It was a balmy Los Angeles summer night June 25th as Cartwheel presented “A Red Hot Night of Art, Film & Music” featuring Fishbone and John Scarpati. The evening began with a meet-up at La Luz de Jesus Gallery to view Scarpati’s Smash, Cramp & Burn” photos at the gallery’s pop-up event, then continued three blocks east to the Barnsdall Gallery Theater, located next to the Los Angeles Municipal Gallery at the beautiful Barnsdall Art Park on the eastern edge of Hollywood bordering Los Feliz.
Organized to continue the festivities for photographer John Scarpati while he was in Los Angeles following the June 22 opening reception for his “Cramp, Slash and Burn” photo exhibition at La Luz de Jesus Gallery, the night included festivities surrounding Fishbone who Scarpati photographed extensively, and was also a benefit for Surfers Healing-A Foundation for Autism, a non-profit organization which enhances the lives of autistic children.
Upon arrival at “A Red Hot Night’s” Barnsdall location, attendees checked out the the wonderful donations on silent auction for Surfer’s Healing. Included in the auction was a limited edition signed Scarpati “Cramp, Slash and Burn” book, works of art by Scott Michael Ackerman, Samair Armstrong, Lydia Emily, Matjames Metson, Annie Preece, Radical! and Xany Rudoff. As the night celebrated the transformative power of Southern California art, music and recreation, many of the other auction items reflect skate and surf culture. Along with surf and skate gear like an Ozoboard stand up paddle board 606 from Ozoboards, a groovy Green Heart surfboard from Green Heart Surfboards, a hoodie and hats from Harbor Surfboards, and a Sector 9 skate board courtesy of Sector 9, Papilles Bistro in Hollywood donated dinner for two; and Pacific Edge Hotel in Laguna Beach donated the use of a private beach cabana for day, including complimentary food. Clothing items included a $100 gift certificate from Clever Vintage Clothing, and Alex Maine’s tee shirts and hoodie.
Recently, John Scarpati’s photographs of Fishbone, taken for their first album, were accepted into the Smithsonian’s permanent collection. To celebrate the occasion, the movie “Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone” was screened. The film tells the tale of Fishbone, the Los Angeles-based all black band that tasted success in the late 80’s and early 90’s, blending punk, ska, funk, soul and rock music. Five of the six original members were South Central residents who were bused to school in the San Fernando Valley, which greatly contributed to their multidimensional Los Angeles sound and anti-racist politics.
When their song “Everyday Sunshine” hit radio and MTV, an in-group drama involving kidnapping charges stemming from a failed intervention to bring a troubled guitarist Kendall Jones back into the band signaled the beginning of the end to the group’s anticipated rise to fame. However, with the loss of major-label support and a changing roster (only two original founding band-members, John Norwood Fisher and Angelo Moore remain) Fishbone still plays and tours. “Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone” is a fast-paced almost time-lapse look at this very unique group and their ups and downs, as well as an exploration of Los Angeles culture and hsitory.
Fishbone’s Moore and Fisher were on hand for the event, participating in a spirited Q&A along with John Scarpati, answering the audience’s questions about the film, their past and present, and their experiences during the legendary Scarpati photo shoot. It was revealed, sadly, that the original negatives and prints submitted to Columbia Records were possibly damaged and are most certainly missing from the label’s archives.
After the Q&A, the crowd was treated to live music with a set from from Norwood’s current Venice Beach reggae tinged group BRAW featuring Rae Rae on vocals, Crash on guitar and Terry Harrison on drums. Soulful hip-hop laced performances from DJ Peyote Cody, Eric McFaden and Sheila Brody (who sings with George Clinton and P-Funk) closed out a very memorable Red Hot Night of Art, Film & Music!
— Photos and text by Lee Joseph – edited by Lisa Derrick