Archive for April, 2012

Menlo for Hard Core Recyclers

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Menlo Recycling pays top dollar

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Every time that I took a turn in my Honda, the cans and bottles made a musical sound in my trunk. But when I hit the brakes, I realized that all of those cans likely toppled everywhere, and it was time to recycle.

But the only day that I can run errands is on Mondays, and EarthWize in Valle Vista and San Jacinto are closed that day.

The clerk at PIP Printing in Hemet steered me to Menlo Recycling, just a couple of blocks away on Buena Vista and Menlo. Let me just say one thing: Menlo Recycling is a serious recycling place, located in a warehouse with guys driving forklifts, so you probably don’t want to go there if you’re prissy or feint of heart.

It’s not like EarthWize Recycling which boast clean, metal trailers, with helpful clerks and are conveniently located next to Stater Bros. grocery stores. The problem with that arrangement is that I always spend all of my recycling money in Stater Bros. and generally only get about $8 for my trunkload.

When you drive up to Menlo Recycling, go directly to the back and get in line. (It’s kind of like the traffic flow at Strawberry Creek Shopping). Don’t do as I did and go in through the open exit. People get pretty excited when you do that–even if you’re a newcomer!

Once inside, grab your own large bins and start filling them, separating your plastic bottles, aluminum cans and glass bottles. Nobody waits on you, so you help yourself. All around me were people busying themselves with their recycling. It wasn’t a social gathering at all!

I filled my bins and looked around to see if they had left their caps on. I heard before that at some recycling centers, they make you take off the caps. I didn’t want to do that since I had more than 100 plastic bottles.

Cash and receipt

“No, honey, you keep the lids on,” said the woman ahead of me in line. “They weigh a little bit more, and every bit counts!”

She was sort of talking to me like I had never recycled before. Maybe because my bag broke and I had to chase down a couple of loose bottles. She also informed me that I didn’t need to crush every bottle, which was a relief.

But, behind me to my right was a guy putting auto parts into his bin, which was a metal bin instead of a plastic one. He was taking his time about it, sorting through boxes and dumping what looked like chunky pieces into this huge bin. Where was all of his cans and bottles, I wondered!

Then it occurred to me that he was recycling scrap metal!

So what the heck is considered scrap metal?  The first I heard of it was a sign past the bridge in Valle Vista that reads: “No-No Scrap Metal!” I imagined that, in the dark of night, people were stealing bumpers from his rusty old cars and getting top dollar. Scrap metal referred to big chunks of metal like you’d find in junk yards. It’s not those tiny nuts and bolts that the guy behind me in line was putting into his cart.

The same lady was a wellspring of recycling information.

“First of all,” she told me, “EarthWize doesn’t pay top dollar, and Menlo Recycling will honor any PennySaver or other recycling coupons–as long as they’re local. I once got $2 for one coupon.”

“It’s hard to say what scrap metal they’ll take,” she continued. “Sometimes, you just have to bring it in and see. But for some metal, they only pay 2 cents a pound! I once got only $2 for a light metal ladder!”

The guys ahead of us were weighing metal strips that cover the bottom of doorways. Another guy had what looked like rusty brake drums. His total came to 75 pounds. In metal recycling, the heavier the piece, the better.

She said that she’s recycled her pots and pans because the finish was gone.

Maybe this metal cart will fetch some money at Menlo

“Copper wire pays great, but it’s hard to find,” she said. “There’s copper in refrigerators, but you have to take them apart first, and that’s a lot of work!”

She said that ladders, wheelbarrows, computer parts, tools and even bags of screws are some things she’s recycled.

Maybe I should add metal to my recycling repertoire. I do a lot of walking and have come across metal bumpers and parts that would likely fetch a pretty penny!

When it came to my turn, I put the bins onto a huge scale, while the guy with the laptop was calculating the amounts. I ended up with a grand total of $18.98! That’s more than I’ve ever gotten before!

I had cash in hand and felt a little giddy about my scrap metal prospects! Maybe I could recycle that shopping cart that my sister gave me that’s rusting on my deck! And what about some of the bags of nuts and bolts that I never use?

Have places like Menlo Recycling always been around, or have just sprouted up during these hard economic times? It reminded me of the 2001 economic crisis in Argentina (when I lived in Chile) where folks were stealing metal from public sculptures. At first, it was the gold, then the copper, and then finally, the entire bronze statues!

Menlo receipt

This prospect of metal recycling appealed to me not just to clean out my shed, but to help clean up the Idyllwild environment.  I’ll start with the shopping  cart, the screws and the bumper that I saw in the bushes.  If they take those, and give me a good price, then I’ll be hooked!

I wonder what kind of music my trunk will make when I add heavy metal to the mix?

Menlo Recycling is located at 445 E. Menlo in Hemet. Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Sundays and holidays.

Posted signs list prices and limitations of scrap metal recycling, including the need for a valid driver’s license.

For more information, call (951) 766-8520 or visit www.menlorecycling.com.

EarthWize Recycling is conveniently located in Valle Vista and San Jacinto next to Stater Bros. groceries. On their web site, there’s lots of fun facts about recycling. Visit www.earthwizerecycling.com.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

‘Taking Five’ With So Percussion in Idyllwild

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

So Percussion in Idyllwild (from L) Jason, Adam and Eric.

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Every So often, you get lucky.

This particular Saturday afternoon, April 29, at 3:15 p.m., band members from the New Music group, So Percussion, were sitting on the steps outside of the IAF Theatre in Idyllwild.

They were “taking five” while the Idyllwild Arts Student Orchestra and music director Peter Askim were working with guitar legend, Richard Thompson, inside the theater.

It was like finding The Rolling Stones at Starbucks.

Jason Treuting, Josh Quillen, Eric Beach and Adam Sliwinski, were just hours away from the free New Music Concert with the student orchestra, featuring World Premiers of music by Richard Thompson, Chin Yi and Peter Askim, and Jason’s West Coast Premier of “Oblique Music.”

They were hanging out with Jason’s 15-month-old-daughter who had the same bright eyes.

“She likes it when we play,” Jason said. “But it’s hard to tell if she has any musical abilities yet.”

The group of Yale graduates, based out of Brooklyn, are causing a rage in the classical music world.

“The range of colors and voices that So Percussion coaxes from its manergerie is astonishing and entrancing,” claimes Billboard Magazine.

You can look on their web site for more accolades from the New York Times, the Village Voice, and even The Financial Times. We’re lucky that Peter Askim has brought this group to the attention of Idyllwild and folks on the West Coast.

According to their web site, So Percussion plays compositions by John Cage and Steven Reich, as well as their own works.

Jason with his 15-month-old-daughter

John Cage and Steven Reich are two pillars of percussion chamber music. Many of their once radical ideas are now widely accepted as part of America’s experimental classical music tradition. So Percussion has been playing their from the beginning, which also inspires their own original music.

Jason explained how New Music is different from modern music.

“After our concerts, I often talk to people who think that New Music is the same as Pop music,” Jason said. “They listen to Mariah Carey or Lady Gaga and believe it’s the same New Music that we’re playing. It’s not based out of classical music, and that’s a big difference.”

Jason said that he sometimes conducts a Q & A session after their concerts, and asks people what they think of their New Music.

“We ask them if there was anything they heard that they didn’t like,” Jason said. “And there’s this long pause. And then we say, ‘C’mon, there was probably something in the concert that you didn’t like.”

He said that once he gets audience members to admit there’s stuff that they didn’t like about So Percussion’s New Music, then they have a starting point.

(from L) Josh, Jason's daughter and grandma outside Bowman in Idyllwild

“With the onset of Social Media, we are becoming more attuned to our preferences, and don’t venture out of our safety zone,” Jason said. “It’s OK that you don’t like all New Music. You don’t have to like all of it, but the fact that people are open to new experiences is important.”

Sometimes, he said, the classical music fans feel like they have to love New Music or not.

“But it’s OK if they don’t love everything that they hear,” Jason said. “It would be kind of a bummer if all we listened to was things that we really like.”

He said that their repeat performances are always better accepted.

The same thing went with the members of the Idyllwild Ars Student Orchestra.
“At first, it was a little hard to get them to open up,” Jason said. “They hadn’t had much exposure to New Music. But Peter Askim is generating a lot of positive energy about New Music and it’s catching on.”

Jason said they played a little bit before the All School meeting on Friday afternoon, and that helped the orchestra to open up a bit.

“They’re a good group of kids, and I think we cracked the shell a bit,” Jason added. “Afterwards, we were talking and hanging out and it helped break down barriers.”

At the All School concert, So Percussion used a lot of tactile instruments, such as pipes, tin cans and flower pots.

“A lot of people associate us with the popular percussion groups, Stomp and Blue Man Group.” Jason said. “We wanted the orchestra students to see that we’re having fun and that we’re regular musicians just like them.”

Rong, a cello player, said the energy of their practice sessions changed when So Percussion came into town on Thursday night.

“Their energy was so great!” Rong exclaimed. “It was unbelievable!”

Also on the dock Sunday is guitar legend, Richard Thompson. Courtesy photo Idyllwild Arts.

So Percussion, Richard Thompson and the student orchestra will travel to Los Angeles on Sunday for their second concert on Sunday, April 29, at 4 p.m. at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre in Hollywood.

Advance general admission tickets range from $10 to $20. Prices will be slightly higher at the door. Peter Askim hoped that the concert would be “sold out,” since it’s a fundraiser for the Willam M. Lowman Concert Hall on campus.

“Peter said that we made the LA Times,” Rong said before her orthodontist appointment Thursday. “The paper is saying that people should come see our concert. That’s kind of a big deal.”

The Barnsdall Theatre is a new venue for the Idyllwild Arts Student Orchestra and their New Music guests.

“The theater was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright,” stated Adam. “I’ve always liked him as an architect, and I took my first girlfriend to Falling Water in Pennsylvania.”

Jason said that So Percussion has set up a concert two years from now.

“We’ll be playing the music of David Lang,” he said.

Setting up a gig two years out is nothing unusual, he said.

“My wife is also a musician, and we’re always talking about dates years into the future,” he said. “Sometimes it’s hard to get a perspective on the here and now.”

So Percussion, Richard Thompson and the Idyllwild Arts Student Orchestra will be playing at 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 29 at the Barnsdall Theatre, located at 4800 Hollywood Blvd. For tickets, visit It’s My Set at www.itsmyseat.com.

And to listen to selections from So Percussion, visit www.sopercussion.com.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

It’s About Time and Well, The Conways

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

The set was spectacular with built-in bookcases and tall windows

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Since Time, with a capital “T” got top billing in the Idyllwild Arts Theatre Department’s last show, “Time and The Conways,” (written by J.B. Priestly) you knew Time was going to be a big part of the show.

In fact, Time already mettled with the normal story sequence .

The time warp was outlined in the program featuring a sand timer on the cover: Act One began in 1919 at Kay Conway’s 21st  birthday party where you get to meet all of the Conways and their lovers. Act Two takes place 18 years later (after the Depression) when things went emotionally and financially haywire for the Conways. Act Three jumped back to later that same night of Kay’s 21st birthday, which helped to explain things.

Act One opens with a family game of charades, with Mrs. Conway, the matriarch (Jessie), and her daughters, Kay (Gemini), Hazel (Sasha), Madge (Emily) and Carol (Celeste), and her sons, Alan (Zen) and Robin (Daniel). Everyone is happy, and looking forward to the future, but without their industrialist father, who had recently died.

Alan, the eldest, seems to be apart from the rest of the family. To me, he appeared to be “slow.”

“He was the father’s favorite son,” explained Kent-Harris, who played Gerald, the Conways’ attorney. “We talked about this. Alan fought in the trenches during WWI, and must’ve had some trauma from it. And he was also devestated by his father’s death. He wasn’t ‘slow,’ his priorities had changed.”

As it turns out, Alan who comforts Kay when she awakes from a moment’s rest and is now aware of the family’s not-so-great future.

“Alan also received slights from his mother, who had definite ideas on the hierarchy of the Conway family,” said Kent-Harris.

Kent-Harris greets well wishers after the final performance Sunday

For his part, Kent-Harris said that it wasn’t hard to play the future and jump back in Time.

“Well, we had different clothes on, for one thing, and we practiced it at least six times before the dress rehearsal on Thursday night,” he said.

Rosanna, who played Joan Heiford, Robin’s wife, said that her character changed a lot, so it was easy to go back in Time.

“At first, I played Robin’s girlfriend, and was naive and idealistic,” Rosanna said. “But then, after years with an absent and alcoholic husband, you could say that I became a bitter woman.”

Time was not Rosanna’s friend.

An outsider, Joan was tolerated by the Conways, but Ernest Beevers (Lewis) was never fully accepted by them. He was poor and lacked social graces, but turned out to be the biggest surprise. Kent-Harris thought that Hazel, a great beauty, didn’t marry Ernest for money.

“He didn’t have any money in the beginning,” Kent-Harris said. “He only had one share of an old run-down paper mill. I think Hazel married him because of his persistence.”

(from L) Chase, Jessie and Sasha get tearful about their last stage performance

It appears that money was the motivating factor for Hazel, however. At the beginning of Kay’s birthday party, Hazel calls Ernest “a disgusting little man” and was rude to his face. However, only when Ernest manages to get a private moment alone with Hazel, telling her about his financial ambitions, does she start flirting with him.

But for Ernest, Hazel was not a person, but a prize to be won. She was the great beauty of Newlingham, and to obtain her, would increase his social status and lead him to financial success.

And when Ernest turns out to be abusive, Hazel doesn’t leave him. Why not? Because of the money of course! Since day one, Hazel was expected to marry a rich man and travel the world. Yet, in reality, it’s not always that easy to grab the Gadsby’s of this world.  And maybe she “could hear her biological clock ticking,” so she settled on Ernest, but will not leave–until the money runs out.

“I wish the play had another weekend run,” said Kent-Harris.

He said it just got better and better each time they performed it. After awhile, the actors weren’t just reciting lines or waiting on cues, but felt like actual family and friends talking to each other.

“What I would say next came naturally because that’s what I would say if I was Gerald,” Kent-Harris said.

(from right) Jesse greets a well wisher

He thought the British accent wasn’t difficult because he heard it firsthand during summer school last year in London. He also learned a lot from British actors. And his uncle is a British solicitor, but he didn’t base his character on him.

The day after the show, Kent-Harris was going with his parents to a Democratic fundraiser hosted by Nancy Pelosi. He said he didn’t have any immediate plans to get into politics.

“My parents support my decision to become an actor,” Kent-Harris said. “However, if I can’t make it as an actor, I can always become a politician. They’re pretty much the same thing, right?”

It would be wrong to sign off without mentioning the stellar set designed and built by Bonnie and Todd Carpenter. The set consisted of one large drawing room. It was opulant, with floor-to-ceiling windows, built-in bookcases and furniture that matched the maroon and green color scheme. In fact, it wasn’t wallpaper on the walls, but stenciling.

“At one point, it looked like blood had splattered on the walls,” Kent-Harris said with glee. “So that changed things. Carol didn’t die of TB, but was murdered!  Alan was the only one who could have done it! Which explains, in a sick way, why he kept flowers on her grave all of those years.”

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Willy’s Not Going to Show Off His Abs

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Willy Latzo and wife Ramona in workout attire

 

By Marcia E Gawecki

Willy Latzo, the 4-time Mixed Marshall Arts (MMA) Champion who now owns Idyllwild Fitness Center, isn’t going to take off his shirt.

Not now, and not this summer.

“You’ll always see me in workout sweats,” Willy said, as he was handing out flyers. “If you want to see my abs, come to one of my fights.”

OK, that just crushed my perceptions of bodybuilders, boxers and MMA champs.

Go to Venice Beach and all the bodybuilders have their shirts off. They want you to see their muscles. They want you to ooh and ahh, and maybe touch them. It’s all part of the game. Even California’s former governor showed off his sculpted abs for the media.

Willy is not going to show you his, but his wife will.

In the flyer promoting free classes with the $40 membership, Willy points to photos of his wife, Ramona, in a tank top working on her biceps.

“It’s OK for Ramona to show off her muscles because she’s a woman,” Willy explained. “But men get jealous of each other.”

OK, so Willy, who owns a fitness center, where showing off a muscular body would be an asset, is being coy. Or is he being sly as a fox?

“Even outside, you’ll always see me in sweats,” he said.

Guess it’s like the old Poker rule: “Always have more than you’re showing.”

Or just let others sing your praises.

Willy is never going to take off his shirt

Jeffrey Taylor, from Green Cafe Internet, has been working out with Willy for the past two months. He’s lost about 25 pounds, mostly from sweating from Willy’s workouts. He said that he’s not trying to build muscle, but wants a cardiovascular workout.

“I’m not seeing much improvement,” Willy told Jeffrey recently. “So I’m going to double your workouts.”

Jeffrey began to sweat. Up until now, the workouts have been challenging. They included hanging from ceiling straps, while pulling his legs up to his chest. Professional gymnasts only did those kind of feats.

Now Jeffrey is building endurance by running on a Stair Master.

“During our regular workouts, I climbed 104 flights of stairs,” Jeffrey said. “That’s like going to the top of the Empire State Building.”

A younger weight lifter at Idyllwild Fitness collapsed after walking 50 flights on the Stair Master. Jeffrey didn’t miss a beat.

“I told him that I could do double that,” he said. “I must be building endurance. I’m twice his age.”

To further build endurance, Jeffrey takes the Tuesday Salsa Cardio workouts.

“Jeffrey doesn’t like the new instructor,” Willy teased. “She makes him work!”

“You might like the Salsa Cardio or the Yoga classes,” Willy said to me. “But forget about Boot Camp or even the Kids MMA. They’re all taught by me, and they’re too tough for you right now.”

Why would I bother? He’s not going to take his shirt off.

Ramona is the only lucky one. Perhaps she can slip me a photo sometime?

Idyllwild Fitness Center, 54423 Village Center Drive (below Mountain Harvest Market in Strawberry Plaza). Call (951) 659-5000. Monthly memberships, including classes, are only $40. Drop-in day rate: $15. Hours: Monday –  Friday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m – 4 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: Apr 26, 2012 @ 0:09

Richard Thompson’s ‘Interviews with Ghosts’

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Guitar legend Richard Thompson with string students during "Cabaret of Souls" last year Courtesy photo

By Marcia E. Gawecki

It’s hard to tell how long singer-songwriter-guitar legend Richard Thompson has been obsessed with ghosts.

Perhaps it started long ago, but it just hit Idyllwild Arts’ radar in November of last year with his “Cabaret of Souls” tour, which began at UCLA’s Royce Hall.

“Cabaret of Souls” is a talent show set in the Underworld (think of it as “American Idol” in Hell).  It’s part theater, part rock opera, featuring the talents of Richard Thompson, Harry Shearer (The Simpsons), Richard’s wife, Judith Owen, Deborah Dobkin, Pete Zorn and strings students  from the Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra, conducted by Peter Askim.

X-O, a cellist from China, was one of the students who performed “Cabaret of Souls” with Richard Thompson. She and the 11 other students had to wear campy outfits and learn about 30 new songs.

“But it was easy music,” X-O said, shrugging it off.

Stephanie, a violinist from Korea, said that it’s music that she’s never played before.

Stephanie said the music was old fashioned, but fun

“Peter said that it was kind of old-fashioned,” she said. “But I liked it.”

Dorie, a violin player from Bulgaria, had to wear a lacy outfit and a green wig.

“They painted our faces to look like ghosts,” Dorie said. “They wanted us to wear gloves, but it didn’t fit with our string instruments.”

According to the Los Angeles Times newspaper, “Richard Thompson has been called the finest rock songwriter after Bob Dylan and the best electric guitarist since Jimi Hendrix.”

“Last year, we helped Richard Thompson out, so this year, he’s helping us out,” said Camille, an oboe player talking about the upcoming New Music Concerts held in Idyllwild and Hollywood.

The Hollywood concert is a fundraiser for the new William M. Lowman Concert Hall, and pre-event tickets (from $10 to $20) are now on sale on the Idyllwild Arts web site, www.idyllwildarts.org.

According to a recent promotional video, Richard said that “Interviews with Ghosts” is a short song cycle or song suite of three chamber orchestra pieces.

“It’s based on supposed transcriptions from ghosts talking to each other,” Richard said. “Depending upon if you think they exist or even talk to each other.”

Then Richard said he adapted these ghost transcripts a little bit, adding rhymes and worked with the orchestra. For the past several weeks, classical music students have been playing Richard’s New Music pieces. He will be singing and playing guitar along with the student orchestra.
Jo, a bass player, said it sounds a lot like Rock n’ Roll.

Will “Interviews with Ghosts” be like talking to Jacob Marley from “A Christmas Carol,” where he complains about the chain, the cold and the loneliness of walking through doors? Will there be a message in Richard’s piece about transforming our miserly ways? Will there be jokes about God, the devil and not being able to take our cash with us?

Time Out has called Richard Thompson’s performances, “Riveting, enlightening, witty, moving, provocative and entertaining – strongly recommended.”

Will the students have to dress up for "Interviews with Ghosts?"

Expect nothing less than fabulous with Richard Thompson’s “Interviews with Ghosts.” If anything, you’ll get the rare opportunity to hear one of the Top 20 best guitar players of all time play with our student orchestra on April 28 in Idyllwild and on April 29 in Hollywood.

Besides Richard Thompson, Chen Yi will be performing “Tone Poem,” a piece commissioned by the student orchestra and three composers from So Orchestra will be performing individual works, including “Oblique Music” by Jason Tretuing, “Credo in US” by John Cage and “Music for Pieces of Wood,” by Steve Reich.

Also on the docket is Peter’s brand-new piece, “Elsewhere.”

The first New Music Concert will be Saturday, April 28, at 7:30 p.m. in the IAF Theatre on the Idyllwild Arts campus. The event is free and open to the public.

The Sunday, April 29 fundraiser concert will be held at 4 p.m. at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre at 4800 Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. For tickets, visit www.idyllwildarts.org, or contact www.itsmyseat.com.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

 

Teen Dancers Try Out for Royal Caribbean Cruise

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

(from L) Maddy and Cheyenne

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Go directly to college, or take six months off and dance on a cruise ship?

That was the happy dilemma for Maddy and Cheyenne, two Idyllwild Arts dance students, on Tuesday, April 17, as they headed for their audition at the Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio in Hollywood.

Maddy, who got accepted into five colleges, but not her top choices, was exploring cruise ship options, and Royal Caribbean sounded promising.

“On a cruise ship, you get to dance and travel the world,” Maddy said.

It would be a six-month commitment if she made the cut.

“I would have to defer my college enrollment, but then I could earn almost a year’s tuition,” she said.

During her time at Idyllwild Arts, Maddy was a straight A student who didn’t have much time for socializing.

“Every Saturday night, I was home studying,” she said. “Now I just want to have some fun and earn a little money so I don’t have to take out so many student loans.”

Maddy said that Royal Caribbean would pay anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 per month, depending on your contract. Dancers would be expected to work every day, however, all living expenses would be paid, including room & board, meals and insurance. And for the 8-week training session in Florida, Royal Caribbean would pay for the airfare, food and hotel fees.

“They would also pay for your costumes, makeup and everything,” Maddy added.

For their 10 a.m. audition, Maddy and Cheyenne wore heavy eye makeup and black dance leotards. Instead of their normal tight bun, they let their hair down.

“Whatever you do, don’t stand in the back,” advised Cheyenne, who has entered beauty pageants. “They will never see you.”

The audition was held at the Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio in N. Hollywood

On the web site, Royal Caribbean said that there could be as many as 300 girls at the audition. As it turned out, there was only about 100.

“That kind of competition kind of freaks me out,” Maddy said.

Other audition criteria included height and weight requirements. Dancers had to be a size 0 to 6, and be 5 foot to 5 foot six inches tall, and have 7 years of dance experience.

The two dancers had met all of the requirements, but Cheyenne didn’t think that the length of experience mattered all that much.

“At the end of the day, all they want to see is if you can dance,” she said.

The 100 dancers were cut to 30, and then to 10. Maddy made it to the second round, but then blanked out for a few seconds.

“I don’t know what happened,” Maddy recalled “I knew all the jazz steps, but I just froze. And when I stopped, the girl behind me stopped too.”

Cheyenne knew where she messed up too, but was glad for the overall experience. She noticed after the cut, there was a certain uniform look to the remaining girls.

“All the really short and tall girls were cut right away,” Cheyenne said. “And all the medium-sized girls with big boobs remained.”

She also noticed that she and Maddy were the youngest of the lot. There were mostly college girls, with some 30-year-olds mixed in.

Maddy as Cinderella

“There was one girl who had already been a dancer on a cruise ship, but she left early because her sister died,” Cheyenne said. “They didn’t let her back in because she broke her commitment. That was her sister! It seemed kind of harsh.”

Even though the instructor at the Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio announced they were looking for clean dance techniques, Cheyenne noticed that the ones who threw their legs up over their heads made the cut.

“They weren’t showing clean technique,” Cheyenne quipped. “They were just showing off!”

Cheyenne also met a girl who attended a school that prepped her for cruise ship dance auditions, and that girl made the cut.

Cheyenne said that probably won’t attend any more cruise ship tryouts, but Maddy was encouraged to try another cruise line.

“I heard that Carnival is looking for dancers,” Maddy said. “I felt good about this audition, and believe that I could make the cut next time.”

Maddy hasn’t ruled out college in the fall, but it all depends upon scholarships, and if she could gather enough flight money to visit a couple of the east coast schools. She feels like she needs to gain a better perspective before the May 1 deadline.

Neither Maddy nor Cheyenne knew about Debbie Reynolds, the actress and singer, who owned the dance studio where the audition was held.

“I know that she’s a good choreographer,” Cheyenne said. “I didn’t know that she was also an actress.”

Debbie Reynolds established her dance studio in 1979 so that dancers could have a comfortable place to rehearse. All of Debbie Reynolds’ movies included some type of dance. She is best known for “Singing in the Rain,” (1952) with Fred Astaire.

“‘Singing in the Rain’ and childbirth were the two hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life,” Debbie Reynolds is credited for saying.

Her children are actress Carrie Fisher (Star Wars, When Harry Met Sally) and TV commercials director, Todd Fisher. Debbie gave up acting (because she didn’t want to take her clothes off), yet has kept her love of dance. The Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio specializes in hip hop, jazz, and tap.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Redlands Concert Reunites Oboe Teacher & Student

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

(from L) Nelms McKelvain, Liang Wang, Carolyn Beck and Sara Andon. Photo Peter Askim.

By Marcia E. Gawecki

For most music students, saying good-bye to a beloved teacher is painful, and starting over with another can be scary.

“I’ve had the same oboe teacher since I was 10 years old,” exclaimed Camille, who is graduating from Idyllwild Arts this year.

She was talking about Francisco Castillo, principal oboist for the Redlands Symphony. He’s the same oboe instructor as the popular Liang Wang, principal oboist for the New York Philharmonic.

Francisco was Liang’s first oboe instructor in the U.S. Last Saturday, April 14, Liang came for Francisco’s World Premier of his recent composition, “Rhapsody for Oboe, English Horn & Orchestra.”

“There’s Francisco, the big guy,” exclaimed Shen, a clarinet player from Idyllwild Arts, who attended the concert with music director Peter Askim and five other students, including Henry, Yoana, Elena, Suriah and Cynthia.

Francisco remained in touch with Liang, who graduated from Idyllwild Arts and the Curtis School of Music in Philadelphia. In January, Liang visited Idyllwild Arts, taught Master Classes and played with the student orchestra (see blog post, “NY Phil Oboist Makes Idyllwild Arts Proud,” dated Dec. 9, 2011).

“Liang has brought such prestige to our instrument,” Camille said.

Dr. Nelms McKelvain, piano instructor at Idyllwild Arts, drove down from Idyllwild to see Liang in concert.

“Liang was my advisee when he was here,” said Nelms. “I’d go a long way to see him.”

For the Saturday night concert, the students sat in the balcony in the Redlands Memorial Chapel, yet had a full view of the stage. Some of those around them had binoculars so they could see the performer’s faces.

(from L) Idyllwild Arts Supporters: Henry, Shen, Elena, Yoana, Cynthia, Suriah, Carolyn, Sara, William & Peter

After the Redlands Symphony warmed up with “Overture to Le Nozze di Figaro,” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Liang played “Oboe Concerto,” by Richard Strauss.

“Liang’s phrasing is so unique,” said Peter Askim, afterwards. “He phrases like a singer — so natural and pure. He never plays anything the same way twice. It’s like he’s discovering the piece for the first time – every time.””

During the first two songs, Co Boi Nguyen, the assistant conductor, led the orchestra. According to the program notes, Co Boi is an assistant professor of music at the University of Redlands School of Music, and she usually conducts at least one program during the regular symphony season.

After intermission, conductor Jon Robertson took over for the World Premier of Francisco’s work, “Rhapsody for Oboe, English Horn and Orchestra.” Liang and Francisco took the stage to great applause. Liang was playing his oboe, while Francisco had a much longer oboe with a lower sound, which is the English horn.

The two played well together, like father and son, carefully not upstaging each other. The piece was lively, and even frenetic at times, but was well liked by the audience. Both Liang and Francisco received a large bouquet of flowers afterwards.

According to the program, Francisco said his rhapsody came about in a funny way. While he was talking with Liang about what pieces he would play with the Redlands Symphony, Liang suggested that they play something together.

(from L) Carolyn, Francisco, Liang, Sara and Peter. Photo Peter Askim.

“I jokingly said that I didn’t want to play an Albinoni or Vivaldi concerto, and would prefer something more interesting and new,” Francisco recalled.

“Well, then, write something yourself!” Liang replied.

For inspiration, Francisco listened to oboe concertos by Mozart, Strauss, Pasculli and Piazzola. He also listened to favorite composers, Bach, Villa-Lobos, Charles Ives and Louis Armstrong, among others. In the end, Francisco turned to his oboe, English horn and computer to make something uniquely his own.

“As you listen, you will find some of my favorite musical ideas, including Polyrhythm, Latin folk melodies, simple harmonies, virtuosic, demanding, yet sustained lyrical passages, silly moments are at the same time dramatic and tense,” Francisco wrote in the program.

“However, if you are looking for a form, you won’t find it,” Francisco added.

“I really liked Francisco’s piece,” said Shen. “It wasn’t boring like the Hayden piece” (“Symphony No. 104 London” ended the evening.)

Camille, who was away at college auditions on Sunday, had heard a rehearsal of Francisco’s piece.

“It’s New Music, and it had a very Latin feel to it,” Camille said.

After the Redlands concert, the students and Peter went to the stage to meet and congratulate the performers.

(from L) Yoana and Elena, students from Bulgaria, enjoy a pre-concert dinner. Photo Peter Askim.

According to Peter, several principals from the Redlands Symphony have also taught music at Idyllwild Arts, including Todor Pelev, associate concertmaster/violin; Gail Cruz, violin; Carolyn Beck, principal bassoon; Sara Andon, principal flute; David Scott, principal trumpet and William Schlitt, principal timpani.

Francisco, who dedicated his rhapsody to Liang Wang, conductor Jon Robertson and the Redlands Symphony, was all smiles afterwards.

“This was the first time it was played before a live audience,” Francisco said. “It’s a good feeling.”

In other news, get your tickets now for the New Music Concerts featuring new works by Richard Thompson, Chen Yi and Peter Askim with the Idyllwild Arts Student Orchestra on Saturday, April 28 at the IAF Theatre (free) on campus, and on Sunday, April 29 at 4 p.m. at the Barnsdall Gallery Theater in Los Angeles. Pre-concert general admission tickets for the Sunday show are $10 to $20 and are available on the Idyllwild Arts web site at www.idyllwildarts.org. Click on ‘Academy,’ then ‘Music’ and ‘New Music Concert.’

For more information, see Idyllwild Me blog post, “New Music: Dramatic Shift for Students” dated April 9.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.


 

 

 

Student Gets Real World Jazz Experience

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

Marshall Hawkins gives his jazz students real world experiences. Courtesy photo Idyllwild Arts.

By Marcia E. Gawecki

At Idyllwild Arts, some jazz students get music gigs long before they graduate from high school. American Idol heartthrob Casey Abrams, and former grads Caleb Hensinger and Jacob Scesney (who now attend Berklee College in Boston), and currently, Lake, a guitar player, have all played with Marshall Hawkins and Paul Carman at Cafe Aroma.

Jazz students have also performed at public high schools, for competitions like Spotlight and the Berklee Jazz Festival, during auditions for summer music festivals, at weddings, country clubs and other gigs throughout the year. However, Cafe Aroma remains constant.

Inigo, a junior from Brazil, played there once.

“It was a great experience playing with Marshall,” Inigo said. “I learn so much from him.”

In fact, during that Cafe Aroma gig, Marshall threw Inigo a curve ball.

“We’re playing ‘Caravan,’ which had a 4/4 tempo,” Inigo explained. “He looks straight at his bass and says 6/8.”

Inigo wasn’t expecting that, and immediately had to speed up the tempo. He said later it was a good “real world” experience.

It also showed how intimately connected jazz players are. Sometimes, Inigo said, they only speak with their eyes.

For instance, at his Junior Recital at Stephens Recital Hall on Monday, April 9, Inigo said that the drummer had missed a tempo change, and the bass player stared at him, and he quickly recovered.

Oftentimes, jazz students play at Cafe Aroma in Idyllwild. Sachmo art by Marcia Gawecki.

“It happens all the time,” Inigo said “At school gigs, we are constantly looking at each other for cues.”

Inigo has eight more performances to go before the end of the school year in June.

“Last year, Caleb, a horn player, told me to accept all requests for being an accompanist,” Inigo said. “He said that you’ll learn something new from each one.”

So Inigo said “yes” to nine other students this year, including Randy, Kat, Walker, Tyler, Alex, Ken, Nick (vocal), Tiffany and Katy (who left the school).

He said he doesn’t always like their music choices or how they play them, but welcomes each new experience.

“Sometimes, I get to play some of my favorite jazz standards,” he said.

For his April 9 recital, Inigo’s play list included: Straight, No Chaser; Four on Six; Nica’s Dream; How My Heart Sings and Impressions.

In June, Inigo is going to Bangkok, Thailand, for the first time, with his girlfriend, Tierra, a Musical Theatre grad, who lives there. For three weeks, he’s going to play at the Maple Hotel, which is owned by her family.

(from left) Jacob and Caleb. Caleb advised Inigo to accept all student recital requests.

“Tierra said that Thai people are crazy about Boss Nova (Brazilian music), so I’ll be playing guitar and singing in Portuguese,” Inigo said. “I’m an average singer.”

When he returns to Sao Paolo, Brazil for the rest of the summer, Inigo will likely get his regular gig back. It’s at a small bar called O Barsinho, where he accompanies a singer.

“Alicia Santas is about 30 years old, beautiful and really nice,” Inigo said.

When Alicia first met him, she asked him what type of music that he listened to.

“I knew all of the songs that she liked,” he said. “So she said, ‘Perfect!’ and hired me on the spot.”

But when Alicia’s onstage, she’s all professional.

“She just turns around and announces the name of the song, and expects me to know it,” Inigo said. “I’ve been lucky so far.”

Their song set generally remains the same, but once when the crowd asked for an encore, Inigo was sweating bullets.

“I was just hoping that she’d request a song that I knew,” he said.

As it turns out, an audience member requested a song that he knew. This summer, he’ll keep building up his repertoire of songs.

Inigo said all of these performances at Idyllwild Arts and at Cafe Aroma in Idyllwild, at the Maple Hotel in Bangkok and at the O Barsinho in Sao Paolo, all help him build his confidence and gain ‘real world’ experiences as a musician.

“When you play, you’ve got to make it look easy,” he said.

He quoted famous jazz bass player Charles Mingus who said, “Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple , awesomely simple, that’s creativity.”

To view Inigo’s April 9 jazz recital, and others, check out the U Stream link on the Idyllwild Arts web site, www.idyllwildarts.org.

Mark your calendars for the next Idyllwild Arts Jazz Concert on Tuesday, May 22 in the IAF Theatre.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

 

 

Closet Installation Defines Art Student’s Life

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Kevin plans to be part of an installation for his senior art show

By Marcia E. Gawecki

For his senior art show at Idyllwild Arts on April 20, Kevin is exposing a part of himself. In fact, he’s going to be part of an ongoing installation.

He’s showing some large, abstract paintings, but his installation showcases an unusual closet along with some track music that he mixed himself.

“Both of my parents work in the fashion industry, so it would be natural for me to follow in their footsteps,” said Kevin, who is from Korea. “It’s been a struggle for me deciding between fashion and art.”

Kevin is a 4-year senior, which means he attended Idyllwild Arts from his freshman to his senior year.

In Kevin’s closet installation, he’s selected only black and white clothes.

“It’s kind of a statement about human growth,” Kevin explained.

Kevin had difficulty deciding between art and fashion as a major

For example, white clothes would identify him as a baby, while black clothes would show him in old age. As the track music changes, Kevin plans to change clothes.

“I have to practice a lot to get it right,” he said with a smile.

Kevin also has some large, abstract paintings that together form a butterfly.

A few months back, Kevin got some encouraging words from Idyllwild Arts alum and street artist, Shepard Fairey. In fact, there’s a photo of the two of them on the Idyllwild Arts web site.

When he visited Idyllwild Arts on Feb 10, Shepard gave a lecture and held a Master Class for the visual artists (See “Welcome Back” Idyllwild Me post dated Feb. 16, 2012).

“He said that he liked my stuff, especially the figurative paintings,” Kevin said. “But he encouraged me to use different materials and take risks.”

(from L) Kevin and Cynthia before Shepard Fairey's art

Perhaps Kevin is taking Shepard’s recommendations to heart as he “performs” his closet installation on Friday, April 20 in the Parks Exhibition Center.

Also showing that evening are Visual Art seniors Bella, SoYe and Mia. Like all Idyllwild Arts events, Senior Show II is free and open to the public.

For more information about student art events at the Parks Exhibition Center on the Idyllwild Arts campus, visit www.idyllwildarts.org or call Mallory Cremin at (951) 659-2171, ext. 2251.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

 

Zombie Teen Flick Shot in Idyllwild

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Idyllwild is the perfect locale for a zombie movie

By Marcia E. Gawecki

‘Bong of the Dead,’ ‘Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town,’ ‘Dead Men Don’t Die,’ ‘Flesh Eating Mothers,’ ”Oh, My Zombie Mermaid,’ and ‘Plan 9 from Outer Space’ are among the more curious titles of zombie movies listed on the internet.

You could say the world doesn’t need another zombie movie.

“But it’s not just a zombie movie,” insists Armani, a sophomore film student at Idyllwild Arts. “It’s got a decent storyline.”

Armani is talking about “Life After Death,” his short film that was “green lit” recently. (Green means ‘go’ in the film world). The high school students that make up his crew began shooting yesterday.

There’s no ‘zombie’ or zombie reference in the title of his film, which was intentional. In fact, Armani doesn’t even want to discuss zombies.

“I don’t want to speak of it,” he insisted. “Everyone has their own opinion of zombies.”

However, he will talk about is his storyline.

Recently, teen zombies were roaming on the Idyllwild Arts campus

“It’s about a guy who convinces a girl to leave her 5-year-old brother at home so that she can go out with him,” Armani explained.

Zombie drama ensues.

“‘It’s more about the story between the sister and brother,” Armani said. “I’m fighting hard to keep that part alive.”

“Life After Death” is not the first film at Idyllwild Arts that was written one way and turned into quite another.

Two years ago, “Prima Ballerina Assoluta,” Dhavit’s 18-minute short film about ballet dancers, started out as a Kung Fu ninja fighters movie, with lots of death and fight scenes. (See “Kung Fu Ballerina” blog post dated 4/20/10).

“But then Isaac (Webb) and I realized that the only ones on campus athletic enough to carry off a fight scene were the dancers, so we had to change it a bit,” Dhavit said.

Armani has plenty of students willing to turn into zombies for him, but he wants to make sure they don’t take over the movie. The familial relationship is key.

“No, it’s not a true story,” Armani laughs, when asked. “My sisters didn’t leave me home alone until I was 10.”

Kai, a former film student at Idyllwild Arts, said that horror films and night shooting takes a lot of work.

“You have to light every step,” Kai insisted. “Sometimes it’s better to rewrite a night scene.”

Armani said that most of “Life After Death” will be shot during the day or inside the house at night, so lighting isn’t going to be a problem.

“We’re shooting at Bruce Ryan’s son’s house in Idyllwild,” Armani said. “It’s practically across the street from us.”

Look for "Life After Death" to be shown at the IAF Theatre in the spring

Bruce Ryan donated the funds for the sound stage, and his son often lets film students use the house when they’re away. And it’s secluded enough that you wouldn’t see zombies roaming on Tollgate.

Not too long ago, zombies were roaming around on campus. They were not the undead, but students playing a Humans vs. Zombies tag game that lasted more than a week.

“You can stun a zombie by throwing a sock at him,” explained a faculty member at a recent All-School Meeting. “Inside is safe, but outside anywhere is fair game.”

Throwing socks seemed harmless enough until one dancer lost her balance in all the excitement and dislocated her shoulder.

“The sock didn’t hurt her, but her heavy shoulder bag pulled her down,” explained a student who witnessed the fall.

As a heavy fog rolls up the mountainside, Idyllwild appears to be the perfect setting for a zombie movie. Likely, the students have already wrapped up shooting. But in this small town, where many residents believe in fairies, ghosts, and Idyll-Beasts, it’s possible that zombies already roam Hwy. 243.

“Life After Death” and other student shorts will be screened at the end of the school year. The film screening is free and open to the public. For more information about the film department at Idyllwild Arts,  visit www.idyllwildarts.org.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.