AJ Weigman outside the venue of the Movember Showcase

Project associate for child, youth and family studies AJ Weigman poses outside of The Bay Coffee and Skate Park on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Hosted at The Bay for the first time, the third annual Movember Showcase will focus on conversations about men’s mental health through live music. 

The event, which is on Saturday, Nov. 16, will showcase performances from local bands and include a silent auction. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the event will run until 11:30 p.m., according to their Facebook event

Admission for the event is $5, and all proceeds made at the door will go to Wellbeing Initiatives, an organization that connects people in recovery for drug abuse and mental health issues to peer support, according to the Wellbeing Initiatives website

Men’s mental health is the main focus of the event, but AJ Weigman, a project associate for Child, Youth and Family Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and organizer of the showcase, said everyone is welcome to come and join the conversation about mental health in general. 

“A big reason why the focus is men’s mental health is [because], as a guy with mental health issues, I understand some of the social stigmas and some of the issues,” he said. 

Weigman said he came up with the idea for the event after one of his favorite podcasts, “The Weekly Planet,” did a fundraiser focused on men’s mental health. The fundraiser inspired Weigman to start his own event in Lincoln to talk about men’s mental health.

The showcase will feature seven local bands, which is more than in previous years. Weigman said he likes to change up which bands perform each year, with the exception of his own band. 

“I like the idea of doing a bunch of different bands because mental health isn’t exclusive to one genre or style of music,” he said. “Seeing a bunch of different bands at an event like this is really cool because you get to see how people across several different walks of life and several different interests, how this kind of stuff affects them and how it’s important to them.”

The band lineup includes Weigman’s band, Hosting Monsters, as well as Happy Hazard, The Hanyaks, Griffoctopuss, All Knowing McGill, Top-Notch Defective and solo artist Zac Thomas. 

Luke Molzer, a junior psychology major, will play at the event with his band Griffoctopuss. He performed as a solo artist at the event last year and said he wanted to perform again because he thinks it’s an opportunity to use his music for something meaningful. 

“The whole reason I even continue to make art and make stuff is to try and find a connection with people who are struggling or need encouragement,” he said. “Music was always what got me through a lot of hard times.”

The event was previously held at a bar, but moving it to The Bay allows people of all ages to attend, according to Weigman. 

“I want teenagers to be able to see an event like this and know that sometimes it’s okay to not feel okay all the time,” he said. 

The amount of sponsors for the event has grown over time, according to Weigman. Local stores like Behind the Glass Comic Art Gallery, Fireproofpickups and Indigo Bridge Books & Cafe donated silent auction items and money for advertising and renting the venue. 

“The first two years, I paid for it completely out of my own pocket,” Weigman said. “The amount this is growing, I can’t sustain that on my own income, so I got some sponsors. They were fantastic and gave, actually, more money than I knew what to do with at the time.”

Molzer said he likes seeing an event focused on a bigger message, especially one focused on artists using their work to raise awareness of mental health issues.

“That, to me, is truly where art thrives, is when we’re all coming together to use our talents around an idea that is something we can’t escape,” he said. “You can choose not to do art, but you can’t choose not to have a mental health issue.”

Weigman said he is excited to see the community come together, enjoy local music and be true to themselves for a night.

“I think it’s a great way for us to help start making a change in our dialogue about mental health in the community,” Weigman said. “If we can do this, maybe we can have other events similar to this down the line to help with some of these other demographics that are being overlooked.”

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