By Jon Solomon, Westword | When the state’s music venues were shut down to slow the COVID-19 pandemic in the middle of March, the Oriental Theater was in pretty good financial shape. Initially, Oriental general manager and partner Scott Happel figured the venue could wait it out for a few months until it could host concerts again.
“But as it continues on, I’m thinking, ‘Well, I don’t think we’ll have a show this summer, and I’m not sure we’ll have a show this fall,’” Happel says. “Now it’s becoming a little more like, you know what… maybe we do some sort of fundraiser thing.”
Happel didn’t want to run a GoFundMe campaign like other venues have. While producing the burlesque show Carnivale De Sensuale at the Oriental a few times a year, Happel became familiar with the London-based subscription content service OnlyFans through people in his social media feed, some of whom had raised money for themselves after losing their jobs.
While OnlyFans is popular in the adult entertainment industry and with fitness experts, Happel figured the service could also be used to help out the Oriental. Starting, Monday, June 1, the venue will launch a subscription-based twelve-week campaign that includes private video content by musicians and artists, among them Nathen Maxwell (Flogging Molly / The Bunny Gang), Trever Keith (Face to Face), Mary Lou Lord, Cattle Decapitation, Mark Mallman, Itchy-O, the Yawpers, Reno Divorce and Eldrene. There will also be standup comedians and a wrestling match from Lucha Libre and Laughs.
“We really want to have it be representative of what our calendar looks like over the year,” Happel says.
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Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he’s been the Clubs Editor since 2006.[Thank you to Alex Teitz, http://www.femmusic.com, for contributing this article.]