APLA / Walk On – Comedians, Filmmakers, and Meg&Dia Show Support

For me, September 13th, 2011 @ Flappers Comedy Club in Burbank will go down as a night to remember for several reasons.

I saw a tweet from @DiaFramps announcing that she’d be playing alongside her sister, @chandlerrobot, at a benefit show in Burbank.  Since Flappers Comedy Club is really close by, I asked my girlfriend if she wanted to go check it out.  We both like Meg & Dia and comedy shows so why not?  Went online to grab two tickets to the show and saw the flyer: Bil Dwyer, emcee;  Meg & Dia Frampton, musical guests; and Bret Ernst, headlining comedian.  It looked like a pretty good lineup so we were happy.  Little did I know, I’d meet an amazing person with an inspirational story, Joe Kibler of Walk On, and leave with a greater understanding and respect for APLA’s mission.

We got to the venue pretty early so we could get some good seats for the show.  While we were waiting, we took a look at some booths set up for the event and found ourselves drawn to the raffle table.  A very enthusiastic young man standing behind the table greeted us, explained a little about the AIDS walk and awareness, and convinced us to buy a wingspan-worth of raffle tickets.  I was pretty excited about some of the prizes, but was more so happy to just help donate to the cause.  We stuck around the table a while and were happy to see that many others were donating and purchasing some raffle tickets.  About half an hour later, they began seating people in the showroom.  We managed to get front row seats, stage right.  The rest of the crowd was made up of a few other Meg & Dia fans and several friends and family of the staff who worked on the film.  It was a decent crowd for a Tuesday night in Burbank.

Bil Dwyer, master of ceremonies, kicked the show off with a short but funny set before introducing a video.  The trailer that appeared on the screen was for an AIDS documentary entitled Walk On.  To our surprise, my girlfriend and I witnessed a familiar face throughout the scenes; a young man, born HIV+ was told he would never walk.  He was the same smiling face behind the raffle ticket booth.  Joe Kibler is raising awareness through this film and is showing everyone that even if the odds are stacked against you, it is still possible to rise above it all.  After watching the trailer, I was completely surprised to see that the person that experienced such pain and hardships is the same happy and energetic guy we saw outside.  At first glance, when I had first spoken with Joe, I would have never guessed any of these things about him!  It really was an inspirational clip and I will make every effort to go see the full film once it comes out [I believe] later this year.

The rest of the night went as expected.  Great comedic bits by the inquisitive Jimmy Brogan (Tonight Show w/ Jay Leno) and the little, cute, and very hilarious Esther Povitsky.  Then, it was the act I had been waiting for all night, Meg & Dia.  I knew they were cute, but in person they’re even prettier and there they were sitting just a couple feet away from me, up on stage.  Funny thing is, they really seem like playful goofballs too, which is an incredible plus in my book!  Carlo Gimenez, their lead guitarist, also jumped on stage and joined them for a couple songs.  I was captivated as they performed three songs before their allotted time was up.  But as they were walking off stage, the crowd and even Bil Dwyer urged them to perform one more.  They obliged and I’m glad they did because they performed a song I had not heard before, Daniel.  Meg definitely won me over with the way she could play a guitar (Dia even called her out on it once during their performance) and of course Dia’s voice is absolutely charming and amazing! (photo right)

Finally, Bret Ernst, graced the stage to end the night.  He had a great set and kept the crowd laughing hard.  Some bits may have been a little over the top and slightly vulgar, but that’s comedy right?!  Throughout most of the set he seemed to be expressing much of his “guido” side (as he put it), but at the very end really rounded back to the real reason and purpose for the night.  He shared a very personal story about his older brother and how he, himself, really makes an effort to come out to these benefit shows to help spread awareness.

After the show, I was hoping to get a picture with Joe, but he looked pretty busy.  Everyone wanted to talk to him and he was surrounded by people so I figured I’d just let him enjoy his night.  Instead, we headed to the little waiting room area where Meg & Dia were selling their latest CD, signing autographs, and taking pictures.  Even though I already bought the Cocoon CD from iTunes, I ended up purchasing a hard copy of the album so I’d have something they could sign for me.  I got up to them and just couldn’t seem to form any words;  I just handed Dia exact change for the CD and she smiled and jokingly said “Yay, no big bills!”  I smiled and asked if they could sign the CD and if I could take a picture with both of them.  They are such incredibly sweet and generous girls, friendly, and happy to support the cause.  I really wish I could have spent more time with them, but I didn’t want to hold up the line.  Nikko got to take a picture with them as well.  Here they are!

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We came to Flappers that night just looking to enjoy a night of comedy and music, but we left with much more.  We didn’t win any raffle prizes, but were rewarded knowing that our money was going to something special.  Thanks to all the people involved with this night and Flappers Burbank for hosting a great show!  The event really opened our eyes and we both hope to participate in the AIDS Walk LA this year.  Please come out and join us!  It’s all for a great cause!


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