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I wrote this post and was finished before 3 pm yesterday. I was psyched, I often write Weekend Reads into the evening prior. I closed my laptop, checked in with the family, had a 4 pm friend video chat with a friend and 5 pm business video chat, and then said I would close my laptop for good… maybe for the whole weekend.
My sister called me. She figured I didn't know since she hadn't seen me share anything on social media. We text daily, but we rarely call. In our family, calls are for major things. She said she thought this warranted a phone call. I agreed. We got off the phone and I hugged my daughter tight.
Just this morning I saw a meme on social media that said, “A vote for Trump is a vote for Ted Cruz on the Supreme Court.” Just this morning when I read that I didn't feel the shiver down my spine that I do now, realizing how real and near that meme is. I don't even feel I have the ability to grieve a woman I have admired, no idolized, for the majority of my life because I am in such fear of our future.
I don't know whether to delete everything below or leave it because we sure as hell need something, anything to help us find a way through all this, and sometimes a longread or an interview with a celeb can be the beautiful distraction that we need. I just don't know what to do. It is 8:26 pm and I am going to go to bed so I will have more strength to tackle what tomorrow brings.
Rest in power, RBG.
How to Help
Small businesses are struggling across this country, and that includes arts venues. Theaters, museums, amphitheaters, galleries, and other locations of this sort have had to shut their doors or drastically reduce those who can attend which is putting many at risk for permanent closure. Let's be real, this virus isn't going to be gone before the end of 2020 and with the weather getting colder, it's harder for these venues to create alternative forms of revenue like drive-in movies, pop-up theaters, outdoor performances, and outdoor dining.
- The easiest thing you can do right now is click this link for the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), fill out your info and send a letter to your legislators pleading them to support S. 4258/H.R. 7806, Save Our Stages Act, & S. 3814/H.R. 7481, the RESTART Act. The site has all the details about this act and how it can help stages across this country survive the pandemic. You can also donate directly to NIVA and buy merch to support this initiative.
- Next, stop by #SaveYourCinema which is hosted by the National Association of Theatre Owners to urge Congress to keep movie theaters alive until they can fully reopen. Like the NIVA site, you fill out your info and it will automatically send a letter to your legislators
- Have a local independent theater, music venue, or museum? Even if you can't attend right now there are ways to help it during this time. Consider purchasing a membership, which for some theaters is a tax-deductible donation. Check out what sorts of events and fundraisers they are hosting and how you can participate or help get the word out. For example:
- The Old Greenbelt Theatre is an historic nonprofit one-screen theater here in my town that is closed because of the pandemic. This summer they have held Moonlit Movies in a nearby ballfield, offering socially distant spaces to lay out under the stars and watch a classic film. The theater is also available for private rental – bring your favorite DVD or Blu-Ray and a small group of friends (or a romantic date for two or family fun night) and you have a clean theater to yourself, and all attendees get a popcorn and soda with the concessions stand open for additional snacks. Click here for details; this is a great idea for anyone in the DC area as Greenbelt is less than 20 miles from the city and easily accessed by public transportation and major highways. A milestone birthday, an anniversary, a proposal, or just a fun time with those you care about most, I can't recommend this enough! FYI, you need to be a member of the OGT to rent it but memberships are tax-deductible.
- The New Deal Cafe is not just a plant-based restaurant across the square from the Old Greenbelt Theater, but an award-winning music venue. Unlike many music venues, The New Deal Cafe charges no cover to see live music, they just encourage you to patronize the restaurant and bar and tip the musicians. The New Deal Cafe just won The Best Place to See Local Music by the Washington City Paper! While The New Deal Cafe is still offering takeout food and limited dining on their outdoor patio, they are also in partnership with MCF Community Church to help keep the community fed. And the New Deal Cafe needs our support to keep its doors open. Check out the online auction they are currently having; there are amazing items to bid on or purchase outright like private wine classes, hotel stays, discounted gift cards, and private music lessons.
If you aren't sure what independent venues are in your area, this website has a search tool. With so much going on right now and reduced social activity, it's easy to forget about the local arts venues in your community. But they need your support, and we need them to be open when we are again allowed to visit. Remember the positive memories you've had related to music, art, and theater and help these venues to offer amazing memories to many more in the future.
For the first time in its 175-year history, Scientific American has endorsed a presidential candidate. (Scientific American)
Are you what you wear? Luxury shoppers and designers are reckoning with the new high stakes of an age-old question. (Town & Country)
She wanted to escape her marriage. He wanted to escape prison. (The Atlantic)
When does a model own her own image? (The Cut)
If you saw my Barbie-inspired Biden/Harris sweatshirt on Instagram and was interested in one for yourself, I got it at Etsy. I went with an XL worrying it would run small but it seems to run true to size.
The overwhelming racism of COVID coverage. (Indica for Medium)
Who gets to be comfortable? Not plus-size women. (Coveteur)
How bookshelves became the status symbol of 2020. (Financial Times)
The incredible legacy of Newark New Jersey's Black women activists. (Zocalo Public Square)
It took more than two decades, but apple breeders have come out with three new apples for American farmers. (Modern Farmer)
How the West became psychologically peculiar and particularly prosperous. (New York Times)
A house is not a home: On moving in, moving up, and domestic consumption. (New Yorker)
In DC we're very excited about the new baby panda at the National Zoo, but there are other animal babies there that deserve some awwws. (Washingtonian)
For DC residents, all you need to know about early voting and mail-in ballots. (Washington Post)
Why everything is sold out. (The Atlantic)
And shared in the WO2 Community: Conspicuous anti-consumption that benefits brands, consumers and the planet. (Seattle Times)
Coming back from the beach, we were able to catch up on two more episodes of Lovecraft Country. Oh my gosh this show is SO GOOD! I hate horror/suspense and this show is constantly both but it's so beautifully filmed and unique and taking concepts from cult-favorite horror and sci-fi shows and books and there are all sorts of Easter eggs in the episodes and the acting is phenomenal… seriously this show is a must-watch.
I finally finished The Year of Living Danishly. I enjoyed it, and sure Denmark has some great systems in place but it is such a different country, population, history, climate, size, and everything than the United States. But gosh it was enjoyable to read about a country that has more trust and governmental support!
I have started reading Caste: The Origins of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson. This is not an easy read, but a necessary one. It's the kind of book you have to put down and take a break from to think about, to let marinate, and then return.
For Your Entertainment
Lady Gaga dropped her new video for her song, “911” yesterday and it's weird and beautiful and full of allegory and I just love it. This is the kind of weirdness and art and message that makes me love music videos. And if you are interested in Lady Gaga, I recommend this interview with her via Billboard.