The Stonewall Gives Back Initiative partnered with WOW Presents last night to put together a virtual concert with a lineup of LGBTQ+ artists and allies for a fundraiser aimed at helping the queer nightlife workers affected by COVID-19. Here are some performance highlights from the livestream.
(Donate here: https://stonewallinitiative.org/donate)
1. Kim Petras – Kim Petras performed a cover of Paris Hilton’s “Stars Are Blind” with her producer and friend Aaron Joseph on acoustic guitar. It had all of Kim’s best qualities; the belting, the range, and a chill-inducing upper-register that is a whole serotonin rush and a half.
2. MUNA – Synth pop trio MUNA gave us an acoustic performance of their song “Stayaway,” a breakup anthem from their recent LP “Saves the World.” The three-part harmonies once they got to the bridge were immaculate, and that alone made this performance an instant highlight for me.
3. Alan Cumming – Actor and comedian Alan Cumming performed a hilarious impromptu tune about staying home and refraining from going to the doctor for cosmetic surgery. At his home piano Cumming sang the hilarious arrangement of lyrics that went “so don’t go to the plastic surgeon anymore, he won’t tell you you’re looking like Zsa Zsa Gábor/That’s not some 22-year-old hardcore porn star.” This provided some much-needed laughter during this difficult time.
4. John Cameron-Mitchell – The star of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” debuted a gorgeous, tear-jerking ballad he wrote with Our Lady J, which he dedicated to the lost victims of COVID-19. The ballad contained poetic lyrics that went “beyond the masking of your scars/you mustn’t feel so all alone/If I don’t see you tomorrow/I know I will see you again.”
5. Betty Who – Leave it to Betty Who to take a synth-fueled club banger and transform it into an emotional and stripped-down acoustic lullaby. Performing her 2016 hit, “I Love You Always Forever,” Who’s delicate vocals were a soothing aide to a lot of my personal grief and emotional turmoil that the pandemic has brought on.
6. Kate Pierson – Kate Pierson played “Roam,” by the B-52s along with her wife Monica Coleman on guitar. This needs no elaborating because it’s Kate fucking Pierson from the B-52s. That’s iconic in itself. End of story.
7. Kristen Chenoweth & Shoshana Bean – Our favorite Broadway veterans and gay icons best-known for starring in “Wicked” teamed up to perform “Happy Days Are Here Again,” and when you hear Kristin Chenoweth belt out Judy Garland tunes, it’s physically impossible not to feel rejuvenated and hopeful.
8. Vincint – It’s always a treat when Vincint performs. When it comes to showcasing vulnerability and conviction in vocal performance he always delivers, and this performance of his single “Save Yourself” didn’t disappoint.
9. Troye Sivan – The penultimate performance was Troye Sivan performing a home-edition of his latest single “Take Yourself Home,” with snapshots from the LGBTQ+ Rights Movement throughout the decades in the late 20th century–including images from ACT UP protests and Christopher Street Pride Marches–interpolated throughout the performance.
10. Cyndi Lauper – Closing out the livestream was Cyndi Lauper performing “True Colors.” Lauper has constantly used her platform to be one of our community’s most staunch and outspoken allies for decades, and continues to do so. So it was no question that she would close out the night with one of her biggest hits that also happens to be an ode to the community.
COVID-19 has been particularly harsh on LGBTQ+ people because of discrimination from our government, healthcare system, and unemployment rates. If you are interested in being part of the solution, please consider donating to The Stonewall Gives Back Initiative.