Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Wavy Gravy's groovy party


From ContraCostaTimes:

Wavy Gravy's groovy party

THE STANDARD-BEARER of the '60s is turning 70, and that means it's time for a party. The next step of what Berkeley's own Wavy Gravy calls his "descent into geezerhood" comes on May 20 when a lineup of nine acts -- including two led by former members of the Grateful Dead --takes the Berkeley Community Theater stage for a celebration concert.

Performers will include Bob Weir and Ratdog, Mickey Hart and Friends, Steve Earle, Gillian Welch, David Lindley, John Trudell, Linda Tillery, Nina Gerber and Hamza el Din. "And surprise guests which I'm not at liberty to talk about for various reasons," Gravy said.

The counterculture clown has also invited students from the after-school clown academy at Prescott Elemen-tary School in Oakland to perform.

As always, proceeds from the annual birthday concert benefit the Berkeley-based Seva Foundation, which works to eliminate curable and preventable blindness in India, Nepal, Tibet, Cambodia Bangladesh and Tanzania. "Seeing the poorest of the poor getting cataracts taken out and occular lenses put in was one of the most amazing moments of my life," Gravy said.
To date Seva has made close to 2.5 million eye surgeries possible and has also expanded its scope to address diabetes and lack of potable water on U.S. Indian reservations. It has also started community garden projects on American Indian lands and, believe it or not, is working to bring back bison.

"They're an excellent source of low-cholesterol protein," Gravy said, adding, "Actually they named one of the stud buffalo after me. The Wavy Gravy buffalo is in constant competition with another buffalo named Mike Bison."

As if in proof of Seva's effectiveness, foundation co-founder Dr. Larry Brilliant was appointed in February to head Google.org, the philan-thropic branch of the online search engine. and Gravy, who has made Seva a personal cause and is a founding board member, was at Google headquarters for the formal introduction, along with former vice president Al Gore.

To keep the official record straight, the day of the concert is not really Gravy's birthday. "We had to move the birthday, for mercantile reasons, from the 15th to the 20th," he said.
And May 20 doesn't necessarily begin and end with the show.

"For the high-rollers of the world there is dinner at Berkeley Downtown Restaurant and a post-show reception," Gravy said, plus orchestra pit seating and a numbered, limited-edition concert poster. Those tickets, dubbed Circle of Awe, cost $1,000. Circle of Hope tickets (dinner, poster and orchestra seating) are $250 and Circle of Compassion tickets (orchestra seating, event poster and post-show reception) are $200.

Tickets for the show alone are $35 and $50. And remember, it's for a good cause.

SOROPTIMIST AWARDS, PART II:
In Sunday's thrilling installment of this column we wrote about the women being honored by the Richmond Soroptimists, so it's only fair that we mention the three honorees being singled out for their community contri-butions at the annual Women Making a Difference awards dinner being held April 26 by the "El Pinablo" (El Sobrante, Hercules, Pinole and San Pablo) chapter of Soroptimist International. The dinner is from 6 to 8 p.m. at La Strada Restaurant, 2215 Church Lane in San Pablo.

Pamela Wagner will be presented with the Women's Opportunity award, Melissa Romero will receive the Violet T. Richardson (youth) award and Patricia A. Daniels will be given the Woman of Distinction award. The Violet Richardson Award begins at the club level, with winners becomming eligible for region leval awards, and one from all the regions will honored with an additional award from the national federation.

A $30 donation includes dinner, tax and tip and attendees should RSVP by April 21. To RSVP or get more details call Joann Moczulski at 510-724-2607 or Terri Phillips at 510-237-6865.
Have a community item or a tip? Call Chris Treadway at 510-262-2784, e-mail ctreadway@cctimes.com, or write to West County Times, 4301 Lakeside Drive, Richmond, CA 94806. Our fax is 510-262-2776.

IF YOU GO
Tickets for Wavy Gravy's 70th Birthday are now on sale at all Ticketmaster outlets and online at http://gdtstoo.com/. Special pre- and post-show reception tickets are on sale through Seva Foundation special events, 510-845-7382, Ext. 332, or visit www.seva.org-/specialevents.

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