A short postscript to my "annual wrap up" blog from last week.
I thought that show for Pomfret would be my last of the year, but I booked a last minute performance for a high school in Texas. It was an unexpected surprise (a teacher there saw me perform at UT-Austin some years back and thought of me for a class reading the Odyssey) and a nice addition to an already successful fall schedule.
This Thursday morning performance had a number of features that have now become standard for Zoom Odyssey shows, positive and negative.
The ease of booking the show, the ability to reach students that I would normally not be able to because of the costs of travel and logistics... wonderful. The workers replacing our next door neighbor's windows, the internet issues on both ends... annoying.
But, every medium has its pros and cons and with a couple dozen Zoom shows under my belt, I can say that the pros vastly outweigh the cons.
I have one more Blues of Achilles show in December and then I'll be turning my full attention to booking next year and beyond... just today I got an email about an in-person show for spring of 2022 so... that's very encouraging even if it's far off in the distance.
I went back and read my first non-penis related blog about a Zoom show for UIC in April and I'm struck by how straightaway I identified some of the interesting aspects of performing epic in a virtual world. I've been billing my Odyssey as a "living experiment in classical reception" for a number of years and the pandemic has highlighted that it's also an opportunity to consider in real time in how myth and storytelling adapt during sudden paradigm shifts in media, an apt consideration given that the texts we study mark the transition from oral to written culture.
I imagine the first illiterate bard that saw his or her previously-ephemeral song preserved in writing felt not dissimilar to how I felt during my first Zoom performances.
Maybe the most jarring disorientatation for me in managing online shows is that it necessitates that I sing my eyes open to monitor my internet connection and manage the various technical aspects of the set up. After 300 plus shows of singing with my eyes closed (as a tribute to the blind bard and as a way to disappear into my role as a vessel for the Muse), this is has been... uh, eye-opening (sorry-not-sorry).
Someday this pandemic experience will be just another stop on my journey performing my Odyssey, no different than Odysseus' various diversions. Maybe it will even result in more perfect symmetry with my subject matter... I was pressing to hit all 50 states in late 2020/early 2021 but if this goal is now pushed to 2022 it would mean I'd reach it almost exactly 20 years after my first show.
Wouldn't that be an appropriate homecoming of sorts.
Here's to an improving 2021 full of new experiences and also maybe even some old familiar ones.