A group of Los Angeles musicians and writers, including CalArts School of Critical Studies faculty Tisa Bryant, Jen Hofer, Douglas Kearney and Maggie Nelson, are organizing a benefit this Saturday (Jan. 30) to support the relief efforts carried out by Partners in Health, an organization that has been providing health care and education services in Haiti for more than 20 years.
Listen! Dance! Stand with Haiti! A Night of Readings, Music and Dance in Solidarity with the Haitian People also features other poets and novelists (Will Alexander, Gloria Alvarez, Percival Everett, Sesshu Foster, Veronica Gonzales, Chris Kraus, Abel Salas), and live music from Ceci Bastida and Domingo Siete, and DJ sets from Glenn Red, Concise and Gomez comes alive.
We sent Jen Hofer an e-mail to find out how she got involved in the event, and what we can expect to see from the participants on Saturday night. She replied:
I became involved with this event when my friend and fellow L.A.-based writer Ben Ehrenreich contacted me to ask if I had ideas of where we might hold a benefit, and if I knew other local writers who might want to participate. I jumped at the chance to direct my heartache [about Haiti] toward a positive, forward-looking--and to some extent celebratory--endeavor to benefit Haiti. It's all too easy to feel powerless in the face of this kind of tragedy and the impossible pain and loss it causes--and more so if we consider the ways that powerful nations like the U.S. have consistently created policies that contribute to infrastructural and political challenges in Haiti and elsewhere that make a natural disaster unnaturally more disastrous than it otherwise would be.
In terms of what people who come to the benefit can expect: mercifully brief readings (there are, after all, a dozen readers!!) from some of Los Angeles' most inventive, talented and fiercely compassionate writers, and music that'll knock your socks off and get your feet (and the rest of you) moving. It seems especially important to me to experience joy in a physical, visceral way at a time like this--to remember what is most basic about being human, and what connects us to others. Hence, our desire to include some dynamite music that'll get everyone dancing at the benefit. And of course, it's also important to remember to give to those in need, which we hope folks will do generously in this instance. It sounds cliché, but it's really true: even a small donation counts.
To learn more about Haitian relief efforts or make a donation online, please visit Partners in Health, which will receive all proceeds from this benefit.
Spread the word!
Listen! Dance! Stand with Haiti!
Saturday, Jan. 30, 8 p.m.
Trópico de Nopal Gallery
1665 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles
$10 (or more if you can!) at the door