This next post comes from a friend I met many years ago, and, like many I've met along the way on my Journey, we've kept in touch solely on Facebook. I read his posts often because of his sarcastically-amusing sagacity that generates a depth very well worth the thought and consideration. I am most privileged to introduce him here on Coffee Pong, and hope that someday soon we'll be able meet again over the best java in Reno.
And now, I give you: Reno J. Dinero!
"How was your day, Dear?" I don't even have one of those at my house. In one sense, it makes answering all the more easier:
For those of you who might not know (or even care) my business is entertainment. More specifically, business management of union labor for entertainment, conventions, special events, etc.
I have been in this business for almost all of my adult life. I have managed production for arenas. I have been a Technical Director for a university theatre; I toured as a Stage and Production Manager. I now am the Business Agent for IATSE Local 363 "The Mighty #363" in Reno, NV. I started in this business loading trucks at the Lawlor Events Center for $3.38hr. in 1983. I have done television, movies, live sporting events including two Super Bowl pre-game shows and Thanksgiving Day at the Silverdome in Pontiac, MI, with Third Eye Blind. That was the first live televised performance at halftime of an NFL game, other than at the Super Bowl, by a major artist ever.
In all that time, and in many different capacities, I have seen a lot of things... but I have never seen anything like this. Period.
Our industry was shut down March 17, 2020, like no other.
Coincidentally, that was the day my Mom passed away. Suffice it to say, I will never forget that day for the rest of my life. But there are many days from my life that hold that same distinction. Both good and bad.
Right now, I have 300+ people sitting on the sidelines unable to work. There are countless numbers of my friends and colleagues around the world who are at home instead of being out on tour. Performers, production folks, ticket takers, CEO's, truck drivers, from top to bottom our industry has been affected like no other. We need large crowds, large working groups, many of us are in the high risk groups for COVID-19. Devastating doesn't even begin to crack the meter as to where we find ourselves today. Tomorrow? My crystal ball is on PAU as well. No one has an answer for us.
I understand my business. I started at the bottom and worked my way up. I know what it takes to be successful for just about any production you can imagine.
After 36 years in the business, like anyone who has been in their chosen field for that long, I kinda am getting the hang of things. I understand.
What I don't understand is all of you civilians out there who have become contrary. You fight about everything. Wouldn't matter who was in office, or popular in culture, which team is hot; you argue vehemently about trivial pursuits daily.
This is not public discourse. This is not standing up for civil liberties. This is not exercising your right to assemble or free speech. This is ignorance. Willful ignorance.
You talk about shooting each other. You argue whether to mask or not to mask. You rage at a percieved hoax or question each other's validity in the facts of your arguements. All the while, situations have gotten way beyond what's acceptable or should be acceptable. You lash out at those that oppose your viewpoint, or worse, take violent action against them. You riot. You damage innocent businesses. You steal. Then, you leave. It's out of control...and it's got to stop. Or be stopped.
Because the only thing I see stopped right now is my people. My industry. Your entertainment. Get it together. Think about someone besides yourself for a change. Lead, follow, or get out of the way. We have no time for sidetracks, if you want to ever return to seeing concerts or the Super Bowl or anything entertainment-related, ever again as you knew it, start doing. Or you can kiss that and "How was your day, Dear?" goodbye. This ain't about your or my day. This is about us our existence.
Reno J. Dinero