SAYING GOODBYE TO MARCH
The Dirty Dog Jazz Café will remain closed until our jazz family can again safely gather in an intimate setting to hear live jazz. What makes the Dirty Dog and jazz so important in our lives is its ability to bring us closer together. For the moment we will have to stay close by staying apart. This necessary intermission will end, and jazz will once again leak out the Dog’s front door and smiling people will pour in. See you then.
Until then we have March in Detroit … ugh.
There is one month that has always defeated me. March in Detroit can be depended on to dash all our hopes after teasing us with early signals that spring is coming. March says “not so fast”. Warning thoughts of “expect the unexpected” and “don’t jump the gun” drift through brief bits of sunlight. The cold mist of reality soon surrounds us.This year we have all been homebound in Michigan for most of March. Next week we will celebrate the 1st of April, which we call April Fool’s Day. Detroiters are not easily fooled, we still will act responsibly by following the safe practices that will eventually defeat the coronavirus.
One way to survive March/ April is to try get out for walk. Avoid people and look for sunshine in the spirit of survivors like the flowers growing up through the cracks in the pavement. Detroiters manage to work through adversity. These last few weeks have brought into focus the grit and warmth that our community has shown even during March’s drizzly and difficult days.
Creative people like some time to be alone with their thoughts. I have had some creative success by isolating myself from distractions and responsibilities. I was usually in a comfortable and well stocked place. This was the closest I have ever come to a selfish sort of paradise.
My wife and I are suffering what she calls days like soggy Cheerios on a string. Social distancing is testing marriages and families across the country and around the world. We are all pretty isolated right now and it doesn’t seem like paradise, maybe because staying put isn’t voluntary and it isn’t free of distractions. It is wearing pretty thin really fast. Kind friends and our supportive family are reaching out to us by phone. They ask us, “What is new?” and “How are you doing?”, followed by an awkward silence. The only thing that is new is the running tally of infections and the new guidelines for social distancing. We comfort each other by declaring that we are feeling well and we are doing everything by the book. We hang up and sit alone for a moment and worry about them. So it goes day after day after day.
We are all in this together by staying apart. No one can tell us when we will be safe to mingle and work with others. They can’t tell us because at the moment they can’t possibly know. The informative data isn’t known. The tests to discover who has the bug or who has had the bug are improving. Eventually we will know that a community is safe from infection, and we can reemerge.
Cabin Fever vs Deadly Fever
This will take time so for a while it will be necessary to mitigate the virus by stopping the virus from traveling. Viruses don’t have legs and can only spread by renting some transportation. In fact there isn’t much that virus can do without our help. They are not exactly a living organism. They are without a home until they enter into a living host cell where they can run amok. At this time we can only stop the virus is by stopping its movement. Separation will be our only tool until we test and produce drugs that will mitigate the coronavirus. Once the scourge of the virus and our grumpiness subsides we will see the light and we will once again be able to share a meal, a beverage and some jazz.
I am getting old and creaky. I have been transitioning from being cautious into becoming pretty predictable and boring. One has to stay alert and not let age take the life out of you.
I have always had an advantage in that I spent time around jazz musicians who seem to be reverse wired. The older they get the younger they play. They never seem to acknowledge that they should just fade away. I sure could use a shot of youthfulness. My weekly encounters with jazz artists often could jumpstart even my old frayed wiring.
A good friend, Sandy Schopbach, posted this piano solo on Facebook. Ellis Marsalis plays this tune from a deep pool of authentic encounters with life. The melancholy mood of the tune seemed to me to be appropriate for the times. I can picture an empty Berkeley Square in London or any public place that is void of traffic noise and chatter. Only the stars above and a songbird unaffected and unafraid.
Two lines in the song struck home.
Poor puzzled moon, he wore a frown
The whole darn world seemed upside down
And as we kissed and said goodnight A nightingale sang in Berkeley Square!
Please stay safe.
FOR JAZZ ARTISTS
Here are some things that I have noticed that are being done to get jazz musicians through this tough patch and until they can get back in the clubs.
Many musicians are playing online, sometimes with inventive ways to raise a buck. Please support their efforts.
Cécile McLorin Salvant
jazz singer Cécile McLorin Salvant says she’ll be streaming performances from her living room and accepting payment by Venmo.
A $2 trillion relief bill just became law, with a $250 billion expansion of unemployment benefits. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act will give jobless workers an extra $600 a week on top of a state’s existing benefits, which can range from $200 to $550 a week.
Musicians please note:
It will also cover some workers previously ineligible for benefits — gig and self-employed workers, as well as those whose hours have been cut or who can’t work because of the pandemic.
TO APPLY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
The Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM) is the UIA’s system for filing your unemployment insurance claim and managing your UIA account online. MiWAM makes doing business with the UIA simpler, faster and more efficie
The Michigan Music Fund,
modeled after initiatives in Boston and Nashville, is currently open for private donations via GoFundMe.Com. The MMA is also seeking corporate donations and sponsorships. Artists will able to apply for grants via michiganmusicalliance.org. Performers must be from Michigan, receive their primary income from music have at least one show canceled due to coronavirus; They’ll be able to receive up to $500 and will also be permitted to apply for additional grants.
The applications will be approved by the MMA board of directors.
Michigan Music Alliance is a 501c3 nonprofit organization serving the music community in Michigan.
Michigan Artist Relief Fund
The Michigan Music Alliance is starting a fund to address the current needs of Michigan based musical artists whose incomes are being adversely impacted by COVID-19. With events of all types being canceled to reduce the spread of COVID-19, people who make income fully through gigs and freelance music work are losing critical opportunities to support their well-being.
We welcome applications from any full-time musicians living in Michigan, but will prioritize artists with severe financial impact (most cancelled events) and immediate need. The fund will be open for recouping financial losses due to cancelled music events. Applicants must meet specific requirements to qualify. Applying does not guarantee aid. APPLY HERE.
We have set up an application process that will go live on 3/20/2020. We know we are going to get a ton of requests are we are waiting to open applications to make sure we have some time to raise funds and perfect the application process so it is easy for artists. First, to keep things fair and also manageable, we are going to pay out a maximum of $500 per gig on a first-come, first-served basis if they qualify. This way someone who had a $3,000 gig cancelled doesn’t end up pulling too much from everyone else and we do our best to avoid a tragedy of the commons situation. People with more than one cancelled gig can apply more than once, they just have to wait until they receive a payment to apply again.
To apply, you will need:
1. Your signed W9 as a PDF
2. A request amount (max $500 per cancelled gig)
3. A PDF contract of the gig that was cancelled as a result of COVID-19
4. A PDF version of communication that the gig was cancelled as a result of COVID-19
5. A short bio explaining who you are and what you do
Application Requirements for Assistance:
1. You must live in the state of Michigan
2. You must prove live performance as a musician is your primary source of income
3. Have a cancelled gig by the venue or promoter due to COVID-19 in March 2020
4. The gig must be in Michigan
5. You must be ineligible for unemployment