My name is Michael Hunter and I am one of the hosts of the ‘“Weird Al” Phabet’ podcast where we go over every one of “Weird Al” Yankovic’s songs in alphabetical order. We will be attending and covering all of the awesome stuff that will be happening at Fest of Al this September, but there’s one thing in particular that I am extremely excited for.
Besides being able to bring the loving “Weird Al” community together for a weekend of UHF quote-a-thons, rockin’ musical performances, and the infamous sparkler-twirling, cross-stitching poodles*, we also get a chance to make a difference to those in need.
As some of you may or may not be aware, Puerto Rico has been trying to rebuild for awhile now since Hurricane Irma and Maria both hit last year. Several organizations have raised several millions of dollars to help restore these communities, but they are still a long way from being complete again. Several towns are still lacking power, internet, running water, and on top of all that, people are now facing creditors who are forcing them to foreclose their homes because they can’t afford their back payments.
That’s where the Hispanic Federation Unidos steps in. They have been providing assistance since 1990 by rebuilding homes, giving out food and water, and helping strengthen the Puerto Rican communities with assisting residents with healthcare applications, creating college enrollment programs, and providing workshops for literacy, voting, and business. To learn more about them, please see the link below. Fun fact, Lin Manuel-Miranda is also a fan of this organization and has done campaigns to help them as well like the Immigrants: We Get the Job Done coalition.
Ever since Raquel brought me onboard for Fest of Al, I wanted to use this platform to help people and I believe that we can and still make it fun for the fest!
We are doing a CHARITY RAFFLE!
We will be getting various items from our special guests as well as some of our vendors and be putting them up for grabs! All of the proceeds will be donated to Hispanic Federations Unidos. The items are to be determined at the moment, but if you would like to donate items to the charity raffle, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is one item I want to tell you about, though...
I had the chance to meet “Weird Al” when I went to see him perform in Los Angeles for the Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour and got him to sign one of the Squeezebox collections that he put out with Pledge Music earlier this year. It wasn’t an easy task, lemme tell ya.
First, I had emailed ahead to the theater to make sure they knew I was coming WEEKS before the show, because I had seen that they were purposefully preventing people from bringing in those Squeezeboxes. They gave me the “A-Okay”, though, which I guess meant “Sure, but security will try to turn you away first and then you’ll have to wait outside the venue for about 10 minutes”, but that’s fine. I was a man on a mission! Fortunately, somebody showed the head of the security staff the email chain and I was good to go in.
Oh! Did I mention that I was keeping it inside the box they shipped it in with the styrofoam and everything? No? Yeah, it was a HUGE BOX. So, I carried this HUGE BOX around the entire venue and sat with it in my lap during the entirety of Emo Phillips’s set. Needless to say, I didn’t care, but as luck would have it, one of the members of the group that was sitting directly in front of me didn’t show up and they offered to have me set the box in the empty seat. That’s when I knew that this was meant to be.
After the awesomeness that was “Weird Al”, I then waited with anticipation to meet the man who melted my face with his awesome tambourine solo (those who saw him get it). Finally, when it was my turn, I knew I only had 1-minute to get what I wanted to say, so I just kept it simple: I summarized this entire blog.
After I broke it all down, I was winded, but as soon as Al realized that I was having him sign it for charity and not for eBay, he signed it with a signature worthy of the HUGE BOX I carried it in and he thanked me for helping the cause. "Weird Al", if you're reading this, thank YOU for helping the cause.
Let’s not let him down and let’s not let Puerto Rico down! Again, a signed Squeezebox (CD) with the socks, magnets, t-shirt, and collectable book are all up for grabs but ONLY if you attend Fest of Al September 22nd and 23rd in Denver, Colorado.
Thank you for reading my novel of a blog and I hope to see you there!
*- Fest of Al may or may not actually have the infamous sparkler-twirling, cross-stitching poodles