Posts Tagged ‘Jeffrey Taylor’

UCLA Bruins Head for College World Series

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

A fan mugs it up in front of the UCLA bruin on campus

By Marcia E. Gawecki

It’s too bad that the LA Times doesn’t cover college baseball.

The UCLA Bruins have made it to the NCAA Super Regionals, and if they win tonight, they’re headed for the College World Series.

So Bruins fans are forced to follow their team by other means, such as streaming on UCLA’s web site (www.uclabruins.com) or Bruins Nation, a blog site that’s manic about all UCLA sports (www.bruinsnation.com). And since the Bruins have made it this far, tickets are hard to come by. Forget finding them  on eBay.

So that left one Bruins fan from Idyllwild with only one thing left to do: Go to the game and stand outside the fence.

On Friday afternoon, Jeffrey Taylor, Green Cafe Internet (and a UCLA Chemistry major), went to the Jackie Robinson Baseball Stadium in Westwood. Since 1981, UCLA has called Jackie Robinson its home stadium.

“It was the best time I’ve had all year,” exclaimed Jeffrey. “The place was packed, and everyone I met was talking UCLA baseball. There was a definite electricity in the air.”

UCLA Bruins fan Jeffrey Taylor with Sara Karloff. Monster art by Marcia Gawecki

Since Jackie Robinson Stadium, with only 1500 seats, is located on the grounds of the Veteran’s Administration, many of the fans at Friday’s game against TCU were military veterans.

“I think Jackie Robinson must’ve made it a provision that veterans get tickets to see the games,” Jeffrey said.

Jeffrey took his camcorder along with him and captured the game. But he also got some candid interviews with veterans he met standing outside the fence.

Jeffrey plans to post the interviews on his Green Cafe web site (www.greencafe.com), and show before his Movie Night on Friday at 7 p.m. in Idyllwild.

“I fought in Vietnam, and was proud to serve my country,” one vet said. “Now I have cancer, but I’m not down about it. I just take it day by day”

Then he broke into a wide smile and said, “But tomorrow, I got a ticket to the game!”

Jeffrey met another veteran who has been a Bruins baseball fan for years. Even before the team was hot, he would watch them every Tuesday night.

UCLA campus

“It used to be that you could get any seat in the stadium,” he said. “Now, it’s not so easy.”

As Bruins baseball fans, the lack of tickets didn’t matter. They came to see the game.

“I could have paid $25 to stand behind Center Field looking through a peep hole,” Jeffrey said, but he found a better place standing with about 25 others on the grass looking over Home Plate.

LA police officers would drive by occasionally, calling out for scores, and cheering when they were ahead. Jeffrey, who was double parked, only got a smile from one of the officers who asked about his truck.

“I just wanted to see the game,” Jeffrey said, avoiding a ticket.

He met several others, including professors and former college baseball players, all hanging outside the fence.

“Their play-by-play was better than any announcer,” Jeffrey said, marveling at how much the fans knew about the players and the game.

“They were using terms that I didn’t even know of,” he added.

Dennis Wohlman, the uncle of Bruins outfielder, Beau Amaral, lives in Idyllwild, so Jeffrey took a video of Beau at bat.

“Beau got out, but his hits allowed another player to steal second,” Jeffrey said.

The Bruins beat TCU 6-2.

Before the Bruins made it to the Super Regionals, the only way Dennis could have watched his nephew play was to go to the game and watch outside the fence like Jeffrey did. But now, the Super Regionals are televised.

“Just our rotten luck, the Bruins are playing tonight, opposite the Stanley Cup Finals,” Jeffrey said with a groan.

Yet, the LA Times has covered all of those hockey games.

If the UCLA Bruins win tonight against TCU, then they’ll go to the College World Series in Omaha. If not, then they play again on Sunday.

“Next to Cornhusker home games, the College World Series is one of the biggest events of the year in Omaha,” said Jeffrey.

Of course, College World Series tickets are impossible to get too. But, the games will likely be televised. And the daily newspaper, the Omaha World-Herald, will cover the games. So UCLA Bruins fans can follow their team to victory across the country.

However, if the LA Times had covered Bruins baseball, then maybe Jeffrey would not have made it to the game. He would have missed the camaraderie and a chance to clear his head from business for one afternoon.

“After the game, we were all best buddies, cheering and giving High Fives,” Jeffrey said. “No one wanted to leave. They just wanted to linger for awhile.”

But he’ll likely get season tickets for Bruins baseball next year.

“Where else can you watch a game for under $10, and with hot dogs only costing a buck,” Jeffrey said.

Bruins vs. TCU at 6 p.m. on ESPN2 tonight.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Palm Springs Film Noir Fest Opens Tonight

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

(from L) Jeffrey Taylor, actress June Lockhart and Charles Schlacks at the 2010 Film Noir Festival

By Marcia E. Gawecki

The 12th Annual Arthur Lyons’ Film Noir Festival opens tonight (May 10) at the Camelot Theater in Palm Springs.

A small band of loyal film noir movie buffs from Idyllwild will attend the 3-day film festival dedicated to B-movies. Among them are Jeffrey Taylor, Green Cafe, who hosts a weekly movie night in Idyllwild, and his friend, Charles Schlacks, Jr., who has attended each year since its inception in 2000.

Their idea of heaven is sitting in a movie theater watching four films each day.

“Most of the movies shown at the festival have never been seen by the public before,” said Jeffrey, an alum of UCLA, whose film department helps restore old films, including many Film Noirs.

Of the 12-movie line-up that includes “Cry Danger,” “I Love Trouble,” “Shield for Murder” and “The Big Heat,” Charles has only seen “The Big Heat” before. He’s 81 years old.

Both men were good friends with the festival’s originator, Arthur Lyons, a former city councilman who wrote mystery novels and loved Film Noir. Wearing a cap and white shoes, Arthur often looked like he stepped out of one of the movies from the 1940s. However, he was only 62 when he died in 2008.

Since then, Alan Rhode has taken over his mantle, and continued the festival.

Arthur came to Jeff’s movie night to show a rare film noir and promote his book about film noir, “Death on the Cheap.”

Some of the attractions of the Arthur Lyons’ Film Noir Festival is that movie goers can mingle with movie stars. After many of the movies, Alan interviews one of the stars to get the “inside scoop” of what it was like back then. Most of the stars are in their 80s, but are still smart and lively.

For more information, visit Green Cafe’s web site at www.greencafe.com or the Arthur Lyons’ site, www.arthurlyonsfilmnoir.com.

Tickets are still available at the Camelot Theater before each showing.

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.

 

 

Idyllwild Resident’s 30th Consumer Electronics Show

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Idyllwild resident Charles Schlacks, Jr. is attending his 30th Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Today, Charles Schlacks, Jr., 80, an Idyllwild publisher and record collector, will attend his 30th  Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The show is estimated to attract 150,000 attendees, however, it’s open to only “those in the electronics industry,” Charles says.

For the past three decades, Charles has received a “press” pass, which is an all-access pass to the vendor booths and lectures. However, this year, CES sent him an “entertainment” pass, which offers pretty much the same access. Without the pass, however, the show would cost Charles $100 a day.

Charles is considered “press” because he publishes two trade journals, “Muzaka,” about Russian music past and present; and “Music and Society in Eastern Europe,” which discusses discographies (musical histories) of open reel tapes and records.

Charles is not like the other journalists who write about their likes and dislikes of the popular trade show. He’s attending for his personal enjoyment of music. Each year, he takes about two dozen classical records (audiophile LPs) and goes from booth to booth at the Flamingo and Venician Hotels.

He’s looking for good turn tables and card readers to play his high-quality audiophile LPs. Generally, he knows everybody and returns to the same booths each year. In the four days of the show, he’ll visit about 50 of them.

The CES exhibitors take Charles’ records and play them on their stereo systems, which range from $250 to $150,000. Both enjoy the experience.

“As a whole, I found out they prefer analog to digital,” Charles said. “My records sound much better than CDs and DVDs.”

Over the past three years, however, there’s been a resurgence of turn table manufacturers and the re-release of dozens of new vinyl recordings (LP records), Charles noted.

He’s happy that companies are reissuing classical, pop and jazz records from the 1950s. Some of the originals are likely in Charles’ record collection.

Charles has been collecting classical records since 1946. He has about 45,000 now.

Since 1946, when he was about 15 years old, Charles has been collecting classical records. There’s only classical records, no rock n’ roll, jazz, pop or vocalists.

“My friends from England couldn’t believe that Charles had never heard of The Beatles,” said Jeffrey Taylor, from Green Cafe in Idyllwild, of his longtime friend. “Who hasn’t heard of the Beatles?”

But now that he’s 80 years old, Charles has amassed about 45,000 classical LPs that he stores in Hemet, with a small amount in his Idyllwild home.

Eventually, Charles plans to sell the majority of his collection to record collectors in Los Angeles and individuals over the internet. His records are his retirement, he says, and they will help him pay off his house.

Although it’s not his plan, Charles will take a list of the details of his 45,000 record collection to the CES this weekend, just in case someone is interested in buying a few hundred of them. In past years, Charles has returned from the CES with small sales that he ships out of the Idyllwild Post Office, or drives to northern California. Once, he tried to deliver records up to San Francisco in a day.

“I’ll never do that again,” Charles said of the 7-hour drive. “I was so tired that I had to stay overnight, and that cost me about $75. Next time, the buyer would have to pay shipping or my gas and lodging.”

Charles doesn’t generally attend the keynote lectures at the CES. In the past, it’s usually been someone from Microsoft, he said.

“Was it Bill Gates?” asked Jeffrey Taylor, who had worked for Apple after college.

This year, however, Microsoft is scaling back and Apple doesn’t plan to attend, Charles said. According to today’s Los Angeles Times, Microsoft has its exit planned, saying it wants to announce its products on its own timetable. The absence of Apple has long spurred manufacturers to bring out Apple-type products that quickly fade from the marketplace.

At the same time as the CES in Las Vegas, other shows are going on. At  “T.H.E. Show,” last year, Charles got a “shout out” from the keynote speaker, the editor of Stereophile magazine.

According to Charles, the speaker asked Charles to stand up and be recognized.

“I’ve seen you every year as long as I’ve been coming here,” the man said. “You must be the oldest veteran here.”

Of course, there was a round of applause, and they congratulated him afterwards on his dedication and longevity. In a few months, Charles may see some of them again.

Charles belongs to the Los Angeles and Orange County Audio Society, which will be sponsoring “T.H.E. Show” for three days in Irvine in June.

However, for the next four glorious days, Charles will busy himself with the Consumer Electronics Show, visiting 30-40 exhibitors.

“I like to meet people who enjoy good music,” Charles said.

His light blue hybrid car has vanity plates which read, “FFSS,” which stands for “full frequency stereophonic sound. The first LP with FFSS was recorded in 1958.

“It was the greatest audio recording ever,” Charles said.

In his collection, he has hundreds of audiophile recordings. For more information about his collection, email Charles Schlacks directly at: schlacks.slavic@greencafe.com.

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