"Last Holiday Party," a Bi-Partisan Fundraiser, Defies the Elements

Karaoke event to benefit South Memphis Alliance draws good crowd despite the weather; meanwhile, a memorial service for the late Robert Hummel is scheduled for Sunday.


It had been relentlessly hyped by various social media (and by various hands) for weeks, and the self-styled “Last Holiday Party of the Season,” a karaoke affair hosted by lawyer Barry Frager and numerous others defied the wet and frigid elements Saturday night to be a success.

A significant crowd turned out at the Asian Palace in East Memphis to hear amateur warblers from both political parties do justice — or injustice, as the case might be — to assorted musical standards. Below Shelby County Commissioner Steve Basar, a Republican, and his wife Brenda, a lawyer and consultant, are captured in a photo by co-host David Upton as they try their hands (literally) at “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”

  • David Upton

The party, the second annual one of its type at the Asian Palace site, doubled as a fund-raising event via contributions to the South Memphis Alliance, a community-based service organization founded by another Commissioner and attendee, Reginald Milton, a Democrat. Last year’s initial effort raised several thousand dollars for SMA’s coffers, and Saturday night’s likely did as well.

In the shot below, Milton listens as State Rep. Joe Towns (D-Memphis) explains the purposes of the organization. (Towns was conspicuous also in his customary rendition of “Wonderful World” in a voice that (most often) succeeded uncannily in sounding like the late Louis Armstrong.)

  • David Upton

A more solemn weekend event, a memorial service for the late Robert Hummel, an almost legendary proprietor of direct mailing, will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at Highland Heights Presbyterian Church in Arlington. Hummel, whose services at election time were decidedly bi-partisan, died unexpectedly last month.

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