Gulf Coast photos by the Internet
T-shirt photos by Sam Jayne
HEAL, BABY, HEAL: A Benefit for the Restoration of the Gulf Coast is tonight at the Rock and Roll Hotel! In the name of a good cause, I spent a few brief minutes (through e-mail, of course) with Ian Graham and Lisa Reed (of Lenorable) who have decided to get off their asses and do something proactive about the greatest environmental disaster… well, ever.
With the help of local talent and muscle like Durkl, Laughing Man, Typefighter, DJ Smudge, and Drop Electric, they’re gonna drink, party and dance to raise funds for de-employed workers and oily birds that don’t deserve what happened to them!
So explain the premise of Heal Baby Heal for those who may not have heard about it yet (shame on them)…
IAN: Heal, Baby, Heal is a response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The name is a twist on “Drill, Baby, Drill” and its parody, “Spill, Baby, Spill.” Although the spilling one was funny the first time I heard it, it’s not going to help anything. So we wanted to take that meme and make it a positive message for the coast.
LISA: It’s just completely impossible to ignore all the suffering that is taking place right now, even though a lot of it isn’t being covered by the media. And I was just sick of feeling helpless, all the way up here in DC. Nobody is powerless when it comes to lending a hand to others, regardless of geographic separation. So here we are.
How did the idea for the fundraiser come about? What inspired it?
LISA: I suppose there is some personal interest for the benefit, as all my family live on the Mississippi Coast. I’ve been through Katrina (I was lucky enough to move to coast two weeks before it hit), so my heart goes out to those folks who are experiencing even more now, because the Gulf is far from recovered from that hurricane. Throw the recession on top of that (10.9% unemployment in MS alone), and it’s just a mess, which is easy to ignore in a place like DC. Then we visited the coast during the 4th of the July weekend, which even more so convinced us this country needs to help South recover, instead of simply pointing fingers at who’s supposed to be responsible for fixing it.
What charities are you specifically giving the proceeds to and why?
LISA: It was very important to me that we find locally run organizations, and focus on both the humanitarian aspect and the environmental, as they are so deeply intertwined. I.E. kill all the wildlife, and the shrimpers and fishers are starving. I love both the people and the animals, so I couldn’t choose one over the other.
IAN: We chose the Second Harvest Food Bank in New Orleans and the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Miss. Second Harvest told us in June that the demand in their area – New Orleans and Acadia – has increased an additional 25-30 percent since the spill occurred. People have gone months without any income.
You got Durkl involved to make a sweet t-shirt for the event, how did that partnership come about?
IAN: I’m a skateboarder and I’ve known skateboarders in DC for probably six years now, so I’ve heard about Durkl probably since they started out. Honestly, I can’t say I kept up with them, but even when I was in school in Montana, I’d hear about Durkl through the skate scene there. I asked them if they’d be interested in doing a tee for us, thinking I’d aim high and maybe come out with some hats and stuff to raffle, but they ended up coming through in a big way, and we have some of the sickest beach shirts I’ve seen in a while.
LISA: I’ve honestly never seen a better benefit tee shirt. Ever.
Local acts Laughing Man, Typefighter, DJ Smudge and Drop Electric are also a part of the posse, why those artists? And how did they get involved?
IAN: I reached out to some of my friends and fellow noisemakers I’d met playing shows around town, and we were lucky enough to get an amazing line-up that I think any self-respecting music fan can get behind.
LISA: I think anyone who has been involved in planning benefits knows that nothing, nothing brings in more money than awesome local music. It’s like there’s a community already there, so it’s easy to pool people in for a cause.
Not to mention the sweet raffles that are going on from local businesses…. tell me about them!
IAN: We decided a raffle would not only help us raise some money, but give businesses a chance to donate to the cause. A lot of restaurants on H Street were able to chip in and Jon Meyers at the Vinyl District helped us get local record shops involved.
Got anything to add?
IAN: I’d never been there until this July, when Lisa and I visited her family in Long Beach, Miss. There’s a lot of stuff there you can’t really fathom without experiencing it firsthand. But you don’t get sadness from the people – they’re fucking tough, and they’re weathering the storm, so to speak. They’re dealing with things I think most people can’t imagine. Pictures say 1,000 words, but visiting the area does so much more.
LISA: It’s a sad scene – beaches are closed while workers scrape up oily sand, and just across the street there are empty concrete slabs where houses and businesses stood before Hurricane Katrina. And there are so many things that you can’t see, like residents getting headaches and sick from the chemicals, people who have lost their livelihoods getting foreclosed on by banks who’ve been bailed out, and animals washing up on islands or being burned to death trapped in oil booms.
But we’ve seen this country give awesome amounts of aid to other countries during disasters, so I have hope that we can all chip in and save an incredibly treasured part of the U.S. At least a quarter of our seafood industry is harvested from the Gulf Coast. And shit, it brought us blues that brought us rock ‘n roll. Unbeknownst to most, almost all of the music in this country came from the south in one way or another. Let’s not let that beloved history drown in this disaster.
Now do the environment a favor and make your way over to RNR Hotel tonight. Doors @ 8pm, Tickets are $12 with all the proceeds benefiting relief efforts! Let’s go save some seagulls!