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Thursday, Aug. 4, 2005 08:28 pm

Something funny happened on the way to the comedy club

Show raises money for Contact Ministries

“(What’s So Funny ’Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?” — the Nick Lowe-penned New Wave classic popularized by Elvis Costello circa 1982 — was meant as a jab at punks picking on the happy hippie culture of the ’60s.

The song title takes on a whole new meaning when area comics Mark Morfey, Ken Junior, Greg Larson, Abdul, and Kevin Patterson serve as the source of amusement for this weekend’s Contact Ministries benefit at the Funny Bone Comedy Club. Proceeds from the event, named the “Christmas Carnival of Comedy,” go to the needy during the 2005 Yuletide season.

Bring a new, unwrapped toy and a canned good and receive $3 off the price of admission.

Back in the fall of 2004, musician Mike Burnett decided to use his and his friends’ music to help out local children with cancer. With a little organizational acumen on the part of studio owner Ric “Skippy” Major, Burnett began getting the people and sounds together to make it happen. Soon musicians were popping in and out of Major’s Middle Option Music studio, recording songs and dropping off previously recorded material for inclusion on the upcoming benefit CD.

In a matter of weeks, the process was complete, with several area bands and individual artists contributing to the project, including Debbie Ross, the Groove Daddies, Micah Walk, the Oohs, Eva Hunter, Jill Manning, the Station, and others. After many months spent locating funding for the pressing of the disc, Burnett finally realized his dream last May.

Now, how is all of this connected, you ask? Well, Burnett decided to give the proceeds from the CD sales to Contact Ministries and let them distribute the funds as needed throughout the community. The disc, titled For the Smallest Angels, is on sale this weekend at the Christmas Carnival of Comedy.

Aha! Now it all begins to come together: Live local comedians onstage and recorded area musicians on CD, hosted by the Funny Bone Comedy Club, all for the good cause of helping out the less fortunate anytime the need arises but especially during the holiday season.

You know, what really is so funny about peace, love, and understanding? It helps to have some hard cold cash to spread that good stuff around.

The Funny Bone Comedy Club (2937 W. White Oaks Dr., 217-391-5653) presents Contact Ministries’ “Christmas Carnival of Comedy” at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5, and 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6. The fundraising CD, For the Smallest Angels, is available at Recycled Records (625 E. Adams St., 217-522-5122) and Contact Ministries (1100 E. Adams St., 217-753-3939).

Music Notes

Hey there, roots rock fans, our gal pal Rosie Flores makes a central Illinois appearance at the fabulous Decatur Celebration (217-423-4222, www.decaturcelebration.com) on Friday and Saturday nights, Aug. 5-6. Oh yeah, they’ve got some other bands playing over there, too.

What, you’ve never heard of Stoney LaRue and the Organic Boogie Band? Come now, it’s high time you did. SLOBB comes from the so-called Red Dirt music movement in the Stillwater, Okla., area that begot other bands like Cross Canadian Ragweed, Jason Boland & the Stragglers, and the original Red Dirt Rangers. LaRue just released his first solo album, appropriately titled the Red Dirt Album and makes a stop at Turasky’s Steakhouse and Saloon in Dawson on Friday, Aug. 5.

Call them a super-group of central Illinois jazz all-stars if you will, but just remember members of The Odyssey are all still in college — except for bassist Tommy Good, the youngster of the group, who is a senior at Pleasant Plains High. The other members of the jazz quartet — Zach Radwine, piano, A.J. Good, trumpet and fluegel horn, and Josh Fox, drums — are studying music at different Midwest universities. The fledgling musicians met while still in high school doing stints with Jane Hartman’s LLCC jazz group, Stolen Moments. Weather permitting, they’ll be improvising jazz from 6-9 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9, on the patio at Cheddar’s Casual Café (3151 Horizon Dr., 525-3820).

Come, welcome Micah Walk back to town on Saturday, Aug. 6, when the wandering one returns to Norb Andy’s (518 Capitol Ave., 523-7777) for a 10 p.m.-1 a.m. show. The singer-songwriter traveled most of the summer in all directions, playing miscellaneous coffeehouse gigs and assorted barroom functions.

Before the Bottle Rockets take the stage at Underground City Tavern on Saturday, light up your life with the Smoldering Punks from 7-9 p.m. at Sun’s Up Koffee Kafe (1001 N. First St., 522-5348). Led by singer-songwriter John Brillhart, graced by guitarist Michael Sullivan, and driven by percussionist Jose Santiago, the group promises plenty of acoustic indoor fireworks to complement the rockin’ Rockets later show.
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