Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Little Willie’s hosts charity benefit

In the summer of 2005, Darius Weems, a teenager from Athens, Ga., afflicted with muscular dystrophy, embarked with his friends on “the roll of his life.” After undergoing a 7,000-mile journey, he made it to Los Angeles, hoping to have his wheelchair refurbished by MTV’s “Pimp My Ride.”

Project REACH counselor Logan Smalley joined Weems and filmed the entire trip, documenting every stop along the way and testing America’s wheelchair accessibility as they went. The culmination of his work, “Darius Goes West,” made its debut in February 2007, receiving awards and acclaimed status at many film festivals.

In response to the movie, many organizations have striven to reproduce the film’s wasabi challenge scene, in which Weems was dared by his friends to eat a whole spoonful of wasabi sauce. The “goslabi” challenge as Weems pronounced it, has become a favorite as a charity event across the nation.

Saturday at Little Willie’s, Well That’s Cool will host an event to raise money for muscular dystrophy. There will also be live music and an appearance from Darius Weems himself.

“It’s a really great independent film,” said Bo Hicks, a founding member of, a website dedicated to informing Tuscaloosa of events, producing movie and music reviews, and creating weekly podcasts that help make the city “cooler.” “[Darius] gets to travel the country. He sees the ocean for the first time and visits the Grand Canyon. It won all kinds of awards.”

Bill Lloyd, owner of Little Willie’s, said he anticipates a good crowd at the event.

“We always do well with Well That’s Cool,” he said. “We’re one of the sponsors of the website, and we have a good-sized room for the event and a good sound system.”

In addition to several rounds of eye-watering, mouth-burning exhibition, the event will host bands and offer Little Willie’s usual selection of high gravity beers and specialty drinks.

Bands performing include DeadFingers, The Howlies and Uri.

“We decided just to make a big party out of it,” Hicks said. He will be participating in the wasabi challenge, along with a few of his Well That’s Cool coworkers. “I did a little training the other day at the Chinese buffet, but I think their stuff was weak. My eyes didn’t water or anything.”

The original plan was for the crew to eat five spoonfuls of wasabi sauce, on stage, for every $50 raised prior to the event. This plan, according to Hicks, has been deemed too dangerous, as the amount raised has culminated in more spoonfuls than any of the participants care to ingest.

“We don’t want to send any of our stellar fundraisers to the hospital,” Hicks said on Well That’s Cool’s blog.

But there will still be plenty of “goslabi” eaten, faces reddened and tummies clutched, he said.

The event begins at 8 p.m., with music starting around 9 or 9:30. A donation of at least $2 is the cost to enjoy the festivities.

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