Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

November 22, 2020

The New Coronavirus Lockdown Approach to the KSE Blog

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 12:28 am

The Kendra Steiner Editions blog began nearly 15 years ago as a way for me, Bill Shute, to promote my various writings and the poetry chapbooks KSE was issuing at the time. We then ventured into music for a 9-year period, releasing nearly 150 albums of experimental music and forward-thinking sounds in a variety of genres, from psychedelia to gospel, as well as spoken word poetry albums and poetry-and-music albums, and every one of those was introduced and promoted here. When the label closed down in December 2018, the KSE blog evolved to feature updates on my own projects of various sorts as well as new writings on music, film, literature, comics, etc. and reprints of pieces I’d published elsewhere, both in print form and online, in the last 20 years…and of course to promote my new poetry books as they come out.

However, in the last 4-5 months I’ve changed the focus of the blog to adapt to the new conditions with the COVID-19 lockdown. Prior to the Coronavirus, Mary Anne and I would usually catch live music every other weekend (and every weekend in the summer), go to art exhibitions and events regularly, attend lectures and plays, catch film screenings, and always keep the arts an important presence in our lives…as I do through my own creative work. Now, though, since March 2020, we’ve been doing all this online through livestreams and the like. While we’ve been devoted fans of Rosie Flores, for instance, for decades and would try to see her live at least once a year in Austin, now she seems like a family friend as we catch her Wednesday 3’s-The-Charm happy hour set every week and send her funds when we can, the way we’d drop a tenner into her tip jar when we’d see her live at some watering hole. Ben Model and his silent comedy Sundays have become a regular part of our schedule, as have the “Barnes Takeout” art lectures from the Barnes Museum in Philadelphia, and countless jazz and contemporary-classical livestream performances, as well as online drama and table-reads. The money we’d usually spend on cover charges, admission tickets, snacks/drinks, and tips, we are giving now directly to the artists via Paypal and the like. Just today, as I’ve been working (I work from home now), I’ve been listening (though not watching, as I’m working on the computer screen doing my job) to a live Ragtime Festival, streaming from the West Coast. You will no doubt have your favorites too. All of us have had to adapt to this new norm of producing and consuming in the arts (thankfully my poetry books are still being sold as usual, though of course I’ve done no physical readings in 2020), and it has been working out better than could have been expected, though those who support themselves through their art have taken a big hit in income.

In that spirit, I’ve moved the KSE blog from essays/writings on various subjects (though there are still some of those) to links for existing online content as well as special online events. Based on the page views and reader feedback, it’s been a very welcome change of pace and has even brought in new regular readers/viewers. From Warhol to blues music, from B-Westerns to old-time radio shows, from Republic serials to the art of Velazquez, from jazz of all kinds to readings of the work of F. Scott Fitzgerald, there should be something for everyone who has been a reader of the KSE blog here, since the only common denominator in the content featured is that it’s something I enjoy and want to share with YOU.

Life is more stressful than ever right now. Either we try to hunker down, stay home, and stay safe….or our jobs require us to be frontline workers facing danger and potential severe illness on a daily basis—-or a combination of the two. Whatever the situation is, winding down with a classic 1940’s Tom Conway-Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes radio show, or a late-period Chet Baker live performance, or a series of late 50’s/early 60’s Buster Keaton TV commercials at the end of a long day is exactly what’s needed. It makes that light at the end of the tunnel seem more possible and the waiting for it more tolerable.

As I’ve always said about each of the 400 or so KSE releases over the decades, and as I say about each of my own poetry books and chapbooks, “I hope you find this interesting and worthwhile,” and I’ll say it again for the online content we’re sharing here. Thanks for taking the time to check in. We’re all in this together.

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