on helping a friend

Many of you know the story of how I survived when I moved to NYC. How I slept on a friend’s couch, how my friend let me stay there for quite a long time (more than four months), mostly rent-free in exchange for giving his diabetic cats shots twice a day. 

I arrived at his place with $52 and a big suitcase. Today I’ve got not much more, materially, but I’ve gained so much spiritually that it’s difficult to recognize the person I was when I arrived at the doorstep of his 5th-floor Harlem walkup more than five years ago. And I literally would not be the person I am today if it were not for his love and support, which he gave me (and continues to give me) completely unconditionally and without expecting anything in return. 

So now it’s time for me to attempt to give a little back. 

David’s putting on this amazing concert. Only 37 tickets are being sold because the venue is pretty small. It’s a subterranean crypt, in fact, that’s more than 100 years old, the first of its kind to be built in this country. And what better music to be played among the ashes of dead people than Grateful Dead music? 

He’s arranged acoustic versions of Dead songs and he’s gotten together some incredible musicians to play them in one of the city’s most unique venues. This isn’t the first time he’s done something like this; in 2014 Dave raised $10,000 and gathered some musicians to form David Bryan and Friends (a group that still performs together today) to stage a concert at St. Bartholomew’s Church in Manhattan (it’s available on iTunesSpotify, and YouTube). 

Dave first came upon the crypt when his group filmed a music video there. And he had a wild idea to get some of the biggest names in Dead tribute history together for a concert there. But putting on a limited-admission concert in a 100-year-old crypt isn’t cheap. 

He’s put up all the money for this concert himself. And he’s willing to take a loss, because he loves the music and that’s the kind of guy he is. But he’s also doesn’t entirely want to commit financial suicide, and he doesn’t want ticket prices for the event to be so high that David Bryan and Friends fans can’t afford them, so he’s also doing something in an attempt to offset costs and bring ticket prices down: he’s running a crowdfunding campaign with some brilliant perks, including VIP tickets to the event: Live from the Crypt: Songs from The Dead, Sung for The Dead, featuring David Bryan and the Terrapin Chamber Ensemble.  

Please. If you can, help my friend, David. 

When I made the decision to move to NYC, I sent a mass email to everyone I knew who lived there asking if I could crash with them for a little while. A few people answered saying it was okay for a couple days, a week at most. David replied with the deal you all know about. There was never any question. He never complained. Ever. 

He is 100% the reason I survived until I could get grounded in NYC. And, more times than he knows, he’s said something that’s lifted me spiritually. (He went to seminary school and accidentally offers spiritual advice all the time.) He’s gotten me day labor work in St. Bartholomew’s food pantry. (He works there.) He introduced me to a pastor who gave sermons on Jude that I have printed copies of that remain mainstays in my own spiritual practice. (I would’ve become an Episcopalian because of Buddy if not for the whole Jesus thing, to which he always said, “we can work on that.”) 

If you’ve been with me on my journey, Dave is one of those guys behind the scenes. He’s worth supporting. Even if it’s only $1 (yes, he has that option, because he’s the kind of guy who can say from the heart that every dollar really does matter), he will appreciate it. And I will, too. 

If you didn’t realize that one of the links embedded above would lead you to the campaign, go here. Thank you.