Painting The Town Pink

-by Jessica Kemper (appeared in Tampa Live Music Examiner)
-February 2010

Upset after discovering that her close friend had been diagnosed with breast cancer, Bylli Peiper needed a creative outlet for her emotions.

So, she decided to organize a benefit concert. Peiper is the founder of Pink it Up, a breast cancer benefit that will take place in Ybor this Saturday.

The diagnosis of attorney Kim Campbell, Peiper’s friend and coworker at Law Offices of Thomas J. Donnelly, inspired Peiper to organize the event. Campbell currently battles the disease with the same strong-will, passion and determination with which she takes on her cases, according to Peiper.

Campbell has not allowed breast cancer to control her life. The Clearwater-based wife and mother, whom Peiper describes as hard-working and “an all-around good person,” is a recent president-elect for the Clearwater Bar Association.

In a moment that will certainly be a highlight of Pink it Up, Campbell will walk on stage to share her story, according to Peiper.

However, as Peiper stated, the show is not only about Campbell, but about anybody who has been touched by breast cancer. Profits from the show will be donated to breast cancer screening, treatment and education. A moment of silence will be held in honor of all survivors and victims of the disease. Flyers and other materials promoting breast cancer awareness will be readily available.

Peiper also wants people to remember that Pink it Up not only represents a good cause, but it’s a fun occasion for all involved. Many of those involved in the show are personal friends recruited by Peiper. She asked friend Dan Smyth, whom she described as the “ska guru guy” to do the booking for the show, and enlisted Tampa-based musician, freelance writer and entertainer Jeremy Gloff to be the host.

Peiper’s excitement and passion over the show spread quickly among everyone involved.

“Her enthusiasm is refreshing and infectious,” said Gloff.

Besides the fact that Smyth is a trusted friend and professional, Peiper said she chose him to book the show based on his expertise in the world of Tampa-based ska. Peiper said she wanted the show to feature ska performers because ska is “important in Tampa, and people need to know that it’s important.” She believes this is a good way for ska performers to set an example as talented musicians who are willing to represent a good cause.

Among the bands scheduled to perform are: Johnny Cakes And The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypso, The Long Johns, Shady People, SuckerFish and Parcel Thirty Three. Gloff also said he might sing one or two songs in addition to his hosting duties.

Though Smyth said some of the bands were recruited through Facebook, he decided that getting Johnny Cakes And The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypso to perform was a must.

Michael Middlebrooks, lead singer of the band, confirms that they were basically signed on from the beginning. “We are always excited to play events where we can have fun and help out a great cause,” he said.

According to Smyth, Middlebrooks also pointed Smyth in the direction of some of the show’s scheduled talent, after suggesting he approach Shady People and Parcel Thirty Three about the show.

John Dykstra, bassist for The Long Johns, said of the band’s reason for siging onto the show, “when we heard it was a benefit show for breast cancer awareness, we were fully on board! Also, I thought the name for the show was kinda catchy.”

Joining the bands as an attraction for the event is Wade Slater, who will be selling his artwork, also for the benefit of breast cancer screening, treatment and education. Slater, a Tampa-based artist who specializes in monster-themed artwork, chose to participate because, “It’s for a good cause and I think people ought to step up when needed.”

Peiper credits her success in organizing the show to her many years of experience as an advocate for issues in the Tampa Bay area, including HIV/AIDS and gay and lesbian rights. Working with charity organizations since she was 17-years-old has given her experience in event planning.

If all goes well with her latest endeavor, Peiper hopes to make Pink it Up an annual event. She also hopes the ambitious project will inspire others to partake in their own “adventures” to represent a cause they believe in.

Pink it Up will take place at Market on 7th, at 1816 E. 7th Ave., Tampa, Fl 33605 on Saturday, February 20, 2010. The festivities begin at 7 p.m., and admission is $7.