Richard Carvlin’s career highlights include production manager for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Rose Hall at Jazz at Lincoln Center. He’s now working as general manager of glo, a social-movement platform, and as stage manager for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
When the shutdown began in March, it was important for us to support the glo artists. We applied for PPP [Paycheck Protection Program] funds to keep them paid through the year at a slightly reduced rate. We grew a fairly substantial garden, mostly greens, squash, tomatoes. We got food out to the artists. Every week we would have a drop-off. It was very endearing. I felt we were connecting more deeply with our artists. We figured out how to mass produce masks. We gave out 1,200 free masks to hospitals, veterinary offices, senior homes. It was a pretty extensive effort and we felt we were doing something positive. When you are of service to others you tend to focus less on your own needs.
I got vaccinated as soon as it was available. There are so many opinions out there, but I wish more people trusted science. I have been in the medical community [as a non-COVID patient] and when you face a life-threatening disease you need to find doctors and technicians that you trust and believe in. I have never had a deep fear of death, so I accepted it, if indeed I was going to face that. That’s my approach to life in general.
People talk about getting back to normal, but I don’t think normal was all that grand. Employers are having difficulty finding employees; suddenly wages are more of a concern. Perhaps now essential workers are going to be more valued. These times were powerful, too, because of the social movements. I don’t know the answers, but I think the questions are being asked in a more direct way. We spent a number of days on the streets, there was a sense of possibility and unity. I was tear-gassed for the first time in my life. Lord knows, we owe a debt to a lot of people. I hope we can realize that and value one another more deeply.