Composer Curtis Heath, a.k.a.
Composer Curtis Heath, a.k.a. "Uncle Curtis," is recovering from cancer, and some of his insanely talented friends are throwing a benefit concert for him, Sun, at Lola's.

In the annals of Fort Worth music, The Theater Fire looms large. Smart, dusty, and melancholy, the quintet managed to bridge all kinds of gaps: between worldly and provincial, modern and ancient, young and old, rustic and sophisticated.

TTF released three albums –– The Theater Fire (2003), Everybody Has a Dark Side (2005), and the Pitchfork-approved Matter and Light (2009) –– before effectively disbanding a couple of years ago. A few of the band members remained heavily involved in music. Horn-player/pianist/percussionist James Talambas opened a studio, New Media Recordings, on the Near Southside, and co-founder Curtis Heath just kept on writing, this time with a special emphasis on film scores –– three of his songs appear on the soundtrack to Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Dallas filmmaker David Lowery’s debut Hollywood feature starring Oscar nominee Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck that came out this summer.

The Theater Fire regrouped a couple of months ago to lay down tracks in Talambas’ studio. But Heath got some bad news. He was recently diagnosed with melanoma. Though he is now cancer-free –– he had a lump and some lymph nodes removed last week –– he is facing serious medical bills. To help, a handful of some of the most intriguing acts in town will perform at 3 p.m. on Sunday at Lola’s Saloon (2736 W. 6th St., 817-877-0666).

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“I’m feeling much better,” Heath said. “I have some neuropathy and a crazy scar, but I’m going to live, so no complaints.”

When Heath was diagnosed, he was working on scoring Hellion, a film by Kat Candler starring Aaron Paul and Juliette Lewis. “Kat was amazing,” Heath said, “and, despite having a Sundance [Film Festival] deadline looming, she chose to stick it out with me.”

Heath said his portion of the new Theater Fire album is complete and that fellow co-founder Don Feagin has been hard at work with Talambas on the rest.

The bill features Telegraph Canyon, Mara Lee Miller (from Bosque Brown), The Apache 5, Pablo & The Hemphill 7, and Henry the Archer. The suggested minimum donation is $10. You can also donate via


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  1. Good for Curtis! In the coming weeks we others, who apparently have not stayed involved in music, are throwing a couple more benefits for our brother Curtis. Look out for one more in FW, with some special surprise guests, as well as one in Dallas (Club Dada, Dec. 12). The Dallas benefit will feature Myopic, Panther Robe, Pleasant Grove, and another super special secret surprise guest. Don’t miss a chance to help Curtis out, while getting to see some great music!