Ryan Findley
Center Street Fire

Public House to hold Sept. 6 benefit

The Riverwest Public House is holding a concert on Thursday to benefit the artists who lost so much in the Center Street Fire on July 17.

By - Sep 5th, 2012 01:56 pm

The fire that burned out dozens of artists’ studios and a car shop on Center Street happened almost a month and a half ago. A month and a half is a long time; a lot can happen in a month and a half. Babies have been born. Trips have been planned. Relationships have started and ended. Shows have opened and closed. A month and a half is a long time, objectively or subjectively. But the fire happened a month and a half ago, on July 17.

In that time, there have been benefits for the victims. Sweetwater Organics and Tonic Tavern held Fire! Fire! mere days after the event; gallery night in July saw several places host several sales to benefit the artists that lost everything. But as Peter Murphy of the Riverwest Public House puts it, “It’s easy to forget that people need help weeks and months and even years later.”

So this Thursday, Sept. 6, the Riverwest Public House is holding a concert to benefit the artists that lost everything in the Center Street Fire. The Public House is at the forefront of a communal, cooperative wave that’s sweeping across the country: it’s a cooperatively-owned bar. Anyone can buy a share of ownership, which gives you a vote in the board elections (as well as some sweet drink specials).

But the Public House takes its place as a community meeting space seriously, both for socializing and for more serious purposes. For example, the entire staff of the pub took voter registration training and can register people to vote. A benefit concert fits right into both their mission and their ethos.

On Thursday, three artists steeped in Americana will play at the Public House, and all door proceeds will go directly to the Center Street Artists Relief Fund. Touring musician Rob Ernest will join Allen Cote, beloved Milwaukee musician, and Sam Russell, a native of Kenosha now based in the Pacific Northwest.

Ernest requested a September date at the Public House, and after speaking to Cote decided it should be a benefit show. Russell, who has friends and family in Milwaukee and knew about the fire, asked to be included on the bill, and now the Public House is pleased to present a night of musical rollicking through the years and miles of the country. AND you get to feel good about it, since all proceeds benefit the artists who lost supplies and lifetimes of work a mere month and a half ago.

For more information, visit the Facebook event page. Follow Ryan Findley on Twitter at @thegirlone.

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