HOH’s One-Minute Recess: Chase the Blues Away

Posted October 21, 2009 at 10:40am

Several Members of Congress will be singing the blues tonight, but not over health care reform or climate change legislation.[IMGCAP(1)]More than 65 Members are on the host committee for the sixth annual Congressional Blues Festival, a one-night event at the Mellon Auditorium celebrating the tradition of blues music while raising some much-needed cash for struggling musicians. As it turns out, the festival required some much-needed cash of its own earlier this year. The event typically takes place in the spring, but budget woes stemming from the recession threatened to cancel the event entirely. After organizers sent an e-mail to supporters asking for help, they were able to pull it together, festival founder Ryan Costello told HOH.“I just said, ‘Hey guys, we’re having trouble raising the money this year, tough economic times,— Costello recalled. “That e-mail kind of invigorated some people — some fans and supporters called in.— Organizers also decided to sell tickets for $15, a change from past years in which free tixs were issued by lottery. The tickets sold out in five hours, Costello said. Any proceeds from the event will go to the Blues Foundation, a Memphis-based nonprofit group that works to preserve blues history and support blues artists in need.Several Members will appear at the festival, which will feature a main stage, with acts including headliner Bettye Lavette, and a second stage, designed to resemble the old juke joints where many blues musicians got their start, Costello said.Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) will introduce Lavette, and Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen (D) will speak about the work the Blues Foundation is doing in Memphis, Costello said.“I know I’ve had the blues once or twice — maybe three times — in the course of my 35 years in Congress,— Miller said. “The sixth annual Congressional Blues Festival promises to be a terrific event for an important cause.—Health Care Gets Another Celeb Endorsement. Actress Heather Graham is the latest celeb to rally to keep the public option in any health care reform legislation, appearing in an advertisementreleased by MoveOn.org. There are two versions of the ad, a 30-second piece that will air on television and a 60-second one designed to be circulated online. Both feature Graham preparing to run a track race, surrounded at the start line by “lazy and out-of-shape insurance company executives from CIGNA, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, United Health and Humana,— according to a MoveOn.org press release. The execs are depicted as woefully unprepared for the race, munching on hamburgers and working on their golf game, whereas Graham is seen in tip-top shape and ready for the challenge. Submit your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments here.Can’t get enough HOH? Get a midday dose of fun and gossip with HOH’s One-Minute Recess, delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here — because everyone deserves more recess.