When Neil Diamond announced his retirement from touring along with his diagnosis of Parkinson's disease earlier this year, local videographer Jason “Shakes” Hostetler saw an opportunity. Hostetler conceived a tribute to the great American singer-songwriter along with a unique way to benefit individuals with Parkinson's, cerebral palsy, and other tremor-inducing disabilities: “Spoons of Diamond.”
Diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a child, Hostetler built a video production company, Not So Steadycam Productions, and is a well-known East Side personality, all while facing the daily challenge of life with the tremors that accompany his condition. In 2017, one seemingly simple task, eating with a spoon, dramatically changed when friends pitched in to buy him a Liftware “smart spoon” — an electronic, stabilized eating utensil that automatically compensates for hand tremors while eating.
“The first time to use this spoon was a life changing moment,” Hostetler says. “I can't imagine how it would affect someone who isn't as comfortable with their own disability [as I am]. Who doesn't enjoy a nice bowl of soup?”
With the $300-$350 cost of smart spoons not covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or most private health insurance, Hostetler set up a GoFundMe site. “These spoons allow people with Parkinson's disease, cerebral palsy, and many other disabilities the independence of feeding themselves with more confidence,” Hostetler says. “The Spoons of Diamond show will be a celebration of Neil Diamond's body of work with the funds raised going to purchase smart spoons for people that need them.”
Headlining the show is East Nashville’s own Black Diamond, “the world's only black Neil Diamond tribute singer,” who will be joined by a variety of other special guests. Showtime is Saturday, July 28 at 9 p.m. at The 5 Spot, with a $10 suggestion donation. More information at the Spoons of Diamond Facebook page.