Gilroy Pride and an interesting journey to Nashville, TN

One of the cool stories coming up in our annual Gilroy Pride
edition is a retrospective piece by Reporter Blair Tellers on the
iconic Gilroy radio station KFAT.
One of the cool stories coming up in our annual Gilroy Pride edition is a retrospective piece by Reporter Blair Tellers on the iconic Gilroy radio station KFAT. DJ alumnus Gilbert Klein has written a book – as yet unpublished – and the interviews harkening back to the days of “a radio station with rockabilly roots and anti-establishment moxie …” as Tellers describes KFAT are wonderful. If you grew up in the Bay Area listening to KFAT, it’s a must read. And the idea that’s fomenting about having a KFAT reunion event in downtown Gilroy is a smart one. Put it on and they will come out of the musical woodwork of the past. Guaranteed.

Guaranteed good reading on Richard Perez, aka the “Mayor of Gilroy,” and Frank “Big Game” LaCorte who are also featured in the upcoming Pride edition, along with a fun story about things that are so quirky in Gilroy’s culture they’ve become cool.

It’s cool that Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park is hosting its second annual Gilroy Residents Day on Saturday, March 26 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Just show proof of Gilroy residency and admission to the Hecker Pass park is free. If you haven’t been – and the recent Gilroy survey suggests many Gilroyans haven’t – this is a perfect opportunity to enjoy the orchestrated tranquil beauty forged by maestro Michael Bonfante. It’s key for the park to muster local support, especially in these days of rising gas prices. So head out, enjoy the park and consider forking out $12 for an all-star lunch that benefits the Gilroy Gardens Education Program, serving children and schools in the South Bay.

Serving the customer isn’t exactly extinct once you find a human being. That’s usually what you need to get started and avoid all that numbers-pushing, machine-generated frustration. So, here’s the bypass: look up the company – whether it’s Capital One or Verizon – at and it will tell you how to quickly reach a live person when calling a customer service number. Ah, limiting your time on hold, now that’s a dandy idea …

Just as dandy is the combined art show being displayed at Gavilan College. Thanks to arts instructor Annie Tobin for the heads up. The exhibition, Tobin reports “includes a variety of drawings and paintings, photography, and ceramics/sculpture” in the Gavilan College library. The show runs through April 10, and besides being a nice space for exhibits, the Gavilan campus is at its finest in the springtime. So plan a visit.

A visiting we have been most recently to Nashville, TN to see middle daughter Cayla at her nursing school. The place has earned its reputation as Music City USA. As soon as you get off the airplane you run into a guitar player crooning and strumming away at a satellite venue of Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, one of the revered downtown honky tonks. And it just keeps getting better from there. There’s music in New Orleans, there’s music in Chicago, but I can’t imagine a city in America where music is at the center of the cultural table like it is in Nashville. There’s the Grand Ole Opry, of course, where we heard Rodney Atkins, Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood along with classic stars like Little Jimmie Dickens and Whisperin’ Bill. But more on Nashville later, perhaps. Gilroy already has a table centerpiece – garlic – but we really don’t capitalize on it to the extent that we should. We need a Garlic City, USA movement – a trail map for garlic with a few stops that are maximum garlic. That type of marketing could really transform downtown. People are always wondering where the garlic in Gilroy is when it’s not Garlic Festival time. A few businesses that are front-and-center garlic, combined with a readily available garlic trail map, could do it. The trail map could direct you to a garlic fried steak at the Milias Steakhouse, a special garlic-infused martini at Lizzaran, a garlic oyster shooter at Station 55 or a garlic BBQ sauce at the Nimble Thimble or … do we have enough garlic for a trail map? If not, that’s something we might want to collectively think about how to change.

Change could include a permanent Garlic Gallery at the Interim Center for the Arts downtown at 7th & Monterey Streets featuring exhibits embracing our garlic soul. Retrospective photos from the annual Miss Gilroy Garlic Festival Queen Pageant could be an example of an exhibit. So could poster art submissions from bygone years. BTW, best of luck to this year’s Garlic Queen entrants who will compete for the 33rd title on Saturday, March 26 at the Gavilan College Theater. Heather Brodersen, Melissa Davis, Toni Eves, Stephanie Marquez, Megan Griffin, Alexis Guiza and Tiffani Petersen will sashay onto the stage to compete. Event tickets are $10 at the Garlic Festival office, 842-1625.

No tickets needed for Whitney Pintello McClelland exhibit coming to the Arts Center. Many have enjoyed her beautiful and creative paintings mostly done on vintage windows. This is the perfect type of exhibit that will put the Arts Center on the map – the mind map – of Gilroyans. A wine reception benefit opening with Solis Winery perhaps? That could make many an arts patron smile.

Joyce Patereau always had a warm smile, a mischevious but friendly twinkle in her eye and an easy-to-talk-to demeanor. I was saddened to hear of her passing. Besides her dedication to directing local pageants – the Executive Director of the Miss Gavilan Hills Competition was one title – she made a great team with her mom, Eleanor Frusetta. Together for a whole lot of years (pre-dating my arrival in town) they operated Gilroy Travel. They oversaw a lively office where you could tell they enjoyed themselves and they really helped the customers so that they, too, would enjoy themselves on their journeys. Her wonderful spirit will be remembered.

Reach Editor Mark Derry at [email protected]

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