by Allen Sanford
Tell the World when you see Cool. Easy enough to understand, seems easy enough to implement into daily life, and seems like an idea that would add some color to our sometimes grey colored world. I love this principle, as near and dear to me as the pictures of my wife and daughter by my bed. There is no person I know immune to an acknowledgement of their cool – whether an action, an idea, a selfless act – and I’ve seen it firsthand result in more cool being produced in the world. Pay it forward type of thing if you will – by complimenting or acknowledging publicly when someone else is or does cool, then it actually perpetuates the growth of more cool.
When I heard that Kevin passed away suddenly after his unforgettable BeachLife performance in May, my thoughts were uncollected and fragmented – but they all revolved around this notion. You see, Kevin Sousa was cool, and he didn’t need to tell the world because everyone already knew. Besides Sugar Ray, Kevin Sousa played BeachLife more times than any other artist…why? Because it was our way of telling the world when we saw cool. Though Kevin wasn’t a nationally touring musician, he represented the human being and Artist that we wanted BeachLife to be connected to. He was not just a musician, or just a husband, or just a mentor to many, or just an activist – he was just a man, who embodied all of those characteristics, and it was his open vulnerability and versatility that I found remarkable each time we met for coffee to catch up.
Not many people know this, but Kevin was the creator and owner of the trademark: “Keep Hermosa Hermosa” – having created this during the era of potential oil field construction in Hermosa Beach. He was at the center of a well-orchestrated defense to one of the biggest environmental issues to face the South Bay in our lifetime, and I believe this slogan was a key part of the success. The interesting part of the story for me happened 5 years later over a cup of coffee one morning, where Kevin and I were philosophizing about BeachLife Festival and our beach culture – more precisely about the belief that without genuine authenticity, our culture would reject BeachLife Festival. His slogan came up in conversation, and Kevin told me that he had been forced to tell certain people to stop using his slogan because it had started to be utilized for political purposes, dividing factions of beachlifers rather than uniting our culture together. I left that day remarkably impressed that Kevin had maintained the authenticity and pureness of that slogan by refusing to capitalize on it, or arm others with the cultural power it possessed. Kevin shoud have been the Mayor of Hermosa Beach -- talk about telling the world when you see cool!
Kevin – you were one of the good ones – and you will be remembered for a long time in our little town – for many amazing things you did, said, and were a part of. I will remember you forever my friend – for two things: lighting a purple smoke canister during your performance that gave the entire production staff a heart attack (radio call: “Fire alert at Riptide!! Get over there!!), but more importantly for being someone that we can all look up to and learn from. You were cool and I’m telling the world. Pass it on.
Founder, BeachLife Ranch