Monday, March 21, 2011

Benefit for the People of Japan

Photos by Phillip Retuta, Nicole Heller & Stephanie Augello

On Saturday, March 26th, from 6PM-12AM, Mr Beery's in Bethpage, LI will be holding a fundraiser for the people and infrastructure of Japan. I could very easily go into a limitless diatribe about the earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear instability that has rattled that country, but really, news sources such as CNN, BBC and even Twitter have already served to inundate the public with information and images. I will though, throw a few factual figures at you.
According to, as of March 21st, the death toll from the dual disasters had climbed to "8,450, with nearly 13,000 people still missing." It is believed that, in Miyagi Prefecture alone, the number of lives lost could ultimately reach 15,000. BBC also reports that, "More than 350,000 people are still living in evacuation centres in northern and eastern Japan. There are shortages of food, water, fuel and medicine in shelters...Nearly 900,000 households are still without water." It has been estimated that the cost of rebuilding the country will cost 25 trillion yen, which is the equivalent of $309 billion.
In addition to being currently unable to fulfill the basic needs of many of their citizens, Japan is also in the process of confronting potential nuclear catastrophe, stemming from a multitude of issues at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The progression of these problems has already been compared to the 1979 and 1986 meltdowns at Three Mile Island in the United States and Chernobyl in the Ukraine, respectively. As of March 23rd, there had been warnings issued to citizens regarding the drinking of tap water in Tokyo, "after radiation from Japan's quake-hit nuclear plant affected the capital's water supply."
Friends of mine, Alex Stachelek and Phillip Retuta, had a flight to Tokyo scheduled for the day after the quake struck. Despite the disaster, they went anyway. Phil has been nice enough to let me post a few of his pictures below. Though much of the extreme, initial physical damage to the nation did not occur in Tokyo, Phil's photos offer us insight into the current state of the capital city.

So, now that we've gone over all of what has, unfortunately, gone down in Japan, let's go over what we're going to do to help out. As was previously stated, on Saturday, March 26th, Mr. Beery's will be raising money to aid in disaster relief for the country. Slated to perform that night are My Summer, Playing Dead, All New Episode, Glen and the Boys, Signal for Pilot, Terence Marciano, Imaginary Weapons, Afrodjmac and The Kid Henry. Mike Longo, frontman of My Summer, sound engineer at Mr. Beery's and Saturday's organizer stated, "The goal of the show is to raise as much money as possible. It was supposed to be a smaller thing...but now we've added a lot more in the hopes of raising money for the Red Cross...It's just really sad, and I wanted to help, that's all."
My Summer are regular performers at Mr. Beery's, consistently sharing the bill with many different acts, including All New Episode. The two bands have a well-established system of collaboration, with Nicole Heller (aka, Noko Ohno) of the latter having recently shot a series of promotional photographs for the former.

When asked what she enjoyed most about being a female in the music field, Heller replied, "Someone has to keep these boys in check, and it's great not being part of a conventional girl-lead band. Who wants to be a cardboard cutout when you can show people that you're talented, smart and know how to do your thing?" In addition to being active in the local show circuit, All New Episode is also working on a 5 song EP at Killingsworth Studios in Farmingdale, LI.

Being a part of Saturday's line-up is just one aspect of the intelligence and compassion alluded to by people like Longo and Heller. The two musicians and their bands are a part of a more expansive collective of artists, passionate about their craft, scene and the larger world. So, join us on Saturday for a night of great music, good company and the opportunity to help out our friends in Japan.

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