A lone gunman, Ian Stawicki, walked into the University District artist haven Cafe Racer and opened fire, killing two prominent members of the Seattle music scene, Drew Kariakedes and Joseph Albanese (known to most by their stage names Shmootzi the Clod and Meshuguna Joe) as well as Donald Largen and Kimberly Layfield. An employee of the Cafe, Leonard Meuse, was also shot but, miraculously, survived. The shooter then shot and killed Gloria Leonidas, a mother of two, in the Downtown/First Hill neighborhood about 30 minutes later, while stealing her SUV. He then drove the stolen vehicle to West Seattle where he killed himself in front of Seattle Police officers. It was a day of terror and tragedy that many of us in Seattle will never forget.
Drew and Joe were good friends of mine as our bands had played together often over the last 15 years. In fact, the last show that their band, God’s Favorite Beefcake had played, had been with my band The Bad Things, the Saturday before the shootings. The loss of these incredible musical talents cast a dark shadow over our tight-knit musical community and six months later, their absence is still felt every day.
The shooting struck a chord with Brown Paper Tickets as well. I had first heard of Brown Paper Tickets from Drew and Joe’s previous project, the Circus Contraption and everyone here felt a strong kinship with the folks in the Circus, who had used Brown Paper Tickets when the company was just starting out. Many others in the company had known Drew and Joe, had spent time at the Racer or seen God’s Favorite Beefcake, so this tragedy was something we all felt deeply passionate about.
As a result, we became inspired to launch a program that had been in the works for some time. A little over a year prior to the shootings we had been knocking around the idea of a program that allowed ticket buyers to purchase limited-edition tickets that were imprinted with artwork from a well-known artist by paying a small fee in addition to the normal service fee. That additional fee would then be donated to a charity of our choosing.
That was about as far as it got until the shootings happened. We thought this would be the perfect reason to launch the program since we, and our local Seattle artistic community, were deeply affected by the shootings and it would be a way for us to easily help the Cafe, the lone survivor and the families of those that were killed. So, we reached out to the folks at the Racer and got internationally recognized artists Ellen Forney and Jim Woodring to generously donate their original artwork for the tickets. Ellen’s piece (pictured above) had once hung in the Racer and Jim was part of a group of artists that met once a week at the Cafe.
Now, six months later, we’ve printed 100,000 tickets imprinted with Ellen and Jim’s amazing artwork and the Artist Ticket Program is ready to unveil! We’re going to introduce the tickets to the world with a big old party at Cafe Racer this Thursday, December 13. The lineup will feature readings by Ellen and Jim, musical performances by my band The Bad Things, Baby Gramps and Racer regulars Lonesome Shack. Performance artist Queen Shmooquan will also perform and our mistress of ceremonies for the evening will be the incomparable Sylvia O’Stayformore. Ellen and Jim will also be signing Artist Tickets for folks, along with their most recent books. There will also be signed Artist Tickets for sale at the event for those that were unable to get one in advance. All proceeds for the event and the tickets will be donated to the Victims of the Cafe Racer Shooting Memorial Fund. You can pick up tickets to the launch party right over here but hurry because space is extremely limited. We’ve also set up a donation page for those that are unable to attend the event but want to contribute.
On the last night that I saw Drew, we had talked about playing together at the Racer, as I had never performed there. Now I finally am, and I know Drew and Joe will be there too. I think a rowdy night of music and love is the perfect way to scare the bad energy away and somehow it seems fitting that we’re doing it on a Thursday, God’s Favorite Beefcake’s weekly night at the Racer. It goes without saying that many PBRs will be drank in their honor.
We know that this program can’t fix what happened but we know it will help a community that we feel an affinity with and, hopefully, give some financial assistance to those that need it now, more than ever, as they deal with their massive losses. Please consider picking up some Artist Tickets for the next event that you attend that’s offering them. All of us here in the Seattle artistic community would whole-heartedly appreciate it.
For more information on the victims and the lone survivor, head right over here.
For more information on the Artist Ticket Program please visit the landing page.
For more information on the Victims of the Cafe Racer Shooting Memorial Fund please visit the donation page.
If you are an event producer with us and want to add these tickets to your event, all you have to do is add the option in the “Settings” tab of your event creation. We’ll do the rest!