I spent Halloween weekend in Chicago with my friend Matt. We’re both lifelong David Bowie fans and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see the exhibit “David Bowie Is” at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The exhibit was like nothing I’ve ever seen (or heard), and if you’re a Bowie fan, try to get to Chicago before the show closes on Jan. 4.
This week’s column, however, is not about David Bowie or the spectacular exhibit I saw. What will always stay with me alongside the joy of that weekend, was the sorrow I felt upon waking up Saturday morning so far from home and learning about the Noyes Street fire in Portland. As the weekend wore on, the news got worse and the loss of life rose to six.
The only solace I think many of us can take is knowing that people care, people want to help and people really love the city of Portland and its residents. To that end, there is a very special show happening at One Longfellow Square on Monday night, and every nickel raised will go to the families of those affected during what is surely their darkest hour. The music community here in Portland understands that music can help, music can heal, music can honor, music can raise awareness, music can bring people together and music can most certainly raise much needed funds.
Before we get into the details of the event, I think it’s important to remember these six names: David Bragdon Jr., 27; Ashley Thomas, 29; Nicole Finlay, 26; Chris Conlee, 25; Maelisha Jackson, 26; and Steven Summers, 29.
The hosts of this benefit show are MaineToday.com’s News by the Nunz blogger Holly Nunan and WMTW’s Katie Thompson. At the time of this writing, raffle item donors include Bonobo Wood Fire Pizza, Haberdashery, LFK, Snow Squall, See Soul Designs, CaptainRay Card, WMTW-TV, Ponomo, Clarion Hotel Airport, Highland Avenue Greehouse & Farm Market and Jacobs Chiropractic Acupuncture, with several more expected to be added to this list. Raffle tickets are $3 each or four for $10, and you do not need to be at the show to win.
Musicians who are donating their time to participate in this fundraiser include Samuel James, Jeff Beam, Ryan Halliburton, Clara Junken, Renee Spookydawn Coolbrith, Dean Malcolm Ford and Sorcha Cribben-Merrill. I’ve seen most of these acts live and can say with confidence that you will not be disappointed by the night’s entertainment. Expect dazzling guitars, soaring vocals, and most of all, a mutual desire by all of them to entertain while raising funds.
Portlander Arlyn Vaughan is the person responsible for making this production happen. “This just hit close to home for my friends and myself, and I felt I needed to do something.” The first thing Vaughan did was contact One Longfellow Square to secure a date for the show. Next was booking the music. “I started sending out requests to my many musically talented Portland friends (and received) an overwhelming response,” said Vaughan. In fact, he had to turn down more than 10 musicians because the bill filled up so quickly. “I would have needed to host a three-night event to fit all the musicians. I absolutely love this city.”
Vaughan told me to publish his phone number if you’d like to purchase raffle tickets or donate raffle items. Give him a call at 420-0368. Or you can reach him via the Noyes St Fire Benefit Facebook page. You’ll find all of the information about the show and the ever-growing list of raffle items and are encouraged to share the info with your friends.
Noyes Street Fire Benefit. Doors open at 6 p.m. Monday. One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland. $10 in advance, $12 day of show; onelongfellowsquare.com