Hogs for the Cause

Crystal Bay Casino hosts its inaugural Silence of da Hams Gala, Hogs For The Cause Benefit to support the families of pediatric brain cancer patients.

“This all came about three years ago when I was at (New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival). I met chef Michael Brewer who told me about an event they were doing called Hogs for the Cause, which was started when a young boy in New Orleans was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer and his family needed support,” says Bill Wood, general manager of the Crystal Bay Casino.

Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen

The Louisiana event has grown in the last seven years and 90 teams of four chefs each prepare food and compete at the food and music festival held in City Park in New Orleans.

Wood’s wife is an eight-year survivor of breast cancer. “Fifty percent of the proceeds will go to families in Northern Nevada,” explains Wood, about the local benefit.

“Jon Cleary was the first show Brent Harding and I ever did in late 2004. He’s a great keyboardist and New Orleans entertainer.” -Bill Wood

The festivities begin on July 8 at 7 p.m. with the Silence of da Hams Gala at the Crystal Bay Casino’s Steak & Lobster House. New Orleans guest chefs Mike Brewer, Chris Montero, Justin Kennedy and Jared Ralls will prepare a multicourse feast with wine and raffle prizes.

A free concert in the Crown Room follows at 10 p.m. featuring Grammy Award-winner Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen. The funk and R&B musician Cleary was born in the rural British village of Cranbrook in Kent. He made his way to New Orleans and has been playing music ever since. Cleary joined Bonnie Raitt and served as her pianist for a decade before departing to concentrate on his own music in 2009.

The Monophonics

“Jon Cleary was the first show Brent Harding and I ever did in late 2004. He’s a great keyboardist and New Orleans entertainer,” says Wood, who still has an original ticket from that night.

The music goes on into the night with an after party featuring Gene Evaro Jr. and Tha Family serving up late-night, funky blues and soulful folk.

On July 9 at 1 p.m., the festivities move out to the rear parking lot of the casino. The guest chefs will prepare their local favorite, Creole Cochon de Lait, one of the heart of Acadiana’s most famous and delectable dishes. It is a marinated, pit-roasted, suckling pig, thinly sliced and served on a po’ boy. In addition to the good eats, there will be drinks, a silent auction and music by the fabulous Earles of Newtown.

The Monophonics roll in from the Bay Area to perform at 9 p.m. and rock the house with an evening of funk, and their own brand of music known as psychedelic soul. What fun to groove night away with this crew. Local band Coburn Station opens for the Monophonics.

The genre-bending funk band Ideateam plays the after party in the Red Room with their groove-fusion instrumental sounds. The nine-piece ensemble from Sacramento has shared the stage with several local favorites, including Orgone and the Polyrhythmics.

“We just recorded our second album with production members Ian and Kelly of Monophonics,” says Tim Snoke, guitarist for Ideateam. “We’re groove fusion with a funky element. We like to blend different flavors of styles: R&B, soul and funk are the basis of what we do.”

The band plays a mix of original tunes and covers. Al Green; Earth, Wind and Fire; and a touch of Lettuce are some of the covers this band offers. “The name Ideateam is a concept that each person in the band has their own ideas they bring and together it is a mix that’s bigger than each individual,” says Snoke.

“We hope to grow this event and make it a big North Shore annual event with multiple stages and venues,” says Wood.

July 8
Silence of da Hams Gala
7 p.m. | $125 per person

Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen
10 p.m. | Free
After party w/Gene Evaro & Tha Family

July 9
Afternoon Festival
1 p.m. | All ages

Monophonics w/Coburn Station
9 p.m. | $15 advance | $20 at the door
After party w/Ideateam


For more information or for tickets, visit crystalbaycasino.com.