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March 12, 2009

Rowland: Every crab feed needs a good Hammer

You can't crack this. No, seriously, you can't. Well, at least not without a hammer -- make that an MC Hammer.

You can't crack this.

No, seriously, you can't. Well, at least not without a hammer -- make that an MC Hammer.

Rapper MC Hammer, of "U Can't Touch This" and the shiny parachute pants fame, is coming to Modesto on Saturday to support the nonprofit aid group Relief, Inc. at its annual crab feed fund-raiser.

The multiplatinum- selling performer and longtime Tracy resident will crack crab with attendees but not perform at the fifth annual event.

The all-you-can-eat crab feed will feature a chance to meet and greet Hammer himself.

The event is the brainchild of Modesto entrepreneur Ron Fortt and his wife, Phebe Dennis-Fortt. The couple founded the nonprofit aid group Relief, Inc in 2002 to raise funds, supplies and support for women and children in Liberia.

Dennis-Fortt is Liberian and has friends and family who were killed during its civil wars. Since its founding, the group has collected clothing, food and medical supplies to ship to Liberia, as well as started ongoing initiatives including the Women of Worth and Kids in School programs in the country.

Fortt, who has been friends with Hammer since 2000, brought the performer on board this year as the featured guest.

Two years ago, Hammer attended on a more low-key level.

"As a result of our friendship and relationship and his wife and his passion for the people of Africa, he has teamed up with us for this," Fortt said.

Fortt, one of the former owners of Tracy Toyota, has been partners with Hammer in the software technology company OneCommand since 2001.

Hammer is currently filming his new reality show, "Hammertime," which is slated to air later this spring on the A&E channel.

The show follows Hammer, his wife of more than 23 years and their family of seven.

Fortt said the reality show cameras are expected to follow Hammer to the crab feed.

The event also will feature a no-host bar, raffle prizes, drawings, silent and live auctions, entertainment and dancing.

Doors open Saturday at 5:30 p.m., dinner starts at 7 at Witmer Hall, 1424 Stonum Road, Modesto. Tickets are $45. For information, call 545-1700 or visit

Elsewhere around the Scene:

Do the humpty-hump with the Shock G from the hip-hop outfit Digital Underground on Thursday at Modesto's Fat Cat Music House & Lounge.

Known for his humorous rapping style and oversize glasses complete with big nose, the rapper burst onto the national scene in 1990 with the party song "The Humpty Dance." DJing and playing guitar during his set will be Rob Patterson, former guitarist of the metal groups Otep and Korn.

Doors open at 7 p.m. Thursday and tickets are $15. Call 524-1400. ...

The newly reopened J Street Café is bringing live, local music back to the venue.

Owner Phil Briones, sole proprietor, said he will bring in Modesto Area Music Association Award-nominee Jeff Bonilla to kick off the cafe's participation in the Third Thursday Art Walk next week.

The walk is from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday in downtown Modesto. Admission is free. For more information, call 577-8007. ...

Catch Christian indie artist Kendall Payne tonight at Modesto Christian Reformed Church.

Payne has had her songs appear on films including like the romantic comedy "Never Been Kissed" and on TV shows including the hit "Grey's Anatomy." She also spent two years on the women-centered music tour Lilith Fair. In 2001, she won the Dove Award for modern-rock album of the year.

Show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 adults, $5 for students. For more information, call 523-1906. ...

And finally, rock your world at the Mother Lode Mineral Society Gem and Mineral Show this weekend at the Stanislaus County Fairground in Turlock.

The 43rd annual event features displays of gems, jewelry, fossils and rocks as well as speakers, sellers, demonstrators and much more. The highlights include a life-size replica of a T. Rex skull and a dinosaur nest complete with eggs.

The show is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $5 adults, free children 12 and under. For more information, call 524-3494.

Bee entertainment writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at 578-2284 or Read her blog SceneIt at

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