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JOHNNY RAMONE ANNUAL EVENT 2009-10-03 HOLLYWOOD, CA
On October 3, 2009 I attended the 5th Annual Johnny Ramone Tribute event at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California. These events bring Ramones fans from all over the world together in honor of the Johnny Ramone. Each year the events get better and bigger with special surprises. This year's event brought back CJ Ramone, Tommy Ramone and Barbara Ramone. In addition to this being a Johnny tribute, it was also special homage to Dee Dee Ramone. There was a special art exhibit of several Dee Dee Ramone paintings and was curatted by Dee Dee's wife Barbara. The paintings were located in the memorabilia tent managed by Arturo Vega. This year's Ramonesforever.com Crew was, by brother Jorge, by dumb brother Javier and new comer my brother-in-law Omar. We were equipped with three digital cameras and three video cameras including Omar's pro-video camera. Along with the equipment, I brought a ton of items to get signed by CJ, Tommy and Barbara. We arrived in Hollywood at 3:15PM and headed straight to Dee Dee Ramone's old apartment where he lived and past. It is not too far from the cemetery. We took a few photos at the apartment complex and were sad to know that this was were it all happened. Damn it Dee Dee! It was about 3:45 PM when we arrived at the cemetery gates and did our usual thing to get in (We have become pros at this). We parked and checked out the scene as we got some of the equipment out. I saw that far in the distance was the memorabilia tent. So off I went while the crew waited at the car. Once I arrived at the tent, I went up to Arturo Vega and an old friend of ours Carlos as both were setting up. After our hellos, I started to help with the set up. One of my favorite things is memorabilia and boy wasI loving it. At that time the crew came over and hung out while taking photos of everything. We were there for a long time talking and helping. It is great that Arturo has trust in us to allow us to handle the memorabilia.
At 4:45PM my dumb brother Javier comes up to me as says that CJ just arrived with his manager Gene. They parked close to where the tent was and I kind of walked over to where they could see me. As they got closer I said "Hey CJ", he looked up and said "Hey, How's it going". We walked up to the tent and there was small talk between CJ, Arturo, Carlos and I. CJ took a look at the memorabilia that was being set up. CJ and Gene then walked over to the tent t-shirt tent area.
As we were pretty much done with the memorabilia tent, I walked over to the t-shirt tent. CJ and Gene were had brought a few boxes of shirts and posters to sell. It was cool to see that CJ was taking inventory of the shirts. They were going over pricing and then decided to sign some of the posters they brought over from Germany (Flo of course).
When CJ was done with the shirts and posters, I went up to him to ask if I could do a few video interviews and promotions for his official YouTube page that I am managing for him http://www.youtube.com/user/CJRAMONETV . He said yes, but after they went out to get lunch....Tacos of course! CJ is very nice to me. I have meet him many times before, but at the 2008 Johnny event we met again and spoke for some time. He is always very approachable and nice to the fans.
It was now about 5:35PM and Tommy Ramone had just arrived and was looking around to see where he was to check in. I of course thought that this would be a great opportunity to welcome him to the event and pretend that I was part of it. I walked him over to the memorabilia tent and told him to check in with Arturo. Tommy was quite but very cool with me. After a while I saw him with CJ and that is when they took off for those tacos. I am being serious about the tacos.
Just a few minutes after that at around 5:40PM is when Linda arrived with a two friends and Johnny's guitar. She walked into the tent where Arturo was being interviewed. She did not know that it was going on and was part of it for about five seconds.
We brought a Pro-Video camera with the intentions of conducting interviews with CJ, Tommy, Linda, Barbara, Arturo and John Cafiero. I was prepared with a few questions and did not know how it would go or even if it would happened. Linda was close to me and it was my chance to do it. So I asked her if she could do a two minute interview with me and she said YES!!! I was nervous as heck as I have never done an interview in my life. All I thought was "I hope that I don't mess this up" It went well and Linda was very nice, I asked her "why she thought the event is go big" and also about what was new this year. There were many people around taking photos and I thought I was a big shot. After we were done we took a few photos and then she was off to another interview. My confidence was up and I looked for my next victim...ooops I mean next interview. Thank you Linda!
6PM and the gates were now open. There were hundreds of people walking fast to the lawn area, where the movies were going to be shown. At that same time I saw Barbara arrive at the tent. Then I saw my long lost brother Jari-Pekka and said hello to him. We are good friends and usually talk a lot, but there was so much going on and did not have much time but for a few words.
I introduced myself to Barbara and spoke to her in Spanish. I asked her how she was doing and then asked for a quick interview. She was really nice and agreed to do so. Here we go again. The interview was done in English and I asked her about her band Radio Taxi and about the painting of Dee Dee. It was great to meet her, I first met her in San Diego back in 1999 with Dee Dee. Once we were done, I asked her if should could sign some items for me and she did. She sighed about eight items for me. Thank you Barbara!
A few minutes later at 6:15PM we saw P.J. Soles and walked up to her. I introduced myself to her and asked her for an interview. As always she is very nice. I asked her "Why is she here every year" and "What is new with her". She is pleasant to speak with and is great to have part of the event. Thank you P.J.!
At 6:25PM asked Arturo his an interview. There was no doubt that he would say yes. Arturo has always been nice to me and has hooked me up a million times. I have known him for about six years now. The interview was nice and long and was the easiest one that we did. I did not feel nervous with Artruo since I know him very well and knew that his interview would be great. He spoke about how punk rock is not pure and the same as before, it is all about money. In addition, he spoke about his new exhibition he is working on called "Fame Is A Disease"....As always...Thank you Arturo!
As we walked around the event, I was standing next to some guy interviewing John Cafiero as I wanted to interview John next. After he was interviewed, that person asked if he can interview me. He wanted a fan's perspective on the Ramones. I of course was more than happy to be part of that. The interview was going to be for LA Record. I was asked about what the Ramones mean to the world and about my website...hell ya! That was the first time and probably the only time that I will ever be interviewed and it was great. Now the challenge is to obtain a copy of the interview on print.
It was now 6:50PM and we walked up to John Cafiero, the Chief of Staff of the Johnny Ramone Army. He is such a nice person and is great with the fans. Before I went up to him, my brother Jorge mentioned that my website to him and that I wanted to conduct an interview. He said yes and that he remembered me from last years event. You know my ego went up another level because of that. We said hello and yes he did remember me and mentioned "How can I not remember the person that has one of the biggest Ramones Fan Sites" That was really cool. He then thanked me for writing the review of last years event. I am now sure how he found out about it, but that was great that he did. He spoke about this years event being bigger and better and in 3D. In addition he mentioned that the 3D version of Osaka Popstars "Wicked World" video was going to debut at the event. John is great and I enjoy speaking with him. He is doing a great job being the ring leader of the events and managing Johnny's legacy. Thank you John!
Our next stop was the autograph table where CJ & Tommy were starting to sign autographs. At this point I knew that it would be impossible to get the video interview that CJ promised. Oh well, I knew he would do it, but time beat us to it. I took tons and tons of items to get them signed and I had my brother Jorge help me, while my dumb brother Javier and Omar were taking photos and vidoe taping. Both CJ and Tommy were happy to sign anything. I had three piles of things to get signed. One pile for CJ, one for Tommy and one for both. It got so crazy that I saw Tommy signing stuff from the CJ only pile. He even signed CJ's Bad Chopper album. I really did not want that, but it happened and I will be fine. Thank you CJ & Tommy for signing over 30 items for me.
After the autographs, we went back to the Johnny statue and took photos with Gilby Clarke of Guns 'N Roses, Vincent Gallo and David Arquette. They were all very cool and took photos with each of us.
It was 7:30PM and time for us to head back to San Diego. We have a long drive home and always go for the show before the show. That is to say that we only go for the pre-show, autographs and photos. As we walked to the car, we pass the lawn area where the movie was going to be shown and went to the backstage area for a few minutes. There we met Jenny Lens, Pete Yorne and Patricia Arquette. They were all very nice to us.
I would like to thank Linda Ramone, John Cafiero and Arturo Vega for continuing to have these events for the fans and for continuing the Ramones legacy. I encourage all Ramones fans that are able to make it to Hollywood for this annual event...to make sure you do attend. It is a great experience to be among Ramones fans from all over.
A special thanks to RamonesForever.com Crew: Jorge, Dumb Javier and Omar for putting up with my demands.