At Home With: Julie Mallis | Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

At Home With: Julie Mallis

CP's daily check-in with Pittsburghers during the coronavirus pandemic

click to enlarge PHOTO: JULIE MALLIS
Photo: Julie Mallis
Everybody is dealing with the COVID-19 quarantines and restrictions in different ways. While there's no single right way to cope — social distancing and staying TF home aside — staying connected with friends, family, and neighbors is a good place to start. You can contact your loved ones on your own, but you might also be curious how your favorite strangers in Pittsburgh are coping, so Pittsburgh City Paper is reaching out once a day to beloved city icons to see how they're doing.

Today, it's multimedia artist Julie Mallis.

What is your day-to-day routine like now? For instance, it's around 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31. How did you spend your morning? What happens this afternoon?
On Tuesdays, I always water my plants. I have been trying to go for morning walks before my day starts, but not today. I always boil water and grind up beans to make a French-press of coffee and eat some breakfast. This often consists of toast, sometimes with one egg and spinach if available.

I'm extremely grateful to still have a job during the pandemic and the ability to work from home. I have been working full-time for years while balancing being an artist and community organizer in order to pay back my student loans.

At 10:30 a.m., I met with the "Neighbors Supporting Neighbors/Mutual Aid" working group organized through my work at Repair the World. Fellows and staff in cities across the East Coast / Midwest work together to engage the Jewish community and beyond to volunteer to meet immediate needs in our communities and learn about related social justice topics. The rest of my day looks like more video calls, check-ins, and emails, plus plenty of hand-washing and waves of emotions!

Assuming you're staying home, what's an object in your house or office that you've come to depend on/enjoy since the quarantines and restrictions began?
Watching my lucky bamboo plant grow, and moving around my paintings that I have been slowly adding to in rounds. I also like to light candles when I close the shades and transition into evening.

What is your favorite food to eat at the moment?
Dumplings and flat noodles, meat substitutes of any kind. I stocked up at Lotus [Food Co.] and Salem's [Market and Grill] for groceries. I also love eating any Jewish foods when I can get access to them, like challah and bagels.

What piece of art/film/book/TV/music is bringing you comfort/inspiration at this time?
I recently finished Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning and his message of finding meaning in our lives amidst the worst atrocities placed upon us resonates at this time. Otherwise, I've been watching a lot of anime series and now revisiting Star Trek: Deep Space 9 alongside some good friends.

What are you most excited to do when the restrictions and quarantines are lifted?
I want to hug everybody and dance in a crowded space underneath a speaker surrounded by people and music I love!

What's a piece of your own that you think has resonance right now?
Any of my maximalist artworks are good to get lost in and just stare out and do nothing. They can be used as cell phone and desktop backgrounds. Many can be downloaded for free on my website or via Instagram @juliemallisart.

Also, my recent mixes as Malzof are all narrative-based to take the listener through a sonic adventure and approach themes very relevant to where we've gotten to: the ending of an outdated way, and the need to restructure and renew together. I'd recommend this Cookies mix or this Daisychain mix.

I've also compiled a list of 31 dreamy, meditative and chill mixes in this playlist which others may find comforting, too:



  • Every one of these mixes is one I have thoroughly enjoyed and found power within. I have been adding to this playlist for years.

What's an organization or charity that you recommend giving to or supporting during this time?
There's a lot of mutual aid fundraisers going on right now, and for folks with steady income, I'd recommend supporting all of them. For now, I am going to plug the Pittsburgh Artists Emergency Fund that I have helped co-organize alongside sarah huny young, Joshua Orange, Aaron Clark, Clark Price, and Alex Neal.


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