Updated: The story behind MCA DAY’s celebration of Adam Yauch

Crowds gathered in Brooklyn on Saturday for MCA DAY, a celebration of the life of the late Beastie Boy and Tibet advocate Adam Yauch, who died of cancer a year ago. Here’s a video featuring some of the organizers and participants talking about Yauch’s influence, and showing off some of the MCA-inspired art that was on display. Rolling Stone also covered the event; read their article here. I interviewed MCA DAY organizer Mike Kearney last week; click through to read that interview.

It’s been almost a year since Beastie Boy and Tibet advocate Adam Yauch died of cancer at 47, and on Saturday, the anniversary of his death, fans will gather in Brooklyn to celebrate Yauch’s life with MCA DAY.

MCA DAY is a daylong event featuring music, conversation, and a gallery of art created by Yauch fans. The event is free — organizer Mike Kearney says he was adamant that no money change hands, though he did invite some charities that Yauch supported to come and share information about how to donate to their causes.

Kearney said he first had the idea for MCA DAY last year, right after Yauch died. A middle school counselor in Boston, Kearney said he’s never organized an event before, but felt that this was important to him.

“I was just staring at all the news and the stuff being posted online, and I felt this void,” he said. “I felt the need to create something and do something.” A few weeks later, he was in Union Square Park in New York with a table and a radio. Over the course of the day, several hundred people stopped by, and some of them signed on to help out with this year’s much bigger event.

Kearney credits the Beastie Boys with opening up his worldview when he was in high school, around the time Ill Communication came out and Yauch interviewed the Dalai Lama in the Beastie Boys’ magazine, Grand Royal.

“That was crucial to opening up the eyes of this generation that there’s a whole other world out there and we are connected to it,” he said. “Yauch has inspired so many people — if a Beastie Boy can become dedicated to doing good in the world and doing so much positive stuff for the world, then that potential is in any of us.”

MCA DAY starts at 11 a.m. Saturday at Littlefield, 620 Degraw St. in Brooklyn. For more information, visit MCA DAY on Facebook and Twitter. And in other Yauch-related news, Brooklyn Heights Blog reports that Palmetto Playground, where Yauch played when he was growing up in the neighborhood, is being renamed Adam Yauch Park on Friday.

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