The Cure Entertainment Network is proud to present the First Annual I Am King of Cali Car & Bike show, July 19th at Hollywood Park Raceway & Casino in Inglewood, California, to benefit the United Care, Inc. Foster Family Agency and the West Los Angeles Fisher House.
The show is the brainchild of Johnny “BJ” King, CEO of The Cure Entertainment Network and builder of the 9/11 tribute car ’63 Impala convertible, “My Heroes”, featured in LRM, along with Lowrider Hall of Fame member Ted Wells of Old School Hydraulics and United Care, Inc. board of director’s member Mitchell Preston.
The event will bring together scores of the top lowriders, hot rods, customs and motorcycles from throughout Southern California, and beyond. It will also feature a first-ever “hop for pinks,” where the winner of the hop-off competition will be crowned The King of Cali-and take home the loser’s car. A raffle for a full-custom Harley Davidson motorcycle will also take place and the bike will be awarded to one lucky person at the event. Entertainment, celebrity guests and vendors are also featured.
“We first came up with the idea of putting on the show to bring to light the work of United Care Group Homes and Foster Family Agency in Los Angeles that provides safety, permanency and well-being for at risk foster children placed in their care,” BJ said. “They also try to reunite children with their birth families when appropriate or support services to facilitate adoption.”
BJ first became aware of the West Los Angeles Fisher House, which provides housing for the family members of Veterans while they are undergoing long term care at the VA hospital, a few months after his new neighbor, 29-year-old Marine Staff Sergeant Octavio “Tavo” Sanchez moved in next door. Sanchez is the victim of a makeshift roadside bomb in Ramadi that cost him his right hand, the use of his left hand and resulted in third-degree burns over 70 percent of his face and body in July 2005.
“When Tavo moved in I was a little apprehensive about having a Latino family living next door to me, because of the problems that sometimes exist between Blacks and Latinos” BJ said. “But I quickly learned that Tavo and his family were wonderful people and ‘O’ as I call him, has become a good friend; he’s the best neighbor you could ask for.”
Then on the afternoon of February 6th this year, Tavo came home all dressed up and BJ asked him what was going on. “I told him I had just come back from giving the pledge of allegiance at the opening ceremonies of the West L.A. Fisher House, so he asked him to tell him more.” BJ was immediately interested in partnering with the Fisher House and made the decision to have the show benefit both worthwhile organizations.
BJ drew even closer to Tavo when he learned that he had bought his brother’s ‘62 Impala hardtop lowrider. “The car is pretty straight with a clean interior but it’s not really up to lowrider par,” BJ said. During recent discussions with LRM editor Joe Ray and publisher Rudy Rivas, it was decided that, with the help of Lowrider magazine, the Tavo’s Impala would be redone and presented to him at the show as a small way for the lowrider community to say thank you to Tavo for the sacrifices he has made for his country.
For sponsorship, show or hop participation, vendor or other information contact Johnny “BJ” King, The Cure Entertainment Network, (310) 968-4052, IAmKingofCali@gmail.com.
A Father’s Passed-Down Talent and a Lack of Opportunities are Inspirations for one Airbrush and Tattoo ArtistBorn in Central America in the turbulent country of El Salvador, and growing up in the streets of Los Angeles around Santa Monica and Venice areas, Anthony Martinez knows all about struggle. The youngest of 7 children, Anthony moved into a house with his brothers and sisters upon his initial arrival in Los Angeles. Seeking the proverbial better life, he instead found confusion and tough times in the City of Angels in 1980. This was a time when gangs were running rampant, drugs were plentiful, and the city was ripped apart by constant violence. His sister enrolled him in Mount Vernon junior high school which was infested with gang activity, to the point that everywhere he went, he saw and felt the pressures of gang affiliation. “I didn’t know anything about it, just thought it was the coolest thing since my family was doing the same thing at home,” he recalls. As the months went by, he eventually got to know some of the gang members and started hanging out with them, smoking, and drinking with them, engaging in all of the usual activities these bad influences had bestowed upon him. He was becoming more involved with gangs, and less involved with progress, a choice that would prove very costly to him
After serving 7 years in the California Youth Authority for various offenses, he knew something had to change, something had to give. “I was completely lost and confused,” he says. “I had no role models in my life, but somehow I managed to overcome that obstacle and learn about a higher power.” He credits this newfound spiritual awareness as the key to his salvation. “I paroled in 1998, and met my wife for the first time. A year later, we got married and we are still married,” he glows. He had his woman, now he just needed to find his calling, and, channeling memories of his childhood, he found it right before his eyes
“I can remember as a young child In El Salvador, sitting and watching my dad draw animal figures, his favorite one was an owl. He was a great artist but back then they had no artist recognitions,” he states solemnly. “It was destined for me to pursue a special gift that was passed on to me. My dream is to be recognized as a talented artist.” Using his father’s passed down talent and lack of opportunities as his inspiration, Anthony got to work, setting the wheels of his dream in motion.
“As the years passed, I went from sketching to drawing beautiful pieces of art; then discovered how to use the airbrush and started airbrushing and creating murals, customizing on shirts, hats, or just about any piece of canvas I can get my hands on.” In 2008 Anthony started his own business called “The Airbrush Studio”, which features his custom airbrushing skills. He has also found opportunity offering a unique live experience with his art. “I offer event and party entertainment in which I go to private affairs, clubs & company promos, and perform live airbrushing for them,” he explains. As a minor, Anthony also practiced tattooing with a homemade machine, and as his skills got better, he landed an apprenticeship at Venice Tattoos on the boardwalk for about two years. This launched his career as a tattoo artist which he is now doing professionally in his own private studio with an extensive portfolio to match. Forever branching out and creating, Anthony came up with another endeavor. “As I keep struggling as an artist to be discovered, I came up with another idea of having my own clothing line “A.M Style Fashion” in which I have printed my own artwork in hopes to make a living as an artist, and provide for my wife and kids,” Anthony states proudly.
Check out the links below to see what products and projects are currently available from this talented artist. We here at Lowrider wish Anthony the best of luck, and encourage all our readers to use their talents to explore their dreams.