House of Blues Bids Farewell to Hollywood with a Night of Oneness

House of Blues Hollywood (Photo by Lenny Trujillo)

House of Blues Hollywood (Photo by Lenny Trujillo)

On Sunday evening, July 12th, the city of Hollywood bid a fond farewell to The House of Blues with ‘A Night of Oneness.’ The benefit concert was held to support an emergency fund for Full-Circle Learning Preschool, which creates educational access for migrant families in Ventura County, CA, and Oneness’ upcoming series of musical empowerment projects for youth in several locations nationwide, which includes Los Angeles, CA, Baltimore, MD and Pine Ridge, S.D.

Hosted by ‘The Office’ cast member Oscar Nunez and comedienne/actress Nikea Gamby-Turner, the event began at 5 pm with a silent auction that featured one-of-a-kind music memorabilia from iconic music artists such as Michael Jackson, Janis Joplin, Carlos Santana, Alan Parsons and a special series of original artwork from young Baltimore muralists, in addition to other unique items.

Notwithstanding, it was music that took center stage that Sunday evening, with an exciting, eclectic mix of genres.  The musical performers included “reggae royalty” Bambaata Marley (grandson of the legendary Bob Marley),  American Idol favorite Allison Iraheta (featuring her band Halo Circus) Grammy-winning producer KC Porter, debuting his pan-Latin band project ‘Cruzanderos’, power trio Heliotrope ( featuring former members of WAR and Tower of Power) singer-songwriter and TED speaker Chris Pierce; multicultural LA band The Bricks (originally formed during a Oneness youth project) and introducing  pop vocalist Samantha Elizondo, who performed her own, original songs as well as closing out the show with her exciting, full Mariachi band.

However, in spite of the dazzling array of visual arts and warm, vibrant music that the evening served up, for many patrons it proved to be a bittersweet affair as they came to grips with the fact that The House of Blues, a beloved and vital part of the Los Angeles music scene for the past twenty years, will be closing its doors forever at the end of this Summer. Observed one middle-aged gentleman, “It’s hard for me to believe that tonight is gonna be one of the final shows here! I’ve been coming here since it first opened its doors. I’m sure gonna miss this place!”

Other patrons took their final walk around the venue’s unique exterior, commenting on how much its disappearance will deprive West Hollywood of its colorful, unique landscape. “Well, there goes another landmark!” noted a thirty-something patron, as she downed her drink. “”Unity In Diversity!” declared another patron, reciting the venue’s famous motto as she lifted her bottled water in salute. It was a “short but sweet” fitting
farewell to both the night’s festivities and to one of Los Angeles’ truly classic venues.

All photos by Lenny Trujillo

Oneness, a 501 nonprofit organization, is dedicated to the elimination of racism and the promotion of unity through music, the arts and education. Full-Circle Learning brings a strong academic and character-building foundation to children at special learning sites around the world.

Shirley Pena

About Shirley Pena

A native of Southern California, Shirley Pena began her career as a music journalist over a decade ago, writing for her websites "Stars In My Eyes:the Girlhowdy Website" and "La Raza Rock!" and progressed to creating various fan sites on Yahoo, including the first for New Zealand singer/songwriter Tim Finn. From there, she became a free agent, arranging online interviews for Yahoo fan clubs with various music artists (Andy White, John Crawford, Debora Iyall, John Easdale, etc.). She also lent her support in creating and moderating a number of Yahoo fan clubs for various music artists from the 1990s-today. As a music journalist, Shirley Pena has contributed to a number of magazines (both hard copy and online), among them:Goldmine, American Songwriter, the Fresno Examiner, The Blacklisted Journalist and UK-based Keyboard Player (where she was a principal journalist). A self-confessed "fanatic" of 1960s "British Invasion" bands, Classic Rock and nostalgic "Old Hollywood ", she also keeps her finger on the pulse of current trends in music, with a keen eye for up and coming artists of special merit. Shirley Pena loves Los Angeles, and is thrilled to join the writing staff of The Los Angeles Beat!
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