Archive for March, 2012

Student ‘Green Team’ Focuses on Recycling, Growth

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Devin worked on a garlic farm for a week

By Marcia E. Gawecki

“It’s not easy being green,” sang Kermit the frog from The Muppets.

Students from the ‘Green Team’ at Idyllwild Arts can identify. The ideas they plan to propose for their school will take time and effort, but the payoff will be well worth it.

Four of them, including Devin, Alex, Michelle and Katherine, recently attended the ‘Green Schools National Conference’ in Denver with faculty member Shannon Jacobs. They wanted to help their school become more eco-friendly.

During their All-School meeting on Friday, March 9, the group presented a 5-minute video they had created about the experience.

Devin, an Interdisciplinary Arts (IM) major, was the one who interviewed many attendees on camera. They didn’t just interview students, but families and older people as well.

“Why is the environment important to you?” Devin asked.

“Because we live in it,” one student said.

“It’s the only thing that we have left,” quipped another.

An older woman said that it was an important for her to hand over the earth in a good state to her children.

“We need to give a beautiful gift to them,” she said.

The video also showed B-roll of the breakout sessions, lectures, and some new environmental products.

“They also shot about five minutes of Michelle eating french fries,” teased Isaac, a friend of Michelle’s, a dance major.

She said that she enjoyed the conference because of all of the ideas presented there. The Green Team is currently looking over many of them, including growing a garden.

The Green Team hopes to grow garlic and sell to local merchants, such as Cafe Aroma

Devin said they’re considering growing garlic, and maybe selling it to Idyllwild merchants, such as Cafe Aroma at a reduced price.

“I worked on a garlic farm for a week, and its surprisingly easy to grow,” Devin said.

The Green Team is also looking into hosting a guest lecture series to learn more about recycling and the environment. They’ve heard there are groups in town, such as Sustainable Idyllwild, that perhaps they can collaborate with.

Although most of these ideas are still in the planning stages, the Green Team actively searches out new ideas from other students and the faculty. Brian D. Cohen, the school’s headmaster, is a strong proponent of recycling and saving energy.

Just this year, the academy’s cafeteria saw a big change. Signs went up about food waste, and they even weighed the garbage cans to prove it.

Then there was an effort to help save water and energy by not using food trays, but carrying your dishes to the table. Once finished, everyone was encouraged to scrape their plates and separate them into bins.

Just the act of standing over a trash can and scraping away your leftovers made students aware of what was being wasted.

“I started gaining more weight because I didn’t want to throw any food away,” said one van driver.

Everyone is encouraged to ask for less portions, and those who want more must go through the line a second time.

Besides the cafeteria, the offices got a change with energy efficient lighting. They’re the kind of lights that come on automatically, and shut off after you leave. That way, no one is walking into a dark bathroom or hallway.

(from L) Michelle, who attended the Denver conference, and her friend, Becky

“They detect motion, so they’re not going to shut off after a few minutes,” explained Angela, the school’s receptionist.

She said she likes the new improvements, and its nice to know they’re saving energy.

Another idea the Green Team are considering is healthy vending, which means healthy alternatives in the vending machines and in the school’s bookstore.

He encouraged everyone to check out their Facebook page called, “Idyllwild Greenies.”

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

 

 

Neighbors Help Combat Idyllwild Crime

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Having a large dog helps keep crime at bay

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Due diligence is what will help Idyllwild in its latest crime spree. In a Town Hall meeting held at the Idyllwild School on Saturday, March 24, about 100 townspeople were there to express their fears and find some answers. Some of my neighbors were there.

It’s not important that I didn’t go to the meeting. What is important is that I know my neighbors. And that I talk to them about what’s going on in the neighborhood when they’re out walking their dogs. Or we’re helping each other shovel our driveways.

That kind of neighborhood diligence will help combat crime. Two years ago, we all banded together to shut down a drug house at the end of our street.

Some enterprising renter decided to open up a drug house and supply the neighborhood with pot and other drugs. New cars started lining the streets, but most would only stay for a few minutes. Odd people would walk by in the middle of the day, not waving or looking you in the eye.

Then the drama started. Cuss words coming out of the mouths of grown women. And fights over money. The cops were there a lot, and finally they made her move out. Guess they got to the landlord (who was out of state). The last time I saw her, she was carrying a puppy in her hand along Hwy. 243, showing it to drivers trying to sell it.

The moral of this story is not how to combat a drug house in your neighborhood, but how you and your neighbors can band together to stop crime. During that time, we would all talk to each other about what we saw, and heard. Some reported her to the police for disturbing the noise ordinance, while others called Code Enforcement for all of the junk in the yard.

I should have been on high alert when I read in the Town Crier that my neighbor had reported break-ins in part-time homes around her. I’m only 10 houses away.

“I don’t have anything to steal,” I’d laugh and say. Except I’d cry if anyone took my MacBook.

Unoccupied homes are open invitations for robbers

Then my neighbor from Los Angeles told me that some thieves broke into a neighbor’s house while she was at home! The woman was disabled, so they just kept robbing her! That neighbor is a credible source, so I believe him. He’s in his 70s and worked in insurance investigations.

The in-home invasion, he said, was near McMahon (where Marion View Drive turns into Double View). My guess is that the thugs are targeting homes close to the highway. Just one turn and they’d be on Hwy. 243 and out of town.

My brother was a loss prevention officer for JC Penneys in Omaha. Too many times, he said, he would get pepper sprayed in the face by robbers. They would pack things into suitcases or bags and put them by the doors. Then they’d rush out to a waiting car and speed away. In pursuit, my brother would get sprayed–all for minimum wage.

But that lesson taught me that robbers want a clean getaway. They want the fastest way out of town. So if you live along Hwy. 243 in Idyllwild, it’s time to be diligent. Lock your doors, and report strange activity to the police.

Mountain Top Liquor was robbed at gunpoint a few weeks back. Richard, the clerk on duty at the time, said the guy knew what he was doing.

“He held the gun straight in my face and didn’t waver,” Richard said. “Either he’d done this before, or he had military training.”

Then the robber took off on foot behind the Fort, likely to a waiting car. Richard said the guy must’ve known someone locally because he knew where to park and get away quickly.

“Lock your doors,” Richard warned me. “There are people out there without ethics, and you have to protect yourself.”

I’ve been careless about locking my front and back doors at the same time. I also forget to lock my car, but secretly I hope that one would get stolen.

Streets like Marion View and McMahon are close to Hwy 243

However, I wasn’t expecting a knock in the night.

It was around 10:30 p.m., and I figured my boyfriend forgot his key. The bedroom is upstairs, so it took me a few minutes to open the door. By then, no one was there, but a station wagon was parked just beyond the driveway. I could see its frame in the moonlight.

I flicked the porch light and waved. But the car sped off. It wasn’t my boyfriend’s friends dropping him off. Was it someone just lost, looking for another house? Or were would-be thieves checking me out?

I noticed that the window was open a crack (for fresh air), but it could’ve easily been pried open. My car, covered in snow, was parked across the street because I have a slanted driveway and its easier to get out in the snow. The porch lights were on, but maybe they were wondering if anyone was at home?

Keep in mind when they knocked, no dog barked, because I don’t have one. But my boyfriend has a viscious cat that I wouldn’t think twice about letting out if anyone forces their way in. And they’re lucky I don’t have a gun.

Many women I've met at the Legion in Idyllwild pack guns

The home invaders are lucky that that invalid woman didn’t have a gun. Many people up here have guns, and I’m not just talking about Tracy Filippi, the bug guy.

Women have guns in their homes and in their cars. I’ve talked to a lot of them at the American Legion. These women are senior citizens, but many of them have also served in the military and know how to use a gun. They wouldn’t think twice about shooting anyone who forces their way into their homes.

My guess is the crime spree for homes and businesses along Hwy. 243 in Idyllwild will continue until someone gets shot. And then it won’t be like taking candy from a baby anymore.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

MMA Champ to Focus on Idyllwild Youth

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Willy is a 4-time MMA Champ. Courtesy photo.

By Marcia E. Gawecki

The Idyllwild Fitness Center reopened three weeks ago. The new owner, Willy Latzo, is a four-time mixed martial arts world champion, who bought the gym for two reasons: To help him train for his next fight, and to help the young people of Idyllwild.

If you Google Willy Latzo, a million hits turn up. A self described, “Champion of the Hearts,” Willy also has many fight videos on You Tube. He is the European Champion in Muay Thai Boxing and a German champion in boxing. in 2000, he retired undefeated with 268 fights.

He said that fighting allowed him to travel the world, and see the better part of life. He has a trainer, and agent, and lots of people who work for him. He’s owned many gyms before, including in Berlin, where he’s from, and in Los Angeles.

Yet, Willy ended up in Idyllwild. Why?

“It was time to buy a gym, and we looked at Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and New Jersey,” and, surprisingly, Idyllwild came up, and we thought, ‘That’s brilliant!'” Willy said, from his office with only one muscle poster on the wall.

At 6 foot, 2 inches, and 255 pounds, Willy is a formidable force. Although he was wearing a sweatshirt and pants, it was hard to see his muscles. Granted, it’s wintertime in Idyllwild, but it was surprising how bundled up he was, and how little he wanted to talk about himself, his championships, his lifestyle, and physique.

“This gym is not about making money,” Willy began. “It’s about potential.”

He knows Hulk Hogan and other famous celebrities personally and wants to bring them to Idyllwild. He wants to help generate some excitement about fitness for the teenagers of Idyllwild.

“It’s too early yet,” Willy said. “We just opened up this month, but in the Spring, I’d like to start working on some events that focus on youth and fitness.”

He said that he’s met a lot of teenagers who are hanging in the streets with nothing to do.

“Some have come in here smelling of vodka,” Willy said. “I’m not here to judge, but who is taking care of the youth?”

“We need to help and show courage,” Willy added. “We should not look away.”

As a father of two teenagers, he knows how challenging it can be. He has a son who is 15 years old and a daughter who is 13 years old.

But he believes that fitness and fighting helped him develop character growing up in Berlin.

His parents are originally from Turkey, and moved to Germany for a better life. Both were nurses who worked hard, sometimes 16 to 20 hours a day.  However, his father died at age 49 of cancer.

“I think he was heartbroken because he couldn’t go home,” Willy said. “He never returned to Turkey.”

Willy started fighting at age six, and learned quickly. He was teaching his first karate class at age 9. His lessons lead him to fights all over the world.

Willy and wife Ramona at their Idyllwild Opening. Photo Jeffrey Taylor.

“I think I was born to fight,” he said.

During the discussion, he pointed out that fighters aren’t angry. They don’t hate their opponents. Mixed martial arts is a sport like any other. It’s about training, strategy, and outwitting your opponent.

“The kids ask me, ‘Isn’t it violent?” Willy said. “It’s not violent. You need to honor your enemy.”

Yet, over the years, Willy has seen the underside of the sport. The drug abuse, and the pressure of sponsors. You find out that your opponents are fighting for the love of money, and not the sport.

“And then one day, you wake up in a hotel room, and you don’t know your own name,” he said.

At age 40, Willy is not delusional about his career as a fighter. He has broken every bone in his body and his nose 16 times. He can’t feel any sensation in his legs anymore. It’s not because he’s been kicked too much, but he wanted to deaden the nerves there. In an ancient method, he used a rolling pin to force his nerves away from the bones.

“It’s great for fighting, but bad in your personal life,” Willy said.

In Idyllwild, he feels closer to the universe. He and his wife, Ramona, love it here. The other night, he walked home in the light of the full moon and was rejuvenated.

He spoke about Lin Long, a woman from China, who lived in the woods for 10 years after she was banished from her town. She developed her own fierce fighting style from the animals.

He said when he went to Japan, he was the chosen student.

“I am the grand master,” Willy stated.

He is looking for another student to learn his martial arts secrets from him. But it wasn’t clear if it would be a boy or girl.

(from L) Jeffrey Taylor with Sara Karloff. Background art by Marcia Gawecki.

“He or she will come to me,” Willy said.

He also spoke of his belief in Zen Buddhism, and how a worm could be his grandmother, so he must be careful where he steps in the woods.

All in all, Willy is a champion. His experience as a personal trainer has already shaped one local into a true believer.

“In just three weeks, I can see definition in my chest,” said Jeffrey Taylor, of Green Cafe Internet.

Like many people who work behind a desk, Jeffrey was putting on weight because he couldn’t ride his bicycle in the snow. Willy started focusing on his stomach.

“For most men, that’s the weakest part,” Willy said.

After an hour workout, Jeffrey would complain that it hurt to laugh. But he kept with it, and soon he started to see an improvement.

“I looked in the mirror, and I’m starting to see a six pack,” Jeffrey said with a grin.

He’s not talking about beer, but abdominal muscles that stick out when you’re in great shape.

Yet, Jeffrey is quick to point out that Idyllwild Fitness is not geared for bodybuilders.

In Idyllwild, Willy feels closer to the universe

“I’m not trying to build muscle,” he said. “I just want to get back into shape.”

Besides toning, Willy talks to Jeffrey about his diet.

“He said no more chips, wine and pasta,” Jeffrey said.

For variety, Jeffrey couples his workouts with salsa aerobics, which is also offered at the gym on Tuesday nights.

As for the young people of Idyllwild, many think it’s cool that we have a MMA Champ living among us.

David, who has lived in Idyllwild his entire life, said that he met Willy when he first arrived.

“He knows karate, and is tough, but very spiritual too,” David said. “He’s looking for his next student.”

At least six teenagers are really glad that Idyllwild Fitness reopened its doors. They work for Willy and get to see him on a regular basis.

Idyllwild Fitness offers fitness machines, free weights, a sauna, along with aerobics classes to suit your lifestyle. Monthly individual rates are $40, but funfight, Willy’s high energy workouts with the punching bag, are more.

For more information, call (951) 659-5000 or visit www.idyllwildfitnesscenter.com. Idyllwild Fitness Center is located in Strawberry Creek Shopping Center, just below Mountain Harvest Market. Enter on the lower level.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

 

 

Spring Dance Features Interesting Mix

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Cats consult with Cinderella about going to the ball

By Marcia E. Gawecki

The Idyllwild Arts Spring Dance Concert, held for three days this week, featured a nice mix of ballet, modern and jazz.

Standout pieces included Cinderella, and contemporary ballet and hip-hop pieces from two guest choreographers.

However, the final piece, featuring video and poetry from the seniors, was an emotional good-bye.

The show opened with a grand production of ‘Cinderella,’ with their own twists. After being told that she cannot go to the ball, Cinderella (Madison) consults with cats (instead of mice). But its the seasonal fairies who convince her to go. Big show stealers were male dancers Cemiyon and Gilbert, as the wicked stepsisters, with stepmother Gerard, all dressed in drag.

(from L) Cinderella (Madison) celebrates with Lani (fair godmother) and the fairies

The fairy godmother (Lani) and spring/summer/winter/fall fairies (Gina, Giovanna, Cheyenne and Adrianna) were all played beautifully by senior dancers.

The fairies’ ballet costumes were not the traditional starched variety, but colorful and flowing, making one yearn for spring. (Ten inches of snow arrived the day after the show’s end).

Will Dingledein, a 2011 dance grad, was in attendance for all three shows. He laughed his head off when Gerard, as stepmother, scolded Prince Charming (Mauricio).

“He stole the show!” Will said during the first intermission.

“Le Papillon,” a modern ballet by guest choreographer, Josie Walsh, was funded by a grant from the AEL Foundation. Given the title, one expected to see butterflies, but the opening showed dancers rolling other dancers wrapped in cocoon-like materials.

From 'Pas de Quoi'

The piece, which also featured the original music by Josie’s husband, Paul Rivera, Jr., featured sound effects like echoes, which piqued your interest.

'Lotus' was a hip-hop piece by guest choreographer Brandon Aiken

The costumes, sheer peach long dresses, were elegant, yet functional. In the end, dancers wrapped themselves in the same material as capes that were stepped on by other dancers.

It was artfully choreographed, and a treat to watch its transformation.

‘Lotus,’ by guest choreographer Brandon Aiken, told a different story. Borrowing from “West Side Story,” the hip-hop piece featured a dance-off contest between two rival dance gangs. Torn between the two were star-crossed lovers, played by Allison and Gilbert.

Paris, who was adamantly opposed to the pair, was perfectly theatrical. Hip-hop music by Chris Brown, Lil Jon, young Jeezy and Wale kept the crowd enthralled.

Senior dancers Giovanna and Mauricio

‘A Leaving,’ the last piece, featured an emotional good-bye from seniors, Adrianna, Cheyenne, Natalia, Lani, Mauricio, Gina, Giovanna, Delaney, Allison, Madison, Sorrelle and Gerard. Each took their turns at the microphone, citing poetry and memories over the past four years.

“I am a bird, high up in these trees,” Cheyenne said. “I am home.”

“We stuck our heads in the earth,” Delaney said in a voice over during her dance solo.

“Lizard dust fills my mouth,” Madison added. “Making it hard to say good-bye.”

Towards the end, a full-screened black-and-white video depicted the dance seniors walking away in the snow. Voice-overs talked about first loves, heartache, gratitude and self-actualization.

It was also peppered with humor.

Spring dance featured a nice mix of dance styles

“Even after four years, people still don’t know if I’m Gina or Giovanna,” Gina quipped.

At the final bow, the audience was on its feet, clapping, cheering and shedding some tears.

Wednesday night’s concert was featured on U Stream on the academy’s web site, www.idyllwildarts.org.

Angela, the school’s receptionist, was glad to be able to watch the dance concert from the comfort of her own home.

 

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Andy leaps in the air over his fellow dancers

 

 

Cemiyon in 'Pas de Quoi'

 

Cross Bearer Walks Along Highway 243 Near Idyllwild

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Wes Maugh walking with his cross along Hwy. 243 Tuesday

By Marcia E. Gawecki

During this Lenten season, the cross is often depicted on posters, signs and church banners. For Christians, it symbolizes everlasting life.

Yet, it was unexpected to find a senior citizen carrying an oversized cross along Hwy. 243 near Idyllwild on Tuesday evening, March 13. About 40 yards behind him was a woman carrying a Bible.

“God asked me to do it,” said Wes Maugh, 63, an Evangelical minister from Banning.

He had carried his 40-pound pine cross from Valle Vista to Mountain Center (about 17 miles), and was headed back down the hill again. His wife, Victoria Grace, 59, was walking with him.

Wes Maugh and his wife, Victoria Grace

They stopped for a minute in a pullout. Several motorists honked and waved at them.

Wes built his cross in 2010, and since then, has traveled along roadsides to 194 cities and towns.

“I’ve traveled from 29 Palms to Glendale and Devore to Fallbrook,” Wes said. “The cross is for everyone.”

Even though there isn’t much of a shoulder along Hwy. 243, Wes was free from worry about getting hit.

“I have two angels beside me,” he said, winking at his wife.

For better traction, his 8 x 5 1/2 foot cross was equipped with a roller at the end.

“Otherwise, it would split,” explained Victoria Grace.

Yet, the roller didn’t help ease the burden any. Wes let me rest it on my shoulders as I walked just a few feet. It was heavy and uncomfortable, and I was going downhill. No way would I want to walk 17 miles up and downhill with it over my shoulder!

Yet, Wes and Victoria Grace were in good spirits. They said that many motorists have honked and waved at them. Some have stopped and prayed with them, while others have given them water, money or slices of pizza.

Wes walks with his cross to help avert natural disasters

“Whatever they have in their car, they share,” he said.

Victoria Grace said that some motorists have shouted at Wes for carrying the cross.

“Why are you doing that?” they’ve demanded.

“Why not?” Victoria Grace retorted.

Over the past two years, Wes has racked up 4,175 miles with his cross to help his fellow Californians avert natural disasters.

“God told me that if I carried this cross, then He would turn away catastrophes in California,” Wes said, mentioning storms, fires and earthquakes.

“God is not into death and suffering,” Wes said. “This cross is no burden; it’s a blessing.”

Wes added that the cross was a symbol that should be seen out in the open.

“It has a voice,” Wes said. “It is the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Although Wes and his wanderings are not associated with any particular religion or church, it’s not an original idea.

“For 38 years, Arthur Blessitt racked up 38,102 miles around the world with his cross,” Wes said.

Arthur’s cross was a bit bigger than Wes’, 12 feet x 6 feet. Arthur made it into the Guinness Book of World Records, and they wrote a movie about him (‘The Cross’).

“I saw Arthur walking with his cross along Hwy. 101, and it changed my life,” Wes recalled.

The message that Wes wanted to impart was simple:

“Jesus loves you, and He is coming soon,” Wes said. “But it will happen in a twinkling of an eye, so you have to be ready, and stay ready.”

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

Spring Dance Concert Opens Tonight

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Spring Dance Concert will feature a guest ballet choreographer. 2011 photo courtesy Idyllwild Arts.

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Idyllwild Arts’ Spring Dance Concert will showcase the choreographic talents of two guest artists, including hip hop and ballet.

The two-hour show opens tonight (Wednesday) and runs through Friday. Expect the dance students to be enthusiastic, not just because they love their craft, but because it’s only days before Spring Break.

Brandon was a recent guest artist in the Dance Department and choreographed the hip-hop piece.

“I”m not sure who Brandon was a backup dancer for,” said Gina, a senior. “Maybe Madonna, but he’s definitely a great dancer and choreographer.”

Becca, who knows about hip hop (but isn’t in Brandon’s piece), said, “It’s like Brandon recreated a club ‘dance off.”

Skye, a dancer from Santa Barbara, will be in four pieces, including the hip-hop, modern, jazz and ballet.

Cheyenne strikes a pose for the show poster

“Most of the dancers are in three or four pieces,” Skye said. “It’s going to be a long show, but it moves really fast.”

Gilbert, one of six male dancers at Idyllwild Arts, bought pantyhose in town for the Cinderella ballet piece. They were nude, Queen-sized with reinforced toes.

“I don’t want to spoil anything, but some of the male dancers will be dressed as women for the Cinderella piece,” Gilbert said. “It’s really funny. We’re going to be wearing wigs and full makeup.”

At 13 years old, Gilbert is the youngest student at Idyllwild Arts.

“You hae to come see the hip hop piece and the ballet piece,” said Gina. “It was really wonderful working with professionals.”

Both guest artists taught Master Classes and worked closely with the dance students with their choreographed pieces.

The Spring Dance Concerts starts tonight, Wednesday, March 14, at 7:30 p.m. in the IAF Theatre at Bowman. Like all events at Idyllwild Arts, it’s free and open to the public. But you might want to get there early to get a good seat. The show continues Thursday and Friday nights at 7:30 p.m.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

 

Student Photographer Heads to Nairobi

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

Portraits of street artist/activist Shepard Fairey by Sidney M.

By Marcia E. Gawecki

She’s always carrying a camera, taking pictures of her friends or capturing Idyllwild’s natural beauty. On weekends, young couples pay her to shoot their weddings.

And when street artist Shepard Fairey came to Idyllwild Arts, she got five minutes alone with him.

As a photography student at Idyllwild Arts, Sidney knows what it takes to be good.

However, in June, she’ll be traveling outside her comfort zone on a 2-week missionary trip to Nairobi, Kenya. It’s sponsored by her church, Community Christian, in Hemet.

“There are one million people in Nairobi living in one square mile,” Sidney said. “We’re going to help improve their living conditions.”

According to various web sites, Nairobi is the most populous city in East Africa, with an estimated population of 3 million.

To help fund the trip to Nairobi, Sidney must raise $3,600. With her freelance gigs over the past year, (in addition to her academic and arts classes), she’s earned most of it, but she’s about $1,500 short.

So she’s offering 15-minute photography sessions for $25, which is much less than her normal $100 asking price.

“For these sessions, you can bring a friend, your pet, props or a change of clothes, if you’re quick about it,” Sidney said.

Sidney asked Shepard to lean forward for a stronger statement

Portraits appear to be her forte, capturing the essence of a person. For more samples of this, visit www.signeymorganblog.com.

With Shepard Fairey, she worked with him to get the right shot. She set him against a gritty black wall and asked him to lean forward.

“I think it made a stronger statement,” she said.

Recently, she photographed a young mother-to-be in a sheer blue lingerie, exposing her protruding belly.

She said that the couple was so excited about the baby, they wanted to capture every moment. A sample of that portrait is also on Sidney’s blog site.

Yesterday, she planned to photograph a few Idyllwild Arts students at the the Nature Center. Sidney picked the Nature Center (which is popular for weddings) because of its privacy, natural foliage and ample light.

So far, only a few students and locals have signed up for the mini sessions, but Sidney is confident she’ll get more as she announces them on Facebook.

In Nairobi, Sidney will be taking hundreds of photos of the locals.

“It’s going to be a lot different than taking pictures in Idyllwild,” she said somberly.

All of the details haven’t been worked out yet, but Sidney also hopes to get an art grant afterwards so that she can make a Nairobi slide presentation.

“Those photos will help tell their plight,” she said.

In the meantime, Sidney is working hard to line up the 15-minute mini sessions, until she reaches her $3,600 goal.

For more information on Sidney’s photography, call (951) 760-8754 or visit www.sidneymorganblog.com.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Students to Perform at Berklee Jazz Fest

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

(from L) Lake with Ashi and Alejandro at another event

By Marcia E. Gawecki

On Saturday, March 10, four jazz students from Idyllwild Arts Academy will be attending the Berklee High School Jazz Festival in Boston. Last year, two brought back Outstanding Musician and Superior Musician Awards.

The four jazz musicians who are going this year are: Lake (guitar), Luca (piano), Mary (bass) and Max (drums). Lake and Mary are seniors, Luca is a junior and Max is a sophomore.

“I know that a piano, bass, guitar and drums sounds like an unusual jazz combo,” Max explained. “Even though we don’t have a horn player, we sound pretty good.”

Lake, the only one who will be attending the Berklee Jazz Festival both years, doesn’t feel the pressure to win more awards. He’s racked up a few of his own this year, including a Young Artist Award, a Downbeat Magazine Award (June issue), and an Honorable Mention at the Music Center’s Spotlight Competition.

Jazz drummer Max is looking forward to his first competition

Although a little arrogance would be expected, Lake remains humble.

“There are so many deserving musicians out there,” he said.

Not to be outdone, Luca, the jazz pianist, just won a songwriting award. But they won’t be playing his original music at Berklee. The jazz combo will be playing three songs, including “Moment’s Notice” by John Coltrane, “Monk’s Mood” by Theolonious Monk and “Straight Up and Down” by Chick Corea.

Max, from Russia, is looking forward to the Berklee Jazz Festival, but is a little nervous about playing before large crowds at the Hynes Convention Center. It’s his first competition, and he’s relatively new to jazz. Before coming to Idyllwild Arts this year, Max hadn’t played jazz before.

He said he looked up Idyllwild Arts online, and received a great scholarship. He likes living up in the San Jacinto Mountains, but it’s not as rustic as Russia.

“In Russia, there are more bears there than there are squirrels here,” he said.

Portrait of Marshall Hawkins by Idyllwild artist Marcia E. Gawecki

He knows about bears firsthand. When he went canoe camping with this father, he heard “crunching” sounds outside their tent late at night.

“I just knew that it was a bear,” Max said.

In the morning, there were fresh bear paw prints all around their tent and campsite.

He said he’ll never forget that sound. Perhaps it might work its way into one of his drum solos in the future? Max only laughs.

In Boston, the group, including jazz instructors Marshall Hawkins and Paul Carman, will meet up with former jazz students, Caleb (trumpet), Jacob (saxophone) and Ashi (drums), who now attend the Berkelee College of Music in Boston. In 2011, Jacob brought back an Outstanding Musician Award and Lake received a Superior Musician Award.

They got a jump start at Idyllwild Arts, and played regular gigs at Café Aroma in Idyllwild. When their schedules would allow, Caleb, Jacob and Lake would perform with Marshall and Paul on Tuesday nights. On a few occasions, they played with bassist and jazz grad Casey Abrams before he entered the 10th Season of American Idol, and catapulted into the world’s stage.

Casey Abrams banner at Cafe Aroma. The 7 x 9 foot banner is for sale for $900

This weekend, Casey will be performing at the Idyllwild Arts Spring Gala in Los Angeles.

Whether these four will bring back more awards from the Berklee Jazz Fest is anyone’s guess. We’ll find out soon enough at the next jazz concert.

When they performed together at the last jazz concert, Stephens Recital Hall was packed. Their concerts have become so popular that they’ve had to move to the IAF Theatre in Bowman for the next one.

For more information on the Jazz Department at Idyllwild Arts, visit www.idyllwildarts.org or call (951) 659-2171. And more about the Berklee High School Jazz Festival, visit. www.berklee.org.

The original Casey Abrams acrylic banner, 7 x 9 feet, is for sale for $900. However, the Marshall Hawkins banner is sold. Email: idyllwildwriter@gmail.com.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

 

Alumni Art Show Ends Friday

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

By Marcia E. Gawecki

“Past to Present,” Idyllwild Arts’ alumni arts exhibition, ends today, Friday, March 2 at the Parks Exhibition Center on campus.  Although most of the hoopla of the show was focused on Shepard Fairey’s work (’88), there were 19 other alumni artists in the show.

Yesterday, five of the artists from the show (who live in Idyllwild) participated in a panel discussion whose topic was, “Making Art After School: Creating Art as a Lifelong Pursuit.” Daniel Gray, Erin Latimer, Alison Yates, Paul Waddell and Youree Jin all work at the academy and fielded questions from students and faculty at 3:30 p.m. at the Parks Exhibition Center.

“Three weeks ago, the opening was so packed that it was hard to talk to the artists,” said Mallory Cremin, who curated the show.

She said that she was sorry that Jonathan Taube and Tada Kono (both from ’06) left without talking much about their work. Their work from WIKI Studio featured two installations of organic materials. “Chametz Roulette” featured loaves of bread “That may nor may not contain mortal shrapnel.” Loaves were $11.99 each.

Each piece of the WIKI cacti installation was for sale for $6 each

Taube and Kono’s other installation, “Within Limbo,” featured pieces of prickly pear cactus attached to a pole.

“Each cactus is intended to be a collectible living object,” the pair wrote in the information about the show. “They are for sale for $6 each.”

When Mallory opened the gallery several days before the end of the show, several of the cacti had rotted and fallen from the pole.

“This is not part of the installation,” Mallory said, as she scooped up the debris.

Since the students didn’t get to speak with Kono and Taube, Mallory said that she wanted to give the local artists the opportunity to speak about their work before the show ended today.

Erin Latimer (’02) and Alison Yates (’03) both showcased artist books. Erin’s books were small and portable (3 x 3 inches and 2 x 5 inches). “Mythology” and “Refugee. Evacuee. Survivor,” featured linobloc prints.

The images depict a profile of a woman with an oversized heart falling down to her feet. She is shrouded, so it could depict a Middle Eastern woman’s plight, or it could depict an American woman, for example, who is “cloaked” in darkness?

Erin Latimer's art book tells a story of escape

It could also be telling a story about work or even love relationships.

Alison’s artist’s book title, “Housework,” was understated. It was actually wonderfully crafted paper cuts on wood panels. The palette of her paper cuts was limited to only three colors, red, black and white. Which was telling because they are the colors of ashes, fire and smoke.

Note that she used uniform square wood panels as pages for her art book. Threads loosely bound them.

“Sweeping crumbs or sweeping ashes,” was the text that Alison repeated on several panels, yet her compelling images in red, white and black showed a housewife going from brushing up crumbs to turning into toast.

On one of the panels, Alison asks, “Was it intentional?”

Alison Yates' art book was done in red, white and black on wood panels

The threat of fire is part of the Idyllwild fabric, even for the students who live on campus. Matches are banned from the dorm rooms. You can’t even light candles on a birthday cake. Hopefully, during the panel discussion yesterday some of the students asked Alison if her art book told a true story?

Youree Jin’s installation of small, framed etchings of “Closet,” showcased how she took one image and used various materials, including glass, paper, fabric, ink and thread, to create totally different effects. Some looked like collages, while others looked like x-ray negatives (if that’s possible!) of a closet!

More text to come

Yuree's closet has taken on many different moods