With dozens of acts performing and more than 40 artists involved, “From Juneau With Love” is like a “12 Days of Christmas” line on steroids.
The variety show hosted by Juneauites Taylor Vidic and Kelsey Riker, who are also the show’s producers, is slated to stream at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18, and it will feature dozens of performance videos from Juneau artists.
“It’s supposed to be like signing a letter,” Vidic said in an interview in which she was joined by four other people connected to the project. “This is a love letter from Juneau. We hope people out of town will watch and enjoy it, though it is pretty Juneau-centric. It’s a love letter, an ‘I miss you. Here’s a bit of joy, I know we all need it.’”
The show is among the works to receive a portion of the city’s federal COVID-19 relief funds in the form of a $17,450 Juneau CARES ArtWorks grant, according to Juneau Arts & Humanities Council. The availability of funding specifically for arts efforts was part of the variety show’s inception.
“We heard about the CARES grant, and we were like, ‘Oh, shoot,’ this could be something, we could make this bigger than we would otherwise have the time and willpower to make happen,” Vidic said.
Ticket sales, also go toward offsetting the cost of the production, said Vidic, Riker and Joshua Midgett, technical support and adviser for the show. Tickets to watch the livestream cost at least $10, but $25 and $50 tickets are also available. The more expensive tickets simply offer the show a greater level of support.
As of Saturday, 50 tickets had been sold, and about half of those were for more than $10.
“Now, with the ticket sales, all of the CARES Act funding can go to the artists,” Midgett said. “So none of the CARES Act money is going to things like marketing or printing or paying for a camera or any of that stuff. All of that now can be funded through the ticket sales, so all of the CARES Act funding can go to the artists, which I think is the initial point of that funding.”
Riker said it may be counter-intuitive, but in some ways the reality of putting together a pandemic-safe variety show has been easier than putting together an in-person even since there is less need to coordinate performers’ schedules.
Midgett credited live drag shows spearheaded by Gigi Monroe and Perseverance Theatre’s live, digital productions with showing ambitious productions are possible during a pandemic.
While Riker and Vidic will be presenting live on Dec. 18, the performances will be pre-recorded. “From Juneau With Love” will feature performances by Gamble and the High Costa Living, QUEENS, Lily Hope, Annie Bartholomew, Ericka Lee, George Kuhar, Gigi Monroe, Stephen Blanchett, Chris Talley, TMO, Erika Bergren , Sunny Porch Collaborative (Melanie Brown and Marcus Beckmann), Nicole Church, Miss Guise, The Kidney Beans (Rochelle Smallwood and Magdalena Oliveros), Tyquan, Air Jazz and Manner (Arias Hoyle and T.J. Cramer), Roman Wilde, Mississippi_Nectarine_Skates, Serena Drazkowski, Aims (Pint) of Gonzo and Black Moon Koven and Hot Dog House.
“This is a variety show of the best kind,” Riker said. “There really is something for everyone, and I think that’s really, really cool.”
Cramer and Hoyle, who will have a new music video in “From Juneau With Love,” praised the efforts of the event’s organizers and the disparate nature of the artists involved.
“It’s always good to have those ones that actually want to bring it all into one,” Hoyle said. “That’s the problem with a lot of artists, that they want to divide. They all want to do their own thing. They’d rather not reach out and say ‘Hey, y’all got talent, too.’ I appreciate that.”
Plus, Cramer said he appreciates something that at least approximates the experience of taking in a a live event and compared it to the buzz generated by battle raps livestreamed on platforms Caffeine and Twitch.
Riker said it’s hoped the show introduces people to artists in their community they otherwise might not see or hear.
“This is a jumping off point so that people get introduced to these artists that maybe they don’t know or maybe they don’t know that well, and they get to become fans,” Riker said.
Know & Go
What: “From Juneau With Love”
When: The stream starts at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 18
Admission: Tickets cost $10 and are available at https://fromjnuwithlove.brownpapertickets.com/?fbclid=IwAR1dSh3vmPrhGqNv7jIucgyKmFVxZQDTzJUt6dl0AushzGt1K994aYGOd5E.
• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.