Using a large performance space in Ridgewood, a Long Island-based event planner has begun hosting high-production online performances with New York artists that go beyond typical bedroom live streams.
Late last month, event-goer David Miller launched a series of virtual “parties” with the Bedford-Stuyvesant artist group KooKooHaus Collective that offer audiences an interactive and personalized show in the age of social distancing.
“We want to blur the line between live and virtual events,” Miller said.
The organizer hosted a full-scale show for a friend of the family live from the sprawling nearby Box Factory venue in Ridgewood on April 24.
During the livestream, the quartet of artists took center stage and the program included vaudeville sketches, an artist painting a wall-sized piece of art using her own body and a fire show. drama reminiscent of the Burning Man festival, according to Miller.
The 67,000 square foot space allowed them all to socially distance while filming.
Miller said he got the idea for the new medium — and the partnership with local artists — when he threw a party for his son’s 18th birthday in early April.
He then contacted the Brooklyn quartet and hired them for a show at their home studio near the Kosciuszko Street subway station. He hosted two more virtual events before the Box Factory owner gave him access to the venue.
The 30-minute to one-hour shows have been a welcome opportunity for artists, according to one artist, who said show cancellations and gallery closures have made it difficult for them to stay financially afloat during the pandemic. .
“Everyone in our collective lost their jobs with the closure of galleries and venues,” said Annika Rhea, a Brooklyn-based visual and performance artist. “It’s really been a blessing for us to have an income during this time.”
But the transition from stage to screen was also an adjustment, Rhea said. For one thing, there’s less audience reaction in a Zoom call than in front of an in-person audience.
“You don’t get the reaction and the laughs and the energy from the audience,” she said. “We are above all performing artists. I did some video work, but it was a very interesting experience.
In the four events so far, the band has tailored their performances for Miller’s clients by singing a favorite song for someone’s birthday or customizing a massive painting based on a large aquarium that a spectator showed off during of the video call.
The event creator thinks these kinds of personalized touches and good production value are key to going beyond standard online broadcasts.
“I’ve been in 100 Zoom meetings in the last month and everyone’s sitting in their rooms and it’s boring,” he said. “We want to use more high-end production value that involves people more.”
Miller said the new online model could work for artists looking to get back to work during the viral outbreak, as well as for corporate events or more public performances.
The space’s setup allows for events that don’t require close contact and can be accessed from his home online — which could become more popular as Brooklynites aim to start attending events again.
“It’s going to be a long time before we get back to normal and even before that there’s going to be a generation of germaphobes and higher standards,” said Miller, who is working on organizing the upcoming online showcase. of the group.
This story originally appeared on Brooklynpaper.com.