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Throughout the pandemic, cultural institutions of all kinds have been hit with an ever-changing set of closures and aggravated losses.
This was especially true in Los Angeles, by some measures the most affected metropolis in the country, or many indoor activities have been restricted for almost a year.
My colleague Robin pogrebin, who reports on cultural institutions, wrote about the Los Angeles pandemic toll museums in this room. She told us a bit more about how she approached the story:
Before the pandemic, I had arranged with my editors to spend a few months a year in Los Angeles, doing stories about the art world and creating sources to better integrate the West Coast news into my regular cultural coverage.
In recent years, Los Angeles has been a hotbed of activity, with more artists settling there, more galleries open, the creation of the Frieze LA art fair and more activity among museums, including plans for two new ones – the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.
[Catch up on California’s reopening process.]
When the pandemic hit, I decided to stick to my Los Angeles plan, even though it would clearly be more difficult in a Covid environment. I had no idea my arrival in January would put me in the middle of the epicenter of the virus, with about one in three of the estimated 10 million people in Los Angeles County infected since the start of the pandemic.
Nonetheless, I contacted sources by phone and conducted in-person interviews with hidden sources. On one such visit to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, director Michael Govan highlighted the frustration his institution and others have felt at the shutdown since March.
[The director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art stepped down following a bumpy year.]
Ever since I had covered reopening museums in places like New York and Houston, the fact that Los Angeles museums were never allowed to reopen struck me. I then spoke with the directors of other museums in the county, including the Hammer, the Petersen Automotive Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Autry Museum of the American West.
I also interviewed artists affected by the shutdown and asked California Governor Gavin Newsom for an explanation. The reporting process allowed me to connect with different actors in the art world of the city. I can’t wait to keep telling their stories.
At another press conference on Tuesday at another new mass vaccination site – this time it was Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara – Governor Gavin Newsom once again asked for the patience of Californians still anxious to be vaccinate and promised more updates in the days to come.
“The only limiting factor will be the supply,” he said.
He said incomplete early demographic data on people who had already been vaccinated was a “cause for concern” but said data would be available nonetheless.
And he addressed difficult and looming questions about whether students across the state would be able to return to class, even if not all teachers were vaccinated. It’s a live debate happening across the country, and across the vast California statewide standards are elusive.
“I want to vaccinate our teachers,” he said. “But when you get less than 600,000 first doses per week, we have to be honest with people and parents that it is very unlikely that we will be able to achieve this very idealistic goal before the end of the school year. .
Still, he said, negotiations were ongoing. And – you guessed it – there would be more announcements soon.
[Track California coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths.]
Colleges have promised a safer spring. But then came the variants – and the students. [The New York Times]
Uber and Lyft drivers have been on a roller coaster over the past year. And fall was another dip, as drivers had to choose between protecting themselves or spending their days in cars with strangers. [The New York Times]
If you missed it, read “The Primal Scream,” a series that explores how working mothers have been pushed to the breaking point of the pandemic and what it says about our society. [The New York Times]
Where do we see coronavirus variants and mutations? And which should we be most worried about? Learn more with this tracker. [The New York Times]
And learn more about the possibility a single vaccine that would work against all coronaviruses, present and future. [The New York Times]
Also: Help us to know the results of the pandemic by share the memories of someone you have lost.
Thieves Across The Country Sweep Catalytic Converters From Cars. They are critical emission control devices that contain traces of precious metals. [The New York Times]
Investigators said on Tuesday that the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others, was probably caused by the pilot’s decision to fly in the clouds, in violation of federal rules. [The New York Times]
A revived state bill limit the ability of national and local law enforcement authorities to purchase military-type equipment. Supporters say protesters were encountered frequently last summer with excessive force – facilitated by police departments’ access to such equipment – and police groups say such legislation would interfere with their operations. [The San Francisco Chronicle]
Meet LeRonne Armstrong, the new Oakland Police Chief. He has a difficult job ahead of him: the department has been under federal supervision for 18 years. [Oaklandside]
There are five candidates spread over one big question – managing the pandemic to revive the region’s economy – in the race to become the Supervisor of District 2 of Orange County. They will replace Rep. Michelle Steel, a Republican who was narrowly elected to the House, after opposing public health guidelines as chair of the board. [The Orange County Register]
Fifty years ago, the Sylmar earthquake rocked Los Angeles awakened to what had been a largely unrecognized danger. [The Los Angeles Times]
Birria’s Internet Hype it is complicated. Eating delicious birria is not. [The New York Times]
Looking for a creative and more lasting Valentine’s Day gesture? Make your loved one a bouquet of dried flowers. [The New York Times]
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Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from UC Berkeley and has reported statewide, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles – but she always wants to see more. Follow us here or on Twitter.
California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from UC Berkeley.