The entire world is shutting down. The virus COVID-19, also popularly known as the coronavirus, has brought the world to a close. Offices, schools, and most non-essential services are now shut. Large scale gatherings are also disallowed. Nightclubs, too are closed and this means that people have a lot of pent up energy. To help combat this, several performers have moved their shows online to keep people engaged.
Amber Valentine’s online show
Amber Valentine is one of the major performers who have moved their work online. Drag shows, DJ sets, and dance parties have been taking to live streams and chat rooms to keep people connected and pay out-of-work performers as more and more cities in the US go on lockdown. Valentine decided to stream her set on Instagram and received a very positive response.
Valentine hosted a virtual dance party when New York City bars and clubs closed last week. She is planning to host another one soon after the New York governor ordered most people to stay home. “The response was like nothing I could have expected,” she stated. There were thousands of people that tuned in and a large number of them even sent her videos of themselves dancing to her set. People even used the comment section to talk to each other as if they were present at a club. Valentine didn’t ask for money but still made several hundred dollars via donations through her Venmo account.
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Weds night! I’m gonna be hosting another virtual dance party from my house to yours… this time it will be instagram live but also using Zoom, so you can tune in either way. Over the 8 years I’ve been doing @Missterpartynyc I’ve had ppl fill in for me maybe 5 times. Ha! So I’ve djed there like 400 times! Anyway, this weds I’m gonna be playing some tracks that make me feel good. Check back for the zoom code & see you on weds at 10!!! 💖💖💖
Valentine further said, “People are trying to find happy spots and brightness because this is a super dark and uncertain time. I think the role of nightlife in this pandemic is not unlike what it usually is, which is we can try to create spaces where people can come and hang out in the community and have their spirits lifted for a little while.”
D.J. D-Nice’s online show
Derrick Jones, 49, more popularly known as D-Nice, has started his own online thing where he streams hourslong jam sessions. He does this from his home in Los Angeles. D-Nice plays all of the hits, new and old and never plays the same song twice. The online party is called “Homeschoolin’” and is on D-Nice’s Instagram live. A lot of really famous people headlined the event. Celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Drake, Naomi Campbell, Diddy, Mary J. Blige, DJ Khaled, T.I., Queen Latifah and Tracee Ellis Ross blessed the live event with their presence.
Another great thing about the event was D-Nice’s awareness-raising shoutouts. D-Nice gave several shoutouts to health care and emergency medical workers helping to get the country through the pandemic. As of Saturday, over 20,000 people in the United States had been infected and at least 266 people died. As a result, many of the country’s populous states had ordered people to stay at home and introduced social distancing guidelines. These guidelines, however, obviously do not include online party streaming and this has been a welcome new addition in several people’s lives. This also has eliminated the risk of spreading the virus.
More about “Homeschoolin'”
D-Nice had this to say about his show “Homeschoolin'”. “Sitting at home during this quarantine, I started to feel empty,” he said. “There is nothing like playing the music and feeling the music.” Celebrities even pretended as if they were actually a nightclub. Drake commented that Ciara “owed him a bottle.” Normal viewers also pretended as if they were at a nightclub. Jose Morales, 41, who owned the lounge APT.78 in Manhattan and now runs a marketing agency of the same name said, “I took his vibe last night and plugged it up to the Bluetooth in my house for a couple of hours. He was playing amazing records, but also made it so that an average Joe like myself feels like they are partying with Mary J. Blige.”
Other such online spaces
Nowadays, a nightlife space and bar in New York, migrated to online streams less than 24 hours after the city closed bars and nightclubs last week. Nowadays has two really famous parties, titled, “Mister Sunday” and “Mister Saturday” and both of these have been moved online too. The funny thing is, Nowadays has traditionally not allowed phones on the dance floors but the bar has now turned to the same devices for connectivity. This is a case where technology is serving an important purpose, when we can’t be in the same rooms together,” Justin Carter, DJ, and founder of the space said. “The whole reason we ever started throwing parties in the first place was to create an environment where people could connect.”
Drag queens join in!
RuPaul’s Drag Race has also joined in on all the fun. This one has ticketing and people will have to buy 10$ tickets if they want access to the show. PEG Presents: Digital Drag Fest! online festival will unite drag superstars Alaska, Divina De Campo, Ginger Minj, Jackie Beat, Jiggly Caliente, Jinkx Monsoon, Jujubee, Manila Luzon, Miz Cracker, Monét X Change, Nina West, Peppermint, Sharon Needles, Sherry Vine, Trinity The Tuck, and country singer Brandon Stansell for a week-long set of shows. It will be a completely new experience for many and Stageit will not be recording any content. The content will also not be re-released. Each session will also last 30 minutes and it will be an all-ages installment.
Trinity, who is also part of the show, stated that the show is meant to serve as “a distraction from what’s going on in the world,” and called it an “escape from reality”. Trinity also said, “[Drag artists] give an experience to give people. It’s a relief mentally, emotionally, or comically, and when you’re not able to do that while sequestered in your house, you can watch this online streaming show from home and, for 30 minutes, have fun with whoever they’re watching.”
Rify Royalty, a drag queen from New York City is also putting on drag shows via Instagram live. Rify has streamed one performance and has two more planned for next week. “Everyone in the nightlife space – bartenders, barbacks, performers, are all getting hit very hard by this,” she said. “As a community, we need to stick together.”