36 Comments
Aug 20, 2022Liked by Jessica Hockett

The arts industry (of which I am a part) has prostrated itself entirely to the covid gods. I don’t know if it comes from a deep sense of self loathing but it has been shameful theatre. Wind players wearing masks with holes. Wearing masks to walk on stage and then taking them off. Page turners wearing masks whilst performers don’t. I was working on a theatre where all string players had to be continuously masked but wind and brass did not. Plastic screens between musicians. A musician friend was escorted out of the pit by security because her son had tested positive for covid-19, even though she hadn’t seen him for 3 days.

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Emma, This doesn't have to do with Wheaton Drama, but thought you'd find it interesting. Went to Chicago for breakfast---a restaurant called Sweet Maple Cafe in Little Italy. They are mandating vaccine passports!! Proof of vaccine card to enter!! So I left as I'm not vaccinated....but I could not believe people are showing their vaccine cards--the place was crowded. People are still assholes.

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Unreal.

No one, regardless of vax status, should be participating in medical apartheid.

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Joanne, what's Little Italy like? And is Sweet Maple reflective of the neighborhood? It seems the passports linger in either college areas or neighborhoods with a lot of younger, wealthier people.

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There is a college and a higher end Catholic high school. And a few hospitals in the area, so that could explain it.

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Aug 20, 2022Liked by Jessica Hockett

So maybe there are a lot left leaning liberals running theaters? Maybe they take Hollywood’s virtue signing to heart. You know. ... How Many celebrities says everyone should wear masks at award shows. Everyone meaning the workers NOT the celebrities 🙃

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Yes, all that goes without saying.

But at this stage (#pun), it's ridiculous. What's their off ramp?

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After a discussion with the director of a performance center in the Washington, DC area, I'm convinced there isn't an off ramp. They are prepared to mask until Covid is fully "defeated" and Fauci says explicitly to stop masking.

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Covid zero is their offramp - so there IS no offramp

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Aug 20, 2022·edited Aug 20, 2022Liked by Jessica Hockett

Also, keep in mind a lot of the board members of these theatres, symphonies, ballets, etc., are also financially connected to the corporations making money hand over fist thanks to lockdown and mandates. And that is even before we get to the fact a lot of arts councils, and performance spaces themselves are sponsored by these companies. So their decisions reflect this

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Absolutely.

You don’t bite the hands that feed you.

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Aug 20, 2022·edited Aug 20, 2022Liked by Jessica Hockett

And! Then there's the professional networking among board members. Most are C-level executives at their companies so when they're looking to move to another corporation or looking for a cushy internship for their kids, you want to make nice with everyone. I knew someone on the CSO board and we had a conversation about this very thing.

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Aug 20, 2022Liked by Jessica Hockett

The phenomenon in the performing arts is a conundrum. Drama is essentially about the display and revelation of emotions and relationships, and masks completely go against that.

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Aug 20, 2022Liked by Jessica Hockett

Your email is excellent, as is your article, and I hope others will join the campaign and get the theater to come around.

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Aug 20, 2022Liked by Jessica Hockett

I wonder if it's worth pointing out to the performing arts places that while, yes, performances were cancelled in London, for example, when a plague epidemic swept in, those were temporary closures that did not lead to permanent alterations. And one could then go on to talk about the role of the arts in knitting a community together, helping it recover from turmoil, etc.

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author

Good points.

They truly believe it was the virus that shut them down. They would never blame government - except to say government didn’t do enough to control the virus and force vaccination.

Mark my words: We will see many plays, musicals, and the like being produced that tell a mythical yarn about how covid itself forced theatres to go dark.

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Well written letter. I went to the Paramount in Seattle this week to see Hamilton. Masking is optional but highly recommended. About 10% of people were masked. It seems we are back to normal except for a few pockets where masking is required. No businesses are requesting vaccination status for entry.

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Glad to hear it.

I’ve seen Hamilton five times - know every word, read the Ron Chernow bio and other source materials. Lin-Manual Miranda’s response to government overreach was one of my biggest disappointments in this mess.

He doesn’t understand the constitution like I assumed he did. :(

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Aug 20, 2022·edited Aug 20, 2022Liked by Jessica Hockett

I think the best experience I had was attending a Roberto Carlos concert in DC with my Brazilian wife. I was likely one of the few non-native Portugese (Brazil) or Spanish speakers. The crowd had to be masked to enter the facility. But once the concert started, the masks were off and everyone was dancing and singing along. It was truly the most freeing event I've attended since Covid began.

It was also fun seeing the moment when the ushers shrugged and gave up.

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On the street in Seattle there are posters for a "Black and Loud Fest" next month in the Fremont neighborhood. (I believe "Black and Loud" means black musicians only.) The posters say, "Must provide valid vax card" for entry.

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What % of Blacks in Seattle are vaccinated?

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Aug 21, 2022Liked by Jessica Hockett

Also, here's a (sideways because that's how Twitter's software rearranged it) photo of the poster. https://twitter.com/ArneChristensen/status/1561430271274078208

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Aug 20, 2022Liked by Jessica Hockett

There are serious doubts about the legitimacy of King County's data, but its dashboard, https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/data/vaccination.aspx, says 76.5% of blacks in the county. It's presumably similar for Seattle itself.

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Aug 20, 2022Liked by Jessica Hockett

I attended our local symphony concerts for years (season tickets) and also supported them with donations. But then they instituted a vax mandate and, of course, required masks for all. I've been vaccinated but even so, that stance seemed discriminatory and served the purpose of keeping most children and younger people away. Perhaps symphony management had not stopped to think that their old and wealthy clientele will soon die (probably not of covid) and they will need to be replaced by younger patrons. They finally eased up but I quit and haven't been back.

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Aug 20, 2022Liked by Jessica Hockett

How can there ever be an exit ramp when organizations like the Philadelphia Orchestra are "taking the advice of our advisers at Penn Medicine, who strongly counsel on masks for choral performance."? Medical professionals need to set the record straight, although I fear that ship has already sailed.

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Aug 20, 2022Liked by Jessica Hockett

There is no off ramp. With some person it is “ mask forever “ Sad. But I think it is true. So you have to decide. Is going to the theater worth wearing the mask. For me. Nope.

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author

Me neither. We haven’t gone to any show where masking is required.

My point here is to try to appeal to the theatre’s bottom line and their emotions, by telling them I want to spend money there and want their shows to be a part of my life.

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I am totally on your side ! It is worth a shot. And I hope it works. Good luck. ♥️

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I love it! You were friendly and complimentary which IMO means you have a way better chance of being heard. I'm a die-hard member of Team Reality, but I know so many people are still genuinely scared of Covid and were broken by the unremitting propaganda over how dangerous Covid is to everyone.

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Exactly!! One of the people in front of me as I was trying to figure out if this was for real, was panicking as he was scrolling through his phone trying to find his picture of his vaccine card. I don't know if he ever found it, but his gal pal was annoyed that he couldn't find it. She had her card proudly displayed and at the ready!

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Aug 20, 2022Liked by Jessica Hockett

I noticed that there are some restaurants in the area, at least on their websites, that are still demanding vaxx proof. The Aviary, part of the Alinea Group, is one. And I'm with you on the arts issue. As someone who was in performing arts most of my life and is (was?) a patron, the continued masking requirements are both disappointing and angering. I want to go to the symphony again, especially with Christmas approaching but I'm not wearing a damn mask.

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Aug 20, 2022Liked by Jessica Hockett

The 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle, one of our two major Broadway venues, still requires mask and vax.

https://www.5thavenue.org/health-and-safety

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David, It looks like it ended Aug 7th.

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Nah… they said until “at least August 7” and haven’t updated their page since. I asked them directly about their next show, and they said the policy is still in place for now. Maybe they’re planning on changing it before opening day… not that I’m inclined to ever go back.

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After Broadway in Chicago’s stance regarding vax’s and several other artists, I’ve been pretty sour on the arts in general.

Hopefully this theatre pivots soon but it’s hard to hold my breath.

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deletedAug 20, 2022Liked by Jessica Hockett
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What's really astounding is that Wheaton is conservative-ish. Not as much as it used to be, but the public district is one of two or three that actually opened its elementary schools in Fall 2020. I can't think of another established besides this one that requires masks.

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