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    Americans Have Discovered the Garden, and Celebrities Want In

    Many of us turned to gardening for solace during the pandemic. Now Martha Stewart and Drew Barrymore want to guide us to green thumbs.Last spring, as the world descended into a collective panic, Drew Barrymore planted her first lawn. “I did not think I could do this,” said Ms. Barrymore, 46, who until last year did not include gardening in her exhaustive list of achievements.And yet, the actress, writer, producer, businesswoman, mother and recent television host managed to make grass grow. “It was all barren. I got the water and the rake and the bag of seed and I waited weeks and watched it grow,” she said, speaking by phone as one of her two daughters vied for her attention in the background.In early-stage pandemic fashion, she — like many other locked-down homeowners — also got chickens and planted a victory garden, growing tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, strawberries and squash. “It was a miracle. I never knew I could do these things, I didn’t think I was capable of it,” said Ms. Barrymore, who lives on the East Coast. “I felt really empowered.”Now, she is sharing her enthusiasm for grass as the face of Instead, a new lawn-care subscription service that fertilizes grass using ingredients like molasses, wheat flour, feather meal, blood meal and alfalfa. Over the course of the growing season, subscribers who pay $132 for a small lawn or $264 for a large one will receive three packages that promise to deliver a “happy lawn” that will be “overjoyed with this special recipe.”Ms. Barrymore is the latest celebrity to seize on a moment when millions of Americans have turned to their gardens as a source of solace, and to spin it into a business opportunity. Martha Stewart was the first to read the room. She weathered the pandemic last summer by filming “Martha Knows Best” for HGTV, a reality series about life on her sprawling Bedford, N.Y., estate, followed quickly with a second series in the fall. The show is now filming its third season, to air this summer.Last October, Aly Raisman, the Olympic gymnast who frequently posts Instagram selfies with her overgrown zucchini and miniature lime trees, partnered with the indoor gardening-kit company AeroGarden to share growing tips. And in January, UrbanStems, a flower and plant delivery service, released the love fern, a potted Blue Bell fern designed with Kate Hudson’s King St. Vodka brand.Even noncommercial ventures seem to play better in the garden these days. During their March interview with Oprah Winfrey, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle took their guest on a tour not of their Montecito living room, but of their chicken coop, projecting a message that in this time of social distancing, the most intimate setting is the backyard.Americans don’t have a national gardener in the way that the British have Monty Don, who hosts “Gardeners’ World,” which is a national institution in Britain. But with this newfound appetite for homegrown tomatoes and luscious lawns, the time might be ripe for one. As the country emerges from a long winter and (hopefully) the pandemic, all those raised beds and carefully tended lawns planted last spring and summer are still out there, waiting to be tilled and seeded for another season. Someone needs to explain the difference between a shovel and a spade.One candidate for the role would be, of course, Ms. Stewart, 79, who has been schooling Americans on their pruning methods for decades. She published her first book about gardening in 1990 and sells a line of garden tools and décor. In “Martha Knows Best,” she offers housebound viewers advice on how to achieve the perfect gardening soil, plant trees and build stone pathways, among other things.“People have started this hobby of gardening that’s addictive,” said Jane Latman, the president of HGTV. “We get letters and comments on our social feed constantly. Where is the gardening? You’re HGTV. Put the ‘G’ back in HGTV.”The first two seasons of “Martha Knows Best” were filmed with a skeleton crew on Ms. Stewart’s 153-acre estate, where she was locked down with a few members of her household staff. The mogul of domesticity spent much of each episode haranguing her cheery gardener, Ryan McCallister, as he dutifully planted 18,000 daffodil bulbs and wrapped her enormous boxwoods in burlap for the winter. (A crew of silent workers stitched the burlap shut with sewing needles.) In typical Martha Stewart fashion, she also demonstrated how to carve pumpkins and make wreaths, and bantered with celebrities, including Ms. Barrymore, over video.Filming began on April 9 for the third season, which will offer viewers more of Ms. Stewart’s property and take them indoors, as pandemic restrictions loosen. “We’re going to see more chickens,” Ms. Latman said. “The audience was very interested in the chickens.”As HGTV begins to look beyond the pandemic, it still has an eye toward the outside. “The idea of home has changed over the last year and a half, and there is a nesting that people have done and will continue to do,” Ms. Latman said.“Inside Out,” a show about an interior designer and landscape designer squaring off to win the larger share of a homeowner’s budget, premieres April 26 on Discovery+, the streaming service for Discovery, HGTV’s parent company. And “Clipped,” a topiary competition series premiering May 12, has cast Ms. Stewart as the lead judge deciding who has created the best sculpted shrubbery.If Ms. Stewart is a natural fit to channel our newfound enthusiasm for the garden, Ms. Barrymore is a less likely one. “Had they asked me two years ago, I think I probably would have been like, ‘You don’t want me, I’m not the real deal,’” she said of her partnership with Instead.But by the time the company did come around, Ms. Barrymore, who also has beauty and home-furnishings lines, was hosting a new talk show and had acquired an appreciation for dirt. Now, her Instagram feed is an eclectic mix of trying on lipstick for her beauty brand, selfies in the television studio, and videos of her hugging her chickens.In Instead’s version of landscaping, grass has an opinion and “lawning” is a verb like nesting, Zooming, adulting or Instagramming. Ms. Barrymore is the co-chief creative officer of the company, which is funded by the venture capital arm of Scotts, the lawn-care behemoth. She defines “lawning” as the act of “setting up a space for you and your family, and it’s a place that doesn’t want to be a museum that you stare at but a place that you interact with and live.”In a 30-second commercial for the lawn-care product, Ms. Barrymore, wearing a denim shirt and patchwork skirt, spreads out on an impeccable lawn and pets the grass, professing her love for it. “Happy lawn, meet happy lawn,” she says with a giggle.For weekly email updates on residential real estate news, sign up here. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate. More

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    Four Specials Take Outdoor Comedy in Unexpected Directions

    Vir Das, Brian Regan, Erica Rhodes and Ester Steinberg each find new ways to make a virtue out of the necessity of performing al fresco in a pandemic.Laughter doesn’t echo off clouds. That’s the first challenge of outdoor comedy. According to common wisdom, the ideal conditions for stand-up — small dark room, low ceiling — are pretty much the opposite of al fresco comedy. There was actually a history of such performing, before the pandemic, with its own street-comedy legends. But in the past year, a niche became mainstream, and now, there’s a new genre of special, tried by Chelsea Handler, Colin Quinn and others. Four more funny comedians have recently gotten laughs taking the special outside, and considering the loosening of rules for indoor performance, they could also be the last of their kind.Vir Das, ‘Ten on Ten’Stream it on YouTubeNo artist embodies the globalization of stand-up over the past decade like Vir Das, the prolific Indian comic currently shooting a new Judd Apatow comedy. This role might be a breakout if Das hadn’t already broken. With six specials and nearly 8 million Twitter followers, Das is a massive star, just not yet in America. But his savvy, charismatic comedic style seems perfectly suited to cross cultures. In videos shot in a forest in the southwest of India, he has been releasing chunks of jokes monthly this year (he took a break in April for filming). Each takes on a meaty subject big enough to be of interest across the world (religion, freedom of speech, the relationship between East and West).He’s quick to tie together different cultures, making connections, for instance, between supporters of Trump, Brexit and the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But this sprawling ambition doesn’t lead him to make the mistake of avoiding specificity. His comedy is filled with references to Indian culture that I didn’t understand, but he manages to explain quickly or provide enough context for me to appreciate the joke.You don’t need to have seen a speech by Modi to find Das’s imitation of his speaking style funny. Das is particularly sharp on accents throughout the world and their meaning, perhaps second only to Trevor Noah, another digitally savvy comic who’s adept at jokes that span continents. Poking fun at how Indians adopt American or British accents, Das points out that they never pick up German or Mexican ones, joking that Indians are “aspirational” in their accents. But his local jabs lead to a larger critique of the West. After a reference to Harry Potter, he points out that the books are popular in India. “We love British magic here,” he says. “Remember that trick where they made all our resources disappear?”Brian Regan, ‘On the Rocks’Stream it on NetflixRegan specializes in escapist observational humor.Leavitt Wells/NetflixAt the start of his latest special, the venerable stand-up Brian Regan draws attention to his suddenly gray hair. “Covid hit,” he said. “I went into hibernation and came out a senior citizen.” And that is the last topical note of this finely crafted hour of minor-key observational jokes. Regan has always been good at escapist observational humor, and he doubles down on lightweight fun, exploring standard subjects like animals, food and language. (“Orchestra pit. Those words don’t belong together.”) There’s one elaborate, standout bit about his O.C.D., but his work is far from personal. It’s old-school joke-telling, with broad mugging and utilitarian transitions (“I like words”). And while he’s outdoors with a masked crowd, the sound design and camerawork do not emphasize anything different from a prepandemic show.Many will find something refreshing about entertainment that feels from another, more carefree time. Regan (who contracted Covid-19 in December) is the rare comic who regularly tells jokes you will have no trouble letting your quarantined kids overhear. His rhythm is most similar to that of Jay Leno from the 1980s, and while they both are workaholics, Regan has proved more consistent. It’s easy for the casual observer to overlook the considerable technical prowess that Regan has honed over decades (his patience with setups, the spot-on word choice). Even with his clowning physicality, eyes popping, darting, brows raising, he makes stand-up look effortless.Erica Rhodes, ‘La Vie en Rhodes’Stream it on Apple TVRhodes finds the humor in malaise, an incongruity that holds promise.Comedy DynamicsA honking car is one of the ugliest sounds of everyday life. We’ve been conditioned to associate it with anxiety, error, even danger. Expecting it to stand in for laughter at a comedy show is like replacing kisses with coughs and hoping romance will continue just fine. So pity comics like Erica Rhodes who have been making the most of performing at drive-in theaters. “The good news is the numbers are finally going down,” she says in her intermittently amusing hour, holding the beat before the punchline, “Of people pursuing their dreams.”Rhodes makes comedy out of malaise, plastering on a smile after jokes about depression, horrible dates and the disappointment of having one towel in your 30s. There’s a tension in this incongruity that makes for a promising stand-up persona. But too many of her more ambitious bits, like the one about dating online, seem unfinished, starting strong, gaining momentum, then petering out casually. In some cases, it’s the reverse. She has a very sharp bit about how ending digital conversations these days results in an arms race of emojis that frustrates everyone. But she starts with a sentence about the end of the period that doesn’t entirely land. It’s a good joke looking for a better setup.Ester Steinberg, ‘Burning Bush’Rent or buy it on AmazonThe new special is a breakthrough for Ester Steinberg.Comedy DynamicsIn her persistently funny new special, Ester Steinberg declares that she found the perfect guy, before listing the three things he has that she’s always wanted: He’s tall, he’s Jewish and he has a dead mom. It’s one of many new spins on old Jewish jokes in a set that represents a breakthrough for this skilled comic. It’s notable less for the freshness of the content (weddings, motherhood, strip clubs) than for the giddy gusto of its delivery.Steinberg, who gave birth only six weeks before shooting this special, has been a charismatic sparkplug of a comic for years, but there’s a nimbleness here that is the work of someone who has come into her own. Layering jokes within jokes (at the same drive-in where Rhodes performed), she gets laughs without wasting words, veering from a flamboyant whine to vocal fry to deadpan dry. Her physicality somehow manages to evoke Bill Burr and Kate Berlant. She weaves in references to the pandemic without derailing her mischievous spirit and defuses the ridiculousness of performing for cars right away. “I’ve been doing comedy for many years,” she says, “and I finally realized my fan base is Kias.” Then after some honks and laughter, she turns to the audience and says with a straight face: “This car knows what I’m talking about.” More

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    Gina Prince-Bythewood: Movies Won't Be the Same Without the ArcLight

    For the director Gina Prince-Bythewood, seeing her movie premiere there or just a poster for it on display was a sign that her work mattered. News of the closure hit hard.As the rest of the film industry begins its tentative return to prepandemic normalcy, the announcement that Los Angeles’s ArcLight Cinemas, a chain that includes the Cinerama Dome, would close came as a shock to loyal moviegoers and filmmakers alike. Here, the director Gina Prince-Bythewood (“The Old Guard,” “Love & Basketball”) explains why the news was so devastating. These are edited excerpts.The ArcLight is a place for people who love movies. If you’re a filmmaker, if you love movies, you just appreciated everything that [the ArcLight] put into making it a curated moviegoing experience. They always had the films that we wanted to see, but they also had special screenings of movies that hadn’t been out for years, and a balance between big blockbusters and independent films. They made it an event. We never had to go anywhere else but the ArcLight — because you knew it was an experience every time, and you just didn’t want to cheat on your theater. There was no reason to go anywhere else.Ours was ArcLight Sherman Oaks, which was beautiful. The second you walk in, it’s about film. To the left was this very cool gift shop, which had film memorabilia and books, and then there would be the bar with mixed drinks but also great hot chocolate and coffee. There was a whole costume display from whichever film they were focused on, whether it be “Star Wars” or a period piece. [The concessions stand] was always packed because the food was really good — but there were tons of people working, so the lines moved fast.They had this entire wall of movie posters, and as a filmmaker, you’re always hoping that your poster would show up there. “Love & Basketball” premiered at the Cinerama Dome, and that was incredible to have my first film be at this iconic theater, with the red carpet and the excitement of it, and to see my film up on the marquee. My husband’s film, when he wrote “Get on the Bus,” also played there. To take a picture of the marquee, to have your movie poster be on rotation, it was exciting. And it made you feel like you’re working on something.Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps in “Love & Basketball,” which had its premiere at the Cinerama Dome.New Line CinemaMy husband and I, when we were dating, would go to the movies once a week. Nobody else at the time had assigned seating. You know when you used to go to the theater, and you’d have to get there super early, searching for two spots, and you knew where you’d like to sit and those seats are never available because someone’s there already, and you’re — you know, “Excuse me, pardon me, excuse me”? Here, you picked your favorite seat, you walked in and you sat down. Once we had kids, all of us would go to the exact same seats every time: F25, 24, 23, 22. They allowed us to be near the end, but also to put our feet up on a metal bar right below us. And as you wait, they always have great trivia going up on the screen and movie music playing, and then the usher would come and the experience will begin.All the ushers and everybody who worked there clearly love movies: You could ask them which film they would recommend, and they would go into detail why they loved it. Right before the movie would start, an usher would come to the front of the theater and announce what movie you’re about to see, the running time, the rating and some little tidbit of information about the film. And it was always fun because there would be ushers who were completely shy, and it was probably horrifying for them that they have to do this; others would give these long explanations and you could tell that this was just their moment in the sun.When “Black Panther” came out, we got our seats that we loved two weeks in advance. We knew that it was going to be packed. And the audiences there, there’s just a love of film. So you just knew that you were going to have fun with the crowd as well, because people clap at the end of movies they love and cheer during trailers they’re hyped about. I loved seeing other families going for that same experience, and then being able to talk about it afterward in the lobby. You knew the people were there to see the movie and they respected the filmmaking.To hear that the ArcLight, of all theaters, was shutting down was a shock. It was kind of a blow to that fantasy that we were going to get back to where we were. Streaming has been great during this time, and it was incredible for “The Old Guard” to reach the global audience that it did. But I still love theaters. I love the collective experience of watching a film with people I don’t know who are all feeling the same things.I’m just staying optimistic that someone is going to step up and purchase the theaters. It’s too important to the industry; it’s too important to the audiences; the meaning of it is just too important for it to just go away. I have this fantasy that Netflix or Apple or George Clooney is just going to step up and save it, because it needs to be here. Oprah! We need Oprah. More

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    25 Free Performances Come to Bryant Park Starting in June

    The park will host events for live audiences of 200 with institutions including the New York Philharmonic, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Joe’s Pub and the Classical Theater of Harlem.With arts performances in New York slowly starting up again, one city tradition is finally set to return: free outdoor events in marquee locations.From June to September, Bryant Park will present a series of 25 programs from some of the city’s most prominent institutions and performance groups, including the New York Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Joe’s Pub, the Classical Theater of Harlem, Paul Taylor Dance Company and the Town Hall.Dan Biederman, the president of the Bryant Park Corporation and the park’s longtime guardian, said the plan for the series began to take shape during the winter, when the park installed its annual ice rink and holiday market.“Thinking ahead to the summer, we thought, the concert halls are probably still going to be closed,” Biederman said in an interview. “Let’s play the same role, making Midtown more cheerful and drawing people to whatever extent we can.”City Parks Foundation’s SummerStage also announced this week that it would be returning to Central Park and other locations with in-person concerts, including a benefit show on Sept. 17 by the band Dawes.Bryant Park’s season functions as a coming-together of New York arts groups, many of which have had few opportunities for live events since the pandemic arrived.“One of the good things that has come out of the pandemic is that there has been a level of cooperation between the different arts organizations,” said Deborah Borda, the chief executive of the New York Philharmonic, which opens the season with four nights of concerts, starting June 9.The Philharmonic began putting on small-scale events throughout city last summer through its NY Phil Bandwagon program, and it is set to perform with a scaled-down ensemble this week at The Shed. Even by June, Borda said, the orchestra does not expect to be back to performing at full size. “We’re not doing Mahler symphonies,” she said.Bryant Park will limit attendance to 200 people for each performance, although producers say it is possible that state regulations could allow bigger crowds as the season progresses. The events are free, but tickets must be reserved in advance. Most events will also be livestreamed.Once arriving at the park, patrons will have their temperatures checked and be shown to their seats, which will be arranged with room for social distancing. The park does not plan to require vaccinations or proof of negative virus tests, but it is considering those as options, according to Dan Fishman, the park’s director of public events.Among the other organizations participating in Bryant Park’s series this summer are Elisa Monte Dance, Harlem Stage, National Sawdust, New York Chinese Cultural Center, Limón Dance Company and Greenwich House Music School. Singers from the New York City Opera will perform a Pride concert on June 18.Many groups and institutions have been scaled down or cocooned altogether since last year.“We’ve been in hibernation,” said Tom Wirtshafter, the president of the Town Hall, which has put on more than 60 virtual programs during the pandemic but, as with most venues, had to furlough most of its staff.Town Hall, which opened its doors in 1921, will close Bryant Park’s season on Sept. 20 with a 100th-anniversary event featuring Chris Thile, the mandolin player whose eclectic tastes range from bluegrass to Bach.Tiffany Rea-Fisher, the artistic director of Elisa Monte Dance, who also curates dance performances at the park, said her company has performed only twice in the last year. It will perform on Aug. 20 with the Paul Taylor Dance Company, and Rea-Fisher said it was not easy to find other dance groups that would be prepared.“It was challenging, finding companies that were ready, stamina-wise,” she said. “You don’t want to bring dancers back after a year and have them hit a performance — it’s just asking for injury.”But like others, she said was thrilled, “smiling ear to ear,” at the prospect of performing once again, and doing so in a prominent spot for New Yorkers.“To be able to do what you trained for,” Rea-Fisher, said, “it’s so joyful, it’s so fulfilling; it feels sublime.” More

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    Lincoln Center’s Plaza Is Going Green. Really.

    Lincoln Center, whose theaters remain closed by the pandemic, will cover the plaza around its fountain with a synthetic lawn as it pivots to outdoor performances.Lincoln Center, which is holding a series of performances outdoors while its theaters remain closed by the pandemic, announced Tuesday that it would transform the plaza around its fountain into a parklike environment by blanketing it with a synthetic lawn.With the center using its outdoor spaces as stages this spring and summer, it turned to a set designer, Mimi Lien, to reimagine its campus. She came up with a plan to transform the plaza into something she calls “The GREEN” — adding a splash of color to a palette that is dominated by white travertine, and turning the space into a grassy-looking oasis that she hopes will invite New Yorkers in for performances and relaxation.“I wanted to make a place where you could lie on a grassy slope and read a book all afternoon,” Lien, the recipient of a MacArthur genius grant, said in a statement. “Get a coffee and sit in the sun. Bring your babies and frolic in the grass. Have a picnic lunch with co-workers.”“Like a town green,” she added, “a place to gather.”The installation, which will open on May 10 and remain in place through September, will be the physical centerpiece of Restart Stages, an initiative Lincoln Center announced in February to use its outdoor spaces for live performances. The initiative began last week with a performance the New York Philharmonic gave for health care workers, and it has continued since then with a blood drive and other pop-up arts programming.The artificial turf will be green in another sense: Officials said it that it would be made of recyclable material with “a high soy content, fully sourced from U.S. farmers.” It will also feature a small snack bar, and have books available for borrowing. Events that will be held in the space will be announced in the coming weeks, officials said.The space will be open from 9 a.m. to midnight; face coverings, social distancing and other health and safety protocols will be required. The plaza will be cleaned regularly, officials said. More

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    Cultural Venues’ Quest for Billions in Federal Aid Is Halted by Glitch

    On the first day nightclubs, movie theaters and other arts organizations hurt by the pandemic could apply for $16 billion in federal aid, the system malfunctioned. No applications got through. As the government prepared on Thursday to start taking applications for a $16 billion relief fund for music clubs, theaters and other live event businesses, thousands of desperate applicants waited eagerly to submit their paperwork right at noon, when the system was scheduled to open.And then they waited. And waited. Nearly four hours later, the system was still not working at all, sending applicants into spasms of anxiety.“This is an absolute disaster,” Eric Sosa, the owner of C’mon Everybody, a club in Brooklyn, tweeted at the agency. Shortly after 4 p.m., the Small Business Administration — which runs the initiative, the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program — abandoned its effort to salvage the broken system and shut down it down for the day. No applications were processed. “Technical issues arose despite multiple successful tests of the application process,” Andrea Roebker, an agency spokeswoman, said in a written statement. After discussions with the vendors that built the system, the agency decided “to shut down the portal to ensure fair and equal access once reopened, since this is first-come, first-serve,” Ms. Roebker said. “This decision was not made lightly as we understand the need to get relief quickly to this hard-hit industry.”In social media forums and Zoom calls, frustrated applicants vented and shared their anger. “It’s hard to keep hearing ‘help is on the way’ and then not be able to apply,” said Tom Weyman, the director of programing at the Columbus Theater in Providence, R.I. “I don’t think any of us thought the application process would be totally smooth, but this is life and death for our venues.” The meltdown echoed problems the agency had last year in taking applications for the Paycheck Protection Program, which it also oversees. When that program opened, the agency’s overwhelmed systems seized up — and the same thing happened again, weeks later, when a new round of funding became available. Applicants for the grant program were incredulous that the agency was not better prepared — especially because the funds are to be distributed based on the order in which people apply. Those who get their applications in early have the best chance of getting aid before the money runs out. “It pits venues against each other because we’re all mad-dashing for this,” Mr. Sosa, the Brooklyn club owner, said in an interview. “And it shouldn’t be that way. We’re all a community.” For businesses like Crowbar, a music club in Tampa, Fla., getting a grant is a matter of survival. Tom DeGeorge, Crowbar’s primary owner, took out more than $200,000 in personal loans to keep the business afloat after it shut down last year, including one using its liquor license as collateral.More than a year later, the club has reopened with a smattering of events at reduced capacities, but the business still operates in the red, Mr. DeGeorge said.“We lost an entire year of concerts in the blink of an eye, which was close to $1 million in revenue,” Mr. DeGeorge said. “That’s why we need this grant so badly.”The aid was authorized by Congress late last year after months of lobbying by an ad hoc coalition of music venues and other groups that warned of the loss of an entire sector of the arts economy.For music venues in particular, the last year has been a scramble to remain afloat, with the proprietors of local clubs running crowdfunding campaigns, selling T-shirts and racking their brains for any creative way to raise funds. For the holidays, the Subterranean club in Chicago, for example, agreed to place the names of patrons on its marquee for donations of $250 or more.“It’s been the busiest year,” Robert Gomez, the primary owner of Subterranean, said in an interview. “But it’s all been about, ‘Where am I going to get funding from?’”As it struggled to make ends meet, the Chicago club Subterranean decided to place the names of patrons on the club’s marquee for donations of $250 or more. Robert Gomez, its primary owner, said, the year has “all been about, ‘Where am I going to get funding from?’”Lyndon French for The New York TimesEven before Thursday’s fiasco, the opening of the shuttered venue program was riddled with complexity and confusion.The Small Business Administration posted a 58-page guide for applicants late Wednesday night, then quickly took it offline. A revised version of the guide was posted just minutes before the portal opened on Thursday. (An agency spokeswoman said the guide had to be updated to reflect “some last-minute system changes.”)And less than two hours before the agency was supposed to start accepting applications, its inspector general sent out an alert warning of “serious concerns” with the program’s waste and fraud controls. The Small Business Administration’s current audit plan “exposes billions of dollars to potential misuse of funds,” the inspector general wrote in a report. Successful applicants will receive a grant equal to 45 percent of their gross earned revenue from 2019, up to $10 million. Those who lost 90 percent of their revenue (compared to the prior year) after the coronavirus pandemic took hold will have a 14-day priority window for receiving the money, followed by another 14-day period for those who lost 70 percent or more. If any funds remain after that, they will then go to applicants who had a 25 percent sales loss in at least one quarter of 2020. Venues owned by large corporations, like Live Nation or AEG, are not eligible.The application process is extensive, with detailed questions about venues’ budgets, staff and equipment.“They want to make sure you’re not just setting up a piano in the corner of an Italian restaurant and calling yourself a music venue,” said Blayne Tucker, a lawyer for several music spaces in Texas.Technical glitches marred the beginning of the first day of submitting applications for the grant program. Empty chairs were seen in Crowbar.Zack Wittman for The New York TimesEven with the grants, music venues may be facing many dry months before touring and live events return at anything like prepandemic levels. The grant program also offers help for Broadway theaters, performing arts centers and even zoos, which share many of the same economic struggles.The Pablo Center at the Confluence, in Eau Claire, Wis., for example, was able to raise about $1 million from donations and grants during the pandemic, yet is still $1.2 million short on its annual fixed operating expenses, said Jason Jon Anderson, its executive director.“By the time we open again, October 2021 at the earliest, we will have been shuttered longer than we had been open,” he added. (The center opened in 2018, at a cost of $60 million.)The thousands of small clubs that dot the national concert map lack access to major donors and, in many cases, have been surviving on fumes for months.Stephen Chilton, the owner of the 300-capacity Rebel Lounge in Phoenix, said he had taken out “a few hundred thousand” in loans to keep the club afloat. In October, it reopened with a pop-up coffee shop inside, and the club hosts some events, like trivia contests and open mic shows.“We’re losing a lot less than we were losing when we were completely closed,” Mr. Chilton said, “but it’s not making up for the lost revenue from doing events.”The Rebel Lounge hopes that a grant will help it survive until it can bring back a full complement of concerts. And if its application is not successful?“There is no Plan B,” Mr. Chilton said. More