Thursday, January 21, 2010

Comedians, musicians come out to support Haiti

By Meredith Deliso

The horrors of the earthquake in Haiti have been broadcast to us here in New York over the past week.

Jack McFadden, a local music booker, was not immune to the news. While staying up till the early morning last week caring for his 9-month-old daughter, he realized he wanted to use his powers for good, organizing a star-studded benefit with the likes of Jimmy Fallon.

“I...was watching all of the horrific news and immediately just figured I need to organize a quick benefit to get some cash in the right hands,” said McFadden, the booker for the Bell House in Gowanus and Union Hall in Park Slope. “I’ve had an incredibly lucky past two years personally, so getting involved was a real no-brainer.”

On Wednesday, January 27, the Bell House hosts Strength Through Unity, a benefit for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. Reaching out to performers who have a history with both the Bell House and Union Hall venues, McFadden has compiled a variety of performers for the benefit, from comedians to local musicians. “It’s a testament to their kindness that they were able to say yes within the first 24 hours of asking,” said McFadden.

That list includes, as of press time, Jimmy Fallon, a Brooklyn native who hosts his own late night television show on NBC, Eugene Mirman, and Todd Barry on the comedy end. For music, there’s The Walkmen; Ted Leo; Sondre Lerche; Here We Go Magic; AC Newman of New Pornographers with Rhett Miller of Old 97s and Nicole Atkins as a Seekers cover band; The Wahoo Skiffle Crazies; and The Wrens.

“This is such a tragic event. So anything that we can do to help those in need we will do – this being the least of what we can do,” said Greg Whelan, guitarist for the indie rock band The Wrens. “The minute we heard about the benefit we were in.”

Also appearing at the benefit that night are New York State Senator Diane Savino and Pat Kiernan of NY 1. Joe McGinty of Loser’s Lounge and Sara Schaefer will be hosting keyboard karaoke as well. As performers’ schedules are finalized, there might be a few initial maybes that find they can commit to the event, which is giving 100 percent of the proceeds to Save The Children and Partners in Health.

“Most clubs will take their house costs first,” said McFadden, “but we are donating that amount to the cause.”The Strength Through Unity benefit is January 27 at 6 p.m. at the Bell House (149 7th St.). Tickets are $50. For more information, call 718-643-6510.


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