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60th Birthday Party and Benefit for "Mad Hatter"

Thursday, August 27, 2015
5:00 PM - 11:00 PM
Event Type:
Location Details:
Gilman St. Project is in West Berkeley 924 Gilman St @ 8th st.

Berkeley's all ages collectively run club Gilman St. will host a celebration and benefit for a local hero. Michael Diehl is so essential to life here that he was named "Mayor of the Streets". Recently he has suffered some medical complications and he is hoping to get help to pay off the bill---as well as mark his 60th birthday.

The night is jammed packed. Food Not Bombs will be there to boost everyone's blood sugar level when the doors open at 5pm. People will need it for a mind blowing display of Michael's art work will flood everyone's senses. Michael is an unique artist of cluttered and topical fliers--many of which will feature events that happened at Gilman St. as well as protests in Berkeley in general. Michael is also a painter and the works on display will promise to challenge people who are sexually repressed.

Gilman is most known for music---or what people obssessed with punk will pass off as music.
The night opens with a new band--local kids running with the name Full Metal Wingnut--will take the stage without shame. Also on stack is National Disgrace. The writer of this post hasn't quite figured out what they're about---but surprises can be a good thing.
There's nothing mysterious about the solid pop punk trio Courtney & the Crushers. They will arrive to the club fresh from a West Coast tour and provide some heart pounding booty shaking sounds. The vocals finely compliment the music and you just may want to start a band afterwards. By the way the bassist Richie Boucher used to play in Soup---the first band ever to play the Gilman stage.
Also hot from a tour is Coral Remains---who recently changed their name from Styrofoam Sanchez. No pop here. They create a grating sound scape that most of the innovative creative types are doing these days. Their recent welcome home set inspired late night reminisces about the ritual heavy musical experience of Crash Worship. Coral Remains is less of a Juke Box and closer to waking from an LSD trip.

Michael Diehl is an example of someone who discovered the scene and kept giving to it. He was involved with the original Gilman St crew working with the art committee that provided murals for the space. Burnout had chased away the Maximum Rock N Roll management as they ignored his "Let a 1,000 Parks Bloom" manifesto calling for the club to stay open and expand outside of punk music. By 1989 he was working to keep the club open and was thrust into the head coordinator position until 1992. Known then and forever for his enthusiastic dancing, what is less known is the pagan rituals he would host during the club's off nights. At one time casting a spell to get the rent paid. Who knows if it worked--but by 1992 bands like Jawbreaker, Rancid and Green Day (among others) filled the space with crowds that keep the doors open to this day.
When Michael got burned out form the club he didn't retire. A passionate dedicated fighter for People's Park and the larger homeless and street people community you couldn't go to a protest without seeing his familiar top hat. He could hardly add another feather to the hat but watch him as he quickly takes on a Cop Watch activity when ever the times calls. Doing out reach work for B.O.S.S. and later with the Berkeley Free Clinic and even a weekly program on the 104.1 Pirate Radio station (alternately Free Radio Berkeley, Tree Radio Berkeley and Berkeley Liberation Radio). The post 911 years became so ugly and traumatic that he has been essential in providing peer support in a weekly Radical Mental Health Collective at the Free Clinic where one can find open ears and heart.

So you see--your chance to put some money into a good place is facing you. What else you got going on a Thursday night?
Added to the calendar on Tue, Aug 11, 2015 11:24AM
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