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Gay nightlife spot will stream 'party in a box' for performers relief fund

Los Angeles Times logo Los Angeles Times 3/20/2020 By Daniel Hernandez, Los Angeles Times

The drag and go-go show must go on.

A gay nightclub in Los Angeles is planning a live-stream drag and go-go show on Friday night in hopes of helping out its performers who are unable to dance and lip-sync before regular clubgoers during the coronavirus shutdown in the city and beyond.

Club Cobra in North Hollywood announced on Thursday that its show will air live on the subscription platform OnlyFans. It will be in effect a streaming version of a weekend night of entertainment at a typical gay Latin nightclub in L.A. Club Cobra is owned by the same team behind the well-known Club Chico in Montebello; the clubs' 32 employees work equally at both venues.

Marty Sokol, co-owner and co-founder of Cobra and Chico, said the streaming shows will continue as long as the nightlife venues remain closed during the state's efforts to stave off the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

"This week I've been so bowled over by my team; everyone is coming together, and they're ready to be little rascals and put on a show," Sokol said. "It's going to be a regular gay Latin television network for everyone, for our community, and that community extends beyond 'gay' and beyond 'Latino.'"

During taping, Sokol said, no more than five or six people will be in Club Cobra's vast central room at any given moment, all practicing "social distancing" while performers vamp, vogue and dance for streaming viewers. OnlyFans is sometimes used by adult entertainment figures, but the Cobra livestream will not involve explicit behavior or imagery; rather it will present what is normally expected on a weekend night at the club.

The first 100 people to sign up for the show will get a discount, and thereafter, the streaming will be available for $19.99 a month and extend possibly to more days, including streaming sessions of Club Chico's popular Homo Homie Podcast. Viewers will be able to virtually interact with the performers. Proceeds will go directly to the Team Cobra/Chico Relief Fund for Team Members, Sokol said.

"Gay nightlife is … really important," the club owner continued. "It's part of what makes us tick as a community, so we must preserve it. And when we figure out how to do that, the community will persevere."

The show is expected to air at 9 p.m., after "RuPaul's Drag Race" Friday night on VH-1, which is a traditional motivator for social gatherings of gay people.

"What we're offering is a party-in-a-box," Sokol said. "All you need to do is add the Fireball!"

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©2020 the Los Angeles Times

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