Saturday, February 23, 2013

2013 Vera Gala

The Vera Project held its annual fundraising gala and auction on Saturday, February 23 in 2013. I volunteered to help with the event this year, so I arrived early to setup, just before 1 on a surprisingly nice Seattle afternoon.
2013 Vera Gala 109 The Triple Door donates the venue, staff, and dinner for the guests. Between the Musicqarium Lounge and the Triple Door Main Stage, it's a wonderful venue and they are incredibly generous to donate so much to the Vera Project.

2013 Vera Gala 121
We held the silent auction as the guests arrived, with appetizers (the shrimp toast was great) and free drinks made with donated hard liquor from Oola. After closing the auction out and finishing the initial portion of the evening in the MusicQarium we encouraged the guest to move to the Main Stage auditorium. The Triple Door venue is dedicated to table seating with views of the show. The house lights are down and the stage lights are up in this photo so the tables are a little hard to see, but the whole auditorium is filled with scalloped tables like this with additional counter seating tucked in here and there. That's John Roderick taking the stage as our Master of Ceremonies. 2013 Vera Gala 164 You can see some of the seat layout better in this photo: 2013 Vera Gala 296 Roderick was great, riffing on the Vera Project and Seattle's variant on "learning it on the hard streets." When there wasn't a safe venue like the Vera Project around to help you channel your creative energies into useful activities, you went and hung out on the Ave in the U-District. I suppose that makes it the mean street of Seattle, singular. I grew up there before the Vera Project too.

The Grizzled Mighty performed on the Main Stage with a drummer and a guitarist/vocalist. Small group but they pumped out the volume and noise so it's all good. 2013 Vera Gala 194 The Grizzled Mighty crank up the guitar and drums and make a great loud racket, grinding and crashing away. Fun loud music!
The auction went well and Andrienne Pilapil's speech about her Vera family was quite powerful and moving. I've known Andrienne for over a year - she took over as the Veracity chair after me - but I learned more about her from this talk than I had in a year of booking shows with her. She got very personal and shared details of her emotional life and the impact was palpable to the 400 guests, staff and volunteers in the venue.

We also got a surprise bit from the mayor as a bonus. Perhaps he was inspired by Roderick and Andrienne, he was mildly funny and interesting. Roderick was having some fun with smartphones while the mayor was talking so he probably got some amusing tweets out. 2013 Vera Gala 321

While the Main Stage events kept the crowd in the auditorium we broke down the silent auction remains, got the paperwork sorted and forwarded and put things in place for the After Party.

The Physics played the After Party back up in the MusicQuarium lounge. Fun hip hop with two lead vocals (and a guest on one cut) plus a couple backing vocalists and a guitar. This picture of their sound check shows most of them, except the guitarist is obscured: 2013 Vera Gala 272 The guitarist is more visible in this one: 2013 Vera Gala 294 The Physics have a great sound and flow, and the multiple vocalist and live guitar in the mix keep the songs moving and evolving. The sound is mildly lousy since my camera ended up just about in the speaker, but you can get an idea what it was like. The live sound was actually quite good, the problem is with my camera's ability to record it.
I enjoyed the Physics, dancing and bouncing a bit to their numbers as the night wound down.
My feet were pretty sore from going up and down the stairs repeatedly, not to mention standing for 11 hours, but it felt nice to be part of a successful team putting on a great event. Anne O'Dowd and Kristina Goetz and Tristan Carasino and Andrienne Pilapil and the whole Vera crew and John Roderick and the bands and the Triple Door staff put on a killer event. There were many generous sponsors and the guests were more than generous, enthusiastically bidding the Macklemore Thrift Shop shopping trip to around $7,000 and donating generously to help a cause that means a lot to me and many youth around the greater Seattle area and beyond. I'm thankful that so many people support the Vera Project so enthusiastically, and that we can have so much fun building on our successes and funding another great year at the Vera Project.