The New Deal Café recently completed its fund-raising auction, with over 100 offerings and over $14,000 in income to help them weather this long national nightmare for restaurants, especially the ones featuring entertainment. Music at the New Deal attracts people from around the DMV and beyond and has won the Café many regional awards and accolades.
As reported locally, “There is never a cover charge, only donations to pay the musicians. Yet, the musicians keep coming back and many have offered items for the auction like music lessons or private concerts in your backyard.” Indeed, among the donated items on the auction page, many are musicians offering lessons or live, in-person performances.”
Three musicians who offered a live performance were Jackson, Oziel, and Moss, shown above being thanked by auction-winner Connie Davis after their performance in her Greenbelt back yard.
Here’s what Connie wrote to me about creating a rare live music experience in 2020 while supporting her beloved Café, and doing it in a thoroughly covid-safe way:
As you know, I am a big fan of the NDC and think that it is important to our community. I thought that the auction was a great way to raise badly needed money and was determined to support it. There were 3 concerts offered. I bid on 2, and won them.
I have a backyard that can accommodate about 20 people spaced 6-8 feet apart. I also have that many chairs, so I set them up the day before to make sure we would be social distancing. I made it a BYOB event and provided no food. I had extra masks if someone forgot theirs.
The band (Jackson, Ozeil, and Moss) played from 4 to 5 – their first concert since March. They had as much fun as we did. I was so happy to hear live music again.
I was one of the lucky attendees and found it oddly familiar and unfamiliar at the same time, these seven months without live music at the Café. It seemed almost normal, thanks to Connie’s planning and precautions keeping us safe while we danced and experiencing that old New Deal camaraderie, if in a totally different location. It was a much-needed boost to my spirits!
Energy for the Café
Curious about other adaptions that were necessary to pull off a successful auction during the pandemic, I asked the auction’s coordinator, Arlene Kaminsky. This wasn’t her first auction but the first under covid conditions.
As far as doing the auction during the pandemic, it basically forced me to do the auction online only.
Then, once we started to get the word out with phone calls, emails and social media, the community of artists, musicians, professionals, business owners, etc. really stepped up.
I truly don’t think the auction would have been as successful as it was if this was for anyplace other than the New Deal Café in Greenbelt. I’m still amazed at the support and generosity of the community, even during this unprecedented time. It didn’t matter where donors lived (I live in Silver Spring); if people were connected to the New Deal in any way, they wanted to be a part of this auction.
People who couldn’t find something to donate made a monetary donation. People who won an item then added a donation to their payment. Friends of mine from far away donated art and jewelry because they knew how much the New Deal means to me.
Companies donated from Colorado, California, Connecticut and New York because I sold them on the idea that they could help a local music venue in a place they never heard of and get their name out in front of hundreds of bidders (my 25 years of sales experience came in handy). Some DC businesses (like Miss Pixies), donated because many years ago the owner went to the New Deal Café.
It was an amazing adventure for me and I’m just incredibly humbled by the outpouring of love for New Deal, and pleased that it all turned out so well.
Asked about participation by musicians, she wrote that
I had a friend who helped me reach out to some bands and musicians that we knew from the clubs in DC. Many of them donated because they knew about the New Deal, heard about the auction and wanted to help, or they had musician friends who played at the New Deal. The music scene in the DMV is very tight.
The view from where I sat.
Video and Information about the Musicians
About Jackson, Oziel and Moss
(From the auction listing)
David Jackson, David Oziel and Howard Moss play primarily blues and blues inspired music. A great deal of Jackson, Oziel and Moss’ repertoire consists of songs that span the era between the 1920’s and the 1950’s.
David, David and Howard met at the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation’s jam in Riverdale, Md. Their passion for the blues led to an immediate bonding, performing together in various groups before forming the present trio. The two Davids represented the DC Blues Society as a duo at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN in 2015. As a trio, they have performed at music festivals and at house concerts in the Washington area. The trio played the DC Blues Festival in 2015 and they play the Silver Spring Blues Festival in June of 2017. They formed the band, DC Mudd in 2015 and represented the DC Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN in 2016, were nominated for a WAMMIE in 2016, played the College Park Blues Festival, D.C. Blues Society Festival, Washington Folk Festival, Tinner Hill Blues Festival, and the Greenbelt Blues Festival.
David Jackson (bass and vocals) performed music in his teens and then came back to it again in his 50’s. In 1994 he formed the first DC Blues Society Band and has played with numerous bands in the Washington, DC area.
David Oziel (guitar and vocals) started a record collection of doo wop and early R&B in his teens, and began exploring the blues. He hosted a blues and R&B radio show in Boston, MA while in college. Always a singer, he picked up the guitar in later years and began playing the blues.
Howard Moss (harmonica) became enamored with the blues as a college student in Washington, DC. He spent much of his time in the record stores and clubs soaking up the local blues scene. The portability of the harmonica fit his lifestyle as he worked as a newsman in the states and abroad.
NOTE: By contributing these pandemic stories, photos, et cetera, Greenbelters are making an unconditional donation of the material to the nonprofit Greenbelt Online.org and the Greenbelt Museum/City of Greenbelt, which reserve the right to keep, lend, or otherwise dispose of the donated material, and may use the material on our website, for social media or other postings, in promotional materials or in future exhibits.