Stompin at the Rainbow
So the Rainbow Gardens Ballroom started having more rock and roll/r and b shows, and continued on. In 1964, though I didn't go there anymore as the place was gone and I was miles away, they had Mark Guerrerro
(that's Mark and the Escorts) who mentions one of his earlier gigs there, and his big gig pay starting out at $5 a show. (I missed Mark and the Escorts in July 1964 playing at Claremont High and the Rainbow Gardens as I was studying at Berkeley by then, the second summer session, although at the end of June that year I had seen Don Vliet perform on a small abandoned football field at the Claremont Colleges, almost his stage debut in town.
Here's an old photograph of the inside
of the Rainbow Gardens (though it didn't have all that drapery over the stage as I recall.)
This is where I saw Frank Zappa dance for the second time in my life. And he by all reports I've heard since never danced (or if he did, not too much nor often.)
There's a lot to write about the Rainbow Gardens. Because it was famous as a big band club in the '40s, but run by Mexicans (here's an book excerpt on Cande Mendoza
)* and they pretty much were convinced no Anglos went there, or knew about it, or just ignored it, and everyone would have to keep the surrounding streets cleaned up after shows so as not to piss off the white city fathers of Pomona).
*(A World of Its Own
: Race, Labor, and Citrus in the Making of Greater Los Angeles, 1900-1970
By Matt Garcia
Univ of North Carolina Press
, 2001 - Social Science
- 330 pages
And citrus was HUGE in Southern California of the time, although not so much today.
Anyway, as I said in an earlier post I was becoming "political" at Berkeley but not entirely humorless, I don't think. And I floated on the edges of a little theatrical troupe that eventually was known as "The San Francisco Mime Troupe" (which absolutely no one to this day outside of San Francisco seems to have heard of, that's how famous we became. And they haven't heard about the Magic Theater, either, and wouldn't give a rat's ass if I told stories about Ronnie throwing a cup of coffee on a competing company's director, they just couldn't relate to it, or pea shooters, or pies in the face, I mean any of it. It's like a turf thing, and only San Francisco knows about us at all because everywhere South of let's say San Jose is "Hollywood" media.)
So I have been obliged to create yet another blog, where I am tracing the history of the San Francisco Mime Troup as I know it, and of course I mention other things like flying saucers, Ezra Pound, and so on. And mathematics, and maybe a little bit about space science. I have to explain I go to all this trouble because I believe out there somewhere a real social historian will arise who needs some of this information to make a point or something.
There is a postcard photo in the digital collection of the Rainbow Gardens in the Pomona Library that I can't access, which I find frustrating/ http://content.ci.pomona.ca.us/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/Frasher&CISOPTR=4788&CISOBOX=1&REC=3
(Stompin' at the Rainbow, PART TWO!!!)
And all of this will give you some flavor of the times, and help explain WHY Frank Zappa, in his early years at least, always insisted on "Louie Louie" as an audition piece for prospective musicians (because the song was imbedded in the cultural zeitgeist of the times as a marking point). The Mixtures did a strange blend of songs, everything from "Turkey Time" to "Besame Mucho" and played the Rainbow Gardens every single Friday night for a time.