Green Party Music Benefit at Santa Monica's V Lounge

Under the emerald lighting of Santa Monica's V Lounge last Thursday night, the Green Party of California held a voter registration drive by throwing together a music benefit to gain support and awareness. Green Party member and lifelong environmentalist Mike Malinin of the Goo Goo Dolls took a brief intermission from his duties as a rock-star drummer to organize the event. “Besides my environmental and animal rights support, the realization that in the long-run nothing is going to change with the two party system is something that has drawn me to the Green Party,” Malinin explained. According to the Santa Monica Patch, Malinin invited guests who were interested in seeing a change in the current two-party system.

Michael Feinstein, a spokesperson for the Green Party, said, “our system under-states smaller parties and over-states support to the two major political parties.”

The music benefit expected to raise $5,000 but fell short at $2,328, according to the party's website. Michael McCue, the San Fernando Valley Greens' Events Coordinator, said that the funds collected were going towards the party's budgets for the state of California.

Around 150 people gathered for Thursday’s event, mostly supporters of the Green Party. The V Lounge on Wilshire Blvd. was decorated with promotional materials and slogans such as “It’s time for marriage equality,” to express the Green Party’s vision and goals. The party's values include, among others, nonviolence, social justice, grassroots democracy, and sustainability.

In addition to Malinin, the night's performances included musical acts “Iron and Wine,” Goo Goo Dolls' Vocalist John Rzeznik, “Christ vs. Warhol,” “The Pleasure Field,” and Korel Tunador. Apart from great music, delicious food was provided for patrons.

Musician Korel Tunador said he voted for the “Greens” in the past, but is not a registered Green Party member. “I probably should join them for the numbers,” said Tunador, who defines himself as independent but strongly supports the Green Party.

“Iron and Wine” keyboardist Nick Luca said he enjoyed the night. He has been a part of the Green party for 6 months, and has done similar events in Arizona.

The party’s statistics show that the Green Party has more supporters in northern California. “Our outreach efforts have been a little bit uneven, but we've been getting stronger in the last 10 years,” McCue explained. He added that events such as these are crucial for promoting the party's values and reaching out to people.

According to former Congressional candidate and well-known progressive movement supporter Marcy Winograd, the Green Party’s goals include rejecting corporations and becoming more locally active.

Winograd switched from the Democratic Party to the Green Party earlier this year. In her speech at the benefit, she called for the importance of “taking small steps to clear corporations out of politics.”

According to Winograd, there are approximately 113,000 registered Green Party voters in the state of California.

Winograd concluded that the Green Party’s objective is to organize and reach out to potential voters—a goal that the Music Benefit seemed to accomplish.

“The Green party is about economy, education, and the environment, with education being the next bubble to burst,” said David Steinman, an author, publisher, environmentalist, consumer-rights advocate, and Congressional candidate for 2012.

Steinman suggested that everyone over the age of 18 should volunteer to serve the country. He said “throwing money at the problem won't solve the problem—we all need to be playing on the same team.” Steinman supports the AmeriCorps program and believes it is very successful, but under-used.

Although the Music Benefit fell short of its target collection, ideas were shared by Green Party members, potential voters, and even by those who came out just to enjoy some great music.