Arts & EntertainmentCOVID-19 CoverageFront Page A&E

Queer Performers Practice Social Distancing While Working Digitally

Space Kiddettes continue to share their art online.

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Trent Lira (l) and Devin Will

We’ve seen the devastating impact that the Houston/Harris County ban on bars and restaurants is having on local owners and staff, but what about the many artists who rely on those venues for their performances?

“It’s daunting to think about the effect that the closures will have on our community,” Trent Lira and Devin Will (better known as the pop duo Space Kiddettes) said in a joint statement. “Not only are the staff of local restaurants and bars unable to earn money, but the artists those restaurants and bars provided a platform for are also suffering.”

From drag divas to DJs, and every artist in between, the closure of public venues has been a hard blow. One excellent resource for sidelined performers is the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA). This local nonprofit oversees the City of Houston’s vision for the arts, and administers grants that are funded in part by the City Hotel Occupancy Tax—the so called HOT tax. The website provides current information for artists and arts organizations on how to weather the COVID-19 crisis. Information on unemployment insurance and grant guidelines is provided, and you can sign up for the newsletter to keep current. There is also a section on how to digitize your art for your audience—something that Space Kiddettes is now doing.

“Live-streaming and social media allow us to continue to create and perform, and the online sphere is a little more interactive,” they explain. “It’s easier to see whether what you’re putting out is reaching people, and whether or not they enjoy it. The virtual world can’t compare to the real thing—personally, we do best in a live setting. That’s not an option right now, so we have to work with what we’ve got in front of us. 

“In the meantime, we need to ask our local businesses how we can help them, financially or otherwise. And we need to ask ourselves what protections can be put in place so that if anything like this should happen again, people won’t be forced [to go without a] paycheck. For the foreseeable future, we have chosen to go digital with new weekly online content, starting with two new offerings in the Space Kiddettes Universe. We’ll have a new online live-stream called Livespace where we chat with you, play music, make music, and jam with invited virtual guests. Our “Blood, Sweat, and Tears” is a hybrid physical workout to get you moving at home while also working out your mental health in this trying time. We’ll work out with virtual special guests, and talk with friends and experts about mental health and how to navigate our current world.”

Check them out at spacekiddettes.com, and don’t forget to visit their virtual shop—a great way to financially support artists right now.

Schedule for Space Kiddettes online content:

Mondays –  LIVESPACE on Instagram and Facebook live at 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday – SPACE CASE podcast posting.

Thursdays – BLOOD, SWEAT, AND TEARS on Instagram and Facebook live 7:00 p.m.

Domestic Adventures: The Series will still be premiering on IGTV and YouTube the last Friday of every month.

Abundantly Queer with Stoo on March 26 at 8:00 p.m. on Facebook and Instagram Live. All online donations will go to Pearl Bar staff.

Digital streaming concerts (makeups for canceled live shows) on Twitch and YouTube coming soon.

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Marene Gustin

Marene Gustin has written about Texas culture, food, fashion, the arts, and Lone Star politics and crime for television, magazines, the web and newspapers nationwide, and worked in Houston politics for six years. Her freelance work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle, Austin-American Statesman, Houston Chronicle, Houston Press, Texas Monthly, Dance International, Dance Magazine, the Advocate, Prime Living, InTown magazine, OutSmart magazine and web sites CultureMap Houston and Austin, Eater Houston and Gayot.com, among others.

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