Adam G Holofcener, Esq., Jammer of Jams, Executive Director at Maryland Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Adjunct Professor at University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, Dadman
Neighborhood: I live in the Lake Evesham neighborhood of Baltimore City. Our neighborhood is an old-school cityburb hamlet where free-range parenting is the norm. I’m quarantining with my wife, and fellow member of the bar, Margot Kniffin, our three-year-old gremlin, Wallace, and Hirsch the dog (she is a morose type).
What are the 3 emojis you are using most right now?
My top three emojis have been (pre and during COVID): Thumbs up, two hands up praisin’, and fire.
What object, things, or process have you fallen in love with at home during quarantine? How is this impacting your mood and productivity?
I have fallen in love with our home office. For me, it was kind of like the backseat of your own car: You never sit in it cause you’re always in the driver’s seat. I would never use our home office because I primarily work at MdVLA’s office at the Motor House, and when I worked at home pre-COVID I would usually sit on the couch or at the dining room table. Our home office is simple and elegant, has a comfy bed and a really great view from the window. I like working from this room. Also, my new Tie-Dye Mania Crocs are the bomb.
Where are you getting the most satisfying news, information, or entertainment? How would you define news that is satisfying?
Most satisfying news, info, entertainment, in no particular order: ESPN when The Last Dance is on, QuaranTV, the Torah, the Criterion Channel, my good bud Brandon Soderberg’s Twitter (@notrivia), the IRL New York Times on Sunday, Eric Allen Hatch’s Patreon posts, daily video updates on ThrasherMagazine.com, all the books/records I’ve bought from all the stores/bands/writers that need extra love.
I’ve heard no satisfying news from traditional sources (I don’t read the NYT on Sundays to learn any news). While I don’t believe in an “objective” News anyway, during this particular crisis (where no one is outside of the perimeter of destabilization) that particular fallacy has been driven to comic proportions. Most of the “information” put out by anyone right now is merely refracted trauma, fear, and anxiety (or some wild mix of all three).
These publications of “information” act as individual attempts of processing more than any actual stab at communication. I’m fine with this. It’s only natural. I wish that anyone would admit it. Because of this, I’ve been looking for satisfaction in material that makes me feel like I’m working toward finding solid ground (I’m spinning through my own quasi-rational, anxiety piqued fever pitch of a “fine” at any given moment). Therefore, the media mentioned above are a few of my favorite things.
How are you adjusting to parenthood during quarantine?
I don’t feel like it’s actually possible to adjust to parenthood under quarantine, at least not with a three-year-old. It’s like being stuck on a cliff with merely a toehold keeping you from the abyss. My wife and I both work very intense jobs. There is a reason our kid went to 9.5 hours of pre-school a day, pre-COVID. From the minute we wake up, someone starts working and the other watches Wally. He is active enough to need constant stimulation and supervision, without which he would raze all personal and real property to which he gains proximity.
We switch off parent duty every 3-4 hours until it’s dinner time (Wally stopped napping just as COVID set in; thanks, dude). Then we are in dinner/bath/cleanup mode until Wally goes to bed (fingers crossed!), after which is generally either more work or non-volitional slumber. Occasionally, there is some studio (aka basement) time in the nighttime quadrant.
How has this impacted your art practice and thinking as an artist?
My arts practice, even pre-COVID, is always on my mind. No matter what I’m doing, I have some subconscious algorithms churning away at something. It is why I keep a notebook in my back pocket at all times because there are always some words/ideas/lyrics that need to be jotted down for further inspection/development later on. I’m fairly prolific, in terms of generating content (most of my art work is done in editing (I’m just saying, some people like/are good at editing)). Pre-COVID, I had developed some mental health issues related to panic/anxiety that required me to stop doing the too many things I was doing and really slow down.
Now that COVID has created emotional/physical demands that exacerbate my panic/anxiety disorder, I have to be even more intentional with my arts practice than ever before. I have found that this is not a bad thing (just as I found that slowing down, prioritizing, and doing less (in all departments, including art making) wasn’t a bad thing pre-COVID. Really, the less that I do, the more that I think, the more that I think the more that I edit existing/new work without it feeling like editing. It gives more room for play and experimentation.
This intentionality has led to intense focus on particular points where I manifest the exhibition/performance of my work. For example, since COVID began, I have decided to work on old/new material primarily for release on Bandcamp fee waiver days. I generally do not have to worry about exhibiting/ performing/ releasing any work on any other day. I don’t use social media except for on this one day each month to promote my work that is available on that day. (I am sort of breaking this practice this week for a day (5/24) that I am helping to curate/produce on QuaranTV that will include a performance by my band GOLDMANSACKSDOTCOM, but, you know, exception, not rule (do as I say not as I do (help me))).
What are you making?
1) Writing lyrics/words/ideas into the small black notebook that I keep in my back pocket at whatever time of day that said lyrics/words/ideas strike me (I’m a vessel!),
2) Some formalish time in my studio (basement) to tinker with some guitar compositions/loop stuff as well as developing a new instrumentation for my role in the trio GOLDMANSACKDOTCOM,
3) Fleshing out song ideas in front of Wally because sometimes he is into that,
4) Conducting a bi-monthly COVID-friendly band practice with an old trio of mine (called Pop Death) in an empty warehouse in Lansdowne where we workshop new songs of mine while sipping chablis,
5) Preparing material for online performances (like the one I mentioned above set to take place on QuaranTV on Sunday, May 24 at 9:30 p.m.!), and
6) Coordinating the release of new material on monthly Bandcamp fee waiver days (this includes some live IG performances on those days to help promote).
Given the above, my arts practice hasn’t really shifted that much. I want to get into scoring films but COVID hasn’t helped me with that. I almost started recording commercially viable (and gatekeeper suggested) disaster capitalism deluxe cover songs to be placed in advertisements, but it hasn’t come together.
What kind of support do you/ your business need? How can people support what you do?
As an artist, you can support me by buying my recent records, GOLDMANSACKSDOTCOM’s The Caming Economic Collapse and Adam G Holofcener’s Everything’s Ostensible, on the next Bandcamp fee waiver day, June 5, 2020. You can also tune into QuaranTV on Sunday, March 24 at 7 p.m. for an evening of music that will feature GOLDMANSACKSDOTCOM, Butch Dawson, and others.
How are you supporting local and creative businesses, makers, and/or healthcare workers in Baltimore? If you have a favorite org or charity you recommend supporting, please list.
The work that we do at Maryland Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts is supporting artists and arts organizations with COVID and non-COVID related legal services. Since this crisis began, our numbers are up and people need help. MdVLA recently released its COVID-19 Resource Guide for Artists and Arts Organizations. Please spread the word to artists who have any issues related to contracts, commercial leases, business entities, intellectual property, or any other arts related legal issue that they can easily apply for help through MdVLA on our website. If you are able and feel so motivated, you can donate to MdVLA here.