To-do List: New Year's Eve and a Birthday Bash
New Year's Erie 2014 at the Erie Art Musuem and Ben Frazier's Birthday Bash are on Alex Bieler's To-do List.
New Year's Eve 2014 at the Erie Art Museum
Around this time last year, I wrote that Erie holds a special place in the hearts of us folks at the Erie Reader, so we wanted to throw a special New Year's Eve party to celebrate not only the end of the year, but also our loyal fans. Well, the party was an absolute blast, and we still get the same warm fuzzies about The Flagship City that we did 525,600 minutes ago (or 525,949 minutes for the non-Rent fans out there), so we're bringing the party back to downtown Erie.
That's right, this Dec. 31, the Erie Reader cordially invites you to New Year's Eve 2014 at the Erie Art Museum.
It's the least we could do for this wonderful city and our loyal supporters. Of course, while last year's festivities were awfully fun, we at the Reader won't just solely recreate the same night and stamp 2014 on it. Oh no, we plan on making the latest edition of NYE at EAM even bigger and better, as jazz legends Cat's A Bear kick things off when the music starts at 8 p.m., local alt-rockers Falling Hollywood will take the stage after to keep the party rolling, and DJ extraordinaire NatasK will hit the turntables and mic at 11 and keep the dance floor shaking through the New Year, complete with a memorable midnight countdown.
"Everyone always has big ideas about what New Year's is going to be," Falling Hollywood drummer Brad Triana says. "There's always a lot of excitement, and I'm just glad to be a part of it, performing for everyone there."
Like some Erieites, Brad was unable to attend last year – although we'll give him a pass, as he was in the Czech Republic in Prague proposing to his wife. But this year, he'll be there. And so should you, given this great lineup.
"I want to be able to entertain and give a little something to all sides of the equation. You may not know every track I'm going to put down, but it's going to be funky, it's going to have a good beat," NatasK says excitedly over the phone. "People go out on New Year's Eve with more expectations. They're looking for more of a show and they're looking for something worthwhile, where they'll remember it for the rest of the year."
We at the Erie Reader like to think that having Falling Hollywood, NatasK, and Cat's A Bear all performing in a venue as cool as the Erie Art Museum would be fairly memorable. Still, NYE at EAM has even more treats in store for guests. A purchase of a single ticket ensures that the buyer will receive two beer tickets, delicious hors d'oeuvres from Make It Fabulous Catering, party favors, and complimentary champagne for the traditional midnight toast. Upgrade to a VIP ticket and you'll have access to the Customs House VIP Lounge, which features an open bar and additional delightful dishes.
This past year could have meant different things to different people, but after Dec. 31, it'll be all over – and a time to start anew. NYE at EAM kicks off when the museum doors open at 7:30 p.m., with the music starting at 8 p.m. It's all on one big night just for you, and we're looking forward to celebrating the start of another 365 days in The Flagship City.
Ben Frazier's 4th Annual Birthday Bash
Some people see birthdays as an exercise in getting, whether it be material goods or adoration. Ben Frazier, however, likes to take his special day and use it as a chance to give back to the Erie scene.
For the fourth year in a row, Frazier will celebrate his birthday at the crooked i during the 4th Annual Birthday Bash, a fun-filled affair that features five bands of his choosing, with local rockers The Couchriders, Smoke & Mirrors, Mala Sangre, With Signs Following, and rapper C. Brown filling up a talented lineup for the Sunday, Dec. 29 show.
The music isn't the only thing that Frazier, known by some as Record Den Ben for his time spent working at the old record store that used to be located in the mall, is giving Erie, however, as the proceeds of every Birthday Bash have gone to a different charity, a tradition that started four years ago after a friend and coworker of his tragically died along with her girlfriend in a house fire, leaving their children in need of help. Soon after, Ben decided to use his birthday to give to others.
"I guess it was to offset the ridiculousness of me throwing a birthday party for myself, so I thought that I should do something for these kids," Frazier, who used to book shows at the old Continental Ballroom, said of the decision to turn his then 40th birthday into a fundraiser.
This year, funds raised at the event will be donated to the Muscular Dystrophy Association's summer camp at Camp Kon-O-Kwee Spencer in honor of Jack Ambruster, who passed away earlier this year at the age of 16. Armbruster served as an MDA junior goodwill ambassador, spreading cheer and helping others afflicted with muscular dystrophy not only in our region, but all of Pennsylvania. Now it's Frazier and the music scene's turn to give back.
"All of the bands are really generous in donating their time," Frazier said. "Everybody's really cool about playing. There are no egos involved; they all know it's for charity and to have a good time."
In the season of giving, you can do your part and, potentially, eat some of Frazier's cake too. For $5 at the door, you too can celebrate both Frazier and Armbruster, two very special members of the Erie scene.
Alex Bieler can be contacted at ABieler@ErieReader.com, and you can follow him on Twitter @Catch20Q.