A burly veteran cabbie with an inimitable giggle, Joey Bowker is better known as Nashville public-access TV legend The Bat Poet, a scruffy superhero whose dada antics never fail to stop channel surfers in mid-flip. But his current situation is no laughing matter. According to MEAC spokesman Brittany Conner, Bowker is currently undergoing triple-bypass surgery at Baptist Hospital, and he faces additional health complications from kidney failure and diabetes. Worse yet, Bowker is uninsured and has not been able to work in several months.
"The Bat Poet has been entertaining Nashville for 13 years," Conner says in a written statement. "He has never made a profit from his show and only did it out of love of entertaining."
Conner and Nashville entertainer Melba Toast are putting together a benefit "best of" DVD whose sales will go directly to Bowker. Sam Thompson, president of Nashville's community-access Channel 19, or CAC, is also trying to create a mini-telethon in Bowker's behalf. In the meantime, donations to help defray his extensive medical bills and related costs may be sent to either MEAC Channel 19, MCA TV 9 or iQ TV 10.
Checks made out to Joey Bowker should go to:
Joey Bowker Fund
c/o CAC & MEAC
120 White Bridge Rd. #45
Nashville, TN 37209
Conner says Bowker "will also gladly accept non-perishable food donations that comply with his dietary restrictions." These may be brought to the PEG Studio facilities behind Nashville State on White Bridge Road.
Recover quickly, Bat Poet. Nashville needs its Dark Knight.