Among those featured in tonight's Bill of Rights Comedy Concert will be (L to R) Chris Bliss, Dick Gregory, Lewis Black, Cristela Alonzo, Ahmed Ahmed, Tom Smothers, and John Fugelsang.

Among those featured in tonight’s Bill of Rights Comedy Concert will be (L to R) Chris Bliss, Dick Gregory, Lewis Black, Cristela Alonzo, Ahmed Ahmed, Tom Smothers, and John Fugelsang.

A quick item today urging you to enjoy some free expression to its most hilarious extent. “Let Freedom Laugh!” Bill of Rights Comedy Concert debuts tonight. It is headlined by Lewis Black, who will be accompanied by Dick Gregory and Tom Smothers; rising stars Cristela Alonzo, Ahmed Ahmed, and John Fugelsang; and special appearances by Sarah Silverman, Wanda Sykes, and Penn Jillette. The event will be telecast on AXS TV (more detail below), and it is the brainchild of Chris Bliss and MyBillofRights.org. Yes, the same people who brought that stunning Bill of Rights Monument to downtown Phoenix. Not only did Arizona get the first monument (slated to be installed in every one of the 50 state capitals). We also witnessed the organization’s first comedy event, held at Phoenix Symphony Hall back in May 2012. The newest and most recent concert was shot at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. Interested in how and when to watch it on your own TV or device tonight? Go here for more information for your location. Celebrating the Bill of Rights may never have been as hilarious as this.

Sixth Amendment monolith unveiled by then-Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch, December 15, 2012.

Sixth Amendment monolith unveiled by then-Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch, December 15, 2012.

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Arizona Bill of Rights posterIf you heard a loud rumbling throughout November, it may have been the sound of liberty.

Over at the State Capitol in Phoenix, the ground was prepared and limestone monoliths began to arrive on the site of what will be the nation’s first capitol-city monument to the Bill of Rights.

I’ve written about the topic before (here and here, for example), and November has been an incredibly busy month for the project and its Executive Director, Chris Bliss. Let me tell you a little about what’s going on, and point out that the effort is thiiiiis close to its financial goal. I’m sure Chris would agree that the next rumbling sound he’d like to hear is you reaching for your wallet.

For all the Bill of Rights have done for us, it’s the least we can do. When those monoliths are finally placed on Wesley Bolin Plaza, I’m confident we’ll all come together to agree, “Those courageous founding fathers had some stones.”

Anyhoo, one thing you should be sure to see is E.J. Montini’s Arizona Republic column on the monument or, as he calls it, “Arizona’s Monument to Compromise.” Wisely, the columnist quotes Bliss, whom I call “the most quotable limestone monument organizer in America.” As Chris says:

“Those 10 amendments to the Constitution are like our marriage vows. If we could put a monument to them in each state capitol we could have a powerful daily reminder of what should be guiding us forward.”

And here is where the project is as we enter the home stretch, as reported by Bliss himself:

Nov. 5: As of last week, we are within $25,000 of fully funding America’s 1st monument of the Bill of Rights, at the Arizona Capitol. This last $25,000 gift was given as a matching challenge grant for that amount, good from now through December 15th. Help us make history for future generations, and double the impact of your gift.

Arizona Bill of Rights monoliths November 2012

As of November 12: All ten monoliths have been completed, and we now expect to make our target dedication date of December 15—Bill of Rights Day.

Nov. 14: Executive Director Chris Bliss poses for the obligatory ground breaking photo on the site of the soon-to-be first monument of the Bill of Rights, across the street from the Arizona Capitol complex.

Bill of Rights Chris Bliss Nov 2012

A man, a plan, a shovel: Chris Bliss breaks ground, Nov. 14, 2012.

Nov. 19: Incredible work from lead designer Joseph Kincannon and project manager Holly Kincannon. Joseph and Holly poured their talent and passion into every detail; from the shapes, sizes, site layout and landscaping right down to the font choice and layout of the words on each amendment monolith. The monoliths ship from Kincannon Studios tomorrow morning! (November 20)

Nov. 21: The latest photo from the site (below), courtesy of our project manager Jeff Esgar of Sundt Construction, who’s put together a terrific team. The monoliths will be brought in and placed by crane on December 4th. The front trench is where the electrical for the individual spotlights for the monoliths will be located.

Arizona Bill of Rights site preparation, November 2012

Thanks, Chris. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I am looking forward to December 15, Dedication Day. I’ll share more details when I get them.

In the meantime, follow the project on Facebook, and read all the details (and donate) on the website.

Finally, enjoy a brief video, which has the comic Lewis Black explaining “why he supports MyBillofRights.org.”

Happy Change of Venue Friday.

I have mentioned this comedy gig to you a few times. An impressive lineup of comics is slated to perform this Sunday at Phoenix Symphony Hall, all to benefit a Bill of Rights Monument.

Step up, I told you. Play your part, I said. Buy a ticket, I urged.

So this past week, I finally got around to purchasing a few tickets for myself (no, you cynics, no free tickets come our way for stories we covered in Arizona Attorney Magazine; we’re not that kind of publication!). And to my surprise, I was to be located in the second-to-last row.

(I then engaged the Ticketmaster-bot in a game of cat and mouse, over and over, until I managed to move forward—about three rows. Definitely worth my time!)

So it would appear that tickets are selling and people have gotten the message. And no, not just from me. There’s this little publication called the Arizona Republic that’s spilled some ink on behalf of the concert. You can read a recent piece here.

Here’s one last chance to buy a ticket. You may be willing to spend a few more bucks than I was, so your seating results may vary. But click, buy, and laugh. See you on Sunday.

Laugh along with Tom and all the Founding Fathers (on Mother’s Day!)

Example of stonework to be used in Arizona monument to the Bill of Rights.

A May 13 comedy concert at Symphony Hall in Phoenix promises an impressive roster of nationally known comics. Tickets, expected by event organizers to sell out quickly, go on sale at 10:00 a.m. today on ticketmaster.com.

The concert aims to raise funds for the installation of a Bill of Rights Monument in Wesley Bolin Plaza at the State Capitol in Phoenix. The planned dedication this coming December would signal the first such installation in the United States. No state or other public monies are being spent on the monument; organizers say they must raise $400,000 to complete the project. (State Bar of Arizona President Joe Kanefield is on the Executive Fundraising Committee.)

Chris Bliss

Chris Bliss, executive director of MyBillofRights.org, is spearheading the monument project. He worked with event expert Danny Zelisko to develop the comedy evening. Comics slated to appear will be Lewis Black, Bill Engvall, Bobcat Goldthwait, Dick Gregory, Kathleen Madigan, Tommy Smothers and Steven Wright. Musical guests from the band Little Feat will be Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett.

Bliss says that individual ticket prices are reasonable and well worth the comedy talent that will be on display. But he urges anyone interested in a “Hall of Fame comedy experience” to consider purchasing special VIP seating. Called the Founders Circle and President’s Circle, the seats are described more fully here. According to Bliss:

“Founders Circle seats include an invitation to the artists’ reception before the concert, and a signed lithograph (by all the artists) of the event poster. The President’s Circle is available to individuals, but is also for businesses and firms of any size that want participate in this truly historic project. Individuals at the firm/business make their tax-deductible contributions to MyBillofRights.org, and both the individual and the firm/business get recognition in the concert program and on our website, along with a block of premium seats determined by the total amount. Or businesses can contribute directly through the fiscal sponsorship of the Arizona Community Foundation.”

The Monument is touted by Bliss as a historic legacy for the state, “one that our grandchildren’s grandchildren will get to visit and be inspired by.”

For more information, see my previous coverage here, here and here. And view a story by a local Fox affiliate here.

A longer story on the Monument project will appear in the May Arizona Attorney Magazine.

Poster for May 13 comedy concert

Example of stonework to be used in Arizona monument to the Bill of Rights.

Updated with more information as of March 9:
A lawyer, a stonemason and a comic walk into a bar

No, that’s no good. How about …

What do you get when you cross Justice Lewis Powell with comic Lewis Black?

Hmmm.

Sorry, I’m working on possible ledes for a story in an upcoming Arizona Attorney Magazine. And it involves some odd mashups of professions.

Poster for May 13 comedy concert

On Change of Venue Friday, I typically take us far astray from law practice. And why not? Let’s get this weekend started.

Today is no different, for I get to share news of an upcoming comedy concert. Of course, it’s not entirely divorced from law. For it is related to the creation of a Bill of Rights Monument in Arizona, the first of its kind in the nation. (I wrote about it here.)

Today, at a noon press conference at Symphony Hall in downtown Phoenix, the talent-packed bill was announced for a comedy concert that will be a major fundraiser for the Monument. Appearing at Phoenix Symphony Hall on May 13 will be:

  • Lewis Black
  • Bill Engvall
  • Bobcat Goldthwait
  • Dick Gregory
  • Kathleen Madigan
  • Tommy Smothers
  • Steven Wright

And then there will be musical guests (from Little Feat) Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett.

Chris Bliss and promoter Danny Zelisko discuss the May 13 comedy concert, at Tom's Tavern, Feb. 29, 2012.

For good measure, I understand that comic Chris Bliss will also perform. (Chris, of course, is also the Executive Director of MyBillofRights.org, the event organizer.)

Tickets will go on sale Monday, March 19, at 10 a.m., and they’re likely to go fast (reserved seats will be $53 to $98 + convenience fee, via Ticketmaster, and at Phoenix Convention Center box office).

(A previous event, on Wednesday, February 29, at Tom’s Tavern in downtown Phoenix was the venue for a gathering of lawyers and judges committed to getting the memorial erected. Those attendees got a preview of the May 13 comedy lineup.)

Danny Zelisko and State Bar of Arizona President Joe Kanefield, at Tom's Tavern, Feb. 29, 2012

My story on the project will appear in the May Arizona Attorney. In the meantime, here are some more photos from the event at Tom’s Tavern. Have a great weekend.

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