It's easy to focus on bad news these days. As Californians have been on stay-at-home orders for more than two months, it's easy to focus on the things we've lost, the things we miss, and the ways we'll have to adapt to changes in the future.
But we've already seen triumphs and rebirths. Bars have adapted with curbside sales, restaurants are getting ready to welcome distanced diners, we're getting our music fix with streaming concerts we've expanded the ways we communicate, and we're finding news ways to cope with the COVID.
For one family and their network of Facebook friends and fans, that last item means a daily 5 o'clock Dance Party.
Joey Harris is a legend among San Diego music fans. As an original member of the Beat Farmers, he helped pave the way for legions of bands to come and has spent the last few years leading Joey Harris & the Mentals. Joining him for the dance party are his wife, Vicki, son Will and sister-in-law, Judy. The four have been quarantining at their shared home in La Mesa.
Joey's Facebook page has hosted a new video nearly every day for two months. Generally under a minute long, the clips mix things up. Sometimes the troupe have planned choreography, sometimes its just silly freestyle, and they've even thrown in a puppet show on occasion, too. What jumps out most from these daily videos, however, is how much this family loves and enjoys one another's company.
The music selections themselves are as eclectic as the family, with song selections from the B-52s to Frank Zappa to the Police and many others -- they have now done more than 60 videos. Sometimes they'll use recorded music from a phone, sometimes, like on May 11, they'll perform and sing themselves, in that case a short and sweet version of Bill Withers' “Lean On Me.” When I asked Joey about their inspiration, he shot me back some Facebook direct messages, "Keep it short. Funny is good. Instant choreography with minimal rehearsal. One take'll get it."
Music. Community. Culture.
You have to watch them right away, too, because sometimes the Facebook police will occasionally mute the music due to licensing issues.
In some selfish ways, I hope these little nuggets of joy continue on long after we're no longer required to stay at home, but if they don't, they're one of the light moments that will be remembered by many during these crazy times.
See more videos by going to Joey's public video page here.