Free Hot Soup. Extra Hot Rice. A Little Sheila on the side.

Who doesn’t love free hot soup? I love free hot soup. Especially if it’s the fantastic community outfit that calls themselves – quite straightforwardly – Free Hot Soup.

Their name is what they do – provide free hot soup (and other sustenance) to folks who most need it: folks experiencing homelessness, poverty, marginalization. Folks living on the street. Folks to whom a hot meal could mean the difference between making it through the cold Portland night or not.

Free Hot Soup is such a simple idea – a group of neighbors just made the decision to do something directly to address one of our fair city’s most shameful issues. They decided that if they couldn’t solve homelessness they’d at least do something to support the folks experiencing it. And as they’ve continued to head out, day after day, to feed those in need, the “group” has grown (they don’t like to call it a group; they have no central organization, no HQ, no official web presence. It’s more of a sort of social-action network). Word started getting around, and at this point they have a Facebook page and a really great shout-out from The Oregonian helping them get the word out. This is exactly the kind of endeavor While Rome Burns was founded to support.

And here’s how we’re going to do that. On Sunday, December 23, we’re having another legendary WRB bash at Mississippi Pizza Pub, featuring two of Portland’s finest blues/R&B performers: Ben Rice and Sheila Wilcoxson – check it out!

Sunday December 23,  5 – 7 PM
Mississippi Pizza Pub & Atlantis Lounge
3552 N. Mississippi Ave
Portland, Oregon 97227 (map)
$10 (100% Free Hot Soup)
All Ages!

Ben Rice

If anybody in the Northwest blues scene is on the verge of breaking big-time, it’s Ben Rice.  He’s been stunning audiences in venues both small and way huge, he’s been picking up awards right and left, and his schedule is increasingly filling with national and international tour dates. His original music blends Soul, Delta-Blues, Rockabilly, Jazz, and Funk into a Roots stew, with influences  from Al Green to Alice Cooper, Teddy Pendergrass to Marshall Tucker. So, the word on Ben Rice is this: Get him whie he’s hot. Which is pretty much right now. Or rather, December 23rd at our benefit for Free Hot Soup. Man, this is gonna be one warm December!

Sheila Wilcoxson

Detroit native Sheila Wilcoxson has been around the block. Nominated seven times as best female vocalist by the Cascade Blues Association and taking top honors in Willamette weeks People’s Choice awards (1983-84), Sheila hung up her mic a couple of decades or so ago to earn a steady living and raise her son. But now her son’s grown and Sheila’s recently retired. And, fortunately for music lovers here in Portland, she’s decided to start singing again. Well, maybe that’s not exactly right. Sheila never really stopped singing, she just stopped gigging. But now she’s doing the odd appearance here and there, and we are so glad. And we think you will be too if you make it out to hear her on the 23rd.


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