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Sugar Pie De Santo
Former Fillmore Resident

Sugar Pie De Santo
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Video Credit: KQED 1999


Sugar Pie performing
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Photo Credit: KQED

On Getting Her Start in The Fillmore

We had a famous theater in the Fillmore district called the Ellis Theater, which is basically where my music really started. And they had talent shows there. One weekend Johnny Otis was in town looking for new talent. On that particular weekend, I won and he offered me a contract to come to Los Angeles to cut my first record ever. While we were in the studio he named me Sugar Pie because I was so little. I wore a size three shoe and I weighed about 85 pounds. I was very tiny.

On the Golden Age of The Fillmore

In the Fillmore you could go out of one club and go right into another: a whole row of nothing but clubs and entertainment. You could start at the Morocco on one end and walk down the street and then you'd be at The Sportsman's Club. We called it the Divisadero Stroll. I used to go down to these clubs called The Chameleon Club and The Hungry Eye. People who went to the clubs would dress from head to toe: they were very sharp, in good suits, something you'd wear to church on Sundays. Everybody was trying to outshine each other. When you said Fillmore, you said it proud.



Club Flamingo
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Photo Credit: San Francisco Public Library



Boom Boom Room
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Photo Credit: KQED

On the Current Music Scene in The Fillmore

The music scene of today, as far as I'm concerned, has changed considerably in the Fillmore. All the old clubs have closed. If you want a place to go where it's happening, go to the Boom Boom Room and you will get some blues that you will never forget. The Boom Boom is owned by John Lee Hooker and it is one of the swingin'est clubs. Thirty years ago the crowd would have been predominantly black, for the Blues in the Western Addition. Today, most of the crowd for the Blues is predominantly Caucasians.

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