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MusicWatch Monthly: Sour grapes

Eschew the news and venues’ booze

I know. There are more important things to talk about and think about right now. Hopefully you’re staying informed about What’s Going On during this Important Historical Moment, both in terms of the bigger picture and the ground-level perspective of the myriad local journalists documenting the last two months of Black Lives Matter protests here and around the world.

We could never make an exhaustive list of people who can speak for what’s happening here in Portland, but a good place to start listening might include: former and current mayoral candidates Teressa Raiford, Sarah Iannarone, and Jessie Sponberg; Alex Zielinski and Sergio Olmos, just two of the many livestreamers who’ve been on the ground since the beginning; The Only Robert Evans, who’s been belling feral cats for years; and the few local politicians worth a damn, a short list that can’t exclude Wyden and Blumenauer and Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty.

Okay, good, you’re staying informed. But you need a break from staying informed, right? We therefore offer this humble distraction. 

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MusicWatch Weekly: The Apocalypse will be livestreamed

As world ends in slow motion, musicians struggle in solidarity

First of all, how are you? Eating enough? Staying inside and entertained? Called your friends and/or family lately? Good.

Let’s start by collectively admitting that we’re Not Doing Alright. It’s been a busy two weeks since last we spoke, dear reader: schools closed, concerts canceled, tours derailed, musicians laid off, stay-home orders issued, force majeure clauses invoked. We’ve been comparing notes with our fellow Gen X-ers and other overthirties, folks who experienced 9/11 and its aftermath as adults, and we’ve all reached the same conclusion–this is weirder by far.

Nobody knows what the hell is going to happen next, and as we scramble to make sense of it all we find ourselves grasping for new definitions of “musical activity” in general and “music journalism” in particular. We’d like to quote words from Oregon ArtsWatch Executive Editor Barry Johnson’s Mission Statement, which have recently comforted us:

The arts remind us that we are in this together. That we aren’t alone in our particular thoughts and feelings. That things can be made right and whole, if just for a moment. They remind us that the individual can do great things, and so can individuals acting together. And somehow, they resolve the great tension of American life, that between the rightful autonomy of the individual and the responsibilities that come with belonging to a group. We can’t imagine a good outcome to our dire problems—as a community, a nation, a planet—without the complex lessons the arts teach us.

We believe that the processes of discovery, explanation and discussion of journalism have an important role to play in all of this. An “informed citizenry” extends to cultural matters, and that is the mission of Oregon ArtsWatch—to help those of us in this particular culture share support and create arts and culture that respond to our needs.

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