Jersey City musicians and comics plan benefit for Standing Rock protest

Jersey City musicians and comics plan benefit for Standing Rock protest

Back in September, a court injunction stopped the Army Corps of Engineers from moving forward with the Dakota Access Pipeline, after protests by the Cheyenne Sioux Nation captured national attention. But the saga at Standing Rock is far from over, and on Saturday, January 7, a coalition of local bands will be raising consciousness (and money) to aid the protesters who remain at the site to insure that the government keeps its promises.

“The Benefit For Those Who Stayed” will take place at Jersey City’s all-ages venue The Funhouse, and showcase an eclectic bill of local musicians that includes Tom Barrett (of Overlake) and his side project TOMS (playing the music of the Minutemen,) the familial fun of the Rock N Roll Hi-Fives, and the xylophone-fueled punk of Crazy & The Brains.

Other acts include Other Rooms, Alsion Mixology, TV Tramps, Black Wail, and a reunion of the Harlots, as well as stand up comics Josh Wells and Adam Alexander Hamilton. The benefit is scheduled to run from 6 p.m. to midnight, and all proceeds will be donated to projects affiliated with the Standing Rock protests.

“We’re getting a bunch of bands together, most of them from Jersey City, and a couple of stand up comics, and it’s going to be a great event,” said Chris “Crazy” Urban, lead singer of Crazy & The Brains, who runs the Funhouse. “The money is going to be donated to three different funds for Standing Rock, one to help with the legal fees, another to help provide food and blankets for the volunteers who are still there, and one to help with medical supplies. And we’re also going to be collecting supplies for things that the protesters need.” (A list of needed supplies is available here. (https://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/196PVIWRDX1M4)

“It seems the story keeps changing as time goes on, so by the time the show goes down, we might be raising money for different things or different kinds of supplies – whatever’s needed, we’re going to try and help as best we can,” Urban said. “This is what we’ve been trying to do since we opened the Funhouse – focus on small or local organizations that are trying to change things for the better. This kind of thing is obviously going to be really important in the next four years to fight back for things we believe in, but it always was. The idea of using music to bring ideas to people and raise money has been around forever.”

Urban and his bandmates opened the Funhouse (at 32 Center Street) about a year ago. “We were living around the corner and it was – and still is – a motorcycle club during the day,” he explained. “We just developed a partnership where we do punk shows pretty much whenever we want and they do security. And our band practices there. It’s great, there’s a huge lack of that kind of thing going on, not just in Jersey City but all of New Jersey. It’s great to have a safe space where we can put on our own shows, and we’re just trying to do our thing.”

Local activist Kristina Acevedo organized the benefit, starting back when the government still planned to build the Dakota Access Pipeline under the Cheyenne River, threatening the Sioux’s water supply. “Once the court said they couldn’t go ahead, a lot of people thought the story was over but it’s not,” she said. “The army is still there blocking the bridges and closing roads and affecting these peoples’ everyday lives. So when the permit to build the pipeline across the river was denied, a lot of people wondered if we should cancel the show, and I said that more than ever, it’s important to do this.

“I feel like the way everything was going down when this first became a news story, it was almost hidden in the news, buried under all the election coverage,” Acevedo continued. “It’s such an important issue. It’s not just about water, and it’s not just about big business. It’s about humanity. These protesters were getting abused every single day they were there trying to stop this thing, and what for? So we can poison ourselves? They’re turning humans into commodities, and it’s not something anyone should just sit around and watch.”

“If you see a problem, you don’t have to know the solution, you can just bring it to light and make other people aware of the problem, so there can be a solution,” Acevedo said. “Doing things like this show keeps people aware. We’re going to do bands and comedians and keep it light, but we’re also letting people know that there is still that huge camp of volunteers and protesters at Standing Rock who are there to make sure the government keeps its promises. And I’m suggesting to Chris that we also do a coat drive, so that we’re not just asking for help for Standing Rock, but we’re helping locally as well.”

“North Dakota seems so far away, but this is our backyard,” Acevedo stated. “This affects every single person in the United States. I think we all need to listen to what Winona LaDuke (Native American environmentalist, economist, and author) said: ‘Someone needs to explain to me why wanting clean drinking water makes you an activist, and why proposing to destroy water with chemical warfare doesn’t make a corporation a terrorist.'”

The Benefit For Those Who Stayed will take place at The Funhouse (32 Center St., Jersey City) on Saturday, January 7, from 6 p.m. to midnight. Admission is $10. Donations can also be made directly to standwithstandingrock.net.

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Published at Tue, 03 Jan 2017 21:00:56 +0000