Performing arts venues across the state and the nation have been mostly dark since March. But next Tuesday, from 9 p.m. to midnight, many of them, including Old School Square and Arts Garage, will be illuminated with a red glow. This bright and bold statement is part of Red Alert Restart, a movement to inspire legislation aimed at resuscitating the stalled economy for live entertainment.
According to the Florida Presenters Consortium, the performing-arts stages it represents typically generate $495 million in economic impact per year, supporting 15,425 full-time jobs, and $377.7 million in household income. They are now among the 12 million show workers nationwide without work because of COVID-19, among them designers, technicians, programmers and stagehands.
Venues are going “red” Tuesday night to bring attention to the U.S. Congress’ RESTART Act (S. 3814/H.R. 7481) and the Save Our Stages Act (S. 4258/H.R. 7806), efforts specifically designed to provide much-needed relief to the live events industry. Local venues radiating the crimson glow include the two Delray Beach venues mentioned, along with the Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center in Belle Glade, the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale and South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center in Cutler Bay. Show your support by visiting saveourstages.com.
Meanwhile, Al Poliak, founder of the beloved Royal Palm Place venue the Funky Biscuit, sent shock waves through the local music world earlier this week when he announced on Facebook, “It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that we announce that as of September 1st, we will be closing our doors until further notice. Monday August 31st, will be our last waltz for the foreseeable future.”
The Funky Biscuit had been the first concert space in Boca to reopen under CDC safety guidelines, and it has been hosting mostly local acts since Memorial Day weekend. But the reduced capacity, coupled with a reticence among attendees to return to the indoor venue, have proven to be unsustainable, even for a place with such a loyal following.
The vagueness of Poliak’s language places the venue’s future in limbo, and fans are hoping that the Biscuit will rise again on the other side of this pandemic. Per Poliak: “This is not the end of our story…just a new season!”