Posts tagged with "covid"

Growing heart illustration

MENTAL HEALTH – DR. ALEX ALVARDO

Even though we have made great progress in bringing people into therapy during the pandemic, there is still a huge stigma about therapy – that it doesn’t work. In order to really change this perception, we must do more upfront work to make sure people are being matched correctly to qualified therapists and psychologists who can care for, and treat, that person’s individualized needs. To achieve this successfully requires more than a simple Internet search or app signup.

One of the biggest missteps someone can make when searching for a therapist is blindly accepting the most convenient option. This could come in the form of a quick Internet search (just because something pops up in the No. 1 position on Google does not mean it is the best option for you); or taking a referral from a friend or family member (just because a therapist is right for someone else, does not mean it is the best match for you). Additionally, skipping the therapist interview step, and rushing to the hiring step (or signing up on a mental health app), can make you feel committed or trapped with a therapist that was never the right match for you in the first place. It is true that the year 2020 will likely be known as one of the most stressful years in our time, and the first time that many Americans sought out a therapist. While this is a good thing and shows progress for improving mental health, we now face a lesser-talked about “second pandemic” of mental health issues – of which includes finding the right therapist – that could affect our future perception of mental health and our willingness to seek help.

Compounding this problem is the anxiety, financial stress, politics, substance abuse, isolation, job worries, relationship problems, health concerns and other issues that have intensified since the start of the pandemic, which has overwhelmed therapists with new patients, many of whom go on a waiting list or get referred out to less qualified resources. Mental health professionals are not immune from the stress of the pandemic either, often citing burnout and fatigue from heavy patient loads, while also struggling to handle their own stress at home.

All of these factors contribute to a more complicated and challenging mental health environment that requires increased navigation and guidance from the mental health industry to make sure that those seeking help are receiving evidence-based therapies from qualified professionals who have the bandwidth to invest in the client for the long run. To improve first-time encounters with therapy, I developed a free online matchmaking platform at Thriving Center of Psychology that vets and validates licensed professionals, then matches them to individuals seeking help, based on the person’s specific therapy needs and the professional’s area of expertise and therapy process.

To begin the process of finding the right therapist is simple. Start by filling out a 3-minute questionnaire that helps uncover the style of therapist that may be the best fit for your specific situation and preferred type. Questions cover everything from therapy approach to gender and ethnicity, including what specialty of a therapist are you seeking? Are you looking for a goal-oriented or reflective therapist? Do you want your therapist to have a holistic approach (including recommending yoga, meditation, and journaling)? and so on.

This filter then quickly matches individuals seeking help to a vetted database of qualified therapists who are licensed to work in the state in which the person lives. I developed this therapist matchmaking platform because so many friends and family members would ask me for therapist referrals. What I came to realize was that when people finally decide they should find a mental health therapist, they are often faced with a huge hurdle: finding a qualified therapist. Finding a therapist is not easy, especially if you are not a professional in the mental health industry and do not know all the right questions to ask. Mistakes can be easily made as many people either skip or rush through the research and interview step of finding a therapist.

If it is a person’s first time in therapy and it is a bad experience, it is most likely they will never return to it.
Once you find your therapist match, you should still interview 2-3 therapists before
committing to a paid session with anyone. Face-to-face office visits or video sessions
are ideal. During the interview, be sure to check the therapist’s credentials with state government sites, and have a clear understanding of his or her treatment style, therapy process and verify whether or not that therapy approach is evidence-based as defined by the American Psychological Association. Also, ask the therapist if he or she has ever treated anyone with similar concerns to yours. This will give you a clearer picture on the therapist’s treatment approach. It is important in this initial interview with the therapist, that you do not do all the talking.

You can share at a high level about what is going on (like, I’m grieving from the death of my mother), but do not get into the
details. Let the therapist do the majority of the talking so you can get a really good feel for his or her compatibility to you and your needs. Additionally, make sure that the therapist you select is licensed to work in your state. The increased popularity of virtual sessions since the start of the pandemic has opened many more options for people
seeking counseling, but if you go the virtual route, you still need to make sure the therapist is licensed to work in the state in which you reside. Ultimately, to live a truly fulfilled life, remember that it is just as important to place a high
priority on your mental health as it is for your physical health. You deserve the chance to unlock your true potential and live the life you have always dreamed of so do not let anything get in the way of your mental health, which is part of your overall health.

Start with the research step and find the therapist that is the best match for your specific needs – then the rest of the journey will be less stressful from there.

Dr. Alex Alvarado 

Shanghai during COVID-19 lockdown via Hannah Zhong for use by 360 Magazine

Shanghai Navigates COVID Lockdown

On March 28, the urbanist city in China of Shanghai began to lockdown. As of now, all people continue to be quarantined at home, with schools and businesses closed.

During the extended quarantine of Shanghai, the number of infections has continued to climb. A few things about the gravity of the lockdown are worth noting.

First is the treatment of positive patients. In most countries, people with mild infections only need to be quarantined at home to wait for self-recovery. China differs from often countries as they have adopted centralized quarantine, which includes quarantine of close contacts.

After the outbreak, countless shelter hospitals were built in Shanghai, with some schools, office buildings, and stadiums were requisitioned to build shelter hospitals. Because the speed of construction could not keep up with the spread of the virus, many covid positive patients waited at home for more than a week for treatment and were later sent to shelter hospitals even after testing negative. Many patients even spend whole days in transfer cars because all the shelter hospitals are full.

The conditions of shelter hospitals are also very diverse. Some places have sufficient food supply, and the environment is very hygienic. However, the sanitary conditions of some hospitals are shocking. Hundreds of people share one restroom, and in severe cases, toilets may even be filled with excrement.

Next, it is important to dicsuss the lack of food, specifically outage of all packages and restaurant delivery. The government issued a statement on March 28th, which entailed the Pudong district being locked down from March 28th to April 1st. Remaining areas would be locked down from April 1st to April 5th. Many people stored food for four days as directed by the government, but Shanghai’s lockdown was not lifted by the fourth day.

The government distributes food and daily necessities to residents, but the food everyone received could not sustain a month-long confinement. Some open supermarkets began taking orders in the morning hours, but a community with tens of thousands of people can only take hundreds of orders, leaving most citizens with no way to order food.

As a result, some people spontaneously initiated group purchases, with a resident of the community as the leader, negotiating with food suppliers, and then ordering the food needed by the entire community, and then distributing them by themselves. In communities with few households, everyone can only rely on supermarket deliveries.

Lastly, non-COVID-19 patients have not been receiving adequate treatment. During the quarantine period, all citizens were unable to leave their homes, which led to the difficulty of seeing a doctor for patients with underlying diseases. There are many patients who need hemodialysis, chemotherapy, and surgery that cannot be treated in time.

For emergency patients, it is even more difficult, because hospitals need Covid PCR test reports within 24 hours before they can accept patients. There are some acutely ill patients, such as myocardial infarction, renal failure, etc., who died at the hospital gate because they were waiting for the PCR test report.

As April 21, Shanghai had been closed for 24 days, with the number of infected people beginning to slowly decline on April 17. The government declared that “Zero-Covid policy” must be implemented. It remains to be seen where Shanghai will go in the future.

Article by: Hannah Zhong

Shanghai during COVID-19 lockdown via Hannah Zhong for use by 360 Magazine
j-balvin-announces-neon-experience-cancun 360Magazine

The Bourbon Room Hollywood

 The Bourbon Room Hollywood is set to officially reopen this Saturday, Feb. 5 as Hollywood’s hottest new live music, entertainment, and dining destination, debuting two new rock supergroups and a lineup of the best in rock n’ roll tribute acts in the country. Kicked off by the global sensation Rock of Ages, The Bourbon Room brings the best in live music, nightlife, comedy, and theater to Hollywood with the same edgy, rock and roll attitude that built The Sunset Strip. If Joe’s Pub and The Troubadour had a baby, it would be The Bourbon Room. 

Originally built for the hit musical Rock of Ages in July of 2019, The Bourbon Room was also home to a 10-week, sold-out run of Tarantino Live in partnership with For the Record. The venue was off to a great start until July of 2020 when Covid hit and Rock of Ages tragically lost the lead star, Nick Cordero after complications from Covid, and everything came to a screeching halt.

“After the loss of our talented, dear friend Nick, and being denied financial assistance from Save our Stages, and repeated shutdowns; it has been an uphill battle,” said Matthew Weaver, Owner of The Bourbon Room Hollywood. “Although the pandemic has been devastating, we used the opportunity to remodel and rebrand; and are ready to present locals and tourists with the ultimate live music and culinary entertainment experience.” 

This stunning 8,000 square-foot entertainment venue is unlike any other venue in Los Angeles paying tribute to The Sunset Strip and bringing together the best in rock n’ roll music, great food, live entertainment, and craft cocktails. Overlooking the iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame, The Bourbon Room is a gateway to a 200-seat custom theater, flooded with neon lights and signs from iconic clubs that made The Sunset Strip. It features a million-dollar, state-of-the-art sound and lighting system and cutting-edge production for the ultimate live music experience. The walls display guitars and platinum records with zebra print carpet, paying further homage to The Sunset Strip.

The February entertainment line-up starts on Saturday, Feb. 5, with Travis Haley (Lexxi Foxx), the ex-bassist from Steel Panther with the LA debut of Hollywood Gods N’ Monsters (HGNM)—”the biggest smash-up band in the world.” The band features Travis along with singer Dave “Diggity Dave” Aragon (“Pimp My Ride”), rapper HYPE, singer Kris “7even” Aragon, drummer Daniel Adam Parker, and guitarist Brian Jennings. HGNM smashes together the songs every generation has grown up with, mixing songs of the ’70s bands Chic with Queen, Aerosmith, The Sugarhill Gang, Blondie, and DMX.

Starting Wednesday, Feb. 23, Gilby Clarke (Guns N’ Roses) debuts his new band The Keef Richards with a weekly Wednesday residency. The supergroup features Kenny Arnoff (Smashing Pumpkins, Chickenfoot, etc), Teddy Zig Zag (Guns N’ Roses, Alice Cooper) and Sean McNabb (Dokken) along with different big named special guests weekly. Early arrival is recommended. You never know who is going to show up!

Other confirmed shows include Spazmatics on Feb. 18; Pettybreakers on Feb. 20; English Beat on March 4 & 5; The Dan Band on March 18; and Punk Rock Karaoke on February 25th featuring an amazing line up of punk rockers including Greg Hetson (Bad Religion, Circle Jerks) Stan Lee (The Dickies), Randy Bradbury (Pennywise), and Darrin Pfeiffer (Goldfinger, Sum 41). 

The venue will also introduce new residencies such as Broadway at The Bourbon Room, a brand new monthly musical cabaret celebrating the songs, stories, and stars of Broadway. Guests can sing along to their favorite songs, discover new talent, and hear stories from artists’ time spent on and off the stage. 

Designed by BUILT Inc., the same team behind popular LA venues such as Guy’s Bar, Trousdale, The Nice Guy, The Peppermint Club, and Pink Taco, The Bourbon Room is by far one of the sexiest venues in Hollywood. Upon entering, you head through a nondescript set of wrought iron doors and up a set of stairs before being greeted by an edgy, full-service speakeasy cocktail lounge adorned with exposed brick walls, HD TVs, swanky chesterfield sofas, and a leopard print stage. The Lounge is the perfect place to sip cocktails and enjoy a bite before the show. 

The menu features upscale comfort and bar food from Executive Chef Frankie Guerrero, craft cocktails, and a large selection of fine wine. Chef Frankie brings years of culinary experience with a focus on bar and comfort food. He has worked at some of Los Angeles’s most notable popups and restaurants supporting high-profile chefs like Tim Hollingsworth at Field LA and Free Play, Ludo Lefebvre at Trois Familia, and Ludo Bird and at Neal Fraser’s Fritzi Coop, later morphing into Arts District Brewery. His most recent project was supporting B.J. Novak‘s pop-up restaurant Chain for Tim Hollingsworth.   

Some of Chef Frankie’s signature items on The Bourbon Room menu include Frankie’s flavorful Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich that is brined and served with an in-house spread of slow-roasted garlic confit, olive oil, and herbs and The Bourbon Room Cheeseburger built with a mixture of Snake River Farms Wagyu beef and brisket on a potato bun.

Sondra Perry photo via Travis Matthews for use by 360 MAGAZINE

ROLLS-ROYCE MUSE PROGRAMME

Lineage for a Phantom Zone marks an important milestone in Rolls-Royce’s creative history. The newly commissioned work by artist Sondra Perry, sees Muse, the Rolls-Royce Art Programme’s inaugural award, the Dream Commission, come to fruition. Initiated to advance the medium of moving image art, the Dream Commission has consisted of a two-year process during which leading lights of the artistic world selected Sondra Perry to create an entirely new work. I am pleased to confirm this work will be shown at the prestigious Fondation Beyeler in Switzerland, before travelling to Serpentine, London. On behalf of Rolls-Royce, I congratulate Sondra Perry on this exciting commission, and we look forward to sharing her installation this year.”

Chief Executive Officer of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Torsten Müller-Ötvös.

American artist Sondra Perry joins forces with the Rolls-Royce Art Programme Muse to produce the immersive experience known as Lineage for a Phantom Zone. The program was shaped in support of the Dream Commission, and will open for one full month from February 13 to March 13 at Foundation Beyeler, Switzerland.

One of the most powerful mediums in art today is moving image art. This new program promises to embrace and highlight nothing but that, with film, animation, artificial intelligence and virtual reality pieces incorporated throughout the course. The emergence of social media combined with the affects of the COVID-19 pandemic have altered our world as we knew it, pushing for the rise of the digital age.

In support of the Dream Commission, Rolls-Royce aims to back developing artists in the field of art creation. The establishment of this new platform of moving image artwork expands the realm that we previously knew. With constant visualization of revolutionizing technical and conceptual boundaries, Rolls-Royce fulfills this through their exploration in cooperation with the Dream Commission.

May 2021 Dream Commission winner Sondra Perry works as a moving medium artist specializing in pieces relating to the topics of race, identity and technology. Perry received this honor out of a limited four differing artists in the same field, chosen by a Jury of modern-day art figures. Lineage for a Phantom Zone navigates through Perry’s journey of life highlighting the importance of dreaming. The philosophies of memory, lineage and longing are touched as well, explored through sensory elements that induce the physical, emotional and mental feelings of dreaming.

The 2022 inaugural Dream Commission was made possible through cooperation with Fondation Beyeler, Basel and Serpentine, London.

Explore Dream Commission content HERE.

Nursing Home Staff Shortages

Amidst the perseverance of the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare industry has taken a massive blow. There are intense staffing shortages in the field, and the public is suffering from these scarcities. The Washington Post gave a detailed report on these worsening staff deficiencies, more specifically in long term care facilities.

Nursing homes tend to lessen the stress on hospitals as recovered patients typically move there after being released. Without proper staffing, though, facilities have not been able to take in patients from hospitals. A specific example of this misfortune stems from the Terrace View nursing home in Buffalo, New York. The home is currently not running at full capacity, and there are up to 22 beds not being used due to lack of staff.

The Washington Post article elaborates on this disaster, highlighting another facility affected. “That means some fully recovered patients in the adjacent Erie County Medical Center must stay in their hospital rooms, waiting for a bed in the nursing home. Which means some patients in the emergency department, who should be admitted to the hospital, must stay there until a hospital bed opens up. The emergency department becomes stretched so thin that 10 to 20 percent of arrivals leave without seeing a caregiver — after an average wait of six to eight hours, according to the hospital’s data.”

Many long-term care facilities across the country are facing these same troubles. The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) found 58% of nursing homes are cutting down on arrivals, again, because of the shortage of staff members.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that 425,000 long term care workers left the industry since February 2020. Though other industries have seen economic growth since the onset of the pandemic, nursing homes have not had the same luck. “Remarkably, despite the horrific incidents of death and illness in nursing homes at the outset of the pandemic, more staff departures have come during the economic recovery. As restaurants and shops reopened and hiring set records, nursing homes continued to bleed workers, even as residents returned.”

These troubles are heightened in more rural areas. The article, too, depicts the story of Diakonos Group in Medford, Oklahoma, that had to shut down since there was simply not enough staff. The facility provided care for patients with mental health needs, but after the pandemic started, they found that their staff had endured too much. Diakonos Group CEO Scott Pilgrim explained that although the business offered a raise in hourly wages, bonuses and overtime, employees continued to leave, and they could not withstand these absences.

AHCA/NCAL urges lawmakers to work with the long term care division of healthcare to fix this staffing crisis and devote resources to employ caregivers. As hospitals continue to be directly affected by this catastrophe, change must be made as soon as possible. AHCA/NCAL encourages Congress to take action and ease these tensions placed on both hospitals and long term care facilities.

Allison Christensen for use by 360 Magazine

Virtual Meeting w/ Biden × Xi

By: Conan Zhang

US President Biden and China’s Chairman, Xi Jinping had their first virtue summit on November 15th. This summit was set towards the improvement of bilateral cooperation but there was no concrete action after three and a half hours of the conference.

The summit had its focus on a wide range of issues, including human rights, climate change, and the economy. However, among all the topics, the future of Taiwan has been one of the major focuses of the globe.

Since the uncertainty of the global pandemic and political concern, Xi has canceled all his traveling plans since January 2020. The two leaders have spoken through telephone twice this year, nevertheless this time they were intended to lead a more exhaustive discussion of the previous issues.

Although the summit was taken place virtually, the place was carefully selected. Xi along with his allies was at the East Hall in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Biden and his team were at the Roosevelt Room at the White House.

During the conference, each side has mentioned their dispute which concerns them the most. While the disservice has been deeply rooted which offered little room for compromise. Although Xi called Mr. Biden “my old friend” at the beginning of the summit and used a metaphor that compared the two superpowers to ships that navigate together in the ocean’s wind, under the water, there is disagreement and conflict which is hard to be resolved.

Spotlight focus: Taiwan Affairs

Taiwan affairs are always the most significant issue among China and US. The White House and Xinhua News Agency, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, have individually quoted Biden and Xi’s speeches, which demonstrated their respectively different opinions.

According to a statement issued by the White House, Biden said that “the United States is still committed to the ‘One China policy, which is implemented under the guidance of the “Taiwan Relations Act”, the three joint communiqués and the six guarantees.”

While on the other hand, Xinhua News Agency quoted Biden as saying, “The U.S. government is committed to pursuing the long-term and consistent one China’ policy and does not support Taiwan independence.

Despite the fact that Xi Jinping always mentioned Taiwan in the past, This time his words are tougher, and more sounds like a warning. He warned that “Taiwan independence” is “very dangerous. It is playing with fire, and you will burn yourself if you play with fire.” He emphasized that the one-China principle and the three Sino-US joint communiqués are the foundation of China-US relations.

Seek common ground while reserving differences

It is impossible to solve the enormous divisions that occur among the world’s two superpowers through just one meeting. While the virtual summit between Xi Jinping and Joe Biden obviously has removed the concern whether China-US would spiral into a new Cold War. The relationship is rebounding from the Trump era which there was a great misunderstanding. Cooperation of the world is urgently needed, since the COVID pandemic, economic recession, and climate crisis.

Although there is dissension in many ways, the communication was structural and honest, The fact that the summit has taken place for almost four hours is a clear sign that both leaders are putting a great amount of effort to achieve substantive and constructive results. They showed a strong desire to eventually find a way to reach a consensus. And Biden in his word said that we need to have “commonsense guardrails” and prevent the China-US competition from “veering into conflict”.

Conclusion

China-US collaboration and benign competition are appreciated by the world. History has witnessed the benefits of both superpowers working together from the Financial crisis of 2007–2008 to the joint declaration on enhanced climate actions announced recently in Glasgow. Just like what Xi mentioned at the begging of the summit, “Humanity lives in a global village, and we face multiple challenges together. China and the US need to increase communication and co-operation.”

For The Love of Comic Con 

By: Rodney Ramlochan × Elle Grant × Vaughn Lowery

New York City’s Comic Con is a key annual fan event dedicated to Western comics, graphic novels, anime, manga, video games, movies, television and more. First held in 2006, this classic event was canceled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, devastating fans who look forward to this mainstay of popular culture. Yet this year, Comic Con made its triumphant return, though it looked a little different in the attendance of both its exhibitors and fans. 360 MAGAZINE got the full scoop from well-versed fan Rodney Ramlochan on how this event has changed. He offers comments on the good, the bad, the Covid, and the in between for 360 readers. Read Ramlochan’s full testimony below:

To say that I love New York Comic Con is an understatement. For over a decade, as a pop-culture geek, I’ve enjoyed the fantastic guests, panels, original art, unique exhibitors, industry merchants, and one-of-kind exclusives. It has always been one of my favorite events to cover, and as a die-hard fan, I was deeply disappointed that the pandemic caused last year’s convention to go virtual. However, I was thrilled to hear that the event was coming back in person this year. Since much had changed over the past eighteen months, I thought it would be cool to experience the event as a fan rather than cover it as press. I also wanted to test-drive ReedPop’s Metaverse membership for ordering in-person tickets and focus on the overall fan experience, including Covid safety precautions and notable differences between this year and cons from yesteryear. Here are my post-Comic Con impressions. 

I purchased tickets a few months ago in July using the MetaVerse presale process. Of course, this was before the uptick caused by the Delta variant strain. I didn’t expect any issues with purchasing online as I’ve never really had a problem buying 4-day or single-day passes in the past. Still, I was interested in trying out the new Metaverse Membership that gives you first access to NYCC badges, photo ops & autographing tickets. My mission this year was to get both an autograph and photograph with William Shatner, epic space captain of the Starship Enterprise and now a real-life astronaut. In addition to getting first dibs on NYCC in-person tickets, the Superfan membership allows you to buy MCM Comic Con, Emerald City Comic Con, and C2E2 tickets. You can also get paid digital experiences, exclusive access to video content and celebrity panels, access to exclusive NYCC merchandise online. 

The Superfan Membership process was relatively seamless. I signed up at the end of June using the Metaverse Membership email and bought tickets using a dedicated link on my profile page within a few days. I purchased single day passes for each day of the convention, and I was contacted for the opportunity to purchase photo ops and autographs in addition at the end of September. Overall, I’d say the membership was worth it. It’s perfect for the fan who would rather have a more significant window of time to purchase tickets. Outside of remembering to click on the notification reminder emails and follow the presale, photo ops, and autographs links, ordering is straightforward.  There are no worries about getting tickets for the exact days you want to attend. If you are good with the allotted time frame afforded by the standard ordering process, then paying for the Superfan membership may not be beneficial at this time. However, I do wonder what the future holds for purchasing tickets in the future. Suppose the Superfan method of buying in-person tickets becomes more popular. Will it impact the standard order process and make it more challenging to obtain single-day passes post-pandemic?  Only time will tell. 

As far as Covid safety protocols, enforcement, and logistics, the ReedPop and the Javitz Center team did a great job managing this. Before attending, I was uncertain why New York Comic Con needed a partnership with CLEAR Health Pass. Especially since vaccination proof was a requirement for attending and could be validated using vaccine cards and existing apps like the NY Excelsior Pass. In hindsight, standardizing the application that everyone uses for admission was a smart move. At the very least, it streamlined the process and expedited entry for most. I picked up my green ReedPop vaccine wristband at the Javitz Crystal Palace a few nights before opening. It took me less than 5 minutes to show the CLEAR app and retrieve the band, and in many ways, this process foreshadowed the overall feel and attendance for the convention. NYC began requiring proof of vaccinations in early September, and the event was following suit. The mandate may have impacted attendance, as I read many social media comments from individuals that stated they wanted to return or sell their tickets because they didn’t know the vaccine would be mandated before purchasing. But, as a whole, most people in attendance complied with the requirements. I was there all four days and only encountered two individuals not wearing masks on the main floor. I didn’t notice security enforcing the mask mandate, but I did hear that a vendor and few individuals had been removed from the showroom floor for not following the rules.  At my William Shatner autograph and photo ops sessions, plexiglass partitions protected Shatner and the fans. Partitions were used at all reserved signings and photo op sessions. According to ReedPop, 150,000 paid in-person attendees were at the event this past weekend compared to 250,000 in previous years. Even with 100,00 fewer people, this was the largest indoor in-person event held in New York since 2019, showing a great evolution from where things were at the start of the pandemic. It was good to see that all of the proper safety protocols were in place. 

One of the most significant differences between this year’s Comic Con and past shows was the notable absence of large exhibitors like Disney, Marvel, DC, Image, Sony, Amazon, SYFY, and distributors like Funko and Midtown Comics. Of course, it didn’t come as a surprise, as we had been receiving no-show notices practically every week leading up to the event. I’m sure it deterred some folks from attending, but I think it helped provide a unique experience for those who did. It minimized the crowd and offered other smaller exhibitors an opportunity to showcase their properties and spend more time with fans. As a result, I spent a lot more time than I would typically have at smaller booths. For example, I met the great folks at Plunderlings, a boutique toy line presenting a fresh take on fantasy universes from a Caribbean perspective. Although some of the major players weren’t present, there was an excellent turnout for anime fans from Toei Animation, Funimation, VIZ Media, and Tamashii Nations. Without having to compete for floor space, it seemed as if their exhibits doubled in size. If you were a fan of these companies, it was probably the first time in years that you could casually stroll through their exhibits without waiting in line. Although it was less crowded, the show floor did not feel empty. As expected, Saturday and Sunday saw an increase in volume of attendees, but nothing compared to the previous years. 

One of the most extraordinary changes this year was the unveiling of the new Javits Center expansion project. It took a few minutes to figure out exactly where floors 4 and 5 were, but once you found them in the building adjacent to the old center, you were treated to the fantastic skyline and river views on the way up to the panel rooms and the new Empire Stage. There were a few blockbuster live panels, including Ghostbuster and The Boys; however, many panels like Sandman Act II and Wheel of Time were pre-recorded videos. I did sit in on the Sandman panel, but post-viewing, I felt a bit underwhelmed – watching a video of writer Neil Gaiman, audiobook director Dirk Maggs, actor James McCoy (who voices the title character), and actor/filmmaker Kevin Smith (who voices Merv Pumpkinhead) was not the same as seeing them in person. In addition, ReedPop introduced a new reservation system for the larger panels instead of the “badge tap-in” process used in the past. I have mixed feelings about this, as it didn’t appear that anyone’s reservations for the panels were being checked. It may have been because there was excess capacity remaining at the events I attended. However, I will note that the folks at the Tamashii Nations booth to purchase their exclusive Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan Son Goku figure did check for reservations. 

Overall, expanding the panels to the new venue resulted in two significant outcomes. First, it allowed more space to return to smaller fan-focused panels, which featured creators interacting with their fandom instead of pitching major studio events.  Second, moving the panels out of the main building allowed for Artist Alley to take back a prominent role I felt it had lost over the past few years. This year, the Alley was front and center, featuring principal mainstays like Fabian Nicieza, Chris Claremont, Rob Leifeld, and Scott Synder amongst many others. I especially enjoyed chatting with Ben Bishop, one of the key artists on TMNT’s The Last Ronin. 

Undoubtedly, many of this year’s Comic Con changes resulted from how best to host an event during a pandemic, but many of the changes also focused on improving the fan experience. As a result, NYCC 2021 felt more like the NYCC of 2011, but with a few notable improvements. Creators were able to connect more with their fandoms, fans were able to stop and appreciate exhibitors and artists more, and ReedPop unveiled a few new processes to streamline crowd control and help fans maximize their time at the event. It wasn’t perfect, but as a fan, it exceeded my expectations, and I’m even more looking forward to a pandemic-free NYCC next year. 

360 MAGAZINE covers NYCC
360 MAGAZINE covers NYCC
360 MAGAZINE covers NYCC.
Rodney Ramlochan attends NYCC on behalf of 360 MAGAZINE and meets William Shatner.
Art by Mina Tocalini for use by 360 Magazine

Scientists Mapping Next Pandemic

An international team of scientists has created a powerful new resource to speed the development of vaccines and treatments to battle the next pandemic.

University of Virginia School of Medicine researcher Wladek Minor, PhD, and collaborators in China and Poland have developed an Internet information system, called virusMED, that lays out all we know about the atomic structure and potential vulnerabilities of more than 800 virus strains from 75 different virus families, including SARS-CoV-2, influenza, Ebola and HIV‑1. Several of the collaborators, including the lead investigator, Heping Zheng, are former students and members of Minor’s lab at UVA. 

This new panorama of the proteins of potential threats will help scientists respond quickly and effectively against the next pathogen poised to wreak havoc on humanity. Minor and his collaborators compare the resource to Google Maps, in that it organizes and annotates major points of interest on a virus that scientists can use as a roadmap in drug and vaccine development.

“The battle with COVID-19 is not over yet, but we cannot wait to start preparing for the next pandemic. VirusMED is a step towards an advanced information system that brings together researchers with diverse expertise to tackle complex biomedical challenges,” said Minor, the Harrison Distinguished Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics at UVA. “The information contained in virusMED will help viral researchers from many disciplines, especially those working on drug design or anti-viral therapies. We provide novel structural analysis and integrate pertinent information from various resources to provide a comprehensive picture of the proteins’ most important and vulnerable regions.”

Virus Hotspots

By quickly unlocking the SARS-CoV-2 virus mechanism of action, scientists were able to develop safe and effective vaccines for COVID-19. Minor’s new database aims to put that type of critical information at scientists’ fingertips in one convenient location.

VirusMED contains extensive information on virus species and strains, hosts, viral proteins and antibodies, as well as drugs that have already been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, among other important scientific data. The researchers call the points of interest on a virus its “hotspots,” and these hotspots make for strong starting points for drug and vaccine development.

“One of the most promising strain-indifferent antibody therapies developed for the treatment of COVID-19 used this type of information to improve upon a unique antibody isolated from a survivor who was infected by the SARS virus back in 2003,” said David Cooper, PhD, research faculty in Minor’s lab. “People who are surprised by rapid drug and vaccine design don’t realize that researchers today are building upon decades of previous research.”

One of virusMED’s major advantages is that it brings together the extant knowledge about viruses in one location, Minor said. Previously, that data was spread across multiple resources and often “siloed” so that it was not easily accessible. With virusMED, researchers can browse the information by virus or by their hotspot of interest.

The free and accessible database can be found HERE.

“One of the goals of my lab is to make tools that other scientists can use. We look at the forest and find ways to help others focus on the trees,” Minor said. “Resource generation is not glamorous, but the ultimate goal of science is to make life better. One of the anonymous peer-reviewers of the paper claimed they instantly became an enthusiastic user of the system. We expect virusMED to really make a difference.”

Findings Published

The researchers have published their findings in the scientific IUCr Journal. The work will be featured on the journal’s cover. The research team consisted of HuiHui Zhang, Pei Chen, Haojie Ma, Magdalena Woinska, Dejian Liu, Cooper, Guo Peng, Yousong Peng, Lei Deng, Minor and Zheng. .

To keep up with the latest medical research news from UVA, subscribe to the Making of Medicine blog.

Disneyland illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

Rockefeller Productions – Winnie The Pooh

Rockefeller Productions Announces Safety Protocol For their Record-Breaking Disney Winnie The Pooh The New Musical Stage Adaptation 

Performances begin at Theatre Row on October 21, 2021 

A leader in family entertainment, Rockefeller Productions announces one of the country’s most thorough and considerate safety protocols for their highly anticipated new musical, Disney Winnie The Pooh, beginning performances on October 21, 2021, at Theatre Row. The new protocols will ensure the safety of every audience member and performer.

Keeping in line with current CDC and industry safety standards, all patrons will be required to wear a mask inside the theatre, and every person 12+ will be required to show proof of vaccine before entering the theatre.  Those under 12 years old will be required to show evidence of a negative PCR COVID test within 3 days of the performance or a negative COVID rapid antigen test from a doctor or testing site within 6 hours of performance.

To make it easier for families to return to the theatre, Rockefeller Productions has partnered with Dr. Karen Thornton to provide free rapid on-site testing, good within six hours of the test. The testing van will be located directly outside of Theatre Row (410 W 42nd Street) up to 1.5 hours before curtain time. It will be equipped with trained nurses to administer the non-invasive swab rapid test with results in 15 minutes. Parents should arrive at least thirty minutes before curtain time to ensure a negative test before entering the theatre. Rockefeller Productions will also provide activities for young people to assist families while they wait for the results.

Additionally, Rockefeller Productions will be introducing Seating Bubbles during certain performances distancing family units throughout the theatre. Finally, in its most comprehensive and definitive safety measure, they are also offering the Ultimate Winnie the Pooh VIP Experience with the privacy and comfort of a complete theatre buy-out accommodating up to 190 guests, as a way to enjoying the magic of Winnie the Pooh with the confidence and comfort of personally knowing every other patron attending the performance.

These safety measures are the most complete and thoughtful plan to bring audiences back to the theatre with confidence.

“We are excited to welcome audiences back to the theatre, but we also understand the difficulties that parents face in trying to adhere to current guidelines. Rockefeller Productions is happy to partner with Dr. Thornton and her team of professionals to make testing easy and convenient.  These efforts are well worth it to ensure the safety of our patrons while making sure they have complete confidence returning to live theatre once again.”  Rockefeller Productions’ Jonathan Rockefeller

Breaking box office records, Rockefeller Productions will debut its newest and most anticipated production Disney Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Stage Adaptation, featuring songs by the Sherman Brothers and A.A. Milne, on October 21, 2021. This beautifully crafted musical stage adaptation is set deep in the Hundred Acre Wood and told with stunning life-size puppetry through the eyes of the Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin, and their best friends Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit, and Owl (and Tigger too).

Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Adaptation is developed and presented by renowned family entertainment creator Jonathan Rockefeller (whose spectacular puppetry is omnipresent in the acclaimed productions of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show and Paddington Gets in a Jam).  Performances will take place at Times Square’s Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street) beginning October 21, 2021.

Tickets are now available here.

ABOUT THE SHOW

Winnie the Pooh has been enjoyed by millions of readers and viewers ever since English author A.A. Milne first chronicled the adventures of Christopher Robin’s friends in the Hundred Acre Wood in 1926. The books, featuring illustrations by English illustrator E.H. Shephard has sold over 50 million copies worldwide. The theatrical rights to the Pooh stories were acquired by Disney in 1961, with an original intent to produce a feature film, but after production began, Walt Disney decided to make short featurettes instead. The three featurettes were subsequently incorporated into the feature The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.  This was the last film in the Disney canon in which Walt Disney had personal involvement. The first featurette, Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree was released during his lifetime, while Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day was still in development.  Disney’s Winnie the Pooh has since become one of the best-loved and most successful franchises in history.

The Sherman Brothers are the multi-talented Oscar® and Grammy® Award-winning American songwriting duo of Richard M. Sherman and Robert B.   Sherman. The Sherman Brothers wrote more motion-picture musical scores than any other songwriting team in film history.  Among these are the Disney classics Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and The Aristocats. The Sherman Brothers worked directly with Walt Disney on the first two Winnie the Pooh featurettes:  Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (which garnered a Grammy Award nomination) and Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day. The brothers won a Grammy Award for the third featurette:  Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too.  All three featurettes were incorporated into the 1977 musical film The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. The duo also wrote songs for Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore and The Tigger Movie, with their music also featured in the movie Christopher Robin.

Jonathan Rockefeller and Rockefeller Productions embraced the challenge of re-imaging Disney’s Winnie the Pooh for a new audience by bringing it to life on stage in puppet form. The company has garnered global accolades, from critics and audiences alike, for their production of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, with 14 productions playing on four continents. An extended run of the show in New York City culminated in Drama Desk and Off-Broadway Alliance nominations, as did their production of Paddington Gets in a Jam, which tours China and the US later this year. Other projects include Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, which plays on three continents, Mr. Men and Little Miss Show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the award-winning short film, 10 Little Rubber Ducks, written by preeminent author/illustrator Eric Carle.

Produced in association with Disney Theatrical Productions.

Art by Mina Tocalini of 360 Magazine for use by 360 Magazine

Fabtech Conference 2021

By: Skyler Johnson

Coronavirus affected every single aspect of society, including factory labor. The Fabtech 2021 conference showcased the top metal forming brands in Taiwan, discussing the unique ways they were able to adapt to Covid-19. 

Mechalogix was the first company that spoke. They designed a system designed to lower labor costs through computers that actually monitor the performance of the machines and send back statistics to the operator, allowing the user to gain statistics from the strength of a saw blade to overall performance. If something needs to be replaced, the user will know, and a mechanic can be sent to the machine. But, no one needs to be watching the machines, which allows for a decrease in labor costs.

SEYI has developed a computer program that allows for users to interface with a lot of different aspects of the press, figuring out the analysis of the machine, including operation analysis and downtime analysis. Like with Mechalogix, the technology is able to send messages immediately to maintenance personnel.

Tailift has implemented a system to help in decreasing the time between taking orders and delivering products by using different web services that cut out the middleman between taking orders and delivering products, and have secured high speed internet and a strong firewall to do so. The company has also invested in technology including utilizing robot arms which help to increase efficiency and decrease maintenance costs

Da Jie is utilizing automated technology in order to avoid human cluster as a result of the pandemic, thus leading to more efficiency in production and 50% of the material being saved. SImilar to Tailift, the company uses robotic arms and other devices in order to save on cost. 

Ultimately, metal forming companies have implemented a lot of changes in order to deal with the pandemic, making their systems smarter and more efficient in the process. The pandemic has hurt everyone, but these factories were able to adapt.