultimately, as much as we joke, coronavirus is ridiculously serious.

It's of the utmost importance that we stay home and stop traveling unnecessarily.

The American healthcare system is absolutely broken, and we need to make sure that the most at-risk people in our community are able to access the life-saving medical attention they require.

So while we continue to laugh at all the coronavirus memes, let's keep in mind that human lives are on the line and it's each of our responsibilities to do our parts in preventing the spread.

2020 Memes

Oh, and let's also not forget that 2020 can, and probably will, get a whole lot worse.

Culture News

It's Time to Close GameStop Permanently

A company that refuses to ensure the safety of their employees and customers does not deserve to exist.

GameStop has been coughing up blood since long before the COVID-19 pandemic started.

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12 Nature Documentaries to Celebrate Earth Day (Without Going Outside)

April 22nd is Earth Day, which means it's time appreciate the beauty of nature (from the safety of your home)


It's Earth Day!

That special time of year when we take some time to appreciate Mother Earth in all her splendor, and it would be so nice to get out into the sunlight and enjoy some nature. But it's a trap! Unless you live in the middle of nowhere, your best bet of not catching/spreading the coronavirus is to stay indoors. So whether you're fully quarantined or just practicing social distancing, these nature documentaries can remind you of the outside world without risking any contact with other people.

Dancing With the Birds

Is there anything that defines the beauty of nature more than birdsong? The sound of twittering and chirping filling the trees can make even an urban landscape feel connected with nature. But singing is just one of the ways that birds have of seducing each other as the weather changes. The birds-of-paradise that live in New Guinea and parts of Australia prefer a different kind of performance. With brilliant jumping, twisting displays of iridescent plumage, they dance for the future of the species. And for the future of your species, you will stay inside and watch them do it. Dancing With the Birds is also the only documentary on this list that your cat is likely to enjoy as much as you will.

Moving Art

Oh wait, forgot about flowers. Flowers are the defining beauty of springtime, and in "Flowers" episode of Moving Art you can watch every variety and color of flower grow, bloom, follow the sun, and sway in the wind—almost like you were actually outside! The soothing imagery and wordless orchestral soundtrack make for great background viewing while you count out squares of toilet paper to make sure your roommate isn't exceeding their ration.

Planet Earth

If you haven't seen Planet Earth, you've been missing out. There's nothing outside your door that could compete with this collection of some of the most spectacular sights in the natural world, all narrated by the incomparable baritone of David Attenborough (because we aren't heathens, and Sigourney Weaver can't say "water.") Until recently it was streaming on Netflix, but now you have to pay for it, so...

Our Planet

Our Planet is Netflix's answer to Planet Earth, complete with spectacular sights and David Attenborough's narration. It's almost as amazing as the BBC classic, and it won't cost you anything but a Netflix subscription


In the Hopi language, koyaanisqatsi means life out of balance, so you can probably guess that the entire film is just 86 minutes of nature imagery juxtaposed with surreal scenes of urban life and destructive industry set to a score by Philip Glass—duh. The only word spoken in the entire film is the title, repeatedly chanted in a voice that sounds like it's summoning dark spirits to bring on the end times. If quarantine has you in a particularly apocalyptic mood and really hating human civilization, then Koyaanisqatsi is the perfect way to celebrate our long-suffering planet.

Grizzly Man

The story of Timothy Treadwell is a cautionary tale on the dangers of underestimating a deadly threat—and of going outside. For 13 summers Treadwell camped in the wilds of Alaska and convinced himself that he could hang out and pal around with giant Kodiak bears without issue. Without giving away Grizzly Man's tragic twist ending (he's eaten by bears), you can count on this documentary to remind you of the majesty and wonder of nature while also making you thankful that you live indoors.

Blue Planet

Imagine living in the dark depths of the ocean where strange creatures with glowing appendages subsist off thermal vents and nutrients that descend from the sunlit waters above, and they never have to wash their hands. Blue Planet is a documentary series that explores every aspect of life in and around the seas. Episode two, "The Deep" is particularly beautiful and eerie, and invites you to imagine the isolation of an angler fish that may go its entire life without seeing another angler fish.

Chasing Coral

Chasing Coral would normally be a pretty depressing documentary. It follows a team of researchers documenting the disappearance of the world's vital coral reefs as a result of human industry. But if there is a silver lining to the current pandemic, it's that the reduction of human activity is mitigating the pollution and damage that we usually unleash upon the Earth's fragile ecosystems. If dolphins have started swimming in the suddenly pristine canals of Venice, then maybe some of the world's endangered coral will also see some benefit from this break humanity is taking.


Remember international travel? People used to get on planes and fly all over the world to see exotic locales and experience natural wonders unlike anything they could see at home. Well forget about all that, because it's gone. The closest thing in our new reality is sitting really close to your TV while Madagascar (the documentary, not the cartoon) plays. And maybe you can smear some banana on the screen to pretend you're feeding the lemurs.

The Universe

It might seem strange to think of distant space as a part of "nature," but just as the moon pulls at the oceans, when we examine the workings of the universe we discover the interconnectedness of all things and gain perspective on the scale of human struggle. Also, imagine if you were out in space right now—no way you would get infected! The Universe is an ideal escape from the world.

Encounters at the End of the World

If it seems like the COVID-19 virus has turned the world into a barren waste, Encounters at the End of the World is a good reminder that there is an entire continent that remains completely unaffected—largely because it was already a barren waste. This exploration of the inhabitants and landscapes of Antarctica is the work of Werner Herzog, whose moody philosophical musings are the perfect narration for the end of the world.

Ghosts of the Mountains

Snow leopards are rarely seen by human eyes. They live in remote mountain climates and maintain solitary existences cut off even from other snow leopards. In other words, they are masters of social distancing. Watch Ghosts of the Mountains and be like the snow leopards.