WW presents "Distant Voices," a daily video interview for the era of social distancing. Our reporters are asking Portlanders what they're doing during quarantine.
Storm Large lives alone, but that doesn't mean she's used to actually being alone.
As a singer and actress, whose credits include competing on the CBS reality show Rock Star: Supernova, touring with Pink Martini and starring in her own autobiographical musical, she's spent the better part of the past two decades away from her home in Southeast Portland. Now that she's being forced to stay away from the stage, she's confronting some harsh truths about herself.
"It's taught me that I will feel so bereft if I'm not being useful, and that is an unsustainable motivation," says Large. "Because I won't be able to tour forever. I won't be able to sing and perform the way I do now forever. And for my entire self-worth to be based around my ability to entertain other people is just a disaster in the making."
Still, entertaining people is what she knows best. In between learning ABBA songs on the ukulele and "trying to not fucking cry every single day and night," Large, 50, has been giving performances on Instagram Live, sometimes solo, sometimes in her backyard accompanied by her band's pianist. (On April 19, she'll livestream a set as part of a "virtual gala" for the Oregon Symphony.)
It's an experience she compares to "sexting." But she figures it's the one thing she can contribute right now.
"I'm not technically superstar famous, but I have a lot of very sensitive fans," Large says. "One of my whom, my No. 1 fan, she's this amazing, lovely woman. She has one lung, one good eye. She's in her 80s, she's in a wheelchair, and she just had a stroke, so she's in the hospital. I do them for her, too."
WW talked to Large about the backlash against celebrities' attempts to connect during the pandemic, how loneliness motivates her, and the first thing she's doing once she's free to go outside again—which, if you know Storm Large, you can probably guess.
"I'm going to get laid like a motherfucker," she says.