After the Supreme Court decision that made last weekend’s Pride events more jubilant, Project Armageddon’s Doomstress Alexis took to Facebook from the road to remind friends at home to celebrate, but also to remember there’s still important work ahead.
“One victory has been won but discrimination and persecution will persist and the battle for equality is not over,” she wrote. “Many within our communities, especially within the Transgender community, still struggle for basic human rights even in this country, the USA! Enjoy yourselves, rejoice in today, remember yesterday and continue to focus on a better tomorrow for all, including our homeless youth!”
That’s not just lip service from the Doomstress. For the third consecutive year, she’s gathered friends in Houston’s music scene together to do something about these issues. The event is called Grace Note, a benefit show designed to raise funds for the Montrose Grace Place homeless shelter. This year’s will be held at Pearl Bar Houston, which will host a dozen acts and a silent auction beginning at 3 p.m. this Sunday.
The Doomstress is presently on the road with Project Armageddon, shredding faces on a tour run in support of the band’s third full-length release, Cosmic Oblivion. They’ll return to Houston just hours before the Grace Note benefit kicks off, but most of the work preparing for the event has been done. All that’s left is for Houstonians to attend in droves to show support. A few changes and a diverse music lineup might help in that regard, Doomstress notes.
“I have expanded the talent beyond just music to include burlesque by Dem Damn Dames as well as live painting by Doll Partzz, whose work will then be included in the auction, which will all go to Montrose Grace Place,” she says. “This fits part of my overall vision, or reflection perhaps, of how homelessness can affect these kids from any walk of life. I want to bring in as much diversity from Houston's performance and artistic communities as I can to show that regardless of who we are, we can all come together to support this cause.”
This year’s musical lineup is a combination of Grace Note veteran performers and acts Doomstress has befriended over the last year. The full lineup includes John Alton, Devil Killing Moth, Giant Kitty, Kristal Cherelle, Only Beast, Red Eye Carl, Rhonda Rubicon, Robin Kirby, Rock Hard Nipplzz and Doomstress’ side project, Vendetta Diabolique.
“Being out and about at all sorts of shows and events three to four nights a week, and sometimes more, I've gotten to know a ton of musicians, bands, artists, performers, etc., many of whom I have become good friends with,” she shares. “A couple asked me several months ago about playing this year's event and a few jumped at it the moment I mentioned it. A couple I had to wait patiently to see if their schedules would be open. I really wanted Kristal Cherelle to be on after playing Where the Girls Are with her last November to benefit Not On Our Watch (America Foundation) and all her continued success. I'm really thrilled to have such great acts on board again, all of whom bust their asses.”
They’ll be situated in a venue that understands LGBT causes. Doomstress said she met Pearl Bar’s proprietor, Julie Mabry, a few years ago when Mabry was hosting a benefit to pay for medical costs associated with an attack on a pair of lesbian teenagers.
“She was so gracious for everyone who donated items and performances and I think that her passion to help really had a big impact on what I hoped to achieve once Grace Note came to fruition," says Alexis. "Having this at Pearl Bar Houston is great, because Julie has hosted numerous benefit events here and she has additional contacts to draw in for the auction items and event itself, not to mention her ties to the LGBT community. Plus, Julie has asked me repeatedly over the years about my band playing an event, but Project Armageddon was just too big and heavy for most, so headlining this year's Grace Note with my industrial band Vendetta Diabolique works out perfect!”
Doomstress adds that Montrose Grace Place will turn funds raised into food, clothing and shelter for homeless youth of all sexualities and gender identities, as well as to help with counseling and activities for Grace Place teens. According to the organization’s Facebook page, as many as 25 percent of youths who come out as teens wind up homeless. Those in that dire position are then seven times more likely than heterosexual teens to become crime victims.
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Statistics like those underscore the importance of Grace Place and this fundraiser. It’s obviously important to Doomstress Alexis, but it’s also just one of the calendar items she juggles in a year. The last one has been especially active, with both her music acts making numerous appearances and Project Armageddon releasing a new album. Cosmic Oblivion follows a futuristic sci-fi theme over four new original tracks and a Judas Priest cover. There’s an acoustic remake of “Time’s Fortune” from the band’s first album and a live version of “Tides of Doom.” The album is available now from projectarmageddon.com and will release in mid-month on CD Baby, iTunes and Amazon.
Doomstress Alexis is busy, but not too busy to take time to continue Grace Notes’ annual efforts. And, yearly, she gets first-hand reminders on why she continues the work.
“I had numerous [Grace Note] attendees, some who were fans and others who didn't know me, approach me last year to relate their own personal tales of having been a homeless teenager and how thankful they were that we were having this event,” she recalls. “Even as I've been working on this year’s and talking about it, I have been getting similar stories and thanks from people who had experienced homelessness in their youth for numerous reasons but many still felt a level of shame to admit they were homeless, which I find disturbing. Hopefully Grace Note and the work of Montrose Grace Place, as well as others, will help eradicate any shame for experiences that most times are beyond the control of these youth.”
Pearl Bar Houston, 4216 Washington, hosts the Grace Note Benefit for Montrose Grace Place, 2 p.m., Sunday, July 5. Admission is $10.