Ronzo: A Celebration to be held at the Powerhouse

Published 10:02 am Thursday, October 24, 2019

Although Oxford held its first Second Line down North Lamar Boulevard and into the downtown Square to honor the life of Ron “Ronzo” Shapiro in September, his friends and family decided he deserves more than one celebration.

As such, the Powerhouse is hosting “Ronzo: A Celebration” on Nov. 1 to honor the life of one of Oxford’s most charismatic figures. The event will be from 7 to 9 p.m. and feature music, food, memories and ‘general Ronzoness.’

Shapiro passed away on Aug. 19. Oxford’s creative community got together organized a Second Line six days after Shapiro’s passing, but when many friends couldn’t make the trip to Shapiro’s native St. Louis for his funeral, they decided to bring the party back to the town he called home for the last few decades.

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The founder of The Hoka and The Main Squeeze juice bar will be celebrated by friends and family, who requested Oxford hold an event to honor the St. Louis native. Dees, a longtime friend of Shapiro’s, will emcee the event.

“All of us did not have the ability to go up to the funeral in St. Louis. Some of us did not have the chance to say goodbye,” said Wayne Andrews, executive director of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council. “So, we’re going to share some stories. We’re going to have a community gathering and some live music, some food, some drinks.”

Several people will speak, including actress Joey Lauren Adams, who will recite a poem written by Lisa Howorth.

One idea Shapiro’s family thought about was to give back to the community that supported him during his time in Oxford. Since the Hoka and The Main Squeeze have become intertwined in the fabric of Oxford’s creative culture over the years, attendees at the memorial will be able to take home a piece of memorabilia from the businesses in exchange for a donation. The proceeds will go toward all the free community programs that Shapiro supported.

“If people want to collect a piece of memorabilia or take a piece of Ron with them so they can remember (him),” Andrews said. “That’s really the idea. Another chance for all of us to get together.”

The event is free, and everyone is encouraged to come experience a ‘Ronzo party.’