Mid July Musings, and other stuff from Valina 

Here we are, in the middle of July, 2020.  We miss you!  We miss being out in public places and seeing your smiling faces.  How did we get here?  In some ways, it feels as though it's still early March, because all of the spring events were cancelled.  Those events have become so ingrained in our professional lives, that if there isn't a recent memory from one of those events, that time has not yet passed.  On the other hand, time has been flying, and it's really hot outside!  We are  trying to find a safe and health conscious way to bring live music to you.

We look forward to Thursday evenings at the Sauer Kraut Grill in Richmond every week.  It's a wonderful little place, has a great client base, and brings us back to a little bit of normalcy when we get to see friends and fans eating, drinking, and enjoying music as it's played.  In fact, the first day we were able to go play live music for a live audience, I cried when I heard laughter and applause for the first time in months.  A real live crowd enjoying the music and letting the outside world melt away for a few moments!   Saturday evenings, we broadcast our online shows on facebook, which for the past few weeks, we've had the pleasure of featuring friends and fans!  They've shared pictures and videos for us to include in the shows, and we've enjoyed seeing them.  It helps us to know they, and you, are out there!

As time goes by, and the virus is still doing what it does, we are beginning to hear about our fall events getting cancelled.  It's making a hard year even harder for everyone involved.  So many people depend on festivals and events for their income; our friends with food trucks, vendors with home made and import items who do not have a store-front or online presence, student groups who gather donations for their extracurricular activities - German language, music and folk dance. 

We're working hard to rehearse to keep the old songs that have been in our set lists for years going well, Ross has been working on a few ideas he's had.  I've been playing through the songs I've written, and am hoping to get Ross in on them soon.  Weeks go in to each song we learn together before we can put it on the stage, so we're just working on practicing. 

Mostly, we're thankful - we may complain that things are not what we'd hoped they'd be, but we are thankful for the way things are anyway.  We're healthy for now, our families are healthy for now.  There's food in the fridge, and enough in the pantry in case of a storm.  There's gas in the van ready to go on the road as soon as there's an opportunity to do so.  You're out there listening to our music, supporting our efforts, reading our ramblings, and we're thankful for you!

update on Ross' computer building and tests. Thursday May 14  

It's obvious as we check social media in the morning that many people are beginning to go back to public places.  It's good to see, yet it's still scary with all the unknowns.  But when has life ever promised to provide a plan?  I mean, we can plan as much as we want, but things don't always go as planned. 

But enough about all that mess.  Life in the Lustig Haus has stayed pretty busy.  Valina has hit another wall with song writing, but keeps working at it.  If nothing else, there's a little autoharp rehearsal going on.  Ross has continued to run tests on the computer to make the online shows as top quality as possible with the equipment and finances available.  The test run last Saturday (Valina's bar scene starring Little Dipper. their toy bird that "drinks" water) went pretty well, even switching between different cameras, AND captions!  Hopefully that will all still work this Saturday! 

Sunday morning, when we got home from church, where Ross is also assisting with the online video / sound, one of our laptops crashed, so Ross has been working for the past several days to get it wiped clean and re-built.  Dang computers!  We can't live with them, or without them!

We did an online poll asking which platform for the live performance people preferred; facebook or youtube.  Facebook, allowing real time comments and replies was the big winner with most of our online audience.  A few people are still only able to catch our shows on youtube, so we'll make sure to save the facebook videos, then load them to youtube. 

Not a lot else to discuss right now.  We hope to see you this Saturday night! 

Corona Virus Happenings March 12 - May 4, 2020 

This is an incredibly difficult time for everyone on this planet.  Dr's, nurses, small business, individual and family owned restaurants, event planners, people in the service industry, and musicians are getting an extra hard hit by the current illness and shut downs.  That is nowhere near as painful as the loss of a family member or a loved one that could be avoided by keeping our distance, and being patient through this "hold" in time.  So while we're weathering the storm, we are thankful for everyone staying home to keep the curve low! 

For the band, things are still uncertain.  They don't know when the restaurants and events they play for will be able to open to enough visitors to support their live music.  They don't know when they'll be allowed to play public shows again.  The trip Valina has spent over a year designing, planning, and purchasing advertisement for has been postponed to June 2021, and the couple of gigs they had booked in June have also been cancelled.  Of course, over time, these uncertainties will work themselves out, they always do.  But in the meantime, Valina has been writing songs, cleaning and organizing while Ross has switched his focus to upgrading their internet connection so they can provide a better quality live stream when they do their online shows.  Ross is also nurturing trees and plants in the garden.  They've both been rehearsing, hopeful things will turn around in a month or so.  They are mostly using social media (facebook and youtube) to do these videos, and they hope you'll tune in for some of the fun. 

They want you to know that they appreciate ALL of your support, whether it be by e-mail notes, writing a positive review on this page's guestbook, or on facebook, by supporting a restaurant they perform (The Sauer Kraut Gril is open again at 25% guest capacity and Rudi Lechner's Restaurant is still offering take out), or by sharing their videos with your friends online.    If you have the means and would like to contribute to help keep the music going, they would love your help.  There is a "donate" button at the top of the valina polka page, under the Pretzel and Bier bar, that links to paypal.   Or make a check to Das Ist Lustig, PO Box 424, Sugar Land, Texas, 77487. 

ALL forms of support, not just monetary, are crucial at a time like this, and that support goes in all directions.  Music can help get us all through these times, and Das Ist Lustig is committed to keeping the happy music flowing for you!