THANK YOU TO OUR BACKERS: Bruce Allardice and Victoria Abrash, Martita Abril, luciana achugar, Gerri Adams, Roya Amirsoleymani, Pieter Ampe, Jonathan Anders, Renée Archibald, Estelle Woodward Arnal and Jeff Arnal, Linda Austin, Anna Azrieli, Ilan Bachrach, Adam Chocolate Sauce Baer, Karen Fitzgerald and Paul Baietto, Maria Baranova-Suzuki, Christopher Barnett, Kimberly Bartosik, Astami and Chan Bekti, Meredith Belis, Lydia Bell, Jessica Bender, Jodi Bender, Karen Bernard, Rachel Bernsen, Ron Berry, Josh Bielak, Melissa Bieri, Linda Birkedal / Molitrix Scenekunst, Katherine Profeta and Steve Bodow, Erin Bomboy, Michelle Boulé, Rebecca Breheney, Betsey Brock, Rebecca Brooks, Matthew Brookshire, Bruce L. Brown, Chloë Z. Brown, Ruth Brown, Carol Bryce-Buchanan, Nick Buckelew, Jurgen Buschek, Sharon Bussey-Reschka, Megan Byrne, Mike Campa, Tymberly Canale, Barbara Lynn Cantone, Tracy Capune, Gonzalo Casals, Amy Cassello, Yanira Castro, Gianna Cerbone-Teoli, Mary Ceruti, Irene Chaldaris, Frank Lord and Travis Chamberlain, Carl Chen, Youree Choi, Lydia Chrisman, Emily Climer, Jennifer Cogburn, Donna Costello, Nicholas Croft, Clare Croft, Scott M. Crowley, Diana Crum, Kim Cullen, William Cusick, Slone and Czaplinski, Rebecca Davis, Kyle deCamp, John Del Guadio, Ben Demarest, Maggie Dick and Family, Lisa DiClerico, Robert Djordjevich, Milka Djordjevich, Annie Dorsen, Erin Boberg Doughton, Rebecca Wender and Ian Douglas, Katinka and Nelson Downend, Susan Dunathan, Walter Dundervill, Sutherland (Sudsy) Dyke, Ursula Eagly, Rachel Edelman, Jess Edkins, Bob Eisen, Lauren and Jared Eisenstat, Zachary Eisenstat, Diane and Barry Eisenstat, Khadija Fajry, Stefania Ferchedau, Blaze Ferrer, Claudia Filomena, James Findlay, Iver Findlay, Howard Fink, Daniel Fish, Robert Flynt, Gia Forakis, Meghan Frederick, Clare French, Hal Friedlander, Boo Froebel, Vallejo Gantner, Nancy Garcia, Colin Gee, Guido Germerodt, Peter E. Gilbert, Debra-Ellen Glickstein, Teresa Gonzalez, Alice Gosti, Beth Graczyk, Neil Greenberg, Andre Gregory, Karen Grenke , Lance Gries, Savas & Christy Gunduz, Kim Guzowski, Carolyn Hall, Caleb Hammond, Caleb Hammons, Evan O’Neil and Debra Hampton, Anneke Hansen, Peter Ksander and Miranda Hardy, Casey Hayes, Abby, Jeremy, Harry and Eli Holmes, K.J. Holmes, Jake Hooker, Charles Houghton, Andrew Hovanec, Barbara Howe, Sarah Hromack, Owen Hughes, Nene Humphrey, Hilliard Allen Hunt, Monica Hunter, Lucy Jackson, Monika Wunderer Jouvert, Chris Ajemian and Sara Juli, Lyndsey Karr, Kathy Kaufmann, Justin Kazmark, C.C. Kellogg, Sibyl Kempson, Sam Kim, Benjamin Kimitch, Danielle King, Anna King, Litsa Kiousi, The Kitchen, Drew Klein, Joanna Kotze, Heather Kravas, Nicola Kuenkel, John Kurzynowski, Frank La Frazia, Claudia La Rocco, Aaron Landsman, Janelle Lannan, Rebecca Lazier, Oriana Leckert, Sean Leo, Ken & Karen Levasseur, Abigail Levine, It’s Michael Motherfucking Levinton, Eva Lewandowski and Nathan Thompson, Sheila E. Lewandowski, Jamie Lin, Kelly Copper and Pavol Liska, Mary Rose Lloyd, Sian Lloyd-Wiggins, Ann Marie Lonsdale, Sara Lyons, Melanie Maar, Jadran Malkovich, Jennifer Manley, Michael Manson, TaraFawn Marek, Lesley A. Martin, Kristin Marting, Jessica Massart, Rose B. Brown and Lester Mattis, Sarah Maxfield, Juliana May, Julie Mayo, Brendan McCall, Mark McCloughan, Dylan McCullough, Mary McKenzie, Jon McMillan, Ash Meyer, JoAnne Meyers, Virginia Millhiser, Paul Millington, Thomas J. Mituzas, Ruth Moe, Jennifer Monson, Peggy Cheng and Chris Morrow, Zoe Morsette, Elisabeth Motley, Richard Move, Rae Murphy, Matthew Ellis Murphy, Denisa Musilova, Jon Nakagawa, Mio Nakamura, Justin Nestor, Mina Nishimura, Magnus Nordberg, Nicolas Norena, Erica & Chuck Noyes, Tara O’Con, Tere O’Connor, Ryan Oakes, Rebecca Olinger, Kimberly Olstad, Jiehae Park, Denise Parks, Annie B Parson, Darin Patterson, Ella Rae Peck, Jillian Peña, Craig Peterson, Shaun Irons and Lauren Petty, Tricia Pierson, Amy Pinto, Lionel Popkin, Danielle Porcaro, Michael Preston, Richard Price, Barbara Pryor, Katy Pyle, Kayhan Qaiser, Arzi Rachman, Jessica Ray, Michael Reardon, Brendan Lee Regimbal, Peter Richards, Karissa Riehl, Job Rietvelt, Melinda Ring, Lisa Robb, Sonya Robbins, Brad Roberts, Natalie Robin, Carl and Laurie Rogers, Brian Rogers, Jessica Rogers, Amy Rogoway, Matt Romein, Jen Rosenblit, Aaron Rosenblum, Bevin Ross, Michal Samama, The Sankey Family, Liz Santoro, Aki Sasamoto, Leslie Satin, Moitri Savard, Naomi Schegloff, Chris Schlichting, Andrew Schneider, John Scott, Jessica Sebastian, Patrick & Bruno Seroin-Joly, Gillian Sewake, Christine Shallenberg, Daniel Sharp, Tara Sheena, Karen Sherman, Martha Sherman, Vicky Shick, Risa Shoup, Aaron Siegel, Howard Silver, Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone, Benny Simon, Jurgen and Elisabeth Skjaervold, Keith Skretch, Amber Sloan, Judith Smith, Eleanor Smith, Sophie Sotsky, Anna Sperber, Stacy Grossfield and Gil Sperling, Alan Sporing, RoseAnne Spradlin, Dawn Springer, Joe Stackell, Janet Stapleton, Jody Falco and Jeffrey Steinman, Gregory Stone, Ryan Suda, Leyya Mona Tawil, Dewey Thompson, David Thomson, Jenny Tibbels, Jerry Tischleder, Georgina Toland, Mary Torres, Gwenoele Trapman, Adrienne Truscott, Donna Uchizono, Aynsley Vandenbroucke, Jack Frost and Manny Vasquez, Julia Vickers, Arturo Vidich, Vincent Vigilante, David Vining, Karen Walcott, Paul Dennis Waltman, Katie Watkins, Stephen Facey and Jay Wegman, Crystal Wei, Sarah Weitlauf, Carleigh Welsh, Adrienne Westwood, Emily Wexler, Lily Whitsitt, Janet Wong, Susan Woodland, John Wyszniewski, Tal Yarden, Guy Yedwab, Petra Zanki, Lucien Zayan, Abby Zbikowski, Elizabeth Zimmer, Pavel Zu?tiak, Mirjam Zwanenburg, Square Biz Comics, TWAN, Nascent Ventures Ltd, KINEMATIK Dance Theater, JJM & NMCR, Matted LIC, SacredWaters, Kickstarter, JACK, Plaxall
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!