The onset of spring brings many things in addition to showers, longer days and more greenery. It’s also the time of year where many celebrate the existence of a taboo herb – ganja. While marijuana use is still illegal in PA and on a national level, Pittsburgh’s NORML chapter has come up with a unique way to partake in 420 festivities remotely while throwing a party here. It’s called “The Bong Show” and it’s happening, of course, on Saturday, April 20 at Lava Lounge. We know we might be jumping the gun by telling herb appreciators about this hap since it’s not for another week, but we’ll just have to rely on the functional pot users to remind the more carefree users.
The Bong Show is a “talent show where the stakes are high…and so are the judges” who will be judging off site via satellite from Colorado, the land of the free. The show, which is hosted by Phat Man Dee and Smokin’ McQueen, features performances from musical groups Chai Baba, The Rusty Haywhackers and J Pad the Juggernaught. Prizes for the winner and raffle items were provided by Slacker, Hot Rod Body Piercing, Jesters Court Tattoos, Krutch Rolling Papers, PKN Law and Element Skateboards.
In addition to being a celebration of the 420 holiday, The Bong Show is a fundraiser for the local NORML chapter, which is spearheaded by Patrick Nightingale, attorney at law. Patrick started the Pittsburgh chapter after recognizing the organization lacked a presence in Western PA.
“I decided to start (or re-start) the Pittsburgh NORML chapter after learning in May, 2009, that PA’s first ever medicinal marijuana bill had been introduced into the PA House by Rep. Mark Cohen from Philadelphia. I reached out the the Philly NORML chapter and concluded that we needed a presence in Western PA. In forming the chapter I was very much aware of stereotypes surrounding cannabis and cannabis culture, so I set out to put a more “professional” face on our Chapter. I recruited my colleagues, all criminal defense attorneys, as Board members. To this day I believe we are unique in that we are quite “top heavy” with practicing attorneys.”
Pittsburgh NORML throws many events throughout the year to raise awareness and support for the cause. According to Patrick, “reviving the Bong Show was Mandy’s idea. She graciously performed at our holiday fundraiser and offered to produce “The Bong Show” for 4:20. I was excited about the content, and even more excited that she volunteered to put on the show!” Patrick also works fervently to keep this issue at the forefront of members and the public’s minds. “Since forming the chapter, Pittsburgh NORML has been a “go to” source for commentary and information whenever cannabis is in the news. We enjoy a very close relationship with The Mike Pintek Show on KDKA Radio, and we’ve been a frequent guest on NightTalk Live. Our goal moving forward in 2013 is to keep this issue relevant as we know the public’s attention can shift quickly.”
If you’d like to know more about how to get involved with our local NORML chapter, Patrick offers this advice: “If someone is interested in supporting cannabis reform efforts here in Pittsburgh they can visit our website where they can purchase a membership online. Supporters can follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our Twitter posts. Friends and supporters can join us on April 20 at Point State Park for a rally in support of cannabis reform at 3:30 and then at Lava Lounge for The Bong Show.”
Tickets for The Bong Show are $5 for NORML members, $10 in advance and $15 at the door. For more information, visit here.