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Thursday, March 12, 2020

Cancellations, Contexts, Coronavirus. Special edition March 12 2020

Whoa up, thar', pard! While You'll find good stuff here, this is NO LONGER THE LATEST edition.

Last UPDATE to THIS edition: Friday the 13th of March, 2020. Last new info added 9:30 am, to up-top update originally published at 3 am (Pacific time).

(1) the Los Angeles Unified School District and San Diego School District will both close all their schools, starting Monday. 
(2) The state of Louisiana is postponing its primary election by two months, from April 4th to a date in June.
(3) City officials in Milwaukee, WI, are talking about postponing the Democratic National Convention, which the city is set to host this summer, and where the party's presidential nominee will be chosen.
(4) Both locations of the GETTY MUSEUM (L.A. and Malibu) after announcing last night they would remain open, have changed that: today, Friday, is the last day to visit, as they're closed indefinitely starting Saturday.
(5) Today is the LAST DAY to see the Egyptian exhibition at the Reagan library. At close of business today, they will close all facilities, including research collections, until further notice.
(6) "Scot Week" in L.A. is postponed, the "French Quarter Festival" in New Orleans (the other LA) is cancelled.

÷ ÷ ÷

Lots has happened in the 23 hours since early Thursday morning when we published the story below. In that interim, our email experienced an avalanche of notices from venues, artists, presenters and producers about their events -- mostly being cancelled outright, some being postponed to (usually uncertain "tba") future dates. 

Frankly, it is an enormous amount of information, and much more than we can organize and report in time for this quick update.

We CAN tell you this: assume any event expected to draw 250 people or more is now cancelled. There aren't many exceptions. 

But there are a FEW PLACES STILL OPEN. We do know that the ARCADIA BLUES CLUB is open for Friday and Saturday night's shoes. Both locations of the GETTY MUSEUM (L.A. and Malibu) had announced they are remaining OPEN -- Nope: today, Friday, is the last day, closed indefinitely starting Saturday. The BATTLESHIP IOWA museum is open. But in both cases, all their special programs are cancelled. Many public libraries are open for basic services but all appear to have cancelled concerts and other programs. SPECIFIC TO FINDING LIVE MUSIC -- many bars have music stages, and being that most of these establishments are small venues with small stages and maximum capacity below the thresholds, some booked gigs will carry on. Your phone call inquiry directly to the bar, club -- or venue of whatever kind -- is the best way to know the status of each event that is not specifically listed on their website as cancelled. 

Phoning a venue is preferable to checking web sites or social media pages since things are changing very fast, and many venues contract with a limited number of management and content posting and email services who are swamped with all the changes from so many clients.

Otherwise, from the NBA to the NHL to the NCAA's March Madness to the start of the MLB season, the stadiums are empty and the gates are locked.

As for concerts and music events, Thursday's report on music festivals (below) remains the extent of what we know at Friday morning's very early press time. BEYOND THAT: from the L.A. Music Center to Caltech's concerts/public lecture series/events series; from the Pasadena Symphony to the Grand Annex; from USC's "Visions & Voices" to the Boston Court Theatre; and (after Friday) even the music stages (and the entire theme park) at Disneyland -- purt near every venue larger than 50-or-so seats -- is locking the doors. 

Of course, all who are suspending, postponing, closing, or cancelling are citing concern for protecting public health since COVID-19 Coronavirus was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. It was a result of THAT, and the continuing incoherence in D.C., that several states' governors took prompt action, that started the avalanche of shutdowns. Those governors include Gavin Newsom in California, Jay Inslee in Washington, and Andrew Cuomo in New York -- all of whom read, accept science, and listen to qualified experts.

Here at the Guide, we have more than enough news of new record / new video releases, who is doing well on the Americana charts, plus plenty more to bring you. Heck, we still haven't finished our reports of new products, signature instruments, innovations, and all we experienced at the giant annual NAMM Show! 

Just because stages are empty and performance halls are locked, the music -- and the Guide -- like the heart in the "Titanic" theme song -- will go on! 

Be careful out there, and stay tuneful!


Following is the edition as originally published as published very early Thursday morning...

Whether you're a musician planning gigs, festival appearances, album tours, studio recording sessions, or some other aspect of what you do, or if you're a music fan looking to plan your weekend circuit of the clubs and venues or sort-out your vacation time and match it with festivals, one thing is glaringly clear: the new reality that COVID-19 Coronavirus is a global pandemic with 147,000 cases. And, dammit, that changes everything.


Feature story

Show biz, sports, event cancellations bring Coronavirus reality as White House exploits, bungles it

by Larry Wines

Last night after the televised Oval Office speech, a friend made the quotable observation, "[I] have issues with the Creator as to how sharks have teeth that just regenerate."

Her remark was the only thing Wednesday that expressed clarity. All else required redefinition and reclarification because the first few market-crashing drafts were too draconian. And any logical bases for actions announced in the White House speech were too incoherent.

You need to turn to what's supposed to be the world of make-believe to find reality.

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson went to Australia for him to begin pre-production on a Warner Brothers movie about Elvis. Tom is playing the King's manager, the notorious Colonel. The pair of American actors made the rounds of several tv stations in Queensland doing interviews. At some point, something caused them both to be tested for COVID-19. Tests on both came back positive.

It's still unclear what the current health of either of them is. But everyone at all those tv stations is now in 14-day quarantine and the studios have all been, or will all be, scrubbed and disinfected.

It isn't known if Tom and Rita brought the Coronavirus with them from the U.S., or contracted it in travel, or caught it after arrival in Australia. The incubation period varies in individuals from two days to 13 days, hence the 14-day quarantine.

There was blathering about whether Tom and Rita will remain hospitalized in Oz or be flown back to the U.S. in some kind of flying quarantine, but that part seemed to be just media make-talk to keep the audience tuned-in, and maintain sponsor rates for commercials a few seconds longer.

The fact that cultural icons are infected is a bombshell in our cultureless culture's consciousness.

It's one thing for the Orange Imbecile Commander-in-Tweet to go on all the networks and cable news stations and make out-of-touch, minimizing and contradictory statements in a speech that was pushing the limits of his fifth-grade reading level. A speech that required two clarifications to be issued from the White House because he ploddingly read his reactionary travel-ban speech wrong.

Regardless of your politics, it was predictable that Trump didn't have any of what it takes. That his shoulda-coulda-been steadying, stabilizing and reassuring moment for the partially panicked masses of America and the world would find him dumbfounded at center stage where he couldn't find his mark, fumbled his lines, and assumed the wrong kind of pretentiousness was, well, pathetic. Tell me anybody didn't expect that.

But Tom Hanks? The quintessential "everyman" has got Coronavirus? And his likeable, sweetheart singer-actress wife, too? That has resonant social impact.

As for the crash of global stock markets (ongoing as of 4 am, when this is being written), the latest manifestation of lemminglike Corona-driven financial panic is being attributed to Trump's contradictory speech, air travel ban-niness, and his emotionless yet reactive, rather than properly preemptive, tone.

That attribution for financial panic might make sense, but it's wrong to project it onto society.

C'mon. Here in 'Murica, the confused panic, the stop-in-the-tracks "oh-sh*t" moment didn't arrive until it hit us Wednesday night, not from White House speechiness, but in a one-two-three of: (1) word that NCAA March Madness would be played in empty stadiums; (2) the sudden suspension of the NBA season and suspicion the NHL and Major League Baseball will follow suit; and (3) word that the nebulous, nefarious "it" virus has hit America's favorite everyman actor.

Tell blue collar Bubba that his rah-rah-hoopla televised sports ain't happening and he has a problem. Then tell him his celluloid hero has been clobbered with a disease that kills people in that age group. Whoa! That is sooo not-John-Wayne. Bubba spills his beer. He chokes on his pizza. He falls of the couch. Bubba is disoriented. His bubble breaks. The reality of the outside world intrudes, and that pisses him off.

Realizations dawn. Too many of them. Too fast. It all means that NOW --

...the lack of any kind of health care for millions in this country...

...the absence of any paid sick leave from millions of jobs...

...the spectre of being cut-off from the ability to do what produces existential revenue streams to buy groceries and pay rent...

...the embrace of our societal stampede to overreliance on a no-employer-benefits gig economy to make a living... 

...the sense of self-reliance that entrepreneurial and innovative resiliency has so delusionally brought everyone (everyone, who was, in barebones fact, already scrambling and scraping)...

...all that money to send the kid to college and now they need to move back home, with no refunds, and take all their classes online...

...the Summer Olympics might get cancelled... and (gasp!) NO BASEBALL?...

 -- it all just suddenly crashes through like a cable outage in the middle of the big game, to collectively slap Bubba -- and too damn many other people -- up 'side the head.

The deniers that global pandemic is upon us may still rant from their cyber soapboxes, between rants denying that global climate change is real. But their audience has gone to the store, stocking-up on things their panicked brains think they should hoard.

Suddenly, the easy, flippant dismissals are alienating, even for those who have espoused them. Ask Fox News, where they are desperate to get out in front of a revised narrative that puts them first in their protection racket. Because everywhere, resentment creeps in with noticing that anything that invades human physiology, regardless of what continent someone calls home, is not a "foreign virus" exploitable to get funding for a border wall. (Early Wednesday, Trump was still trying to do exactly that.)

How quickly inconvenient truths intrude when the context changes. Suddenly, facts matter.

The COVID-19 Coronavirus is ten times more deadly than the "regular" annual flu. It is more contagious. There are urgent facts being obfuscated and minimized when that kind of lunacy prevails. The U.S. has a shortage of test kits, a shortage of N-95 germproof respirator masks for medical personnel, a shortage of things as simple as hand sanitizer, and a grossly inadequate number of hospital beds for any large health emergency (especially beds in isolation wards). The current administration fired the pandemic response/ epidemiological team that was in place when it took office, and it never replaced that team. Those are facts that didn't make it into the Oval Office speech, but without his sports, Bubba has time to think about them. And more.

Elect a fact-fearing science-denier who appoints his science-denying vice president to head response efforts to a deadly disease? Well, don't expect science to speak in a crisis. Especially not an existential crisis. Even on pre-empted prime time.

There is one more thing, a set of genuine ironies, that will forever mark Trump's speech. The Great Influenza Pandemic's first U.S. cases were reported on the same day, March 11th, in 1918, when 107 soldiers got sick at Fort Riley, Kansas. 

As for "a foreign virus"-? At the time, it was called "The Spanish Flu." Not because in originated there, but because the government of Spain was the only nation reporting facts and statistics in the midst of World War I, when warring nations accused each other of being behind it. 

That flu became the deadliest pandemic in world history. That year, 1918, the flu killed only 2.5% of its victims -- a LOWER percentage than Coronavirus, so far -- but more than a fifth of the world's entire population caught it. Estimates are, between 50 million and 100 million people died of it in just a few months. That's far more than the death toll in the carnage of trench warfare and poison gas attacks and U-boats and everything else, on all sides, in all of WWI which was raging across Europe, the Midle East, parts of Africa, and the oceans of the world. 

Historians believe at least 500,000 people died in that flu pademic in the U.S. alone.

Granted, hardly any history-challenged typical American knows any of that. But they're scared, nonetheless.

As one reporter said this morning, "What do you get when you put it all together? Anxiety. Fear. Tension. People are looking for serious, effective leaders. They want to believe they are not forgotten, that they can look up to somebody who cares. His [the president's] best friends right now happen to be Democratic governors in New York, Washington, and California. They're the ones on the front lines and acting like it."


as of Wednesday noon, Pacific time

•   "ARTNIGHT PASADENA," scheduled for March 13, has been postponed, possibly cancelled.

•   The "LOS ANGELES TIMES FESTIVAL OF BOOKS," scheduled in April, has now been rescheduled for October 3 & 4 at USC.

•   This follows announcements earlier this week that "COACHELLA" and "STAGECOACH" in Indio, CA, two massive music festivals set for April, are rescheduled to October.

•   The first cancellation of a major US music festival due to COVID-19 was "SXSW" ("SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST") in Austin, Texas, announced last week.

•  "NORTHWEST FOLKLIFE FESTIVAL," set for May 22-25 in Seattle, was cancelled May 11, along with all public gatherings of more than 250 people in three counties of Washington State.

•   The EILEEN IVERS concert, co-sponsored by Pasadena Folk Music Society with Caltech this coming Sunday, March 15, is cancelled.

•   The Pasadena Folk Music Society's MARI BLACK concert on April 18 is cancelled.

•   The two above event cancellations are in conjunction with ALL of the "CALTECH PUBLIC EVENTS" series being cancelled through April 6th, and that's subject to indefinite extension.

Still scheduled: 

•    The "TOPANGA BANJO FIDDLE CONTEST & FOLK FESTIVAL" set for May 17 has NOT announced a postponement, but that could change.

     As our friends at the Pasadena Folk Music Society have expressed, "In the midst of all of this disruption, we can only hope that no crisis occurs."

■ It's just part of what's anticipated in The Guide's detailed feature story, published February 29th at the very beginning of the onset of Coronavirus, and still available for you to read. Its list of PRACTICAL PERSONAL PRECAUTIONS remains the best you'll find anywhere. 

It's right here.


The Guide grants a limited waiver of copyright on the feature above, provided it is reproduced with attribution and republished/distributed in full and without alteration.

We are proud that we published a major, well-researched feature story in February examining what Coronavirus is, the historical precedent of a deadly flu pandemic, likely impacts of the virus as it spread, and detailed PRACTICAL PERSONAL PRECAUTIONS that are still the best, anywhere. You can read it in our archive in the edition, here 

(that link's url is below, for easy copy-and-paste sharing):


We'll be back soon with updated and fresh music news and events.

CURRENTLY SCHEDULED MUSIC AND ARTS EVENTS are in the March 7th edition, together with currently ongoing (multiday) events and our coverage of "International Women's Day."

Click here.


More soon, as we get to and through it. Which is pretty much the way it is for all of us these days.

See ya soon. Stay Tuneful!


☆  THE ENTIRE CATALOGUE of all past editions of The Guide is available (and searchable!) FREE, in our archive. If you don't see the navigation pane on the left side of your screen, just click "view web version" and it'll magically appear (along with the correct photo, art, and page formats that you've been missing if you don't see that left-sidebar.)



We have lots of MUSIC NEWS
features in the works, and they'll
be along as we get them dressed,
shoes tied, cowlicks combed down,
bowties cranked straight, 
and strings tuned.

Find a comfortable spot by the 

wood stove, play a round or two 
of checkers, and we'll be along...

On to the necessary boilerplate...

Boilerplate? What "boilerplate"? Where's the main pressure gauge? And the firebox? How do you add water so it won't blow-up?

Who came up with that goofy term for the basic essential informational stuff? ...obviously some dumbass...

Alright already, it's right down there...



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Entire contents copyright © 2020, 

Lawrence Wines & Tied to the Tracks.

All rights reserved.

♪ The ACOUSTIC AMERICANA MUSIC GUIDE endeavors to bring you NEWS – and views of interest to artists everywhere – more specifically to musicians and the creative community and music makers -- and fans of acoustic and Folk-Americana music. That includes both traditional and innovative forms. From the deepest roots to today’s acoustic renaissance, that’s our beat. We provide a wealth of resources, including a HUGE catalog of acoustic-friendly venues (now undergoing a major update), and inside info on FESTIVALS and select performances in Southern California in venues from the monumentally large to the intimately small and cozy. We cover workshops, conferences, and other events for artists and folks in the music industry, and all kinds o’ things in the world of acoustic and Americana and accessible classical music. From washtub bass to musical spoons to oboe to viola to banjo to squeezebox, from Djangostyle to new-fangled-old-time string band music, from sweet Cajun fiddle to bluegrass and pre-bluegrass Appalachian mountain music to all the swamp water roots of the blues and the bright lights of where the music is headed now.
The Acoustic Americana Music Guide. Thanks for sittin' a spell. The cyber porch'll be here anytime you come back from the road.

We'll be back again soon with music news and more "News of the Non-Trumpcentric Universe." (c)

Til we catch ya again on the flip side 
in this new decade...
as Buford the Wonder Dog looks on 
and in our best Kathy Baker
"Hee Haw" voice: "THAT's all!"


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