If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ve probably been wondering when the next Save Music in Chinatown event would be coming up. Yes, the music program at Castelar Elementary is still defunded. And as our daughter enters second grade, my wife and I are ushering in a third year of benefit concerts. As usual, it will have a totally loaded lineup.
Our September 27 matinee will feature three bands with kick-ass musicians who happen to have played in other cool groups. The co-headliners include Sean Wheeler & Zander Schloss (Throw Rag, Circle Jerks, Joe Strummer, Thelonious Monster, Weirdos), Upset (Vivian Girls, Best Coast, Hole, La Sera, Slutever), and California (Jawbreaker, J Church, Whysall Lane, Pinhead Gunpowder, Monsula, Green Day, The Influents, The Insides).
And then there are the solo sets by Rachel Haden (from That Dog and Haden Triplets, playing with a special guest) and Steve Soto (who was advertised to play for us last year but actually brought a full, unannounced set with his bandmates The Adolescents). Plus DJing by Atomic Nancy, who will be bringing her stash of 45s from the jukebox of the legendary Little Tokyo punk club The Atomic Cafe. Whoa!
You might think putting on shows could become tedious after doing it for a couple of years, but we purposely keep them small and fun and it’s always blast seeing stellar lineups come together for the cause. And I love that we’re not only helping mostly blue-collar, immigrant students receive music education at the inner-city school but also expose the handful of kids who attend our shows to DIY culture. It’s enlightening for them to see badass musicians lugging in their own gear to play our humble gigs, and it wipes out the barrier between the stage and audience that they perceive at bigger shows. Hopefully it’s empowering for children to see that lame parents like us can help make something cool happen, as well.
Did I mention how much I love our new location at the Grand Star Jazz Club? For our events to take place in Chinatown’s main plaza, practically next door to the Hong Kong Cafe and Madame Wong’s where so many first-generation punk and post-punk bands played, means a lot to me. It’s that original, underground scene that has inspired our series of benefits and I love it when certain bands tell me stories about the neighborhood’s punk rock past (overlapping with my immigrant grandparents’ and in-laws’ past there) and then proceed to take part in a new tradition and create new memories.
Please join us on Sunday, September 27. Tickets are only 12 bucks in advance (15 at the door if we don’t sell out) and kids under 12 are free. The bake sale is always amazing, the coffee will be strong, and the raffle will be loaded with cool stuff, too. Please help us spread the word and we hope to see you there!