Lady Gaga on Social Distancing & Coronavirus: ‘The Healthiest Thing We Can Do is Self-Quarantine’

Lady Gaga would love to be spending time with her parents and grandparents at the end of this week, especially considering how rapidly the coronavirus pandemic is spreading in this trying time — but that’s exactly why she won’t be making plans to visit with them anytime soon.

Along with a photo of her posing with her dogs at home, the “Stupid Love” singer posted some thoughts on COVID-19, and what she’s learned in her conversations with some healthcare professionals about it, on Instagram on Saturday (March 14).

“It’s not the easiest for everyone right now but the kindest/healthiest thing we can do is self-quarantine and not hang out with people over 65 and in large groups,” she writes. “I wish I could see my parents and grandmas right now but it’s much safer to not so I don’t get them sick in case I have it.”

She closed her brief note with an optimistic and hopeful sign-off: “I love you world, we’ll all get through this. Trust me, I talked to God — she said we’re gonna be ok.”

Check out Gaga’s post below.

Coronavirus


Brooklyn’s Barclays Center Commits to Supporting Hourly Employees Post-Events Ban

Barclays Center — home of the Brooklyn Nets and countless concerts and sporting events — has been heavily impacted by the NBA’s season postponement and New York state’s ban on all gatherings drawing over 500 people in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic.

As such, the venue is feeling the effects of these proactive efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and will be providing relief to hourly employees to lessen the financial burdens brought on by the cancelation and postponements of several events.

“Hourly employees at Barclays Center are the bedrock of the fan experience in the arena,” reads a statement released by the Barclays Center and Brooklyn Nets on Saturday (March 14). “Whether it’s a big smile as fans enter the building or keeping the seats clean or making sure the concession stands are stocked with your favorite items, they are on the frontlines to make our fans feel special. They keep the lights on and the house clean, and they are the first ones to arrive and last ones to leave the building.”

The statement continues to ensure the Barclays Center will commit to “provide relief to hourly employees for the paychecks they would have earned if Brooklyn Nets regular season games and non-Nets events at Barclays Center were to continue as originally scheduled.”

Read the Barclays Center’s statement in full below.


Alejandro Sanz & Juanes Launch Livestream Special After Coronavirus Cancelations

Alejandro Sanz and Juanes were forced to postpone upcoming concerts due to the coronavirus pandemic, but fans will get the chance to see them perform, together, during a special livestreaming event on Sunday (March 15).

Both Sanz and Juanes are grounded in Miami as a result of the precautionary measures they’ve taken by postponing their tours, which were set to bring them both to Colombia this weekend.

Determined to make the most of an unfortunate situation, the good friends and Grammy-winning collaborators will be be joining forces for ALEJANDRO SANZ & JUANES: El Gira Se Queda En Casa Para Todos” (The Tour Stays Home For All), a jam session with performances and a digital Q&A that will be livestreamed from Art House Miami Studio.

“Friends are onstage but also at home,” Sanz wrote on Instagram following news of the event. Though Juanes is sad to have to back out of his Bogotá performance, he shared a smiling photo of himself and encouraged his fans to tune into the livestream: “Tomorrow we’ll be sharing a good time and good music. Will you join us?”

The livestream is set to start at 4:30 p.m. E.T., an intentional choice so that as many fans in as many timezones as possible could tune in. For more information, visit arthouseacademy.com/live/.

Coronavirus


Mexican Authorities Dismiss Coronavirus Concerns Regarding Vive Latino Fest

A tweet on March 13 summed it up: “While Spain canceled international flights, Disney closes its doors, Canada switches university classes to online mode, Italy is in quarantine…in Mexico @CLaudiashein says #vivelatino2020 is on!

Vive Latino — Mexico City’s massive annual music festival that can draw crowds up to 100,000 people — kicked off Saturday afternoon (March 14) despite thousands of tweets criticizing the choice to move forward in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic. While at least a dozen acts had canceled their appearance by this morning — including Spain’s Vetusta Morla — the Festival’s headliners, including Guns ‘N Roses, Vicentico and Tucanes de Tijuana, are still slated to perform.

“Authorities are telling us that we are in Phase 1 [of the Coronavirus epidemic] and we can move forward and that’s what we’re doing,” Vive Latino founder and director Jordi Puig told Billboard. Vive Latino is produced by Ocesa, which was acquired by Live Nation late last year. (Requests for comment were not returned by Live Nation at press time.)

The “authorities” Puig was referring to in this case are the Mexican government of president Manuel Andrés López Obrador and Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum. In a press conference delivered this week, Sheinbaum not only said Vive Latino would go on, but that the only massive activities that would be suspended were those that “have no economic impact.”

“Vive Latino will take place this weekend and some other activities, that were planned, that don’t have economic impact, those will be postponed,” Sheinbaum said. “Why is Vive Latino continuing? Because we’re still in Phase 1. So suspending mass events is not necessary. However, activities that have no impact, it’s better to postpone those.”

The comments have generated backlash on social media, with a mounting number of voices decrying both the decision to allow the festival and the organizer’s decision to move forward.

“If the government won’t cancel ViveLatino2020 and will put 70,000 at risk, I hope the sponsors and bands cancel and that you choose to remain home,” said one post.

Regardless, the show is going on. For some artists, like Chile’s Francisca Valenzuela, performing means fulfilling a commitment to fans, according to management. “She was already in Mexico City and Vive Latino has committed to taking all security precautions,” says manager Diana Rodriguez.

Among other measures, all drivers are wearing masks and gloves and carrying disinfectant gel in their cars, and access to dressing rooms is strictly limited to artists and their teams. Outside the venue, those walking in were getting their temperature checked. Rodríguez also represents Enrique Bunbury, who canceled his participation. At press time, 11 other artists had announced they wouldn’t perform, with reasons ranging from logistics to health and community concerns.


Metropolitan Opera to Offer Free Performance Streams Amid Coronavirus Shutdown

The Metropolitan Opera may be temporarily closed over concerns about spreading the coronavirus, but the New York City institution has found a creative way to continue entertaining its patrons.

Beginning Monday (March 16), the Met Opera will stream titles from its “Live in HD” series through its website. The first offering will be a 2010 performance of Bizet’s Carmen. The daily streams will begin at 7:30 p.m. and be available for 20 hours.

“We’d like to provide some grand opera solace to opera lovers in these extraordinarily difficult times,” Met general manager Peter Gelb said in a statement. “Every night, we’ll be offering a different complete operatic gem from our collection of HD presentations from the past 14 years.”

Other offerings will include Puccini’s La Bohème (March 17), Verdi’s Il Trovatore (March 18), Verdi’s La Traviata (March 19), Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment (March 20), Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor (March 21), and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (March 22).

The Metropolitan Opera recently canceled performances and rehearsals through March 31 due to concerns of the virus spreading. As previously reported, the opera house instituted 14-day quarantines for artists and employees traveling to New York from areas affected by the new coronavirus.


Trump Expands European Travel Ban to UK, Ireland

President Donald Trump announced Saturday (March 14) that the United States will broaden its European travel ban, adding the United Kingdom and Ireland to its list, and was considering imposing restrictions on travel within the U.S. to areas hit hard by the coronavirus spread.

Under the restrictions on European travel, American citizens, green card holders and others are still allowed to return home to the U.S., but will be funneled to 13 airports and be subjected to health screenings and quarantine orders.

“If you don’t have to travel, I wouldn’t do it,” Trump said.

The new restrictions came as in Britain, the death toll nearly doubled from the day before to 21, and the number of people infected rose to over 1,100 from about 800 the previous day. In Ireland there were 90 confirmed cases and one death by Friday. The Irish government hasn’t released any updated figures on Saturday.

The U.S. announced earlier this week a 30-day ban on flights covered only by the 26-nation Schengen area, the European Union’s border-free travel zone, that does not include Britain or Ireland.

The move comes hours after the House approved legislation to provide direct relief to Americans suffering physically, financially and emotionally from the coronavirus pandemic. That followed Trump’s declaration of a national emergency, freeing up money and resources to fight it, and threw his support behind the congressional aid package.

Trump’s emergency declaration unleashed as much as $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the crisis.

Trump also announced a range of executive actions, including a new public-private partnership to expand coronavirus testing capabilities with drive-through locations, as Washington tries to subdue the virus whose spread is roiling markets, shuttering institutions and disrupting the lives of everyday Americans.

But he asserted “I don’t take responsibility at all” for the slow rollout of testing.

The hard-fought aid package will provide free testing, sick pay for workers, enhanced unemployment benefits and bolstered food programs.

The House passed the bill after midnight on a bipartisan vote, 363-40. It now goes to the Senate..

Trump tweeted his approval, all but ensuring that wary Republicans would join with a robust vote. “Good teamwork between Republicans & Democrats as the House passes the big CoronaVirus Relief Bill,” he tweeted Saturday. “People really pulled together. Nice to see!”

Trump’s tweet of approval instilled fresh energy in the measure, all but ensuring that wary Republicans would join with a robust vote.

The crush of activity capped a tumultuous week in Washington as the fast-moving virus left ordinary Americans suddenly navigating self-quarantines, school closures and a changed way of life.

Trump took a number of other actions to bolster energy markets, ease the financial burden for Americans with student loans and give medical professionals additional flexibility in treating patients during the public health crisis.

Central to the aid package from Congress, which builds on an emergency $8.3 billion measure approved earlier, are the free testing, sick pay and family leave provisions.

Providing sick pay for workers is a crucial element of federal efforts to stop the rapid spread of the infection. Officials warn that the nation’s healthcare system could quickly become overwhelmed with gravely sick patients, as suddenly happened in Italy, one of the countries hardest hit by the virus.

The ability to ensure paychecks will keep flowing — for people self-quarantining or caring for others — can help assure Americans they will not fall into financial hardship. The legislation also offers three months of paid family and medical leave. Small and mid-sized employers will be reimbursed through tax credits.

Voting in the Senate is not yet set, with senators out of town for the weekend. But Senate Leader Mitch McConnell canceled a planned recess week and senators were scheduled to return Monday. He said he expects most senators will want to “act swiftly.”

Both Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Pelosi promised a third coronavirus package will follow soon, with more aggressive steps to boost the U.S. economy, which economists fear has already slipped into recession.

The financial markets closed on an upswing after one of the worst nosedives since 1987.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to be over it.

Trump on Friday also told people to expect the imminent rollout of a web site “facilitated” by Google that would guide users through a series of questions to determine whether they should be screened for the virus. If testing is recommended, users would be directed to a local testing location, which could include parking lots at Walmart, Target, Walgreens and other chains.

“It’s going to be very quickly done, unlike websites of the past,” Trump said in a thinly veiled dig at the Obama administration’s disastrous rollout in 2013 of its online health care marketplace.

But how quickly is in question. Google said the website, from its life science division Verily, is still “in the early stages of development.” Verily first plans to roll out testing out in the Bay Area of San Francisco, with the hope of expanding more broadly over time, the company said in a statement.

The Pentagon and State Department announced new guidance aimed at limiting movement of its personnel and promoting social distancing in hopes of reducing the impact of the pandemic on the agencies.

Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist said the department is “halting all domestic travel, including Permanent Change of Station and Temporary Duty” from Monday until May 11. The travel restrictions also apply to military civilian employees.

The State Department announced it has begun rotational and telework schedules and issued general guidance calling on domestic and overseas personnel to engage in “mission critical” travel only.


Charles Wuorinen, ‘Brokeback Mountain’ Opera Composer, Dies at 81

Charles Wuorinen, winner of the 1970 Pulitzer Prize in Music and composer of the operas Brokeback Mountain and Haroun and the Sea of Stories, died from injuries sustained in a fall last September. He was 81.

Wuorinen, who composed more than 270 works, died Wednesday (March 11) at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, spokeswoman Aleba Gartner said Thursday.

Known for much of his career as an admirer of the 12-tone system of composition, Wuorinen was opinionated.

“We have a world in which the instant response of the untutored becomes the sole criterion for judgment,″ he told The New York Times in 1988, ahead of his 50th birthday. “A great work like a Beethoven symphony becomes like a blob of toothpaste. There is the bored orchestra. There are the indifferent audiences. They wait it through. They applaud. They leave.”

Just two years ago, he decried the awarding of that year’s Pulitzer Prize in Music to hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar, telling the Times that signaled “the final disappearance of any societal interest in high culture.”

Born in New York on June 9, 1938, Wuorinen’s father, John, was chairman of Columbia University’s history department. Wuorinen received a bachelor’s degree from Columbia in 1961 and a master’s in music two years later.

He won the New York Philharmonic’s Young Composers’ Award when he was 16 and premiered a choral work “O Filii et Filiae (Sons and Daughters)” at Town Hall in 1954.

Wuorinen was 32 when he won the Pulitzer for “Time’s Encomium,” a four-channel work for synthesized sound that became the first electronic composition to earn the honor.

His work was cerebral. Haroun, based on a children’s novel by Salman Rushdie and with a libretto by James Fenton, premiered at the New York City Opera in 2004. It opened with references to Boccaccio, Proust, Tolstoy and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Actions that befuddle were called “P2C2E” — “a Process Too Complicated to Explain.” The chorus sang out: “This is minimalism,” prompting the audience to a laugh.

Brokeback, based on a short story by Annie Proulx about two cowboys in love, was first adapted into a movie and then an opera. It was commissioned by New York City Opera but moved to Madrid’s Teatro Real and premiered in 2014 after City Opera filed for bankruptcy.

“It is very beautiful, as the film shows,” Wuorinen told The Associated Press, “but it is definitely not sentimental. It is not a romantic landscape. It’s a deadly one — it’s dangerous.”

Brokeback finally reached the reconstituted New York City Opera for its American premiere in 2018.

Longtime Metropolitan Opera music director James Levine was among Wuorinen’s advocates and conducted the 2008 premiere of “Time Regained,” a fantasy for piano and orchestra. Levine commissioned five works by Wuorinen, including his Fourth Piano Concerto for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and pianist Peter Serkin for its premiere in 2003.

Wuorinen wrote six compositions for the New York City Ballet. His last completed work was his Second Percussion Symphony, debuted by Miami’s New World Symphony last September.

He is survived by his husband of 32 years, Howard Stokar.