Party for a Cause 

Brister Street Productions promotes local music and helps the needy.

House parties aren't exactly known for uniting the community, but this weekend, a University of Memphis area house party will aim to do just that.

On Friday, February 24th, Brister Street Productions is collaborating with Eat Memphis for a house party to collect food for the homeless and needy. The party runs from 4 to 8 p.m. at 3573 Mynders, located at the corner of Mynders and Brister in the University of Memphis area.

"Some people are in rough times, and this will help them out. It's all about helping your fellow man," said Jon Harrelson, chief operations officer for Brister Street Productions.

Brister Street Productions, which began as a video production company last spring, has since added concert bookings, festival production, and even philanthropy to its roster of services.

There's no cover charge for the house party, but guests are encouraged to donate nonperishable food items and canned goods. Since Brister Street Productions specializes in concert bookings, the group scheduled local bands Agori Tribe and Paving Funk to provide the entertainment.

"It's a way to have a good time while doing something for the community," said Jack Simon, the company's founder. "It's important to realize that you can have a good time while helping people."

The first house party food drive took place in January, collecting more than 80 pounds of food. The goal for the upcoming fund-raiser is 100 pounds of food.

Outside of its philanthropic efforts, the company promotes and develops projects within the city's arts sector. Brister Street collaborates with musicians, videographers, photographers, and local businesses.

"We try to work with talented artists and individuals and highlight their abilities, so they can gain success," said Simon, a 22-year-old University of Memphis senior. "There's a huge base of artists who have talent, but they don't have a way to get paid for that. We're working now to [shed more] light on Memphis. That will bring more money back to our community."

Brister Street booked Agori Tribe to perform at the "Awkward Pop-up Shop" fashion show and art exhibit on February 25th at 639 Marshall. The company will also host the second annual Brister Fest, a gathering of more than 20 local artists and bands, on April 28th and 29th at the Levitt Shell in Overton Park.

"We should be thankful to have such a prosperous music scene here, and we should support the serious artists who are working to turn their creativity into a career," Simon said.

A portion of the proceeds from Brister Fest will benefit food justice group Grow Memphis' development of gardens throughout city neighborhoods.

"We are already supporting the local music scene, so we can use the scene now to support the environmental initiative that we want to achieve, which is localized food production," Simon said. "This, in turn, creates a more sustainable city and it gives people access to food and a healthier lifestyle."

For more information on Brister Street Productions' upcoming events, go to bristerstreet.com.

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