Around Town

#CharlotteLovesJoe: A community comes together at Joe Borruso benefit show

I don’t know Joe Borruso, a local artist from NoDa, and many of you probably don’t either. But chances are the name might feel slightly more familiar in light of recent events. This man and his friends are making waves in our community — waves of love, support and positivity.

Get ready for goosebumps.

On June 28, Joe was hit by a drunk driver and his family wondered whether he would survive. After Borruso’s accident, his friends rallied around him and put together a benefit concert Sunday night at Neighborhood Theatre, where they raised funds to help cover his medical expenses.

Alex Shaw, Neighborhood Theatre’s manager, said humbly of throwing together this benefit in just 10 days, “It’s just something you do.”

That was the feeling of the entire evening — that when one person hurts, we all do. The sense of community was palpable as people sipped Jalapeño Pale Ales, bid on auction items and listened to excellent local music, all with Borruso in mind.


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The non-monetary donations were originally intended to be part of a raffle. But before the volunteers knew it, their houses and cars were filled with so many donations from local businesses that they had to make the raffle an auction instead.

Birdsong Brewing Co., Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, Little Spoon Eatery and Dolce Lusso Salon, among others, donated items from artwork to haircuts to beer growlers.

Adam Lazzara, NoDa resident and lead singer of Taking Back Sunday, and John Nolan, TBS’s guitarist and co-lead vocalist, were among the performers that donated their time and talents. 

Other acts included Animals, Paint Fumes, Modern Primitives and Fat Geoff. Local master mixologists Bob Peters of The Punch Room and Stefan Huebner of Heist Brewery served as guest bartenders.

“This benefit would have been nothing without everyone that came out and made it possible,” said Nicole Story, volunteer and friend of Borruso’s. “I hope that it inspires more acts of goodwill and am so grateful for this community.”

Borruso is in high spirits, but still needs help. Those who wish to donate to the cause can visit the website made for him. But you don’t have to donate money — home-cooked meals are also being accepted by his family. See the website for details.

Sign up, chip in. This is the South, after all. Love on someone. Hug the people you care about. Take care of each other and the city we all love.

Photos by Nicole Brantley. 

Nicole Brantley
Nicole Brantley NikkiBrantley