SUGAR PIE DESANTO
Last Friday I made my way out to the Elbo Room with my helladopetastik amigos Bekka & Joe to catch DJ B.Cause and friends give back to a lady who's given us so much, San Francisco R&B queen Sugar Pie DeSanto (Oh and Holy Crunk Nugget, we had a blast! Funk owns my soul!).
Mrs. DeSanto lost everything when her Oakland apartment burned down October 26th of last year. Her husband died trying to fight the blaze (read the story under the flyer for more info). 100% of the benefit show proceeds went to the Sugar Pie Desanto Fund. If anyone would like to donate to the fund, please contact Wells Fargo to make contributions: (510) 597-4210.
((UPDATE: DJ B.Cause said they raised approax. $1600 for Mrs. DeSanto last Friday! Thanks for the info B.Wrekka!))
To learn more about Sugar Pie, go here: Sugar Pie Info on Wikipedia or here: Sugar Pie DeSanto on Myspace
From SF Gate regarding the fire:
"The husband of well-known Oakland singer Sugar Pie DeSanto died Thursday while trying to put out an early morning three-alarm fire in the couple's third-floor apartment, fire officials said.
Jesse Davis, 52, died inside the apartment at 3833 Telegraph Ave. in the blaze, which also left a firefighter-paramedic hospitalized in serious condition with second-degree head burns, fire Capt. Melinda Drayton said.
Three other firefighters were treated at a nearby hospital for burns and an eye injury before being released. The four injured firefighters were hurt in an explosion apparently caused by superheated gases igniting thick dust in the air.
Pop and blues singer DeSanto was in the apartment with her husband when the fire broke out and was able to flee.
The fire started in the couple's living room and was believed to be accidental, Drayton said. A smoke alarm in a nearby hallway failed to work because its battery was missing.
Drayton identified the firefighter who remained hospitalized as Tim Takis, who was being treated at St. Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco.
"The fire flashed on the third floor, so superheated gases caused basically a fire explosion," Drayton said. "All the ... small materials like dust particles get to a point where they ignite."
The building's residents were evacuated, and about two dozen of them, including DeSanto, received emergency housing in nearby hotels from the American Red Cross, spokesman Alan Tobey said.
"She's in remarkable shape, given the circumstances,'' Tobey said. "She's obviously shocked but otherwise does not appear to be injured.''
DeSanto began her recording career in 1955 and recorded her biggest hit, "I Want to Know,'' in 1960. She is known for her wide range of musical styles, including soul, jazz and funk -- along with her energetic delivery and her ability to perform backflips during performances. She has shared stages with James Brown and with Ike and Tina Turner, and received a Bay Area Music Award, or Bammie, for best female blues singer in 1999.
The blaze was reported shortly before midnight Wednesday. Five dozen firefighters had the fire under control in about half an hour.
The owner of a liquor store across the street said Davis was a regular customer and a "nice, down-to-earth guy.''
Davis enjoyed cooking and taking care of the couple's apartment while his wife performed, according to DeSanto. He married her twice, the first marriage ending in divorce before the couple recon- ciled.
"He's my biggest fan, and he'll try to do things that keep me happy and keep me mellow,'' she said in an interview in the current Living Blues magazine.
Hatim Nasher, owner of Choice Liquor, said Davis and his wife would shop in the store once or twice a week, and would often give him audio- and videotapes of DeSanto's performances.
"I hate to see him go,'' Nasher said. "It's so sad. He was so nice, so polite, such a wonderful man.''