Archive for August, 2011

Idyllwild’s Town Jazz Concert Undampened

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

(from L) Volunteer Pam Piece and Jeffrey Taylor support Town Jazz. Pam said that Casey Abrams sent Marshall his regards

Despite the steady rain at showtime, the second evening of the outdoor Town Jazz concert went on without a hitch Sunday night, Aug. 28.

Concertgoers were treated to an evening of jazz under the stars, along with a guest singer, tap dancer and African percussionist.

“We had no battle with the weather,” said bassist Marshall Hawkins, who is spearheading the event. “Right at 5 o’clock, our drummers were playing, but our amps were turned off so we didn’t get shocked. But when the rain stopped, we just took off!”

Many concertgoers had come straight from the Jazz in the Pines concert at the other end of town. The rain wasn’t going to keep them from a steady diet of jazz. They were used to the sudden rainfall because it happened the day before.

Sunday evening’s Town Jazz concert didn’t disappoint the 150 or so who attended. On the bill were the same fine musicians who played the night before, including Daniel Jackson, Gilbert Castellanos, Bob Boss, Brett Sanders, Mikan Zlatkovich. Najite replaced Latin percussionist Roy Gonzales, yet special guests Yve Evans and Roland Esquire Jones remained.

Najite, an African percussionist, dressed in native attire, mellowed the crowd with his bongo rhythms. Singer Yve Evans, who is popular in Palm Springs and Palm Desert, brought the crowd to their knees with her rendition of “Stormy Weather.”

Scott, from Mountain Harvest Market, was among the few who grabbed one of her limited CDs. He had it in hand and was grinning from ear to ear. Yve’s voice had that affect on everyone.

Volunteer Tressa shows off how she jazzed up Marshall's T-shirt

“I have just a few that I brought with me,” Yve announced, and there was a rush from the audience.

Another unexpected highlight in the show was Claudia Gomez, a tap dancer, who did a nice number on a small piece of wood laid onstage.

Marshall said that he had just met Claudia a week earlier, and was glad that she wanted to perform with the band.

Jeffrey Taylor, from Green Cafe Internet, chatted with Claudia afterwards.

“I asked her if she knew about the Nicholas Brothers , and she said yes,” Jeffrey said. “I think she was surprised that I knew about them too.”

The Nicholas Brothers were a tap-dancing team popular in the 1930s. Among their fans was Gregory Hines. Jeffrey had shown a documentary on the Nicholas Brothers two days earlier.

Pam Pierce, a volunteer and the mother of “American Idol” heartthrob, Casey Abrams, said that Casey had sent Marshall a congratulatory text. Casey was currently on the Idol Summer Tour and couldn’t be there to perform. Marshall is Casey’s former teacher from Idyllwild Arts Academy, and the two remain close.

Town Jazz sponsors talk while shielding their eyes from the sun

“I got the photo,” Marshall said. “It was taken of the two of us a long time ago. Casey was here with us tonight.”

He said that Town Jazz will definitely return next year, and he’s making plans with more musicians and sponsors. However, the venue will remain the same.

“The owner of  Jo’An’s said that we could come back every month if we wanted,” Marshall said.

Given the fact that he heads up the jazz department at Idyllwild Arts Academy, and performs with his band and other gigs, it may be hard to pull off a monthly jazz show, he said.

“We want to keep the focus on Seahawk MoJo (his charity for jazz in the grade schools), and not just working as musicians,” he said.

Tap dancer Claudia Gomez performs along with the band

Jon Stonitsch, from The Spruce Moose, one of the sponsors, said that he especially liked the jazz on Sunday evening.

“On Saturday night, there were a lot more people eating and drinking at Jo’An’s,” he said. “But on Sunday night, you could tell there were a lot of jazz lovers in the crowd. They were there just for the music.”

Bryan Tallent, also from The Spruce Moose, said that the Idyllwild Business Round Table is already trying to nail down a date for the 2nd Annual Idyllwild Town Jazz concert.

“We have to get a commitment from those musicians before they go somewhere else,” Bryan said.

Most of the musicians were not tied to the Jazz in the Pines event held the same weekend, but came up because of Marshall’s invitation.

“I’m not certain, but I think only one of the guys played at the jazz fest,” Bryan said.

Ticket sales were steady both nights, along with commemorative posters and T-shirts designed by local artist Marcia E. Gawecki. The remaining 35 will be sold for $15 at The Spruce Moose located on the top level of The Fort.

Volunteer Peggy Gawecki shows off the limited edition Town Jazz T-shirt with Marshall's image.

“Those T-shirts will be worth double the price next year because it was the first Town Jazz event ever,” Marshall predicted.

Jeffrey Taylor was one of the first to buy the fuchsia T-shirt at Mountain Harvest Market, and wore it both days.

“The design is nice, but pick another color next year,” he said with a grin.

Many of the male jazz goers didn’t like the hot pink shirt, while others like Tressa, a volunteer, embellished it with tassels, giving it a Mardi Gras look.

“I learned how to do this design in San Tropez,” Tressa explained.

She took the oversized Marshall T-shirt and cut 1-inch tassels into the neck, sleeves and sculpted the bottom edge. Several women asked her how they could do it to theirs.

No final profit/loss count was available, but Doug Yagaloff, from Mountain Harvest Market, said he was pleased with the turnout and ticket sales. The posters and T-shirts added a lot to the event too, he said.

“We didn’t have much time to plan this year’s event, so it turned out pretty well,” he said.

A limited number of Marshall Hawkins fuchsia T-shirts ($15 each), and signed posters ($5 each) are still available at The Spruce Moose, located in the Fort at 54225 North Circle Drive in Idyllwild. For more information, call (951) 659-5556.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: Aug 30, 2011 @ 14:11

Town Jazz Considered ‘Intimate’ Setting

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

At night under the stars with Town Jazz performersBy Marcia E. Gawecki

The first-ever Town Jazz event with Marshall Hawkins, a bassist who has played with the likes of Miles Davis, attracted about 250 attendees on Saturday night in Idyllwild, in spite of torrential rains and hail that dumped on the small mountain town hours before the event.

“It cooled things down, and we might get more people that we expect,” said Doug Yagaloff, from Mountain Harvest Market, one of the sponsors of the event.

He said the Idyllwild Round Table rented 500 chairs, just in case.

Tom and Karen Barnes from Arizona were walking around Idyllwild, and stopped at The Spruce Moose. A retired businessman and sax player, Tom came for the 18th Annual Jazz in the Pines event at Idyllwild Arts, but was also interested in learning more about Town Jazz.

Tom Barnes, a tenor sax player from Arizona, was interested in Town Jazz

“We’ve been coming to Jazz in the Pines since 1998,” Tom said. “But I’m interested in whatever Marshall Hawkins, who started the event, is doing.”

He thought the $10 ticket price was a good deal.

“I end up spending about $1,000 for this jazz weekend, including tickets, hotel stay, the patron dinner, and gas coming up from Arizona,” Tom said. “Ten dollars sounds pretty good.”

Although Saturday night was cool, and the stars were out, the jazz was hot. You could hear it from the streets.

Two friends of Marshall Hawkins’ came from Vista to support the event. One, a cellist who has played with Marshall onstage at Jazz in the Pines before, said that Town Jazz was a more intimate venue.

Kevin poses with Town Jazz T-shirts with Marshall Hawkins image, are available for $15 each.

“The musicians play very close to the audience,” the woman said. “You don’t have to get on a golf cart to get to the stage.”

Jeffrey Taylor, who owns Green Cafe internet, agreed that Town Jazz was more intimate.

“You can’t beat jazz at night under the stars,” he said.

Jessica Schiffman, a local book illustrator and volunteer for the evening, sat close to the stage and was impressed with the music.

“You can hear them performing their art, and you’re right there experiencing it with them,” she said.

She planned on volunteering the second night of Town Jazz, which will be held outside Jo’An’s on Sunday, August 28 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Tonight’s special guests for Town Jazz honoring Daniel Jackson include Yve Evans, and Roland Esquire Holmes. Musicians include: Gilbert Castellanos on trumpet, Bob Boss on guitar, Brett Sanders on drums, Mikan Zlatkovich on piano, Najite, African percussion, and Daniel Jackson on tenor and sax.

Marshall Hawkins played his bass last night with the groupand will play again tonight. After the last set Saturday night, Marshall thanked the musicians and the crowd for coming.

Tickets for tonight’s performance are $10 each and can be purchased at Mountain Harvest Market, The Spruce Moose and at the door. Marshall Hawkins T-shirts are $15 each and full-color event posters are $5. All proceeds go to benefit Marshall’s charity for jazz in the elementary schools, Seacrest Mojo.

For more information on Marshall Hawkins’ Town Jazz event, visit www.greencafe.com.

Published on: Aug 28, 2011 @ 7:24

 

Evening Jazz Event to Benefit Elementary Students

Friday, August 19th, 2011

Town Jazz will help bring music back to elementary schools

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Marshall Hawkins, a bassist who heads up the Jazz Department at Idyllwild Arts Academy, has long been the face of Jazz in the Pines, an annual two-day jazz event that has grown in popularity each year.

Now, Marshall is lending his image and musical charisma to an evening jazz event next weekend, Aug. 27 and 28.

“Town Jazz with Marshall Hawkins” will likely bring more business to Idyllwild shopkeepers, while helping to bring more music to elementary schools through Marshall’s charity, Seahawk MOJO.

“I’m bringing some of the best jazz musicians from all of Southern California,” Marshall said. “It’s going to be a really great event.”

“Town Jazz with Marshall Hawkins” will be held for two evenings at JoAn’s Restaurant, in the center of Idyllwild, so there is no conflict with the Jazz in the Pines concert held during the day on the Idyllwild Arts campus.

Town Jazz’s lineup on Saturday, Aug. 27, and Sunday, Aug. 28, is impressive. These musicians will honor Graham Dechter on Saturday, Aug. 27, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and honor Daniel Jackson on Sunday, Aug. 28, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.: Daniel Jackson (tenor/sax), Gilbert Castellanos (trumpet), Bob Boss (guitar), Brett Sanders (drums), Mikan Zlatkovich (piano) and Roy Gonzales (Latin percussion on Sat.) and Najite (African percussion on Sun.). Special guests both evenings include Yve Evans and Roland “Esquire” Holmes.

Naturally, Marshall will play both nights, and is excited about this first-ever event, mainly because it’s going to help to bring music to young people in the schools.

“Seahawk MOJO, is an acronym that stands for Seahawk Modern Jazz Orchestra,” Marshall explained.

Because he was out of town and pressed for time, he sent a letter explaining Seahawk MOJO’s mission. It started with a great need to put music education back into the elementary schools.

“Few Americans need to be reminded of the long-term damage caused by the removal of arts education, including music, from the curriculum in our public schools,” Marshall wrote. “Jazz education teaches a ‘universal language’ that can serve as a tool for personal, social and economic empowerment. It’s a language that expresses the ironies of our American democracy, especially for the disenfranchised, with humor, joy, boundless artistry, and imagination.”

Doug Yagaloff believes 'Town Jazz' will help local shopkeepers

During this event, Seahawk MOJO is operating under its parent non-profit organization, the Idyllwild Master Chorale. Marshall has long played bass for the Master Chorale events, including their Messiah program.

Although the next generation of jazz musicians will benefit from this “Town Jazz” event, another group set to benefit: Idyllwild shopkeepers, innkeepers and restauranteurs. The Idyllwild Business Roundtable and the Idyllwild Chamber of Commerce are managing the business end of the “Town Jazz” event, namely sending out promotion, bringing in volunteers, and managing the two-evening event.

“Town Jazz is going to bring back jazz to the town of Idyllwild,” said Doug Yagaloff, who co-owns Mountain Harvest Market in Strawberry Plaza. “Too often, business owners have been left out of the Jazz in the Pines weekend. We don’t hear the music and business revenue goes down, so this year, we’re going to reverse course.”

Doug spoke frankly about Idyllwild business owners wanting to be part of Jazz in the Pines weekend.

“There are three categories of people that we want to reach that weekend: those who come for the concert and stay overnight and might eat dinner in town. There are those who come for the day to hear a specific jazz musician, but leave immediately afterwards. Then there are the locals, who may like jazz music, but the $65 daily price ticket is out of their reach.”

Town Jazz, at $10 a ticket, can appeal to all of these groups. It offers a nice musical lineup outside JoAn’s restaurant in the center of town. Seating, drinks, food and bathrooms are provided by JoAn’s. The Business Roundtable rented 300 extra chairs, and expect to attract 400 to 500 people for the two-day event.

Ticket sales cover costs for the musicians, while everyone else is volunteering their efforts, Doug said. He estimates it will cost about $4,000 to put on the Town Jazz event. He hopes to recoup those expenses in ticket, T-shirts and poster sales.

Cafe Aroma, which also features jazz musicians during Jazz in the Pines weekend, fully supports the efforts of Town Jazz, Doug said.

“Frank and Hubert think there’s enough jazz for all of Idyllwild that weekend,” he said. “It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”

Doug said that Idyllwild Arts Associates, the nonprofit group that hosts Jazz in the Pines, is supporting Marshall’s “Town Jazz”

event.

T-shirts, with Marshall's image, will be sold for $13 and $15

“They came and spoke with us at our Business Roundtable, and we’re also hosting a booth at their event,” Doug said. “Everything’s cool.”

Tickets for “Town Jazz with Marshall Hawkins” are $10 each, and can be purchased at Mountain Harvest Market and the Spruce Moose. T-shirts with Marshall’s image, will be available for sale starting Friday, Aug. 26, for $13 each/$15 for larger sizes.

For more information on the event, visit www.IDY4U.com/jazz.

Published on: Aug 19, 2011 @ 1:49 E

 

 

 

Where’s Leo? He’s Playing for the Queen of Sweden

Monday, August 15th, 2011

'He's the best violinist in Germany right now,' said Christoph Wynecken of Leo, age 15.

By Marcia E. Gawecki

When the 10 German students took a day off from their music lessons at Idyllwild Arts to swim at Laguna Beach on Sunday, someone was missing.

“Where’s Leo?” I asked Christoph Wynecken, who teaches violin and viola during the Summer Program.

Wynecken has been bringing his music students from Stuttgart, and other cities in Germany to Idyllwild to play in the Chamber Orchestra for eight years now.

Part of their California experience is going to the beach on Sundays.

Last year, Leo and the other German students went to Venice Beach to experience its zany characters and arts peddlers on the boardwalk (See ‘German Students See Sand and Surf,’ Idyllwild Me blog entry, dated Aug. 16.)

Leo was a typical 14-year-old, chatting incessantly in German, rough housing with his friends and taking pictures of everything. He even warmed up to the idea of going to the Armand Hammer Art museum after the beach.

“Why do we have to go?” Leo asked, sunburned and tired.

“Because there’s more to California than just beaches,” Christoph said. “There’s a lot of culture here.”

During the many orchestra and chamber concerts performed during the summer, Christoph gave Leo, the youngest violinist, a chance to play first chair.

“We are more casual about first chair, and second chair in Germany,” Christoph said later Sunday night at In-and-Out Burger in Moreno Valley. “But he did a fine job of leading the orchestra.”

So where is Leo, the violin prodigy?

“He’s playing for the Queen of Sweden,” Christoph said with a smile.

He didn’t elaborate on the details, but it sounded like Leo has already performed for the queen several times. Not a bad gig for a pre-teen.

(from L) Christoph gives instructions to German students at Venice Beach last year.

It stands to reason that Queen Silvia, who was born in Heidelberg, and married King Carl XVI  Gustaf of Sweden, after meeting him at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, would want to hear a promising young German violin player.

According to reports, the two “clicked” during the Summer Olympics and were married three months later. It was the first marriage of a reigning Swedish monarch since 1797.

All that royalty news aside, the fact remains that Leo isn’t coming back to the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program, or Christoph’s orchestra, for that matter.

“He’s the best violin player in Germany right now,” Christoph said definitively.

Did Christoph see it coming? Did he know that Leo was gifted in Idyllwild last summer?

“I could smell it,” Christoph said. “A musician like him comes along once every 50 years.”

He brushed aside any notion that he groomed Leo into the promising young violin player that he is today.

“He will likely have a great solo career,” Christoph predicted.

No agent to push him, Leo will likely finish high school, before starting his music career. But Christoph has some consiliation in losing Leo. His brother is also a gifted violin player, and he’s been teaching him the ropes.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: Aug 15, 2011 @ 21:39

 

Art Showcase of Faculty & Staff Talent

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

'Nate' by Rachael Welch

By Marcia E. Gawecki

At the final Idyllwild Arts Faculty & Staff Art Show on Aug. 9, there was an eclectic mix of pieces. There were more paintings than pottery compared to the last show, prints from the new headmaster, some “shocking” paintings, and friendship nudity.

The three prints from Brian D. Cohen, the new headmaster of Idyllwild Arts Academy, were a perfect selection, given the natural surroundings of Idyllwild. Brian’s black-and-white etchings showed a pear-and-apple arrangement, a closeup of tree bark and a mystic silhouette of a pine tree in the distance. All showed his command of the print medium, and a keen sensitivity to nature (But they don’t photograph well!)

I especially liked his relief etching, “Tree Trunk,” although it was likely a tree from Vermont, and not Idyllwild. A teacher once told me that you could see wars in the bark of trees, if you look close enough.

'Fatherless Bride 2' by John Brosio

The two “shocker” paintings came from John Brosio. “Fatherless Bride 2,” was a medium-sized oil painting that featured a young woman in a long gown. “Carrie,” the 1976 horror movie based on Stephen King’s first novel, comes to mind.

In the movie, Sissy Spacek was doussed with pig’s blood, and appeared shocked in all the trailers, to say the least. However, in “Fatherless Bride 2,” there is the same amount of blood splattered on the young woman, with some drooling from her chin, but she has more of a “hunted” demeanor.

When several people looked at it, they marveled at Brosio’s technique, but didn’t understand the premise.

“Some artists just like to shock,” one woman said. “But he can definitely paint.”

The second of Brosio’s two paintings showed a close up of a fish head with a cigarette in its mouth. Everyone knows that fish don’t smoke, so this couldn’t be a preachy commentary about that.

“Just look at the way the head was cut off,” exclaimed Tressa, one of the attendees, pointing to the sharp diagonal.

'Stefania' by Jacqueline Ryan

Everyone was searching for the artist, who had just left.

Next to his paintings however, was a single portrait by Rachael Welch, who has taught painting many summers at Idyllwild Arts. She also works at Cafe Aroma, and showcases many of her paintings in their library/gallery.

Moreover, some of her jazz portraits have graced Cafe Aroma’s house wine labels, namely Marshall Hawkins, Barnaby Finch and lately, Casey Abrams.

Rachael’s single painting in the show had a predominately green and salmon palette. It was a portrait of “Nate.”

It wasn’t your typical portrait pose. This young man held his fingers up to his face in a sort of a “bugaboo” fashion, like he was mugging for the camera. There was also a faraway look in his eyes.

'Jackie' by Stefania Ford

“Why did she use salmon for the background color?” one woman asked her friends.

The others were trying to figure out what Nate was doing. Was he high on something? Was he playing a video game? The colors and the composition made it compelling.

Jacqueline Ryan, a painting assistant, was the one who convinced me to enter the faculty show.

“There’s never enough paintings by staff members,” she said. “Keep trying.”

However, this young woman, who just graduated from college, had a command of the medium. Her painting of a nude woman was connected to another sculpture in the show. Jacqueline told the story:

“This painting is of Stefania, the ceramics teacher,” Jacqueline explained. “She finished this sculpture of me that she started last year, so I decided to do a painting of her.”

(From top) Jazz greats Nat King Cole and Billie Holiday by Marcia E. Gawecki

“Jackie,” Stefania’s ceramic sculpture, featured a Rueben-esque kneeling nude, which captured Jacqueline’s energy. Stefania wasn’t around to comment on her piece.

She also had several organic pottery pieces on a pedestal next to her sculpture.

Next to “Stefania,” was my larger-than-life banner of Barnaby Finch, a local jazz musician who has played with some big-name jazz musicians. (I drive for Idyllwild Arts, so I’m considered a staff member.)

The banner measured about five feet across and nearly seven feet long. Cristie Scott, the gallery assistant, had to hang the banner by herself, which is quite the feat and without the slightest irritation.

Last year, the banner of Barnaby hung outside Cafe Aroma’s deck during the Jazz in the Pines event. It served as a backdrop for many jazz performances.

“It’s definitely the largest piece in the show,” Cristie said.

At first inspection, I noticed that the perspective was off. Barnaby’s head was much larger than his jawline. Most of my painting was done on my kitchen floor, so it was hard to get a perspective. Yet, I should have hung it over the porch railing before hanging it in the gallery.

'Paint the Black Hole Blacker' by David Delgado

“I want to disappear!” I thought to myself. “What was I doing showing a piece with an off perspective?”

I was grateful that Barnaby himself hadn’t showed up!

So when a young woman in a bright orange dress started dancing in front of the Barnaby banner, laughing with her friends and mugging for the camera, I was convinced that she was making fun of it.

“No, she’s just wearing a bright orange dress, and reacting to the colors of your piece,” explained Cristie.

She was right because I followed the woman around the gallery, and she wasn’t dancing in front of other pieces, including”Fatherless Bride 2.”

(From L) 'Double View Evening' and 'Tree Shadows at Sue's House' by Jessica Schiffman

All of the pieces are for sale. Part of the sale proceeds go to the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program.

This faculty show will remain on display at the Parks Exhibition Center until this Saturday, Aug. 20. The gallery will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, contact Cristie at the gallery at (951) 659-2171, ext. 2251

EDITOR’S NOTE: Technically, I should not review an art show that I have pieces in. It would never fly in a standard newspaper–conflict of interest and all that. But, for now, a biased perspective is better than none at all, right?

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: Aug 13, 2011 @ 21:41

 

 

 

 

Chinese Pearls Are Now Affordable, but Inhumane

Friday, August 5th, 2011

By Marcia E. Gawecki

The CBS Morning News segment on Thursday, August 4th, started out with an image from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” A young Audrey Hepburn wrapped in pearls was peering into Tiffany’s window eating a croissant. They also showed First Lady Jackie Kennedy and her young son, John, playing with her strand of pearls.

Once a jewel of the rich and famous, pearls are now affordable, thanks to China.

The news segment showcased colored pearls in red, blue, and green. Before that, most people only knew about black, gray and pink pearls from Tahiti and Japan. The new, bold colors will likely appeal to the younger set at the affordable price of $4 to $8 each. About the same price as a cup of Starbuck’s.

The Chinese claim that their freshwater pearls rival the more expensive and coveted saltwater pearls from Tahiti and Japan. In a side-by-side test, it was difficult to tell the difference.

Yet, one nagging question remains. What about the oysters?

In the segment, the reporter mentioned that the Chinese pearl makers have found a way to plant not one grain of sand, but 21 pieces of tissue into the oyster. That means, if they’re lucky, there will be 21 perfect pearls from each oyster.

For those who don’t know how oysters make pearls, here’s a quick summary: An irritant, such as a grain of sand, gets into the oyster’s soft underbelly. It’s like you getting a splinter on your finger. Because it’s threatened, the oyster then adds layers and layers of nacre (or calcium carbonate) deposits to cover the piece of sand, eventually turning it into a pearl. This process can take up to several years to complete. When the pearl is ready, the oyster is cracked open and dies.

When one grain of sand is an irritant, can you imagine how 21 irritants would be? Ask Octomom what it was like having eight children at once. On a smaller level, how about 21 splinters on your finger for a year?

Just because an oyster cannot complain, scream or cry at this abuse, doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel pain. With 21 irritants at once, what kind of life does that oyster have? It will not have a moment’s peace until it dies.

It doesn’t matter, you might say, because look at this beautiful pearl necklace that I’m wearing! Doesn’t it make it all worthwhile?

From what Nature has taught me while living in Idyllwild, there will be consequences for this “pearl factory.” Oysters are part of the overall food chain, and even though they will likely be farmed separately, there will be a fallout. Since the oysters will be in a constant state of irritation, they won’t be thinking about growing or reproducing. An entire line of freshwater oysters could become extinct.

That’s ridiculous, you say, you’re a spoilsport. But whenever an animal has to suffer needlessly for my gain, especially when it’s not for basic needs, then I’m not going to be part of it.

As a teenager, I remember peering into a Mikimoto store window in Paris. It was night time and raining, but I was in heaven. Like Audrey Hepburn looking into Tiffany’s store window, I found comfort in those strands of Mikimoto pearls.

“I will own a black strand someday,” I promised myself.

That seemed like the ultimate gift of elegance. Now that China has made freshwater pearls affordable, I don’t want any. Trees and oysters cannot cry out when they’re being exploited and in pain. But it doesn’t make it less real.

If we continue to abuse nature for our own selfish benefit, there will be consequences. Perhaps oysters will cease to exist. Nature created them as food for other sea life, not as a ready pearl factory for us. That’s not how it works.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.