Media Life: Tesla guitarist Frank Hannon pens tribute to 49 Fire hero

Tug of war continues over Martin Ramirez art; “The Bachelor” tees up in Auburn; North Auburn fire benefit’s musical roster grows
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Tesla lead guitarist Frank Hannon was paying attention to the stories coming out of the catastrophic Aug. 30 fire in Auburn and has commemorated one act of heroism in a song. Hannon, who will be in Newcastle on Oct. 10 for a performance at Constable Jack’s, has written and recorded a song called “Heroes” that honors the memory of Sept. 11, 2001, but also includes a verse about Deputy Kenneth Skogen’s dash into a burning North Auburn home during the 49 Fire to carry out 89-year-old Elinor Braum. Tim Looper, of Constable Jack’s, said a downloadable version of the song will be available at Friday at $2.99. Hannon will be making a donation to aid fire victims with proceeds from the new tune. CROCKER KEEPER The descendents of Martin Ramirez are continuing to ferret out artworks that they say belong to them because the increasingly popular artist didn’t have the mental faculties to originally gift them when he was alive half a century ago. It could be said these days that Ramirez is the DeWitt State Hospital’s most famous resident. He was a patient there between 1948 and his death in 1963, producing hundreds of drawings and giving many of them away. Today, the best examples are selling for up to $300,000 and recent retrospectives in New York have raised his artistic cachet to star levels. In the case of the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, the move by his heirs means the loss of three of the five drawings it had been holding onto for almost 60 years. The Ramirez estate recently claimed all five but reached an agreement to receive them all and then give the museum back two. Museum spokesman LeAnne Ruzzamenti said the two untitled works that are back with the museum have not been on display before and are in dire need of restoration. The museum is undergoing a major expansion and she’s not ruling out the possibility of displaying one or both of the Ramirez works when the construction dust had cleared next year. If a Ramirez does go on display it would be the only one to be seen in the area, despite the fact that all were produced during his time at the North Auburn mental institution. ‘THE BACHELOR” SIGHTING While the Governator was in Auburn last week for more serious business to do with the 49 Fire, North Auburn’s The Ridge golf course will get some starpower of its own Friday. Dr. Andy Baldwin, star of ABC’s “The Bachelor: Officer and a Gentleman,” is in Auburn for the Lion’s 5th annual Charity Golf Tournament benefiting the UC Davis Children’s Hospital pediatric trauma center. Baldwin, who serves as spokesman for Navy medicine from his Washington, D.C. base, must like what he sees in Auburn. It’s the second consecutive year he’s taken in the tourney. VOLUNTEERS APLENTY Word out of the 49 Fire Benefit in the Park camp is that Mumbo Gumbo hasn’t been able to fit the Sept. 20 event into their schedule but that the roster is filling fast. The Stardust Cowboys and Halie O’Ryan were early volunteers for the Regional Park fest. They’ve since been joined by Who tribute band Who Dunnit, blues-based rockers Strictly for Kicks, Sacramento fusion band Mind X Trio and Roseville duo Eclipse. The combination fundraiser and post-fire community morale booster has free admission and will be on from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at or 530-852-0232.