Life update, Monday, March 30: Life goes on, sort of
Catching up on news in the arts, entertainment and activity world, as we all deal with the health/economic crisis brought on by coronavirus/COVID-19:
• Like all entertainers, Portland musician Tom Grant's live schedule has come to a screeching halt.
"This is unlike anything ever, nothing much compares to it, no particular resources to call on," Grant said. "I have a small savings, but it's hard. I had several gigs lined up for April — nice ones, charity events, shows that paid well.
"This is something so strange and foreign to everybody."
A pianist extraordinaire, Grant had seen his regular gig at Tommy O's in Vancouver, Washington end when the club closed. Then, he set up regular shows at the Brickhouse Bar in Vancouver and Benson Hotel each Wednesday, but, obviously, they've been on hold in recent weeks.
So, Grant, like many musicians, has taken to online to continue to entertain fans, help stem some anxiety among people and continue working. He put on his first Facebook Live concert this past Wednesday, and plans another one at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 1.
"It's so different sitting in front of my phone, which acts as a camera," he said. "It offers a different kind of freedom, which is nice. ... I was free-associating so much in talks with people, I could relate to people. I didn't hook up a (sound) system, it was just natural sound in living room, which wasn't bad."
Grant played some stuff from the Great American Songbook — George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Tin Pan Alley music — and some of his own music.
Meanwhile, Grant, 74, has to be diligent about his own health and "I'm trying to be careful."
His life partner, Mary Suzanne Garvey has been taking of her mother, Pat Garvey, in a Portland senior center. She's the designated overnight caretaker.
"For being 98, she's not bad, thank God," Grant said of Pat Garvey.
"So far, so good. We're lucky."
For Grant's concert, see his page at www.Facebook.com/TomGrantPDX.
Other Portland entertainers have also taken to the web for concerts, including Michael Allen Harrison on YouTube and www.michaelallenharrison.com and Patrick Lamb at www.Facebook.com/PatrickLambMusic.
• Here's another sign of the times: Portland Center Stage, the city's largest theater company, has cancelled its shows "Howard's End" and "Cambodian Rock Band" before they even begin, as well as remaining performances of "9 Parts of Desire," with PCS saying it'll cause "serious and lasting" hardship for company, staff and artists.
So, the PCS 2019-20 season is over.
Said Marissa Wolf, artistic director: "We're doing our best to support the staff and artists most affected by these cancellations, and we thank our community for the generosity and assistance we have received during this critical time."
Patrons can purchase tickets for the 2020-21 season and make donations online at www.pcs.org.
Said Wolf: "More than 60% of Portland Center Stage's revenue comes from ticket sales, concessions, and venue rentals, with many of the costs laid out upfront, which means they can't be recouped by cancelling performances."
• Portland Taiko, the Japanese drum performance group, has instituted online drumming lessons, "Taiko at Home." It's about teaching people to utilize things like garbage cans and tires for drums, and sticks from dowels. It is busy setting up its Taiko 101 lessons online.
For more: www.portlandtaiko.org.
• A Hillsboro theater company, Bag&Baggage, did its best to look past the health/economic crisis and look forward, as it announced its 2020-21 season in a long online video post.
"There may be a global health crisis, but we're still planning to bring you a full season of theatre just as soon as this whole thing is over," a statement read.
• Portland-based company Goumi, an infant's clothing line created by Lili Yeo, made its pitch on "Shark Tank" on ABC/KATU this past Friday — and it was successful.
Yeo asked for help to support her company's $12.5 million in valuation. The "sharks" thought it was overvalued, but "Mr. Wonderful" Kevin O'Leary made an offer based on a line-of-credit plan and Yeo accepted.
For more: www.goumikids.com.
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