Raising a roast to Gene Steede
Residents are invited to a comedy event honouring veteran Bermudian singer Gene Steede and raise money for future legends at the same time.
The Gene Steede Comedy Roast & Toast will be held on Sunday at the Fairmont Southampton.
Proceeds will go towards Mr Steede’s medical expenses incurred through recent heart surgery, and also the Multi-Image Scholarship Fund for young Bermudians who want to enter the entertainment field.
Mr Steede, who has performed around the Island since Bermuda’s tourism heyday, was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2010 New Year’s Honours list.
During a comedy roast, it is traditional to poke fun at someone by telling funny stories and jokes about them.
“A roast is something that I wanted to do since about a year ago,” said comedian Jah Simmons of Multi Entertainment. “I have seen them done on television for people like Pamela Anderson and David Hasselhoff. I thought it would be cool to do something on a similar scale down here. I thought Gene was an easy choice of someone who would be honoured here, because of his contributions to the performing arts. Also, during Bermuda’s heyday, he helped a lot of Bermudians get regular work in the hotels. It comes at a good time, as he has just received the MBE.”
Mr Simmons said Mr Steede was an inspiration to his father, Wendell Lindsay who was a musician, and also to Mr Simmons’ fellow comedy show partner Nadanja Bailey’s father, Wendell “Shine” Hayward.
“He has been an inspiration to plenty of musicians,” said Mr Simmons. “They honoured him at the Clayhouse Inn when he turned 50. They had about 50 entertainers who honoured Mr Steede because of his contributions to tourism. When he heard we were doing the roasting, he was excited about it. He is a really down to earth guy. He was familiar with the way roasts go.”
Mr Simmons said Mr Steede had struggled to find work lately a plight faced by many Bermudian musicians in the current economic climate. Ad work such as the Lindo’s Market jingle and the Barbara’s New Beginning jingle have helped.
“He has a unique style that captured a lot of tourists in the old days,” said Mr Simmons. “He is a pioneer. It is shameful that he has been out of work for a long time. That is sad for someone who put Bermuda on the map. A lot of money was made by musicians due to him and his ability to get people working in the hotels. I look at myself as an entertainer. I haven’t done half of the things he has done, and I think my future might end up down that road or worse. He still has the knowledge and ability but doesn’t have the venue or people who want to back him.”
Roasters at the event will include Bootsie, Bruce Barritt, June Caisey, Ronnie Lopes, Shine Hayward, Dale Butler, Gita Blakeney-Saltus, Gina Spence-Farmer and Ron Lightbourne. There will be performances by Bermuda Triangle Band, Kion Simmons, Nadanja Bailey, Gita Blakeney, Sia Spence and Cindy Smith.
The event will take place on Sunday at the Fairmont Southampton amphitheatre. Doors open at 6.15pm. There will be a dinner show at 7pm; the comedy roast follows at 8.30pm. Regular tickets are $65 and $150 for VIP tickets. VIP tickets include a three-course meal, table seating and raffles for door prizes. Tickets are sold at Qui-Ja Fabrics, Kit-N-Caboodle and Hunt’s Food and Supplies.
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