Arts & Entertainment
While the COVID-19 pandemic may have closed down live performances, The Human Race has not let it stop them from presenting their Playreading Series – this time as a virtual reading of a new play by Yellow Springs playwright Robb Willoughby called Look Into My Eyes. This streaming reading will benefit The Foodbank, a vital organization solving hunger in the Miami Valley – especially now!
“We have been rehearsing on Zoom for our typical 11 hours,” reported Human Race Artistic Director Kevin Moore. “A director, a playwright and seven actors working very hard to communicate this funny and sweet story in the “Brady Bunch” little boxes format. It’s not easy. We miss the live interaction and the reaction of an audience, which always fuels a performance. But we all felt it was necessary to keep the creative work flowing, even during these challenging times. And since we had to cancel several of our Pay What You Can performances which have supported The Foodbank for decades,” continued Moore, “it seemed right to support them while they strive to meet the additional demand this pandemic has caused.”
The play centers around two unique siblings. Billie can read people’s futures – has been doing it for years. Her brother, Lonnie, can hear people’s thoughts – and it is driving him crazy. But when a dangerous, dark cloud of a person comes in for a tarot reading, the sister/brother team must join forces to warn the innocent and expose the guilty. The plot thickens, zany characters run amuck, and mystery abounds. Will they save the day in time? Find out for yourself.
Directed by Saul Caplan, the cast includes Human Race Resident Artists Caitlin Larsen and Scott Stoney, Barbara Dirr, Libby Holley Scancarello, Jeff Sams, Lauren Kampman and Jeremy Todd Farley.
The performance will be streamed starting at 8pm on Saturday, May 16, and ending on Wednesday, May 20th at 8om, so you can view at your leisure. Tickets are available at DaytonLive by calling 937-228-3630, or visit The Human Race website at www.humanracetheatre.org Tickets start at $10, with all proceeds going to The Foodbank.
DAU—Amy Williams, thank you for sitting down to talk to me.
DAU—Talk to me about your philosophy of art.
AW—My philosophy. I think you have to follow your vision. Art is selling a feeling. Visual art either touches the viscera or it doesn’t.
DAU—so who are your favorite artists?
AW—Oh I don’t know. I am still thinking about the emotional cost. As a viewer, If you want to buy a work, it’s because it touches you, eases your pain or inspires.
DAU—What about people who buy work to match their décor?
AW—Basquiat threw people out of his studio for that.
DAU—but some pictures are pretty, you want them because they are pretty. Turner landscapes, Degas horses.
AW—But from the artists point of view they were emotional. I like Cy Twombly. His works are beautiful. But he was in this element where each mark he made was an experience. His works have a spiritual element that reflect a connection to something larger than himself.
DAU—Are you the only artist in your family?
AW—My brother draws. My mom is creative. She did a picture once that my brother took to school and got a good grade on.
DAU—Wow! Did your mom know?
AW—I don’t know. I don’t remember.
DAU—Are you from a large family?
AW—yes, 3 brother and two sisters. I am right in the middle, the oldest girl.
DAU—and do they support your being an artist?
AW—They are. Although they worry. Very protective of the girls. I wanted to go to Europe to study, and they didn’t want me to. They have not always been on board with the whole artist experience. It wasn’t the art. It was all the other stuff.
DAU—When did you know you were an artist?
AW—I think I always wanted to be an artist. I remember being 6 or 7 years old and watching my brother draw and wanting to do that. Art is always calling me. There are so many distractions. I let things sidetrack me. I don’t recognize the diversions—I get caught up in stuff and then…well, art is always calling me. Some people describe it as a sickness.
DAU—What will it take to let it claim you? Or to claim it?
AW—I can’t answer that. It’s the thing we all struggle with, balancing doing the thing we need to do and the thing we want to do.
DAU—Is art the thing you need or the thing you want?
AW—oh, both, I guess, at different times. I tried to turn it to something else. I tried graphic design.
DAU—so you went to school for graphic design?
AW—well not at first. I started classes at Sinclair. I had a great teacher there. Curtis Barnes—he really pushed my boundaries. He made me look at the spaces in a painting as well as the color. There was this painting in green and yellow inspired by a book jacket. It made me want to paint. I think it was called Venus Rising. My favorite works are the ones that come from that connection—now that I think about it, I spend a lot of time thinking about that spiritual element. Even when I am not painting.
DAU—and graphic design?
AW—It was just a thing I tried. I always come back to art. I got a bachelor’s degree in fine arts at Miami. I had good teachers there. Dana Saulnier. Very intuitive artist. Big huge abstracts, but with deeper meaning, very expressive of grief and loss.
DAU—so you went to school in Dayton and then Miami, are you from Dayton?
AW—Dad retired from the air force here in the late 70’s. I lived in Huber Heights. When I started at school I came into Dayton. It’s not a big town, but it felt so different from Huber Heights. At first, I felt like I didn’t know people, I missed neighbors and connections. But you start to know people. You live here, and you get a sense of community. I think Dayton gets a bad rap from the surrounding areas—I think you live outside it, and you drive through it, you don’t see how connected it is. We watch out for each other. We are a community.
DAU—And now you have Wholly Grounds, and you’re a big part of the community.
AW—Thanks for saying that. The coffeehouse was a compromise with my partner—he wanted to open a bar. So, we opened a coffeehouse with a liquor license.
DAU—I think it’s wonderful. Thank you for all you do to support Artists United. Its great to have to gatherings here, and to see the local art on the walls, and you have live music. It’s very welcoming.
AW—And that’s what I want. I want people to come here and feel inspired. I want to be a part of the neighborhood.
DAU—Are you South Park or Oregon?
AW—We’re South Park, on this side of the highway. But I love the Oregon district. There are so many things I like about Dayton. My neighborhood is one of them. Riverscape. The festivals! I really love the reggae festival. And the Lebanese festival. And the Blues Festival.
DAU—so, all these festivals–is it the music or the food ?
AW—the belly dancers.
DAU—I forgot the belly dancers.
Since our interview, Covid-19 shelter-at-home orders have stopped Artists United from meeting at Wholly Grounds, but they are open for carry-out. Amy and her partner Tony are grateful for the community support they’ve received during this shut down and look forward to having artists back in house.
Times of crisis can act as a stimulus for the creative spirit. COVID-19 is no exception.
Spending more time in his home office, Mile Two VP of Engineering and Code for Dayton co-Captain Dave Best really began to notice his bare walls. Our #DaytonStrong resilience has been demonstrated by our giving to the COVID-19 fund at The Dayton Foundation to our support for our essential workers, from healthcare to those working in grocery and drug stores to those delivering our mail and packages. Many Daytonians have made an extra effort to support our local restaurants by ordering carry-out or delivery, or purchasing growlers of locally-brewed craft beer. Musicians, on their own or through venues like The Old Yellow Cab, have set up virtual concerts where the audience can donate online.
After staring at the walls, the obvious question was “What about our visual artists”? Aren’t they essential to helping bring beauty and meaning to our lives? How can the community help support them at a time when the studios, galleries, coffee shops and restaurants where they typically show their work are closed?
I have known Dave 5+ years. He reached out to me last Friday because on my connections in the art community and because The Collaboratory’s reputation for incubating projects from ideas to action. He wanted to know if I thought it was feasible. I said hell yes and jumped right in.
The idea behind Essential Artists Dayton is to offer a FREE (at least through May 30) platform for Dayton visual artists to set up an online storefront. And by FREE, we mean 100% of sales, less any processing charges, goes to the artists. In addition to putting this out to my artists friends and the major artist organization, I specifically reached out to artist Megan Fiely. We met when she came back to town, but really connect when she started raising Tornado Relief funds from the local community of artists. She have been helpful in the co-creation process, beta testing the storefront set-up and getting the word out.
All art purchased through Essential Artists Dayton will be available for pick-up at The Collaboratory, Monday – Friday from 10 AM to 4 PM or by appointment. The exchange will be made while practicing appropriate social distancing. The Collaboratory is located at 114 West First Street, Suite B, in Talbott Tower.
The supremely talented up-and-coming singer-songwriter Olivia Frances will look to add another award to her already impressive collection of accolades. Musical from a young age, Frances started playing piano at age six and composed her first song on guitar at age 12. Her dedication from such young age has paid off by having written over 300 songs. Frances credits Fleetwood Mac, Bon Iver and Kacey Musgraves as her musical inspirations.
This month, Music Resource Group announced the Nominees for The 18th Annual Independent Music Awards (IMAs). Nominations in 100+ Music, Video and Design categories were awarded to an eclectic roster of established and emerging talent from around the globe.
Frances is nominated in the Story Song Category for “The Bee & the Rose” a sweeping, environmentally-driven song off Orchid (2019), her latest bouquet of songs and stories. The Worcester Telegram & Gazette describes the album as “irrepressibly sweet — and eminently likable.” Written with the talented Nashville-based songwriter Michael Astrachan and produced by the distinguished Pat Lassiter, “The Bee & the Rose” reminds listeners of the natural beauty of the world and uses it on stage as a catalyst to discuss the current bee crisis.
Frances is no stranger to the Independent Music Awards. In 2018, she won the VOX Pop Love Song Category and the awards ceremony took place at Lincoln Center. Frances is a multi-award-winning artist, placing 1st in the Singer-Songwriter Category at the 2018 New England Songwriting Competition and winning Best Pop Song of the Year at the 2017 Ohio Music Awards.
Musical legends Lucinda Williams, Steven Van Zandt, Ellis Paul and Jonatha Brooke are nominated alongside Frances. The winning projects will be selected by influential judging panels including: Tom Waits & Kathleen Brennan, Robert Smith, Ziggy Marley, KT Tunstall, and many more indie creatives, top recording artists and industry influencers.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The 18th annual Independent Music Awards ceremony originally scheduled for June in New York City will proceed as an online showcase for this year’s top-ranked artists and music projects. Now in its 18th year, The Independent Music Awards honors artistry and daring rather than streams and social reach, and celebrates everything that makes indie music authentic and unique.
Caitlin Cartwright is a social change artist whose vibrant narrative works combine painting, drawing, and collage to explore the stories that connect people of all cultures and ages. Although her intimate works deal with themes of loss and isolation, each piece also contains elements of community, comfort, and hope
DAU—I’ve read your bio and some other online interviews. You’ve lived all over.
CC—I have moved around a bit. I am from Dayton. I grew up here.
DAU—and you moved, when?
CC—When I was 16, I moved to Cincinnati to attend the School for the Creative and Performing Arts.
DAU—That’s a great school.
CC—Yeah, it is. I had a great time there. From there I went to The Maryland College of Art.
DAU—OK, I understand moving for school and college, but how did you get from Baltimore to Madagascar?
CC—Honestly, I just started sending email to places asking if I could come. This orphanage/community center/arts organization in Madagascar answered that I could come, but I couldn’t stay there. Would I be interested in teaching at the school down the road, where this person knew they needed someone? After some email exchanges, I committed. I went to Madagascar, I taught English at the school, and as my second job, I did art projects with the orphans and street kids at the center. I painted a mural there, and just recently, I found out is still there. It’s cool to think about it.
DAU—What was it like to live in Madagascar?
CC—It was a challenge. Intimidating. Not a lot of people speak English there. The primary language is Malagasy, which I didn’t speak at all. And Madagascar was colonized by the French, so there is French spoken there, which I did not speak well.
DAU—You were so brave.
CC—I was young; it was a youth thing.
DAU—So how long did it take you to get proficient in Malagasy?
CC—It took about 7 months before I felt like I was able to hold a conversation.
DAU—And did you keep in touch with people there?
CC– There is one woman, she was my lifeline because she spoke English. We have kept in touch.
DAU—So, how long were you in Madagascar? And do you still speak Malagasy?
CC—I was there a year, and no, the vocabulary disappears after a while. I was listening to some music recently, and I could get some of the words.
DAU— And what came after Madagascar?
CC—I joined the Peace Corps and worked in Namibia. It’s beautiful there. I lived mostly outside. 90% of my time was spent outside. I had a hut, but it was mud with a metal roof, and full of gaps—it was like being outside. It was like camping. And the sky there was huge…there’s no light pollution, you know, so at night the sky is so full of stars and they’re so bright. It made me feel—-I don’t know—-it was spiritual. It was a spiritual experience.
DAU—It sounds amazing. What kind of work did you do there?
CC—I helped start a girls after-school club. We collected materials to recycle and make into baskets to sell.
DAU—And when you came back to the U.S.?
CC—Well, I wanted to do something with the community building I had been doing overseas. I thought I would get an advanced degree and grow my skill set. For some reason, I saw the community building and the art as separate, I had been sort of compartmentalizing—at least in my mind. In practice, they overlapped a lot.
DAU—So, you did both?
CC—I am doing both.
DAU—As part of that degree you went to India?
CC—I did. India was a smack in the face.
DAU—In what way? You’d traveled quite a bit.
CC—It still was a shock. You go to places, and you take your world view with you, you know. I come from such a place of privilege; and there I just realized it. I was confronted by it daily.
DAU—Tell me about that.
CC—I worked on a project that documented artists work. I would go to the artists’ houses and meet with them. There was one man who did the most beautiful metal work. I went to his house, and it was a room, more like a closet, and he and his wife and three daughters lived and worked there. His daughters weren’t going to school, because their work was good, and it sold, and it brought in money. So, no school.
DAU–I read about your project there, you’re writing was just beautiful. You talked about the caste system and the “voiceless people defined by their positions.” Another thing you said I liked was that “while artists are responsible for the beauty we see everywhere in India, they are relegated to the ugliest and most marginalized parts of society.” One of the things that really struck me about this was that by documenting their work, both you and they felt that you were “validating their existence.” That spoke to me on a larger scale, about artists in general.
CC—I know what you mean. In graduate school, in a critique, if someone “got” your work, it was a toss up whether you felt understood or exposed.
DAU—It’s probably a different feeling for artists than writers, but I hope my work will stand on its own, but I also feel like I need to explain it.
CC—Oh, I know what you mean. I always struggle with what to put on the show card. How much is too much? And yet, I love to hear the back story on works I am looking at. It adds a dimension.
DAU—And how about when someone tells you how a work makes them feel, is that a good thing or a bad thing?
CC—so far, it’s mostly good. I want people to feel things. I want my work to be evocative, visceral.
DAU—And what are you working on now?
CC—Well, I am working on a project I submitted to the Montgomery County Artist’s Opportunity grant. I was awarded funding to create a body of work responding to how our community came together after last year’s tornados and the Oregon District shooting. I want to depict that sense of community, to convey that strength and hope.
DAU—How large a body of work?
DAU—And do you have a deadline? Are you going to show them?
CC—I am, but I don’t know when now. It’s all up in the air. I finished the collaborative piece of the project before we were confronted by Covid-19. I worked with community members at We Care Arts on creating art about the events of last year, just letting them express themselves, and how they felt. It was a powerful experience, I really bonded with the groups as we worked. Some of the pieces are astonishing, and I plan to include their imagery in my work, with their permission, of course.
DAU—Talk to me about We Care Arts. You are director of programming there?
CC—I am, and I love it. It is the perfect place for me. I’ve always felt torn between community building and art making. We Care Arts is the intersection of the two. I don’t have to compartmentalize, I can promote art and healing, and community all at once.
DAU—And how are you coping with the Covid-19 shut down.
CC– I miss my people so much since we’ve been sheltering at home. We actually shut down on March 13, before the order came from the governor’s office. So many of our clients are in that vulnerable population. Many of them were self-isolating even before we decided to close. A big part of what I am doing every day is keeping in contact with my clients. Many of us were already feeling isolated, art is how we make connections.
We, the staff, are all doing everything we can to make sure our clients have what they need. We’re posting videos online and sending out cards. We are all checking on each other.
DAU—I liked that Amy Acton encouraged us to think about our mental health.
CC—I love her! I am so proud of us, of Ohio. I think we’re doing an amazing job of pulling together. I love that she talked about mental health. At We Care Arts, we know the impact the arts have on mental health. It’s why I think it’s so important that there are artists offering free online art classes and videoconferencing, it’s a way we can look out for each other.
DAU—Is We Care Arts offering online classes?
CC—On our web page we’re posting client pictures into our Arts at Home gallery. On our Facebook page, we’re posting video of art projects and things to keep our clients engaged. You can get to those things through the We Care Arts website or on Facebook, tagged with #WCAathome
DAU—I want to go back to something you said before. Talking about when We Care Arts shut down, you said, “Many of us were already feeling isolated,” did you mean because of Covid-19 or before Covid-19.
CC—Oh, before. At We Care Arts, we cope with all kinds of challenges: developmental disabilities, cognitive impairments, addiction, depression and a whole spectrum of issues. Alone is our journey.
We all feel like no one understands us, no one can see how we feel. Some feel that more than others. But when we share through art, we connect through art. We feel less alone because we can look at the art and see there are people who feel like we do, who know what alone is. The Covid-19 shelter at home isolation is a public enactment of how many of our clients feel all the time: alone, anxious, and uncertain about the future. It’s why we keep reaching out to each other. We need the reassurance that we will break out of this aloneness.
DAU—And when we break out? What are first things you are going to do?
CC—What won’t I do? I’m craving some Thai food, I’d like to sit down at Thai 9. I’d like to go to the Sky Bistro. I’m excited to go to the DAI summer Jazz series. I really hope that gets to happen! I went last year. My partner Duante Beddingfield sang there, and I got to go. It was such a beautiful experience. The space is so beautiful.
DAU—Caitlin Cartwright, thank you so much for talking to me. I hope we get to eat together in person soon. I look forward to going with you to the Summer Jazz Series, and to seeing your paintings on display.
|“Hi … This is my ‘I’m a serious person despite my age’ face.” Selah (Lovie Simone) runs an empire at a Pennsylvania prep school in Amazon Studios new teen drama SELAH & THE SPADES. Credit: Amazon Studios. All rights reserved.|
WATCH THE TRAILER(S) HERE:
Enter Paloma (Celeste O’Connor).
A sophomore with an eye for photography, Paloma catches Selah’s attention, quickly forming a friendship. But as Paloma star rises, Selah start to re-assess what it means to have power and her legacy.
The world in which the characters exist feels incredibly forced: Williams’ headmaster would be fired for his ineptitude in real life, the underutilized factions and their council are as ridiculous as the average talking head news panel. Likewise, Selah’s character, which is supposed to be multi-faceted, is nowhere near as complex and nuanced when you break it down and the whole affair feels like a teen drama taken to an extreme for the sake of itself. Save for teens invested in watching people their age explore something they often don’t have as they mature – power (which is what the film tries to convey) – most people will find the film much like it’s story: Underdeveloped, underwhelming and underserving of the love the people that would be most invested in it (youths, African-Americans).
I wish Selah and the Spades had more to say or, at the very least, did it better. Then again, maybe like high school itself, it’s better left to just the cool kids.
Residents of Montgomery and adjoining counties are invited to enter the Dayton Metro Library Poetry Contest, April 1 through April 30. Anyone residing in Montgomery and surrounding counties (Miami, Greene, Warren, Preble) in these age categories: Teen (Grades 7-12) Adult (age 18-59 ) Older Adult (age 60+) is eligible to enter. There are also two junior categories: Grades 3-4 and Grades 5-6. This year, due to COVID-19’s impacts on Library service, entries will only be accepted through email.
Entries must be emailed to [email protected] no later than midnight on Thursday, April 30, 2020. Contest details and fillable entry form are available at DaytonMetroLibrary.org/Poetry. Poems can be any subject but must be limited to one page, and only one poem per person. They will be judged by the editorial board of Mock Turtle Zine, an independent, nonprofit collaborative that promotes Dayton area writers and artists in both a print publication and online.
“The Library has hosted the Poetry Contest for many years, but this year we are asking everyone to enter through email,” said Julie Buchanan, Programming Manager. “We hope our contest can still provide a creative outlet for poets while they are spending more time at home. It’s also a great opportunity to fulfill an at-home school assignment,” said Buchanan.
Winners will receive Amazon gift cards. First Place is $100, Second Place $75, Third Place $50 in the Teen, Adult, and Older Adult Categories. Prizes for both junior categories will be Amazon gift cards of $50 for First Place, $35 for Second Place, and $25 for Third Place. First Place winners in all age categories will be published in an upcoming issue of Mock Turtle Zine.
For contest details, a printable entry form, and online entry, visit DaytonMetroLibrary.org/Poetryor call (937) 463-2665.
Visual artist Brian Mathus gave Artists United a serial interview that started in February and was updated this week.
DAU: OK, Brian Mathus, tell me about yourself.
BM—Well, let’s see. Fun fact. I’ve lived on both sides of the country. I lived in Virginia from the time I was 2 until I was 17, then I moved to Portland.
BM: Yep. And it’s just like you imagine it. It’s where I found my peeps, people like me. It’s so creative there, and everybody is doing their own thing. They have this guy out there that rides a unicycle in a Darth Vader mask.
DAU—I’ve seen the video!
BM-I lived in Portland until I was 30, and then moved to Dayton.
DAU: Where you became an artist?
BM–I think I was always an artist. I just didn’t know how to be one. I made my first work when I was 17. It was a large-scale work called “crabs in a barrel.” I didn’t know how to stretch a canvas, so I just stapled it to the wall. I gessoed it and got gesso all over the floor. When it came time to take it down it was gessoed to the wall. It actually came off with pieces of the wall on the back.
Years later I worked a frame shop and this woman who worked there help me stretch it into a frame. She complained the whole time about how “this wasn’t how you were supposed to do this.”
DAU—where is it now?
BM—I think it might be at my parents.
DAU—And you’ve been painting ever since? How many works do you think you’ve created?
BM—I don’t know. Over a 1000? I’ve started taking pictures of my work. I’ve sold some, maybe 70 pieces, that I never made a record of.
DAU—So, 70 pieces. Is that a lot? Is it, quit your day job and be an artist full time?
BM—Oh no, no, I’d love to be an artist full time, but I have to have that regular paycheck. I have kids. They’re expensive. I have got to have a day job. I paint houses.
BM—I have made murals. They are expensive, but they aren’t a regular paycheck either. I am a house painter. And a painter. Not at the same time.
DAU—Have you done any murals in Dayton?
BM—There’s one in Miamisburg, and one in Huber Heights.
DAU—What do you think needs to happen for more artists to make a living from their art?
BM—We have to get rid of the old way of having artwork sell. Very few artists sell paintings priced over 1000. I worked at a gallery in Portland, actually, I helped build a gallery in Portland. All the artists, the small people, got together to make a cooperative gallery. We were trying to sell high end product. But there was this TV show….. I watched the art market there become saturated and choke out the little guy.
DAU—Well—there’s not a tv show about how odd Dayton is, yet.
BM—True, but the market can become saturated without a tv show. Bill Cunningham has convinced me that producing mid-priced work on a regular basis is a better foundation for a shot at being a working artist.
DAU—Bill Cunningham at The Orphanage?
BM—Yeah, I just had a show there
DAU: How did it go? Talk to me about being an artist in Dayton.
BM—The show went well. I sold some work out of it. Being an artists in Dayton has been interesting, it’s a different environment. It is very easy and difficult to be an artist here. It’s very cheap to rent space and have work up.
DAU: Talk to me more about Dayton. What is your favorite thing to do here?
BM—Take the kids places, the art museum is pretty good and the city is fun for playing Pokémon go.
DAU—Who is your favorite artist and why?
BM—Either Francis Bacon or Rothko, both had the ability to make you feel something that was transcendental, though one represents the sublime and the other represents the letting go of inner angst.
DAU—What was the last book you read?
BM—Sex before Dawn
DAU—If I were going to make a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?
BM—CalebCity, that dude is hilarious.
DAU—What would the movie be called?
BM—An Ordinary Life, although I’m pretty sure people could find not ordinary things.
DAU—What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever done, seen, painted—take your pick.
BM—Getting shot with a taser and that was a weird sensation.
DAU—If you could have anyone in the world in your studio as a model, who would you like to paint?
DAU: So, what’s next?
BM—More art. I’ve got a series of nudes I’m working on because a woman volunteered. She’s into bondage, I don’t know if that is in my wheelhouse, but it might be interesting. I was working on a series of representation for black people, but models are hard to come by at times. I want to do multiple figures and put some meaning into my work. I have ideas to play with, but nothing solid. But that’s how it always is.
DAU–Since conducting this interview, Ohioans have been ordered to “Shelter at Home, ” I reached out to Brian for an update on how the Covid-19 situation has affected his life.
BM– Well I’ve been laid off so I’m teaching the kids during the day. So far, keeping my hands busy has given me a sense of purpose. I’ve built a lot of canvases. I’ve been able to get some depth in my drawing, because I don’t have to work. I don’t feel the pressure of “I have to get this done today or I’ll never have a chance again.”
I’m not bored at home. But I keep wanting to do landscapes. I’ve tried, it’s too hard. The people who are outside seem to have no sense of boundaries. I’m guessing a lot of people need more human contact then they are getting.
I do feel this pressure to create meaningfulness, but anything can have meaning if you peel away the veil of routine and look with fresh eyes.