The Kansas City arts, entertainment, music and food worlds will gather tonight and contribute to the Friends of JJ’s Benefit at the Uptown Theater.
Proceeds will go to employees of JJ’s, the restaurant on the Country Club Plaza that was destroyed by an explosion and fire on Feb. 19.
More than 50 restaurants will serve food and beverages, and several Kansas City area bands and entertainers will perform, including the Late Night Callers, the Grisly Hand, Victor Penny, David George and A Crooked Mile, Megan Birdsall, Missy Koonce and Ron Megee, Loaded Goat, Shellac Attack and DJ Rico.
“It’s pretty insane how many restaurants have stepped up and offered to help,” said Jim Ligon, a bartender at JJ’s and an organizer of the Friends of JJ’s group. “I’d tell someone that we might have 400 people in VIP and they’d say, ‘I can do that.’ I’d have to tell them, ‘Thank you , but I only need you to do part of that.’ But that’s how it has gone. Everyone has been so generous.”
One person was killed in the explosion and fire; 15 others were injured, some critically or seriously. The benefit will also honor the memory of Megan Cramer, 46, a JJ’s server and the lone fatality.
“Megan really loved children and the arts,” Ligon said. “She was a writer and a painter. She loved poetry. She was always reading a book. So we thought the best way to honor her was to start a foundation in her name that supports the arts.”
The event will be hosted by former Kansas City Chiefs receiver Eddie Kennison and Kelly Jones of Channel 5 (KCTV).
Tickets are available through Ticketmaster, the Uptown Theater web site and at the theater’s box office at 3700 Broadway. General admission is $10; three VIP packages are available starting at $100. For more information, go to theFriends of JJ’s Facebook page.