Writer Brian Bentley has posted online a long story on Rikki Madrigal, a fixture on the Wednesday night barbecue circuit in Silver Lake's hipster scene who died in a house fire on Effie Street in the early morning of July 4, 2006. The LAFD's investigation of the fire is still open, says Bentley. He wrote the piece for Los Angeles but says the magazine chose not to publish it. Excerpt:
When Rikki Madrigal walked into a room, she made an instant and unforgettable impression. Six feet tall, with flaming red hair and a fondness for colorful homemade dresses and striped leggings, her appearance suggested a living, breathing Raggedy Ann doll. Not much escaped her large, coal-black eyes. Luminescent, soulful and haunting, they darted back and forth with boundless manic energy.
Rikki loved to smoke and drink, boozing to reach oblivion like a reckless 25 year-old. But by the time of her 40th birthday party, which she celebrated in true Rat Pack style, with a gathering of friends at Musso and Frank in Hollywood, Rikki was a middle-aged woman who desperately needed a time-out. She had always swung wildly from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other; it just seemed part of the natural up-and-down rhythms of her life – to fall in and out of trouble. “That’s just Rikki,” her friends would say with a smile.
More Silver Lake reading: A trove of dusty letters found in Barry Isaacson's Micheltorena Street basement leads him to a story about Jim Jones and the People's Temple suicides in Guyana in 1978, with a little of Silver Lake's communist history thrown in. LA Weekly
Photo: Pinky's Paperhaus