Studio 52 is a community artist space located in the heart of Allston, and is proud to support the Boston music scene and local artist community.
It took a bit of shuffling around before the annual Rock for HAWC benefit and women's safety awareness show could find a new home for 2017. Fortunately, event organizer and Radio Compass frontwoman Angela Lee isn’t one to give up easily.
This year's Rock for HAWC will take place Friday (December 8) at Smokin’ Betty’s BBQ and Bar to raise money for Healing Abuse, Working for Change, a North Shore-based domestic violence agency. In previous years the event was held at The Indo in Beverly, and after The Spotlight Tavern in Beverly closed abruptly and Opus subsequently pulled out from hosting the event, the 2017 Rock for HAWC landed at Smokin’ Betty’s, the Salem restaurant and venue that will offer far more space for the show and the cause at hand.
“I’m getting older and while I love playing music, it means so much more to do it in a way that brings people together to celebrate and contribute to the betterment of our community,” Lee writes in email correspondence with Vanyaland. “Preventative measures, resources, education, and awareness are key in reducing and ending this abuse and violence and starting the healing process.”
While the venue is new, other aspects of the benefit, however, remain the same. The show’s bill is stacked with staples of the Massachusetts music scene, featuring Carissa Johnson, Vanessa Silberman, Ladymob, The Devil’s Twins, and Lee's Radio Compass. Many of the performers appear in Rock for HAWC’s annual calendar, photographed by Joshua Pickering, which carries on the benefit’s tradition of selling calendars as an additional source of funding for HAWC.
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Lee, a licensed mental health counselor, has witnessed the often fatal effects of domestic violence throughout her career, inspiring her to start organizing Rock for HAWC in 2015.
“When I was 11 years old a friend of the family was murdered by her husband,” Lee explains. “She was a lively, creative, loving woman with a seemingly ‘normal’ life. Then she was gone. Those kinds of things make you re-examine your assumptions of others and the world. Most of my adult working life I’ve spent in psychology and human services, primarily working with those impacted by trauma, PTSD and vulnerable populations (e.g. lower education, poverty, those raised 'in the system,' dual diagnoses, etc). A couple years ago a client whom I worked closely with passed away- I can't really go into more detail than that. As a mental health clinician, mourning is a very strange thing because you must maintain HIPPA and privacy of the client -- it's a solitary mourning. But essentially, I wanted to do something meaningful in memory of these beautiful women.”
Aside from attending the concert itself, people hoping to contribute to the fundraiser can pitch in by purchasing custom 2018 Rock for HAWC calendars for $15 each or grabbing some raffle tickets (three for $5 or 10 for $10). All of the proceeds from both the raffle and calendars will do directly to HAWC.
“HAWC is one of the only agencies around here who specialize in services for victims of domestic violence,” Lee adds. “I’ve referred some of my clients to them and they are just fantastic people. It just made sense. Then I thought of all the women (and men!) I've met since getting back into music and what an awesome thing it would be to bring some of these cool cats together and do this. I love the community I live in. Salem has a great artistic presence -- why not bring it all together? Music + Community + Good Cause = we're doing this.”