In the old days, Bar Matchless was better known for 2-for-1 happy hours, comedy nights, and “heavy metal parking lot karaoke” than Planned Parenthood benefit concerts—but a lot has changed in the past month, and now Matchless’s cute dirtbag reputation is expanding to include philanthropy.
Tomorrow, to celebrate Giving Tuesday, Bar Matchless is hosting three bands—Holy Hive, Denitia and Sene, and The Shacks—and all the proceeds from ticket sales will go to support Planned Parenthood. (The drinks will be 2-for-1, of course, but that money will go to support your local bartenders.)
The event is part concert and part organizing tool for Rally+Rise, a newly formed advocacy group whose goal is to organize and lobby locally here in New York state. Founder Rebecca Davis explains, “Rally+Rise was conceived the day after the election. There was a general feeling of wanting to not just sit back and watch as things unfolded, but figure out a way to be proactive.”
Though Davis’ background isn’t in politics or political organizing (she is Deputy Editor of Well+Good) she serves on Planned Parenthood’s Activism Council and has been politically engaged, generally. She points out that Rally+Rise doesn’t include professional lobbyists, but “ordinary New Yorkers with extraordinary passion.”
Rally+Rise’s first goal is to see that reproductive rights aren’t overlooked. Specifically, they’re focused on getting the Reproductive Health Act passed in 2017, which would make federal laws authorized by Roe v. Wade recognized on the state level (currently they’re not; New York state’s abortion laws predate Roe v. Wade—if Roe v. Wade is reversed, New York state’s reproductive rights laws would be fifty years old).
To make that happen, Rally+Rise is organizing meetings with legislators and teaching people how to speak with their representatives about this particular act. Reps will be outlining useful actions tomorrow night at Bar Matchless, and representatives of both Planned Parenthood and of Assemblywoman Deborah Glick (who represents lower Manhattan, actually, but is a sponsor of the Reproductive Health Act) will speak.
Oh—and the music? Paul Spring of Holy Hive, a band he recently formed with Homer Steinweiss and Joe Harrison (in addition to playing music, they’re also “a sort of religious cult dedicated to finding sacred messages within the swarm of cities”) says it’s going to be great. “The music isn’t necessarily political,” says Paul, “it’s more a way to gather folks together and entertain while supporting a good cause and discussing our future actions.”