The Rona kills the arts

Dave Grohl wrote a beautiful piece about live performances for the Atlantic earlier this week and it hit hard. I was a singer for a time. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss the stage. But the life I have built for myself is far more important to me than singing late at night in smoky bars.

When my eldest declared, “I was born to dance” at the age of 2 I smiled and supported her. When her sister decided to give up karate (after trying out swimming, gymnastics, soccer, and basketball) to dance I was happy to see she had natural talent as well. There is nothing greater than seeing your children do what they love and succeed.

A dear friend of mine who has been a positive element in my life since middle school is an actor and a playwright. He sometimes directs as well. His work is always best experienced live, just like great dancing, and professional music.

There is nothing more hopeful to me than seeing coronavirus cases evening out and states reopening. My state of Missouri reopened on the 4th, with St. Louis waiting until next week just to make sure they’re taking proper precautions. Performances have been cancelled, zoom has quickly entered everyone’s vocabulary as if it was always there, and the term “new normal” is plastered everywhere.

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I keep hearing people report that, “there is no going back.”

My friend, the playwright, has been recording small plays via zoom and posting them on his website. My children have continued their dance education from home online. And musicians everywhere have taken to YouTube.

All throughout this mess I’ve fought against paranoia and fallen down some serious conspiracy theory holes. I don’t know what to believe. I definitely don’t trust the media, China, or the medical industry after all the fraud that’s been revealed so they can get extra funding.

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But I trust my community and the arts. It’s always been there for me: from the days when I had to hide in my closet, so my dad wouldn’t beat the shit out of me, and sing softly, to when I had my first daughter with the help of a local midwife because I didn’t feel comfortable birthing a baby in a factorized hospital where they schedule C-sections and push women to take drugs to heighten profits.

Throughout all of this St. Louis Ballet has kept the kids going, given them a connection to their dance friends. It’s helped me smile and laugh as we keep with a simple routine.

The annual recital is held mid-June every year. They got clearance to push it back a couple of weeks and it has been our light at the end of this secluded tunnel. Things are getting better, and despite what reports come out, we can and will get back to normal.

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People went back to work after the Spanish flu. We recovered after the Great Depression. We emerged from WWII a better people, but that doesn’t mean that nothing from the past remained. I bought a house during the recession of 2008 and didn’t go under. Life goes on. Moving forward is impossible without learning from the past and so we can never truly leave it behind.

Artists everywhere are waiting. They’re waiting for their time to get back out there, but art is supposed to never stop. Writers are online everywhere complaining about how they just, “can’t.”

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Well, then, I guess some people have that luxury. Some of us can’t live without it. I wrote before it was my job and I will keep writing long after my readers stop caring.

My children don’t dance for YOU, they dance to share the beauty within on the outside world and if others appreciate that then it’s great. If not, they still dance everywhere.

Playwrights don’t have time to stop. Musicians would die without their music.

Creators who only create in times of convenience are spoiled. They don’t hold that everlasting love that is needed to truly make their medium an extension of themselves.

I just got the notice that my daughters’ recital has been canceled as a live event and will be held on zoom instead. It’s a huge blow to everyone. There are so many uncertainties. The disappointment is real. This hurts me as much as the kids, if not more because we held out hope for so long that we were almost there, we had just neared the end of this quarantine.

Everything is reopening, and the infection rate is much lower than predicted. At times I feel as if we’ve all been duped. Yesterday “scientists” were cited (as they always are) as discovering that those carriers, those asymptomatic people that “experts everywhere” droned on and on about and screamed for us to all #StayHomeSaveLives, yes, those people who catch COVID-19 but show no symptoms, are much less contagious than others even if they are at all. Yes, you read that right. They might not be contagious at all.

That was a slap in the face. So basically we shut down everything for fear, not for an actual threat?

Who knows?

We never will. How reassuring is THAT?!

I know a few people who did die of the virus. They were also already dying. I also know people who were delayed and denied treatment for worse health issues and are now waiting for death.

And here I am mad that my children can’t have their recital. It seems very selfish. But I don’t care.

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I am allowed to feel how I feel. Maybe I’m just a heartless bitch. OR maybe I’m just a mother who understands how damn important these little things are for the mental health and well-being of children during uncertain times. Maybe, just maybe I care and wish that no one ever had to suffer, I’m just realistic.

We have allowed the fear of a virus with a 99% survival rate to destroy our livelihoods, our medical industry, our homes, our education, our prospects, and what about the arts?

Zooming a concert doesn’t create that magic, that direct connection to an artist. We’ve put glass between everyone and no one seems to be outraged because “it’s for our safety.” I’m pissed. It was so easy to manipulate everyone into killing everything that built the foundation for their way of life and it was only supposed to be temporary, yet here we are cancelling events 6 weeks to 6 months in advanced even though the numbers aren’t adding up and many states are resuming business as usual.

It doesn’t paint much of a picture for the future. But I guess it’s easier to sit back and do what we’re told. Who cares if our children never go to a concert, never enjoy the brilliance of a theater premier, or the connection of dancing in a ring holding hands with their friends…

Just so long as everyone is “safe,” I guess that’s all that matters.

4 thoughts on “The Rona kills the arts

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