Posted by: mhubler on Jun 28, 2012
Cover of Kathi Goldmark's Memorial Program June 25, 2012
I wasn’t sure what to expect. Carolyn Gauthier and I were seated in Congregation Sherith Israel, one of the most beautiful and historic synagogues in San Francisco, dressed in our best sequins. The invitation had said, “A Rockin’ Party for the Glorious Kathi Kamen Goldmark: Sequins, Leopard Print & Vamp Attire Permitted.” During the service, we learned just how much the Bay Area lost when Kathi Goldmark passed away on May 24, 2012. She was a truly irrepressible spirit whose ashes in a leopard-skin box were a poignant presence.
Kathi helped Bread & Roses connect with performers. Beginning in Mimi Fariña’s day, staff would go to meet nationally touring performers at Sedge Thompson’s legendary radio show, West Coast Live (KALW) where Kathi worked and served as co-producer in recent years. She also promoted some of our outreach events on the show.
She helped us book Frederica von Stade who performed an inspiring benefit concert for Bread & Roses in 2011. She also reached out to Nashville-based Marshall Chapman to perform a memorable show at a rehab facility. Kathi was assisting us generally in our efforts to recruit higher profile performers for our institutional shows when she fell ill with cancer.
At her memorial service, Ben Fong-Torres said that what was important to Kathi was “Live music, lots of it and many different genres.” Clearly that was why she understood our mission more than most and was so generous in assisting us in various ways.
The highlight of Kathi’s experience as a literary escort was organizing a legendary band The Rock Bottom Remainders composed of famous authors including Dave Barry and Amy Tan. At the podium in a leopard skin dress, Ms. Tan said that for Kathi, having fun was paramount. Their shows were all about “Connecting with the audience, getting out of your skin and helping other people to get out of theirs.” She also remembered “Kathi put the giggle in gig.” The Remainders raised over $2,000,000 for different charities through the years.
During the service, Wesla Whitfield sang a beautiful version of “In My Life” with Mike Greensill on keyboard. At the reception downstairs, Kathi wanted a party with live music. Roger McGuinn of the Byrds kicked off the jam session playing “Mr. Tambourine Man” with members of Los Train Wreck. We said hello to many friends including Kitty Margolis, Kathleen Enright, Bud E. Luv and Mike Kappus from Rosebud.
Singer Keta Bill and music journalist Joel Selvin were there, along with their daughter Carla Selvin. Carla mentioned she is one of three female vocalists in a new band “Garden Party” and that they will be ready for a Bread & Roses concert soon. Carla shared that it was Kathi who first got her to sing when she was five-years-old.
Thank you Kathi for continuing to connect us with each other and to the next generation of musicians.
By Marian Hubler
We'd love to know, what is your most memorable experience of live music’s connecting force?
As Amy also pointed out in her eulogy, many of Kathi's friends could use the 'Kathi Made Me Do It' excuse for a slew of actions -- mostly musical performances -- that we dared only dream of doing. When Kathi put together her CD,Stranger Than Fiction, and invited me to sing Steamroller for it, I'd left my singing career far behind and considered myself solely a writer. If I'd known that she was inviting me to perform in a real recording studio with a live band, I probably would've said no out of sheer fear. But when Kathi invited you to do something with her -- whether it be lunch, a movie, a foot massage, or a Zydeco party -- you never thought to say no; her dimples and the twinkle in her eyes didn't let you. Of course it would be fun! I've said this before in public, even with my husband in the audience: that experience of singing in a recording studio was better than sex. And Kathi made me do it.
I didn't know that Kathi was involved in Bread and Roses....but it didn't surprise me! She was a dynamo of love and friendship and "can do". It was an honor to play for her memorial.... Here's a tune I wrote for her, when we honored her passing on West Coast Live.
Keep up the wonderful work....
I expected her to walk in and take charge, getting the singing organized, laughing with friends and helping to greet the hundreds of people who showed up in her honor. I had no idea how much she gave to so many, I only knew one small fraction of how wonderful she was.
We all miss her quite a lot and will remember her fondly.
I've never met a person like Kathi who had the ability to have us all think we were her best friend. She was that open and loving. There was so much love shown for her at the memorial bash, where people from all walks of her life gathered to celebrate. Sad to think I'll probably never meet another person who was so vibrant, funny and full of love. With her Los Trainwreck monthly event she turned me from a mediocre back-up singer into a really mediocre lead...all the while making me feel like a star. I'll be eternally grateful.
We met via email. I'd sent an email to Dave Marsh that mysteriously ended up in Kathi's inbox. Kathi knew my music, so she emailed me back. I happened to be reading her book, AND MY SHOES KEEP WALKING BACK TO YOU, when her email arrived. My best friend from childhood had sent it, thinking I'd enjoy reading a book with a country music theme. Of course, I'm thinking, "Why should I read a book about country music when I LIVE in Nashville?" So much for thinking. I read it and loved it ... and still think it should be made into a movie. (Are you listening Hollywood?) Around this time, my first book was being published. Long story short, I ended up flying to San Francisco for my first book event, which Kathi organized. I am quasi-agoraphobic, but Kathi cured me. She picked me up at the Oakland airport; I stayed at her house; She had her band - Los Trainwrecks - come over and rehearse with me before my appearance on West Coast Live, which she booked. I've appeared on WCL three or four times since, always staying with Kathi and Sam. The last time was in June 2011, when I also played my first Bread & Roses concert at a rehab house. Kathi made that happen, too.
The last time I saw Kathi was the morning after that Bread & Roses show. My husband and I were having breakfast at a diner near her house and called her. "Say put, I'll be right there," she said before joining us. I can't imagine being in the Bay Area without her. Or on this planet. It's like somebody dimmed the lights. RIP, my friend.