In the year since COVID-19 ended and disrupted so many lives, nearly every aspect of public and private existence underwent a seismic shift.
We changed how we shopped and ordered from restaurants, how we attended school and how we taught classes. Many of us stopped physically going to work, and while a large portion are back in their offices or will be, others will make Zoom meetings a permanent part of their work lives.
But two activities that must return when coronavirus is finally controlled and vanquished are going to concerts and returning to theaters to see films.
Events like the Norman Music Festival were forced to cancel altogether and deadCenter Film Festival used new technology to bring the entire festival online. There is no doubt that some attendees will be lost to live event streaming and on-demand viewing, but when this is all over, we will want to enjoy the communal experience of music and movies.
Music and filmby George Lang
Sponsored by True Sky Credit Union
This is why Oklahoma City Free Press will be stepping up its music and film coverage starting next week. As artists and venues begin looking toward life in a vaccinated world, we want to reintroduce our readers to the local musicians and filmmakers who will be returning to concert stages and theaters this year.
I am particularly excited about this decision because it tracks with Devraat Awasthi’s excellent and insightful stories on visual art. Awasthi’s work made a significant impact when he debuted in Oklahoma City Free Press in December, and editor Brett Dickerson saw a need to provide our readers with strong coverage in other areas of the arts.
While many Free Press readers know me almost exclusively for my opinion columns on local, state and national politics, my roots are in entertainment reporting. As a critic and reporter, I spent much of the 1990s and 2000s reporting on film and music, interviewing musicians, actors and directors and writing concert, album and movie reviews. Critical thinking is important in both political and arts writing, and it serves me well in my political writing.
This is why I will be heading up our music and film coverage starting next Friday, February 5. I’ll be writing stories about Oklahoma musicians and venue owners as they prepare for the return of live music, and will be talking with local filmmakers who are bringing their homegrown cinematic visions to the rest of the world.
I will continue to write about politics — it is absolutely crucial that we fight on as an important counterpoint to Oklahoma’s regressive political majority and give voice to the state’s growing progressive community. But both film and music have been my obsessions since my elementary school years. As an educator at [email protected] and a radio host on The Spy FM, it only makes sense that I dive back into local arts coverage.
While many outlets have shrunk their arts coverage, Oklahoma City Free Press recognizes that too many stories are not being written. Starting next week, we will be telling those stories.
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