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Sunday, 24 March 2013

Daughter Staples Performer, I'm Getting Inked Again

Yes. Yes she did. My daughter is a sadist. She stapled a five-dollar bill to a performer named Voodoo Ray. It was for charity, and she was feeling charitable I guess. Is there such as thing as charitable sadism? I took a picture, but it's going to need major enhancement for anyone to be able to see anything at all in that shot, and we ran out of five-dollar bills, so we couldn't just keep stapling the poor guy to get a good shot.

You're probably wondering what the hell I'm talking about, aren't you? Well, the reason I'm late posting this blog, which should technically have been posted yesterday, is because my daughter and I went to a fundraiser for the Cannon Street fire in Hamilton, Ontario. We got home from the fundraiser just after midnight, and I have to say we had a freakin' blast. My blast came partially from the three beers I imbibed, but by the time we left the buzz was all gone and I was still having a great time.

We were late arriving to the fundraiser, so we missed out on Joe Towers and Getting Strange, but I was breathing like I had broken glass in my throat and lungs so I wasn't even sure I was going to make it there. We got our door-prize tickets, bought three tickets for the 50/50 draw and three raffle tickets. Between our main tickets and our draw tickets, we spent $35, and I have to say it was the best $35 I've ever spent in my life! The entertainment was amazing, there was tons of food, and we came away with so many prizes I think we tripled our 'investment' in the tickets. I'll tell you all about that in a minute. I'm leading up to it.

Before I get any further into the details, I'll tell you now that I got video of all the performers, as well as stills. I have editing and clean-up to do on them, and first I have to see if they're worth posting. I'm not at all certain of the quality of the video or audio. If they're at all accurate in portraying what I saw tonight (technically last night now), you're in for a major treat. I got permission from every one of the acts to post the video here on this blog. It's exclusive LIVE footage, and there was some serious talent on that stage! Every person I spoke to after their performance was extremely warm and friendly, too, so a big round of applause goes out to them for that as well.

Basically what I'm telling you is that I'll have videos and pictures in tomorrow's blog posting that will be worth you coming back to check it out! Charly Chiarelli is the best harmonica player I've heard in my entire life. I kid you not! He's played around the world, and after hearing him that isn't a big surprise. He's originally from Hamilton, but has resided in Kingston for the last six years, and came back to Hamilton specifically to do this fundraiser. Amazing musician with a heart of gold. It honestly never occurred to me that I could be impressed by the harmonica. I was so wrong.

I'd managed to grab a beer by this point, and boy was I thrilled to see they had a beer licence. The three drinks I had over the course of the evening were the first I've had in about a year, so I can't begin to tell you how great they tasted to me. +Molson Canadian, all the way!

Voodoo Ray performed the first half of his act, which surprised the hell out of me. He set up a table and my first thought, accompanied by eye-rolling, was that I was about to see a magician. Nope. I was about to see a man torment himself. No, just because I'm a feminist does not mean I enjoy seeing a man in pain - I didn't say I don't enjoy it; just that it's not because I'm a feminist. At least I enjoyed the hell out of it when it was done by Voodoo Ray. Things like eating broken glass and worms were the least of it. After this he went around offering to let people to staple currency to his torso. My daughter, the aforementioned sadist, jumped at the chance. I handed her a five and headed back for my second beer once I'd taken a picture of her cruelty for posterity.

Alfie Smith was up next, and the two performers in that group were high-calibre musicians as well. Bluesy, using a slide, very nice string music. Some serious talent in that duo. Great voice, too. What a joy to watch and listen! Their whole set seemed to go off without a hitch, and I enjoyed them tremendously. The lead singer mentioned that he'd been through a similar situation with a house fire, so it was easy to see why he empathized so strongly with the survivors the fundraiser was staged for.

I think it was around the time they ended their set that I headed off for my final beer. It was then that they called out the number for the door prize. My daughter won it! Three DVDs, a whole bunch of junk food, and a t-shirt from Grim City Slinger Tattoo Studio. One of the movies happened to be a Ryan Reynolds flick, and man can that act.

Anyhoo! I was also thinking about the fact that I really wanted to win one of the raffle prizes I'd put tickets into for gift certificates for a couple of tattoo places, so as happy as I was to see the t-shirt, I was looking for some real ink. My daughter was hoping to win the basket that had the DVD for RED in it - the one with Bruce Willis and Karl Urban (both hotties my daughter and I agree wholeheartedly on, along with the Canadian Mr. Reynolds). They hadn't started the raffle prizes yet, though.

I think this is the time Strange Cargo came on, and despite the first and third numbers having a seeming issue with the tuning of one of the instruments, the rest of the set was great, one song of which you'll see in the video (assuming it turned out well enough to upload here). You'll also see them perform for a bit with Charly Chiarelli, and I could be wrong but I think they were performing 'junk' (jazz-funk fusion). I'm not well-versed in it, so I could be way off base there, but it was really cool.

They began the raffle prizes, but only went through a few at first. Voodoo Ray came on to do the second half of his performance, and all I can say is, "Oh. My. God!" From what I could tell, and he did say this was the case, everything he did was real, with the exception of one thing at the end of the performance. He pulled a funny at the end, but I'll let you see that for yourself when I post the video. All I'm going to tell you is that the latter half of his act involved a bed of nails, broken glass, and a very big sledge hammer. Among other things. Big ouch!

Charly Chiarelli popped on the stage to do a quick number, and ended up doing a second one with the band members of Big Phat chiming in. Totally impromptu, with an amazing sound. The lead singer for Big Phat was doing sound checks and getting ready for their main performance, so the band filled the time with Charly, and it was so worth it.

Big Phat turned out to be a Big Phat something, with a high-energy singer leading the way. Their regular guitarist was out with pneumonia, and so they had a gentleman named Chris Holton filling in, and he was a major treat there! I kept hearing everyone talk about how great he was, and I had to concur. I was already impressed by the way he'd been jamming with Charly Chiarelli, but when he really started to play it was like...wait for to my ears! All puns aside, he was great, and so was Big Phat.

Justin Graves, along with everyone else involved in the organization of the event, finally got down to the serious business of drawing the winning tickets for the raffle prizes. The first tattoo prize went to someone else, but the second certificate, which was for $50 for a place called Rock Star Ink here in Hamilton, was won by none other than...drum roll please...ME! I'm finally getting my second tattoo (it's only taken me about 15 years since I had the first one done, which was when I said I couldn't wait to get my next one - apparently I could wait, because I did).

I've already picked out the tattoo. Stimpy (he's one of my ferrets in case you don't regularly read my blog) is going to have his itty bitty footprints permanently inked into my skin, just like those little paw prints are permanently etched into my heart. I'll get Pepper's paw prints done a bit later (my other ferret), unless I can get both done at the same time. I guess it's a good thing ferrets have such tiny feet! The tattoos will be small. Some people do their pets' faces, but they don't always turn out so well, and I can't bear the thought of their faces being distorted at all. Besides, I still have their little faces to look at, and the real thing is better. The joy in their expressions, and the way they chatter and laugh when they're playing, aren't usually things that can even be captured in a photograph, much less a tattoo.

Well, back to the fundraiser. My daughter's friend actually won the gift basket my daughter was hoping to win, but the great thing about friends is when they tell you that you can have the DVD you wanted so badly. Two of the videos my daughter got in her basket were ones she wasn't interested in, so she traded with her friend instead. On top of that we somehow ended up with a couple bottles of Canadian-made, Uncle Nathan's Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce, and a really nice glass dish, etched with an iris. Seeing as my daughter was just recently lamenting that we needed a place to store laundry money, this was a score. Oh, and the previously mentioned gift basket was actually a huge mixing-type bowl that exactly matched the set we already had at home! Total win there.

I have to say, I can't remember the last time I had so much fun, and we came away from the experience so much richer in every way - not just in raffle and door prizes. I got to meet some of the people I've been talking to online. People who helped to organize the event, and people who took in the survivors of the fire right from the scene. I got to meet my daughter's other friends who were survivors of the fire, and a friend she knew from Burlington. It was a strange coincidence that her friend from Burlington was also friends with one of the people my daughter became friends with through a random set of circumstances. It'll be interesting to watch the patterns emerge that tell the tale of how and why this all occurred.

For obvious reasons, they're still trying to raise funds for this cause, so if you're able to donate, please click on either of the links above. Both blog postings have all the information needed for anyone to donate money to the trust account, including the out-of-country donors. Please be generous. This was basically a rooming house. One person died in the fire, and the remaining eleven people lost every single thing they owned except what they were wearing on their backs at the time.

They've been given all the physical donations they can handle at this point, such as clothing and furniture. They don't have room for anything else. It's money they need now. They need first and last month's rent for new places to live, and then they may need security deposits for utility bills. Beyond that they're going to need the thousands of dollars' worth of crap that every household needs. If you've never literally lost every single thing, it's very easy to forget how expensive all those little things turn out to be when you add them up. Stupid things like brooms and plungers, can openers and mixing bowls. You get a vague idea if you're ever involved in a divorce where the other person takes pretty much everything, but usually you still have ice cube trays and the odd spatula.

The problem is, those things are so hard to track when it comes to donations anyway. The list would be huge! It's just a hell of a lot easier for everyone involved if people can donate some funds rather than the physical items. Every one of these people is looking for a fresh start now, and they need your help to do it. Thanks so much - from myself, from my daughter whose friends were hit by this tragedy, and from everyone who has been trying so hard to raise funds for these people who are now homeless. They have places to sleep for the time being, yes, but they no longer have homes.