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An Ode to (the end of) 2020


Two hands each holding up sparklers; the sparklers are halfway burned through; a blurry outdoor sunset in the background.

From California’s AB5 throwing the ‘gig economy’ into chaos to Covid-19 cancelling all in-person performances and book tours and lit crawls, this past year was not what any of us pinned to our vision boards as we looked forward to a new year and new decade. There have been a lot of heartaches. Venues, restaurants, bookstores, and local shops that let us hold our fundraisers and writers meet-ups and shows have closed, a lot of them permanently. Even Disneyland[i] couldn’t escape the pandemic.


But, it hasn’t been all bad, right? There were babies born, and Zoom weddings, and we all learned how to make bread. And the vaccines have rolled out!


For as much struggle as we’ve endured professionally, there have been some silver linings to this yearlong rain cloud. The arts have stretched and adapted to an online performance presence. Not only does this open our creative industries up to more possibilities, but it also makes the events more inclusive. With shows exhibited over the interwebs, more audience members have access to more shows, including international productions and events that previously had limited seating due to venue size or accessibility. Also, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) ratified a new agreement[ii] with the Alliances of Motion Pictures and Television Producers (AMPTP) in July, which is definitely a win. We’ve also seen a reckoning and movement towards racial equity[iii] in the performing arts and writing industries.[iv]


As we look back at these and other changes and head into the New Year, what new normal are you hoping to create? What aspects of the past are you missing and which ones will you be actively working towards changing? We don’t have to go back, but we have to go somewhere.


I am amazed at how our industries have adapted so far and at the incredible shows and readings I’ve experienced while rocking my daytime pajamas and messy bun. In the upcoming year, I want to work on more ways to help artists with issues we didn’t anticipate needing to address, such as: protecting IP rights in employment contracts; making sure employees have taken bias harassment training; reworking performance contracts to meet AB 5/AB 2257 employment requirements; and breaking down licensing changes in the Terms of Service for websites used to post content.


What issues are you facing or anticipate facing this next year in your writing or performing arts practice? How can G. Gomez Law better serve your practice and legal needs going forward? Will you share your bread recipe with me?


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Wishing you all a celebratory, long-awaited end to 2020 and best wishes for a 2021 filled with (safe) in-person gatherings, lit crawls, book signings/readings, poetry slams, shoulder-to-shoulder theater attendances, and more art than we can seemingly fit in our schedules.


Also, a special thank you to all the frontline workers. Thank you to all the farmers, delivery drivers, grocery store and pharmacy employees, doctors, nurses, janitors, mail carriers and package delivery drivers, teachers, firefighters, EMTs, bus drivers, bank tellers, and anyone else I forgot to enumerate here. Thank you to the artists and writers who filled my days with stories and truth and escapism.


[i] https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/2020/03/12/disney-is-closing-its-california-theme-parks-coronavirus-precaution/. [ii] See, https://www.wga.org/news-events/news/press/writers-guild-members-ratify-new-contract; https://www.wga.org/uploadedfiles/members/member_info/contract_2020/2020_MOA.pdf. [iii] See, https://www.weseeyouwat.com/, https://www.bipoclivdoc.com/;

https://www.writersofcolor.org/writers/, https://untitledlatinxproject.com/la-letter. [iv] None of this is new; 2020 wasn’t a year of realization, it was a year of unwavering confrontation.