Mario Guarneri is assembling a great jazz band from the membership rolls of the Independent Musicians Alliance to entertain you tonight, with a jam session open to all IMA members to follow. IMA members attend free of charge.
The public is welcome–it’s a fundraiser for the IMA, so bring your checkbook or the equivalent!
Pay a $20 cover charge to help Bird & Beckett pay a fair guaranteed wage to the band members. And make a donation if you’re able to one or all of the organizations that are working locally to assist the musicians in their struggle — the Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project, the Independent Musicians Alliance and Jazz in the Neighborhood. Together, we can do this. BYOB if it sounds like thirsty work to you!
The IMA is a solidarity organization co-founded in 2022 by Mario Guarneri and Eric Whittington — now 180 musicians strong — to help the Bay Area’s professional freelance musicians help themselves. They’re forging a common voice and vision to achieve tangible and crucial improvements in wages and working conditions as befit their profession.
Trumpeter, bandleader and composer Mario Guarneri joined the Musicians Union Local 6 of the American Federation of Musicians in the 1950s at the age of 13, and he’s been a member ever since, recently taking a position on its board of directors. He’s worked for union scale and better — but never less — with benefits including health insurance and a pension, throughout his career, in bands, orchestras, recording studios. And some years ago, he created the Bay Area organization called Jazz in the Neighborhood, now a 501(c)3 nonprofit, and now the fiscally sponsored Independent Musicians Alliance in order to push for real improvement in the wage and working condition standards for professional freelance gigging musicians, a constituency that’s been generally neglected by the union for decades. The union, both on the international level and on the local level, is paying attention lately and is working with the IMA and similar organizations nationwide, and particularly locally here in San Francisco, to change that pattern of neglect.
At Bird & Beckett, we strongly believe that the nexus of the effort is the IMA. That’s where the cats are beginning to get organized, to clarify their own sense of what they deserve for their labors, to develop a vision of where they want to be, and to forge a collective voice to advocate for themselves to force and achieve real change. We believe that it’s not only necessary to pressure the businesses that book the bands to pay better — though that’s a big part of it, but also to convince our representatives in local, state and federal government to legislate for changes that will provide direct support of culture workers so that less pressure is put on the individuals and small businesses to provide for a truly reasonable level of income for such workers. We believe culture workers are essential workers, and that all essential workers should not be dependent solely on the vagaries of the capitalist model, where the top of the food chain feeds first and best. Let’s put the workers first, shall we? Can we? We think we can, and we know the workers will need to recognize their own self-worth and advocate for change for that to happen. The IMA is a good, local starting point. Let’s support it! Come out to the show tonight!
Tonight, Mario will bring a clutch of IMA members to Bird & Beckett to do what they do best — play jazz for you.
Come out and hear them, and consider them not just as entertainers playing for your enjoyment, but as professionals plying their essential trade — a trade that requires years of training and investment and that enriches the culture that sustains us through difficult times, providing the joyous soundtrack for the good times!
Our events are put on under the umbrella of the nonprofit Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project (the "BBCLP"). That's how we fund our ambitious schedule of 300 or so concerts and literary events every year.
The BBCLP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit...
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Gigging musicians! You have nothing to lose but your lack of a collective voice to achieve fair wages for your work!
The IMA can be a conduit for you, if you join in to make it work.
Read more here - Andy Gilbert's Feb 25 article about the IMA from KQED's site