This marks the 10th year that Jail Guitar Doors (JGD-USA) has been bringing instruments and song-writing programs into prisons, jails and youth correctional facilities. For five of these years, JGD-USA has held their annual fundraising concert at the beautiful Ford Theatres, and on Saturday, September 28, when former MC5 guitarist and JGD-USA co-founder Wayne Kramer takes the stage, it will be yet another fantastic show in support of this dynamic organization.
This year, we’re partnering with Project PAINT: The Prison Arts INiTiative to bring artwork from behind the confinement of prison walls to the Ford Theatres plaza. On display will be art projects by people incarcerated at Donovan Correctional Facility and California State Prison, Centinela. Come early, walk the plaza and take in the depth of these artists.
There is nothing like a great poem to get your brain buzzing and JGD-USA is pleased to present Luis J. Rodriguez who will open the show with his magical words. For local literati, Luis Rodriguez is a driving force. Author of 15 books — including the bestselling memoir Always Running, La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A. — Luis is a SoCal jewel. He’s co-founder of Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural & Bookstore and founding editor of Tia Chucha Press. Having come from the streets of LA, Luis is a firm believer that “trauma does not have to be the end of the world,” adding that “it’s important to know what changes people.” His writing is deeply reflective of Los Angeles and he has emerged as a strong voice for social justice, noting that “we need radical transformation to teach, guide, and provide tools and treatment to all those who need it.” He speaks to and from the heart.
In true rock fashion, Wayne Kramer and Friends, a group comprised of several of Wayne’s friends from the past 50 years in the music business, will hit the stage. In the past, the “Friends” have included Phil and Dave Alvin, Jill Sobule, Jackson Browne and Tom Morello.
This year’s concert also features a rare headlining performance by Moby. Moby has been an innovative contributor to the music scene for years as a singer, songwriter and DJ, and is widely known for his work scoring for film and television including the Bourne Identity franchise, Heat and The X Files. His band includes Mindy Jones, Tripp Beam, Julie Mintz, Jonathan Nesvadba, Daron Murphy, Laura Dawn, and special guest Benmont Tench (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers).
“Moby is no stranger to justice reform. He has called for a reduction in incarcerated populations around the world and he supports meaningful change in the way men, women, and children – mostly of color – are treated in this country,” notes Wayne Kramer. “It’s just a plus for us all that he and his band rock the house and rattle its bones!”
“Justice reform isn’t a radical notion,” explains Moby. “So, I’m thrilled to have an excuse to get the band together for Brother Wayne’s charity event.”
Jack Bowers & the Soledad Jazz Workshop featuring jazz legend Phil Ranelin (The Tribe) will bring a jazz flavor to the evening. Jack lovingly says “we all learned music together,” when speaking of the experience he had working in Soledad Prison. “Teaching music in prison taught me how closely the arts are tied to our essential life force. We appreciate the arts in our free community but in prison, the people in our programs made their art the centerpiece of their lives; for them, and ultimately for me as well, art became what they lived for.” Phil Ranelin has been on the Los Angeles scene for some time and has a huge musical history. When asked about his experience in music, Ranelin says he believes that “music requires honesty and humbleness. I’ve tried to reflect both as I've trodden down the path of life's unrehearsed journey.”
The arts - whether music, literary or visual - connect us as human beings to something much larger than ourselves. This shared humanity provides the kind of change of heart that brings about true connection to those we share the planet with. We appreciate your participation and willingness to help fight the Good Fight!
All of us at JGD-USA are looking forward to sharing this evening celebrating community with all the music fans from Los Angeles and its neighboring enclaves. This will make for a beautiful evening under the stars. See you September 28!
Kat Kambes, JGD-USA Director of Operations