One of the big signs that it’s definitely spring, with summer just around the corner, is the start of local block party season…which usually kicks off with the Longwood Area Neighborhood Association‘s annual block party, held in early May. This year, the party was scheduled for Sunday, May 3, but the COVID-19 crisis forced a cancellation, leaving neighbors without their big annual celebration (and LANA, like many other non-profits of all sizes, without its biggest fundraiser of the year.)
But LANA is a strong group, and its treasurer, Harlan Freedman, currently a sidelined and “bored TV producer,” got an idea for a new production. He contacted LANA vice president Daphne Brogdon, who organizes the annual block party, and suggested an alternate kind of gathering: a neighborhood talent show, called “Longwood’s Got Talent”…held online via the increasingly popular Zoom meeting platform. Brogdon loved the idea and quickly accepted the job of host for the event, which is now scheduled to take place tomorrow (Saturday, April 11) at 4 p.m.
Brogdon told the Buzz that “We’ve always prided ourselves on being a real community here,” and that while neighbors are taking the coronavirus threat very seriously (one neighbor passed away from it this week), there are also a lot of people, both children and adults, who could use an emotional boost right now. So the show is “really something for mental health – so people don’t feel completely alone.”
According to Brogdon, they have five or six people signed up so far to perform for a panel of anonymous neighborhood judges (who will be represented by cartoon avatars during the show), and about 20 people signed up to watch – but they’d love to boost both of those numbers over the next 24 hours.
For now, performers are limited to people – of any age – who live in the Longwood Highlands neighborhood…but both Longwood neighbors and those from other local neighborhoods are invited to watch. Performers can sign up to perform 90-second acts of any kind of family-friendly entertainment, and the winner will be announced at the end of the show. There will also be a cash prize of $50, delivered to the winner’s door – in a plastic bag, with gloved hands – after the show. “Sort of like Publisher’s Clearing House, but less showy,” quipped Brogdon.
Brogdon says they’re hoping the show will be a learning experience for everyone involved, and if it goes well, they might consider doing it again and opening it up to a wider range of local residents…or helping other area neighborhoods run their own online talent competitions.
And there might be some other benefits for LANA, too. Brogdon said membership in the more-than-35-year-old organization has been dipping in recent years, as older residents pass away or move, and this might help reach potential new members. “Maybe this is a better way to meet new people now,” Brogdon suggested.
If you live in Longwood Highlands, and would like to perform (or have a family member who would like to perform) in the show, contact LANA at [email protected].
If you live in any of our nearby neighborhoods, and would like to sign up to watch the show, write to the same address, with the subject line “Watch Show” and your name and street address in the body of the message. People who sign up will be given a link to find the event on Zoom tomorrow afternoon. (Also, just so you know, the organizers are definitely aware of recent security issues with public Zoom sessions – so links will only be given out via the method above. Each participant and spectator will be individually approved, and all audience members will have their cameras and microphones muted during the show. There will also be no live chat for audience members. (You’ll be able to see and hear the performers, hosts and judges, but not other audience members.) And anyone who misbehaves will be removed by the moderators.)
So here again are the details if you’d like to perform in or watch “Longwood’s Got Talent”:
Date: Saturday, April 11
Time: 4:00 p.m.
– Sign up at [email protected]
– Any age (kids, teens and adults welcome)
– Longwood-area residents only
– Acts of about 90-seconds
– Any type of family-friendly entertainment
– E-mail [email protected]
– Write “Watch Show” in the e-mail subject line
– Put your name and street address in the body of the e-mail (residents of all local neighborhoods are welcome)