What Tom Power, Ralph and other notable Torontonians are bingeing in self-isolation

What Tom Power, Ralph and other notable Torontonians are bingeing in self-isolation

Photo by Dustin Rabin

A cringeworthy, bingeworthy sitcom
Recommended by Tom Power, host, Q

“I watched Curb Your Enthusiasm a lot when it first came out, and lately I’ve been looking for TV that I can watch for a few minutes if I need a little break. I came back to Curb after some time off and it pretty much holds up—and if the episode doesn’t hold up, I can skip ahead and find one that’s a little better. It’s nice to see Larry David mess up every social situation he’s in while I’m not in any social situations. It makes me nostalgic for social awkwardness.”

Photo courtesy of the CBC

A survivalist video game
Recommended by Aurora Browne, actor

“Hinterland Games, a Canadian studio, came out with a brutal, beautiful survival game that I can’t get enough of. Set somewhere in the Canadian wilderness after a civilization-destroying event, The Long Dark is everything I love: solitary single player, brutal survival mechanics, gorgeous visuals and music.”

Photo by Nathan Nash

A procedural that ticks all the boxes
Recommended by Max Kerman, musician

“There are a few things that tickle me about British crime dramas, and they’re on full display in Line of Duty. There aren’t a lot of guns. The actors aren’t typically as conventionally good looking as their American counterparts, but, my god, they’re more talented. All the performances are top notch. And just when the show gets a little confusing or sleepy, something wild happens.”

Photo by Daniel Neuhaus

A musical dissection
Recommended by Ralph, musician

“In Song Exploder, a podcast hosted by Hrishikesh Hirway, each 20-minute episode features a musical artist and one of their songs, which they then dissect and pull apart, stem by stem. You learn all these cool facts about what the artist was thinking when they wrote it. I love that the episodes are short, and the vocabulary used isn’t just geared toward music people.”

Photo courtesy of the Toronto Star

A record that works from home
Recommended by Irene Gentle, editor, Toronto Star

“This is the first time I can routinely play music while working, and I’m taking full advantage. I have a few pandemic playlists so far—trying to capture the feeling of it—ranging from raging tunes to pure escapist pop. I have lots of pre-pandemic playlists too, but now they just sound so… innocent. The surprise overachiever of the last two weeks has been the Twenty One Pilots album Blurryface. I have no idea why. If anyone knows, please tell me.”

Photo by Matt Barnes

An album to boogie to
Recommended by Jeremy Dutcher, musician

“New music from Lido Pimienta is the gift I needed this quarantine. I believe dance to be a sacred medicine, and I would challenge you to listen to Miss Colombia and not dance. Really, try it. As a singer, I always listen for the timbre and finesse of the sound. Pimienta’s voice has endless offerings, made even richer by the exceedingly beautiful instrumentation on this record.”

Photo by Malcolm Brown

An illustrated delight
Recommended by Sheila Heti, writer

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein has given me more pleasure than anything this past month. It was written in 1933 and is a narrative about Stein and Toklas’s life together in Paris, with Picasso, Matisse—all the great artists of the day. It includes their parties and gossip, and continues until the war, when friends are dispersed, and Stein and Toklas drive around in service of the war effort. The real joy is in Stein’s sentences, which are so direct, modern and beautiful. The paintings by Maira Kalman are the ideal complement: bright and sophisticated and playful.”

Photo courtesy of Simon and Schuster

A backstabbing family drama
Recommended by Cynthia Loyst, host, The Social

“I’ve been doing a lot of reading. It’s always been a pleasure for me to escape into other worlds via books, but now more than ever I find it to be a beautiful distraction. In terms of visual entertainment, I’m on Episode 4 of Succession. I’m not sure exactly how I feel about it yet, but one thing is for sure: Kieran Culkin is killing it in his role as Roman Roy. My son and I have also been playing a lot of games on the Nintendo Switch. It’s helping him with his reading (or at least that’s what I’m telling myself).”

Photo by Jenna Davis

An educational podcast series
Recommended by Karma Brown, writer

“Every Little Thing is a podcast that delves into life’s greatest curiosities. It’s hosted by the quirky and entertaining Flora Lichtman, who has never met a pun she didn’t like. It covers a wide range of fun, family-friendly topics—like the secrets of ants, who invented pants and why the flamingo is one badass bird (it can drink boiling water!)—and my family is ELT-obsessed. We love it so much that now my 11-year-old doesn’t want to listen to any other host, because Flora is ‘the best.’ ”