Ooh boy, what a couple months it’s been. Today’s cool free thing is a zine by Sarah Mirk. Titled “Passive Voice is for Cowards”, the 4-page zine shows how the news uses the passive voice in order to obscure the actors in a sentence. The passive voice is political. You can download the zine by clicking here.
Times are tough, the economy is imploding. If you live in Illnois, though, there are some options.
If you’re a working artist in Illinois, you can apply for the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund. It’s a $1,500 grant for working artists. Just upload a driver’s license/state ID, and proof that you’ve made creative work in the past two years, and get to submitting. Grants are chosen at random, so keep that in mind before you start spending the money in your head.
My friend Keidra has compiled a list of COVID-19 response funds, mutual aid and support services. If you need help, click the link to see what’s available.
The IRS finally released information on how to get that $1,200 check. The tl; dr version is this: file your 2019 tax return and give them direct deposit information. Bam, money. Hopefully. Likely not soon.
When I went full-time with my business, I started taking improv classes. I knew that I was going to be in front of hundreds of strangers selling jewelry at every art fair. Knowing also that I was an introverted weirdo, I wanted to be more comfortable talking to those strangers. Level 1 was a lot of fun and I made a bunch of friends. But starting with level 3, I realized that was surrounded by people who were on their college improv team in flyover country, and who desperately wanted to be on SNL someday. And a lot of the instructors were depressive SNL wannabe alcoholics who really liked preying on girls from Iowa in their early 20s. Everyone had daddy issues.
I wasn’t even in the cult, just around it, and I still have deep feelings about it.
In any case, if you want to know what it’s like to do improv in Chicago (“This work is for artists, geniuses, and poets”), watch Improv Guru by clicking here. I don’t know if it’s too inside baseball, but hopefully you’ll also find it hilarious.
Feralcatbox has offered some free coloring pages of birds with matches. I love them. Download the images by clicking here.
Subversive Cross Stitch has some free cross stitch patterns to work on if you have needle, thread, and a deep desire to stab something multiple times. Download the patterns by clicking here.
I don’t know if it’s the thick fog outside or the fact that I’ve been cooped up for almost two weeks, but I feel like doing a spooky-themed Free Stuff for the End of the World. Let’s go:
First up is Hellier. The entire series is on Amazon Prime or on YouTube. You can watch the first season here, and the second season here. I’ve watched the entire series twice, and encouraged anyone I know with an interest in the paranormal to watch it. Goblins, aliens, witchcraft, tin cans. It’s perfect. Watch it.
John E.L. Tenney is a weirdo and UFO researcher, and he’s put a lot of documents related to all things mysterious online. Read UFO bulletins from the 1950s and government documents about the Kinross Incident by clicking here.
My good friend Katie recently told me to watch Ghost Story Club. I was hooked after the first episode and immediately binge-watched the entire series. Aside from funny stories about ghosts, aliens, and a genie, the show features some of the most incredible set design I’ve ever seen. It has miniatures! And puppets! I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard all month. You can also binge-watch the series by clicking here.
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I had a really hard time writing anything about this yesterday. I find joy in all of the cool free things that people are offering, but this is also a time of disappointment, uncertainty, abject terror, and grief for a whole lot of people.
But if you’re looking for a distraction or some brightness in your life, here are some coloring books being offered for free.
This coloring book by Justin Castaneda features activity pages as well as coloring pages.
This 8-page coloring book from Robots with Coffee features robot doodles that you can color.
AND, if you want a soundtrack for the pandemic, Nine Inch Nails just released two albums FOR FREE today. No big deal. Link here.
If you want to watch a hero take on a terrorist organization, the entire first series of Kamen Rider is available to stream on the Shout Factory website.
Viz Media has ALL OF SAILOR MOON available to stream. This is not a drill. Be prepared to cry like a baby when you watch these sweet friends take care of each other.
Indulge your nostalgia for simpler times (and complicated romances) with the following cartoons available for free to stream right now.
Jem and the Holograms. I loved this show so much and I obsessively played with my Jem dolls long after the show went off the air. I also met Samantha Newark at C2E2 and she was wonderful and I somehow didn’t cry. Anyway, the show is all available to stream on Tubi RIGHT NOW. So click the link to get in on exciting adventure, fashion, and fame.
Speaking of Tubi, there are so many vintage cartoons to watch right now. Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? Inspector Gadget. G.I. Joe. They even have Tales from the Cryptkeeper, because the 90s was full of adult content repackaged to kids.
Miss the taste of Duncan Hills coffee? Be sad no longer, all 4 seasons of Metalocalypse are available to stream right now by clicking here.
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It’s another day with a shelter in place order in effect, so let’s all look at some cute animals.
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium has a livestream of dolphins. Check it out by clicking here.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a coral reef cam available from 11:30am – 7pm PST. Watch the beautiful fish by clicking here.
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Color me distracted from the looming apocalypse! A lot of cool artists and companies have offered up some free pages to color in while we all adapt to life in the age of quarantine. Get your colored pencils, markers, or makeup if you’re really desperate and download these cool pages:
Grab some pages from this Sailor Moon coloring book by Jen Martel by clicking here.
Craig Russell has some absolutely stunning illustrations available for coloring. Click this link to download them.
Jonathan La Mantia has offered up an incredible 12-page coloring book with the best possible title: “May We Meet Again Under Better Circumstances”. Download it by clicking here.
And the company I work for, Squishable, has offered up some pages from their beautiful coloring book to download here.
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In the midst of the looming apocalypse, a lot of people and companies have been offering cool things for free!
Moog and Korg have offered up some of their synthesizer apps. Download Korg’s Kaossilator or Moog’s Minimoog Model D for iOS. Click the Brooklyn Vegan link here to start creating the soundtrack to the apocalypse.
If you want to read some cool things, a couple authors have made their work available for free. My friends Kitty and Larissa have released their tale of intrigue, Taylor Swift, Girl Detective for free on Gumroad. Click the link here to distract yourself from the world ending.
If these chaotic times have gotten you to start thinking about the invisible power structures that run our lives, Haymarket Books has offered up ten free books to help get your political thoughts in order. Their mission is to publish books for changing the world, you can read ten of those books by clicking here.
If you want Free Stuff for the End of the World delivered straight to your inbox, sign up using the form below. Do you have or know of some cool free stuff other people should see? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.