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COVID-19 Update: March 26, 2020: Stimulus Edition

Good news: The stimulus bill passes the Senate. Next stop: The House, tomorrow morning, followed by a quick signing by the president. As noted, however, New York may need more help: bit.ly/39kvoAU.

Even better news: The package includes provisions for unemployed freelancers: bit.ly/3duB1zO.

This is welcome, because the Broadway shutdown has rippled through the city, as Huntly Christie and others note: bit.ly/2UDdpQP.

Fortunately, many arts groups will benefit. (Take note of Rep. Bill Johnson's astonishingly blinkered comment that The Kennedy Center is "a nice place" but not worthy of fiscal aid): nyti.ms/39n2FLZ.

Meanwhile, Variety reports, "The UK has finally announced an economic relief package for freelancers not in employment after much of the country's creative industries shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic:" bit.ly/2xnOKb.

Worrying news: The rising number of coronavirus cases in Louisiana were mostly likely facilitated by Mardi Gras: nyti.ms/33LeCtJ.

Meanwhile, a number of late-night talk shows are planning to return, in limited formats, next week: bit.ly/39kgLOe.

New reports from industry companies:

All Access Staging joins the chorus of companies offering to fight the coronavirus by manufacturing much needed products: "While many businesses have been mandated to temporarily close their doors, All Access Staging & Productions is working diligently to provide temporary structures at the city, state, and federal level, to aid the medical community's efforts in combating COVID-19. We believe our 30 years of experience in creating rapid deployment structures for television, concert touring, festivals, and sporting events can be refocused on creating support for the community wherever it is needed. We have the design capabilities and equipment necessary to take the needs of our local communities and supply them with the temporary facilities for medical care, testing stations, disability access ramps and lifts, temporary access barriers, and any associated medical temporary infrastructure."

From Brompton Technology: "In view of the current UK government guidance for people to stay at home, Brompton Technology is going to operate greatly reduced opening hours at its London office from Friday, March 27 for at least two weeks. We will continue to keep this under review, based on the latest government guidance. We would like to reassure all our customers that our staff are will working as normal from home, and we are available at any time to provide technical support or to discuss your future projects. We are able to take orders and have most products available from stock -- though we recommend allowing a bit more time than usual for us to arrange shipping to you and appreciate your understanding."

EM Acoustics, based in the UK, has an important update: "In light of the current national and global crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus, we have taken the very difficult decision to close the factory and suspend day-to-day business as of 6:00pm on Friday, March 27. Without wanting to cast aside the value of our country's economy, the health and well-being of our staff and customers has to take priority, as well as a social responsibility to do our part to halt the spread of the virus in these difficult times. Whilst the factory is closed and we will not be dispatching any orders after Friday, our phone lines are diverted, and emails will be still be monitored to urgent communication can still get through to us -- both for commercial matters and for technical support. We will endeavor to reopen the factory as soon as possible, once it is deemed safe to do -- we will continue to follow government and health professionals' advice on this matter and advise as events develop."

Solotech "remains available via email, phone, and web conferencing," notes a company statement. "Also, please note that our sales and systems integration division, which offers telecommunications services to its customers -- currently essential to support core services and priority activities --will maintain its active operations, in compliance with guidelines provided by local authorities. Among other things, Solotech is a certified distributor and integrator of Zoom communications solutions dedicated to remote work and videoconferencing ... We are making sure our service delivery model and are updating our business continuity pan on an ongoing basis."

Looking for advice on conducting online training? This just in from AES: "Jill Courtney (AES Nashville Section executive committee member, doctoral student in instructional design leadership at Franklin University, former college audio instructor, and teacher in performance arts) and Michael Hanson (AES Nashville chair, veteran audio engineer, and assistant professor of audio production at Middle Tennessee State University) ... are offering the results of their own investigation of the application of readily available technologies to meet the challenge. In a self-published PDF document titled Redesigning Audio Learning Spaces Quickly for Online Teaching, Hanson and Courtney outline their goals and experimentation and share the solution they are implementing. "This solution can help a lot of people migrate numerous audio classes to an online format with quality audio held sacred to its core mission," Courtney concludes in the document. Download it here: bit.ly/3byRDVv.

Cancellations and postponements continue to roll in:

All Pittsburgh Cultural Trust performances, exhibitions, films, and events through May 10 have been cancelled or postponed.

Keeping yourself entertained:

Architect David Rockwell offers this delightful virtual tour of New York's Theatre District, via The New York Times: nyti.ms/2UoBlsB. Rockwell also urges everyone to consider donations to The Actors Fund, an organization that provides extensive social services to the entertainment community: bit.ly/2JiC4F6.

Washington, DC's Folger Theatre is streaming its recent production of Macbeth. It's a 2008 production directed by Aaron Posner and Teller, of Penn and Teller: bit.ly/2UzxVls.

Joe's Pub, the eclectic, cutting-edge cabaret at New York's Public Theatre, is offering a variety of online performances drawn from its archives: bit.ly/2QNrWbQ.

In news that should excite any theatre fan, London's National Theatre is offering free streaming of some of its productions: bit.ly/2JhOhtM.

New York's Battery Dance announces the creation of Battery Dance TV, launching on Friday, March 27 at batterydance.org/dancetv/ to provide free live dance classes and programming for the general public by Battery Dance and affiliated artists through a regularly scheduled program.

Baltimore Center Stage will make available video and audio recordings of Where We Stand, a world premiere co-production with New York's WP Theater, originally announced as the fifth Mainstage production of the 2020/21 season. The play will now be offered via the Vimeo streaming platform beginning April 2, the date live performances were scheduled to begin. The theater will also offer originally scheduled pre- and post- show programming in a virtual format. Current ticketholders will receive an email with instructions on how to access the production and new ticket buyers will have the ability to purchase tickets on Baltimore Center Stage's website: www.centerstage.org.

(26 March 2020)

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