REQUIEM FOR A FIGHTER
Gina Zamparelli was a fighter, not only for the Raymond Theatre, but for the greater good of a community she loved.
Gina was a fighter for history, her family, her friends, and her musicians. I know this, in part, because I stood next to her on many occasions at that Pasadena City Council podium during the fight for the Raymond Theatre. The craziness of those council meetings became lore.
Our time to speak was unfairly cut short on more than one occasion. I remember that while I was speaking, Gina would hand me statistics, other facts and paragraphs of speeches she had written for herself in order to get those important facts out there to the powers that did not want them to be heard. It was because of those limited-time shenanigans that I’d go up to speak and be her voice.
I last saw Gina at the hospital the day before she passed, where we all still held on to hope that she would recover. She couldn’t speak. All I could do was look into her eyes and say “Fight, Gina … just like the Raymond … Fight!”
I didn’t know that would be the last time I would see her.
Gina was my friend, and I will miss her.
~ PHIL SALVATTI
(Please see “Concert promoter Gina Zamparelli remembered for her efforts to preserve the Raymond Theatre” in PW’s June 7 edition at pasadenaweekly.com.)
ALWAYS SAW THE UPSIDE
Re: Gina Zamparelli
Gina had a love of both Doris Day and Barbra Streisand early on. It was their acting ability that Gina noticed first, but then she was captivated by their singing, in particular the singing of Ms. Streisand. She recognized the extraordinary talent that Streisand is and, as a result, joined the choir in grade school which she would stay in until she graduated from high school.
She also starred in local community plays that the YMCA put on. She actually corresponded with Doris Day via a book that Gina made for her and Doris Day signed and wrote in and sent back. It was the thrill of a lifetime for Gina. Totally different time. She also really liked Cher, back when Sonny and Cher had their show on television. She would dress like Cher, wore her hair like Cher, was thrilled that Cher was a Taurus, etc. She also went to school for sound engineering, but did not follow that path for very long. Also, as a family we would see a lot of live plays, musicals and concerts. Everything from “Oliver!” to Diana Ross. This had a big impact on all three of us sisters.
So how do we reach the connection with heavy metal? I believe her love of heavy metal started around the time we met a band rehearsing on Foothill Boulevard in La Crescenta. There was an old house that has since been torn down, but as we were driving by we heard a band rehearsing. One early evening in summer, we decided to stop and Bill Carruthers came out to talk to us. The band’s name was Desire. I believe Bill was the lead singer. He invited us to some clubs where he was playing and then we also got to know other bands. I recall one of them as Snow, where a Carlos was a lead singer, but I do not recollect his last name. From there it just organically unfolded. We would go to the Starwood, The Troubador and to a club in Monrovia called the Woodsound. So she went from a fan to band management. I am not sure where the love of the genre of heavy metal came in. I believe it was fostered by relationships that she made along the way.
Gina also loved architecture. She had a particular fondness for Victorian Era architecture and the Art Nouveau period. Our father was a designer, so we were constantly exposed to architects, modern design, and our family trips always included museums, bookstores, antique shops and art stores. She loved old houses and one summer we dedicated ourselves to help in the restoration of Victorian homes that used to sit off of the 110 (Pasadena) Freeway. She had a reverence for history and understood the great importance of keeping things in place for future generations to learn from.
She was also very much a people person. She cared about people in a manner that most would not allow or make time for. If you were her friend, she was ride or die for you. Even people that she did not know, she felt the need to understand and communicate with thoughtfully and authentically. She had a genuine interest in finding the joy in the human condition and also sharing the joy she had in her heart. She would always see the upside.
~ MARISA ZAMPARELLI