LINCOLN PARK — A Francis Parker High School senior suddenly finds herself a concert impresaria after a Planned Parenthood benefit she was trying to arrange got picked up by the Metro.
Lincoln Park resident Natasha Lerner was one of the younger interns at Planned Parenthood last summer.
"After the election happened, I wanted to do something because there was a lot of talk about defunding it," Lerner said. "I wanted to do something, but I wanted to do something to get young people involved.
"I have some friends who are in bands, so I thought I could have a small concert with them and raise some money, but then I started talking to people and the Metro wanted to be involved and got some more bands."
Those "people" she was talking to turned out to be Ben Pritzker — yes, of the Pritzkers — who happens to be enough of a Planned Parenthood proponent that he recently altered his Facebook profile picture in support, and who put Lerner in touch with Metro owner Joe Shanahan.
Lerner said Pritzker had "helped me a bunch."
Pritzker also knew Natalie and Elliot Bergman of the up-and-coming local rock group Wild Belle, so he recruited them for the event to give it a proper headliner for what's become Voices for Choices, set for 6 p.m. May 12 at the Metro, 3730 N. Clark St.
"Everybody's been super excited to help out Planned Parenthood," Lerner said.
The Metro's capacity is under 2,000, and the tickets are priced to move at $20 for students and $40 otherwise (although a VIP table for two also goes for $200), so it doesn't figure to bring in a huge amount of money for Planned Parenthood.
But Lerner pointed out Planned Parenthood of Illinois already has a major fundraiser set for Wednesday, and Voices for Choices has other ambitions. Besides, people can also donate aside from the events here.
"It's not so much of a money thing as it is getting kids involved," she said. "There aren't a lot of young people who really know that much about Planned Parenthood. Most people just associate it with abortion services. They do a bunch of other stuff."
And for all its good intentions, the Metro of course is happy to tap into that next generation of cool kids at Parker and across the city.
Don't expect it to turn into Lerner's vocation after school, however. While she's still choosing between Bard, Barnard and Oberlin for college in the fall, she said she expects her major to "combine some type of art with human rights."