Who: Rock stars, both on and off the stage
What: Hope Rocks
Where: Epic Event Center
When: Saturday, September 25, 2010
Why: A benefit for Faith’s Lodge, a retreat center for families facing a child's serious illness or the loss of a child
Rocker chic was the dress code and hope was the attitude at Hope Rocks, an event that creator Mark Lacek calls “The Twin Cities version of the Grammy’s.” The evening included a private concert by Everclear, open bar, snacks galore, and a live auction Saturday night at Epic. Hope Rocks raises funds and the profile of Faith’s Lodge, Mark and Susan Lacek’s retreat center for parents who have lost a child—like they did—or have one with a serious illness.
As soon as my VIP access badge was secured around my neck, I spotted our social butterfly hosts right away—you can’t miss Mark, a rock star marketing exec with signature blond-spiked hair, and Susan, sporting a leopard print dress. The two were busy dishing handshakes, hugs, smiles, and inspiration to the 900 friends any of us would be lucky to have.
The idea of losing a child couldn’t be sadder, but the Laceks set the tone of the evening as hopeful and, yes, even fun.
During cocktail hour I ran into Cities 97’s BT and Brian Oake on duty to emcee, singer-songwriter Keri Noble, and Rocket Club’s Don Smithmier and Chris Hawkey. (Are you addicted to the testosterone-fueled The Power Trip show on KFAN 1130 AM like me? No? Hawkey is also one of the co-hosting dudes.)
I was smitten the most, however, when I shook paws with Faith, the 11-week-old golden doodle doggy who melted me with her big brown eyes. Big surprise she was snapped up for $4,000 at auction.
The bars closed around 8:30 p.m. for the part of night requiring focus—raising awareness and funds for Faith’s Lodge. Mark and Rocket Club kicked it off with the co-written song “One More Day,” a 2009-number 49-for-seven-weeks Billboard Country chart tearjerker about losing someone in your life.
“We lost Faith 10 years ago. I wrote a poem one day. It’s about all the things I’ll never get to do with her. I put it away.” Mark said.
“About two years ago, I found it amongst a bunch of paperwork. I reread it, and I called my friend Don [Smithmier] and the guys from Rocket Club, and I said, ‘Can you guys help me turn this poem into a song?’”
“One More Day” led to tears during a video of parents expressing grief over their loss, but it also showed their healing. Faith’s Lodge has served more than 500 families since 2007, according to Susan Lacek.
As the bidding began, donors names and amounts were splashed across screens all over the club. And bidding sure was easy: Hope Rocks used BidPal, a smartphone-like gadget that lets you donate wirelessly. Yeah, Mark’s the co-founder and chairman of BidPal, go figure.
“If the bars aren’t opened, please open them right now,” Mark officially ordered the next phase of Hope Rocks—rock ‘n’roll, natch.
I put in my hot pink earplugs and mooched my way into ExactTarget’s ultra-VIP skybox, helmed by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine editorial director Jayne Haugen Olson and hubby Curt Olson, to get an intimate view of Everclear, who flew into Minneapolis just for Hope Rocks. Smarshmellow was already there, clocked out of his video hosting duties, hanging and tweeting (and tweeting and tweeting) with LOL/OMG's Marina Maric and her boyfriend Johnny Fillman.
Maybe you forgot about “Santa Monica” a long time ago, but the 1996 hit had new life just eyeballing the crowd mouthing the lyrics.
“We can live beside the ocean
Leave the fire behind
Swim out past the breakers
Watch the world die”
Hope Rocks raised more than $300,000 on Saturday, Faith's Lodge executive director Anna Stier said. Everyone walked out Epic’s doors with a Hope Rocks Volume 3 CD, full of standard Cities 97 fare as well as some surprises, such as punkish band Kill to Kill and dope rockers The Spectaculars.
Mark’s parting words summed up the night: “You’ve changed the world for more families; God bless you all.”