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The Evangenitals in The Gaslamp with Rev. Dr. Juli Crockett Feldman

Doctor Juli at Frauds And Swindlers, Downtown San Diego

Juli Crockett of The Evangenitals at Frauds And Swindlers, 820 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, 8-10-13. Photo by Rob Rowsey for Reviewer.
Juli Crockett of The Evangenitals at Frauds And Swindlers, 820 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, 8-10-13. Photo by Rob Rowsey for Reviewer.

Juli Crockett of The Evangenitals at Frauds And Swindlers, 820 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, 8-10-13. Photo by Rob Rowsey for Reviewer.

It’s been about three years since I’ve seen Juli play or spoken to her really. I did some print coverage of her band, The Evangenitals, in Reviewer Magazine back in 2010, but a lot has happened since then. Like in most bands, there’s been some lineup changes. She’s also bought a house in Los Angeles, gotten married and had a boy, earned her PhD and is now teaching. Yep, a lot’s happened.

She still is an active part of the downtown LA theater scene and writes plays. Her band is gigging more now again at places like a bar called Villians up in LA. The owner, she says, is the one who is opening Frauds And Swindlers on 5th Avenue in San Diego’s lively Gaslamp Quarter next to Croce’s.

Her style of strong/sometimes warbly country vocals and the hillbilly brand of original Americana singer/songwriter rock her band plays is a unique experience and one I’d recommend to anyone who likes “honest” music.

Juli’s also a very interesting person. Originally from Coffee County, Alabama, she was a Los Angeles prize fighter a few years back in the early 2000’s. I think she told me that when she came out to LA from Alabama she quickly after arriving got a job at The Stockroom in Silverlake — which is a sex toy/bondage gear retail outlet and fetish merchandise leather-factory — as being a kind of marketing specialist and web-designer. Juli wanted to get in shape and fit into the LA scene so she weighed her options: either start working as a dancer at a strip club or join a gym and begin training as a fighter. She opted for plan B.

She became pretty good at boxing and was eventually the inspiration for the character of Margaret “Maggie” Fitzgerald played by Hillary Swank in the 2004 movie MILLION DOLLAR BABY, directed by Clint Eastwood. Although Juli held a good record in her fights and says, “I broke a lot of noses,” she obviously ended her boxing run on a happier note than Swank’s character did.

Between her boxing days and now many out there may remember her as the female singer in Doug Benson’s Johnny Cash tribute band, Cash-D Out. She was the June Carter Cash persona, of course.

When I stopped by Frauds And Swindler’s during daytime hours the next weeks after seeing Juli play there I found the front gate ajar but they were ostensibly not open for business. A guy was behind the bar doing what looked like some maintenance work and he cast a suspicious eye at me as I squeezed in the partly blocked front door carrying my folder of notes and ad-packets to pull in new accounts, cheerfully greeting him an a loud and non-hostile voice to assuage possible any alarm. I was, after all, coming to introduce myself as an emissary of publicity from the news periodical Reviewer. I was not coming to demand a drink or rob the place before they even have the grand opening.

The young man behind the bar said his name was Johnny, brother of Dave Whitton one of the bar’s owners along with Aiden Demarist, and yes he was up for giving me a quick tour. He showed me the compact upstairs floor space, where he said a separate bar called Two Fingers would reside. It would be in the style of The Neat, a Glendale bar owned by Demarist, which Playboy had “rated the best bar in America,” said Johnny.

We took a look at the stairs which will connect The Neat to the tiny restaurant to the north of Fraud’s And Swindlers and I remembered that back a few years ago this was the place I had shot a wedding reception party for a client (yeah, I do weddings) and that there was a side entrance to the dance floor next door. “We closed that off completely,” he said triumphantly.

We walked downstairs and I was reminded about the old story about how Wyatt Earp is said to have had a bar in the Gaslamp in his post-Tombstone days. As we stood near the entrance to his bar Johnny pointed across the street on 5th and said. “It was in that building right there.”

~Reviewer Rob

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