Feinstein's Returns: Popular Nightclub to Reopen May 20

by David-Elijah Nahmod

Bay Area Reporter

Saturday May 8, 2021

Katya Smirnoff-Skyy, Branden & James, Justin Vivian Bond and Spencer Day are among the upcoming acts at the reopened Feinstein's at The Nikko
Katya Smirnoff-Skyy, Branden & James, Justin Vivian Bond and Spencer Day are among the upcoming acts at the reopened Feinstein's at The Nikko  

Feinstein's at the Nikko, San Francisco's premiere nightclub, will once again bring Broadway stars and Bay Area icons to its stage. Performances are set to resume on May 20 with an all-star lineup which includes drag artist Katya Smirnoff-Skyy and the incomparable trans performer Mx Justin Vivian Bond, who once called San Francisco home. Smirnoff-Skyy will perform June from 3-6 and Bond will be seen from June 16-19.

COVID-19 safety protocols will be in effect during every performance. All patrons must be vaccinated in order to gain entry to the club, and proof of vaccination will be required. Masks must be worn while in the Hotel Nikko lobby or when entering and exiting the club, but can be removed once guests are seated.

The club will be operating at a reduced capacity in order to maintain social distancing, and there is a four-person limit on each order of tickets. There will not be food service for now, but cocktails will be served.

Feinstein's at the Nikko Creative Director and General Manager Randy Taradash  

Feinstein's at the Nikko Creative Director and General Manager Randy Taradash told the Bay Area Reporter that he was very excited to reopen.

According to Taradash, the club survived because it's housed inside the Hotel Nikko, which remained open throughout the pandemic. The hotel was determined to continue its operations and evolved, following all safety requirements and protocols.

"And they did it," Taradash said. "They have really managed beautifully; it's been amazing to watch them work and shift and evolve. It's because of their commitment, and they were completely unwavering from day one. The management here felt that however long this lasts, the minute we can reopen we will reopen. Having that commitment level is really what it took to kind of get through."

Taradash noted that hotel management sees Feinstein's as a jewel in the middle of Union Square.

"I'm really grateful to them," he said. "Because it's rare to really dig in your heels and do the work necessary to make that happen. I'm applauding them in every way."

Tickets are now on sale for the first batch of shows that have been scheduled, and Taradash noted that sales have been good.

"We do live shows in one of the great artistic cultural cities on the planet," he said. "And my hope is that the hunger and desire to just be in a room and share the experience with others is there. It's wonderful to see."

Jarrod Spector and Kelli Barrett  

Stars to Shine Soon
Besides Smirnoff-Skyy and Bond, other scheduled performers are Kelli Barrett and Jarrod Spector, who will be performing pop songs and songs from their Broadway careers. Branden & James will perform an evening of Broadway covers.

Jazz/pop singer Spencer Day will celebrate the return of live music, while Broadway and cabaret star Liz Calloway offers an evening of song by a variety of composers. Natalie Douglas will pay tribute to Nina Simone, and Tony Award winner Lillias White will debut a new concert show.

Many performers at Feinstein's are known for doing meet and greets with the audience after the show, but Taradash says that this may not be the case for the time being due to safety protocols.

"If there is, it will be completely rethought," he said. "We've moved so quickly that this hasn't been completely talked through yet. We have to put safety first, from the artist to the audience to staffing. There is not an 'us and them'. We are all in this together."

Taradash understands that some people might not be ready to attend the shows, that they might feel that it's too soon to be in a room filled with strangers.

"I get it," he said. "I absolutely get it. And that is everyone's internal conversation. And it's for you to decide when you are ready. We will be here when you're ready, and that's all we can do. It's not my place or anyone's place to say what you should or shouldn't be ready for. We can only be here when you are ready. The art form has existed for five thousand years, it'll be here long after this moment in time, so it really is a personal choice, and I celebrate the personal choice."

www.feinsteinssf.com



Help keep the Bay Area Reporter going in these tough times. To support local, independent, LGBTQ journalism, consider becoming a BAR member.

Copyright Bay Area Reporter. For more articles from San Francisco's largest GLBT newspaper, visit www.ebar.com