The Sun Ra House, located in Philadelphia’s Germantown section needs your help and Marshall Allen needs your tribute.
Whether it was speaking with its original “den master”, Sun Ra, the current man of the house, Marshall Allen, or one of the hundreds of Arkestra musician members who have lived within its walls, any interview revolving around the Saturn of Ra meant phoning or hanging out at Germantown’s Sun Ra House.
Three stories of ceiling to floor and wall to wall art. Impromptu concerts breaking out in the backyard space. The wafting aroma of Moon Stew. Since 1968 when Sun Ra moved into the Germantown home, these are but a few signatures of the living, breathing organism that is the Sun Ra House. “There was music everywhere,” Ra trumpeter Michael Ray told me last year. “Literally in that there were tapes and sheet music in the refrigerator, every drawer and any nook and cranny of that house.”
Well, the Sun Ra House isn’t doing so hot. A portion of the first floor collapsed into the basement. The heater doesn’t work. The siding is sliding off. And the plumbing was a mess. The good thing is that all of the house was getting some much needed repair work with needed monies courtesy of the Florida-based jazz philanthropy, the Robert D. Bielecki Foundation, steered by Philadelphia’s Ars Nova Workshop’s Mark Christman.
Christman, who has worked tirelessly to see that the Sun Ra House and other Philly jazz landmarks – the John Coltrane House, Hank Mobley’s graveside in Eden Cemetery in Upper Darby – is celebrating all things Ra, along with its leader Marshall Allen on May 20 with a virtual fundraiser for Ars Nova.
And a fundraiser for Ars Nova means more ways to pay needed tribute to living masters such as Marshall Allen. As well as their spiritual, aesthetic and personal well-being. Mark even helped Marshall get his Covid vaccines. The evening’s program, starting at 7 pm and hosted by Charlie Hall of the Grammy-winning band The War on Drugs, features a very special performance by Yo La Tengo. Fundraiser tickets are available for a wide range of support levels, with specified tickets including a limited-edition gift bag delivered to you, with drinks, snacks, and some beautiful surprises we will open together during the event.