If we all had the indomitable spirit and positivity that Stacey Evans Parks exhibits every day, we'd all be a lot better off.
"It's crazy, I'm on a crazy ride right now," said the ebullient Parks from her temporary home she shares with her 24-year-old daughter Dominique. "This cancer is my new job, it's a full-time job. But I think the chemo is working and I'm living off the power of people and community support. I can't even express the gratitude I have for everyone and the money coming in. I'm getting better."
Parks, 47, a hairstylist, was diagnosed with cancer last June, thought she had it beat late last year, then found it had metastasized in her liver, lungs and lymph nodes. She was told she had six months to live.
Then the day after Christmas she lost all her possessions in an apartment fire in Seaside, saving only her daughter Dominique's pet Chihuahua, Indigo Angel. She had to break a window and crawl back into the blazing apartment to save the dog, suffering cuts, bruises and smoke inhalation in the process.
Her friends and family quickly leapt into action, getting her clothes and shelter, sending out hundreds of Facebook posts asking for help, a front-page story in The Herald and features on television, with The Breakfast Club in Seaside serving as headquarters for donations of money and needed supplies.
Through it all Parks has been not only resolute, but almost giddy from the outpouring of support and goodwill.
"This has been a lot of work, but I don't have time to feel sick," she said in her rapid-fire manner. "It's been the push I needed. I wanted to go on vacation and a diet, but this is not what I had in mind! When you're told you have six months to live, your life changes, everything is different for me now. I realize I don't need material things, for example."
She plans on finishing her cancer treatments in Arizona, where her son Frank and her grandchild live.
"My doctor said that was the best medicine — family," she said. "But I'm not going for good, I'm going for healing. I don't feel like I'm sick. I feel like the spirit is moving me — all the people and compassion is moving me."
But before she goes, her friends have organized a fundraiser for her, the "Music Jam Benefit for Stacey Evans & Dominique Parks," set for 6-11 p.m. Saturday at the Sanctuary Rock Gym (1855 East Ave.) in Sand City and featuring music from Grateful Dave & the Paso Hondo Pickers.
The Pickers are a loose-knit group of local musicians who gather almost monthly to jam at the Seaside home of Dave Jackson and Lee Mangone. The event is billed as a jam, so musicians are encouraged to attend, bring their instruments (although some, such as keyboards and drums will be provided) and play with the Pickers.
Participants are asked to donate $10 (or a gift card) to the cause, bid on items at the silent auction, bring food or drinks (non-alcoholic), volunteer to help...or just attend and show their support.
If you'd like to contribute in any way, contact organizers Lisa Henry at 747-7626 or Michele Nizza at 238-0655. There is also a Facebook page with more info. Just search for "Music Jam Benefit for Stacey Evans and Dominique Parks: Let's Rock!"
Other happenings this week:
· The Golden State Theatre has three intriguing shows this week, kicking off Thursday night with singer-songwriter Eliza Rickman and guitarist Sterling Witt.
Rickman is a quirky, exotic and theatrical singer who often incorporates odd instrumentation, such as toy piano. Start time is 7:30 p.m., $10 door.
Santa Cruz Americana/old-timey bands The Juncos and the McCoy Tyler band plays Saturday night, while garage rock/British Invasion-inspired indie rock band White Fence plays Saturday night. Opening that show will be punk veteran (of Wax fame) Soda Gardocki, who plays a 12-string banjo and sings bluesy rock tunes with a punk edge. Both shows start at 9 p.m., $10 for Juncos, $12 for White Fence.
· Santa Cruz lap steel guitar whiz Patti Maxine plays at 8:30 p.m. Friday night at the aforementioned Pierce Ranch venue. $5 at the door.
· The Hyatt Jazz Jams have moved to Cibo in downtown Monterey and now will be held every first and third Sunday from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., no cover. David Morwood and Lee Durley will continue to host.
As for the Hyatt, check out Saturday night's Diva Night featuring vocalists Julie Capili and newcomer from Israel, Moran Arad, plus the usual special guests. That's a 7 p.m. start, no cover.
· The Wharf Rats show Friday night from 8:30-11:30 at the Fuse Lounge in Carmel is also a celebration of lead singer Nancy Jones' birthday. I'm sure she will be graciously accepting birthday drinks throughout the night. Happy birthday Nancy!
Also, check out the new GO! Live! video above.GO!
Santa Cruz Nuz:
Blues guitar great Coco Montoya plays Moe's Alley Friday night at 9. Tix are $17 advance, $20 door. More blues at Moe's this week: Eric Sardinas plays the Sunday afternoon blues series this sunday at 4 p.m. $9 advance, $12 door.
Moe's also has Santa Cruz-style Grateful Dead music with Slugs N' Roses on Sunday night at 9. $8 and $10.
Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz has Erik Deutsch Band (Erik is Charlie Hunter's keyboardist) on Thursday, R&B/swing/blues-throwback group Davina and the Vagabonds on Friday and smooth-as-silk vocalist Freddy Cole (he's the late Nat King Cole's younger brother) on Monday night. www.kuumbwajazz.org.
Don Quixote's in Felton has an eclectic week scheduled, kicking off Thursday with Michael Hurley (of Holy Model Rounders) plus Cass McCombs, Meg Baird and ending Wednesday with guitarist Tim Farrell and bassist Michael Manring.
In between the venue hosts Locomotive Breath, performing the songs of Jethro Tull and more on Friday; Bass Goddess All Girl Electronica on Saturday; Boston singer-songwriter Ellis Paul on Sunday and Hawaiian music ace Ledward Kaapana on Tuesday. www.donquixotesmusic.com.