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[whitespace] Art With Heart

Stars raise money for disaster relief

By Sarah Quelland

IN THE WAKE of Sept. 11, performers are coming out in droves to raise money for disaster relief. Still, despite the good intentions behind the donations and the release of multiple benefit singles, I can't shake the feeling that these very public displays showings of goodwill are turning a national crisis into one giant popularity contest.

I understand we all want to help, we all want to feel better and help others feel better--and most of all, we want to stop feeling so desperately helpless. And I admire how quickly the music community responded in this time of need. I just hope the grim reality of the situation doesn't become lost in a race to see who can donate the most money and whose benefit single will be the first to hit No. 1.

Pop stars Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears have perpetuated their Coke vs. Pepsi rivalry by signing onto separate projects. Spears is lending her vocals to a celebrity remake of Sister Sledge's "We Are Family," while Aguilera is singing in a star-studded new version of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On." Meanwhile, Michael Jackson is rallying the troops for a benefit single titled "What More Can I Do?"; Whitney Houston has rereleased her soaring version of "The Star-Spangled Banner"; and countless other performers are making similar contributions by holding benefit concerts and donating money from their own concert ticket sales.

It's a commendable effort. But let's not forget: This didn't happen only to Broadway or Hollywood or Nashville. The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon affected people on a global scale. American Red Cross officials have tried tactfully to inform the public that the best way to donate money is to give directly to the organization (www.redcross.org or 800.HELP.NOW), not through the well-meaning and yet self-serving avenues by which groups from radio stations to software companies are using the tragedy to promote themselves.

I was also appalled to read a list of songs circulated by Clear Channel (which operates more than 1,000 U.S. radio stations including our own KSJO and KUFX) encouraging programmers not to play songs whose lyrics it considers questionable (basically anything that involves fire, flying, falling or death). While I understand the need to be sensitive, we need to be careful with our freedoms as well. This kind of knee-jerk response borders on censorship; thankfully, most stations are ignoring the request. As an aside, a friend of mine was enraged to see that the Bangles' "Walk Like an Egyptian" made Clear Channel's list, while the Cure's "Killing an Arab" did not; that's either a sad commentary on the shelf life of the Cure's material or a gross oversight on the part of Clear Channel staffers.

On a local level, the terrorist attacks caused the SoFA Street Fair to be rescheduled to this Sunday (Sept. 30), and some changes have been announced. The final schedule includes Clay Wheels, No Use for a Name, the Shitkickers, dredg, Insolence and X on the Zero Stage; Box Lunch, Tiana Noyes and the Boys, Atomic Mint, Stunt Monkey, Swarm, Squeeze the Dog and Hot Town Jubilee on the SoFA Stage; Reaction 31, Divided, Motiv, Krenshaw, Outtaline, Movement, Woodshed, Tread Asphalt, HBA, El Buzzard, the Hellbillys, Fill in the __, Floppy Rods, Element of Surprise, Tenfold, Soul Circle, Shortie, Superchannel , Utopian Pipedream, Lavabone and Soul Aggression inside the Cactus Club; and Naughty Barnyard, Lords of the Manor, Monkey, Dick, Horchata, the Blind, Wrekhouse, Sikness With the Restitution, Clay Wheels, Ones and Zeros, the Secrets and Crack inside the Usual.

R 2 Cents is taping a show at the Cactus Saturday (Sept. 29). This is a CD-release show for Superchannel that includes Motiv, ZBS, Electromotive and 26 Weeks.

Ben Harper and Dave Matthews join Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Pearl Jam and R.E.M. for the Bridge School Benefit to be held Oct. 20-21 at Shoreline Amphitheatre. ... Jane's Addiction plays the Oakland Arena Oct. 29 with Prodigy and Stereo MCs. ... The Stuck on Evil show planned for Oct. 3 at the Backbeat has been canceled.

PLAN AHEAD: The Pattern and Neon Lobster, Sept. 27 at the Lido; Clutch, Reaction 31, Motiv and Karma 2 Burn, Sept. 27 at the Cactus; Pedelsped, Sept. 27 at the Usual; Wrekhouse and the Blind, Sept. 28 at the Usual; the KGB, Outtaline, Olympic Year, Over It and Staring Back, Sept. 29 at the Los Gatos Outhouse; the Strokes, Oct. 16 at the Fillmore in San Francisco.

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From the September 27-October 3, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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