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The Plague Year: We’d Rather Not Celebrate This Anniversary

Everyone is observing this one-year anniversary of the day our world changed. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced a stay-at-home order to take effect at 5pm on Saturday, March 21, 2020. As the virus progressed throughout our country, that week began at Third Coast Review with a raft of messages about cancellations and postponements of the events we cover in theater, music, art and museums. For a while, we frantically tried to keep up with the changes, letting readers know what was being cancelled. That soon became a hopeless task.

Marquee of The Anthem at The Wharf in Washington, D.C. Image courtesy Wikimedia Creative Commons.

Everything was cancelled. Everything was closed.

At a meeting just before the shutdown, our editors discussed what we should do with our weekly events calendar, which we knew readers appreciated. Would there still be stuff going on? Would it all be online? How long would this last? It sounded like the Stay-at-Home order could last for a couple of months.

And what should we call what used to be Your Chicago Curated Weekend feature? It became the #StaytheFHome Chicago Curated Weekend, as editor Julian Ramirez observes in this week’s one-year anniversary edition.

One year! One year in which we learned a new Covid vocabulary and made masks a fashion statement. After a few months of plain black or white masks, many people decided it was time to put some color and personality on their faces. And manufacturers, large and small, complied.

One full year of pandemic and some months more to come. We feel a bit optimistic now that many are getting vaccinated, and thus protected, from the virus, but we have many more shots to go. We are still being careful. We’re not covering any live events yet because we don’t want to ask writers and photographers to put themselves at risk.

We thank our readers for sticking with us during this time when our arts and culture coverage suffered some drastic changes. With no live theater or music, we covered virtual theater and pondered its value and staying power, post-pandemic. We covered virtual music events and occasionally local musicians’ new tracks and albums. We covered plenty of books and literary events and kept up with changes in museum closings, openings and safety protocols. We tried to keep you cooking with recipes and menu ideas. We covered Covid news and last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests. Best of all, our Screens and Games & Tech editors and writers provided hundreds of reviews, interviews and features as they were able to continue covering films, TV and video games.

We hope you and your families have been able to stay safe and that you’ve survived this year financially as well as physically. It’s been a year that we never thought we would have to describe. And we never could have imagined that we could lose nearly 540,000 souls to a perplexing and ever-changing disease in 12 months. The vaccines are a shot of hope and we are hoping, along with you.


2 replies »

  1. I am neither a professional photographer nor writer, but I would be more than happy to attend and cover the few live music events that are starting to pop up around Chicago at places like the Green Mill, the Gman Tavern, Carol’s Pub, the City Winery, and Reggie’s. I am also open to covering other types of live events, as I have a broad range of interests.

    • Hi Derek — thanks for your offer. We’d be happy to consider you as a Third Coast writer. Please send a short bio and a few samples of your music writing to me at nancy at third coast review dot com. You might also include a link to your photography. I hope to hear from you soon.

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