In late March, mere weeks into the pandemic that we've carried into another year, Music Editor Raoul Hernandez launched a Q&A series with local musicians. He called it Checking In, a name that carried special resonance for him. It was directly inspired by the language we were all using in those disorienting first days of COVID-19, when the days were full of worried calls and texts and emails: I just wanted to check in.
"I've always viewed journalism as social work," he told me on Monday, as we hung around after a meeting in the Zoom room where we all live now. He said the checking-in process was sometimes overwhelming, as artists laid bare the tolls of isolation and lost income and "my life is melting" stress. But for musicians and music fans alike, these regular posts provided a way to stay connected to a scattered community.
Raoul concluded the series in December with his 100th artist Q&A, and in this week's issue, he takes the measure of the nine-month-long project. You can find that here, then visit austinchronicle.com/checking-in to thumb through the whole archive.
And on the subject of the music community: Don't forget to vote in the Austin Chronicle's annual Music Poll at vote.austinchronicle.com. Voting ends Monday, Feb. 1, at midnight.
Finally: Happy Inauguration! I hope your load feels a little lighter. Mine surely does.
A Mailbox Dance for Democracy: Find out how Andrea Ariel (pictured) stole the scene at the Texas State Capitol on Sunday.
MLK Day Photo Gallery: Community members and civic leaders, gathered on Monday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy at the Austin Area Heritage Council's socially distanced MLK Day In-Car Rally at St. James Missionary Baptist Church.
Digital Drag Review: James Scott assesses Boiz of Austin's "Are the Straights Okay?"
Old Austin Magic: Doug Freeman revisits Uncle Walt's Band with the release of Recorded Live at Waterloo Ice House.
Ask a Director (or Two): Richard Whittaker interviews MLK/FBI director Sam Pollard on changes in making films about the civil rights movement over the last 30 years, and Gabriela Cowperthwaite about directing Jason Segel in the cancer drama Our Friend.
"Why You want This Rick & Morty Set": Wayne Alan Brenner explains.
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