Shawn Kemp helps hoop dreams come true
Fantasy basketball Shawn Kemp-style; a musical live auction at The 5th Avenue Theatre; on the road with Heart’s Wilson sisters; and “digital detox.”
Seattle Times staff columnist
If Seattle basketball fans can’t have an NBA team just yet, well, at least they had the Shawn KempReign Man Fantasy Basketball Camp last weekend at Seattle University’s Connolly Center.
Guys as old as 56 and as young as 21 suited up for two days of hoops and time on the floor with Kemp — and this early warning from championship coach Lenny Wilkens: “No slam dunks, OK? I don’t want you guys pulling anything.”
Wilkens, 75, picked San Antonio over Miami in the NBA Finals, saying, “I don’t think Miami’s as smart a team as San Antonio.” (Hey, I’m just the messenger.)
And he said Chris Hansen“won’t give up” on building an arena and bringing an NBA team to Seattle: “In a couple of years, you’re gonna see a team here.”
Those who paid $399 each to participate included Bill and Will Raunig. The two brothers from different mothers (46 and 31, respectively, and both named William, after their dad) came to fulfill some dreams.
“I just want to get dunked on by Shawn,” Will Raunig told me. “Him, or Shawn Jr. I’ll take any Kemp. If Marvena wants to dunk on me, I’m cool with it.”
And Bill? “I’d like a nice lob, a successful alley-oop and I’d like to hit some deep treys,” he said. “And not walk away too gimpy.”
Pretty funny. Thank God for the Raunig brothers.
“You’re the first girl to say that,” Will said.
Taking the 5th
I’m watching the musical live auction at The 5th Avenue Theatre’s 10th Anniversary Gala next to Sean Griffin , whose wife, Bernadine Griffin, is the managing director of the place.
An accomplished actor with a soft Irish brogue, Sean Griffin was talking under his breath while auctioneer Ross Stolnackdid his schtick. I leaned in to hear.
“Bid!” Griffin was saying. “Bid! Bid!”
And bid they did. The roughly $600,000 raised Saturday night includes $250,000 for the Rising Star Project, which allows students to do everything from acting in to marketing a production. The 5th is the only professional theater in the country that does this.
Artistic Director David Armstrongwas all smiles all night, but without the 5th’s Producing Director Bill Berry, who is in New York City directing “First Date” for its Broadway debut.
Producing partner Kenny Alhadeff was quick to tell me that the 5th has sent nine shows to Broadway, including “Memphis,” which won the Tony for Best Musical in 2010. (A group from the 5th would head to the Big Apple at 6 the next morning to attend the Tony Awards).
Board member Clodagh Ash recalled seeing “A Member of the Wedding” with Ethel Waters, saying, “and I thought, ‘That’s it, folks.’ I’ve loved theater ever since.”
One unique auction item was to have the 5th’s artistic and music associate, Albert Evans, write personalized lyrics to a show tune of your choice. Two were sold: One for $10,000 and another for $9,500. (“Is that right?” Evans asked me later. “I wasn’t listening.”)
Another: Dinner for 10 at the home of retired U.S. Bank head Ken Kirkpatrick and his wife, SaSa.
“They have two llamas and a pygmy goat in their backyard,” Sean Griffin cracked. “Hopefully, they’re not serving them.”
The meal was bought by Larry Benaroya, whom I caught talking with Ken Kirkpatrick after the auction. Why pay for dinner with his friends? I asked him.
“Never been!” he said, smirking at Kirkpatrick. “Haven’t been invited.”
You’re never too old to rock ’n’ roll. Look at Louis Magor.
The longtime accompanist for the Rev. Patrinell Wright and her Total Experience Gospel Choir called to say that the two of them were hitting the road with Ann and Nancy Wilson when Heart tours this summer.
Heart’s incredible version of “Stairway to Heaven” at the Kennedy Center Honors last December — with a gospel choir backing them, and Jason Bonham on drums — inspired the Wilson sisters to keep the song on their set list.
They’ll be recruiting a gospel choir from each of the cities on their West Coast tour, but will keep Wright and Magor along for continuity.
So now Magor, who once played with Mary Martin, will find himself back on the bus, living the touring musician’s life. They leave June 15 and will come back to Seattle in time to perform at Bumbershoot.
Can he handle it?
“I would imagine the Wilsons have calmed down a little bit from the old days,” Magor surmised. “Doncha think?”
I sure hope so, for your sake.
Marty and Michael show
Marty Riemer and Michael Stusser just returned from New York, where they taped a segment for Katie Couric’s daytime talk show.
“I was the only male in the audience,” Riemer told me. “When she said, ‘Hi, Marty,’ I was easy to pick out.”
The show was titled something like, “Is Tech Ruining Your Life?” so it was natural to include Riemer and Stusser. Their “digital detox documentary,” called “Sleeping with Siri,” chronicles what happened when Stusser binged on all manner of technology for a week, and then shut everything down. He couldn’t even order concert tickets without the Internet.
The pair have also orchestrated “digital blackouts” at at least one local high school, challenging kids to go without cellphones for a few days (www.digitalblackout.org).
As for when the rest of us might see “Sleeping with Siri”, well, Riemer couldn’t say.
“That’s the thing,” he said. “We have this marketing strategy that says ‘all marketing, no viewings,’ and it’s working very well.”
Is there an app for that?’
Nicole Brodeur’s column appears Tuesday and Sunday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story, published Monday, June 10, incorrectly stated the names of Ken and SaSa Kirkpatrick.
About Nicole Brodeur's Names in Bold
On Tuesdays, I tell you about my travels through some of the week's social and philanthropic events — not just the ones for the swells, but those for work-a-day folks who care about making this region move and improve. 206-464-2334