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Doing good N1awlins-style

Wren Wertin
Special to the DailyFrom left, Debbie Gibson, Arthur Stover, Aimee Depue and Joel Moure huddle up amidst other Mardi Gras revelers at Half Moon Saloon
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In an effort to promote live music<a cocktail for the ears, according to Cecil Stanfill<as well as be upstanding members of the community, a group of New Orleans transplants created Krewe de C.R.A.W. (Only members are told the meaning behind the acronym.)Stanfill, Jimmy McCabe and Seth Matasar joined forces and created the party-giving, fund-raising, music-loving Krewe de C.R.A.W. Five times a year they host a party, sometimes members only, sometimes open to the public, that always includes live music N1awlins-style, and often food of the same ilk. They go by their own 3Mardi Gras calendar, where the year culminates in that drunken debauch of an event, as opposed to December 31. Therefore, the first party of the year is next week, April 6, and will include Zigaboo Modeliste of that quintessential Crescent City group, the Funky Meters.McCabe moved to Vail for a season; 12 years later, he1s still here. He often returns to New Orleans, though, to indulge his passion for quality music. With Krewe de C.R.A.W. he1s able to help promote that same live music scene here in the mountains. He, Stanfill and Matasar had been mulling over the idea of a party group for a while. McCabe finally hit on the Krewe de C.R.A.W. concept by blending two New Orleans institutions, Krewe de Snafu and Fiesta Royal.In New Orleans, there are hundreds of Krewes. A French term, many of the Mardi Gras parades are put on by different Krewes.3Krewe de Snafu doesn1t do parades, they put on four concerts a year. Mainly private parties, they raise money for charities. The Fiesta Royal is a group of friends in New Orleans that includes families, spouses, brothers, sisters, everyone, and they all chip in 15 dollars a year and throw a big barbecue. All the money goes to charity.And so Krewe de C.R.A.W. was born.3We1d always throw these big parties at our homes, said McCabe. 3Finally, we just go tired of cleaning up afterwards, and decided to shift it to the Half Moon.The Half Moon Saloon was a natural fit for the group, as proprietor Justin Hurley has a penchant for all things New Orleans. According to him, the four parties the Moon has hosted have all been sold-out affairs. Hurley bought additional memberships simply so his friends would be able to attend the events. He enjoys supporting the group for a variety of reasons.3It1s here to raise money for local charities and to support good music in the Vail Valley. A lot of them are fellow restaurant people<bartenders, waiters, cooks, they1re all a fun crew.Past beneficiaries include the Humane Society and Avon Elementary School. Next week1s shindig will benefit the Huega Center.3Even if we don1t make money on the party, we still donate money, either from our own pockets or from membership dues, said McCabe.McCabe will cut off membership at 300, since that1s the maximum capacity of Half Moon Saloon, and he1d never want to throw a party where everyone couldn1t attend. (Incidentally, this next party will be at 8150, not the Half Moon, and will be open to the public.) They currently have 268 members. In order to become a member, you have to be invited by a current member.According to both McCabe and Stanfill, a big draw of the group is the fact that when people go to these parties, they know a large percentage of the other attendees.3It1s always good to party with your friends, said Stanfill.3When people go, they see 50 to 100 people they know, said McCabe. 3Plus, it1s a way for people like us<the working class of Vail<to give to charity.Of the 268 members, McCabe estimates that 100 are die-hard music fans. As for the others, they might see five shows a year, four of them being Krewe de C.R.A.W. events.3It really helps educate people who might not go out and see many shows. That1s almost more important to me than the charities. If the live music scene goes away…3Once you start getting familiar with places, you1re more likely to go back. Live music is so important, he added.3It1s a way of life, said Stanfill. (He and his girlfriend own more than 1,300 CDs, but he says there1s no comparison with hearing it live.)Though barely a year old, Krewe de C.R.A.W. shows every sign of enjoying a healthy life span. Despite the fact that the membership won1t be able to grow too much, McCabe hopes to keep increasing the level of music available in Vail.3My goal is to have Karl Denson play, he said.For information on becoming a member, contact Jimmy McCabe at 376-3290.Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at wrenw@vaildaily.com or phone at 949-0555 ext. 618.


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