Ok, so: announcement time. We just launched a kickstarter campaign, to raise money for the renovation of our new building. I have a few things to say about this. Mostly, I hope you will give our campaign a minute of attention, and support it in any way you can. But also: I am very deeply conscious of the role kickstarter (and the other crowdfunding platforms) plays in the economy of making and supporting work by independent artists. We have never wanted to interfere or compete with artists who are merely trying to fill in the gaps. I have always been suspicious-bordering-on-cynical about institutional crowdfunding, with the very notable exception of the Invisible Dog, whose annual campaign feels honest and legitimate and necessary to me. But look: we’re in a special situation. We bought a building. We are beyond grateful to the City of New York and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer and Borough President Melinda Katz and the DCA and the EDC and the many many forces that helped to make this happen for us and for the artist community. Of course, we worked ourselves nearly to death in the process, but that’s a different story for a different day. We own this building, it’s dirty and beautiful and now we have to renovate it. We want this to happen (relatively) quickly so that we can continue our work without interruption. And crucially, we need to do this in our own way. We want to preserve the character and the spirit of this place. So we are going it, to some degree, alone. Compared to many of the big(ger) venues in New York, our plans are ridiculously modest. We have received some very significant financial commitments from New York State Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, and the Howard Gilman Foundation, with hopefully more to come. But we still have our own gap to fill; and I believe this to be a unique and special opportunity to make this project happen in a community-minded way. The Chocolate Factory is my baby. It’s Sheila’s baby too. Madeline has her own babies to worry about. This is our life’s work. I’m not gonna pretend that I don’t feel ownership of this. But if you take a step back it’s not hard to see that The Chocolate Factory belongs to its community of artists, to Long Island City, to New York, to everyone who had or has or will have a stake in its survival. This city needs The Chocolate Factory, I believe this more than anything, and we are on the precipice of making it, for lack of a better word, permanent. With any luck it will outlive me. So that’s why we’ll be doing a kickstarter campaign. We won’t make a habit of it, I promise!
Kickstarter backers (as of 2/19/18): Aaron Rosenblum, Aaron Siegel, Abby Harris Holmes, Abby Zbikowski, Abigail Levine, Adam Baer, Aki Sasamoto, Alan Sporing, Alex Reeves, Amber Sloan, Amy Rogoway, Andre Gregory, Andrew Hovanec, Ann Marie Lonsdale, Anna Azrieli, Anna King, Anna Sperber, Annie-B Parson, Arthur Vidich, Ashley Meyer, Backer, Barbara Howe, email@example.com, Ben Demarest, Benjamin Kimitch, Benny Simon, Beth Graczyk, Bevin Ross, Bob Eisen, Bochra Emireymen, Brad Kisicki, Brad Roberts, Brendan McCall, Brendan Regimbal, Bruno Joly, Caleb Hammond, Caleb Hammons, Carl, Carla Peterson, Carol Bryce-Buchanan, Chandra Bekti, Charles Houghton, Chloe Brown + Hal Friedlander, Chris Barnett, Chris Schlichting, Chris Wardak, Christopher Hanway, Clare French, Crystal Wei, cullen&them Young Dance Collective, Daniel Fish, Daniel Sharp, Danielle V Porcaro, Darin Patterson, Darrell E. Smith, Debra-Ellen Glickstein, Denisa Musilova, Denise Parks, Dewey Thompson, Diana Crum, dianefe, Donna Uchizono, Drew Klein, Elisabeth Skjærvold, Elizabeth Zimmer, Ella Rae Peck, Erin Boberg Doughton, Erin Bomboy, Estelle Woodward Arnal & Jeff Arnal, Eva Lewandowski, Georgina Toland, Gerri Adams, Gia Forakis, Gillian Sewake, Gonzalo Casals, Gregory Stone, Guido Germerodt, Guy Yedwab, Hilary Clark, Howard Fink, Howard Silver, Ivy Baldwin, J. Eisenstat, J. Walter Hawkes, JACK, James, Jamie Lin, Jane-Cole Raftery, Janelle Lannan, Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew, Jen Rosenblit, Jennifer Monson, Jerry Tischleder, Jess Edkins, Jessica Massart, Jessica Ray, Jessica Rogers, Jessica Sebastian, JJM/NMCR, JoAnne Meyers, Job Rietvelt, Jodi Bender, Joe Stackell, John Kurzynowski, John Scott, Jon McMillan, Jon Nakagawa, Jonathan Anders, Jonathan Kratter, Judith Smith, Julia Vickers, Juliana May, Julie Mayo, Jurgen Buschek, Justin Kazmark, Karen, Karen Bernard, Karen Sherman, Katherine Profeta + Steve Bodow, Kathy Kaufmann, Katie Watkins, Katinka Locascio, Katy Pyle, Kayhan Qaiser, Keith Skretch, Kelly Copper, Kickstarter, Kimberly Olstad, KINEMATIK Dance Theater, Kristin Marting, Lauren Slone + Lane Czaplinski, Lance Gries, Laurie and Carl Rogers, Lesley A. Martin, Leyya Mona Tawil, Lily Whitsitt, Linda Birkedal, Lisa DiClerico, Litsa Kiousi, Little Lord, Liz Santoro, Long Island City Artists, Inc., Luciana Achugar, Lucien Zayan, Luis Caicedo, Lydia Bell, Lydia Chrisman, Lyndsey Karr, Maria Baranova, Marius, Martha Sherman, Mary Ceruti, Mary McKenzie Kelly, Mary Rose Lloyd, Mary Torres, Matt Romein, Matthew Brookshire, Matthew Ellis Murphy, Megan Byrne, Melanie Maar, Melinda Ring, Melissa, Meredith Belis, Michael Preston, Michelle Boulé, Milka Djordjevich, Mina Nishimura, Mio Nakamura, Monica Hunter, Monika Jouvert, Nancy Garcia, Natalie Robin, Neil Greenberg, Nene Humphrey, Nicholas Croft, Omar Yousif, Oriana Leckert, P. D. Waltman, Paul Millington, Pavel Zuštiak, Peggy Cheng, Peter Gilbert, Peter Richards, Pieter Ampe, Rachel Bernsen, Rachel Edelman, Rebecca Brooks, Rebecca Davis, Rebecca Lazier, Rebecca Olinger, Rebecca Warner, Renee Archibald, Risa Shoup, Robert Flynt, Ron Berry, Roya Amirsoleymani, Ruth, Ryan Suda, Sam Kim, Sara Juli, Sara Lyons, Sarah Hromack, Sarah Maxfield, Sarah White-Ayon, Scott Crowley, Sean Byrum Leo, Sharon Bussey-Reschka, Siân Lloyd-Wiggins, Sibyl Kempson, Sonya Robbins, Sophie Sotsky, Stephen Facey, Sudsy Dyke, Susan Dunathan, Tal Yarden, Tara O’Con, Tara Sheena, TaraFawn Marek, Tere O’Connor, Teresa Gonzalez, The Kitchen, Thomas J Mituzas, Tony Heller Landmaster, Tracy Capune, Ursula Eagly, Vallejo Gantner, Vincent Vigilante, William Cusick, Yanira Castro, Youree Jong Choi.