So many industries are taking a hit as a result of Covid-19, but I would argue that no other industry is experiencing the level of devastation that Broadway, other live entertainment and cultural organizations and arts professionals are experiencing. The arts and entertainment industry and its jobs were the first to go...and they will be the last to come back.
The hit to the theatre industry in New York City, from Broadway on down, also affects the many restaurants and bars, hotels, parking lots and retail shops that rely on the theatre to keep their businesses afloat. New York City will not fully recover until Broadway is back. Tourists come to New York largely for Broadway.
Yet, while we all wait to see how Broadway can come back amidst Covid-19, there is currently no financial support in sight for arts and culture from the federal government. Hoping this changes, as I fear that many lives that are directly connected to Broadway -- mine included -- could become very challenging, very soon, especially if Congress does not vote to extend the $600.00 unemployment supplement.
I am confident Broadway and theatre in other parts of New York City and beyond will eventually come back, but it will take a while -- and, sadly, not all the organizations will be able to hold on long enough to return.
In the meantime, I hold on to my many happy memories as a playwright, musical theatre writer and theatre industry professional to keep my spirits up. To that end, I recently shared one of these memories as part of a challenge that has been circulating on social media. If you've EVER worked in the theatre in any way, be sure to share your own favorite memory on your social platforms!
To all professionals in the film, television, theatre, entertainment, and arts world, join the challenge to post a photo of you in your job. Just a picture, no description. The goal is to flood social media with our profession. #SaveTheArts 🎭💔
🗣️< MASSIVE shout out and special thanks to Metropolitan Playhouse, Producing Artistic Director Alex Roe, Director John Long, Artist Danny Licul, and our amazing cast: Maxwell Bartel, Alia Chapman, and Kim Yancey-Moore!
🗣️< The reading of my brand new short play Grassroots on June 27th was AMAZING!
🗣️< And -- despite our physical separation -- the talkback afterward was deeply felt and thought-provoking!
🗣️< And the Zoom after-parties were a total blast! 🥂🤪
🗣️< I'm so thrilled and grateful that I got to meet so many new lovely and talented individuals through this process!
🗣️< Like everyone else, I miss the live theatre experience, but, at the same time, I find myself connecting with people I would have likely never otherwise met...
...and this continues to be a gift.) ❤️
New York City and its people have a long history of heroism and resilience.
In this video I produced for the highly respected non-profit Village Preservation, I take you on a special bike tour that highlights downtown public art and landmarks that honor our past and resonate with our times today.
If you enjoy the video, please give it a “LIKE!"👍🚴🏼♀️
Well, the world has certainly changed since my initial 2020 post. (Yikes!)
Yet, despite this, I still continue to forge ahead with my number one 2020 goal -- Producing More Video!
These strange circumstances we now all find ourselves in have provided me with the unexpected gift of time. Time to focus on those activities that make my heart sing. Time to slow down and take in the small things. And just time to get totally quiet and clear and focus on what's important -- and that for me includes focusing on what's important through the camera lens.
Just before everything shut down around here back in mid-March, I produced a short video for Village Preservation that highlighted one of our terrific small downtown businesses. I was already planning to produce more small business videos for VP when things took a turn. I have tremendous faith, though, that small businesses will come back and, when they do -- I will be ready to help promote them!
In the meantime, the limits on the ability to interact with people IRL has forced me to figure out ways to use this restriction to my advantage. To that end, I conceived a video project that I'm currently in the midst of shooting right now, and that I expect to complete in a few weeks. It's going to be great, and I can't wait to post it here!
These are not only surreal times, but also terribly painful times for many, many people. Yet, I see this as a chance for each of us, in our own way, whatever our circumstances, to regain some sense of clarity, to regroup, to rejuvenate -- and to refocus.
I hope you also see 2020 as an opportunity to refocus your life in some way that brings you joy.
The short video I produced under my Rockinworks shingle featuring Left Bank Books.
I settled in a new place in 2019. Not geographically. I now see people, my world and the world at large from a new perspective -- and it feels really good. Though I'm still on the road of transformation, and it hasn't been easy, I'm excited to be on this route, and encourage anyone seeking an inner shift to consider taking just one step in 2020 towards making a tough, but meaningful inner change. I promise, it will get you on a smoother path with prettier views.
Seeing the world from this new vantage point, I plan to further explore video work with my snazzy new mirrorless hybrid camera. I feel a creative pull to express myself in this way. There's nothing like the creative pull, so when you feel it, you gotta run with it! Even if you don't know where it will take you.
The video I produced of the 2019 Happy Hour Theatre Crawl
I wish all of you a 2020 that takes you down smoother paths, brings creative pulls, and provides fresh new views and adventures both without and within.
I had one of the most joyful summers I can remember in recent memory, and it unofficially wrapped up with a literal "bang" over Labor Day weekend in Long Beach Island (thanks to a glorious fireworks display over the bay).
I hope you enjoy my happy LBI footage and puts you there with me.
More videos to come this fall.
I continue to have an excellent summer filled with friends, family, fun -- and learning.
I enjoyed combining both friends and learning in my latest short video piece. All shot and edited in a few hours at the lake house retreat of one of my best buddies. AND I added my new animated logo in the opening. I created the animation on my own. I didn't need to hire anyone to make it for me, or use an expensive design website. Nope. Taught myself.
What a super empowering feeling THAT was. Yeah.
And I continue to discover that examining life through video is expanding my perception and feeding my curiosity in new and vibrant ways. For this, I'm super grateful. Because life -- at least for me -- is always about staying curious.
So, if you are seeking 4 minutes and 30 seconds of peace from your day, I hope you will check out "Summer Daze: Pocahontas Lake".
Summertime rocks in my world because the slower pace always allows me more bandwidth to broaden my creative skills.
One of my main goals for this summer has been to up my video production skills as I prepare to add video journalism and other forms of video content creation to my creative arsenal.
It's been amazingly easy so far to find affordable opportunities to learn the basic tech and techniques surrounding shooting and editing. I even learned how to fly a drone! Meetup groups and Apple Store classes have gone a long way towards providing creative support and expanding my expertise. It's all been super fun and all the workshops have either been free or crazy cheap, which is always a nice bonus.
After just a couple of Apple Store workshops, I not only got a lot more familiar with the iPhone's video and editing capabilities, but I also started to learn to look at the city in a much more focused way. This led to my first assignment to myself, which turned out to be an homage to New York City's street food scene. I produced this "quick and dirty" style, with just the general idea that I wanted to cover food trucks -- no shot list, no storyboard, no narrative arc, not a lot of time to shoot, and I edited the whole thing on my phone. Shooting and editing this short piece was a blast, and I can't wait to dig in again soon with my next New York City-themed short. Coming soon! Stay tuned!
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy Street Food Fantasia...and sorry if it makes you hungry.
I recently went on an amazing two-week adventure in Europe. What made it amazing is not as obvious as you might think. Yes, I saw beautiful sights, ate delicious local cuisine, and savored that sense of freedom and perspective one experiences far away from the day-to-day cares and concerns that typically feel sooooooo important. But it was the totality of the trip, and all the creativity and diligence I invested in planning it, and what I learned (and re-learned) about myself by traveling solo that brought the greatest joy and rewards.
This isn't the first time I'd been a solo traveler. The first time I traveled alone was on a 10-week backpacking trip through Europe in my mid-20's. All that I had available for guidance and communications back then was a dog-eared Let's Go book and an AT&T phone card: no cell phone, no social media, no widespread internet in those days. And certainly no WiFi. Email existed, but I wasn't an early adopter.
That backpacking odyssey helped to shape a core part of me. While the overall trip went really well, some things happened to me that were less than ideal, or I made less than ideal choices that got me into a couple of less than ideal situations, and I had to figure my way out of them, language barriers and all.
And I did. And everything turned out fine. I learned how to adapt when a plan falls through. That there's no point in getting upset. You can always figure out a Plan B, C, D, E, or F, and then you just make the best of that new plan. And more often than not, that Plan C or Plan F? It often turns out to be just as good -- or maybe even better -- than Plan A would have been.
I've traveled solo to some foreign places since that epic backpacking adventure. However, the last time was back in 2010. A weeklong trip to Paris, a city where I've traveled numerous times over the years, and have some command of the language. So, as this latest trip finally approached, despite my previous travel experiences, I was admittedly a little anxious. I was going to be staying with family in Vienna, so I knew I had support there, but for the other two legs of my trip -- Budapest and Prague -- I knew no one, and certainly didn't know the languages.
And, again, everything turned out fine (even with a handful of mishaps along the way). Better than fine.
Like my backpack excursion all those years ago, I planned everything on my own. But now, with cell phones, the internet, social media and email, everything was a lot simpler this time around. Although, there is also a lot more information out there to sort through, so it's easy to get overwhelmed. I soon learned to do research up to a point, and then just make a choice, and be okay with the results -- end of story. (Another traveling lesson that will now apply to other areas of my life!)
Perhaps the most surprising thing I discovered about myself on this trip was that I am not addicted to travel. I thought there would be a good chance that I'd be despondent when I got back to New York City. But when I arrived home, despite all the experiences I will remember for a lifetime -- I was really glad to be home. Glad to get back to my life, my family, my friends and all the mysteries and messes that lie ahead.
I love travel and experiencing new adventures -- especially on my own. This trip reminded me of that. I've begun making a list of cool places around the world I've never been to, and I plan to visit at least one new place every year. Just knowing that I have the freedom and fortitude to travel solo, if and when I choose to, well, that was this trip's most valuable souvenir.
Thrilled to have been invited to participate in this super fun and spunky play festival for the fifth time at New Ohio Theatre!
Got a chance to watch rehearsal last week and, based on the quality of the various plays, performers and director within my grouping, this is clearly going to be a great one! A small sampling of the talented playwrights involved in this festival are: Maggie Bofill, Anton Dudley, Katherine Clark Gray, David Lawson, Mona Monsour, Kate Moira Ryan, among many, many others.
If you've never gone to one of these and want an authentic independent theater experience, then spend an hour or so one evening June 2-4 and check out The 5th Annual New York Indie Theatre One-Minute Play Festival!
ROBIN'S NEWS & VIEWS!
Recent news and latest updates on my writing and artistic projects. Also check back here for occasional tips and observations on creative writing and theater!
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