The State Theatre’s previously-announced April grand re-opening is not going to happen, for obvious reasons. Anyway, according to Operating Partner Brandon Huskins, “We still have a ways to go with construction.”
That’s on the back burner for now. “Our focus is on the community, and making sure that people get through this,” Huskins says. “The most important thing is that St. Pete stays together, and we get out of this without too many closures, and people having problems.”
State Theatre owner Kevin Chadwick and his staff have come up with a way to bring the music they can’t yet put on their stage directly to their audience.
A weekly live-streaming event, Giving is Contagious, begins Saturday at 8 p.m. A call to artists has been issued for followup events. “People are reaching out, for sure,” Huskins explains. “It’s just a matter of coordinating schedules so we can cohesively promote it, to try and capture as many eyes and ears as we can.”
Performers are asked to write firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Saturday’s debut, the headliner is singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Mark Etherington, a.k.a. Mountain Holler, whose sonic dreamscapes were used as the soundtrack to the recent documentary film The Skyway Bridge Disaster. It will be broadcast from his home studio.
Also performing: Tate Leigh, Matt Walker and Shua Harrell.
“This one was already pre-planned. We’re just jumping into use our social media community influence to help promote the acts, and do some paid boosting of ads, and just try anything we can do to support our local artists and musicians through this.”
At press time, Huskins wasn’t sure if the performance would be streamed over the official State Theatre Facebook page, or just via the Mountain Holler page.
“We’re working on the technical side of things now,” he says. “The most important thing is to start promoting it, and helping artists. And we’ll figure out the technical stuff as we go along.”
State Theatre-centric editions of Giving is Contagious – which can, conceivably, be broadcast from any location – will be accompanied by requests for donations in support of the arts and hospitality communities.
There are still plenty of decisions to be made.
“We’ve got a pretty strong digital presence,” Huskins says, “so we figure let’s try and boost some posts and get the word out, provide a little entertainment and try and raise some money for the community, if we can.”