South Pasadena Mayor Dr. Marina Khubesrian called them “two really amazing members of the community,” citing the accomplishments of local author Sam Quinones and singer/songwriter Brad Colerick selected as the city’s 2018 Image Award winners.
The honor annually recognizes individuals who make an impact on the city. The two recipients, selected by Khubesrian, were honored during the Crunch Time Party, held last Saturday night at the War Memorial Building to raises funds for the city’s float – “Three Little Birds” – that will roll down Colorado Boulevard in the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day.
Quinones, a journalist with the Los Angeles times from 2004 to 2014, is best known from his reporting in Mexico and on Mexicans in the United States. He has authored “True Tales from Another Mexico: The Lynch Mob, the Popsicle Kings, Chalino and the Bronx”, “Antonio’s Gun and Delfino’s Dream: True Tales of Mexican Migration,” and “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic.”
He and his family have lived in South Pasadena since 2006 and his children attend Arroyo Vista Elementary School where is wife, Sheila, is the past president and treasurer of the PTA.
Quinones is a veteran reporter on immigration, gangs, drug trafficking. His latest book, “Dreamland,” published in 2015, chronicles the story of a national epidemic of opiate addiction “and how we got here,” explained Khubesrian as she introduced Quinones to audience members. “It recounts twin stores of drug marketing in the 21st century: A pharmaceutical corporation flogs its legal new opiate prescription painkiller as non-addictive. Meanwhile, immigrants from a small town of Nayarit, Mexico devise a method for retailing black-tar heroin like pizza in the U.S., and take that system to prescription pills from coast-to-coast.”
As pointed out by Quinones after coming up on stage to accept his award, the collision of those to forces has led to America’s deadliest drug scourge in modern times.
“Dreamland” won the National Book Critics Circle award for the best nonfiction of 2015.
Quinones stressed that the City of South Pasadena has been spared from the epidemic of overdoses from opioids. “One of the reasons I think is because of the fairly strong community aspect,” he said. “We have SPEF [South Pasadena Education Foundation], the music festival, the chamber, the concerts in the park, the Tournament of Roses Committee. What we have in this town is an essential element to why we have not been afflicted by this raging epidemic.”
Colerick has five albums to his credit and has grabbed attention of audiences all over the country. His latest release, entitled “Nine Ten Thirty,” capturing the city’s zip code, is a love letter to South Pasadena.
“Billboard Magazine called him one of the baker’s dozen of acts to watch in the folk community world,” said Khubesrian, before bringing Colerick up to accept the award. “Brad is music director of the annual South Pasadena Eclectic Music Festival. In addition, he books and host music every Wednesday and Thursday night in the Blue Guitar Room at Arroyo Seco Golf Course.”
The longtime South Pasadena resident is an Emmy Award-winning producer and composer of music for commercials, with a client list that includes Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Nike, McDonalds, JC Penny and other top brands.
Colerick won a London International Advertising Award for a piece he recorded with blues man Buddy Guy. He has also recorded projects with the late B.B. King and Johnny Cash.
After receiving the high honor, Colerick performed “Nine Ten Thirty,” the signature song from his newest album and received a loud ovation when it was over.
The Crunch Time Party marked one of Kubesrian’s first important events since taking over as the city’s newest mayor in early January.
“Not only do they love this community, but they actually understand the importance of community,” said Kubesrian of the two community members that were honored.
She also expressed a deep appreciation for the community she oversees as mayor.
“The Crunch Time Party is one of my most favorite events of the year because I feel the entire South Pasadena community comes together for an amazing, creative, festive occasion,” said Khubesrian of the event featuring a dinner and a silent and live auction designed to raise what organizers hope will be $30,000 for the city’s float set to roll down Colorado Boulevard in the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day. “It shows that we deeply care about this community.”