Holy Mother Of God. As if 2020 is a year that anyone really wants to memorialize for eternity, a company calling itself Dot Com Product has created a Covid-19 themed ornament with that you can personalize and add to your Holiday Tree. Unreal. According to the description (unedited by me): “Each ornament is complemented with 2020 memorabilia including adorable Santa Hat Persons Wearing Masks, Hand Sanitizer, Toilet Paper, and the Year 2020” (with a Covid Germ representing the First Zero). Kill me.
You can order these crazy things with up to seven individual masked-heads (depending on how many people in your family survived the year, I suppose), and you can also add a pet. You have to personalize the ornaments yourself though (a black sharpie is recommended). If this looks like the bad taste / white elephant gift you need to own, you can read more about them, and place an order, at This Link.
In the early days of the Covid 19 lockdown, most of us — not just here in Manhattan but around the globe — were spending close to 24 hours a day in our homes. It was during this time that photos began appearing on the Internet and Instagram depicting places like Times Square and other generally heavily-populated ‘tourist destinations’ in states of complete abandonment. It was as if civilization as we know it had ceased to exist, and our cities been left to the elements. The world was looking more apocalyptic by the day. The only thing missing were the zombies.
I thought of these images immediately when I got an email from Hashimoto Contemporary Gallery about their latest exhibition, Quarantine by artist Scott Listfield — who is known for his paintings featuring a lone exploratory astronaut lost in a landscape cluttered with pop culture icons, corporate logos and tongue-in-cheek science fiction references.
The gallery is walking distance from my home, so I made an appointment to see these enigmatic and compelling paintings in person. I was the only person in the gallery at the time of my visit, which made the experience even more powerful. To say that Scott Listfield’s work encourages imaginative extrapolation is an understatement.
All US states are suffering from the effects of Covid-19 to varying degrees, and the American nursing force is playing a huge role in curbing the situation as best as possible. As is to be expected from the biggest epidemic in a century, there are multiple problems popping up every now and then, making the job of medical professionals even more difficult than it already is. If you are currently working in the medical segment as a nurse, a doctor, or in any other active care role, you should be able to better relate with the two primary issues we are going to highlight today.
Shortage of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)
It’s true that the PPE shortage is not as bad right now as it was a few months ago, but it’s not something that has completely gone away either. This is particularly true in:
• Rural hospitals and healthcare centers
• Overburdened hospitals in major US cities
The real issue here is not only supply but also the available resources to avail those supplies. For example, consider the fact that an N95 respirator is capable of filtering out the coronavirus, but most of the FFRs are for one use only, especially in a medical care setting where the virus is known to be present. What that means is, in order to keep their staff safe, the hospital has to supply every direct care workers with at least one mask, every single day.
A few weeks into lockdown here in NYC, I realized that the KN95 masks I paid $10 each for (and waited weeks for them to arrive from China) would need to be supplemented with many additional masks that could also double as fashion accessories: because we are going to be wearing masks for a long, long time. Just being serious. I was able to find some colorful cloth masks while visiting the Berkshires a few weeks ago, but otherwise it seems like stylish, seasonally-appropriate masks are only available to pre-order, and who wants to wait for something you need right now? The great news is that, just in time for the 4th of July, SwaddleDesigns has all of their Made in the USA face masks on sale, starting at the low price of just $4.99. What a bargain.
Made from 2-layers of double-napped cotton flannel, these SwaddleDesigns non-medical Cotton Flannel Masks yield better particle filtration effectiveness than cloth masks made using cotton knit, cotton muslin, gauze, and polyester fleece fabrics. The double-napped cotton flannel (mechanical brushing on both sides of the cloth) increases the degree of randomness and enhances the filtration effectiveness. I probably don’t have to tell you that wearing a KN95 in the summer is like strapping a sauna to your face, but these cotton masks are going to keep your face cooler and drier.
In June 2020, Florida Atlantic University researchers developed a Cough Emulator lab configuration to assess the efficacy of cloth masks. The FAU team published a study that shows any mask is better than no mask, but some masks are much better at stopping expelled droplets.In July 2020, the researchers tested SwaddleDesigns 3-layer Cotton Mask and validated the SwaddleDesigns mask minimizes droplet leakage and provides significantly better filtration. Watch the Cough Emulator test video at This Link.
With so many masks on backorder, the good news is that the SwaddleDesigns masks are available and ready to ship right now! Shop the above designs and more, all on sale, at This Link.
Stopping the Spread of Corona Virus: You Are Doing It Right.
Adam Schlesinger, best known to most music fans as a member of the power pop band, Fountains of Wayne lost his life on April 1st of this year at the age of 52. One of the first musicians taken from us by the Corona Virus pandemic, Adam’s death is an immeasurable loss. In addition to founding Fountains of Wayne with Chris Collingwood, Schlesinger was a gifted and prolific songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist who also recorded with electro-pop trio Ivy and ‘supergroup’ Tinted Windows (with Bun E. Carlos, James Iha and Taylor Hanson). Offstage, he had an impressive career writing music for film and television. I first met Adam in 1995, when I interviewed Fountains of Wayne during the press cycle for its debut album, and over the years I would see him occasionally at parties and industry events. He was a nice guy and an unbelievable talent. Everybody loved Adam.
It is in Adam Schlesinger’s memory that wide array of artists touched by his life pay tribute to the many musical projects of which he was a part via a Bandcamp-exclusive benefit compilation, Saving for a Custom Van. The 31-song collection features collaborators, tourmates, friends, and fans putting their own spin on songs spanning his entire career. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend co-creator, executive producer and star Rachel Bloom turns Fountains of Wayne’s “Stacy’s Mom” into a jazzy cabaret moodpiece, while Schlesinger’s Fountains of Wayne bandmate Jody Porter contributes a melancholy, shimmering take on Ivy’s “Four in the Morning.” Sarah Silverman — who teamed up with Schlesinger on the upcoming musical The Bedwetter — joins with songwriter Ben Lee for a gorgeous, folk-leaning take on “Way Back Into Love,” a Schlesinger song central to the 2007 film Music and Lyrics.
Other musicians on the compilation tackle Fountains of Wayne songs (Letters to Cleo’s Kay Hanley, “Radiation Vibe” — listen at This Link.; Motion City Soundtrack, “Dip in the Ocean”; Nada Surf, “Sick Day”; Vivian Girls/Upset member Ali Koehler, “Hackensack”), while Ivy songs are also well-represented (Belly members Tanya Donelly and Gail Greenwood, “Undertow”; Ted Leo, “Everyday”; HUNNY, “Tess Don’t Tell”).
Saving for a Custom Van, which takes its title from a lyric in Fountains of Wayne’s “Utopia Parkway,” is co-curated and co-released by Father/Daughter Records and Wax Nine, the label/journal run by Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis (who also contributes a FoW cover under her Sad13 moniker). One-hundred percent of proceeds will be donated to MusiCares’ COVID-19 Relief Fund, which is dedicated to helping music industry and community members affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Download the full album for just $10 at Bandcamp via This Link!
While Covid Life keeps us physically apart, The Museum of Art and Photography (MAP) in India is working to bring us together — digitally. MAP Founder Abhishek Poddar requests your participation in a collaborative digital art project to create the world’s largest digital flower Bouquet of Hope.
Here’s a bit of backstory on the inspiration for this engaging project. In honor of his parents 25th Wedding Anniversary back in 1989, Abhishek surprised them with an art installation made up of 25 flowers. Well-known artists from India created a single flower, one for each year of his parents married life together, in the artist’s own unique style; each image reminding them of a fond moment. “At times like these, we hold on to precious memories – of family times, of challenges we managed to overcome, of personal journeys we ventured on” said Abhishek. Flowers are a celebration of hope, love, and courage – something the world needs now more than ever!
Right now, anyone and everyone is invited to join MAP in creating this Bouquet of Hope. Paint, draw or sketch a flower, snap a picture from your garden or balcony, or even create a flower motif from objects or textiles in your home (food, toilet paper, shoes, pillows). The possibilities are endless.
Images can be submitted to, and viewed at www.bouquetofhope.in. I’ve already contributed a few images of Orchids that I took while visiting the NYBG Orchid Show in February. Remember to use #BouquetofHope and tag @MAPBangalore when posting on social media channels. Enjoy!