The Ally Coalition Hosts its 5th Annual Talent Show

Manhattan, New York
United States

The Ally Coalition- co-founded by record producer, songwriter, and Bleachers frontman Jack Antonoff and his sister, fashion designer Rachel Antonoff- hosted their 5th annual Talent Show on December 5, 2018, at NYC’s Town Hall. This nonprofit organization has a mission of raising awareness and funds in support of LGBTQ equality, as well as pushing for representation and shining a light on issues like LGBTQ youth homelessness. Moreover, organizers were collecting sock and tampon donations at the event. The sock company Bombas gave each attendee two pairs of socks- one to donate and one to keep.

This year’s killer line-up included a wide variety of musicians and comedians: Andrew Dost, Bleachers, Hayley Kiyoko, Jacqueline Novak, Lana Del Rey, Mitski, Regina Spektor, Rostam, and Sasheer Zamata were all in attendance. Surprisingly, its set up was akin to a high school talent show. The stage was small, the songs were stripped-down and acoustic, and the entire venue was decorated with twinkly lights. Rachel Antonoff acted as the host, introducing each act. This intimate atmosphere was one that is not usually found with performers that are as well-known as these.

The event began with a piano performance by Jack Antonoff, followed by Rachel Antonoff saying a few words to kick it off. She stated that the evening was an opportunity to “reject the horrible rhetoric of this administration” and be around “people who care.”

Later, Hayley Kiyoko sang beautiful versions of tracks “What I Need” and “Let It Be” from her most recent album Expectations. After that, she told the crowd “so I’m gonna bring out a friend, she’s really talented, she just got off tour, she just signed with Universal-” I should add that at this point I, personally, was fully freaking out because I realized who the special guest was and I am a staunch fan- “I want you guys to really be nice, she’s really nervous, please welcome Taylor Swift!” Of course, this garnered screams and applause from the crowd. Swift expressed “It’s so great to be at this incredible show” while the applause continued, and then the two launched into a duet of her hit song “Delicate.” It was a lovely acoustic rendition of the song and their voices harmonized perfectly. Obviously, it was especially amazing to see Taylor Swift in such a small venue, and I was more than a little excited.

Another unique part of this concert was Lana Del Rey’s set. She was accompanied by Jack Antonoff on the piano as she sang two songs from her new album (produced by Antonoff); “How To Disappear” and “Venice B****.” Afterward, Antonoff switched to an acoustic guitar and Del Rey announced that she was going to sing two country songs they wrote “just for fun.”

Overall, the 5th Annual Ally Coalition Talent Show was an incredible event for an even more incredible cause. What’s particularly amazing about this event is that all proceeds from it go to homeless LGBTQ youth centers, including New Alternatives NYC and Ruth Ellis Detroit; this year’s event acquired an astounding $200,000. I would definitely recommend attending in the future. Not to mention, they hold a raffle for signed posters from previous events. Who knows, maybe next year Taylor Swift’s autograph will be raffled off...