So as I mentioned a few thousand times on billboards posted all over the internet, this past Tuesday, March 10, 2009, I was in New York City with Julie Slick and Eric Slick to support the launch party for Purple Day. Julie and Eric were the musical guest, along with brilliant keyboardist Chris Opperman (yes, Chris records/plays with Steve Vai among other luminaries), and if you look at the goody table...wait...what is that next to those gorgeous cupcakes? Why, it's Side Four Live! And some CDs by Chris as well, though we are all anxiously awaiting the release of his newest CD, Lionheart, based on Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics.
Here's the official Press Release for the event:
CELEBS GO PURPLE FOR PURPLE DAY USA LAUNCH MARCH 10
NEW YORK, NY – Paul Shaffer of the Late Show with David Letterman and a host of celebrities join the fight for epilepsy awareness with the launch of Purple Day USA. Purple Day founder, ten-year-old Cassidy Megan will host the exclusive Purple New York Party in NYC on March 10, 2009 at Dylan’s Candy Bar, 1011 Third Ave from 1-2 p.m.
Motivated by her own struggles with epilepsy, Cassidy created Purple Day to let other kids with the disorder know they are not alone and help educate the public about epilepsy. She designated March 26th “Purple Day”— named for the internationally recognized color for epilepsy,lavender. Now her grassroots effort is going global.
Epilepsy affects 3 million Americans and over 50 million people worldwide (one in 100). Yet, many people living with epilepsy face barriers due to a lack of awareness about the disorder.
“I always thought I was the only one with epilepsy and I was afraid to tell people because I thought they would make fun of me,” says Cassidy.
This year, the New York-based Anita Kaufmann Foundation—a charity dedicated to educating the public about epilepsy—is helping Cassidy launch Purple Day USA. “Purple Day is a powerful step toward demystifying the disorder that plagued my best friend,” says the foundation's executive director, Debra Josephs. “Anita used to tell me that she felt the stigma and misconceptions were worse than the condition itself. The Purple New York Party is the perfect way to get the message out there—with the help of some incredible celebrities to boot.”
Celebrities attending the event include:
• Paul Shaffer of the Late Show with David Letterman
• Project Runway Season Five winner Leanne Marshall
• Former NY Giants Super Bowl Champion & current Cincinnati Bengal, Geoffrey Pope
• Harlem Wizards player “Mighty” Mike Simmel
• Model Jaime Paetz (one of Maxim Magazine's “10 Hotties”)
• Paul Green, founder of the acclaimed School of Rock
• Dr. Alan Greene, pediatric expert for WebMD
• Cassidy Megan, founder of Purple Day
Here's Eric, setting up his drumkit, while simultaneously watching the staff at Dylan's Candy Bar set up this amazing chocolate (well, it was white chocolate colored light purple for the event) fountain where you could make your own s'mores.
Julie, Eric, and Chris, warming up the crowd:
And who is that now standing next to Eric in the photograph directly above? Why, it's one of the day's special guests of honor, Paul Green, founder of The Paul Green School of Rock Music...and the man pretty much responsible for launching J&E's career, other than their insane hippie father and mother, of course, and introducing Julie and Eric to Adrian Belew. As I've mentioned here several times in the five years since this blog began, Julie and Eric were Paul's original fourteen students, taught in his apartment, and that was the start of what would become 49 schools worldwide and yes, yes, the total life story ripped off in the Jack Black film, School of Rock. Of course there is also a pretty famous and now cult documentary produced in 2003 called Rock School in which, if you watch that trailer, you'll see a very young Julie and Eric trashing bands like Bush and 311...I believe there are also shots of young Eric both starting and ending the clip...I forget, haven't watched it in a while.
In talking with Paul, wow does he have some interesting plans for the future but I'll let that news come from his camp as it's pretty exciting stuff. But of course I'd be remiss if I didn't once again add that if you really want to read about the beginnings of Rock School, I have just the book you need...and it's doing quite well on Amazon, thank you very much.
Obligatory sales pitch: You can purchase it right here.
Moving on, it would be nice if I actually resumed promoting Purple Day, so here is Ms. Julie Slick, holding a banner with the guest of honor who brainstormed this entire day, the angelically beautiful ten year old Ms. Cassidy Megan:
Some notable guests in the audience - uber agent Dan Conaway and his brilliant, stunning client, my pal Susan Henderson:
Here's the woman who organized this event, Debra Josephs, along with Cassidy who is thanking the crowd for being there and supporting the cause:
Another shot of Julie and Cassidy because you can never have too many photographs of beautiful girls:
Speaking of beautiful girls, here's another guest of honor (and yes, she also has epilepsy), Jaime Paetz, one of Maxim's Top Ten Hotties:
Jaime's purple dress was designed by the most recent winner of Project Runway, and here's a shot of said winner with Jaime and her gorgeous creation, Ms. Leanne Marshall:
And now the moment you've all been waiting for, the main event...Paul Shaffer! (who, by the way, follows me on Twitter, but more importantly, gave Julie, Eric, and Chris a big thumbs up while they were playing and snagged a copy of both their (Adrian Belew Power Trio Side Four Live) CD and Chris' as well as my book!
Now this is pretty cool and insane. Debra's hairdresser (I am pretty sure that's who she said he was) is also a sculptor, and he presented Paul with a special gift...what else...a purple brain (you can figure out the epilepsy tie in, I'm sure):
Naturally, after receiving this gift, Paul did what only a brilliant musician would...he burst into an impromptu version of "Purple Rain" by Prince...only of course he sang "Purple Brain, Purple Brain"...I think it's going to be up on You Tube soon so I'll add it here as soon as it's available:
It turns out that Cassidy is an aspiring drummer and naturally she was smitten with Eric Slick...I mean, who isn't...and Eric happily obliged her request to join him and Chris Opperman on a little percussion:
But Chris got, um, a little distracted by Jaime Paetz and you know I had to grab the camera for that one:
Eric the healthy vegan caved and could not resist a luscious purple cupcake, courtesy of the Corner Bakery:
So we had an absolutely fabulous day which ended with probably the best goody bags I've ever received - not only stuffed with my favorite chocolate (Cadbury bars...they have purple wrappers so there's that tie in), face creams, eye make-up, nail polish...ooh, I want to give a special mention here - that polish is really spectacular stuff and I don't usually do my nails but I had to make an exception when I saw the pale colors...this is the brainchild of a lovely woman, Jacqueline Saulsbery (firstname.lastname@example.org)...and Jacqueline's fabbo daughter, Denise Saulsbery Williams, filled our bags with these absolutely outrageous chocolate almond cookies (email@example.com)...these ladies do not have websites but they'd better get with the program...they are amazing!
And that was the Purple Day Kick Off Party in New York City. Do I have the coolest life or what?
But all banter and gossip aside, I don't want to diminish the importance of that day and urge you all to offer your support by wearing something purple on March 26, 2009 in honor of Purple Day.
Oh, and let me add that the whole reason my family was there is because I am great friends with another one of the supporters/organizers of this charity event, the extraordinary author and fiction editor of Agni Literary Magazine, Jessica Keener! Thanks, Jess!
Finally, in case you haven't had a chance to watch the incredible hour long television show featuring the Adrian Belew Power Trio, here's an outtake - one of my favorite songs from Side Four Live...Of Bow and Drum:
Oh, and over at Lakland Bass, whom Julie is proud to sponsor, they have updated her artist page to include not only new newest, fretless bass but a link to the entire Rockpalast movie. Cool!
I think that's it for now, but if not, you know the drill...