I recently went to a show (Mayday Parade, Knuckle Puck and Milestones) at one of my favorite venues, Ace of Spades in Sacramento, CA. What I love about this venue is the hometown feel; it is small but not too small to be elite, it has fun and professional staff, it is on a block downtown that is ripe with local celebration, downtown grit without the fear factor, adequately priced parking, good food, and lots of color and spice to watch while you are waiting for the doors to open. You are most likely to find a musician (one you will later be standing line to see) eating at the table next to you. These local venues are important for community because much of artistic work they book appeal to those who are not attracted to the top 40 lifestyle - they are a community of diverse people with much to offer, but often not given legitimacy in the mainstream stratosphere. But when the lights go down and the band hits the stage, it becomes obvious that we are all in it together for the next few, amazing and inspiring hours we are not alone. It is in these dark spaces, for a few fleeting hours, we find community. We make connections and we feel part of something.
In addition, local venues give artists a place to perform, to connect with fans, and to be able to make a living as artists. I have seen opening bands pull up in rented passenger vans, all pile out to unload their equipment and later that night on stage, ask if they can crash with a willing fan after the show. These artists aren't driving up in expensive sports cars with mansions back home; these are people who are passionate about what they do- so much so that they will sleep in a van that seats 7 with a drum kit, 4 or so guitars, amps, mics and stands and any other tools of the trade. They drive all night to next venue, unpack, get on stage and perform the shit out of their songs, pack back up and drive all night to the next place and repeat about 25-45+ times before they are done. Yep, hometown venues are vital to preserving a large spectrum of artistic endeavors that would otherwise struggle for exposure. They help to preserve and create community in our towns and cities. They provide a space to experience who we are and why we care. Support your local venue whether it be purchasing tickets, advocating for them at town meetings and discussions, voting on issues that impact small business, and supporting them with positive public statements both verbal and by way of the web.
To donate: https://www.gofundme.com/2942a444
We are almost ready to launch the website! Visit our Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/socialrefugees/
I am starting a new nonprofit, Social Refugees. The mission is 3fold: 1. to create honest and factual messaging and awareness with regards to suicide and mental illness through a normalizing campaign; 2. to connect those who are at risk, effected by or suffering from issues associated with mental illness, suicide, or social shunning giving them a voice and platform through media, visual arts, music and/or spoken word; and lastly 3. to create comprehensive local guides so that those in need can access information easily and safely.
This project is something I have been wanting to do for years, if not decades. I have been turning it around in my mind for a long time and with recent events and the ever higher rates of suicide, I felt I had to move forward. I was completely floored and saddened by the negative comments and information being posted when Robbins Williams pasted. Most were composed with a complete lack of factual data or truths. I realized we have a long way to go and that age does not mean you are more, or less, sympathetic to or understanding of social issues and mental illness. I found a lot of mean or hateful comments coming from generations who, I perceived, to more understanding or open to particular social issues.
So here I am filling out paperwork to begin this project. I am excited, a little scared and a whole lot enthusiastic about the places this group will go.
meetings...there are great ones, that accomplish a lot, and ones that are time fillers and personal platforms...sign