In the mid-2000s, VH1 hit a nostalgic nerve with its “I Love The ’80s/’90s/’00s” series, where future comedic superstars joked about trends and newsworthy items of the past.

Songs like “Who Let The Dogs Out” and “Macarena” were goofed on, while events like 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombing got solemn tributes.

I wonder when we look back at the 2020s, where will the coronavirus land? Right now, it’s too early to tell. But I imagine there will be some subdued piano music as we look back on the crippling fear it spread throughout the entire world.

Because this is the entertainment section of the paper, I only feel qualified to talk about its effect on the arts, which has produced an unprecedented response. Anticipated blockbusters like like “No Time to Die,” the final Daniel Craig James Bond, was pushed back to a November opening. This week, the Dave Bautista family comedy “My Spy,” was pushed back to April. Because the global box office means so much to these films, they don’t want to risk losing millions from theaters in China and Italy being closed.

As far as music goes, the main driver of money for most bands and tech/sound crews is getting squeezed. Last week, South By Southwest, one of America’s biggest music and arts festivals, was canceled in order to slow down the spread of the illness. Another big festival, Coachella, is expected to be postponed until October. Pearl Jam announced it would postpone its first U.S. tour in years to avoid people potentially getting infected.

I know some are cynical about this. I’ve read the social media posts comparing this to past pandemics that didn’t directly affect people I know like the Zika virus and Avian flu. In the locker room of the St. Joseph YMCA, I heard two men talk about how this was a conspiracy of left-wing politicians and the media to try and oust President Trump. It’s a weird, potentially scary time, so people will grasp whatever they think makes sense, no matter how wacky it is.

While some have classified these measures in the entertainment industry as a panic, I take it as reasonable precaution. At an event like South By Southwest, they’re trying to minimize the number of coronavirus cases while medical professionals try to catch up and address the current ones that exist. There’s no reason to risk more people getting infected in the name of entertainment.

Zooming out, this will undoubtedly affect everyone in front and behind the scenes. In the case of South By Southwest, millions of dollars and thousands of jobs will be affected. Though I support them, I fear precautionary measures like that will work its way down to a local level.

For its “Rhythm of the Dance” event at the Missouri Theater, the St. Joseph Performing Arts Association has been fielding calls about the coronavirus. While the event is still happening, the group has been trying to calm fears by making sure every seat, table and armrest are sanitized before the performance.

The big questions remain uncertain: How long will this last? How do we decide what events get canceled and which ones go on? Is it just the big festivals that should be wary, or should we start focusing on everything that involves a large crowd?

As I’m writing this, Missouri hasn’t had to deal with many cases of the virus, so the state’s arts groups are only starting to reckon with the possibility of a scare or outbreak. But I sincerely hope plans are in place just in case for the sake of all workers and artists.

Andrew Gaug can be reached


Follow him on Twitter: @NPNOWGaug