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Local artists, musicians, comedians and more bring their crafts to your living room

Hollie Grimaldi Flores
Special to Prospector

A month after Governor Newsom announced the “stay-at-home” order, artists around the world are developing new, creative ways to work their craft and fill the need and desire for entertainment-starved patrons to enjoy art in its many forms. In return, many viewers are showing their appreciation with their dollars. In Nevada County, several artists and venues are working to provide entertainment and maybe earn a few dollars on the side.

Facebook live concerts with Chris Crocket

Voted 2019 Best Local Artist by readers of The Union, long-time resident and musician Chris Crocket has been taking song requests and playing them on Facebook live. Crockett said the idea came when a friend wrote asking to hear a song which he performed and sent out on the social media outlet. The response was so positive he decided to take more requests to fill some time.

“I thought ­— I’ll sing them if I know them and learn them if I don’t and put them up on the internet to try and brighten a few people’s day,” Chris said. After a few days someone suggested putting up a virtual tip jar.

Crockett said, “Quite a few people are putting tips in the jar. I was pretty surprised by that. It wasn’t the reason I was doing it, but it turned out to be a bit of money – like when I am out at a restaurant. So, I am pretty happy with that.”

Crockett has lived in Nevada County since the late 1970s and has performed at over 70 venues (some in the same building but with several different owners.) With reference to the Facebook performances, he said he started out doing one or two tunes a day, but the requests just keep pouring in. In addition to a number of song requests, Crockett has also received several hundred “friend requests.” And thousands of “listens.” He plans to double his playtime.

“It’s turned out to be a truckload of fun for me,” he said. You can find Chris Crockett performing from the comfort of his home on Facebook — twice a day. Crockett said this is turning out to be a positive way to get through this unprecedented time. “I am meeting a lot of new people and making a lot of new friends. I am learning about networking and now I can see how a friend will like a song and share it and then I am getting requests from the UK and Australia and I can tie it back to where it started. I am really enjoying what I am doing.”

Instagram open mics with Trevor Wade

A year ago, Trevor Wade was “on the road” performing the one-hour comedy show “Clownfish” across America. After returning home to Nevada County, the comedian saw a gap in opportunities for comics to work on material in front of a live audience and solicited local businesses to allow an “Open Mic” at their venue. The Brick in Nevada City decided to give it a shot and within a few months, the free Tuesday night event grew from two comics (Wade being one of them) performing for the existing few patrons already in the bar in late November, to twenty comics performing and 100-plus audience members at the live show in March. Wade has been working to find a way to continue to the open mic online and is using Instagram as a format.

“I am using Instagram live and other performers can join me there to perform. We are both visible online so people can see reactions to jokes in real time,” explained Wade.

“It’s difficult to gauge what works without an instant audience reaction so by being on a split screen, it helps create a feeling of community.”

You can tune in on Tuesday nights at @trevordwade, a notification will be sent when the show begins. Wade encourages budding comics to give it a try. “The material can be raw because Instagram live is only available for 24 hours, so it does go away,” he explained.

Wade said this is another way to help fellow artists express themselves. “Everyone I know uses their art as an outlet because there is something in them that needs to be expressed and to not have that, it creates a lot of anxiety and depression. It affects their sense of identity – if this is who they are and they can’t do it, who are they?”

Tipping is also encouraged, and information will be displayed as the comics perform.

Wade said, “Giving money reflects what you value. You want whatever you are giving money to, to continue to exist, and tipping is a clear way to communicate that.”

Truth of Dare Productions hosts virtual variety show

Another group working to help fellow artists pay their bills while offering unique entertainment opportunities is Truth or Dare Productions with Cybil Unrest and Nick Federoff. The burlesque dancer/instructor and accomplished magician (respectively) have solicited acts of nearly two dozen local performers. Many of their friends are having withdrawal from not being able to perform, so Truth or Dare Productions has come up with a new way to reach audiences both near and far.

Unrest said, “Our new mission during these trying times is to keep all creative and amusing artists going! Many of our friends and colleagues have no way to make a living right now during this shut-down, so we’ve decided to provide an online platform for performers to get their art out to the community safely.”

In what they hope to be the first of many shows in this new format, the variety show will feature all types of art, including comedy, burlesque entertainers, poetry, music, and more.

All performers recorded an act from the quarantine location of their choice and Truth or Dare put it together with MC entertainment by Nick Federoff and Cybil Unrest between each act.

The stream will launch on air Monday, April 20 at 4:20 p.m. This is an 18+ event due to the adult content but will be available whenever is most convenient for you (it’s not a livestream, but a well-produced show you can enjoy at your leisure).

Unrest said, “You can watch it again and again, tell your friends, tell your neighbors, tell your mailman because we have over 20 performers!”

You can log into the show at: https://tiny.cc/420Show. The show is free but comes with an “extremely high recommendation” to donate to the performers. Tip information will be available during each act and the folks at Truth or Dare Productions are hoping those watching will send at least a dollar or two to each artist.

The Onyx launches streaming service

For those looking for big screen entertainment, The Onyx Theatre in Nevada City is beginning a streaming service for their films. Check out http://theonyxtheatre.com/ for more detailed information and to buy tickets to virtual screenings.

And of course, the ever-changing scenery provided by mother nature is available outside your door 24/7. Be sure to get away from the small or big screen and stop outside to see art in its most natural state. Take a deep breath and look forward to the many venues reopening soon. In the meantime, enjoy and support these innovative creators with this new means of entertainment.

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@gmail.com.


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