Dennis Quaid is in the city! Get ready to rock in Bellaire Saturday

By Charlotte Aguilar

Actor-musician Dennis Quaid is about to solidify his “hometown hero” status Saturday (Nov. 11) with an afternoon full of appearances, culminating in a high-profile fundraising concert for city workers slammed by Hurricane Harvey.

Quaid is the force behind a free, family-friendly “Bellaire Block Party” that is set for 1-5 p.m. Veteran’s Day on the Great Lawn at Bellaire Town Square, 7008 S. Rice Ave. The Big “Al” Bettis Band is the opening act, but clearly, the headliners are Dennis Quaid and the Sharks.

Dennis Quaid visited the Bellaire Recreation Center Thursday to finalize details of his Saturday ‘Block Party’ with Barbara Hofmann, center, of the Patrons for Bellaire Parks, and Cheryl Bright West, assistant director of Parks, Recreation and Facilities. (Facebook)

City staff and volunteers — who have described how hands-on Quaid has been in planning the benefit — got their first chance to meet him Thursday, when he stopped by the Bellaire Recreation Center to finalize details.

He plans a nostalgic tour of the city first, beginning at 1 p.m., making stops to perform briefly at Horn ES field and Evergreen Park.

With parents Juanita “Nita,” a real estate agent, and William, an electrician, and older brother Randy, Quaid lived in a home in the 1950s-’70s at 4616 Maple St. (torn down in 2008) near Horn Elementary, which he attended.

Quaid is a 1972 graduate of Bellaire HS. (File photo)

After graduating from Bellaire HS in 1972, he followed the school’s legendary acting teacher, Cecil Pickett, to the University of Houston. Before graduating, though, he was drawn by the allure of making movies, with star turns in “Breaking Away,” “The Right Stuff,” “The Big Easy” — 90 films and TV shows in all since his debut as an uncredited bellhop in the 1975 film “Crazy Mama.”

Some in Bellaire have been surprised to learn how seriously Quaid takes his music, which has been a part of his life since boyhood.

Quaid and his group The Sharks have been in the recording studio recently. (Submitted photo)

With his acting career taking off, music was not a constant until Halloween 2000 when the Sharks came together. He describes their repertoire as a “junkyard of American music,” blending old school rock-’n’-roll with country, soul and lounge pop.

Quaid and the Sharks have been in a recording studio for several months this year with the legendary producer-musician-songwriter T. Bone Burnett, laying down tracks on 19 songs that will trickle out for release soon, Quaid told an interviewer recently.

Materials about the fundraiser from Quaid’s office described his “desire to give back to the community where he was raised” and said he’s “coming home to give the Bellaire community a break from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and to help raise the spirits of our community.”

“His path led him on a road to Hollywood greatness, but the community where his journey began has remained close to his heart,” the statement continued.  “In remembering his roots, Mr. Quaid’s concert will help our city on the journey to rise above the floodwaters of Harvey and celebrate the spirit of community and resilience for which we are known.”

The Bellaire Brave Fund was established to assist the city’s first responders and employees throughout departments including Public Works, administration; Parks, Recreation and Facilities, and the library who responded to Bellaire’s unprecedented flood emergency nonstop for five days and longer while their own families and homes were experiencing devastating losses. It’s estimated that about one-fifth of city employees were impacted.

The block party is being coordinated with Quaid by the Patrons for Bellaire Parks, the city of Bellaire and the Bellaire Business Association. Channel 13 anchorman Tom Koch —  himself impacted by flooding in his Bellaire home — will emcee the event.

Those attending should bring lawn chairs or blankets and picnics. Food lined up as of press time include burgers from Bernie’s Burger Bus, hot dogs from Randall’s, chicken sandwiches from Chick-fil-A and jambalaya from Build SOS.

Fifth Street will be closed beginning Saturday morning, and there will be no parking at the Recreation Center. Attendees are being urged to walk, bike or carpool, with parking available at Condit ES and on Jessamine and Linden streets.

Support from the community has been widespread, with the following committing to sponsorships as of Essentials’ press deadline: JP’s Peace Love and Happiness Foundation, The Lunn family, The Quaid Group, The Bellaire Indian Group, State Rep. Sarah Davis, John and Charlene O’Shea, Stone Acorn Builders, Shane and Heidi Battier, Prosperity Bank of Texas, Big Frog Custom T-Shirts, ARRK Engineering, North Texas Community Foundation, Bellaire/Southwest Rotary, St. Arnold’s Brewery, Bernie’s Burger Bus, Randall’s, Ruggles Black, The Grove Wine Bar & Kitchen in Austin, Centerpoint Energy, U.S. Rep. John Culberson, Heritage Texas Properties-Mitch Beasley, Amegy Bank,  Lopez Law Firm,  David & Mary Montague,  Heritage Texas Properties – Mike Gray, Ohms Electric, Wilson Elser Law, Acme Rentals, Chick-fil-A, Brio Solutions, Gainsborough Waste/Texas Outhouse, Build S.O.S., Nestle,  Rachel Crochet Properties, Lavannya and Rahul Pandit, Bellaire Dental Group, Doctors David and Diane Citek, Durio & Company, PC; Frost Bank, HDR Engineering, Rusty and Tawnya Rubenstein, Union Pacific, Village Plumbing and Home Services, Villages of Meyerland, Wolfie’s Swim School, Bellaire E.R., and Mike Livingston Properties.