With artistic work limited by shelter-in-place orders, some artists on the Coastside have taken their creative talents online.
Whether the goal is maintaining income through online classes or just a sense of community, more and more local artists are getting creative with their means of connecting with an audience.
Lisa Spector, a longtime pianist and teacher on the Coastside, has taken the change in stride.
She recently launched her first online course, geared toward amateur adult pianists. Her “Piano Ninja Tricks” include prerecorded lessons as well as six weekly live video chats over Facebook. Those interested can learn more at lisaspector.com.
While Spector misses her in-person lessons, she feels adequately prepared to teach online, as she’s stockpiled an extensive list of piano tips and can’t wait to share them.
“Someday, when this is all over, I’ll go back to private lessons in person,” Spector said. “But group lessons, this is my thing. This is what I’m going to spend time on. I’m loving the online world.”
Spector wanted to recognize individuals who are working in stressful situations amid the coronavirus pandemic. As a gesture of gratitude and to offer a stress-free environment, she decided to offer a full scholarship to the class for anyone involved in the frontlines of the pandemic, from janitors and grocery store cashiers to medical professionals.
“It’s like they’re in the frontlines of a war and they’re defending us,” Spector said. “I thought, OK, what can I do for them? How can I say thank you?”
She has also started livestreaming concerts on Facebook inside the empty Half Moon Bay Distillery, and will go live on Saturday evenings. On her first livestream on March 28, Spector played for over an hour and racked up more than 900 views. She used a program called Groupmuse, a social network that organizes gigs for classical musicians. Spector said the company has been helping musicians recover their lost income from canceled gigs by setting up a payment option online during live streams.
Meanwhile, the Coastal Repertory Theatre has applied a creative approach to its social media. Deborah Joves has been running the community theater’s social media for roughly three years, and she came up with the idea to post clips of classic films on Twitter that feature new audio and visuals relating to the coronavirus and the shelter-in-place orders.
“Everyone is being asked collectively to reimagine what life looks like,” Joves said.
Using self-taught skills on Final Cut Pro, Joves, whose first production with Coastal Rep was in 2011, has so far used clips from “A Street Car Named Desire” and “The Maltese Falcon.” The final product on Twitter @CoastalRep, is meant to be a humorous commentary during these difficult times.
Joves has some experience with video editing, like turning family museum trips into spy thrillers.
Though learning a new program like Final Cut Pro is time-consuming, she enjoys the process. She described the videos as not just a way for the theater to maintain outreach but as “humorous re-imaginings of classic films for current times, and a rallying cry to keep arts alive on the coast.”
Community theater is about connection, Joves said.
“And I’m trying to maintain that connection with the theater and our theater family,” she said.