For MilwaukeeMag.com‘s series, How Are You Coping, photographer Alexis Gleason is creating portraits via Facetime. “I started this project as a way to connect with people. In the process, I’ve seen that these sessions are giving people a reason to get dolled up for a special occasion—even if its just posing in their living room.”
WE ASKED ROBIN PLUER, musician and well-known performer at Bastille Days, how she’s coping right now. She’s working on music at home and planning for future performances.
How are you coping?
With a tear and a smile, so to speak, and with a song in my heart. The timing has been interesting because I’ve been moving for the last month and a half, so I’ve been going through all my things, my music, all my old music, playing records that I haven’t played in a really long time, so it’s been a really reflective time. I’ve spent a lot of time at the piano, singing and recording things. Not performing is just awful. Any artist or any performer, that’s kind of our identity. You feel like you’re withering on the vine. Life without live music is just like cooking a delicious feast and presenting it to an empty table. It’s really a strange way to live.
Also, dealing with my father during this time is very emotional because he’s 96 and he’s at the Jewish home, and they have some Covid patients there. Up until about a month ago, I’d go and sing to him through the window and that was very therapeutic for me and for him as well, because we just love music.
How did you hear that Bastille Days was cancelled?
The new manager of Bastille Days emailed me that it was officially cancelled, and just yesterday I got the official cancellation for zoo a la carte too. I’m planning to do a concert on Facebook right around Bastille Days, because this would have been my 26th year there, at my favorite festival. So I’d like to bring people some French music.
My next gig isn’t until September 3rd, which is Summerfest, and right now, I cannot imagine Summerfest happening. I know it’s been hard for everybody. I think a lot of Americans are probably shocked at how many people are in the gig economy. There’s a lot of people like me — musicians, performers — that are just thinking, “Wow, ok, now what?”
How have you been keeping up with music at home?
I often record myself at the piano. I’ve been swapping song lyrics with a few dear friends of mine, trying to come up with some new song ideas as well. I’m doing a livestream on the 22nd of May through ACA.
And now that the weather might be getting warmer, I have a lovely balcony and I want to ask fellow musicians to do concerts on Fridays at about 6 o’clock. So when the weather finally gets a little more consistent, I’m going to be doing that as well.
Perhaps in September, people will be going to parks and if they can keep six feet apart from each other, perhaps we can have live concerts in public at parks. Hopefully. When you don’t have that catharsis that you have when you’re performing in front of a live audience, getting feedback from them and in the moment, it’s tough.
What’s the first thing you plan to do when things begin to return to normal?
Have a musical party. Have my dear friends together so we can have some good food and live music and share stories of our experience during this crazy time.