Janis Joplin performed twice at the Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino. A year earlier, for the 50th anniversary of the singer’s death on October 4, 1970, I wrote about the two concerts I performed—April 27, 1968 and March 28, 1969—after making a request to readers who wanted a Or went for one to the other to contact me.
After six months and 75 columns, a reader called to say he had seen and liked my original request for stories. In news like life, timing is everything, and there was no good excuse to run a Joplin item in April.
But as the 51st anniversary of Joplin’s death was approaching, I called Olivia Harris back. She was as surprised to hear from me six months late as I was to hear from her six months late.
To set the scene, Harris, then 19 and a Grand Terrace resident, went on the swing at least once, before going to a Joplin concert with his sister-in-law, Susan Vega, to see the godfather of soul James Brown. 28 March 1969.
Arriving early, he soon saw a local disc jockey who was involved in the concert. He knew the good looking Vega and, perhaps to impress her, asked the two if they would like to go backstage. sure why not?
They were shown in a lounge where the singer was nowhere to be found as evidence, but eight of her or her friends were sitting in a circle on the floor, talking. Harris and Vega join them and are impressed by their friendship. Just then a door opened and Joplin entered.
“We never thought we’d meet him,” Harris recalls, still a little awkward. “Suddenly, here he is.”
Joplin sat down and passed a bottle of her favorite liqueur, Southern Comfort. Harris didn’t normally drink wine but took a sip to be polite.
The opening act Lee Michaels could be heard from the backstage area. “I’m better than that, right?” Joplin asked her friends, who assured the famous Insecure singer that she was. Harris says: “He needed reinforcements.”
Harris told Joplin that she was thinner than she appeared in the photos. This must have gone well, as the pair spoke at some length – “she was very nice and soft spoken” – and later walked off the edge of the stage as Michaels performed. The audience did not see Joplin, but they soon heard him.
“She screamed and everyone laughed,” Harris says. “Lee Michaels was upset. She felt like she was getting in the way of her performance.”
Almost unbelievably, Harris and Vega left Swing before Joplin and his band took the stage.
“We didn’t stick around for concerts,” admits Harris. For the teenage Joplin fan, the whole experience was somewhat overwhelming.
“It was such a big deal to me. It was great to meet her,” says Harris, a now retired gas company employee who lives in the Redlands. “She was such a part of our era.”
He. And she crosses it too; She is my favorite female singer. So I was happy to have a reason to write about her and not want Olivia Harris’ encounter to go untold.
Finally, my 50th anniversary on Janis Joplin’s Inland Empire Voyages is complete—just in time for the 51st anniversary.
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At Rancho Cucamonga, Jackie Amsler was the kind of woman who could carry out events, most notably the Grape Harvest Festival and the Founders Day Parade. After moving to the city in 1982, she became the city’s first woman president of the Chamber of Commerce and served as a library trustee.
Amsler died on September 25, a few days before her 81st birthday, in Nebraska, where she and her husband Don retired.
I knew her because she was the marketing director for the Daily Bulletin, my employer, for almost 25 years. She loved history, our newspaper and our cities.
Once I had an outside town in our area called “there” he schooled me; He rightly said, that all the cities we covered were “here”. That hugging attitude has stayed with me.
So is the memory of her gentle persuasion, undoubtedly a key factor in how she made events a success, and the broad smile that graced her face.
Speaking of strong women, Chino Valley Soroptimists completed 65 years with an open house Thursday night. I fell. The chapter was established in 1956, once owned its own clubhouse and continues to provide mentorship, sisterhood and scholarships, including for women who wish to return to college later in life.
State Sen. Connie Leva of Chino was there to present a resolution praising the club’s decades of work. “Even my husband says, if you want to get the (expective) done, you ask a woman,” Leva said. That salty sorooptimist.
Michelle Becerra, a fourth grade teacher at Norco’s Sierra Vista Elementary, competed on the “Wheel of Fortune” on September 15, correctly filling out Happy Customer on the bonus round — guessing six of the 13 letters — and totaling $66,000, As well as collecting a Caribbean vacation. (Thanks to reader Mike Murphy for the tip.) Becerra was playing during the show’s Teachers Week—and as its misogynistic theology proves, teachers are needed now more than ever.
The September 25 “California Fall Top 40” travel feature had four Inland Empire destinations, all in the Mojave Desert: Hidden Valley in Joshua Tree National Park, Puppy & Harriet’s Roadhouse in Pioneertown, the nearby Integrtron Sound-Bath Center landers, and Living Desert Zoo and Garden in Palm Desert. Plan your trip accordingly.
David Allen lives on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Email [email protected], phone 909-483-9339, like davidallencolumnist on Facebook and follow @davidallen909 on Twitter.