As the sun set on day seven of my quarantine, I took stock of not only my pantry but also the state of the world-at-large. So much has changed in so little time; while much of it is scary, …
As the sun set on day seven of my quarantine, I took stock of not only my pantry but also the state of the world-at-large. So much has changed in so little time; while much of it is scary, there’s a lot (IMHO) of positive stuff out there as well. But first up: the scary. According to my daily updates from www.theskimm.com: “About half of the [more than] 30,000 confirmed infections in the U.S. are in New York, where President Trump has now deployed the National Guard and said that there are ‘hundreds of tons of supplies’ on their way, including masks and gloves.” Personally, I wish mayo, money and TP were on that list, but whatcha gonna do?
Next up: the good news. Last week I complained (what else is new?) about the lack of entertainment venues for me to visit and write about for The River Reporter, but almost overnight, all that has changed. Why? Because of my BFF, the almighty internet. The first indication that the web was responding to the world of entertainment amid the pandemic came from www.travelandleisure.com, which sent out a press release that read, “Guess what. You’re probably going to be stuck at home for a while. And that’s okay because it is the right thing to do for your own health and the health of your neighbors. And, let’s not forget, there are plenty of things to entertain you while inside your house, like virtual museum visits, operas and, now, streams of all your favorite Broadway shows.”
“Wow,” I thought. “That sounds pretty cool, but what about right here at home?” More emails followed, and many were from local venues, presently closed to the public, but opening their doors virtually, online. One such note was from the Hurleyville Performing Arts Centre (HPAC) which is creatively responding to the quarantine with gusto. “It is HPAC’s mission to support and unify our community through the arts [and] we are dedicated to connection in times of isolation.” Their website detailed that concept with a list of resources for “kids, adults, artists, freelancers and arts organizations. And that’s just the beginning” it declared, pointing to their resource guide, something that we at TRR online are also compiling online and adding to daily.
The more I looked at the phone in my hand, the more I realized that HPAC was not alone. Local libraries, art galleries and music venues were jumping on board and working remotely to provide entertainment as well. “Hmmm,” I mused. “Maybe this is what social media was really meant for,” I said to the dog, who is experiencing a little cabin fever of her own. We’re both so accustomed to being out in the world that even Dharma is antsy, constantly pawing at the door, clearly anxious to employ “social distancing” from me. Charming.
A text on my phone indicated that a drop-off was about to take place from 19-year-old college student Samantha Tordjman, who is home from school with her mom Laura, doing her college work remotely online. “We’ve scoured the county,” Laura wrote “and Sam has been diligent about handling your supplies safely. There’s a basket of goodies at your door, including a bag of dice, so we can play Yahtzee together online.”
“Great!” I responded, “It’s akin to living like The Jetsons,” I wrote with a tinge of sarcasm, “except that people are dying and we still don’t have flying cars.” My care package from Sam and Laura was loaded with all sorts of things, including Q-Tips, avocados, two pints of ice cream, dog food, a jigsaw puzzle and Imodium (don’t ask).
Meanwhile, creative folks throughout the Upper Delaware River region are jumping online to help ease the isolation. Local artist Zac Shavrick (www.zacmax.com) had responded to the pandemic by posting on social media. “Going live [while] sculpting in the shop today,” he declared. “Might as well make art while the world is… well, you know what’s going on….” His post trailed off, but I got the gist and made a note to check it out (his work is amazing) at the appointed time.
In addition to Zac and his welding mask, I noticed Wendy Stuart (follow her antics on Facebook) is producing a stay-at-home show on Vimeo (whatever that is) called “Pandemic Cooking with Wendy,” a hilarious spoof of old-fashioned TV recipe shows, “I don’t normally cook much at home,” Wendy shared with her online audience, bewigged and dressed in an evening gown, as she pulled old magazines out of the oven before turning up the heat. “That could be dangerous.”
Meanwhile, Rafter’s Tavern’s musical hostess-with-the-mostess Elizabeth Rose had announced their first attempt at a virtual open mic via an app I downloaded for free called “Zoom,” where she was moderating (from a safe distance) the event which included audience members and local performers like Kathy Geary, Cliff Westfall, Debbie Fisher and Caswyn Moon, who looked like an outlaw and sang like an angel.
It’s pretty clear that this is going to continue for a bit. However, I feel far less alone by being able to go online, virtually participate and (uh oh) critique performers and artists like those mentioned, in addition to checking out local yoga classes, meditations to calm my frazzled nerves, remote trivia nights… the list just keeps on growing. I’m even working closely with the folks at the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (DVAA) to create an online version of my new one-man show, “Life in the Past Lane,” which was scheduled for next week but is now in limbo because of you-know-what. Stay home, stay safe and stay tuned.
Fun fact: “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” is a traditional African American spiritual, first published in 1927. It became an international pop hit in 1957–58 in a recording by English singer Laurie London and has been recorded by many other singers and choirs.