SF's Church of 8 Wheels honors Ghost Ship fire victim Chelsea Dolan

- Chelsea Dolan and James Hurlbut deejayed several skate sessions together at The Church of 8 Wheels, performing as 'Faith and Bass'. 

A benefit was held Wednesday night for Dolan, who was claimed in Oakland's Ghost Ship fire earlier this month on December 2.

The church-turned roller-skating club on Fillmore Street, tucked between San Francisco's Western Addition and Lower Haight neighborhoods, is an upbeat venue Dolan knew and enjoyed.

"We had a lot of fun times here, so it's really great that they're doing this," Hurlbut said.

Dolan was among 36 people trapped and killed by a fire that raged through the Fruitvale District warehouse that served as an artists' live-workspace in East Oakland.

The church bells rang 36 times at 9 p.m. to memorialize those who died. 

"She was my best friend and it was supposed to be that way for a long time," said Hurlbut somberly, before lacing up skates in the century-old former church.

The venue isn't usually open mid-week, but word went out that the $25 admission would be donated to Dolan's mother and sister to help offset their expenses after the tragedy.

"She lit up our world, she had us rolling and rocking and having a great time," recalled manager David Mills, recalling how Dolan always hit the right notes with the skate crowd.

"It's all about happy music, dancing and having a good time," he observed, "and she had her finger on the pulse. We're playing her music right now."

As Dolan's playlist serenaded the skaters, photos of her were displayed on a screen.

"She was always excited to be here, and I just let her go," reminisced Mills, "because I knew when I gave her the mic, it was in great hands."  

Dolan learned music by ear as a child, and later received classical training.

She was an accomplished composer, and attracted to many styles of electronic dance music and appreciated its eclectic mix of creative sounds.

Dolan recorded as "Cherushii" for the Los Angeles-based 100% Silk record label. It was a nickname she picked up in Japan as a teenager because it was easier to pronounce than Chelsea.

On the night of the fire, she was set to DJ Golden Donna's West Coast tour, a party that made a stop at the Ghost Ship. She was there in support of her label-mate.  

Dolan had spent more than a decade building a career as a producer, promoter and hosted a radio show at UC Berkeley's KALX as well.

"It's good that she was getting so much exposure," said Hurlbut, "but I can only  imagine how far she could have gone. She could have been huge."

Friends say, Dolan was generous sharing her skills and supporting others.

"She was really encouraging of all her friends and was always telling people they should make more music, make more art, and how special they are," noted Hurlbut.

A YouCaring crowd funding account is collecting donations to help her mother Colleen, who teaches part-time, and sister Sabrina, who works in animal care.

Both have posted touching tributes to Dolan on the fundraising account.    

More information here.    

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