When Kangagi and I hit up the Riverside Pride Festival in White Park last month (mentioned in my previous post), my mom and dad decided to join us. Much to my surprise--totally embarrassing, actually--my folks knew more queers at the festival than I did, from a would-be Project Runway contestant who made it deep into the casting rounds, to the middle-aged dyke who ruled the hand stamp check. We were the wallflowers, and they were the ones ass-bumping, cheek-kissing and saying howdy to every queer in town. [Left: Mom, Dad and me, ca. 1979].
For a minute I wondered if it was all due to the fact that their last name is DYKES (yes--that is my stepfather's real last name), but as Kangagi and I quickly realized, their inroads to the scene actually come from their church, the Riverside Community Center for Spiritual Living in Fairmont Park near downtown. This queer positive, predominantly African-American church (which hosted a booth at the pride festival), is where my dad has been the musical director for nearly a decade. And it's the community that nurtured my mom through her recent battle with cancer, from surgery to chemo to recovery. Even as I was frantically driving east on the 60 FWY in the morning hours of my mom's epic surgery, Rev. Lee was there with my dad and grandmother to pray with mom and soothe her nerves as she went under, and to help bolster our collective hope that everything would be OK.
This Sunday, October 26 at 7pm, mom and dad, my uncle, smooth Jazz dude Boy Katindig, and all of their musical colleagues and friends will "pay it forward" (if you will) by performing at a major fundraiser for the church. The "Raise the Roof Benefit Big Band Concert" will help raise funds for structural repairs to the building, as well help continue funding programs like the center's PFLAG meetings, youth choir, spiritual retreats and day to day operations. Many friends and family are already coming to participate in the festivities, which include fine dining at Mario's downtown, a silent auction, etc. The fam and I are profoundly moved by the generosity of our friends and colleagues, not only with their dollaz in this time of economic uncertainty, but also with their time. Join us if you can!
Mom's new CD (with the I.E. Based Skipper Productions jazz label curated by jazz bass legend, Henry Franklin), will also be available at the concert in advance of its official release date on October 30th. Titled NO MORE BLUES, it features some of my folks' favorite bossa nova and straight-ahead jazz standards. If you can't make it to the show and would like to buy a CD, just email mom at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll also post here when the disc is available on iTunes and other sites like Rhapsody and Last FM. Here's a little preview of their first single, the Antonio Carlos Jobim classic, "Triste":
Otherwise, we hope to see you at the show!
The Inland Emperor
Raise the Roof II - A Benefit Big Band Concert
Sunday, October 26, 2008 - 7pm
General Admission, $25
3891 Ridge Road | Riverside, CA 92501 | Tickets: 951.683.2343
Rollin' deep in the heart of the I.E. through the gnarled concrete arteries of 60+10+91 east to neon sunsets and Naugles, Taco Tia, the Mad/Friendly/Happy or Lucky Greek,The Menagerie, Spanky's, Butch's Grinders, The Denny's Cocktail Lounge at Hardman Center (in pace requiescat). We spell Paris P-E-R-R-I-S, bitches!