By Jennifer Schuessler
The performer Taylor Mac and the playwright Suzan-Lori Parks have signed on to a video-sharing subscription service to raise money for New York colleagues in crisis
But now, a group of New York performers is offering a twist on the concept: a subscription-based service offering a steady stream of performance videos, with all the proceeds to benefit New York artists in need.
The Trickle Up, launched on Monday, aims to keep things simple. For $10 a month, subscribers have access to smartphone videos by participating artists. So far, an eclectic mix of more than 50 artists have signed on with a promise to make at least three videos each, including the puppeteer Basil Twist, the comedian Bridget Everett, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights Suzan-Lori Parks and Annie Baker, the performance artist Penny Arcade, the directors Rachel Chavkin and Lear DeBessonet and the Tony-winning performer André de Shields (“Hadestown”).
The project is spearheaded by the playwright and performer Taylor Mac, who said he got the idea earlier this month when worries over the coronavirus mounted and he was figuring out how to, as he put it, “responsibly” close down his new play “The Fre,” which was in previews at the Flea in downtown Manhattan.
“One day, I overheard a woman in the lobby say she had three jobs yesterday, and no jobs today,” Mac said by telephone from the Berkshires. “I spent the first 35 years of my life living week to week, gig to gig. It’s just impossible for people to even buy groceries, to do basic things, with no stable income for a while, and then no income.”
In exchange for participating, Mac said, each performer will be able to designate an artist in need as a beneficiary. The goal is to get 10,000 subscribers, and depending on how things take off, continue even after the immediate crisis ends.
“We’ve all been canceled before, but none of us have all been canceled at the same time,” Mac said. “There’s some comfort in solidarity.”