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Performers take live shows to social media

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Valerie Valadez
Staff Writer 

As social distancing, shelter in place and quarantine  measures intensify amid the Covid-19 pandemic, many performers, musicians and artists have been forced to find alternative ways to maintain their fanbases, if not their livelihoods. 

Magician Greg Van Holsbeck, who had been hosting a magic show every Thursday at the Claremont Forum, has moved temporarily to Instagram live. 

Van Holsbeck said that his show is dependent on audience interactions, as his tricks consist of participants acting out specific roles, which means he has not been able to conduct his regular show. Even using Instagram, things have had to change.

Van Holsbeck said his show online consists mainly of storytelling and magic lessons. 

“Most of my (live) shows have a $20 fee, so now that I can’t charge people to see my magic it puts a barrier,” Van Holsbeck said. “But nothing like that will stop me.” 

Van Holsbeck, in addition to changing up the format, has created interactive polls for his Instagram followers to directly suggest the type of content they want to see from him. 

Los Angeles based musician Ben Burr, lead guitarist for the Acres Even band, similarly talked about how he and his bandmates have adapted to online life. 

“We’ve been planning two upcoming shows in June,” Burr said.  “But everything is just so unsure with this COVID-19. So in the meantime we’ve organized Instagram live shows with Cosmic- Bloom Booking.” 

Several bands and musicians have begun performing live from the comfort of their own home through Instagram Live and other social media platforms, where they have also begun to provide lessons, stories, archived recordings, and new collaborations. 

Some have even been able to share their screens with others to collaborate in real time for their online audiences. 

“Lately we’ve been just going live you know, letting our fans know we’re in the same position. We’re really trying to just get some content out for them, even if it’s just telling them some of our stories when we first started,” said Adam Dobruki, who plays for the Simi Valley-based Cheri Domingo band. 

Dobruki said his  band is in the process of making contact with other musicians, and they hope to  to discuss the possibility of holding live meetings over social media, where fans are able to interact through the comments and questions. 

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, some artists have also begun raising money for related causes. 

The Sweet Relief Musicians Fund is a 20-year-old non-profit organization that is now focusing its fundraising efforts to help with the medical expenses of people diagnosed with COVID-19. The organization has for two decades helped numerous musicians in need of medical assistance. It has now opened its fund raising efforts to non-musicians as well and  for and recently began reaching out to help anyone, including those who are not musicians, who have been affected by COVID-19, said Tatiana Clay, social media developer for the organization. 

“We just provided a digital concert subscription series, so basically people can buy the subscription and all the money will go to those in need,” Clay said.

For more information on the organization, visit sweetrelief.org.

Valerie Valadez can be reached at valerie.valadez@laverne.edu.

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