Necessity is the mother of invention, among other things, and local artists are putting that maxim into action.
La Tuna Canyon resident Pi Jacobs had planned to be on the road this month, promoting her new album “Two Truths and a Lie.” Instead she’s minding Safer at Home strictures at home with her husband. So she’s inviting fans, friends and listeners to contribute to a crowd-sourced DIY video for her ebullient single “No Sin to Be Poor” with a phone video or photo of them dancing to the song, which will be edited into a final video.
Jacobs is also requesting personal Covid stories, for either the video or another creative project. “Everything that gets submitted, we’re going to use in one way or another,” she says.
“This song is all about suffering and community and relying on other people, which is a lot of what’s going on right now. I said we need to get other people involved in this, and make it a project about how this quarantine is affecting you, how are you doing. The song is recognizing something difficult, but it’s also a really joyful kind of a song.”
With its invocations of a hard-working waitress juggling “three jobs and a couple of babies” and “takin’ no guff from some kid livin’ up on a trust” before “dancin’ in the dollar store,” “No Sin to Be Poor” is a good-natured take on the rent-paying grind. Jacobs built the song around a character named Mary, but wrote it partly from childhood experience as the daughter of a single mom in Northern California.
“We were on different kinds of public assistance at different times,” she recalls. “What I was remembering when I wrote the song was standing in a line with my mom, waiting for food commodities, and having people walk by and sneer at us and say really horrible things. … The good news is that she’s a total American success story. She’s the first person in our family to go to college; she became an educator; she taught third grade and bilingual reading for 40 years and retired. So she’s an example of how someone might need a little help, but if they get that help, that person can go on to become a great contributor to our society.”
All submissions are welcome — especially those showing someone demonstrating their “moves” with abandon. (One laugh-inspiring video received shows a man dancing barefoot with his dog in the snow.) Participants are asked to share videos or photos to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #NoSin2BPoor (or tag them on Facebook with @NoSin2BPoor) by Monday, April 13. Per Jacobs, the hashtag direct-feeds to the website her husband designed for the project, nosin2bpoor.com. Their plan is to “create a little hub” of connection and community where people can see how others are coping.
“The thing about ‘No Sin to Be Poor’ is these people are defiant — they’re dancing in the dollar store. They’re like, ‘You can’t put me down.’ I just wanted to do something positive. It felt like this was a good way to do it.”
To learn more about Jacobs, visit pijacobs.com.