Archive for May, 2012

Abandoned Graffitied Van Was Stolen

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

The abandoned van in Valle Vista turned out to be stolen

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Not often when you report an abandoned vehicle to the police, do you get to hear the end of the story.

In this case, the white Ford van was stolen. It now sits parked outside Idyllwild Garage, waiting on the insurance company to make its report before returning it to its owners.

However, in my attempt to be a good citizen, I may have implicated myself in the crime. You see, my fingerprints are all over the driver’s side handle.

It all started a couple of weeks ago, when I noticed the white van parked in the pullout near Valle Vista. It’s a popular pullout because it’s close to the bridge and the creek, and oftentimes people go there in the summer to cool off.

Days later, I was going down the hill again and noticed the same van parked there. This time, I was concerned. Mostly because it was after the weekend, and it hadn’t moved.

Was the guy on an extended fishing trip, or did something happen to him?

In my short stint as a newspaper reporter (Idyllwild crime was my beat), I learned to notice inconsistencies. I once called a sheriff’s deputy about an abandoned truck in Valle Vista. (My editor thought it may have been associated with illegal dumping at the time). As it turned out, the truck’s owner was an out-of-work musician who hung himself in a nearby tree. He had even left a note in the truck.

The police blotter only mentioned the abandoned vehicle.

So knowing that, I got the license plate number and the number of the nearby mile marker, and reported the abandoned van to the police. They took down my information, and said they’d send an officer out to investigate.

I laughed with the dispatch operator about the driver being on a long fishing trip. I didn’t mention any hunches about dead bodies.

Three days later, I passed the same van again, but this time it had graffiti tagged all over it. On one side, they used profanity. It was no longer a nuisance vehicle, but an eyesore. I called the police again.

But this time, they directed me to Code Enforcement. I guess any abandoned vehicle that had been damaged, was now their problem. I gave the same story, and the officer said he’d open a file and get right on it.

Same van turned up at Idyllwild Garage

On May 21, I got tired of waiting on the police to tow the vehicle, and stopped to take pictures. It had “Infamous” written on the hood and rear.

Thinking about the abandoned vehicle/suicide in Valle Vista, I tried the door handle. After all, there could be a dead body inside.

It opened.

Inside, the van smelled of cigarette smoke, and the ashtray was overflowing with butts. There were clothes all over the back from a laundry basket.  The graffiti taggers must’ve rummaged through them looking for money or valuables. However, they overlooked a Gucci makeup bag.

I was glad that there was no corpses, or anyone hurt inside.

I tried to take a picture of the inside, for what reason I don’t know, but my flash didn’t go off. My camera said that I needed to replace the batteries.

“Just as well,” I thought to myself. “There’s no body, or anyone who needs my help, so now I’m trespassing.”

That was the end of the story, until today when I saw the van parked outside Idyllwild Garage.

My fingerprints were left on the door handle

I spoke to one of the mechanics, telling my good citizen story.

“Funny that it would end up here in Idyllwild,” I said.

“It was stolen,” he said. “The insurance company is on its way over to investigate.”

The owners were not from Idyllwild, he added.

Then I started to sweat. My fingerprints were left on the door handle. Should I turn myself in, and confess nosiness? Are my fingerprints impeding the sheriff’s investigation?

I decided to lay low and wait until the police come to me. Surely, they have records of me reporting the abandoned vehicle twice in one week. When you report anything to the police, you always have to give your name and phone number.

But I’m worried that I’ll get busted for stealing the van.  I’ve seen too many Film Noir movies to know that anyone’s luck can change on a dime. A good deed can land you in the clinker, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

 

Student Films Target All Kinds of Love

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Idyllwild Arts alum, Gabe Harshman, acted in "Love Without End"

By Marcia E. Gawecki

All five shorts shown at the Student Film Screenings on Saturday, May 26, were about love.

They involved different themes, including a zombie apocalypse, teen angst, separation and death, gay marriage and restoring eyesight to Ethiopians. But the overall premise was about love — of self, your siblings, your parents, your friends, your spouse and your fellow man.

By the packed house (for the second night in a row) and the standing ovation at the end, the audience loved them all. Even a few tears were shed.

“Get ready to cry!” exclaimed Shanna, a visual art student, after intermission. “The next one is really sad.”

She was right. “Love Without End,” written and directed by Rosey, was a story about love and loss. It was produced by Harald, edited by Minori and filmed by Cyrus.

“No matter what kind of love you have, it never ends,” said Rosey, as she stood at the podium introducing her short film. By the dramatic pauses in her brief speech, it appeared that the film could be autobiographical.

"Life After Death" was more than just a zombie apocalypse movie

“Love Without End” featured two strangers sitting on a bus headed for a special stargazing place in the mountains. Richard, played by Gabe Harshman, an Idyllwild Arts theater alum, lost his wife to illness, while Jason, played by Jared Billings (a film teacher), never found his sister after his parents died and different families adopted them.

The two standouts in the movie were local youngsters, Brighton Dahleen, who played Jason at age 8, and Jennie, played by Elsie Fisher, from the Universal Studios computer animated film, “Despicable Me.”

“It just tore my heart out to see them separated,” Shanna said.

Gabe also got a callout in the thank you credits. He is best known as the louse with the powdered wig in “Learned Ladies.” While at Idyllwild Arts, Gabe also played in the “Laramie Project” and the “Mystery of Edwin Drood.” Now, after two years at Roosevelt in Chicago, he’s living in Los Angeles and taking improv classes with Gary Austin, founder of “The Groundlings.”

He’s also friends with Idyllwild Arts film alumni, Nick Caine and Sean Stromsoe, who helped edit the films.

“Gabe was great to work with,” exclaimed Lujie one of the crew. “He worked with us until midnight and never complained.”

If you look closely at the way that “Love Never Ends” was shot, the two men who play the leads were never face-to-face, but side-by-side (on the bus, on the rock). That’s because Gabe’s part was shot first, weeks before Jared’s part, that was added later.

“I take pride in taking direction,” Gabe said earlier. “I’m an actor, not a director or producer, whose job is to look at the big picture.”

He said it was great coming back to the natural surroundings of Idyllwild after living in LA.

“It was really peaceful looking up at the stars,” Gabe said. “I miss that.”

Film crew unloads on location in Idyllwild

For the first film shown Saturday night, “Life After Death,” was more about the love between a sister and brother, than a zombie apocalypse. It was written and directed by Armani, a sophomore film major. In his introduction, he keenly noted that not many sophomores got their films “green lit.” He thanked his leading actor, Quincy, for making the most of her big sister role. Armani also thanked his real-life sister for her inspiration and his mother for her loyalty.

“This film is dedicated to my mother,” Armani said. “For believing in me, even when I turned into a zombie.”

He also said that he was inspired by a book that featured zombies that were not just cold-blooded killers, but still showed signs of humanity.

The action-packed zombie short, featured realistic makeup on the battle beleagured Quincy and her boyfriend, Eric. In an instant, she left  her 5-year-old brother alone to go out with Eric. (In hindsight, it may not have made a big difference if she was home because the zombies were taking over the world).

The movie makes good use of TV news announcements and voice mail messages to convey the seriousness of the zombie apocalypse. In most of the scenes, Eric wielded a semi-automatic rifle, to fend off zombies, coming close to getting bit once.

When he shot one zombie in an abandoned home, the bloodstain left on the wall was digitally enhanced.

(from L) Juwan sings to Jared, as Caleb plays at the 2011 screenings. This year, Jared acted in "Love Without End."

In his opening remarks to “Life After Death,” Jared said that the special effects company has agreed to work with Idyllwild Arts students again next year.

“That says a lot about the professionalism of our film students,” Jared said.

“The Wingman,” a coming-of-age comedy, features two Idyllwild Arts alumni in the leading roles, Connor Farwell and Russell Bomgardner. It was written and co-directed by Gabby and her brother, Angelo.

“As a former theater major, I thought I’d escape acting,” confessed Gabby, in her opening remarks. “But then, I’m in the film, so Angelo directed me.”

“Wingman” was produced by Alyssa, edited by Paris, Alex and Gabby. It’s about Jace, played by Russell (Shortcomings) who is bullied by the overbearing Payton, until a tragedy happend. Connor is still self-absorbed, but Russell has changed. Gabby, as the angel that only Russell can see, helps him find his backbone and realize his true merits.

“We think Angelo is awesome,” exclaimed Ira Abrams, in his opening remarks.

As cinematographer, Angelo captured Idyllwild’s natural beauty, including scenes from Lake Fulmor, and meadows near the state park.

(from L) Idyllwild Arts alum, Russell Bombgardner (shown with Kathryn) plays the sidekick in "Wingman"

The “Assosa Eye Clinic” documentary, also showcased the talents of Idyllwild Arts alumni, Sean Stromsoe (film) and Charles Haysbert (theater). It showed the efforts of Dr. Samuel, the only physician for 200,000 people, and the Tropical Health Alliance, to help restore eyesight to cataract patients in Ethiopia.

Though mostly visuals and little dialogue, Sean and Charles tell a heart-warming tale about a father and son. Through cataract surgery, sight in one of the father’s eyes is restored.

“I can see you!” the father exclaimed as his bandages were removed. “This is my joy to see my son again. Thank God.”

“Perfect,” a 3-minute short-short, was written and produced by Anna, just days before the weekend film screenings. It featured a love-struck girl musing about her prom date. Then reality strikes when his mom drives them to the dance.

The final film of the evening took on a political tone. “A Family Like Mine,” is a documentary about children growing up with same-sex parents. It was written by Katherine, or Tia, whose single dad is gay. It was produced by Tirzah, filmed by Alex, and edited by Moira.

President Obama portrait by Marcia E. Gawecki, Idyllwild

Recently, President Obama has supported legislation that allows same sex couples to marry. It is landmark legislation and a big risk for an incumbent president, yet opposed by the religious right.

“When I came to Idyllwild Arts, I was surprised to learn how many people grew up like me,” Tia said.

In her film, several instructors from Idyllwild Arts told their perspective of gay families, including Shambo Carpenter, a philosophy teacher, and Melissa Wilson, an animation teacher. Also, the wife of Daniel Gray, who was pregnant at the time.

They spoke of confusion, pain and isolation growing up as children of gay couples.

“My brother and I decided once that we weren’t going to listen to or associate with people who didn’t understand our family,” said Shambo, who has two mothers.

Tia, whose father is gay, didn’t know the term until she was nine years old when another child told her.

Her father described how his own mother sent him to a psychiatrist when he was young, to see if he was gay.

"Gabe was great to work with," exclaimed Lujie.

“They put me in a room with all kinds of toys. I bypassed all the cowboy guns and went straight for the dolls,” Tia’s father recalled. “When my mother asked the doctor if I was gay, he said, ‘Regardless if he’s gay or not, he’s going to be a father.”

“A Family Like Mine,” showed Tia growing up, riding bikes and drawing with her dad. Tia is African-American, and her father is white.

“People on the street used to ask me where I got this child, and if I took her from someone,” Tia’s dad said. “I used to tell them that I was babysitting for Diana Ross.”

Through a multitude of conversations with gay parents, children of gay parents, priests and news clippings of the opposition, “A Family Like Mine” will help give an insider’s perspective to the same-sex marriage debate.

“People don’t realize that when they are attacking same-sex couples, they are also attacking the children of those families,” Tia said “People like me.”

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

Student Film Screenings Tonight & Saturday

Friday, May 25th, 2012

A zombie screams

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Zombies and pilots are among the themes for this year’s Student Film Screenings held tonight and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the IAF Theatre on the Idyllwild Arts campus. The much-anticipated event is free and open to the public.

Part of the zombie movie was shot next door to me in Idyllwild. I volunteered my neighbor’s house because frankly, my kitchen was a mess.

Maurice Mysenburg’s home was perfect because it was unoccupied (he lives in La Habra), it had a small Sherwood Forest in the back yard, and dark wood paneling throughout.

The script called for one actor to shoot a zombie dead against the wood paneling in the bedroom.

“I wonder if the blood will leave a stain?” asked Isaac, head of the Film Department.

Isaac and Gerald decided they needed to match the wood paneling so they could use it as an overlay. (I’m sure my neighbor, Maurice, wouldn’t want to live with zombie blood above his headboard.) As it turned out, however, they created the blood stain in post-production.

The film crew unloads all of the equipment

Outside, the film crew was unloading the lights, camera and equipment. I was just sorry that I wasn’t going to be around to watch them shoot the zombie film, “Life After Death.”

Before I left, one of the students asked to use my garden hose. I imagined that he needed it to fill up a fog machine or something.

As it turns out, he needed to hose down a zombie.

She had platinum blonde hair, and caked blood all over her face. She was a gruesome sight. And she stood there screaming. Why the zombie needed to be wet and miserable was unknown.

A zombie in full makeup

The zombie film was written by Armani, a sophomore film student at Idyllwild Arts, who insists that it’s got a decent storyline.

“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.

(See ‘Zombie Teen Flick” Idyllwild Me post dated April 10).

“‘It’s more about the story between the sister and brother,” Armani said.

Armani said that “Life After Death” is not autobiographical.

“My sisters didn’t leave me home alone until I was 10,” he said.

Most of the other short films, including “Wing Man” were shot in and around Idyllwild. Those who come to the Student Film Screenings tonight and Saturday night will notice many local sites.

Like all Idyllwild Arts events, the event is free and open to the public. But come early to get a good seat. For more information, contact (951) 659-2171 or visit www.idyllwildarts.org.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

 

 

Art-Inspired Songs at Friday Afternoon Student Recital

Friday, May 25th, 2012

(from L) Nick, Will and Corwin listen to Kevin play

By Marcia E. Gawecki

“It’s our version of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition or Satie’s Sports et Divertissements,” said Kevin Michael Sullivan of his Honors Composition class recital at Stephens at 2:30 p.m. today, Friday, May 25.

It’s an all-student collaboration in which songs were inspired by art pieces. (See blog post, ‘Music Comp Collaborates with Visual Artists,’ dated May 9).

The three student songwriters–William, Corwin and Nick–will showcase their songs that were inspired by art created by Zoe, Inga and Josh (Lin Xuan).

They will be performed today by Dr. Jeanette-Louise Yaryan on piano.

After the performance, there will be a short Q&A session with Dr. Yaryan and the student composers and artists. Like all recitals at Idyllwild Arts, it will be streamed via UStream on the school website.

Over the last two years, Kevin said, the music composition students have composed works for solo oboe; art songs for baritone and piano with lyrics by members of the Creative Writing department; a string quartet; and a reed trio.

For one song, Nick will strum the exposed piano

The class has also created a closed Facebook group where they post links to music, articles, study scores and other resources and, most importantly, post drafts of the scores of the students’ compositions.

“I have invited composers from across the globe to join this group and take part in our discussions,” Kevin said. “This exposes the students to a variety of ideas, examples and compositional techniques and  approaches.”

The contributors included Stephen Serpa and Jessie Alexander Brown of the Harrt School of Music, Jason Gerraughty, SUNY Stony Brook,  Noam Faingold, Kings College London, and Josh Gates, NC School of the Arts/ The Tatnall School.

This will be the first time that the three student artists will hear the music compositions inspired by their art. Zoe’s photograph features two portraits blended together, Inga has an abstract landscape and Josh’s painting entitled,”Greedy,” features a pig eating another pig while other pigs watch.

(from L) Josh with Vita. His painting features pigs eating each other.

The art and music composition recital today is free and open to the public. Stephens Recital Hall is the first building to the left as you cross the bridge at the end of Tollgate Road in Idyllwild.

For more information, call (951) 265-6755 or visit www.idyllwildarts.org.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Final Student Jazz Concert Tuesday Night

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Marshall Hawkins once played with Miles Davis. Image by Marcia E. Gawecki

By Marcia E. Gawecki

“Four,” a song by jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, is considered to be among the lineup for the final Idyllwild Arts student jazz concert Tuesday night, May 22, at 7:30 p.m. in the Bowman Arts building.

It stands to reason that Jazz Chair Marshall Hawkins would pick a song from Miles Davis. As a jazz musician, composer, and band leader, Miles is considered to be one of the most influential jazz musicians of our time.

It is also well known on campus that Marshall once played with Miles.

However, the details of the experience haven’t fully come to life. The jazz students say it’s a cool fact, and perhaps Marshall’s esteem is boosted even higher in their eyes.  But they don’t push him for details.

(from L) Walker (guitar) and Randy (sax) will be performing

Hopefully, Marshall will write about Miles in his memoirs one day.

In the meantime, however, we’ll get to enjoy “Blue Haze: Four” as one of the songs that will be performed by Marshall and the students tonight. The key word is “possible” because the lineup and music selection changes all the time. Sometimes, the students don’t know the lineup until just shortly before the concert begins.

Jazz alumni Jacob (left) and Caleb will be playing at the concert

“It doesn’t matter,” said Randy who plays the saxophone. “We know the music already. It’s just a matter of which order Marshall wants to take it.”

Walker, a graduating senior who normally plays guitar, will switch to bass for Tuesday’s performance because one of the bass guitar players hurt her finger.

“It’s a totally different instrument, but I’m up to the challenge,” said Walker.

According to the Jazz Education web site, “Blue Haze: Four” was recorded in 1954, just after Miles had overcome his drug addiction. It features Horace Silver, Percy Heath and Art Blakey.

Interestingly enough, “Four” was usally attributed to Miles Davis, but it was actually written by Eddie Vinson for Miles Davis. Today, both are usually mentioned as authors. This is an interesting solo, as Miles articulates almost aggressively. Miles’ solo features a hard sound right from the pickup, which he was not known for before.

Idyllwild Arts alumni Caleb Hensinger and Jacob Scesney will be also playing at Tuesday’s jazz concert. Both attend the Burklee School of Music in Boston. Caleb will likely do a nice job with Miles’ “Four,” since he has a similar round sound.

Miles Davis image by Marcia E. Gawecki, Idyllwild

Caleb would play with Marshall and Paul Carman at Cafe Aroma on an occasional Tuesday night, and sometimes steal the spotlight.

“There was one woman in particular who would only come when Caleb was playing,” said Frank Fero from Cafe Aroma. “He really charmed the ladies.”

Another twist to the Tuesday night jazz concert will be a collaboration with a string quartet. The classical musicians include SaSa, Howard and Tiffany. The fourth one Randy couldn’t recall.

“Marshall is going to put us all on stage and build a symphony,” Randy said.

Whatever Marshall and company are up to will turn out to be a wonderful evening of jazz–with some surprises. Although the IAF Theatre in Bowman offers ample seating, it’s still best to arrive early Tuesday night.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

 

Musical Storytime at Idyllwild School

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Tiffany (far right) will be playing her cello for grade schoolers at Idyllwild School

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Storytime will never be the same for grade schoolers at the Idyllwild School.

Today at 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m., four students from Idyllwild Arts will be bringing a book to life with music and songs.

“The Story of Arly Rabbit,” was written by Jennifer Stevenson (a friend of Idyllwild Arts Music Chair Ryan Zwahlen), who is well known for her interactive musical stories for children and their families.

Jen is a composer, educator and clarinetist.

Her story has a local angle to it. It’s about a jackrabbit from Palm Springs who travels to Idyllwild.

The four Idylwild Arts students who will be performing “The Story of Arly Rabbit,” include Emma on flute; Lisa on violin; Tiffany on cello and Alex as the narrator.

Ryan's friend, Jennifer, wrote the musical story

Tiffany, a graduating senior, said that she was looking forward to the two performances today.

“The story is interactive, so when we’re playing our instruments, the students will be encouraged to do hand gestures along with the music,” Tiffany said.

In videos shown on Jen’s web site, she asks students to make bird flapping motions with their hands or climb an imaginary tree like a monkey.

Afterwards, the performers are going to demonstrate how to play their instruments and then play musical games with them, Ryan added.

The music collaboration between the two Idyllwild schools was made possible by an AEL grant of $1,000, that was awarded to Lisa, the violinist.

Ryan worked with Bob Boss from the Idyllwild School for this event. He said that it took about two months to finalize their schedules and all the details.

For more information on Jen’s Musical Adventures, visit www.tessellamusic.com.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Idyllwild Arts Student Lands in Feature Film

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Dylan heads for the Seattle International Film Festival this weekend

By Marcia E. Gawecki

“My theater training at Idyllwild Arts definitely helped me prepare for this role,” said Dylan Arnold, as he headed for the Seattle International Film Festival this weekend to help promote “Fat Kid Rules the World.”

At the South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW) earlier this month, the feature film won the “Audience Award,” over  hundreds of other films. The crew is hoping for a good reception at the Seattle Film Festival too.

It took Director Matthew Lillard (Scoobie-Doo, The Descendants) nine years to get the film rights to the book by K.L. Going, “Fat Kid Rules the World.” Matthew was hired to read it for books on tape, and started crying after just a few chapters. He then scrambled to get the movie rights, Dylan said.

It’s about an overweight teenager who tries to jump off a bridge because of his miserable life, but then is saved by a popular kid who asks him to join his punk band.

When Matthew was ready to shoot his independent film in Seattle last summer, he called area agents looking for actors, and Dylan’s was among them.

At Idyllwild Arts, Dylan had acted in several student films, including “On the Bright Side,” “Shortcomings,” “Rockstars: The Pete Weaver Experience,” as well as theater productions, “Eurydice” and “The Shape of Things.” He said a friend of his recommended the Tiffany Talent Agency.

Dylan read lines on camera first, but then was called back for a live audition with the director.

“I didn’t want to get my hopes up,” Dylan said. “But if I didn’t make it, at least I got to meet Shaggy!”

Dylan said the audition went well, and he was asking Matthew if he should leave the script on the chair as he was leaving.

“Then Matthew said, ‘Yes, you’ll be getting a bigger one soon,'” Dylan said.

Dylan’s mother, who is in the business, said it was a good sign. And when Dylan’s agent called about landing the role, she told Dylan that he’d better get a replacement for his summer job.

On set, Dylan said that everyone was professional, but he kept looking around for the teenagers.

“At Idyllwild, I was used to working with a 17-year-old director, cameraman and script writer,” Dylan said. “It was weird working with just adults.”

The Seattle shooting last summer took five weeks, but Dylan’s part only took about two weeks. He played a high school jock who got all of the girls.

“I used to go to public high school before coming to Idyllwild Arts, and I used a couple of guys I knew there as inspiration,” Dylan said.

He said he also read the book, “Fat Kid Rules the World,” to give him a better take on his character.

Dylan has played the lead in student films

And since he didn’t know how to play basketball, Matthew Lillard got him a coach.

“I know how to play now,” Dylan said with a smile.

He said the other three actors in the movie, were great to work with.

“I really fed off of their energy,” Dylan said.

He said that the feature film experience has changed him.

“I now got a taste of what it’s like, and I definitely want to do it again,” Dylan said.

However, he is enrolled in North Carolina School of the Arts, an acting school, in the fall.

“I would never have gotten into that school if it weren’t for my experience at Idyllwild Arts,” Dylan said.

Dylan had come to the school as a summer theater student, and made the most of his two and a half years here.

At the South by Southwest Film Festival, Dylan got to walk down a red carpet, and was interviewed by the local press. He also got to sign his first autograph. It was from an adult.

“That was pretty cool,” Dylan said.

At the Seattle Film Festival this weekend, Dylan will be joined by his family and friends. He had to pay for the plane ticket, but they will pay for everything else at the event, he said.

Since it’s an independent film, Matthew Lillard is hoping to raise $150,000 to help with backing and distribution.

He’s also set up on Kickstarter, which has helped raise money for indy films, music, comics and other creative endeavors.

Look for Dylan in the “Fat Kid Rules the World” trailer on the Hollywood Reporter site, http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/video/fat-kid-rules-world-trailer-298103.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

 

Student Art Sale Friday

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Art sale today

 

Ever wanted to purchase a dramatic piece of art that you’ve seen at the student art shows at Idyllwild Arts?

Now’s your chance! Just for today, Friday, May 18, you can purchase paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures and mixed media pieces directly from the artist.

Now’s your chance to talk to the student who made the piece!

Go to Ataloa Ceramic Studio from Noon to 5 p.m. today and see what the students have to offer. Ataloa is on the right as you head up towards the Parks Exhibition Center on the Idyllwild Arts campus.

Cash or checks only, please.

For more information, call (951) 659-2171.

 

Berlin to Broadway: Composer Kurt Weill’s Musical Voyage

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

'Berlin to Broadway' poster

By Marcia E. Gawecki

The lights in the IAF Theatre were still on late Wednesday night. You could hear show tunes wafting from under the door, the clomping of dancing shoes, while orders were barked out throughout. These were the behind-the-scenes moments that the audience will never see. The final details of Idyllwild Arts last production of the year, “Berlin to Broadway,” being hammered out.

The 3-day show runs Friday and Saturday, May 18 & 19, at 7:30 p.m. at the IAF Theatre, and closes on Sunday, May 20, at 2 p.m.  Like all Idyllwild Arts productions, it is free and open to the public, but come early to get a good seat.

“No one does Kurt Weill anymore,” lamented Howard Shangraw, head of the Idyllwild Arts Theatre Department as he was shopping late at Fairway Supermarket one night. “I miss all of those songs from ‘The Threepenny Opera.’ You remember Mack the Knife?”

I immediately did a shark imitation with my hand. Who doesn’t love that song? But who the heck is Kurt Weill?

Like most composers, we remember their songs, but know little about their lives. Not this time, however. ‘Berlin to Broadway,’ gives us a musical glimpse into the life and genius of Kurt Weill.

A German Jew, Kurt Weill married the famous Austrian singer, Lotte Lenya. As their life in Germany became more precarious, they fled first to Paris, then the United States, where they were a success in New York and Hollywood.

Weill’s biographical journey (as told by a narrator) offers songs that have become standards in our Modern American Songbook, such as Mack the Knife, Lost in the Stars, Surabaya Johnny, September Song and My Ship, among others.

Lyricists Weill worked with include Bertolt Brecht, Alan Jay Lerner and Ira Gershwin, The student cast sings and dances excerpts from The Threepenny Opera, Happy End, Lady In The Dark, Street Scene, The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, and more.

All in all, there are more than 30 songs that are showcased in “Berlin to Broadway.”

“Not only does it demonstrate Weill’s extraordinary melodic gifts, but also his ability to transform his style to fit different environments,” Howard wrote in the program. “His music reflects both the influences around him and the moods of the times in which he lived and composed.”

Starting Friday, you’ll get the chance to know one of America’s most influential composers via “Berlin to Broadway” through songs and dances by the musical theater students. Then you’ll know why Howard liked him so much.

For more information, call (951) 659-2171 or visit www.idyllwildarts.org. The IAF Theatre is located on the Idyllwild Arts campus at 52500 Temecula Drive in Idyllwild.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

 

2nd Annual Student Oboe & Clarinet Recital

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

(from R) Camille and Jeanette take a bow

By Marcia E. Gawecki

For the second year in a row, Camille and Shen have hosted their classical music recitals together.

Their Idyllwild Arts senior recital, featuring oboe and clarinet, was held on Tuesday, May 8, at 7:30 p.m. at Stephens Recital Hall.

Each gave a lively performance and were happy and breathless afterwards. At one point, Camille thought she was going to pass out, but didn’t.

Camille and Shen are friends, fellow orchestra members and complement each other well, like Bogie and Bacall.

Shen hails from China, while Camille was born in Los Angeles to Chinese parents. Shen is gregarious and short with dimples, while Camille is aloof, brainy, and leggy.

They even share the same last name.
“Liu is a pretty common name in China, like Smith is in the U.S.,” said Camille.

Shen lost the toss, so Camille would play first at their recital. Going first is always better because oftentimes a majority of the audience leaves to socialize or study before their 10 p.m. curfew.

“I know that most of them will stay because Shen is really popular,” said Camille beforehand.

(from R) Shen with Nelms

This year, Shen won the Idyllwild Arts Concerto Competition, which meant he got to perform as a soloist along with the Idyllwild Arts Orchestra.

Shen was also a prefect, or student advisor, during the year. In the fall, he will attend Juilliard School of Music in New York. Lake, a jazz bass player and Idyllwild Arts senior will join him.

Not to be outdone, Camille got more than 2200 score on her SATs, and will be going to Northwestern University in Evanston in the fall.

Camille will continue her musical studies, but is looking forward to Northwestern’s academic challenge.

Last year, during their junior recitals, both only had to play only :30 minutes each, but as seniors, they had to play :45 minutes each.

“I think mine went over 10 minutes, so Shen got cheated a little bit,” admitted Camille.

For her first number, Camille played J.S. Bach’s “Sonata in G Minor BMV 1020” with Jeanette Louise Yaryan on piano. It sounded like a mellow piece. At times, Camille’s oboe sounded more like a flute. But then the Allego gave way to fast fingers, and Camille gave a sigh of relief at its end.

“Concerto in C Major, K 314” by W. A. Mozart showed off Camille’s ability to play long notes. Benny Kleinerman accompanied her on piano.

For her third selection, Camille was reunited with bassoon player, Felix, and Nelm McKelvain on piano. Just weeks before, the three had played Francis Poulenc’s “Trio for Piano, Oboe and Bassoon” at Felix’s Junior Recital.

“I’m helping her because she helped me,” said Felix as he headed for the dressing room.

It was the same piece, but somehow it sounded differently that night.

(from L) Brian Cohen talks with Camille's dad afterwards while her mom and Peter Askim listen in

“I think Nelms started out faster this time,” said Felix later.

The Presto, Adante and Rondo parts of that song reminded me of a flirtation or courtship. Like songbirds calling out to each other between the trees.

All three looked at each other for timing cues and sounded like they really enjoyed the piece. Nelms was smiling most of the time from behind the piano.

The recital ended with Camille Saint-Saens’ “Sonata in D Major, Op. 166.”

Even though her oboe teacher, Francisco Castillo from Redlands was not in the audience, he was there in spirit. Just the day before, Camille had a lesson with him  She’ll see him again before the fall.

“I don’t know how to say good-bye,” Camille said. “He’s been my teacher since I was ten.”

Music Director Peter Askim and Headmaster Brian Cohen spoke to Camille’s parents afterwards, and Peter and Music Department Head Ryan Zwahlen congratulated Camille.

“She did a great job,” said Ryan, who also plays the oboe.  “Everything she played was difficult. She’s really come a long way.”

Needless to say, not everyone in the audience left after intermission. In fact, a few more people came after the break to see Shen. It was a full house for both.

Camille was all smiles afterwards

Shen started out strong with a short and lively piece by Henri Rabaud, “Solo de Concours.” It showcased his ability to go up and down the scales on his clarinet with rapid accuracy.

Unlike Camille, Shen didn’t change piano players, but kept with Nelms McKelvain the whole time. Their next piece, “Sonatina” by Malcolm Arnold, showed the complexities of both instruments. At times, the music sounded frenetic.

Shen’s next piece, “Fantasia da Concerto ‘La Traiata’ by D. Verdi by Donato Lovreglio, was Peter Askim’s favorite.

“I really liked how you played the opera,” Peter told Shen afterwards. “It showed a lot of colors.”

From the look of things, it was a difficult piece to do because Shen was breathing heavy afterwards.

After that piece, Shen mixed it up with “Sonata” by Francis Proulenc. The audience, made up of mostly music students and staff members, whooped it up after that piece was finished.

George Gershwin’s “Preludes for Clarinet and Piano Accompaniment,” arranged by James Cohn, was an interesting end to Shen’s recital. It seemed more ragtime than classical.

“No Gershwin’s music is in the classical realm,” defended Camille afterwards.

The best part is that Shen looked like he was having a ball playing it. Maybe because it was his last high school recital, and he was savoring every moment.

(from L) Shen poses with Ryan

Shen, too, will find it difficult to say good-bye to his teacher, Yehuda Gilead, from USC, who has been more of a mentor than a clarinet teacher. Yehuda wasn’t there at the concert, but Shen went to LA the next day with the disk in hand to discuss the performance with him.

In the audience was YiLing, an Idyllwild Arts music alum, who now attends Boston Conservatory, and was on summer break.

“He did a great job,” YiLing said, as they posed for pictures afterwards.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.