Oh, The Places You'll Go

From Mother's Day to graduations, we're marking milestones in decidedly different ways. It's complicated. Yet this "new normal" may be our way of life for months and years to come. While virtual graduations are taking the pomp out of these unprecedented circumstances, they are no less meaningful. They also don't take away from the achievement. Grads may be rightfully thinking that their prospects appear quite different than they imagined. Still, as actress Kathryn Hahn noted virtually during University of Southern California's graduation, these dark times will surely make for great content. That was a hopeful thought from a grad of this university with a highly acclaimed communications school. University of Wisconsin keynote speaker, author James Patterson, advised grads that "tough breaks happen in life." He went on to recommend "persistence and resilience." The university's chancellor Rebecca Blank noted, "rituals matter in our society." And to that end, these 2020 grads are right to feel cheated. The world should be your oyster. And instead, 2020 grads are living with their parents indefinitely. Our amazing outgoing intern and SCAD grad, Bayli shared her experience on our blog. In addition to being a talented fashion designer, she's a powerful storyteller. Virtual graduations may not be what these grads dreamed of, but there are some upsides. Families can be together, everyone gets a great seat, and we all can wear sweatpants. There's also the idea that if you can make it through this you can achieve anything. If you're not living through a graduation yourself, here are a couple of the most hilarious commencement speeches of all time: Will Ferrell addressing USC (..."give beyond yourself") and Conan O'Brien's to Dartmouth where he refers to the school's president, Jim Yong Kim as "Stinky Pete." One interesting trend in all of this is the rise in graduating high school seniors who are looking to take gap years. Once thought of as an alternative for kids who needed some maturing before heading to college, today's gap year prospects would rather wait out the uncertainty than to possibly experience their first year of college virtually. As Georgia continues to reopen, we're cheering on the Community Farmers Markets for bringing back fresh produce, and all the restaurants who are resuming dining room service -- all within socially responsible distancing. We continue to have compelling conversations with colleagues and clients who weigh their decisions to open or not, daily. We're also feeling for these businesses who remain on the sidelines, trying to determine what's best. One very exciting piece of news is that our old client and dear friend Guenter Seeger has returned to town. If you're joining me in cheering on the aforementioned farmers markets, you have him to thank. During his time as award-winning chef at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead, he was a founding force in connecting farmers to restaurant chefs in Atlanta (yes, way before it was hip). He gave the AJC the scoop on what he has planned. Here's what folks are saying. We're thrilled! In art news, Flux Projects presents a Global Women's Cypher with Toni Blackmon. Join us THIS Thursday at 2 p.m. for this Zoom event presented with Poetic Theater Productions and Rhyme Like a Girl in conjunction with Remembrance as Resistance: Preserving Black Narratives, Flux Projects’ upcoming work with Charmaine Minniefield. In other art news, Prima ballerina Misty Copeland organized this breathtaking virtual performance of Swan Lake with dancers around the world. And the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra performed this beautiful rendition of "Georgia On My Mind," for frontline workers complete with footage of iconic locations throughout the state that are empty of people. The Stuttgart Airport in southern Germany is playing host to a series of one-on-one recitals. And one 92-year-old Holocaust survivor is continuing to teach piano lessons to aspiring young musicians in Denver remotely, sans her trademark hugs. We leave you with one funny trend: Ding-Dong Ditch. Even a pandemic can't keep some do-gooders down. Kind-hearted folks around the country are ringing doorbells (ding-dong), leaving treats (Hostess Ding Dongs) on doorsteps and then running back to their cars before anyone can answer (ditch). Do your best this week!

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