Peter Frampton, RZA and Judd Apatow team up for 826LA benefit show

By Hilary Gridley

What do Judd Apatow, Peter Frampton, Pee-Wee Herman and Jon Brion have in common? As it turns out, a strong commitment to widespread literacy and children’s creative development. On June 14, musician/producer Jon Brion and famed producer/director/screenwriter Judd Apatow will host Judd and Jon’s Comedy and Music Hour(s), a night of music and comedy at the Eli and Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica to support 826LA, a nonprofit dedicated to helping kids and teenagers explore their creative talents through writing.

While Apatow’s prominence may suggest the night will steer more toward comedy, the musicians on the bill suggest otherwise. Co-host Jon Brion, who earned a Best Score Soundtrack Album Grammy nomination for the films “Magnolia” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (as well as contributing music to “Boogie Nights”) will welcome Peter Frampton, the singer-songwriter who penned the immortal “Baby, I Love Your Way” in addition to working with acts as diverse as the Bee Gees and Pearl Jam.

RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan, who is widely considered one of the most influential hip-hop artists in musical history and has penned several film scores himself, will also be on hand. Zooey Deschanel, who teamed up with M. Ward to form the band

She & Him, will also join the host committee. This motley crew of musicians will come together to support the next generation of creative writers through a literacy program unlike any other.

826LA provides after-school tutoring, workshop opportunities, English-as-a-second-language support and more for kids ages 6-18 in the Los Angeles area. And they don’t just stop at basic writing skills — the group wants students to understand and believe in the power of their words and their ability to impact the world around them through writing. 826LA runs the Young Authors’ Book Project, which challenged students to become a published author by the end of the school year. Volunteers oversee a student-run editorial board through revision, selection, design and layout for what will become a yearly high school anthology.

If you purchase a ticket to The Judd and Jon Comedy and Music Hour(s), you will receive the most recent anthology: “From The Couch to the Kitchen,” filled with food-centric stories and poems as well as recipes. Can’t make the show? Browse through the 826LA bookstore here.

Should a student from 826LA become a famous writer someday, she will be in good company: the organization is one of eight chapters making up 826 National, co-founded by Ninive Calegari and author Dave Eggers. Eggers’ memoir, “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius,” was a finalist for the Pulitzer prize. He and his wife will join Apatow and Brion on the host committee.

If 826LA’s two locations– at the Time Travel Mart in Echo Park, which sells such multichronistic wares as viking odorant and robot emotions, and its other spot at the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) in Venice — are any indication of the creativity with which Apatow, Brion, and special guests Frampton, Herman and Ray Romano will infuse their show, it should be a night to remember. And, hey, maybe even write a book — or a song — about.

Learn more about how you can support 826LA here, or become a volunteer at an 826 National chapter near you.

Also, check out 826 National Director of Research Ryan Lewis’ Top 5 “good” bands of the moment here.

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