Friends with benefits

Music community rallies around its own this weekend

By Kelly McCartney 11/21/2013


With Thanksgiving right on the horizon, this weekend offers two opportunities to support the local Ventura art and music community. On Saturday, a fundraiser dubbed The Green Art People Family Reunion settles into Bombay Bar at 6 p.m. A $10 cover gets you in the door to hear Marty O’Reilly & The Old Soul Orchestra, Rainbow Girls, Hatters Tea, GrooveSession and Shaky Feelin”, and allows you to bid on silent auction items including a guitar (donated by Guitar Center), a bike (from Pedals, Tube and Tires) and an Ojai destination package (courtesy of Ojai Deer Lodge).


Green Art People’s mission is to build community and nurture creativity through art, music and conservation. As GAP’s Lisbet Frey noted, “We believe that art and music are too low a priority at every level in our society.” That’s why nonprofit groups provide spaces and programs that keep these priorities elevated.


On the matter of arts as a priority, Bombay manager Diego Gamba had a different take: “I know it is for us. And I know the community is responding very well to all the events Bombay and the other venues put together. So supporting art and music is a priority in our local community. I also feel like the local government is very supportive and proactive. We are fortunate to be operating in such a positive and creative environment.”


Like so many arts programs, however, the Green Art People organization struggles financially.


“Unfortunately, with our economy, the arts are the first thing to be crossed off the list in terms of support,” said Frey. “Creativity is a primal need, and it’s been proven that when art and music are given a higher priority, communities are healthier, happier and economically more viable.” It costs roughly $60,000 a year for GAP to keep its six programs operational — Short Attention Span Theater, Growing Art People, Green Action People, UpCycle Art Supply Store, Local Archiving Music Project (LAMP), and hArt and Soul Series. The Nov. 23 fundraiser aims to give the group a financial leg up going into 2014.


Though the show will mark the first Green Art People appearance for both The Old Soul Orchestra and Rainbow Girls, the event will also serve as a reunion for GAP constituents who may have lost touch over the four and a half years since it began. Families can even bring the kids until 9:30 p.m.


On Sunday, Nov. 24, Bombay opens its doors to host yet another benefit — this one to help offset some major medical expenses for Polly Hoganson (co-owner of the recently shuttered Zoey’s Cafe). A number of the musicians who graced the Zoey’s stage over the years are coming together to raise money and show their support. The show runs from 3 p.m. to midnight and features The White Buffalo, Meiko, Timmy Curran, Seth Pettersen, Shane Alexander, Todd Hannigan, Justine Bennett, Xoc and Roger from Rey Fresco and more.


Gamba is more than happy to offer up Bombay’s space in support of these fundraisers because it lifts everyone in the community up: “I believe there is a great synergy between all the venues in Ventura. It is great for the community, the artists and Ventura in general because it creates a positive, vibrant environment for locals and visitors alike.”


Green Art People Family Reunion fundraiser at Bombay on Saturday, Nov.23, 6 p.m.

Heart and Soul Benefit Concert for Polly at Bombay on Sunday, Nov. 24, 3 p.m. 143 S. California St., Ventura, 643-4404. 

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