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Tag: Memorial Day

A montage of public events in Texas

What’s it Gonna Take?

By G. S. Norwood

With the number of new COVID-19 cases dropping, and Memorial Day in the rearview mirror, what’s it gonna take to get you out of the house and back into large entertainment venues this summer? I’m thinking specifically of movie theaters and concert halls, but that’s just me. What about sports arenas and churches? County fairs, rodeos, and festivals? Are you prepared to dive back into public pools and farmers’ markets? Just how comfortable are you going into public spaces, indoors or out, where a lot of people gather, with or without masks?

Montage of public events in Texas.
Texas, like the rest of the country, offers a variety of crowded events (see below for credits).

Let’s Take it For a Spin

My youngest granddaughter graduated from high school a couple of weekends ago. She was home-schooled, and the home school association that sponsored the graduation ceremony aligns with the evangelical Christian movement. All of which is to explain why I found myself in a crowd of happy people, celebrating their children’s rite of passage without a mask in sight, and—at a guess—not many vaccinated people in attendance.

But I love Warren’s daughter and her family. My granddaughter wanted me to be there. So I went. Never mind that, only a few months ago, the whole thing would have been a prime candidate for a super-spreader event. I decided to take my fully-vaccinated status, and the latest CDC guidelines, out for a spin.

Go Live? Or go Livestream?

But that was family, and I hadn’t seen any of them in quite a while. What’s it gonna take to get me out to an event that doesn’t involve relatives? Well . . . Maybe money?

Crowded concerts by The Dallas Winds.
Will you be ready to return to concerts like these at the Dallas Winds? (see below for credits).

July Fourth is a big day for the Dallas Winds. Every year, except for last year, we have a concert at Dallas’ Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. Lots of patriotic music. Lots of fun. A giant flag drops from above the stage. CO2 cannons fire streamers into the air. A delightful guy in maybe the best Uncle Sam costume I’ve ever seen hands out flags to kids and grownups in the lobby. He used to do it on stilts. It’s a big, old fashioned celebration of patriotism and American music. The concert usually sells out the 2,061-seat house.

As Director of Concert Operations, I’ll be involved in it up to my eyebrows. It’s my job, and I’ll be paid for it. You can bet I’ll be there. But will you?

You will have the option to attend in person, whether the city limits us to no more than 500 socially distanced ticket holders, or lifts the limits and lets us sell the whole house. You’ll also have the option to purchase a pay-to-view livestream of the concert. Are streamer cannons and flag drops enough to get you out of your house after a year without the magic of a live concert? Or will you be content to sit back and watch it on a small screen at home?

200 piccolos and Uncle Sam on stilts join the Dallas Winds on July 4, 2016. (see below for credits).

Two Hours in the Dark With Your Dreams

Speaking of magic, what about movies? As much as I adore a live concert, my idea of the perfect getaway is to sit in the dark for a couple of hours, watching somebody else’s story unfold in front of me on a giant screen. With popcorn, of course. But I haven’t been to a movie theater since November 2019, when I went to see Knives Out.

Movie posters for “The Green Knight,” “Black Widow,” and “Knives Out.”
The author is looking forward to a return to movies in theaters (see below for credits).

Oh, I’ve watched feature films since then, but that was streaming video at home. I had to make my own popcorn and get my own soda refills. Didn’t have to gamble on having time to hit the restroom during the big fight sequence in the middle. I could pause the action for as long as I wanted, go to the bathroom, take the dogs out, maybe order a pizza and wait for delivery. And I was certainly not glued to my chair, bound by time limits to absorb the whole experience right now, the way you are in a movie theatre.

Cinemark is the dominant theater chain in my area. They’ve devoted a lot of their website to detailing the steps they take to make their theaters clean and safe for patrons. You want to check it out? There’s a banner at the top of every page you can click for more information. Or read it here.

Is it enough? Maybe. But maybe it will take all that plus Black Widow. Or The Green Knight. Will Dev Patel on a horse be enough to tempt me out of the house in the middle of the summer?

The Green Knight releases on July 30, 2021. (see below for credits).

What’s it Gonna Take?

2020 was the year of the introvert. We all got to stay home, deal with work remotely, and insulate ourselves from the pandemic craziness outside. But things are opening up again now. Although only 35% of people in Texas are fully vaccinated, we’re going to have to go back out there sooner or later. You tell me. What’s it gonna take?

IMAGE CREDITS:

We have lots of thanks to share, this week. Both videos come from the YouTube channels of their originators. The Dallas Winds and the World Record for Most Piccolos Playing “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” and The Green Knight Official Trailer in HD from A24. Much obliged!

All image montages were assembled by Jan S. Gephardt.

Crowded Texas Venues

Many thanks to The Dallas Morning News, for both the photo of the Dallas Cowboys game from 2019, by photographer Tom Fox, and the Shed at the Dallas Farmers Market, by photographer Ron Baselice. We thank Second Baptist Church’s Facebook Page and Wide Open Country for the photo of people at a service. Our gratitude goes to Texas Hill Country for the photo of rides at a county fair after dark, and Travel Texas for the undated photo of the unidentified barrel racer. Thanks also to The Dallas Observer and photographer Brian Maschino for the photo from the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

Dallas Winds at the Meyerson

Many thanks to The Dallas Winds for the image of their logo, the photo of the crowd listening to a fanfare at the Meyerson, and the “Star Spangled Spectacular” concert (also used in a previous post). The photo of a Dallas Winds audience is courtesy of Culture Pass: Dallas Culture. We thank you all.

Three Movie Posters

Our deepest gratitude goes to Amazon for the posters for the movies Knives Out and Black Widow. The not-at-all-green poster image for The Green Knight is straight from A24, the studio itself. We are grateful to all!

This is a photo of the United States flag, flying in a strong breeze from a flagpole.

Gratefully remembering

The Artdog Quotes of the Week for Memorial Day 2019

Sometimes it’s hard to gratefully remember important things. Such remembering requires that one stop and take stock. Such gratitude requires a certain humility, and acknowledging that there are more important things than oneself.

This image shows an American flag in the breeze with a blue sky behind it. Above it are the words "Memorial Day," and below it are the words "Remember and Honor."

Sometimes it’s hard to feel anything but overwhelmed. This month has been fraught and frantic for me. Two different family members suffered life-threatening illnesses. I’ve spent a lot of hours chatting with tech support personnel about hitches and glitches that came with the relocation of this website to its own dedicated server.

May also was a twoconvention month. And all the pressures, deadlines, and preparation required to kick off another summer’s book-and-art tour tend to cluster at the beginning. When else?

The words, "Greatness is not what you have, it's what you give. To those who gave their all: We thank you. Memorial Day." are superimposed over a red, white, and blue pinwheel pattern patchwork quilt, with the attribution Bonnie K. Hunter, Quiltville.com.

But remembering–and remembering gratefully–is important. It’s a vital piece of how we understand ourselves in relation to our world, our community, and our relationships. It’s so important that we’ve set aside a day for it.

The background of this image is dominated by the color yellow, which makes the background of photos and an old-fashioned pocket-watch take on an almost red-violet color in the darker areas. White letters superimposed over the photo say "Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things," which is a quote from Arthur Schopenhauer.

It’s not just a day for picnics (weather permitting), or family gatherings, or swimming pool openings, or barbeque, or even decorating graves, fireworks, concerts, and marching in parades–although we associate all of those things with Memorial Day. It’s a day for remembering that without costly sacrifices we might have none of the freedoms we enjoy.

Those open-air concerts, those parades, those delicious meals, might never be possible if we did not live in freedom and peace. Those beloved family members might be scattered or lost. The brave defenders of our liberty, the ones whom we remember on Memorial Day, live within us when we enjoy our freedoms–but also remember that freedom doesn’t come for free.

The background photo of this image of two people's hands clasped is shifted to a turquoise-blue hue. The darker details in the photo are blue-violet. Over the image, white letters read "Death ends a life, not a relationship." it's a quote from Mitch Albom.

We have a bond of love and honor, an important relationship with those fallen ones who paid so dearly for the things we enjoy. It is our own honor–not theirs–that we stain and trample and besmirch when we forget.

Let us never forget them. But also . . .

Superimposed across the background of part of an American flag are two inset images from military cemeteries with their rows of white gravestones, and the words, "To those who courageously gave their lives . . . and those who bravely fight today . . . Thank You."

Let us likewise never forget the importance of the principles they stood for: freedom and human dignity, opportunity for all; balanced government; respect for the rule of law, but also respect for the people whose well-being those laws are supposed to protect.

Let us remember the whole Constitution, not just our favorite parts. Let us remember the sacred importance of treaties. Let us remember that no matter what we look like, or what our spiritual beliefs (including the lack thereof), or where we came from, or how recently, we all have a stake in the experiment that is our country.

And that every generation inherits the obligation to honor those concepts and that unity-in-diversity that has brought this nation to such vibrant life, if we are truly to honor their sacrifice.

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to News of Mill Creek and the City of Edmonds, WA, for the “Memorial Day Remember and Honor” image; to Bonnie K. Hunter and her Quiltville.com website, via Memorial Day Image.com , for the quilt-backed expression of Memorial Day’s purpose; to Funeral One, for the illustrated Schopenhauer and Albom quotes; and again to Memorial Day Image.com, for the closing “Thank You” image. Thanks also to LaRue Tactical, for the Featured Image U.S. Flag photo.

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