Popup Marketplace Extravaganza is returning to New York City this weekend. The popup — organized by makeup artist Jojo McCarthy, event coordinator Audrey Cerrone, vendor coordinator Erin Acker, and others — brought local artists and businesses in to help support crew members during a rough time, to put it lightly, in the industry. Just in time for the holiday season, the marketplace is returning.
The event brings artists together affected by the strikes in the film and television community. Union members of all guilds, as well as small business owners, set up shop as vendors, selling art, food and drinks, clothing, jewelry—you name it. In addition, supporters can receive work from hairstylists and makeup artists from the industry or just get the chance to mingle, talk shop, and see how to help the people behind-the-scenes of some of their favorite movies and shows today.
To name one of many artists involved, the Emmy Award-winning and Oracle Jayne Station founder, makeup artist Andrew Sotomayor (Theater Camp), is the event’s co-producer. “When the strikes were happening, I felt like my neighborhood was on fire. Now, we’re figuring out how to rebuild,” he told Below the Line. “Before, my coworkers marched to support the actors and writers, helping each other file for unemployment, get Mental Health First Aid certified, and growing our skills using LinkedIn Learning. Now, we’re seeing a few people get back to work, and the rest of us are running on fumes.”
The Popup Marketplace Extravaganza is doing what it can to provide support crew members financially but also personally, allowing their creativity to shine in a public setting. “So the Popup Marketplace is where we remind ourselves that we’re creative, we’ll try new ways to make money, and we work hard,” Sotomayor added. “At every market, I watch my friend Jeni Zaharian (Manifest) do amazing beadwork instead of amazing makeup. Instead of helping capture beautiful cinematography, Amaya Chenu (The Good Nurse), lays out her beautiful handmade beeswax candles. And instead of going to my favorite vegan restaurant, chef Joy Strang is bringing Paradise Taco to sell at the market!”
Another artist participating in the event is a former coworker of Sotomayor, costume designer Michelle J. Li (Theater Camp). “This is the third iteration of the pop-up mini-market after it went so well the first and second time!” Li told Below the Line. “It’s organized by many multi-talented BTL individuals, many of whose work has graced your screens in theaters and at home. All proceeds are 100% put back into our maker’s pocket, so this is the most direct way you can support us during these times where many of us experienced financial hardship from the strikes!”
For anyone who’s not in New York City or unable to attend this weekend, there are still plenty of ways to be of service to industry workers, whether you are one or not. “Get in touch with your local politicians,” Sotomayor said. “There must be a million people working in film and television once you count the actors, the writers, the crews, the cooks, the electricians, the truck and van drivers, the production assistants, and the local businesses that support the industry. These are good, hard-working people who just want to be paid fairly, make a good product, and take care of the people around us. I visited the office of my State Senator Julia Salazar and had a lovely chat with her Director of Operations about the industry. Politicians want to hear from the voters that elect them, and it’s up to us to give them ideas on how to get involved.”
During the strike, the people at the top forgot a simple fact about artists: they’re creative, inside and outside their work. They know struggle. They know how to get through tough times. And, as Popup Marketplace Extravaganza reminds us, how to move forward and keep creating with joy under immense pressure. It’s a beautiful trait in any artist — a quality that the Popup Marketplace Extravaganza celebrates wholeheartedly.
“Fighting greed can feel really dark at times, but taking action can also be straightforward,” Sotomayor concluded. “These marketplaces remind me of something my friend from the audio department said, ‘The AMPTP tried to starve entertainment workers, so we organized food drives.’ Artists are adaptable, and we help build communities. Sometimes that starts by selling handmade soaps.”