How Musicians Are Surviving the Pandemic — and the Music Industry
Nine US-based musicians discuss surviving and adapting to the changing music industry in our extraordinarily challenging time of pandemic shutdown.
‘The Baby-Sitters Club’ Can Help Children Cope with Covid-era Death
Momona Tamada as Claudia Kishi and Aya Furukawa as Janine Kishi in The Baby-Sitters Club (2020-) (IMDB)
As the COVID-19 pandemic upends our families, communities, and way of life, children, especially, struggle with loss. Rachel Shukert’s Netflix series, The Baby-Sitters Club can help.
Fire in the Time of Coronavirus
If we venture out our front door we might inhale both a deadly virus and pinpoint flakes of ash. If we turn back in fear we may no longer have a door behind us.
Teaching Miyazaki’s Films in the Time of Pandemic
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Kaze no tani no Naushika) (1984) (IMDB)
Miyazaki’s powerful worldview speaks to our times in striking ways: the hidden terror of the natural world; the need for truth and compassion; the humanism in the face of adversity.
COVID-19 Is but One Indication of the Return of the Monster
Mike Davis’ COVID-era update about emerging flu pandemics, The Monster Enters, is concise, disturbing, and valuable.
How Aaron Sorkin and U2 Can Soothe the Pandemic Mind
Like Aaron Sorkin, the veteran rock band U2 has been making ambitious, iconic art for decades—art that can be soaring but occasionally self-important. Sorkin and U2’s work draws parallels in comfort and struggle.
Step Up to It: A Lesson from the Avengers for Our Time of COVID-19
Robert Downey Jr. prepares to wear his mask, er, helmet, to help fight the good fight. Avengers: Endgame (2019) (© Marvel Studios /IMDB)
Whereas the heroes in Avengers: Endgame stew for five years, our grief has barely taken us to the after-credit sequence. Someone page Captain Marvel, please.
Waiting for the World to Change in the Era of COVID-19
From a GenXer to the GenZs in the time of COVID-19: We know, the waiting is the hardest part.
From a GenXer to the GenZs in the time of COVID-19: We know, the waiting is the hardest part.
Old Crow Medicine Show Sing on Through Total Devastation
Photo: Morgan Jahnig / Courtesy Lucky Bird Media
Social unrest, a global pandemic, and an industry that has forever been changed? No problem. Old Crow Medicine Show’s Ketch Secor stares down the future.
Life Isn’t Binary and Neither Is the Coronavirus Pandemic
Non-binary thinking offers new routes for adapting to life with Covid-19.
Read Hans Rollmann’s article.
I Went on a Jewel Bender During Quarantine. This Is My Report.
COVID-19 sure sucked the life out of things. I found some comfort in Jewel. That’s right. Jewel.
What Will Come? COVID-19 and the Politics of Economic Depression
The financial crash of 2008-2010 reemphasized that traumatic economic shifts drive political change, so what might we imagine — or fear — will emerge from the COVID-19 depression?
Little Protests Everywhere
One of the George Floyd murals in Minneapolis. It’s described by the Guardian as a “passionate and redemptive mural”, which “demands a pause to the anger” , with George’s name bursting out of the central sunflower in “rays of light and human warmth”. Pic by Lorie Shaull (CC BY-SA 2.0 / Wikipedia)
Wherever you are, let’s invite our neighbors not to look away from police violence against African Americans and others. Let’s encourage them not to forget about George Floyd and so many before him.
“Without Us? There’s No Music”: An Interview With Raul Midón
Photo: Samuel Prather / Courtesy of The Bloom Effect
Raul Midón discusses the fate of the art in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. “This is going to shake things up in ways that could be very positive. Especially for artists,” he says.
Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti
COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.
OK Go’s Emotional New Ballad, “All Together Now”, Inspired by Singer’s Bout with COVID-19
Photo: Still from “All Together Now” video
Damian Kulash, lead singer for OK Go discusses his recent bout with COVID-19, how it impacted his family, and the band’s latest pop delight, “All Together Now”, as part of our Love in the Time of Coronavirus series.
Confinement and Escape: Emma Donoghue and E.L. Doctorow in Our Time of Self-Isolation
Emma Donoghue’s Room and E.L. Doctorow’s Homer & Langley define and confront life within limited space.
Solitude Stands in the Window: Thoreau’s ‘Walden’
Henry David Thoreau’s Walden as a 19th century model for 21st century COVID-19 quarantine.
Will COVID-19 Kill Movie Theaters?
Streaming services and large TV screens have really hurt movie theaters and now the coronavirus pandemic has shuttered multiplexes and arthouses. The author of The Perils of Moviegoing in America, however, is optimistic.
Marc Maron’s Private Grief on a Public Stage
Press photo / WTFpod.com
The risky healing power of Marc Maron’s WTF podcast eulogy to Lynn Shelton.
Isolation Odyssey: Behind the Scenes with a Lockdown Orchestra
Scattered throughout the world, members of Opera North’s orchestra share how they are enduring the loss of live performance and companionship during the COVID-19 lockdown. They also share a mood-lifting, online isolation performance of a work that everyone knows but not always for the same reasons.
COVID-19 Means Living Life in Two Minds at Once
COVID-19 has created a day-by-day experience in which we realize there are no perfect answers, and every moment exists as a co-mingling of light and dark counterpoints.
Work Doesn’t Always Look Like Work: In Defense of Radical Laziness During COVID-19
Expecting financially devastated artists to produce during the coronavirus shutdown is akin to handing a condemned man a typewriter on his way to the gallows. To hell with that.
Stressed About COVID-19? Seek the Tao of Coen
Jeff Bridges as The Dude in The Big Lebowski (1998) (IMDB)
“Son, you got a panty on your head.” As purveyors of gallows humor, filmmakers the Coen Brothers teach us how to laugh at things that aren’t funny — but kinda are.
The Cure’s “Seaside” Cure for Sheltering at Home
Photo: Courtesy of Global Publicity
In these times of pandemic turmoil and outright trauma, what better match does the tempestuous human soul have than the sea? And what better lyricist than the Cure’s Robert Smith, who twins the wrath (or sadness) of the sea with similar human emotions?
Some of One World’s Comfort Songs Are Off-Key
One World: Together at Home and what our choice of anthems says about how we cope with a crisis.
I Would Like to See My Doctor: Social Distancing and Telemedicine
My first COVID-19-era “telehealth” video call had me looking up my doctor’s nose. Who could blame him for turning his camera off?
Willie Nile Celebrates Fans, Family, Friendship With “Under This Roof” (premiere + interview)
Willie Nile moves forward with a message of unity and love in the wake of COVID-19 and remembers friends, John Prine and Hal Willner.
On 11 April 2020 we lost longtime contributor, friend, and colleague, Brian Holcomb to COVID-19. His love for and knowledge of film has provided great pleasure to PopMatters readers since 2006. His easy-going, friendly communiques with his editors will be missed. Indeed, we last heard from Brian while he was in hospital — he emailed that his interview with director Yam Laranas about his recent film, Nightshift, would be delayed.
That Brian even thought of this self-directed assignment, and took the time to email about it while in hospital, seemed a good sign that he was recovering and would be back with us when he was ready. We would wait until then, of course.
How little we really know about life.
Like so many who have loved, known, and worked with Brian, we are heartbroken for his family, for his friends, and for ourselves. Well, Brian, your creative work, like your warm memory, lives on in all whom you’ve touched. Rest in peace, good man.
Cyberhills of Isolation and Connection: Italy in the Time of Coronavirus
Ironically, the very thing many have lamented as chief atomizer of humankind, social media, has proven to be indispensable for bringing us together — and for bringing me solace while, like Boccaccio’s women in Decameron, I wait out the pandemic in the hills of Abruzzo.
Our Monsters, Ourselves
Not just for devotees or scholars, The Monster Theory Reader provides a framework for understanding humans at least as much as monsters.
All Kinds of Time: Adam Schlesinger’s Pursuit of Pure, Peerless Pop
Photo: Paul Erik / Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Adam Schlesinger was a poet laureate of pure pop music. There was never a melody too bright, a lyrical conceit too playfully dumb, or a vibe full of radiation that he would shy away from. His sudden passing from COVID-19 means one of the brightest stars in the power-pop universe has suddenly dimmed.
Coronavirus Tunes: A Brief Playlist for Our Times of Self-Isolation
As coronavirus spreads throughout the world and many of us hunker down with online media, we offer eight songs that share our feeling of seclusion.
How to Listen to Your Old Music While Self-Isolating
There are various ways you can mine the bounty of your exquisite taste to while away an hour or two during this stressful time of coronavirus. But you’ve got to do it with some intentionality.
Matchbox Twenty: Aren’t We All a Little “Unwell” in the Time of Coronavirus?, by Joshua Friedberg
(screengrab of Matchbox 20’s “Unwell” / YouTube)
Say what you will about Matchbox Twenty – I know I once did. But during this COVID-19 pandemic, we’re all going “crazy” and feeling “a little unwell” in this time of isolation, and I’m turning to their music.
What Lurks Beneath: ‘Jaws’ and Political Leadership in the Time of COVID-19
Boris Johnson admires the Mayor in Spielberg’s Jaws. Remember him? He was the guy who wouldn’t close the beaches — and sacrifice that revenue source — during a public crisis.
Love at a Socially-Isolating Distance
In one sense, life in the time of Coronavirus clarifies an essential element of love: love always occurs at an ontological distance.
Life in the Time of Coronavirus Is No Time for False Dichotomies
Nick Drake’s ‘Pink Moon’ and Finding a Place to Be During Coronavirus
Shuttered inside our homes, contending with the COVID-19 outbreak, Nick Drake’s third album promises rebirth and renewal: the pink moon is coming.
Corona Tales: Life As an Indie Musician in 2020, by Lynne Hanson
Photo: Jen Squires / Courtesy of Skye Media
Canadian Americana artist Lynne Hanson tells her tale of the Coronavirus Blues, one of canceled tour dates and diminished revenue prospects.
Related Series: Reading Pandemics
Join us — at a safe distance — on this journey through the canonical and radical as we look to literary representations of pandemics past to help us understand the politics and possibilities of the present COVID-19 pandemic.
Good Readers: We started this special series in March 2020, as we were receiving many personal communiques from
PopMatters‘ contributors and interesting articles about life in this extraordinary time of global pandemic. Global shutdowns were just being announced.
Shortly thereafter, we lost our dear colleague, Brian Holcomb, to COVID-19.
The losses to life and culture and industry and the political impact throughout the world will not be fully realized for years to come. Still, we must carry on.
If you would like to contribute to this special series, please follow our submissions process, here. (No emailed articles, please.) We are accepting short entries (500 words minimum) and of course, the long-form essays PopMatters, est. 1999, is known for.
Personal observations and experiences are welcome — but please, keep that smart cultural critique at the forefront. What we are looking for in this series is broader cultural criticism with elements of the personal experience. Articles hinging on outrage, angst, and anger and political diatribes will probably not be accepted — social media and news commentary are better platforms for that. Instead, take an informed cultural/political/personal look at life in these times of COVID-19.
We’re interested in art and life, and the art of living, in these times of global health crises.
Whoever you are, wherever you are, be well, be safe, and spread love, but only love. Please, wear a mask and social distance. Our lives depend upon mutual respect and cooperation.
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