Blue LLama and pianist Matthew Ball team up for Pride Month benefit concert for the Jim Toy Center


Matthew Ball

Matthew Ball promo photo.

The coronavirus has forced clubs and restaurants to figure out ways to survive under duress. Some places struggled and have gone out of business; other places have figured out how to make their businesses work in a reduced capacity.

But almost from the start of the pandemic, Ann Arbor's Blue LLama Jazz Club has navigated the situation with confidence and creativity.

Blue LLama started coping with the new normal by streaming archived concerts from the club -- all performances there are recorded -- and moved into curbside delivery, new live performances streamed from the empty club, and offering free meals to laid-off workers in the community. As Michigan entered Phase 4 in the reopening plan, Blue LLama resumed serving food and having concerts in the club, but it has continued to live stream shows and offering contactless food pickup for those who aren't yet comfortable with hanging out inside with others. (*This writer raises his hand and touches the sun to make it clear he is not ready to be anywhere in public right now.*)

The latest Blue LLama community outreach project during the pandemic is a benefit concert for the Jim Toy Community Center as part of Pride Month.

On Sunday, July 5 at 6 pm, pianist and vocalist Matthew "The Boogie Woogie Kid" Ball will perform at the club on behalf of the Jim Toy Center, and listeners have the option of going to the club or watching the livestream on YouTube, Facebook, of Blue LLama's website. There is no mandatory cover charge at Blue LLama concerts featuring local talent, but any optional cover donations will go directly to the Jim Toy Center, which provides support for LGBTQ people and the ally community in Washtenaw County. You can also donate directly to the Jim Toy Center here.

Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.

For more information, upcoming concerts, food orders, and reservations visit Blue LLama Jazz Club's website.