Creativity Will Not Be Quarantined
By Chris Lose
Illustration by Andy Au
“The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable.”
Disclaimer: I am not encouraging anyone to do anything stupid, dangerous or illegal. I am a human being and I have desires that conflict with reason and logic. I want to work just as much as any of my brothers and sisters. I want to break out of isolation with all of you, but I will stay home as long as necessary because there it a greater good than my own whimsical cravings. Stay home. Stay Safe.
I’m also fed up. Like you, I am not a hamster who can run on the wheel for long. I know the wheel doesn’t get me anywhere. I’m too smart and I know too much to think that the hamster wheel will get me where I want to go. I’ll chew my way out of this BPA-laden plastic cage before I sit in isolation one day more than necessary. I am born to rock. I am destined to roll. I am ready to leave here tomorrow. For I must be traveling on, now. Cause there’s too many places I’ve got to be. My job, whether Governor Gipapuk knows it or not, is essential. I make people feel things. My job is to amplify emotions. I help people escape the humdrum monotony of their busy lives. I am willing to take the message of my artists from city to town to village to hamlet to backyard if I have to. I will make sure that my client looks their best, sounds their best and is their best no matter what the cost. We are essential, and the world is learning that the hard way.
Lighting is Essential
I have only recently realized how disheveled I look on camera at nine in the morning without a shower. That is true for most of the people that I associate with. Without proper lighting, the shadows are crossing our faces, highlighting our flaws and revealing our age. Without proper key lighting, the celebrity DJs that are scrambling for likes online are falling victim to the same harsh reality. We need professional lighting to keep up appearances and entertain the masses. Zoom calls and Facebook live streams can only dent our psyche and give momentary release from the daily stress. They don’t have the same impact as a live show because the lighting does not extend beyond the gap from the diminutive screen to our eyes. Concert lighting is expensive because it’s worth every penny.
Sound is Essential
I listened to a Global Citizen performance and I know that if we had spent just .1% of the proceeds on a sound crew, we could have had a show worth spending six hours listening to. I love Lady Faga. She is a beautiful human being with a heart of gold and the bravery of a pride of lions. She still needs a sound professional to remind her which direction the microphone goes. I share that love with the greatest rock band of all time, The Strolling Bones. Their sound is so important that it belongs on the golden record that was sent into space to be discovered by future alien civilizations. However, that racket that they were screeching into their laptops during the live feed will hopefully burn up on reentry. I give them full respect for being brave and vulnerable enough to perform live from their living room, but any Tom, Dick or Harry could have done that. It’s primarily their reputation for doing shows that are over the moon that makes their home-style acoustic set worth appreciation. Without a P.A. system that takes three days to set up, and a busload of technicians, they are right back to their acoustic bluesy beginnings in London.
Hair and Makeup are Essential
I appreciate when rock stars do the “no-makeup-for-a-month” challenge. It makes them more relatable and more approachable. The lack of extravagant makeup makes them more personable. I like seeing that they aren’t all that glamorous in real life. But I only like seeing that for a short while. After a brief moment of vulnerability, I want them back in full hair and makeup, melting faces without breaking a sweat. KIZZ, without makeup, is just four guys from the East Coast playing bar band music way too loud. With makeup, they are legendary rock icons and sex symbols. That thin layer of black and white oil transforms them from the-guy-next-door into the Rock Gods of the Motor City.
Costumes are Essential
I am just as guilty as the late-night TV hosts. I wear a T-shirt and shorts to my zoom meetings because I can’t be bothered to give a flop. I know that my clients and colleagues will be wearing the same quarantine uniform. I can’t pretend that I am getting dressed to go out of my house, so I wear the most honest uniform that I can muster. This low level of attention and enthusiasm is unsustainable. Unless we are Courtney Glove, we cannot show up to work in the same clothes that we slept in the night before. Our colleagues will eventually notice that we are getting unintentionally sloppy and wrinkly. Costumes are what set us apart. Whether we are onstage or off, we are telling a story with our outfits. If we can’t care about our own appearances, we can’t expect others to care either.
Production is Essential
Milton John is one of the most recognizable singer/songwriter, pianists, and composers in the modern age. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for his contributions to humanity. But watching him play his million-dollar piano in his driveway is not worth the price of a neighborhood BBQ raffle ticket. His music lends itself to a spectacle. Lady Fafa jumping off the top of a stadium during the Big Game takes her songs from memorable to monolithic. The Strolling Bones need a rig the size of a small city to remind us that they are still relevant. These days have proven to me that it takes a team of people to make rock stars look good. Living in isolation has given me the time to reflect on what really matters. There are a million talented entertainers waiting in the wings to jump into the limelight. They all have the talent necessary to be the brightest star in the night sky. All they need is someone who believes in them enough, has the financial backing and the motivation to invest in their talents. This magical investor will take their talents and hire a team of professionals to amplify their every trait. We will use every trick in the book to make them appear better, bigger and more grandiose than they used to be. We will take them from the couch in their living room to Madison Square Garden in a matter of weeks. We can do that with lighting, sound, hair, makeup and costume. We can take the world from their couches in isolation of fear to the peak of emotional freedom. Creativity cannot be contained. Love cannot be isolated. Connection cannot be distanced.