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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Plush lotto rocks for charity

Twenty-five musicians. Twelve hours. Five bands who have never played a note with each other.

A typical slogan to describe the “”Rock Lottery,”” a charity event started in 1997 by Chris Weber in Denton, Texas, in a group known as the Good/Bad Art Collective. The event started as a way to use creative musicians’ talents to raise money for charity. It’s been a success in New York and Seattle. Now it’s coming to Tucson.

Twenty-five musicians will play at Plush on May 7 at 9 p.m. The catch is, they wont be playing with their own bands, with the bands they’re used to. Through a lottery-style drawing, the musicians will be broken up into groups of five, then will be given 12 hours to compose three to five original songs — only one of which can be a cover. For $6, you can see a kaleidoscope of musicians forced to play together for the first time.

“”It’s a rare chance to see people who would never play music together,”” said Mike Sanger, web developer of Cystic Life, local musician and organizer of the event. “”It’s really creative improv.””

Cystic Life is a nonprofit organization that educates and provides individuals with cystic fibrosis a place to share information and connect. All the money raised in the Rock Lotto will go toward Cystic Life’s educational materials and its grant program, which includes activity, educational and medical grants for those in need. This can range from anything to helping a person with cystic fibrosis get a gym membership (exercise helps the managment of CF) to helping the community get medical equipment or produce educational materials.

In addition to a storehouse of informative videos, links and pamphlets, the website provides individuals in the CF community with a place to meet online.

“”Our main focus is building a true social network for the CF community,”” said Ronnie Sharpe, founder of Cystic Life.  

“”CF is a very isolating community. We’re discouraged from meeting in person,”” Sharpe said. “”We’re able to bring people together who would otherwise be discouraged from meeting face to face.””

Putting together the event has been oddly difficult, because the Tucson music scene is so connected, Sanger said. But after months of planning, the list of artists participating in the Rock Lottery is a diverse one.

Some well-known stars include Gabriel Sullivan, Brian Lopez of Mostly Bears, and Winston Watson, who was a drummer for Bob Dylan during one leg of his long music career.

“”I’ve been more concerned about keeping it wild card and diverse,”” Sanger said, stressing that Tucson’s hyper-connected music community inspired him to put the Rock Lotto together.

Sanger said he hopes people can see how a Tucson’s musical passion can be a powerful tool to help others.

The Rock Lotto hopes to be a fun event that reminds people of the power of community, Sanger said. But essentially it’s about raising awareness and money for people with cystic fibrosis.

“”If we could change one person’s mind or educate one person,”” Sharpe said, “”we would consider it a mission accomplished.””

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