IMPERIAL — Oscar Garcia will be staging a concert in a nearly empty venue tonight, but that doesn’t mean no one will be watching.
Over the past several weeks, the local DJ has been presenting live concerts from 3:16 Café, 123 N. Imperial Ave. They showcase local musicians and stream on Facebook.
The concerts serve as fundraisers for the local charity Amigos de Alejandro, which helps families with the emotional and financial stress of caring for a cancer-stricken child.
Tonight’s concert will begin at 8. Viewers will have the opportunity to pledge donations online during the performance, which will feature local ’ 80s cover band Confusion.
This is “Chapter 5” of Garcia’s Virtual ’ 80s Live shows. Like most local business owners, Garcia, proprietor of Blanc Image Productions, has taken significant revenue hits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“ It has hit me hard,” he said. “I have lost over 50 percent of my income due to events being cancelled or postponed.”
But he said he decided not to feel sorry himself. “I decided to be a difference maker,” he said, “and when you are in need, there is no better way than to give back to someone.”
Local sponsors, such as local Realtor Harley Robbins, help cover Garcia’s expenses. Owner Javier Valenzuela is providing free use of his faith-based café for staging the performances, which previously have also featured local guitarist Ruben Hernandez.
All donations pledged during the event will go to Amigos de Alejandro, the charity Elva Quezada started in memory of her son, who died of cancer at the age of 3 in 2006.
The charity provides families with assistance with gas and groceries, as well as with utility payments and other expenses when possible. The organization, which is run entirely with volunteers, also organizes social events, such as a Christmas party, a Dia del Ni ñ o celebration and an ice cream social, for the families.
“ We try to do the best we can,” Quezada said.
Lately, that’s been harder since this “whole thing,” as she described it, started. An annual 5K fundraiser scheduled for spring was scuttled, and the outlook for another event in the fall isn’t looking so good, either.
So far, viewers of Garcia’s live Facebook events have pledged about $800 to the charity, about half of which has been collected.
“ It all helps,” Quezada said.
Garcia said this is the first time he’s held one of his Virtual ’ 80s events on a Saturday evening. He’s hoping to hit 800 to 1,000 viewers.
For more on Amigos de Alejandro, visit http://www.amigosdealejandro.org/.