Monday, April 11, 2011

Nobel Quality Piano

We went to the Nobelity Project fundraiser last night. They do water and school building projects in Kenya. They are named after Turk Pipkin's first film: "Nobelity." The title is an intentional corruption of nobility. In it he interviewed Nobel prize winners about how they might save the world. He decided to try to help one community in Kenya get clean water and build a high school. He has achieved that in spades and is continuing to help improve schools, water systems and community facilities in the area. This fundraiser has the usual trappings of a gala: silent auction, food, drinks. But Turk adds star power from his many contacts in music, movies, literature. Every table has a couple of luminaries for the paying customers to meet. Marcia Ball played piano (above) as the diners entered and then presided over a table with husband and painter Gordon Fowler. Also in attendance at the party were novelist Sarah Bird, journalist Evan Smith, screenwriter and photographer Bill Witliff and historian H.W. Brands. Several cast members from "Friday Night Lights" were there including Brad Leland, Kyle Chandler and Dana Wheeler-Nicholson. Lots of bold-faced names. Jewish Cowboy musician, animal rescue advocate, novelist, humorist and former gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman appeared in his trademark garb and comedian, actor, magician Harry Anderson performed briefly. Musicians were everywhere, most just talking to and getting photos with fans: Joe Ely, Butch Hancock, Shawn Colvin, Ray Benson, Darden Smith, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Jimmy Buffet, Carolyn Wonderland (and her husband comedian Whitney Brown whom she recently married in Butler Park), Jerry Jeff Walker, the Courtyard Hounds (the Dixie Chicks exes...they also performed with Shawn Colvin), Jeff Lofton, Jimmy Lafave, Jimmie Dale Gilmore...and more! Turk and Christy Pipkin have a great formula for fund-raising and I trust that they capitalized on that for their cause last night. It's a one-of-a-kind event.

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