09 March 2012
From the HAMB:
Scarlett Fever is an annual benefit that exists to give support to Scarlett James, an incredibly brave eighteen year old Bay Area native who is leading a very difficult life. At a young age, Scarlett was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome, a disorder of the nervous system that leaves it’s victims, almost exclusively girls, unable to walk, talk or feed themselves. They need twenty-four hour a day care because of the horrible seizures and breathing difficulties associated with this only recently officially recognized affliction.
Luckily, Scarlett is part of an amazing family, as well as an entire subculture that knows how to take care of their own. She is an official member of The Road Lords car club, who boast over 50 members with 5 chapters spread out over both coasts. They truly function as a family, and Scarlett is very much everyone’s adopted daughter or little sister.
Scarlett Fever benefits take place on both coasts, The San Francisco show is always held at the DNA Lounge in March, while Scarlett Fever East is held in June at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, and is hosted by the New Jersey and New York Road Lords chapters. The outpouring of love and support for these successful events has been nothing short of miraculous and awe-inspiring. So, while Scarlett Fever is indeed a benefit, it feels much more like a celebration. While there is no cure for Rett Syndrome and those affected do lead tremendously diminished lives, Scarlett’s parents Bob and Rosa decided long ago that they were going to give their daughter the best life possible, and this event is the living embodiment of that pledge.
Top bands, burlesque performers and even authentic Hawaiian dancers all line up to contribute their unique talents, and the auctions at these events have become the stuff of legend. Mike Ness, a long time friend of the family and Scarlett’s Godfather, dutifully sends autographed guitars to both shows. Local builder and co-sponsor Skoty Chops spends the months leading up to the event building custom bicycles and pedal cars to be auctioned off. Top kustom kulture artists and pin stripers like Keith Weesner, Mr. Wim, Jeff Norwell, Egge, Jeff Allison, Speedcult, Rich Luna, Steve Caballero, Dirty Donny, Pizz, Terry T-Bonez and countless others have contributed art, while The Rodder’s Journal, Mooneyes, Gambino Customs, Trophy Queen, Behind Bars Inc., Cole Foster, and many other car clubs including the Burbank Choppers, Dragoons, Poor Boys, Rumblers, and Piratas M/C have also sent in various contributions, all proceeds generated by these donations go to much needed therapy and medical supplies.
In the end, that may be what makes Scarlett Fever so unique. With any other charity, you never really know where your donation is going. Here, you not only meet Scarlett, you become an extended member of the family yourself, and can truly see her progress. You are making a difference in this very special person’s life, and you’ll have a great time doing so, a win/win situation if there ever was one. – Mike LaVella
It's a great show for a great cause, I'll be there. You can buy tickets online:
It's at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco:
375 Eleventh Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
See you there!
06 March 2012
I started the week pretty upset that my car wasn't going to be ready for the show. I had been working like crazy to make it, stressing every little detail, and trying to get every last thing dialed in but ultimately I didn't make it. This was going to be my first big show as a Boulevardo, and I was going without a car. Nevertheless, Josie and I opted to make the drive to Southern California in my dad's pickup truck, and we headed down I-5.
It has been way too long since the two of us took a trip together, and it felt great to be on the road again, even if it wasn't in the coolest vehicle. We left town in such a frantic rush that I had forgotten why we were leaving in the first place, that is, until I heard the familiar rumble of an old Lincoln in the distance...
We cruised alongside Memo for a bit, never quite sure if he realized it was us in this unfamiliar truck. All of a sudden I didn't feel like we were alone in this, having people to share the freeway with made the long and boring drive feel like just another cruise. We debated slowing down for a while to cruise together but ultimately decided to keep our pace and make it to LA as quick as possible. It was great to see his car in action, but we were in a hurry.
The drive down I-5 past there blurred together, as it always does, as an endless chain of orchards, fast food, and truck stops from Tracy to Bakersfield, but before long we were over the Grapevine and heading quick towards our destination. It had been hours since we saw Memo's headlights fade in the rear view, and we had been alone again on the freeway for some time now.
We made it over the Grapevine, and after a while we started seeing road signs for streets that are legends in our world; Downey, Whittier, these streets have become bigger in our collective minds then anyone ever could have imagined. In the (surprisingly light) Southern California traffic I saw the unmistakeable roofline of a 60's American car down the way, but couldn't quite make it out. As we got closer, the shape became a little more familiar, and when the bellflower tips let out a loud rap as it let off the gas there was no mistaking it-- that was Bob's Buick in the distance! We were here.
We had made it, we were amongst friends again. I chased and weaved through traffic like a mad man to catch up, and quickly saw Eryk's 53 Olds was leading the cruise.
It's a hell of a feeling to be six hours from home, surrounded for hours by nothingness in complete anonymity and then to suddenly find yourself barreling down the freeway in good company. Even though I was in a modern truck, I still felt like I was a part of something. To cruise with my friends and my club down the Los Angeles freeway, listening to the Santa Ana winds carry the rap of straight pipes through into the stratosphere, I felt at home. We followed Eryk and Bob to SoCal Burger, where we were met by even more familiar faces and cars in the parking lot.
We hung out for as much as out we could handle after the long drive from the Bay Area, then called it a night and headed back to the hotel for a few hours sleep. It felt great to be amongst friends in an otherwise strange and foreign place; seeing those guys on the freeway had made me feel right at home.
The next day, after a little confusion, I found myself at the gate to the Santa Fe Dam with Alex and Nick waiting for the Park Rangers to open up and let us take over.
After a bit, the rest of the LBCC crew was in the park and we started setting up, ready for a long day of good times with the bonus of raising a little money for the Children's Hospital of LA.
Apparently, even tough we had cleared the BBQ with the park, since the Dam is county property, there's an entirely different permitting process for a "car show", so after a bit of arguing with the "period correct" dickbag LA County Sheriffs, we compromised and moved the club merch and raffle prizes to the trunks of cars and the bed of a truck.
Apparently, it's ok to sell things without a permit in a county park so long as the process is entirely inconvenient. Either way, we didn't let the police presence put a damper on our day, and despite some harassment and egregious fines for some participants, the Sheriffs let the show go on sans music and hood-popping (seriously-- there was a threat that they'd clear the parking lot if they saw hoods popped. Welcome back to High School.)
The weather was amazing, the sky was bright and open, and if you looked up long enough you could ignore the bullshit on the ground and take in some killer scenery in the background of some amazing cars. I love this show, and I hope we can find a home for it that's as deserving of these peoples cars and presence. The crowd at this show was amazing, not the type of stereotypes you hear about at "LA" car shows. Well, for the most part-- a Rap Troupe of some sort rolled through at one point and shot a video amongst our cars. Aside from that, it was a chill weekend with friends, and we raised a good deal of money for a good cause.
This car has recently undergone a massive transformation and really looks great. Nice work guys:
One of the highlights of the show was handing out the Club Pick award to the white and gold 56 Chevy from the Auto Butchers Car Club that everyone knows so well by now. I didn't get a chance to take it's picture this time (in fact, from looking at other peoples show coverage I missed a TON of cool stuff), but the look on the face of the owner really made my day.
This is the type of guy that we all aspire to be like some day, an aged vetrano that still takes his car out and drives it hard and consistently no matter what the flavor-of-the-month trend is. I love this car, and I love that I see it at almost any show from here to the East Coast.
After the raffle, Josie and I ducked out quick to make it to an art gallery in Hollywood before they closed to pick up some amazing prints.
We also got to stop into Kat Von D's "Wonderland" shop, which was pretty damn cool despite all the Reality TV hubbub that surrounds it.
After all that, we hopped back in the truck, and headed home up 101, looking forward to getting the Buick back on the road and daydreaming about driving it down next year. Thanks to everyone who came out and made this weekend so memorable, we had a great time. Thanks for reading.