Spare Change takes its charity busking online | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Spare Change takes its charity busking online

click to enlarge DJ Breis Gordan - PHOTO: @URBANTHOUGHTPHOTO
Photo: @urbanthoughtphoto
DJ Breis Gordan
Adjustments have had to be made for musicians, bands, and businesses amidst the spread of COVID-19, and local organization Spare Change is no exception. Instead of passing around collection buckets at live music events to raise money for charity, Spare Change has moved its fundraising efforts online.

Each week, at least one of the musicians in Spare Change's collective broadcasts a livestreamed performance and asks for donations to continue to raise money for charity. DJ Breis Gordan is the next Spare Change member to take the digital stage, this Sat., May 9 at 10 p.m. via Spare Change's YouTube channel. Gordan's performance immediately follows Josh Jam's livestream, a weekly happy hour set from the nonprofit's founder Josh Corcoran.

"The impact Josh and Spare Change have had on Pittsburgh and the surrounding area has truly been inspiring," says Gordan. "I was honored when someone of Josh's character asked me to be apart of the movement."

Corcoran and Gordan have known each other since they were students at Penn State University. As
 big fans of Corcoran's previous band Table Ten, Gordan and his friends would go to whatever bar Table Ten was playing. They stayed in touch through social media once they left school; Gordan started DJing and Corcoran founded Spare Change.


"About a year ago, Josh reached out to me about joining the Spare Change network," says Gordan. "He was expanding the project to incorporate other musicians and asked me to be the DJ representative."

Alongside Gordan in the collective is Sheila E., Jonny Goood, Nox Boys, Brett Trottier, Byron Nash, Gaint Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, Adam Fitz, The Commonheart, and Angela Autumn. Each band/artist has a chosen charity that they raise money for with every performance. Gordan chose The Innocence Project, which he discovered while watching Netflix's Making a Murderer.

"There are major flaws in our country's justice system  the overpopulation of jails, the failure of the War on Drugs, the corruption in the criminal process, etc. This has been something that has bothered me over the years and I feel it is something that is not discussed enough," says Gordan.

"The Innocence Project represents Brendan Dassey, one of the main characters in the series who was coerced into a confession by detectives using severely unethical tactics," Gordan continues. "After this, I decided to look up the Innocence Project and have been following [it] ever since. They mainly focus on exonerating the innocent through DNA testing and reform the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice."


During Gordan's livestream on Saturday, he will be accepting tips via Venmo (@breisgordan) and Cash App ($breisgordan) and donating it all to the Innocence Project. Donations can also be made directly by going to spot.fund/breisgordan.


"I will be playing all kinds of music and requests are encouraged," he says.


On Spare Change's website, there's a button to send funds directly to the artist. Even though Gordan is a full-time DJ, he is not accepting personal donations.

"What really frustrates me is how I have grown my business and brand over the past couple years to make this my full-time job and now that is in limbo," says Gordan. "No one knows what's going to happen with bars, clubs, and venues once the stay at home order is lifted. The same can be said about private and corporate events. It will be interesting to see where this goes but I am going to do my best to navigate my way through this and continue to follow my dream.

"On a positive note, I really needed the break to regroup and rest. I have been working on putting in a new home studio and having fun DJing via live streams. I also have gotten back into producing. One of my main goals of 2020 is to finally release my first original track."

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