August 19, 2018

Artists, musicians and comedians joining forces for a good cause

There’s a unique fundraiser next month to help the Alzheimer Society in North Bay increase respite care hours for families “living the dementia journey.”

Look, Listen and Laugh (Because Dementia Sucks) will take over the Grande Event Centre Sept. 14 with artists, musicians and comedians coming together to entertain while helping others.

“We’re all donating a bit of ourselves to offer a good time without being too pricey,” said organizer Dave Dale, referring to the moderate ticket price and how all involved are either volunteers or working at heavily discounted rates to make it happen.

Award-winning potter Keith Campbell, for example, commissioned for free a special ceramic plate, celebrated painter Dave Carlin is producing a special piece specific to the theme and air-brush artist Jeff Marceau is donating a portrait he creates during the event. All three works plus many more will be offered for sale in an online silent auction Sept. 7 to Sept. 21.

Opening with music at 7 p.m. is the J Houston Band, which jumped on board for a mere honourarium, with Jim Houston saying the cause hits close to home after his late mother fell victim to the disease.

It’s almost universal that somebody in every family, office or organization has encountered dementia to some degree.

“The big spark for this is my own Dad’s struggle,” Dale said, “but it’s mostly to help those who try to keep their mate at home as long as possible, like my Mom did.”

While the event is not organized by the Alzheimer Society Sudbury-Manitoulin North Bay and Districts, it will receive all proceeds from the event which will remain local to assist services they offer.

Tables lining the foyer of the Grande Event Centre, which can seat 250 guests, will be available for artists to showcase their work for a donation.

Tickets are $25 in advance ($30 at the door) and go on sale Aug. 16 at Cecil’s Brewhouse and Eatery as part of the kick-off for the new Stand Up Comedy North Bay Open Mic nights. The free shows continue into December every third Thursday of the month 8 to 10 p.m.

“If we pick up a few sponsors, tickets sell well and the auction brings in a fair share, I can see delivering $5,000 or more in proceeds toward local respite programming,” Dale said, adding the event timing lines up perfectly with the Alzheimer Society’s annual fall Coffee Break awareness campaign.

Already officially supporting the event with in-kind donations is The Nugget Extra weekly publication, the Grande Event Centre and Sellebrations, which is providing the sound and lighting equipment plus a technician at cost.

MC for the comedy portion of the night at 8 p.m. is Andre Raymond with a string of locals led by Eric Bowman plus several others to be named soon. Naughty Nana is driving in from Sudbury to spice up the intermission. Dale, a local reporter for two decades, is performing a must-see, pre-municipal election “Fake News Retirement Routine.”

The event also coincides with the Canadian Association of Stand Up Comedians’ inaugural awareness week as it seeks to get federal recognition of this particular form of comedy. Among other things, it would open up the doors to funding available to all other artists.

The closing music act at 10:15 p.m. is Johnny Rock, a well-traveled four-decade vet of the music scene, and his daughter Kelsey.

Reserved tables of eight are selling for $180 and come with a charitable tax receipt for $100.

Dale will personally deliver two or more tickets and, for those who don’t mind helping with promotion, will post photos of purchases via Facebook, Twitter and his personal website at www.smalltowntimes.ca

Straight donations can be made to the Alzheimer Society directly online HERE with full charitable receipt available.

For tickets and inquiries about sponsorship packages, contact Dale via email: [email protected] or call and text (705) 498-2050.

 Photos above: Keith Campbell working on a ceramic plate he donated to help promote the online auction using one of the images in Donna Cushing's The Long Goodbye creation (based on a photography of her parents walking hand-in-hand on their dementia journey). J Houston Band, stand-up comedy host Andre Raymond and air-brush artist Jeff Marceau.

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