On Wednesday, March 8, in celebration of International Women’s Day, and in the spirit of embracing equity, some of the best and brightest artists and creative minds in Southern California gathered at the venerable Hotel Cafe in Hollywood, California to share songs, stories and laughs while shining a light on some incredible women-run organizations doing great work.
Emceeing the proceedings was Gena B. Jones, an uber-talented Syrian-Mexican-American writer, comedian and show producer who hosts the ongoing series ‘Hilarious Habibis.’ Gena kickstarted the evening and over the course of two hours, an enraptured audience heard palpitating performances by vocal powerhouse Joanna Pearl (who’s affecting anthem “I Am Woman” was the beacon for the evening), effervescent chanteuse Maureen Toth (who was flanked by the veteran duo of guitarist Carlos Calvo and drummer Marc Slutsky on the hypnotic bilingual treatise “Con Te”), soul country troubadour Lisa Sanders, who along with her frequent collaborator Brown Sugar, charmed everyone with her song “Unicorn” before Arielle Silver closed out the first block of performances with eloquent thought-provoking excursions of courage and perseverance.
After another blistering set of quick-witted hijinks from Juicy Gena, the evening soared on with scintillating guitar-driven indie pop from Devon Michael (previewing songs from ‘Even NASA Loses Satellites’), impassioned indie folk from Julie Tan (accompanied by violinist Caitlin Unumb on the emotionally-transcendent “LA 66”) and forthright tales from San Diegan Sara Petite, who brought down the house with her new single “Bringin’ Down the Neighborhood” (from her forthcoming 7th record). Also wow’ing patrons were theatrical hard rocker Christina Chriss, accompanied by Kaleido bandmate Joey Fava on anthems “Watch Me Walk Away” and “Pretending,” and acclaimed songwriter Hannah Avison (Lauv, Ava Max, Fletcher, Jordin Sparks), who was performing live for the first time in 11 years. As the final notes to her EDM-tinged hit “Monster” rang out, smiles and applause lit the room.
Presented by 1888 Media, a portion of the proceeds went to SisterSong, whose mission is to strengthen and amplify the collective voices of indigenous women and women of color to achieve reproductive justice by eradicating reproductive oppression and securing human rights. Other organizations receiving support were VoteRunLead, whose mission is to unleash the political power of women as voters, candidates, and leaders to create and sustain an equitable democracy, and The 100 Percenters, whose goal is to empower and uplift music creatives, with a particular focus on BIPOC and marginalized communities, by providing them with essential resources support and education ensuring that they have equal access to opportunities and revenue streams.
Special thanks to our esteemed photographers, Mannie Hebron, Gary Johnson and Jack Lue and Tara Low at Guitar Girl Magazine.