Virtually tip your favorite bartenders, performers, and queens
The entire nightlife industry has been put on hold in NYC, but that hasn’t stopped entertainers from finding ways to adapt. Social media is the COVID-era nightclub, hosting drag competitions, concerts, comedy shows, and dance parties to give quarantined queers a virtual night out (and make some coin in the process).
Queer venues like Club Cumming have continued their programming online, with resident performers hopping on livestreams to continue their weekly shows. Take Cat Cohen’s “Cabernet Cabaret,” a comedy favorite in the LGBTQ+ community, which now streams Wednesdays at 8pm on Cohen’s Instagram with a rotating lineup of comedians. Each week, she’s choosing a different charity as part of her #CabCabCares campaign that people can donate to in lieu of the regular cover charge.
Local drag queen Rosé started using her performance skills to connect with fans who show her love on Venmo. You can send her $1 for a compliment, $5 for a compliment in the form of a rap that’s delivered through Instagram, $10 to get the rap posted on her Instagram story, and $15 for her to record the rap bearing some skin and the accent of your choice. Trans actress and cabaret performer Barbra Herr launched her own Facebook Live series “Stress Relief” that airs on Saturday nights at 8pm, where she sings or lip-syncs whatever the audience requests, accepting Venmo and CashApp tips along the way.
J.W. Harvey, who bartended at Elmo before the shutdown, has also found creative ways to turn social media posts into profit. He started showing his followers how to make cocktails at home by going live on Instagram and posting to his stories, leaving his Venmo handle visible for anyone who felt inclined to virtually tip. When he’s not shaking martinis, Harvey is an actor and a writer, and he’s been using those skills as well to make creative bar-themed videos for his Instagram feed that offer lighthearted entertainment from a familiar face.
Of course these entertainers aren’t the only ones adjusting to nightlife’s new digital sphere -- check in with all of the performers you love to see how they’re carrying on during the shutdown, and consider “tipping” your favorite bartender or server on Venmo any time you mix yourself a drink or cook a nice meal.