Here at lastdaydeaf.com, we chose not to cover the tragic event on daily basis, since day-by-day more and more victims involved in the deadly Ghost Ship fire, in Oakland emerged. The simple reason was that we just didn’t want, in the name of the clicks, to add one or two or even more names in the sad list and turn this story into a serial. Secondly, and most importantly, we will not only publish the names of the deceased musicians involved, as most if not all music sites did, but from all the victims, as long as we believe that they were integral part of the local community scene, and is the least homage we could pay. May you rest in peace…
Alex F. Ghassan: 35 y.o., Independent filmmaker and arts mentor, father of 4 y.o. twin daughters. The following video was recorded by Alex from the interior of the Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland, about an hour before the fatal incident.
“Alex was an incredibly talented filmmaker, a passionate supporter of the arts, and, working with our team, had an unrelenting interest in other people’s stories,” said a KQED Arts post on Facebook.
Donations to Alex’s memorial will be used to secure the future education of his 4-year-old twins Lucienne and Alexandria. Follow this link.
Alex Vega: 22 y.o., Loved old cars and music. Died along with his girlfriend Michela Angelina Gregory.
“That was our baby Alex,” his older brother, Daniel Vega, said. “He was just a purveyor of the arts. Very artistic. That’s what he did.”
“Now that we know,” Daniel Vega said, “it’s still somber, but at least we know where he’s at.”
Amanda Kershaw: 34 y.o., Photographer and a graduate of Bridgewater State University.
“She touched everyone who knew her with her warm smile and unfailing positivity, leaving an indelible mark on our lives,” Mike Swells posted on Facebook.
“That laugh,” Amanda’s husband wrote alongside a photo of his wife. “I ache to hear it again.”
Ara Jo: 29 y.o., Visual artist and co-organizer of the East Bay Alternative Book and Zine Fest, an annual street celebration of the written word.
“She was a very, very social girl,” said Han Park, Jo’s uncle.
Follow the link for Ara Jo Memorial Fund.
Barrett Clark: 35 y.o., Sound engineer and DJ indispensable to countless Bay Area music venues and festivals.
“He could make any band sound great,” said friend Chiyo Nukaga. “He was loved by so many in the music and art community in Oakland and beyond.”
Make sure you donate the least you can here: Public Memorial Page for Barrett Clark.
Ben Runnels: 32 y.o., Oakland musician who went by the moniker Charlie Prowler, one half of the synth-pop duo Introflirt. He also sang jazz classics at a local bar and created electronic beats at dance venues.
“He was one of those people who could pick up any instrument,” said his sister, Erin Runnels.
“He was the brightest shining star and we carry him in our hearts,” wrote his mother, Lorrie Benjamin Runnels.
This facebook page is in memory of Charlie Prowler (Ben).
Billy Dixon: 35 y.o., Musician and computer engineer. A guitarist. A keyboard player. A beatboxer. A music producer.
“We fell in love with music together as young boys,” Billy’s friend John Gunton said. “He was a super-gifted guy, super musically talented.”
“We are having a really hard time,” said an aunt, Wendy Magree. “It’s hard to come to terms with. I just can’t believe I won’t be able to see that smile anymore.”
Brandon Chase Wittenauer: 32 y.o., Musician, known as Chase or Nex Iuguolo to friends. Part of the musical duo Symbiotix.Fungi.
“You left an everlasting impression on your community with your kindness,” Chase’s cousin wrote. “Rest in Love.”
His friend Bobby Loveless wrote on Facebook Sunday afternoon, “Nex was one of the most creative and talented musicians I ever had the pleasure of working with.“
Cash Askew: 22 y.o., Musician (guitar), one half of the ethereal, shoegaze, post-punk duo Them Are Us Too, signed to Dais Records.
“I feel some responsibility to claim space, to be vocal and visible,” Askew said. “I hope that in doing so I can help these spaces feel more comfortable for other queer folks and femmes who are constantly being silenced, ignored and manipulated in music. I want to take advantage of my position, even if it just means one kid at our show feeling a little safer or prouder.”
Leisa Baird Askew, and stepfather, Sunny Haire, released this statement, after the tragedy.
Chelsea Faith Dolan: 33 y.o., Musician and radio host (on KALX). She recorded music under the Cherushii moniker. She had also collaborated with Maria Minerva.
This is what she managed to write for he close friend and music colleague Chelsea on Thump (Vice).
Her mother said: “Nothing Chelsea Faith did was ordinary. She was an adventurer, she was stellar in every way, and she will always be the star of our hearts.”
Donation link for Chelsea Dolan’s Family.
David Cline: 24 y.o. Played the clarinet. Also loved volleyball.
“To David, we love you. You will be with us always,” his brother, Neil Cline.
Amanda Jane Walker, arts and music lecturer at UC Irvine, with whom David had been studying the clarinet for 10 years wrote on her personal facebook account: “I received heartbreaking and devastating news today that David Cline, a former student who I taught for 10 years died in the Oakland Fire. For my Seniors Recital I always include a Bio that they write. This was Davids about himself.
Camaraderie. Compassion. Trust. David Cline started playing clarinet the summer after 2nd grade. He’s been studying with Amanda ever since and has enjoyed his time with her greatly. David had been a member of the All- State Band and likes late night walks in the park. He is a devoted volleyball player, who just last night led his team to victory at the CIF Volleyball Championship. He plans on attending the University of California at Berkeley. This summer he looks forward to spending time at the beach, enjoying the sunshine with his friends and observing a variety of aquatic mammals. He loves and will miss Amanda very much.
I never thought I would be writing these words to David and his family.
I will miss you very much David and I love you.
I am so honored to have known you and to call myself your teacher. What an outstanding person you were. My love to your family during this challenging time.
Cline’s Family support in this link.
Donna Kellogg: 32 y.o., Worked as a barista at the High Wire coffee shop in Berkeley & recent graduate of San Francisco State University.
“She liked avant-garde music,” said her father, Hugh Slocum.
Draven McGill: 17 y.o., San Francisco student, was the fire’s youngest victim. Baritone in the school’s choir.
“He was a sweet, loving young man taken from this earth too early,” Merlena Moore Draven’s great aunt said. “I just had to do something, had to give something.”
“It is both painful and poignant that the victims’ lives were lost while seeking community and connection through a shared love of art and creative expression,” said interim Superintendent Myong Leigh. “We mourn especially deeply for our student, the fire’s youngest victim, and with and for his family.”
Edmond Lapine: 34 y.o., musician, worked at an art gallery cafe.
“I resigned myself to knowing that he died doing what he loved: listening to music.” Robert Lapine Edmond’s father on his son’s death.
David Adelson, owner of 20 Buck Spin record label in Olympia, said Edmond Lapine “was the kind of guy who would be willing to be friends with everybody.”
Em Bohlka: 33 y.o., Poet, musician & photographer who also worked as a barista and baker. One half of “Southern California country/honky-punk” outfit Rope In Hand.
“I really want to express my support to Em and to all the transgender community,” her father said. “I know that’s what Em wanted.”
“Em was the most caring, compassionate person I’ve ever met,” said Jahanbani, who was her partner for seven years. “The most infectious, funny sweet person.”
“Footnote to the Los Angeles Valley Suburbs”, by Em Bohlka:
“We ought not aspire to the suburbs.
We do not need anything
they embody; large screen televisions, larger than large homes, a car for each would-be driver, swimming pools –
none of it.”
Feral Pines: 29 y.o., A garage band bass player and art school graduate.
“A very soft, sensitive, caring person,” said her father, Bruce Fritz of Westport, Conn. “A very gentle soul. Never had a bad word to say about other people.“
“Always loved animals,” said Bruce Fritz.
“She could talk about anything, politics, art,” said her brother Ben Fritz. “She is the only person I know who read and understood David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest.” She could talk about it.”
Griffin Sean Madden: 23 y.o., A recent graduate from UC Berkeley with degrees in philosophy and in Slavic language and literature.
“Your love for me echos through all the support I have been receiving from our friends and family. I am surrounded by the most beautiful, endless love from the people who love you. I will miss you desperately; everyone who knew you will miss you just as much,” Madden’s girlfriend Saya Tomioka said.
“Our community is heartbroken at this news,” Matías Tarnopolsky, Cal Performances’ executive and artistic director.
Hannah Ruax: 32 y.o., Finnish jewelry artist and entrepreneur. A music passionate. Alex F. Ghassan’s fiance who also died in the event.
“No words,” her father, Yrjö Timonen, posted on Facebook. “Just great sorrow.”
Jason McCarty: 36 y.o., Many-sided artist. Dilatedears was his solo side alternate doppelgänger project.
“He’s done artwork, comics, wrote and illustrated books,” Gene McCarty, Jason’s father, said by phone Wednesday. “He’s ventured into sound and music — a little bit of everything.”
Jennifer Mendiola: 35 y.o., Doctorate in health psychology from UC Merced.
“Whenever she danced, everyone in the room would stop what they were doing and look at her, because she was the most beautiful thing in the room,” her husband’s sister Anna Mendiola, said.
She co-authored an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on risks faced by Latinos who resist getting flu shots.
Jennifer Kiyomi Tanouye: 31 y.o., Shazam music manager & nail artist.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends, as well as all the victims of this tragedy,” said the music company’s chief executive, Rich Riley.
“She was always really helpful. Any time a friend had an emergency, she was just the kind of person you could call.”, Masha Pershay, a KQED intern and one of Tanouye’s best friends said.
Jennifer Morris: 21 y.o., UC Berkeley junior (media studies). Her roommate, Vanessa Plotkin, 21, also died. Known to friends as “Jenny”.
Her father, Michael Morris said: “This is devastating as Jenny was such a beautiful, intelligent, creative, caring and sincere young lady with a bright future ahead of her.”
“Growing up, music and art were such an important part of our lives,” said brother Chris Morris. “We learned the guitar together. She had a beautiful voice. We would play songs together.”
Johnny Igaz: 34 y.o., DJ, Described as a mentor to many and an ally to women and the LGBT community. His acid mimimal techno music project was Nackt.
“Of course he shaped me in many areas of life beyond music,” his brother Paul Igaz wrote, “but it was in particular his ability to transmit to me his love of music — and through music, an appreciation of a culture of diversity — that ensures that his soul will live within my soul, and the soul of all who know him or his music, eternally.”
Jonathan Bernbaum: 34 y.o., Video artist and VJ. Worked as a visual artist for the Australian electro house/dubstep duo Knife Party.
“One of the most kickass people I know has left this life for the next,” wrote a high school friend, Rena, in a Facebook tribute.
Jonathan Bernbaum’s obituary.
Joseph Matlock: 36 y.o., Electronic and punk musician under the stage names Joey Casio and Obsidian Blade. Also performed with electro sex hop hip pop punk rock rap duo from Olympia Scream Club.
“He would do his music, do his art no matter what,” said Calvin Johnson, founder of the record label K, where Matlock recorded some of his singles. “There was never a wide interest in what he did, but it didn’t seem to bother him.”
“He worked through the years to survive, but the music was clearly his passion,” his father said Thursday. “He wasn’t out trying to become famous or be the world’s definition of a financial success.”
As Joey Casio:
As Obsidian Blade:
Micah Danemayer: 28 y.o., Electronic musician and experimental artist under the name Paralycyst.
“Like many others I loved the random packages, unannounced home visits, and voicemails filled with crunchy feedback,” a former band mate wrote. “Whenever he would call I’d let it go to voicemail knowing I’d get a little preview of whatever he was jamming on.”
“He had so many friends,” his mother, Pam Krueger.
Michela Angelina Gregory: 20 y.o., San Francisco State student who studied child development while working at Urban Outfitters.
“She was very attentive and very quiet but very present,” education lecturer Rama Ali Kased said. “She was a leader who didn’t take up a lot of space but led in a thoughtful way. Her passion was to work with children. The whole community is shaken up by this.”
Michelle Sylvan: 37 y.o., Clothing designer.
“Her talent and beauty left me awe-struck at times,” Gabriele Hess wrote.
“She was a wonderful person, one of the best tenants I’ve had in my 15 years of managing property,” said Elecia Holland, who manages the Vulcan. “She was a quirky artist and there is not one person I have met who had a bad thing to say about her.”
Nicholas Walrath: 31 y.o., Attorney and MIT graduate.
“He was a lawyer but he was so much more,” his mother said. “He was fiercely curious, charming and graceful. He was the person that his younger sisters and their friends all looked up to. He was the coolest kid in the room who never acted like he was cool.”
“Fire. I love you,” last text message to his girlfriend.
Nick Gomez-Hall: 25 y.o., Musician and bowler. Member of Nightmom. Worked at Counterpoint Press, a publisher based in Berkeley.
“Hey Nick, if there’s one thing you taught me it’s to feel this deeply,” Bandmate Travis Lloyd posted online, after learning of his friend’s death. “You are a muse to so many and will never stop guiding us.”
“Nick made me — and many others — feel a little less alone in some of the most challenging years of our lives,” wrote Nile Cappello. “I hope his family and friends feel a little less alone knowing how much he impacted each and every one of us.”
Nicole Siegrist: 29 y.o., Musician, one half of Introflirt. Went also by the name Denalda Nicole Renae.
“She was a force of life for sure,” said Michelle Campbell, founder of Mixtape Artist Management in Oakland, which represented Siegrist.
“She’s just … honest. Honest about how she felt all the time, which was really refreshing,” Brendan Dreaper, Introflirt’s sound engineer said.
Peter Wadsworth: 38 y.o., Resident of the Ghost Ship warehouse, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Previously worked as a designer with Bad Habit Productions. Studied psychology at Harvard University and Reed College.
“He was like our Dumbledore — our wise wizard,” Swan Vega, artist & Ghost Ship resident said. “He was a genius. He was pure intelligence.”
Sara Hoda: 30 y.o., Teacher, known to her pupils as ‘Miss S’.
“Sara was always really active in that process,” Sara’s friend, Carol Crewdson said. “She was always an active participant. She was unique.”
Travis Hough: 35 y.o., Musician and a member of the band Ghost Of Lightning.
“He will be remembered for his positivity and his ability to always make a situation fun,” Band’s manager Brendan Dreaper said. “Every time he walked in a room, he brightened it up and was always there for a good laugh. He was always optimistic.“
“He just was like a bright light for everyone that he ever met”.
Vanessa Plotkin: 21 y.o., A sociology junior student at UC Berkeley.
She used to volunteer at the KALX radio station, along with her roommate, Jennifer Morris, who also died in the fire.
“You were the sweetest girl I met,” her aunt wrote. “You touched all of us and [I] will never forget you. You’ll always have a special place in my heart.”
“We are beside ourselves,” Gary Plotkin, said. “This is just like a nightmare. I can’t believe it.”
Wolfgang Renner: 61 y.o., Eldest victim of Oakland Ghost Ship fire. His friends called him “Wolfie”. He was a musician “who wrote and performed electronic keyboard music and who enjoyed loud tunes, spirited dancing and good times,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“He was vibrant and gregarious, and he liked being with creative people,” a friend said. “I always imagined him out there, enjoying life, and it seems like he was.”
Feel free to donate for the Fire Relief Fund for Victims of Ghost Ship Oakland Fire in this link.
Having personally visited numerous local (& a few abroad) DIY and underground venues, I can reassure that most, if not all, of them didn’t comply with the least safety standards. This is a tragedy to remember and learn from. We must never again mourn for the loss of innocent people due to such incidents in the future. This is the least we can do for the 36 Ghost Ship’s victims. Let’s take action!