The Downtown Report: Mid October 2020

Can’t See the Forest

Politics, pandemic and pessimism have invaded our souls and it’s hard to notice the good things happening all around us.  Nobody is immune and even the smallest of problems seem larger than life, and many feel as if  “Everything is a hassle!” We can all relate—and yet…

As mentioned here before, my family volunteered to help plant trees at Hillcrest Park on Arbor Day 2018 and we were given a Jacaranda to plant just above the restored fountain. My sisters and I grew up with a huge Jacaranda in our front yard and we named the new tree Syd after our late Dad, who loved the tree, most of the year. Anyone who has a Jacaranda, our official city tree, knows what I am talking about. It was a happy day and we knew we would be able to visit it for many years to come in the park he introduced us to when we were very young. Life goes on.

On August 6, I decided to park my car in the lot above and take the short hike to the tree. I discovered yet another reason to hate 2020, the tree appeared to be on its last legs. I notified our Public Works Department and wow. They did some rescue work, and I recently took a follow-up photo. A ray of hope, a reason for optimism, a tree in the forest.

Kerry Wright

Making a habit of taking multiple walks every day to get away from my desk and computer screen led me to stop in and visit with Kerry Wright in his ‘SoCo’ shop quite often. At times, same as me, he did not like being interrupted, but he always welcomed me. I think he knew I would leave if I sensed he was in the middle of something that needed his full attention. I moved my office to another downtown location a few years before he left, but still always found time to visit.

Kerry Wright. Photo by Nathan Fawley.

Kerry just passed away unexpectedly and left a long list of friends and musicians behind. It seemed appropriate to have them say a few words about their friend, as well. Kerry was the best at his craft, working for the famous to the locals who heard about him. They all knew they could count on him. So long friend. Here are a few comments.

“The world lost another friend. Kerry was the master builder of amplifier cabinets for the biggest artists in the music industry. He and Eddie Van Halen (who passed away Oct. 6) worked together to build his custom cabinets for tour and many of you saw them at The Namm Show in years past. Kerry was a dear friend and his life, legacy, and impact in the music industry needed to be shared. Rest in peace my friend. Godspeed.” Nathan Fawley, Duesenberg Guitars.

Kerry Wright. Photo by Nathan Fawley.

“Kerry Wright was a friend, a listener, a doer, a problem solver, an imaginer, a craftsman, an artist, and more. He commented on, collaborated on, and built for me many of my inventions and tools of the trade. I am a builder of instruments, specifically of voices. He was a builder of instruments meant to express all of what the voice could not. I will close my eyes and imagine the torch he carried. If feels like if I don’t, I will never again see that torch he carried. God Bless you, Kerry, you are well loved, remembered, and celebrated.” Eric Futterer, Fullerton musician, the force behind the Muckenthaler Jazz Series, and vocal teacher.

“I was always amazed at the amount of details, persistence, and dedication he put into making a cab or refurbishing a piece of wood. He was sharp and knew his stuff. NEVER forgot anything, any important details or dates. Most of all I miss the camaraderie, the stories, the way he framed them, the places you would envision as he told the story. I miss my co-worker and friend. I didn’t really get to say goodbye.” Conrad Viva, who worked with Kerry in the shop he moved to in Anaheim.

New in Town

Frame Coffee had their Grand Opening on October 10 and of course they offer many types of coffee, espresso, americano, batch brew until 11am, lattes and teas, plus house-made ice cream, and more. Outdoor seating. Stop in soon and say hi to Michelle Kang. Located at 817 N. Harbor.

Les Amis Restaurant and Lounge, in addition to their popular Lebanese fare, now serves breakfast on Saturday and Sunday, and as you know, they have plenty of outdoor seating. 128 W. Wilshire.

Photo Quiz

Where was this located and what is it?

1 reply »

  1. There was one at the Northeast Corner of Spadra and Glenwood that was moved in 1941. That was done when My grandfather and Father moved McAulay & Suters Mortuary, now McAulay & Wallace where it is today. If there was more than one of these Ice Cream shops this might be somewhere else. Somewhere, someone in my family has a video of the giant Ice Cream Cone being loaded on a truck.