We've heard the phrase "ride it out," a lot in recent weeks. Our friends who live in hurricane country have always known the meaning of the words. Yet the social distancing and government ordered business shutdowns that we're living in today have a longer lifespan than a storm.
New Mexico schools are officially distance learning through the end of the school year scheduled for May 20, and high school athletics are cancelled along with everything going on at college campuses.
Add that to state rules limiting gatherings to groups of five, restaurants to take-out and hotels to half-capacity, and life during the COVID-19 outbreak is pretty sealed up for a couple months—at least. The president even gave up on Easter last weekend, ordering restrictions to continue through the end of April to slow the spread of the infectious disease.
Let's get to riding it out.
What to read, watch and listen to while you’re safe at home
Santa Feans are not always good at following the rules, but we know our town has rallied to respond to public health orders intended to slow the spread of COVID-19. This means we're all doing things at home like reading, watching the tube and listening to tunes. What follows are recommendations about how others are passing the time.
James Reich, author
Beyond the Robot: The Life and Work of Colin Wilson by Gary Lachman. In 1956, Colin Wilson's The Outsider established him as a counter-culture wunderkind, the English Jean-Paul Sartre. Gary Lachman (founding member of Blondie) chronicles how, after this auspicious start, things went horribly wrong, andoffers a reappraisal of Wilson as a serious, visionary writer on philosophy, literature and the occult. What better time to read about a genuine 'outsider' than while we're all staying inside?
TV: Westworld: Season One. I grew up with re-runs of the '70s Yul Brynner classic (far superior to Crichton's other 'theme-park-goes-wrong' narrative Jurassic Park), so I had some trepidation. And I didn't have HBO until this week. This TV version makes beautiful use of Julian Jaynes' cult '70s psych book The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, a healthy dose of Jung, and a bit of the old ultraviolence.
Simple Minds: New Gold Dream (81–82–83–84). I didn't get to see Simple Minds until some years later at The Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute in London, 1988, with Little Steven, Peter Gabriel and Johnny Marr. It was one of the best days of my life, all told, so I have a lot of nostalgia for this band. This album is one of those unassailable peaks of post-punk Romanticism. If you don't like it, then we can't really be friends.
Jono Manson, musician/producer/audio professional
I've been reading David Byrne's How Music Works. It's cool. Autobiographical, but he's a real interesting dude.
When I was in solo quarantine for 14 days after coming back from
Italy, I was alone in a house with a big screen TV. At our house, we
have no TV at all—so, naturally, I watched movies, and the entire Ken
Burns' Vietnam documentary series (to cheer myself up!).
I've been listening to rough mixes of some projects that I'm producing
and planning next steps—whenever they might be able to happen.
Jamie Blosser, executive director of Santa Fe Art Institute
Decolonizing Wealth by Edgar Villanueva is about the accumulation of wealth and resulting inequitable philanthropic structures. Villanueva uses Indigenous models of restorative justice to show how money can be de-colonized, and how we can re-imagine it as a resource, like water, to heal divides and restore balance.
(Blosser had a lot of great music recs, but we're picking this one): Creative Santa Fe Executive Director Cyndi Conn's pandemic Spotify playlist, which includes "Gimme Shelter" by the Rolling Stones and "My House" by Flo Ri Da.
George Johnson, science journalist and author
Blindness by José Saramago. In the early days of the pandemic, I was reading (actually listening to) José Saramago's novel Blindness, about a very different kind of plague. The story is grim but mesmerizing, and solace is long in coming. But what stuck with me were the glints of humanity.
Watch: I don't have a music recommendation, but while I was listening to Blindness I stumbled upon a very absorbing and intelligent television series, Counterpart, on Amazon, with an even stranger plot, centering on an epidemic unfolding in a parallel world.
Beth Gutelius, associate director of the Center for Urban Economic Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Santa Fe resident
Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good by adrienne maree brown, because what better time than a pandemic to explore the intersection of joy, social justice, and physical feel-good?
The best album of 2019 IMHO was Ancestral Recall by Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah.
Napolean Dynamite for a good escape and hearty belly laugh.
Annie Liu, Production Manager at the Santa Fe Playhouse
I'm reading a play called Hangmen by Martin McDonagh, because our
little Playhouse staff started a play reading book club, and we never
got to actually do it because of the lockdown. This was my assigned play for that; we passed plays out two days before we stopped going in to work.
(She produced a wildly enjoyable video for social media about what the various theater employees are doing during quarantine, so watch that first.) I'm watching the show Gentefied on Netflix, because I've heard it was really good but never took the time to pay attention to watch a
new show. I usually re-watch random sitcoms as background noise while
I do other things.
I haven't been listening to much music because I listen to music the most when driving, and I haven't been out or gone anywhere in almost two weeks. I've been playing my own music at home on my guitar though. I play folk punk, and I had been practicing for a gig at the end of this month, but it's been cancelled.
Linda Marianiello, Tierra Contenta resident
Reading is so personal, but I recommend going through your bookshelves and revisiting things you love, but haven't read lately. We love Rudolfo Anaya's novels, including Bless Me Ultima. Also reading a biography of Dmitri Shostakovich, Testimony, in translation.
YouTube is amazing for all kinds of music video and audio. Highly recommend perusing the historic music listings, including classical and opera from 1900 to the present. Take special note of the Mahler cycle with Claudio Abbado from the Lucerne Festival.
Garden and Cook:
Gardening and fresh air are super important now for good health. Cook most of the time, order the occasional takeout, and walk a couple of miles per day. Our plants are coming up now. We're looking forward to cleaning up the dead leaves, pruning them, and starting to enjoy the beautiful spring weather.
Richard Eeds, radio host
The Opium Eater series of novels by David Morrel are intense and have to be diluted with heavy splashes of pulp fiction.
I do news, opinion, controversy all day at work and I need TV and reading to escape and relax. Recommendations include Picard, Better Call Saul, Homeland.
Jamilla Jaramillo, Capital High School student
Of course they should always read their local papers (because of the pandemic) stay informed! As well as any kind of book! I've been reading The Mists of Avalon and it's amazing! It's great, has a lot of woman empowerment!!
Honestly I've been watching Roswell New Mexico! It's a pretty good show!
I LOVE the Bobby Bones podcasts on Spotify, I've been listening to the ones I missed a month ago.
Dana Middleton, Santa Fe National Organization of Women
I just finished a book called News of the World (soon to be a film with Tom Hanks) which I so loved. Beautiful story, lovely writing. Just before that I read The Overstory, another great book. (Which someone should make a film out of).
I am watching DVDs. Netflix, of course. A very quiet little film called The Bookshop (Emily Mortimer, Bill Nighy) was thoughtful and just the kind of film I wanted to watch…I did see a timely and fascinating PBS series the other night, Net World.
The radio; usually NPR or KSFR in the morning. After the Jazz shows on KSFR it will be 95.5 and some classical music to calm down…Then I do go to my CDs and bring out the CDs I haven't listened to in a long time…Che Tango Quierdo that I got a few years back in Argentina. Maybe some Boz Scaggs ("Beautiful") or even a few Sting classics.