Conscious Party: ’80s Dance Party

IT TAKES TWO: A Social Function lead singers Ric Luther and Jesse Barry will belt out a variety of fun retro covers during AHE's '80s Dance Party benefit at Isis Music Hall on Nov. 22. Photo courtesy of the band

WHAT: A night of retro music and dancing to benefit AHE

WHEN: Wednesday, Nov. 22, 8:30 p.m.-midnight

WHERE: Isis Music Hall, 743 Haywood Road

WHY: In her search for an entertaining fundraiser for Africa Healing Exchange, founder and Executive Director Sara Stender found inspiration in her YMCA hip-hop class friend Eleanor Watson. The classmate had been wishing there was more ’80s music around town and suggested a dance party focused on that decade, an idea Stender immediately supported.

“I was born in 1977, so I was in my early childhood in the ’80s,” Stender says. “I definitely have fond memories and I love the music and the fashion. It just seems really fun — it’s really danceable and lots of the songs are celebratory and that’s kind of the theme we’re going for.”

Stender’s friend Jim Arrendell, a music manager with EastCoast Entertainment, offered to help with the event and suggested Asheville-based band A Social Function. The seven-piece ensemble plays a combination of ’80s covers and original works, was about to do a CD release and had been looking for opportunities to make a party out of the occasion.

Factor in the band’s wishes to engage in community efforts and its interest in AHE’s nonprofit mission, and Stender calls the partnership a “triple win.” A Social Function will play Wednesday, Nov. 22, 8:30-10:30 p.m. at Isis Music Hall, after which DJ Satch and DJ Salty Salty will spin records until midnight. Attendees are encouraged to crimp their hair, don a Members Only jacket and a pair of acid-washed jeans and otherwise dress in accordance with the era’s style.

AHE recently set up its offices in downtown Asheville and launched its Restoring Resilience program in Buncombe County. The organization is also looking for local nonprofits to partner with it and in turn offer training in the Resilience program, primarily for mothers and caregivers of youth. AHE’s mission is to end the cycle of trauma and give adults more tools to pass on to the children with whom they work.

“That’s something really new, because in the past we were working in Rwanda building this model and now we’re offering it here locally,” Stender says. “So that’s what this party is all about. It’s to let people know we’re local, we have local services and some of them are very low cost and accessible.”

The ‘80s Dance Party takes place 8:30 p.m.-midnight on Wednesday, Nov. 22, at Isis Music Hall. $20.


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About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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