Let’s face it: Fundraisers suck. Tepid affairs peppered with frequent appeals for donations, they’re not exactly first choice pickings for what to do with your Saturday night.
But as I discovered last weekend, if that fundraiser happens to be for an independent arts and culture blog, and if it happens to be held at the Mainline Theatre on St. Laurent, it might just be the ticket.
The brainchild of Al Lafrance and running since 2010, Bloody Underrated is a Montreal-based blog that showcases lesser-known but extremely talented local performers, from artists and musicians to comedians and actors. Chock-full of music videos, reviews and updates, the site even has a podcast that comes out on a semi-regular basis, featuring interviews with local artists and event organizers.
As it turns out, running an independent website costs a lot of time and money, and when you dream big, you tend to need a bit of both. Which is where the fundraiser comes in. As Lafrance explains, “I decided to put together this fundraiser when I realized how limited I was in what I can do with the website, without funds. Just having the site up and running, releasing podcasts and keeping it ad-free – those things cost money.”
The evening included a bevy of home-grown talent: Musicians Sarah Jane Scouten, Elgin-Sky and Motel Raphael lit up the stage with soft and hard music. Comedians Asaf Gerchak, Dan Bingham and Christopher Betts rounded out the night with their own brands of observational humour.
So how’d it all go? A heckler told Bingham to get naked – before he’d even started his set – if that’s any indication. But with a 2 for $4 special on cinnamon schnapps and more than a few raffles with alcohol (and albums) as prizes, the boisterous atmosphere might be forgiven – maybe even applauded.
The goal for the fundraiser was to raise enough cash for the blog to publish a book within the next year, pay for recording projects and to host future events, including a launch party for a comedy album Lafrance put together with Gerchak and Betts.
And how’d it all go in the end? “I am overwhelmed with the success of the night,” said Lafrance, “I’ve heard nothing but good things from the attendees I’ve spoken to, the site’s gaining viewership steadily, and we can finally move forward with our new projects.”
So what does that mean? Stay tuned to Bloody Underrated, because dollars to donuts Lafrance will be cashing in on the evening’s success very, very soon.