Dear Friends and Family,
Happy Holidays from CreativeFuture HQ, where we may be scattered to the four winds, but where our collective Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanza/Diwali/Tet/Festivus spirit is as strong as ever.
Like much of the rest of the world, we went remote in 2020, checking in over an endless stream of video conference calls with our fellow employees who, on any given day, may or may not have been wearing pants. We’ll never know.
Yet despite all the distance and questionable clothing choices, we still managed to get a lot of things done this year – some of them were even work-related. In fact, with your help, 2020 has been a banner year for our creative advocacy in spite of all the challenges. Whether pressuring YouTube to expand access to its copyright protection tools, speaking out at a year-long series of DMCA hearings, or calling out Facebook’s irresponsible behavior at every opportunity, we refused to let the pandemic keep us from fighting for creative rights and platform accountability.
But lo, ‘tis the holiday season, and we know you’re not concerned with all that right now. You want the good stuff – the really big-deal happenings from the past year that made CreativeFuture’s world shift on its axis.
You want stuff like…
Creative Community Outreach Coordinator Rich Monahan’s new kitten.
Meet Kitty Parade. Yes, that is her name. Why? Because it would take a parade of kittens to equal the cuteness of this one kitten. Look at her and try to tell us otherwise. Look at her, we say, and just try to act like Kitty Parade is not the embodiment of what every young feline wishes they could be. As you might imagine – if only you could stop being so jealous of this kitten’s unfathomable delightfulness – lil’ KP was a highlight of this quarantine year for Rich, which also found him taking piano lessons.
In other CreativeFuture animal-related news, Brett Williams, our Executive Vice President of External Affairs & Public Policy, started his dog, Beverly, “on water exercises to improve her core strength.” Besides running an elderly pug through a series of aquatic lunges, butterfly glides, and leg kicks, Brett says he made a sourdough starter during lockdown, baked a ton of bread, made preserved lemons from his lemon tree, planted a summer tomato garden, and started running every day. He’s an inspiration to people and small, snorting dogs everywhere.
Speaking of inspiring, our new Communications Associate, Davis Read, was briefed and brought aboard from a secret bunker in Indiana. He then trekked courageously across the country and alighted in Los Angeles while it was reeling from virus-related closures and shutdowns. He stepped right in and performed his job admirably… without ever meeting any of us in person. In fact, to this day, we’re not 100% sure Davis actually exists. He might just be a hologram projection or a figment of our increasingly cabin-fevered imaginations – but either way, he’s a pretty cool guy!
While we’re on the topic of nonexistent things, few were as nonexistent in 2020 as Senior Director of Policy and Communications JC Taylor’s… ability to properly dry his clothes? Allow us to explain. For months (or maybe it was days, but it felt like months), we all stood by with bated breath, pining for any updates as JC moved into a new, dryer-less apartment, looked for a new dryer for a startlingly long period of time, and finally purchased said dryer… only to find, upon bringing it into his apartment, that the dryer’s plug did not fit the electrical outlet in its designated location. We know you’re now dying to know – what did JC do next? And we’re here to tell you that he did what any of us would do when faced with such a challenge: he left the useless dryer right where it was, of course, and has been line-drying his (nice and crunchy) clothes ever since. (We share this anecdote for no good reason other than JC doesn’t want us to.)
Now we come to Adam Krentzman, our ever-mysterious and stylish Community Outreach Consultant, who tells us he spent this year in quarantine with “aesthetics on his mind.” Seemingly appearing with a new and different backdrop every time we convened, Adam spent much of 2020 arranging and then rearranging his furniture and art so his house always looked just right for our Zoom meeting calls. It worked!! – even while his strategy differed sharply from our typical “throw yourself in front of the cleanest wall you can find so no one can see your toddler-trashed apartment” approach.
That toddler in question belongs to our Senior Writer Justin Sanders, who in addition to penning this overly long holiday screed, continued cranking out our public-facing content in between chasing said child and sharing office space with his equally full-time-employed wife. And by “office space,” we mean a dining room table next to a playpen in the middle of the living room. Ah, 2020 – what a year it’s been…
Speaking of office space, our Director of Operations Laura Paige was, like the rest of us in 2020, barred from the office she so nimbly oversees. She stayed sane by actively working on self-care with her husband and mastering the art of what she calls “COVID crafting,” which we can only assume involves stitching together throw pillows in the shape of pretty little virus cells. She also had some exciting animal-related news of her own in 2020 – both her cats turned 15 years old! Unfortunately, one of them “celebrated too hard,” she tells us, “had a mini stroke, and is now blind.” Fortunately, nothing stops the intrepid Rameses, who now spends his days happily bouncing off the walls, “doing his best Tommy/‘Pinball Wizard’ imitation.”
Speaking of intrepid, let’s wrap this letter up with the most intrepid of them all – our wonderful CEO Ruth Vitale, who got to spend more time than ever in 2020 at home with her two beloved, very large “dogs”, Bear and North. “It’s really been an eye-opener being with them every waking and sleeping moment,” she tells us, smiling a little too hard, her teeth gritted in a forced grimace over the thrill of being confined in a house with two wild animals. Fortunately, the challenges of tending to a pair of unruly canines were evened out by the joys of corresponding with two CreativeFuture nonagenarian members who, even in their 90s, “saw through the horrors of this pandemic to write me every day,” she says – “to cheer me up, cheer me on, and live their lives to the fullest without being reckless.” She sends a big thank you and lots of love to Marilyn Kagan and Saul Heller, who have taught her the meaning of resilience and joy.
That’s the kind of energy and goodwill we needed in 2020, and we’ll let it be our guiding light as we enter a new year of standing up for our creative communities. Thank you all for being on this crazy rollercoaster ride with us. Have a wonderful rest of your holiday season and we’ll see you in 2021!