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Visual Arts Vie for Attention at Dance Club

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It's hard not to coo over pictures of Callum Robbins, especially when you learn the little boy with chubby cheeks and wide eyes celebrates his first birthday tomorrow. The proud dad is J. Robbins, who served as singer and guitarist for the hard-driving and melodic local bands Jawbox and Burning Airlines, and now leads Channels, a trio that released its first album, "Waiting for the Next End of the World," on Dischord Records in August. Offstage, Robbins is an in-demand recording engineer who has produced albums and EPs by such bands as the Promise Ring, the Dismemberment Plan and Braid. Callum's mom is Janet Morgan, who plays bass and sings in Channels.

In September, though, Callum's parents learned that their son has spinal muscular atrophy, a motor neuron disease that's often fatal in infants. The prognosis is serious: Cal is looking at a lifetime in a wheelchair, and even a tiny infection could compromise his immune system.

Callum sees a doctor at Johns Hopkins Hospital and has been to Mississippi for physical therapy, but none of this treatment is cheap, and the financial consequences are going to be severe. Robbins's former Jawbox bandmates Kim Coletta and Bill Barbot created a page on the Web site of their record label, DeSoto, to explain the situation and help solicit donations to help pay the family's medical bills ( Nick Pimentel, a graphic designer and promoter who heads the local Gypsy Eyes record label, has crossed paths with J. Robbins in the past, so when he heard about Callum's illness, he wanted to help.

Before he could do anything, though, Pimentel got a call from Scott Taylor, the vocalist from the heavy local garage-rock band Owls and Crows. Pimentel had recently set up a concert for the group on Saturday at the Hosiery, a converted studio on the edge of Chinatown. "Owls and Crows booked the show because their friends Beat the Devil were going to be in town from New York," Pimentel says. "A week later, Scott approached me about making it a benefit [for Callum], and I said, 'You know, I was thinking the same thing.' " Roots-rock and folk singer Brandon Butler, who records for Gypsy Eyes, was the last piece of the puzzle, making for an eclectic but entertaining evening of live music.

The bands are asking for $10 at the door -- all of which goes to Callum and his family -- but as Pimentel points out, "It's a donation, not a cover," so feel free to give more if you want.

It's one of several fundraisers for Callum this weekend: Ted Leo and the Medications perform in Brooklyn, N.Y., while Eleventh Dream Day, the Life and Times and Chin Up Chin Up are taking the stage in Chicago.

A BENEFIT FOR CALLUM ROBBINS Saturday at 9, the Hosiery; 443 I St. NW. $10 suggested donation.

Pasha Lounge 2147 P St. NW (above Marrakesh Palace), 202-775-1882 Vibe: A modern two-story lounge with a diverse lineup of dance nights.

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