UPDATE: Bastille sent along word that San Francisco-turned-Portland bartender Brooke Arthur will join Erik Carlson in the back bar for the MurrayAid fundraiser November 7. Arthur recently relocated to Portland Here's why you should be excited.
Since the news got out this weekend about barman Murray Stenson’s heart condition, word has spread. And spread. And spread. Fundraisers have sprung up around Seattle, as well as Portland, Vancouver, Australia, and New York’s esteemed Pegu Club. My predecessor Jess Voelker, whose devotion to the cocktail is still legendary in this office, has chronicled fundraising efforts in the Other Washington. Both the New York Times and Rachel Maddow made note of what's happening here. Stenson's condition is a reminder (or, for many, a realization) that most people in the service industry don't have health insurance. The response is a testament to both the man himself and the ferociously supportive nature of the bartending community.
Evan Wallace, founder of Perlage Systems and the friend Stenson asked to handle the incoming money, has set a $50,000 fundraising goal. As of today, fans have poured $29,600 into the account. Stenson told Mike Seely that he will be scheduling a heart valve operation in the near future.
Since last October, Stenson has tended bar at Canon, and owner Jamie Boudreau is dedicating Tuesday, October 30 to Murray. Every penny spent that night goes to the medical fund. Subsequent Murray support-a-thons are happening at Barrio, the back bar at Bastille, and his alma mater, Zig Zag Cafe.
Over on the MurrayAid Facebook page, Wallace started a thread where people share their favorite Murray memories. Plenty of people write about Stenson, but these anecdotes paint perhaps the best picture of the inspiraton and intoxication so many derive from this man.