Join the Party

The Giffords campaign throws a bash for volunteers new and old

Pat Boone! Are you freaking kidding me? This is Calexico country!

It turns out that, besides being remembered as the white-buck, and whitebread, wuss of simpering '50s pop, Boone fronts one of eight (count 'em) right-wing political outfits flooding our town with raving lunatic television commercials, faux handmade signs spreading lies and distortions, and more money than the Rillito ever had water. It's Gabrielle Giffords they're after, and that milquetoast and his ilk are aiming to give her seat in the U.S. House of Represent-atives to a pretty-face Tea Party candidate.

Pat Boone can take his 60-Plus Association, and his (not so) "Friendly Persuasion" and shove it! We are totally going to stone party them down.

This Sunday, Oct. 24, at Hotel Congress (where else?), there's a free concert and barbecue for anyone who volunteers three hours to Giffords and the combined Democratic campaign. Everyone is welcome—Democrat, Independent, Green, Libertarian, Know-Nothing, Pan-Sexual Peace Party, and, most especially, Republicans who feel alienated by their party's rightward tilt. There are lots of those already in the Giffords camp, walking the neighborhoods and staffing the phone banks.

Calexico's Joey Burns and John Convertino are in, as are Sergio Mendoza y La Orkesta in their considerable entirety, as well as the equally large Molehill Orkestrah. The audacity of their spelling alone should enrage the Boone cohort, notwithstanding the hilarious misspellings on Tea Party signage. The passion and soul of Salvador Duran's set could school a Glenn Beck rally, and there will also be sets by Brian Lopez, Rcougar and Courtney Robbins.

Between the sets, guest DJs will spin their favorite tunes. The lineup so far includes Giffords, Secretary of State candidate Chris Deschene and former Rolling Stone writer Rodd McLeod, who is Giffords' campaign manager.

It's going to be a gorgeous October day for partying, and pigging out on barbecue, with great music on the Congress patio, and the way to get on the guest list is to sign up in advance at this site: Sign-ups will be available at the door, too, if you want to take your chances. Either way, your money is no good. Organizer Charlie Levy says, "This is about rolling your sleeves up, about getting some skin in the game. It's not about writing a check."

You've probably gathered that I'm a longtime Giffords volunteer, but have to stress that I don't speak for either Giffords or her campaign. Unlike me, and my fellow Facebook snarks, the campaign folks are all positive all the time. That actually isn't as annoying as its sounds; it's genuinely uplifting. They're pretty focused on Giffords' vision for the future, which you should check out. It's not only exciting, it's plausible, and it includes good things for kids, old people and solar energy (read: jobs).

Giffords' campaign spokesperson, Anne Hilby, says, "We're getting a lot of feedback. People are upset. ... They want to get involved. We also hear from a lot of people who don't quite know how to get involved. This concert is about giving an opportunity to get involved."

Hilby and Levy both point out that it's also a way to reward volunteers who have been working all along, to give them an energizing "thank you" before the big push to get out the vote.

No one seems to be worried that taking a stand for a roster of candidates might dent the success trajectory of the bands involved

Calexico and Giffords first came together in 2008 for a concert in support of her campaign. Burns says, "Every artist and individual has his or her own way of expressing their beliefs and philosophies. There is always the debate on mixing politics with art, but I admire and respect those artists who embrace the causes that have direct meaning in their lives and so can be an advocate for a particular focus."

If they can do it, you can do it. Believe it or not, all our Facebook erudition and mutual amusement, all the snarky links shared and blog posts blogged are not doing a thing to take down the wall of "no." What's wrong with the political picture is that while we're archly observing it, the other side is actually in it. Turn the computer off and join the party, if not a Party. Meet some great, similarly minded folks, enjoy good music and a shimmering autumn day, and sign up to actually make a difference.


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