Thursday night the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium was transformed into a glittering spectacle as actors, musicians, sports heroes, astronauts, authors, and politicians strutted down the red carpet, for the 2011 California Hall of Fame ceremonies. It was a scene right out of Hollywood.
The auditorium was bathed in purple with a dazzling array of lights, complete with television cameras and photographers covering the red carpet arrival of Clint Eastwood, Rob Lowe, Magic Johnson, General Chuck Yeager, Governor Brown, and more. To complete the ambiance of a Hollywood event there were police mounted on horseback and searchlights lighting up the night sky.
The California Hall of Fame was created in 2006 with the help of former first lady Maria Shriver, to help raise money for the California Museum. Now in its fifth year its welcoming inductees from all walks of life, including a man who walked on the moon and a man who’s so tall he can almost touch the moon, or dribble it.
The honorees this year were guitar great Carlos Santana, music legend the Beach Boys, novelists Amy Tan, NBA great Magic Johnson, civil rights leader Ed Roberts, Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn, community activist Father Gregory Boyle, Gap founders Doris and Donald Fisher, Supreme Court Justice Roger Traynor (posthumous award), and Buzz Lightyear.
Ooops! Did I say Buzz Lightyear? I meant to say Buzz Aldrin ““ you know, the other guy who walked on the moon. I think he taught Michael Jackson how to moon walk too, but I digress.
I was lucky enough to be one of the many photographers manning the red carpet. I will say I was extremely upset that Carlos Santana was the only no show on the red carpet. He decided to sneak in the back way and avoid the red carpet altogether ““ wimp, but still a great guitar player.
As Magic Johnson made his way up the carpet you could hear kids screaming “Magic, Magic, Magic,” getting his attention. Thankfully my good friend Charr Crail, taking her cue from the kids, started chanting “Magic, Magic, Magic,” quite loudly I might add, so we finally got our photo-op with the gentle giant. Thanks Charr!
Magic was asked by a local reporter what he thought about California. He basically said it’s a great state because of the great people who live here, the weather, and we have great politicians from the Governor, to Mayor Johnson and to the mayor in Los Angeles. Sounds like Magic may be politicking.
Governor Brown said we have Google, Facebook, Twitter, HP, and Apple. He went on to say that people don’t come to California to do what’s already been done, but to create what hasn’t happened yet, to dream.
General Chuck Yeager was by far the most entertaining, jovial, and just an all-around great guy. With his daughter in toe, he went from one group of journalist to the next. His daughter had a tough time keeping up with him. It was as if he was still flying jets. At one point he came back out of the auditorium, so that he could meet his heroes the Beach Boys.
It was a fun time had by all. Well maybe not Santana, but we’ll never know, since he didn’t share.
Today was Tesla’s day! No literally.
Honoring 25 years of making music and Sacramento history, Sacramento’s Mayor Kevin Johnson presented rock legends Tesla the key to the city. The location – The Rock and Radio Museum housed in the old Oasis Ballroom where Tesla got their start over 25 years ago. In fact, it’s the same location where Frank Hannon discovered lead singer Jeff Keith so many years ago.
Brian Wheat (bass), Frank Hannon (guitar), Jeff Keith (lead singer), Troy Luccketta (drums), and Dave Rude (guitar) were all on hand for the ceremony.
While Tesla knew they were being awarded the key to the city, they were unaware that Mayor Johnson was also going to officially declare today, December 7th, Tesla Day.
The Tesla crew immediately wanted to know if they were going to get December 7th off from now on.
Each band member approached the podium to thank Sacramento and Mayor Johnson, leading off with Wheat.
Frank Hannon wanted to make certain he thanked 98 Rock’s Pat Martin for working so diligently to get the band back together.
Keith got a little choked up as he was thanking everyone and reminiscing of when they first met back at the Oasis Ballroom. His voice still sounded a little scratchy as he’s still recovering from losing his voice. By the way the new dates for their postponed shows at Ace of Spades are January 27th and January 28th.
Troy and Dave really didn’t want to say anything, but they were “talked” into saying a few words. Troopers!
Tesla’s key to the city makes nine keys to the city that Mayor Johnson has awarded. Tesla joins Olympic winner Michael Phelps, jazz musician Wynton Marsalis, artist Greg Kondos, Hero pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, artist Wayne Thiebaud, Grant High School football team, pastor Ephraim Williams, author Thomas Friedman, all awarded keys to the city under Mayor Johnson.
Don’t forget to checkout Tesla’s latest album Twisted Wires! It demonstrates why they are the ones credited for bringing unplugged to the forefront of the music world.
Dennis Newhall curator of the Sacramento Rock and Radio museum wants to get the word out about the museum. They’re looking for any piece of rock memorabilia from the past in the Sacramento area. Anything, ticket stubs, matchbooks, posters, etc. They are collecting all of these under one roof to keep the memories alive. You can donate by contacting Dennis at firstname.lastname@example.org.