Jungle Brothers Set For New York Rap/Rock Benefit Show

Rock icon Joan Jett may join varied lineup for Tuesday show to aid youth basketball league.

A benefit concert for a youth basketball league in Manhattan's Greenwich Village is scheduled to bring together a most unlikely group of rock and rap musicians -- possibly including a female rock legend -- in a small club setting Tuesday night.

Rap veterans the Jungle Brothers, hipster singer/songwriter Sean Lennon, absurdist alt-rockers Cibo Matto, Johnny Temple of electronic rockers Girls Against Boys and turntablists the X-ecutioners will all be performing at the concert, according to Maria Ma, one of the show's organizers and head of the marketing department at the Jungle Brothers' label, Gee Street Records.

Rocker Joan Jett has been invited to play at the show, which will take place at Brownies, a club in the Village. Jett hasn't yet confirmed her appearance, because of a prior commitment to play a show in Florida on Monday, according to the benefit's host, Kathleen Hanna, former lead singer of riot-grrl rockers Bikini Kill.

If Jett does make it to the show, Ma said she expected the rocker to perform with Hanna and Kate Schellenbach of hip-hop-influenced alt-rockers Luscious Jackson. Jett has collaborated with Hanna in the past on such tracks as Bikini Kill's "Rebel Girl" (RealAudio excerpt).

Tuesday night's event, which will benefit the Greenwich Village Youth Council's youth basketball league, had its origins in an informal Manhattan-based women's basketball team called the Lady Varmints. The team's impressive lineup, Ma said, includes herself, Hanna, Miho Hatori of Cibo Matto, and Gabby Glaser and Schellenbach of Luscious Jackson.

Ma said Jett -- who's perhaps best known for her 1982 classic, "I Love Rock 'N Roll" -- was "interested in playing ball herself"; her 1996 cover of the "Mary Tyler Moore" TV show's theme song, "Love Is All Around," became the theme song of the WNBA women's basketball league.

Hanna explained that the team is strictly for fun. "None of us are super-good, but it's not about that. It's about spending time with other ladies and feeling comfortable with our bodies," she said.

A local basketball coach, whom Ma and Hannah both identified only by the name Gebby, told the Varmints he would coach their team only "if we could raise some money for the kids" he works with in the Greenwich Village Youth Council's basketball league.

The women agreed to help, and they discussed several fund-raising options. "We'd talked about doing a prom night, having a flea market, hosting tea parties ... finally we said, 'F--- it,' it's so much easier to have a show,'" Ma said.

The members of the Lady Varmints pooled their resources to recruit performers for the show. Ma brought in the hip-hop acts, while the other team members pulled in performers from the alt-rock world.

Among the hip-hop acts are New York-based rappers the Arsonists, who will be performing with the veteran break-dancing group the Rocksteady Crew.

"These women pulled together for us," said David Kaplan, director of development for the Youth Council. "These are local musicians giving back to a program that's truly local."

"We reach kids that no other program's willing to reach," Kaplan said of the Council, which he said had worked with some members of Luscious Jackson when they were young.

As for the Lady Varmints, the coaching they've received in exchange for their fund-raising efforts hasn't changed some of their rather unconventional playing habits. "We're fiercely competitive while we're playing, but we don't keep score," Hanna said.

All proceeds from the benefit concert will go to the youth basketball league.

(Staff Writer Chris Nelson contributed to this report.)