We joined Birthday boy Raja Feather Kelly and his feath3r theory for a gala unlike any other: raising $10,000 for a dance company in NYC, hosted and streamed live at Kickstarter.
Raja Feather Kelly lives at a whiplash-inducing pace. Kelly’s sense of humor is stunning too- he’s inquisitive and inspiring, listening intently and reacting surprisingly. I had never known Raja or his the feath3r theory dance-theater-media company until this evening, at a gala held at Kickstarter’s NYC Headquarters. The gala (running for 24-hr) served at Raja’s birthday, too. But it was a practical demonstration of what fundraising should and could be- unpretentious art creation and engagement. We felt immediately welcomed into this community of creators and thinkers for the evening, as everyone came together for feath3r theory’s meaningful effort: existing as a collaboration of dancers, actors, filmmakers, musicians, photographers, and designers, TF3T explores pop-culture and current cultural phenomena, building original performances that skillfully combine, deconstruct, and reimagine elements of dance, visual media, fashion, drag, standup, minstrelsy, and narrative theatre.
The evening was engaging and remarkably well-done: a stunning lineup of artists and performers included a singer in Spanish, a composer from Manhattan’s long-established LaMama Experimental Theater, as well as comediennes, singers, and dancers, including a tap-dancing and echo-design artist.
The goal for the evening was a $10,000 donation total. By 9 pm, Raja and the team had already raised $8,000. And by 1 pm the next day, the feath3r theory (TF3T) hit $13,000, clearing their goal. It’s doubly impressive given the fact they had a goal of only $5,000 last year. The ad-hoc and organic nature of this event made it one of the most interesting takes on fundraising I’d seen. I’m a standby in the traditional gala scene, with proper dinners and a long evening of speeches. Raja’s event felt like the future of fundraising- engaging, noncommittal, and global. There are were no closed doors or exclusive restrictions. As the feath3r theory says it most concisely:” Fundraising should be easy, fun, and represent the organization. After a successful inaugural 24-hour campaign last year, we feel the telethon represents the nature of our company and invites people to have a closer look at what we do while also enjoying our company.”
Held at Kickstarter’s beautiful NYC headquarters, the performances occurred in the cave, with excellent acoustics while a party raged in the kitchen, with golden cupcakes, plenty of cakes and lots of snacks and drinks. The music dropped and the party really started, as it would proceed well into the evening and be streamed live on Kickstarter.
the feath3r theory’s money will go toward:
- UGLY, a solo for Raja to premiere in September;
- I, I, Am A Dancer, a group work to premiere at Ars Nova this summer;
- Plus, we are developing our latest Warhol/Pop Culture-inspired work: WEDNESDAY and The McCarthy Era.
Learn more on Kickstarter and congratulations to Raja and the team!