For a dozen and one years, Linda Ramone has put up her annual event to honor and remember the late punk pioneer Johnny Ramone. In 2004, the guitarist fell victim to prostate cancer. Now his widow holds yearly tributes to remember the man, unite fans and raise both cancer awareness and cash all in an effort to fight the devastating disease. Curated by actor and director Vincent Gallo, it was hosted once again on the lawn of one of the most famous permanent-hiatus hangouts in the world: Hollywood Forever, a cemetery which sits behind the legendary Paramount Pictures Studios lot.
To draw even greater crowds, Gallo chose to screen the '70s cult classic and semi-dystopian film The Warriors. The rocker-rich event that attracted thousands was held beneath the stars and surrounded by the Hollywood triple-threat of fans, celebrities and palm trees.
Linda was dressed to chill in a rainbow-themed outfit complete with boots, a psychedelic cape and crowned with a wide-brimmed, starred purple hat that surely would have made the late punk plucker smile. Or, more likely, sneer.
“My aim is for everybody to have a good time and to celebrate Johnny," Linda observed when Music Connection spoke with her. “We do this for him and Ramones fans. Everybody comes together and has a good time.” Given the turnout and a screening peppered with audience shout-outs, it’s clear that she grasps the overlap of Ramones and Warriors fans. Indeed, there’s probably more that connects than divides them.
When Allan Arkush (who helmed the iconic Ramones movie Rock ‘n’ Roll High School) introduced the film, he noted that “Johnny Ramone loved The Warriors because he thought The Ramones were a gang.” Certainly, the boys had the jackets for it… and perhaps an equal capacity for calamity. Can you dig it?
From the Warriors side, a trio of stars had been recruited to speak at the event: Michael Beck, who portrayed Warriors leader Swan; Alan Weiss, a member of rival gang The Rogues; and writer and director Walter Hill (The Warriors, 48 Hours, the HBO Western drama Deadwood). Those unfamiliar with the film have certainly heard the many references to it in song and popular shows such as American Dad, The Simpsons and Archer, the chant “Warriors… come out to playyyyy” in particular.
Although Ramone isn’t actually buried at the fabled site (Linda held onto his ashes), there’s an eight-foot bronze memorial to the punk potentate that overlooks Hollywood Forever’s Garden of Legends. All money raised by the event will benefit the Johnny Ramone cancer research fund administered by Dr. David Agus of the USC Norris Westside Cancer Center.