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New Platform to Support NYC Service Industry, Gig Workers

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NEW YORK – New York City is world-famous for its thriving nightlife, complete with bars, restaurants and cabaret shows. But what happens when there is nowhere, or no one to perform to?

Marti Gould Cummings is a popular New York City drag artist who makes a living performing in bars and clubs around the city. But work has dried up because of the COVID-19 shutdown – and there’s no cash coming in.

“I’m very scared about money. How the rent is going to get paid, come May? When you’re a drag queen, you’re a 1099, so you get paid when you show up for the gig. And when there’s no gigs there’s no income. So I think that’s where a lot of the anxiety comes from,” Cummings said.

To help make ends meet, Cummings has been performing online routines with a Venmo account on screen so virtual audiences can transfer over some tips. Cummings also sees this crisis as a time to help fellow New Yorkers. The performer is actually running for City Council in the 7th District, and is raising money for charities like the Ali Forney Center – an organization that supports LGBTQ homeless youth.

“The homeless shelters don’t close down in this time, you know, they’re still open and, and they need help. Now more than than ever,” Cummings said.

Cummings is just one of countless New Yorkers who can use help during this time, and one new platform is providing just that. Solidarity 4 Service assists people like Marti who work in the nightlife and service industry. It was co-founded by Jenice Acosta and Carlyn Cowen. The two met seven years ago working at a restaurant.

“If you want to help someone out, it takes you to a database of people that have lost jobs due to COVID-19 whether in the restaurant industry, gig work, artists, freelancers, and you can donate to them directly,” said Cowen.

And the co-founders say it’s just as easy to make a list asking for help yourself; be it financial assistance or even a temporary job. No questions asked.

“There is no verification process. We trust that individuals who are taking the time to go out there and fill this out, are actually in need of support. Donors can directly go in and read the stories and donate to who they choose to,” said Acosta.

Since its creation a couple of weeks ago, Solidarity 4 Service has raised more than sixteen thousand dollars for New Yorkers.

“[People have] been able to fill their prescriptions that they urgently needed, they’ve been able to buy groceries that they needed, they were able to pay bills that were past due,” Cowen said.

To donate or even post that you need help, you can visit the website s4s.nyc.

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How workers are fighting for their rights in a dangerous gig economy

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How workers are fighting for their rights in a dangerous gig economy

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In today’s Big Story podcast, a few months ago, a group of couriers won a huge victory for gig economy workers in Canada. And you won’t believe what happened next…

We’re relying on this sort of work more than ever as we attempt to stay inside and order our meals and groceries delivered. And it has never been more dangerous. With that in mind, it’s a perfect time to explore the fight for better conditions for precarious workers in Canada, and how the pandemic has (and hasn’t) changed things.

host of Hustled

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

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Powderfinger reunion gig draws 350,000 live streams on weekend

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’s stunning One Night Lonely virtual gig on Saturday night drew 350,000 streams, according to guitarist Darren Middleton.

By the end of the 30-minute broadcast YouTube, the donations tally was $427,000. But donations kept rolling in, and at such a rate that it is expected it will reach $500,000.

The money will be shared by and the support service Beyond Blue.

Support Act CEO Clive Miller told TMN its $250,000 share would continue to support its efforts to provide crisis relief and to facilitate its wellbeing and mental health services.

He said more money was always needed: “We’re trying to manage things so we can provide support to people who need it over the rest of the year.

“Things change every day but it is looking clear that we’re not going to have a snap-back and get back to normal … not until the end of this year and probably the beginning of 2021.

“From Support Act’s point of view, we need the liquidity to provide support to people who are facing financial hardship all along the road.”

Powderfinger reunited with Bernard Fanning near Byron Bay, Darren Middleton in Melbourne, Jon Coghill on the Sunshine Coast and John Collins and Ian Haug in Brisbane.

Miller said of the stream, “The production values were incredible, so well done. It looked great, sounded great, and they wanted us wanting more – which is what every great band does.”

Fans hit social media to urge the band to extend their reunion – and increased speculation that Powderfinger will be headliners at the 100% Australian Falls Festival, and a tour will follow.

More money is being raised for Support Act. James Reyne will donate profits to its Roadie Fund from his Sunday, May 31 Red Hot Sundays live streaming session.

It will be the first of the sessions put together by the Red Hot Summer Tour.

The idea is to employ artists, venues, production teams, sound engineers, booking agents, ticketing agencies, managers, graphic designers, publicists and music media at a time when their income is near-nil.

The stream is free, but fans are encouraged to buy a “virtual ticket” from $10 to $100 or T-shirt.

Reyne said: “I’m excited to support this initiative – the invitation to play live and give our industry an opportunity to get back to work, was really appealing to me.”

Reyne will preview tracks from his next album, Toon Town Lullaby, out July 10 on Bloodlines.

The 3 pm AEST acoustic duo show from the front bar of the Corner Hotel in Melbourne and will be live-streamed on the Red Hot Summer Facebook page.

Miller said of the unexpected Reyne contribution, “Like so many people at the moment, there are so many in the music community who are looking around and want to help …

“Support Act is humbled by the incredible support and amazed by the talent, creativity and passion that so many artists are demonstrating at the moment.”

If you or someone you know requires help, please contact Support Act on 1800 959 500.



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Sal Capozucca, Rock Drummer with a Real Estate Gig, Dies at 65

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This obituary is part of a series about people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others here.

The Rousers, a rock band formed by a couple of high school buddies from Connecticut, once veered close to stardom when a young Madonna opened for them at Max’s Kansas City in 1981, right before that incubator of downtown Manhattan cool closed.

That same year, the band released a single, “Party Boy.” “Psychedelic rockabilly” is how the critic Robert Palmer of The New York Times described it.

After the release the band switched out their drummer for Sal King — born Salvatore Michael Capozucca — a handsome, powerful player with a sparkly 1960s-era Ludwig drum kit and a florid, swing-inspired style. Like his new bandmates, Tom Milmore, the lead guitarist, and Bill Dickson, the bass player, Sal had been playing since he was a child. In his case, since age 3, when an uncle gave him a drum set.

Fame may have eluded the band, yet as the decades wore on and their hair turned gray, the Rousers continued playing. They rehearsed every week and performed year round, though some years less than others as family responsibilities and day jobs demanded more of their time.

Mr. Capozucca — or Mr. Cappi, as he called himself at work — became a successful real estate broker, with a specialty in Brooklyn brownstones. He married his longtime girlfriend, Veronica Griffith, in 1983. She had spotted him across the dance floor at Club 82, a storied drag bar on East 4th Street, 11 years earlier. On that night, Mr. Capozucca — always a flashy dresser (David Bowie was his hero) — was peacocking in blue satin pants and a white satin scarf.

Mr. Capozucca died on May 13 at N.Y.U. Langone Health hospital in Manhattan where he had spent the last two months being treated for Covid-19, his wife said. He was 65.

Mr. Capozucca was born on April 28, 1955, in Brooklyn. His father, Tony Capozucca, was a salesman, his mother, Betty Jean (Gibbons) Capozucca, a legal secretary.

As a teenager, Sal played at proms, weddings and street festivals. He loved Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa, and made sure to work a drum solo into his performances. In addition to his wife, Mr. Capozucca is survived by his daughter, Victoria; his brother, John, and sister, Vera.

“Things happen for a reason,” Mr. Capozucca told The New York Times in 2017, in a story about a new New York City club scene for aging rockers and their arthritic fans (early sets!). “It wasn’t meant to be. That life, that rock ’n’ roll life, is a life of heavy partying. So being famous might have led to my early demise.”

In late February, the Rousers played a gig at Bowery Electric, with a set that featured songs like “Old Man Band,” a sendup of the Rousers’ demographic (sample lyric: “older and slower than we were before/you should listen as we rock some more”). They played so well, said Mr. Milmore, they surprised themselves. “Sal called me the next day and said, ‘What the hell happened to us? How come we were that good?’”

Less than a month later, Mr. Capozucca was hospitalized.

“The band was always a celebration of our friendship and our long time together,” said Mr. Milmore. “We were just brothers, and it was always about that before anything else. Of course, Sal was always mad we weren’t famous.”

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