We are moving to San Francisco, that cultural mecca of food, dialects, cable cars, BART and huge hills. Mom & Pop shops dot the streets of her 36 interlacing neighborhoods, each defined by their own personalities from quaint to grunge; every building has a story, which usually begins with ‘before or after the quake of 89′ and history steeps from her sidewalks. She remains snugly wrapped in a layer of fog for most of her 365 days a a year and is known for her many delights, sourdough bread, Alcatraz and the most famous thing Mark Twain never said; the coldest winter I ever spent was the summer I spent in San Francisco.
The first time I arrived in San Francisco, I was 17 years old. Fresh from the country, heading to college with big eyes and even bigger ideas. It was 1985 and my first apartment was at Bush and Taylor Streets. At the time, it was known as the Tenderloin district, and to this day those who know the era and the locale, quiver at the thought of a young girl living there. I had a ‘studio‘ apartment, which is a word open to very liberal interpretation. It had a Murphy Bed that sprang from the wall, taking a new layer of paint with it, every time it made its arc from ceiling to floor. It was 400 square feet in it’s entirety, counting the fire escape which I used as a dish rack for my mismatched plates to dry, due to the fact there was no kitchen counter. I paid $450 a month. Today, those same apartments remain in the same spot, but, the neighborhood borders have shifted. What was once the Tenderloin is now Nob Hill, and that 400 feet is now $1950 a month, but it still has a Murphy Bed. I went to school by day and worked nights at Clown Alley on Montgomery, where I served hamburgers and fries to Vampires on the graveyard shift. Today the big clown head still overlooks the now trendy North Beach, but, the Alley itself, is a fast food chicken place. In 1985, minimum wage was $3.35 an hour, so it took a lot of burgers to pay the rent, but, I loved it. It was San Francisco and it was my dream. Ultimately I didn’t last long in San Francisco. My dad retrieved me from the corner of Bush & Taylor Streets, where I sat on my lone suitcase, dejected and dumbfounded that San Francisco, the city I had fantasized about for so many years, had in essence kicked my ass and kicked me out. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger making his escape from the doomed planet earth, I vowed that I too, would be back. I had to grow up and grow some cajones first, and now that I have, I am going back.
But before that, I have to say goodbye to LA. Being of East Coast sensibilities, it’s true when I say that there’s not really much I’ll miss about LA. Not the traffic, the lack of public transit or the smog. And believe it or not, I won’t miss the weather. But, there are a few things I will miss about this gargantuan concrete jungle, and those things were in the room with us on Tuesday night at Sonoma Wine Garden, in Santa Monica for our our Going Away Send Off. And what a send off it was. An amazing lineup of musicians, fire roaring in the background, stars overhead, it was the best of the best. There was so much beauty, love and creativity in that space. I had to write a thank you note here, in my little piece of the cyber universe.
I have a very old poster from the seventies; water damaged and yellowing around the edges. On it is a quote from Richard Bach’s book Illusions, which says; ‘Your friends will know you better in the first moment you meet, than your acquaintances will know you in a thousand lifetimes.’ It was a perfect sentiment for a perfect evening. Friends of all ages and generations, new and old came to toast and share Aloha.
The gift of Music:
Music is love in search of a word–Sidney Lanier
As I’ve mentioned before, Brett Young is not only an amazing Singer/Songwriter with a voice drenched in raw, sensual soul, he is one of the most giving, generous people you could ever know. It is his gentle spirit and genuine authenticity, that has always made him very special to those who have the opportunity to hear and meet him; and for me personally, it is a quality that sets him apart from many others in his field. Brett can be found every Tuesday night serenading the crowds under the stars at Sonoma Wine Garden, but on this night, he was running sound, setting up mics, bringing forth instruments from the cajon to a keyboard and hosting other musicians as they shared their gift of music with us. The live music at SWG, runs every Tuesday night from about 7:30-10:30. Huge thanks to SWG staff and management–(and Brett), for accommodating the evening with such grace and love, and allowing us to chill until the midnight hour. Words will never express my love, respect and appreciation for you Brett. Like I always say, when you rocket to the top, and you will—remember when! :-)
Dylan Chambers, who you may know from The Voice, busking on the Third Street Promenade, as an opener for the legendary Three Dog Night or performing in any of the top clubs in the area; wanted to stop by, guitar in hand and share. Problem was, he had another gig, SWG management arranged for Dylan to begin at 6:30. Thank you Horst, Anthony and Aurora! A word about Dylan: Greatness. This 19 year old Singer/Songwriter’s music ranges from soul-infused pop to rock and roll. He covers old school R&B with a depth of control and passion beyond his years. But it is his raw natural abilities and original material, that makes me–(and the rest of the audience), life long fans, who are honored to be on this journey of unfolding with him. Covering the Ryan Adams tune, New York, New York, followed by I Don’t Need No Doctor–(which has been covered countless times, but first recorded by Ray Charles), and his original tune-age, Just Because, thank you for coming out and dazzling us, for 45 minutes Dylan. People couldn’t stop talking about you. (BTW: I was asked in the ladies room, if you were spoken for?) Let me know! :-)
I always love waxing all things music with the massively talented Jay “Wallstreet” Ollero. Hailing from Chicago, with a background in Hip/Hop, production and mad songwriting skills, he always has an opinion on music, or a recommendation for a new artist I should check out. His current recommendation? Moi Navarro–who is, as Jay says, as nice and loving in person, as his voice is on the record. I didn’t know that he was going to be playing, but, once I saw his trademark cajon on stage, I was elated. Jay recently began performing his own music, with remarkable results. The multi-talented Ollero, makes ample use of his gifts as a writer and vocalist; blending an appealing ‘James Blunt sensitivity’ with a modern relevance, that fans of good music, lovingly appreciate. Jay performed solo and collaboratively with all the others. Thank you Jay. You rock our world.
At around 8p.m., longtime friend and colleague, Keaton Simons arrived, guitar in hand with lovely lady Laura, amped and ready to rock, after spending an inordinate amount of time on the 405 parking lot. To say that Keaton is a good musician is akin to saying that it gets a little wet in India during Monsoon season. His accolades and credits run the length of The Rogue River, each one well deserved; from a myriad of television and movie placements (Ghost Whisperer, Private Practice and the new hit, Alcatraz), appearances on late night talk shows, touring with REO Speedwagon and Pat Benatar, opening for Train, being a consistent staple of the Sundance and SXSW circuit, it is no exaggeration to say that I was beyond honored to have him spend this special evening with us. When he asked me how long I would like him to play for, I answered truthfully, that I could listen to him all night, which we did–until after midnight.
He opened with Masterpiece and swung into a Michael Jackson jam, which had the packed house on their feet and clapping in time. He played one of my favorite tunes, Lift Me Up, which was also one of my awesome PledgeMusic awards. Covering all his hits, The Medicicine, Beautiful Pain and Black & White, with the amazing Jay Ollero, the crowd would not leave. We were later told that it was the best Tuesday night ever. I couldn’t agree more.
HUGE thanks to Michael Colvin, who popped in for ONE song, then headed back to LAX to continue his trek. Thank you so much. And, the always fantastic Seth Kupersmith, who brings the keys to life in a magical way, joined the evening–and we thank you so much.
The gift of Film:
Memory… is the diary that we all carry about with us. ~Oscar Wilde, “The Importance of Being Earnest”
I have to give a huge thanks and shout out to James & Anthony Gaudioso, who came out to share a glass of bubbles and brought along their camera to capture the evening. James is an actor, who has appeared on American Horror Story, Medium, national commercials including Spike Lee and his series of NIKE ads in the nineties, and many more. His identical twin brother Anthony, is also no stranger to the camera, having appeared in CSI Miami, Nesting and an array of national television commercials, including this one. Awe guys, you know I had to share–(out of love, of course!) Huge thanks!
As young and accomplished directors, actors, writers and producers, I want to thank you Gaudioso Gents, for capturing and preserving these memories and this milestone for us.
Huge thanks to our friend, Joel Grossman, for taking these fantastic photos for us during the evening. Because we have been moving, we haven’t had time to edit the video–but, video is coming!
The gift of Gaines:
How do I thank my love, Gaines Coleman? Well, I can’t in these few sentences, but, I do plan to spend the rest of my life on that quest. Back up a few decades, when I was in my twenties. I thought I knew everything. As it turned out, I didn’t know crap. I tried my hand at dating, kissed a lot of toads and created a mess of my love life; My friend–(of nearly 30 years), ‘Nazi Girl‘ , one of those rare people who has understood me from the onset, advised me that one day I would find someone who ‘is going to love your inner freak’. I hoped she was right. But after earning two college degrees, traveling the world, living in the most amazing cities, raising a son as a single mother, holding a myriad of jobs, no ‘freak loving soul‘ emerged. So, it wasn’t that I gave up; I became a realist, resigning myself to the probability that I would grow into the crazy old lady with 86 cats, who still listened to Marilyn Manson records from her rocking chair, hearing aid in ear. My one hope was that when I died, my friends would have the good sense to bury me in my Foo Fighters shirt.
I was heading into the midlife stretch, when I met Gaines, perched on a bar stool in his button up shirt, book light in hand, deeply engrossed in what I would later learn is one of his passions; science fiction books. Skip forward to four years later, and here we are, moving to San Francisco to continue our amazing lives together. Loving Gaines has given me a second life; one that grows in my soul, warms every fiber in my being, with every beat of my heart, and continues in an immortal flow of energy that nourishes, extends and preserves. Its eternal goal is life. Thank you Gaines for being the first face I see when I wake up and the last face I see when I go to sleep.
Gaines’ family was present; from his lovely parents to Uncle Frankie; Brother Shawn and the elegant Ella. Uncle Frank and Gaines’ parents got roped into helping clear out my ‘music collection’, which has been stored in a shed for the past few years. No small feat, I might add–but, how happy I am to be reunited with all my boxes of eighties vinyl, nineties CD’s and back to millennium vinyl. Garth never sounded so good.
Bob Melcheski, sent us off in style with our new matching San Francisco 49′er’s hats, which delighted me to no end, and made me stroll down memory lane, when my uncle Bud and I attended all the Niner’s games, including one Super Bowl, over twenty years ago; how I met Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Steve Young–(when he was still first string rookie) and attended the training camp, then located in Rocklin, California with RC Owens. Looking forward to being in those stands again. Thanks for the memories, old and new, Bob.
We want to thank everyone who was able to come out. Even if you weren’t there, you were with us in spirit. We are truly blessed to have so many friends, and I am reminded, once again, of a quote by Richard Bach: Don’t be dismayed by good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.
To our future meetings!!
Heather & Gaines
About Heather Jacks
Vixen of Vocabulary who likes to wax poetic about the world of street art, music,busking and all things indie. She has earned two college degrees, traveled extensively and written three books. She is currently finishing the multi-media project, The Noise Beneath the Apple Art-Style Book, to be released in NYC, Spring 2013.