Posts Tagged ‘Green Cafe’

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.

 

 

Nature’s Tears for Steve Jobs’ Passing

Friday, October 7th, 2011

It rained hard everywhere in California on Wednesday. Could it be Nature's tears for Steve Jobs' passing?

By Marcia E. Gawecki

On Wednesday, Oct. 5, it had been raining all day. In Idyllwild, Hemet, Riverside and Los Angeles. Gray skies were everywhere. There was no escaping it. Cars and trucks drove too fast or too slow on the highways, spraying each other with blankets of rain. Traffic backed up for miles when one car skidded into another.

“It’s good for the trees,” Idyllwild residents always say to each other when it rains. And the trees certainly looked happy, with their limbs outstretched to the skies, as if they were asking for more.

Then I heard the news:

“It’s a sad day for us all,” said the dee jay on 95.5 FM. “Steve Jobs has died.”

I called Jeffrey Taylor, from Green Café, the local internet provider in Idyllwild, to confirm. Yep, the technical visionary who started Apple Computers and Pixar Entertainment had died of cancer at age 56.

Jeffrey’s voice was heavy with sadness, something you can’t disguise.

After college, Jeffrey had worked for Apple for 4 1/2 years.

“They made me go through a month-long interview process, and open up an office in Valencia,” Jeffrey recalled.

He was a computer programmer for Apple, often being part of group emails from Steve Jobs. He didn’t recall ever meeting Steve, but saw him at business meetings.

“I had full access to Apple’s library,” Jeffrey said.

His Apple experience he remembers with fondness, which later lead to jobs at Sony and NASA JPL.

“You should see Apple’s web site right now,” Jeffrey said on Wednesday, but wouldn’t elaborate. (Apple had taken down its last product release and replaced it with a farewell message to Steve Jobs).

“Ten percent of all tweets today are saying, “Rest in Peace, Steve Jobs,’” Jeffrey said.

That means people tweeting not just in the U.S., but from around the world.

Now the intense rain seemed perfectly fitting for a day in which an American icon had died. It rained like this when Princess Diana and Mother Teresa had died, and John Lennon too. It was as if the heavens themselves could not contain their grief.

It rained hard all day when Princess Diana and Mother Teresa died too.

Months earlier, Jeffrey had forwarded a You Tube video of Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford commencement speech. Steve hadn’t attended Stanford, or even graduated from Reed College, but he certainly had something to say. His words were truer than anyone with high academic honors.

Steve’s mother, a graduate student, didn’t believe that she’d have the time to raise a child, yet was very particular about whomever adopted him must send him to college. The working class couple that adopted Steve had kept that promise. They had saved up their entire lives for his college education at Reeds.

Yet, after six months, Steve didn’t know what he wanted to do, and said he was wasting their money. So that’s when he dropped out of college, but then dropped back in. For years, Steve, the un-college student, slept on friends’ floors, ate at soup kitchens and sat in on classes that had nothing to do with his major, such as calligraphy.

Idyllwild residents were happy for the rain, but sad about Steve Jobs.

“That’s why Apple Computers were the first to offer different type fonts,” Steve had said in his Stanford speech. He would have never taken that calligraphy class had he not dropped out and tried new classes.

“With all the tributes to Steve Jobs, one thing tends to get forgotten: the man helped us write,” said Simon Garfield, in an article on CNN.com’s web site. “Jobs was the first to give us a real choice of fonts, and thus the ability to express ourselves digitally with emotion, clarity and variety. He made Type Gods of us all.”

Later on, Steve was fired from Apple Computers, the company that he had co-founded in his basement. How could that have happened? Steve said he floundered a bit, and then started another company, which was eventually bought by Apple. So his life came full circle, but he had changed.  One thing that Steve has taught us is that one man can make a difference.

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your inner voice,” Steve had told the Stanford graduates in 2005. “And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

Over the years, every time Apple would release a new product, it was more impressive than the last. Only one man was capable of doing that each and every time: Steve Jobs.

Ask any young person today what their life would be like without their Apple laptops, iPhones, and iPods.

Not just computer geeks were sad about his passing, but everyone from heads of state to we as average Joes.

The first time that I heard the name, Steve Jobs, was from a film student at Idyllwild Arts Academy, Jeanne Catmull. Her father, Ed Catmull, worked with Steve at Pixar Entertainment, and she knew him.

On Feb. 7, 2009, Jeanne’s dad was getting the Gorden E. Sawyer Award, a lifetime achievement Oscar from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Jeanne was going to the ceremony with him in a dress designed by another Idyllwild Arts student. Quoi Alexander had come to Idyllwild Arts after Hurricane Katrina had wiped out his high school. He is now studying fashion in England, while Jeanne is at USC.

Quoi’s two-tone felted dress looked great on Jeanne. Tucker McIntyre, who heads up the Transportation Department at Idyllwild Arts, had taken a picture of Jeanne and Ed Catmull the second they appeared on TV.

“The media will pay attention to us if Steve Jobs goes with us,” Jeanne had told me as we were driving down the hill in the school van.

Who was Steve Jobs anyway? I didn’t know who he was back then, yet I had already purchased my third Apple computer.

Steve Jobs started with an idea in his basement, and never gave up on it, against all obstacles. Yep, we can all learn from him, a man who came from humble beginnings, but used his smarts and tenacity to change the world.

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition,” said Steve Jobs.

For inspiration, visit his 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech on You Tube.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: Oct 7, 2011 @ 15:18 E

 

 

 

 

Town Jazz Considered ‘Intimate’ Setting

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published on: Aug 28, 2011 @ 7:24

 

San Jacinto Dressmaker Worked on ‘Gaslight’

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

A young girl looks over sale fabrics at Jo-Ann's in Hemet. Not far away, a former MGM dressmaker recalls working on Miss Bergman's white gown.

 

 

 

 

By Marcia E. Gawecki

A smart-looking couple poured over books of sewing patterns at Jo-Ann’s Fabrics in Hemet. She was looking for the perfect dress pattern for an upcoming wedding outfit. As it turns out, Rhea was a former dressmaker for MGM Studios in the early 1940s, and worked on the film, “Gaslight,” which also happens to be Cafe Cinema’s Feature Film this Friday night in Idyllwild.

“I worked on Ingrid Bergman’s dress,” Rhea said, “The white one that she wore coming down the stairs.”

Director George Cukor’s 1944 mystery-thriller, “Gaslight” is about a woman who is driven out of her mind, wrote Jeffrey Taylor in a Cafe Cinema email. Ingrid Bergman received the first of two Academy Awards for this film, which also stars Charles Boyer, Joseph Cotten, and an 18-year-old Angela Lansbury in her screen debut.

“Gaslight” was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography (black and white). It won for Best Actress and Best Art Direction.

Rhea said that she couldn’t remember any details about Miss Bergman’s dress.

“That was about 100 years ago,” she joked.

However, she was one of many dressmakers at MGM who worked on that dress.

“No one ever made the whole thing,” she said.

Rhea said that working at MGM Studios was as good a job as any after WWII. The pay was sufficient, but, after three years, she left.

“We all worked different shifts, and it was really cutting into my social life,” Rhea said.

She later worked for Douglas Aircraft, where she met her second husband, Rick. They’ve been married for 54 years and now live in San Jacinto.

“Back then, dressmakers could sometimes mix up the colors on the star’s dresses,” Rick reminded her.

“All the movies were made in black-and-white, so color wasn’t all that important,” Rhea explained. “For example, if a star had a larger bust, and we needed to add more material to the front of her dress, it didn’t have to be an exact color match–just close enough.”

“Of course, now with color film, you have to be exact,” Rhea added.

Rhea said that she had seen “Gaslight” about three times and really enjoyed the film. However, she and Rick won’t attend the “Gaslight” screening in Idyllwild this Friday night because of other plans.

“You should see it,” Rhea said. “It’s really a good movie.”

Festivities take place at 7 p.m. at the new Cafe Cinema in Idyllwild. Food, beverage, and admission are free. Cafe Cinema is located at 53290 Deer Foot Lane. For more information, visit www.cafecinema.org, or call (951) 659-6000.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

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Bestselling Writer Conceived Story in Idyllwild

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Eduardo Santiago introduces Mary Otis, an award-winning short story writer

By Marcia E. Gawecki

“Pilgrim Girl,” earned Mary Otis a Pushcart Prize honorable mention (past winners include Raymond Carver and  John Irving), and today she admitted to writing it in Idyllwild.

Mary was the sixth California author to be featured in the “Idyllwild Author Series” held at B’s Mountain of Books. Like the others, Mary is a friend of Eduardo Santiago, an Idyllwild resident, who started the series in May.

To date, the series has covered the novel, the memoir, the non-fiction narrative, and the short story.

“‘Pilgrim Girl’ is the first story in the collection, and I wrote it in a week in Idyllwild many years ago,” said Mary Otis, about her collection, “Yes, Yes Cherries.” “I’d work on it all day, and one night, I remember going to watch a Gene Hackman film in someone’s garage while eating peanut M&Ms.”

Some locals in the audience tried to recall if they were there at the time.

“Pilgrim Girl” tells the story about a 14-year-old girl’s crush on a married guy next door, and her far-reaching attempts to get his attention. She puts on her mother’s frosted wig and tries to impersonate a traveling saleswoman; only that she has no products to sell.

The crowd on Father's Day was captivated by Mary Otis' humorous stories

It seemed like everyone in the audience could relate to Mary’s humorous collection, which included stories about a drunken therapist and a fistfight on a first date.

Mary said that all of the events in the stories didn’t actually happen to her, but were pieces of her life. Some of them happened to someone else and she changed the stories around a bit.

“The fist fight on the first date happened to my friend,” Mary said. “She was taken to a bar-b-que at his ex-wife’s house, and then a fight broke out.”

Eduardo mentioned that Mary Otis started out as an actress, and wondered if her characters may have come out of that experience.

She started out acting in a neighborhood playhouse in Boston that actress Diane Keaton had also attended.

“They’d make us do everything, including ballet, jazz and fencing,” Mary recalled. “But it was such an intense program, that if you weren’t cutting it, you’d get cut. It was almost like improv, and it helped me immensely.”

Mary said that her short stories focus on family, relationships and are set partially in Los Angeles.

She said that living in Los Angeles for the past 20 years, has been rewarding, and the longest she’s lived anywhere. She grew up in a small town outside of Boston.

“LA is a strange, intense town,” Mary said.

In her first novel, she treats LA as a character itself.

Mary read an excerpt from her new novel, "Flight"

“It’s tragic, desperate and gorgeous all in one,” she added.

She’s only written the first 50 pages of “Flight,” but read an excerpt anyway.

“My mother had two speeds,” Mary said. “Drunk or driven.”

She recounted a car ride in which her mother was playing “chicken” with another motorist in the passing lane on Route 3 in Cape Cod.

“Fucking hell!” her mother said in frustration, while she began hallucinating from fear. She remembered random answers to her junior high test questions and tried to breathe from her elbow.

Throughout the reading of “Flight,” the audience was laughing heartily.

“I know that I sound self-centered,” Eduardo said afterwards. “But I feel like you were talking to me. I’d like to buy that book.”

Mary said that she wasn’t sure if the manic driving excerpt would be at the beginning, middle or end of her book.

“It’s different from a short story,” Mary explained. “I don’t write in any particular order. Everything just comes in pieces.”

She admitted to writing the novel after being prompted by her agent to develop her writing beyond short stories. According to her web site, Mary Otis is an award-winning writer whose short story collection, “Yes, Yes, Cherries,” was published in 2007 by Tin House Books. She has had stories and essays published in Best New American Voices (Harcourt), the Los Angeles Times, Tin House, Berkeley Literary Journal, and the Santa Monica Review, among others.  Originally from the Boston area, Mary is a fiction professor in the UC Riverside Low-Residency MFA Program where she is part of the core faculty.

(from L) Jeffrey Taylor talks to Mary Otis afterwards. He asked if she had any interest in her stories from the film industry.

Some of the questions from the audience asked about when her novel is due out, what she’s reading now, and if she could recommend a good writing book. Yet, it was a guy in the back who asked the best question.

“Have any of your short stories been picked up by the film industry?” asked Jeffrey Taylor, Green Cafe, who has hosted a weekly film series in Idyllwild for the past 14 years.

“Not any so far,” Mary said. “But my agent said there was some interest in one, but it didn’t go anywhere.”

“I would think that ‘Next Door Girl’ about a seamstress and a Russian hair model would make a good screenplay,” Eduardo interjected.

“That’s the one they were interested in!” Mary exclaimed.

Jeffrey said later that most movies are based on short stories.

“The people in the film industry don’t have time to read novels, but a short story they can get through quickly,” he said.

His father wrote mystery novels and later worked as a PR man for Warner Bros.

(from R) Mary Otis and Eduardo Santiago pose with the owner of B's Mountain of Books, Lauren Devore

After the discussion, Mary signed copies of “Yes, Yes Cherries,” while others mingled, drank lemonade and ate Bing cherries.

Eduardo said that there wouldn’t be an Idyllwild Author Series event next Sunday because he’s graduating from UCLA. The next author, James Brown, will be featured on Thursday, June 30th, at a new venue, Cafe Aroma. He will read from his book, “This River.”

All Idyllwild Author Series events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.eduardosantiago.com, or call B’s Mountain of Books at (951) 659-5018.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

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Cary Grant Connection Shown in Idyllwild Friday

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Svetlana, an Idyllwild artist, recently reunited with Cary Grant's daughter, Jennifer

By Marcia E. Gawecki

He was the perfect gentleman onscreen and off. Handsome, debonair, with that wonderful British accent. He could play a romantic comedy, and then switch to a compelling drama the next.

He played opposite all the leading ladies of the time, including Katherine Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Eva Marie Saint, and Deborah Kerr. He was “mad” for Sophia Loren, but it was Mae West who famously asked him onscreen, “Why don’t you come up and see me sometime?”

He was best known for “North by Northwest,” “His Girl Friday,” “An Affair to Remember,” and “The Philadelphia Story.” Everyone loved to watch Cary Grant.

However, only a few close friends knew that Svetlana, an Idyllwild artist, once worked for Cary Grant.

She never said anything about the movie star’s personal life, perhaps adhering to a nondisclosure agreement. More than likely, she just respected the guy and his privacy. Since she worked as his chef, Svetlana sometimes would let it slip that Cary Grant liked a certain kind of food. But that was it.

Now, Svetlana’s secret has come to light! In a Cafe Cinema Special Event, at 7 p.m. this Friday, June 17, there will be a short video capturing a 30-year reunion between Svetlana and Jennifer Grant, Cary Grant’s only daughter. After the short, Cafe Cinema will show a 15-minute CBS interview with Jennifer Grant, followed by the Cary Grant film, “Monkey Business.”

Cafe Cinema regulars (from L): Rosemary, Svetlana and Analia

According to Jeffrey Taylor, Cafe Cinema, the reunion between Svetlana and Jennifer Grant happened a few weeks ago at her book signing of “Good Stuff: A Reminiscence of My Father, Cary Grant.”

“The two hadn’t seen each other in 30 years,” Jeffrey said. “Svetlana helped raise Jennifer from age 14 to 18.”

Jeffrey captured the tearful and remarkable reunion on his personal camcorder. This short will be shown first on Friday.

According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) web site, Jennifer Grant is Cary Grant’s only child. She resembles her mother, actress Dyan Cannon. Although he became Hollywood’s leading man, Cary Grant discouraged his daughter from becoming an actress. However, after graduating from Stanford University and working as a chef, Jennifer joined the TV cast of “Beverly Hills, 90210.”

Her book, “Good Stuff: A Reminiscence of My Father, Cary Grant.” is available on Amazon.com. One reviewer called it, “A love letter to an amazing father.” It reveals many mementos of Jennifer’s early childhood.

Jeffrey Taylor, Cafe Cinema, captured the reunion on video

“I want people to know that the persona was real,” Jennifer said in a CBS interview. “It wasn’t a mask.”

The love that Cary Grant bestowed on his daughter was evident in the mementos in her book. However, Archibald Leach’s childhood in Bristol, England, wasn’t as joyful. His mother was sent to a mental institution when he was nine, and his father was neglectful. At age 14, he ran away and joined the circus. Yet, Cary Grant turned it into a positive. Later, his Hollywood films showed Grant performing cartwheels, backflips and slapstick.

At 7 p.m. this Friday, June 17, Cafe Cinema will show a video of Jennifer Grant and Svetlana’s reunion; the CBS interview with Jennifer; and finally, “Monkey Business,” a film starring Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers, Charles Colburn and Marilyn Monroe. Svetlana will be on hand to talk a little bit about the reunion.

All events at Cafe Cinema are free and open to the public. To get to Cafe Cinema, head towards Idyllwild Arts on Tollgate Road. Turn left on Meadow Glen, stay to the right until you hit Double View, and then make a left. Take a quick right on Deer Foot Lane, and look for the house on the right with the familiar purple sandwich board. For more information, visit www.cafecinema.org or call (951) 659-6000.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

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