Bits ‘n’ Pieces: Young band rocks out to keep homeless families warm

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Some supergroup magic is first made at a ginormous stadium show where legends come together to righteously rock before the multitudes; after that, they have their people call each other’s people.

For Curly and the Knuckleheads, the big show was an elementary school talent revue where a band of third-grade boys cranked out the White Stripes’ formidable slab of rock “Seven Nation Army,” and an equally impressive third-grade girl sang solo on Miley Cyrus’ “Butterfly Fly Away.” The boys knew a great thing when they heard one, and the supergroup deal went down on the playground during recess.

Curly and the Knuckleheads were born. They are four Vancouver school district fourth graders: singer Emily Dahlen, guitarist Colton Juenger, drummer Josiah Joner and bassist Mason Priddy. (One original member has gone on to a solo career; you know how supergroups are). The band has played a couple of family functions, and one band subset played at the Salmon Creek Farmers Market. But mostly, they play every Wednesday at drummer Joner’s house.

“We do songs by Adele and Jack Johnson. We like those,” Emily said.

And does it get pretty loud, even though they’re so young? “Yeah,” she said.

Now, Curly and the Knuckleheads take the noise public. They’ll play a free benefit show today for Second Step Housing, a local nonprofit that works with homeless women and families, at 6:30 p.m. at Vancouver’s kid-friendly “nightclub” Pop Culture, 1929 Main St. The show is a clothing drive, so they ask you bring a donation of winter clothes — a coat, a pair of socks — to donate.

If you’re interested in contacting the band, write to curlyandtheknuckleheads@gmail.com.

— Scott Hewitt

Nonprofit group shares joy of cooking with kids

When she realized her 10-year-old son couldn’t even make a box of Rice-A-Roni, Heidi O’Connor knew something had to be done.

“It was a wake-up call,” said O’Connor, 44.

That 2010 light-bulb moment was when she baked up the idea for the Kids Cooking Corner, an educational Vancouver nonprofit group dedicated to teaching the life skill to children, many of whom have special needs or are underprivileged.

The entirely volunteer-run program, which regularly holds classes and unique birthday parties at 5206 N.E. 78th St., has grown substantially in the last two years, but is still dealing with some budget-related growing pains. The unpaid O’Connor offsets the steep costs of running a full-time nonprofit with bake sales, special cooking camps and themed parties on the weekends.

She and a team of about 30 volunteers help to educate about 40 kids a week about how to not only cook up tasty and healthy food, but live from the land. Their building has two large gardens on the property, where students learn to eat from garden to kitchen.

While she never thought of herself as a teacher, O’Connor said she believes God has led her down an important path with the Kids Cooking Corner.

“Everybody eats, everything is done around food — weddings, funerals. That’s the nice thing about it. We can all have something in common,” she said.

View upcoming classes at http://www.thekidscookingcorner.com.

— Stover E. Harger III

Bits ‘n’ Pieces appears Fridays and Saturdays. If you have a story you’d like to share, email bits@columbian.com.