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Cool Aid for Japan: Artisans and Entertainers Band Together Coast to Coast

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The arts contribute toward the wellbeing of Japan
(Image by meryl ann butler)
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Artists, quilters, fashion designers, musicians and entertainers have banded together in numerous fundraising initiatives in response to the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan in March.

In New York, "Fashion Girls for Japan" hosted a two-day designer sample sale, April 2-3, to benefit the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. 60 designers raised over $270,000 for the fund.

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Fashion Girls for Japan fundraising T-shirt design
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The group continues to raise money through the sale of T-shirts and totes with a specially designed logo.

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Unite4Japan logo
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In Los Angeles, UNITE4JAPAN, a coalition of musicians and artists will present a benefit concert to raise money for the 2011 Japan Relief Fund on Sunday, June 12, 2011, at the Warner Grand Theatre, 478 West 6th Street San Pedro, California, 90731.

As Pablo Casals said, "Music will save the world."

Shadoe Stevens
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The concert will be emceed by radio and TV personality Shadoe Stevens, and will feature many prominent LA musicians and bands, including Harold Payne, 2000 LBS of Blues with special guest Memphis Linda Jane, The Prima Divas, Amber Stevens, The Reactors, Porterhouse Bob and Down to the Bone, Mike Manning, Karin Chafetz, Jaxx & Jacobson, and Randy St. Jeane.  

Harold Payne. Photo:
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Harold Payne is a multi-platinum and Posi Award-winning songwriter. His songs have been recorded by a wildly diverse group of artists including: Rod Stewart, Patti LaBelle, Carlos Santana, Snoop Dogg, Peter, Paul & Mary, and longtime collaborator, Bobby Womack.

Payne's new song, We'll Be There for You (Kimi No Soba Ni) , was his heartfelt response to Japan's recent events. "After the shock of the earthquake and tsunami, I was researching phrases that I could say to my Japanese friends that would express my concern and a reaching out, and wanted to focus on the hope that is always present in any crisis.

As that research was evolving into a song, some musician-friends of mine invited me to participate in this fundraising concert, and everything seemed to click together. What a great opportunity this is, to send a message of caring, and to express a deep affection for our Japanese brothers and sisters."

Hear the song at

Payne, whose wife is Japanese-American, noted that he grew up surrounded by Asian culture in Gardena, a LA suburb with a large Japanese-American population. He has toured Japan with his music group, Gravity 180. (

Michael Arguello with his band 2000 LBS of Blues
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West Coast favorite Michael Arguello and his band, 2000 LBS of Blues, hearken back to an era when jump-blues was king, and entertaining was what it was truly all about.

The Prima Divas
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The Prima Divas, an energetic Broadway/Classical quartet, will offer show-stopping songs full of humor and expert musicianship.

Jill Jaxx & Danny Jacobson
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Jill Jaxx and Danny Jacobson's songs and impressions will bring singing and movie legends to life on a star-studded memory lane filled with laughter and a few tears.

Porterhouse Bob and Down to the Bone
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Porterhouse Bob and Down to the Bone is an outrageously entertaining 7-piece New Orleans style band with Porterhouse Bob on vocals and keyboards, and featuring horn players from the bands of Ray Charles, Elton John, Brian Setzer, and Manhattan Transfer.

Amber Stevens
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Amber Stevens from ABC Family's "Greek," who recently appeared as Mimi in the Downtown LA production of "RENT" will be singing at the event. 

Mike Manning, lead guitarist for Demi Lovat
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Mike Manning, lead guitarist for Demi Lovato, will also perform. 

Admission to the UNITE4JAPAN concert, June 12, in San Pedro, CA, is $30 per adult and $15 per student.   A silent auction at the event will feature a variety of luxury items including tickets to Dancing With The Stars with a backstage visit, 7 days in Los Cabos San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico, 2 great seats for Cirque du Soleil's Michael Jackson the Immortal World Tour in Las Vegas, a Body Glove wet suit, plus high end wines, paintings and jewelry.  

Artists Help Japan logo
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Artists Help Japan is a charity movement initiated by Dice Tsutsumi, an art director at Pixar Animation Studios. (

Tsutsumi created artworks for auctions and other fundraising
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He and his wife developed the fund with Give2Asia , a U.S. 501 (c) (3) public charity, to which contributions are tax deductible.

Benefit art show , Pomona, CA
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On June 11th " The Sun Will Rise Again,"   a benefit art show featuring a silent auction by local artists will be held at Mosaic Gallery, Pomona, CA. All proceeds will go towards the "Artists Help Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Fund."

In another initiative, Kathy Price of Mission of Love in Youngstown, OH, partnered with Luana Rubin of to coordinate "Quilts for Japan," inviting quilters across the U.S. to make and send quilts of comfort to Japan. Their original goal of 1,000 quilts was exceeded, and 2155 quilts were delivered to Cleveland Airport on Tues., May 31, for space available shipping to Narita, Japan on JAL, courtesy of UPS.

Price notes that Army chaplains in Japan have been contacting local organizations which will personally distribute the quilts to those in need in the hardest hit areas of Japan. An airlift of items for medical, educational, and basic needs was also sent.

Contributors were each invited to personalize their gift by putting their name, address, and a message of hope on a fabric label, sewn onto the back of the quilt.

Sandy Panagos' quilt for Japan
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Sandy Panagos of St. Louis, MO, contributed two quilts, and said, "I hope my quilts will bring comfort to the recipients and let them know that I care deeply about them."

"Beauty will save the world."   - Fyodor Dostoyevsky






The 2011 Japan Relief Fund is administered by the Japan America Society of Southern California, a 501(c)(3) educational and charitable organization, Federal Tax ID #95--2021853.  Accordingly, donations to the 2011 Japan Relief Fund qualify for charitable contribution tax deduction.   Donations to the 2011 Japan Relief Fund will be forwarded to experienced non-governmental disaster relief agencies in Japan, who have a proven track record of emergency humanitarian relief, and long-term restoration and development of destroyed areas.



Admission is $30 per adult and $15 per student.   All ages are welcome. The silent auction will start at 4:00 pm and the concert at 5:00 pm. Tickets are available at . For additional information email or call 310.567.4097.







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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)

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