[If my politics are grossing any of you out right now, please keep reading, because I know the situation is complicated, I'm being tongue in cheek, and what I'm about to draw your attention to is something I think everybody can agree is a pretty good idea.]
Well guess what! Our friend, composer and activist R. Timothy Brady, has been at it for a while, and now is a perfect opportunity for you to help him.
You might know Brady as the composer of Edalat Square, a prize-winnin' opera about the execution of two gay boys in Iran; since then, he's founded the Soulbird organization to promote arts and tolerance in the places that need them the most. This summer, they put on Iraq's first ever new-music festival, featuring the Iraqi premiere of Terry Riley's In C(!!!), and now they're taking it to the next level by founding a school to serve as a haven for Iraqi artists in the relatively stable region of Kurdistan. From the website:
Concert halls, art galleries, and movie theaters have been completely destroyed. Walking to school while carrying an instrument and practicing piano at home can get you killed. This is reality for the majority of artists living in Iraq today. Hundreds have been targeted by terrorists and insurgents for torture and murder since the US-led invasion began in 2003. Some reports estimate as many as 80% of singers have fled the country....If you thought you got picked on as an artistic type at your middle-American high school, it is time for a big fat Reality Check, or better yet a big fat Bank Check (TAX-DEDUCTIBLE). And if you don't have money, that's okay too—the Soulbird Arts Academy of Kurdistan is looking for CDs, scores, DVDs, books, electronics, or anything you can donate to help the cause.
I'm told Bang on a Can and their Cantaloupe label have already made a generous donation. Go indie classical!! How awesome would it be if the bigger labels stepped up to the plate as well?
More info here. Please give all you can, folks! This might be the most important arts-related charity I've ever heard of.