Last week, Party to Protect, a local socially-conscious fundraiser produced for Earthjustice, one of America’s major non-profit public interest law organizations for the environment rocked Saint Vitus (1120 Manhattan Ave). The concert was the second half of Party To Protect’s all day program that started earlier in the day with Tattoos to Protect The Planet at nearby venue Magick City (37 Box St) where artists from Magic Cobra Tattoo Society offered $60 black-only tattoos. A similar tattoo event held in February raised over $4,000 and though the rain wasn’t helpful Magick City’s owner Rich Awn reported that most folks came early before it really started to pour.
As the operation packed up and moved to St. Vitus, the efforts of the Sarah and her volunteers went into high gear. They ferried all the promo beverages, raffle items and music equipment together under the elements and were all set to go for the show’s 7pm start time. It kicked off with host Alex Keller talking with Earthjustice’s Major Gifts Officer Lindsay Burtchell about the work her organization does. She told the crowd how the organization was started as the legal arm of the Sierra Club and have grown to be their own entity, lending legal support among many other endeavors. Lindsay continued that the majority of their staff are attorneys based all over the United States and that their present focus in our area is the untreated dairy cow waste free flowing into upstate New York’s water supply due to increased yogurt production.
The show was headlined by band French Horn Rebellion whose set was proceeded by a performance featuring burlesque artist Mina Minou who stripped down and seductively spread paint all over herself. At midnight, Party To Protect’s founder Sarah Hanson joined Alex on stage to the announce the raffle winners of a Marc Jacobs Bag, a session with career coach Katie Stricker and a couples dominatrix session with La Maison Du Rouge. The two also tossed t-shirts into the crowd and Sarah gave a speech thanking everyone for coming out and supporting an organization that has many new battles ahead in the present political climate.
Afterwards I drove Sarah home and talked more about what goes on into putting these fundraisers together. She told me that everyone from the tattoo artists, the venues, the bands and her volunteer staff worked their butts off asking nothing in return. “Putting on these events is a TON of work. I’m so appreciative of everything everyone did over the course of the day and we will all deservedly crash in our beds tonight.” Sarah, who works full-time as a senior web producer, continued that this was her second big fundraiser and that Party To Protect was going to need more help to continue on. The majority of the work leading up to the event was done by Sarah herself, and when I remarked that it sounded like enough to fill a full-time job she exclaimed, “I know, and I already have one!”
—Words and photos by Nick McManus