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'The Guest List' at Company Brewing Benefits Milwaukee's Homeless Population

Jan. 6, 2017
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Even if you’ve never been, you undoubtedly know the type. A high-priced dinner along with entertainment where all of the proceeds go towards a well-meaning charity. While there is nothing wrong with events of this sort, Ryan Holman, producer of the local concert series Hear Here Presents, thought that his time would be better served by creating a more direct experience for Milwaukee’s homeless population. That lead him to organizing “The Guest List” a dinner and show happening Monday, Jan. 9 at Company Brewing. The event invites patrons of The Guest House to a night of food and entertainment that can lift their spirits during these trying times.

We spoke with Holman ahead of the show to talk about what inspired this event, who will perform and more.

What specifically got you interested in helping the homeless?

I've always been interested in doing what I can to help the community’s less fortunate people. In the past, I would do my best to grab someone a meal if they were outside a place that served food, donate clothes, or donate money when I could. But the instance that sparked this specific idea happened about a year ago when I was giving money to a homeless person at a freeway onramp. Someone in the car next to me started honking and yelling at me to put my window down. When I did, they started yelling about how giving them money doesn't help their problems and that soon it would be illegal and other delightful things along those lines. I left that situation feeling a little taken aback, but determined to find something more that I could do to help. Shortly after that the idea for this event was born.

I met with George at Company Brewing to see if they'd be down to host the event he suggested working with The Guest House.

What inspired you to invite them to the dinner, rather than make the traditional donation?

After that lovely experience at the onramp, I started thinking maybe there was some way I could use my connections locally to make a difference on a larger scale, something more than just giving away pants I got too fat for or giving a couple of bucks at a stop light.

Some of my favorite things on earth include going out to a nice meal and seeing a good show, and I figured those who are struggling still deserve to have those same sort of memorable experiences. Then it hit me; I could put together a benefit, but this time actually invite the people who the benefit is seeking to benefit.

Don't get me wrong. I like the idea of a traditional benefit, but I also like doing things my own way. I figured the people that typically go to benefits might always get to experience cool events. On top of that I prefer to know exactly where my donation is going and who it is helping, so I figured running my own was a good way to see that through.

Who will be performing?

We will be having stand up performances from Christopher Schmidt, Tyler Menz, T Dot Kingsby, & Chastity Washington. As well as musical performances from Amanda Huff, Abby Jeanne, Lex Allen, & Jay Anderson's jazz trio Stomata.

I would also love to just give a big thank you to everyone who has helped with this event in any way, the performers for donating their time and the servers for volunteering to work for free. The venue has been amazing. They've created a delicious looking menu with multiple options complete with a couple of non-alcoholic drinks, and Amy from The Guest House has been extremely helpful as well.

I’d love to give another big shout out to anyone who has donated to the GoFundMe page we created to cover the cost's associated with the event. We reached our goal in just over a week and people have still continued to donate, the support for this event has been amazing, and I can't wait to start planning the next one.

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