1995, Austin. It's my first time at SXSW. I'm sitting in a brightly lit room, early enough so I'm in that drained, pre-hungover state, and the editor of my zine is a speaker on the panel up front. The moderator makes a comment about the group of us there together with dyed hair. It's true: my editor's has a flash of red in front, mine is red, a friend's is purple. But another chick in the audience, with the same color hair as mine, she's not with us. By the time we all leave, tho, she was our friend too. That's how I met Rikki Madrigal.
After SXSW, I saw Rikki from time to time in LA, at rock shows and barbecues and around. She had a broad smile, liked a good party and was smart. Like accountant smart, but with a punk rock plaid skirt. After all these years she was still working in the music industry, which takes determination, a love of music, and heart -- and a crafty protection of that music-loving heart. She'd recently gotten a promotion. She lived with her boyfriend in a restored craftsman bungalow in Silverlake.
Early in the morning hours of July 4th, Rikki's bungalow burned and she was killed in the fire.
Her boyfriend got home late, turning a garden hose, uselessly, against the flames. Investigators are on the case; it looks like the fire was sparked by neighborhood fireworks.
Rikki went to bed on Tuesday night and never woke up. I guess that's what we all would want, really. It's just that we'd all probably want a little more warning. Cheers, Rikki.