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D.C. Neighborhood Puts On A Safe Distance Talent Show


How do people find safe ways to get together in this time of pandemic and social distancing? NPR's Michael May brings us this story from his corner of Washington, D.C.

HOLLY KERIKATTE: Everybody, welcome to the first Lawrence Street COVID-19 talent show.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Hopefully the last.

MICHAEL MAY, BYLINE: Holly Kerikatte (ph) is the emcee. She came up with the idea because she was worried her kids were getting the wrong message - don't trust other people. We could still be good neighbors - from a safe distance, of course.

KERIKATTE: Everybody please stay 6 feet away from people you do not immediately live with...

M MAY: My daughter and I had been practicing. I even put on jeans for the occasion. Holly's husband Nishant kicked off the show with a little comedy bit.

NISHANT: The COVID guidelines make me feel a little like my inner voice during my 20s - you should really just stay in and save money.

M MAY: Then each family took a turn performing in front of their house, starting with Sujatha and Charles Bergen.

SUJATHA BERGEN AND CHARLES BERGEN: (Singing) Washing hands, reaching out. Don't touch me. I won't touch you.

M MAY: Then 5-year-old Charlie Paul with her ukulele.

CHARLIE PAUL: (Singing) I'm just trying to find my way back (ph).

M MAY: My wife, Rachel May.

RACHEL MAY: (Singing) The virus came from Wuhan, rolled in on a Princess ship. Now the store's got nothing but sardines and octopus chips.

M MAY: And finally, my daughter Ezrah, with me on guitar.

EZRAH MAY: (Singing) Some people got the real problems. Some people out of luck. Some people think I can solve them. Lord, heavens above. I'm only human, after all.

M MAY: Afterwards, we were all smiling. It felt good. Here's Sujatha Bergen.

SUJATHA BERGEN: I did feel emotional sometimes. Like, people are actually willing to share themselves and interact in the middle of this huge crisis.

M MAY: Seven-year-old Rory Evans (ph) agreed.

RORY EVANS: Just coming out and finding other is good for your - for reality.

MARRIANE MILLHOUSE: I think it did a wonderful job for everybody. But we're being safe.

M MAY: That was Marriane Millhouse (ph). Everyone seemed giddy, holding onto the moment. But we had video conferences to get back to.

Michael May, NPR News.

E MAY: (Singing) I'm only human, after all. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Michael May is the senior producer of the NPR Story Lab.
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