November 9, 2015, will mark what would've been Michael "Eyedea" Larsen's 34th birthday, and the late St. Paul rapper's mother has teamed with Crushkill Recordings to throw a party celebrating the life and work of her son. The event, which is scheduled to take place on the exact date of the battle champion's birthday, will be held in the Mainroom at First Avenue, and a host of Eyedea's friends, contemporaries, and fans will be flown in.
That ain't cheap.
In an effort to keep the cost of admission low, Kathy Averill, who commonly interacts with her son's fans via Eyedea & Abilities' Facebook page, and Brady O'Rourke of Crushkill have taken to eBay to sell Eyedea rarities and fund operational costs.
"Our whole goal is to throw a show that is a cheap and available as possible for fans," O'Rourke says. "We're flying out a bunch of his friends from across the country, and they've all donated their time and everything, but we need to pay for their hotel rooms and their flights."
Beyond that, O'Rourke is hoping to expand into a multi-day format that includes other shows and (potentially) a pop-up at the Cherokee Park bench that bears a plaque dedicated to Larsen.
"There seems to be an extreme amount of fan interest in something like that happening, and we've got some stuff laying around that could help us effectively fund something like that," he says, "I've been meeting with Kathy the last couple days, and she came across a cap that he was wearing at Scribble Jam, and she was like 'you can probably just raise money off that, somebody would buy it.'"
And so the plan was born. "We were just like 'let's throw it on eBay, let's start it at 99 cents and see what happens,'" says O'Rourke.
The pair have already sold a copy of Carbon Carousel's split with Abzorbr. Currently, two items are up for sale on Crushkill's eBay page: a super-rare Oliver Hart T-shirt and an out-of-print First Born triple LP — both of which, as of this writing, are calling for over $100. According to O'Rourke, many more items from Crushkill's stacks and Averill's home will be bid-able soon, including an autographed copy of E&A Road Mix and the aforementioned hat.
"Depending on what Kathy and I find at her house, she's got a couple casts and stuff," O'Rourke says, clarifying, "It's all stuff that's been worn in press shots. It's very identifiable, we're not just selling old shirts of his." Averill and Crushkill also plan to launch an IndieGoGo campaign with the intent driving down the door price so that they can "get as many true fans out for the five-year thing without the normal thought process of how you make money on the show."
In the end, it's really for the fans, but that hasn't stopped Eyedea aficionados from getting more directly involved. Many of the items Crushkill is selling are fan donations, and that's an affirming thing for O'Rourke to see.
"A lot of it has been fan-driven," he says. "And I hope it continues to be fan-driven."