This upcoming Friday and Saturday, Jan. 20 and 21, the Little Grill Collective in downtown Harrisonburg will be hosting an “Inauguration-Proof” benefit showcase where different Virginia bands will play to support Planned Parenthood in response to the recent election and upcoming inauguration.
“I call it the inauguration-proof, which means the bands will play music that won't be hampered by anyone or any president,” Billy Brett, a member of the bands Buck Gooter and Candidate Demo performing this weekend, said.
The Little Grill decided to put on this event to create a positive atmosphere and encourage an open community that allows people to come together and feel as if they have a support group.
“There’s not much you can do other than to hunker down as citizens and gather together,” Brett said. “It’s kind of a wound-licking situation, but it’s also kind of empowering to know that everyone in town and around you isn’t vying for bad guy’s success.”
The event wasn’t originally a benefit, but once they realized the ironic ties between dates, they couldn’t resist the opportunity. They decided to turn a light musical showcase into a charity event that aids an organization that the Trump administration is against.
“We just wanted to kind of highlight the whole nuts and bolts of things people are concerned about, and women's reproductive rights are right in the center of that,” Graham Brouder, one of the nine owners of The Little Grill Collective, said. “As well as fear for the people of color and the LGBTQ community and any marginalized groups in general that are feeling scared.”
Despite the fear and hard times they anticipate, the Little Grill is putting on this showcase to encourage positive vibes and create an environment that encourages diversity through music and poetry.
“We are not trying to make a radical statement or create any hostility,” Brouder said. “We don’t really align ourselves with any controversial opinions. It’s really basic and humane to want to get together and share poetry and music, and enjoy an environment where free speech is being celebrated and practiced.”
Lindsay Carlin, a local poet and performer in the band Wine Teeth, is eager to contribute to an atmosphere of peaceful protest. Even though she is unable to attend the Women’s March on Washington, she is still passionate about voicing her opinions to a more local audience.
“This is an event that we can do locally that’s still awesome,” Carlin said. “It’s sending a message, getting together and sharing each other’s company in a positive way instead of, like, the negative things that are happening right now or are about to happen in the country. So I’m super excited about that and I want to be involved in as many ways as possible.”
Another scheduled performer who wants to speak out in a more positive light is Angela Carter, a local poet and art director at The Artful Dodger Coffeehouse & Cocktail Lounge. When Brouder asked her to participate, she jumped at the chance to perform.
“As a mental health awareness activist and poet, I'm excited about having opportunities to speak about these topics,” Carter said. “The Little Grill is a place where you'll find audiences of all ages and backgrounds. It has a charm about it … unique decor and a wonderful community of people who support the shows they feature.”
Carter will be reading three self-written poems as her contribution to the show and is excited to display her art for what she deems a worthwhile cause.
“Each person has unique talents and ways to help make the world a better place,” Carter said. “Art is how I do that. The poetry I read stands as the voice of those struggling. The event is about unity in standing up for what is right and just. Poetry is my contribution. Every little bit is enough to make a change.”
Carlin also hopes to perpetuate the idea that her contributions do make a difference.
“There are people that want to fight and there are people who want to make changes in the world and start working towards that,” Carlin said. “And this is just the kick-off of starting things in as positive a way as we can with music and art and creativity.”
Contact Nicolette Chuss and Natalie Lavery at email@example.com.