Posts Tagged ‘Idyllwild Arts Academy’

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

 

 

 

 

‘Welcome Home Casey’ Block Party

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Cafe Aroma will be hosting a "Welcome Home, Casey" block party this Sunday

By Marcia E. Gawecki

What’s next for Casey Abrams, the “American Idol” heartthrob from Idyllwild? Will he be making a jazz record? Performing again with Jack Black? Going on tour with his jazz band? Hosting “Saturday Night Live?”

Never mind all that! First, we’re gonna party! Café Aroma is hosting a “Welcome Home, Casey” block party in Idyllwild this Sunday, Sept. 25, from 3 p.m. t o 7 p.m. in front of the restaurant. They’re serving up Casey-named pasta and drink specials. The stage is set for a Casey jazz jam session and there will be booths promoting his charities.

Casey will be there, of course. Probably all jet lagged from his last “American Idol Live” gig in The Philippines. His ears will still be ringing from performing practically every night for the entire summer. He might be a little giddy about coming home.

Yep, our own “Nature Boy” is finally coming home.

Like most folks in this tiny town, I watched him move through the ranks on Season 10 of “American Idol” every Wednesday and Thursday nights. we’d gather before the TV, with chips, pizza and wine glasses in hand, and talk about his chances, how he did last week, and what we think he should do to win.

But you could hear a pin drop when he’d be performing. Sometimes we’d forgot to breathe. Then we’d all talk at once:

“Didn’t he sound great?”

“I think they trimmed his beard.”

Jazz musician Barnaby Finch in front of a Casey banner by local artist Marcia E. Gawecki

“He’s so much better than the other contestants. He’s a true musician with talent.”

“No one in America knew he could play the bass, but we all knew years ago.”

“What will they make him sing next week?

Then we’d vote 50 or 100 times until our fingers would turn blue, and go home happy. Our local boy was making us proud. We weren’t expecting him to just make the “Top 10,” we wanted him to win the darn thing. Making it to No. 6 was quite the feat, though. It was probably a lot harder than we’ll ever know.

One time while still performing on “American Idol,” Casey paid a visit to the Idyllwild Arts Academy, where he graduated from the jazz department a couple of years ago.

“Casey told us that he could have gone farther in the ‘American Idol’ competition if he would have performed more pop songs,” said several students from Idyllwild Arts after his visit. “But he wanted to stay true to his jazz roots.”

“I heard him sing ‘Nature Boy’ during his senior jazz recital,” said Cheyenne, a dance major at Idyllwild Arts. “The place was packed. He was really a popular guy. It was standing room only.”

Casey had performed “Nature Boy” in Idyllwild first, where Nature reigns supreme. Yep, Casey was singing for America about Idyllwild!

“I came to the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program because I heard it was good,” said one 14-year-old voice major with braces from San Francisco. “But I was also hoping that I could meet Casey.”

Casey Abrams jamming with Caleb at an Idylwild Arts event

Casey left a talented Idyllwild Arts graduate, and is returning on Sunday a famous person. Try Googling his name these days and a million articles turn up! On “American Idol,” he sang a duet with Jack Black and kissed JayLo! He’s met all kinds of famous producers, directors, musicians and artists along the way.

“I saw Casey at Forever 21 (clothing store) in New York this summer,” said Tierra, a musical theater major. “He was buying the zipped-up natural clothes that he always wears.”

But Tierra didn’t say hi because Casey was with a friend and seemed preoccupied. He probably would have welcomed seeing a familiar face though.

“Casey emailed me and asked me to come to his show in New York,” Cheyenne added. “He said that he could even get me free tickets, but I couldn’t go.”

On Sunday, Marshall Hawkins, his Idyllwild Arts jazz teacher and mentor, will get Casey onstage to perform with Seahawk Mojo, his band that’s bringing jazz to area grade schools.

“That’s his bass, I can tell by the markings,” Marshall said while looking at a picture of Casey performing “Nature Boy” on “American Idol.” Of course, Marshall won’t be treating Casey any different now that he’s famous.

“Before I met you, I didn’t even know how to talk to another musician,” Casey wrote in a text message to Marshall during the Town Jazz event in Idyllwild this summer. Now we heard that Casey would often help out the musicians in the “American Idol” band.

On Sunday afternoon, Casey will pose for pictures, answer 1 million questions about his “American Idol” experience, and talk about his future plans. But probably the only thing he’ll want to do is play on the familiar Café Aroma stage with his bass. Just a (now world famous) hometown boy playing the jazz that he loves.

Glad you’re home, Casey. All I’m hoping for is a snapshot of you standing next to my huge, hand-painted Casey banner that’s hanging on Café Aroma’s deck! (Your mom promised to buy it!)  Look for more Casey-inspired art inside Cafe Aroma by local artists.

The “Welcome Home Casey” block party will be held this Sunday, Sept. 25, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. outside Café Aroma, located at 54750 North Circle Drive in Idyllwild. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.cafearoma.org.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: Sep 22, 2011 @ 11:03

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art Showcase of Faculty & Staff Talent

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

'Nate' by Rachael Welch

By Marcia E. Gawecki

At the final Idyllwild Arts Faculty & Staff Art Show on Aug. 9, there was an eclectic mix of pieces. There were more paintings than pottery compared to the last show, prints from the new headmaster, some “shocking” paintings, and friendship nudity.

The three prints from Brian D. Cohen, the new headmaster of Idyllwild Arts Academy, were a perfect selection, given the natural surroundings of Idyllwild. Brian’s black-and-white etchings showed a pear-and-apple arrangement, a closeup of tree bark and a mystic silhouette of a pine tree in the distance. All showed his command of the print medium, and a keen sensitivity to nature (But they don’t photograph well!)

I especially liked his relief etching, “Tree Trunk,” although it was likely a tree from Vermont, and not Idyllwild. A teacher once told me that you could see wars in the bark of trees, if you look close enough.

'Fatherless Bride 2' by John Brosio

The two “shocker” paintings came from John Brosio. “Fatherless Bride 2,” was a medium-sized oil painting that featured a young woman in a long gown. “Carrie,” the 1976 horror movie based on Stephen King’s first novel, comes to mind.

In the movie, Sissy Spacek was doussed with pig’s blood, and appeared shocked in all the trailers, to say the least. However, in “Fatherless Bride 2,” there is the same amount of blood splattered on the young woman, with some drooling from her chin, but she has more of a “hunted” demeanor.

When several people looked at it, they marveled at Brosio’s technique, but didn’t understand the premise.

“Some artists just like to shock,” one woman said. “But he can definitely paint.”

The second of Brosio’s two paintings showed a close up of a fish head with a cigarette in its mouth. Everyone knows that fish don’t smoke, so this couldn’t be a preachy commentary about that.

“Just look at the way the head was cut off,” exclaimed Tressa, one of the attendees, pointing to the sharp diagonal.

'Stefania' by Jacqueline Ryan

Everyone was searching for the artist, who had just left.

Next to his paintings however, was a single portrait by Rachael Welch, who has taught painting many summers at Idyllwild Arts. She also works at Cafe Aroma, and showcases many of her paintings in their library/gallery.

Moreover, some of her jazz portraits have graced Cafe Aroma’s house wine labels, namely Marshall Hawkins, Barnaby Finch and lately, Casey Abrams.

Rachael’s single painting in the show had a predominately green and salmon palette. It was a portrait of “Nate.”

It wasn’t your typical portrait pose. This young man held his fingers up to his face in a sort of a “bugaboo” fashion, like he was mugging for the camera. There was also a faraway look in his eyes.

'Jackie' by Stefania Ford

“Why did she use salmon for the background color?” one woman asked her friends.

The others were trying to figure out what Nate was doing. Was he high on something? Was he playing a video game? The colors and the composition made it compelling.

Jacqueline Ryan, a painting assistant, was the one who convinced me to enter the faculty show.

“There’s never enough paintings by staff members,” she said. “Keep trying.”

However, this young woman, who just graduated from college, had a command of the medium. Her painting of a nude woman was connected to another sculpture in the show. Jacqueline told the story:

“This painting is of Stefania, the ceramics teacher,” Jacqueline explained. “She finished this sculpture of me that she started last year, so I decided to do a painting of her.”

(From top) Jazz greats Nat King Cole and Billie Holiday by Marcia E. Gawecki

“Jackie,” Stefania’s ceramic sculpture, featured a Rueben-esque kneeling nude, which captured Jacqueline’s energy. Stefania wasn’t around to comment on her piece.

She also had several organic pottery pieces on a pedestal next to her sculpture.

Next to “Stefania,” was my larger-than-life banner of Barnaby Finch, a local jazz musician who has played with some big-name jazz musicians. (I drive for Idyllwild Arts, so I’m considered a staff member.)

The banner measured about five feet across and nearly seven feet long. Cristie Scott, the gallery assistant, had to hang the banner by herself, which is quite the feat and without the slightest irritation.

Last year, the banner of Barnaby hung outside Cafe Aroma’s deck during the Jazz in the Pines event. It served as a backdrop for many jazz performances.

“It’s definitely the largest piece in the show,” Cristie said.

At first inspection, I noticed that the perspective was off. Barnaby’s head was much larger than his jawline. Most of my painting was done on my kitchen floor, so it was hard to get a perspective. Yet, I should have hung it over the porch railing before hanging it in the gallery.

'Paint the Black Hole Blacker' by David Delgado

“I want to disappear!” I thought to myself. “What was I doing showing a piece with an off perspective?”

I was grateful that Barnaby himself hadn’t showed up!

So when a young woman in a bright orange dress started dancing in front of the Barnaby banner, laughing with her friends and mugging for the camera, I was convinced that she was making fun of it.

“No, she’s just wearing a bright orange dress, and reacting to the colors of your piece,” explained Cristie.

She was right because I followed the woman around the gallery, and she wasn’t dancing in front of other pieces, including”Fatherless Bride 2.”

(From L) 'Double View Evening' and 'Tree Shadows at Sue's House' by Jessica Schiffman

All of the pieces are for sale. Part of the sale proceeds go to the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program.

This faculty show will remain on display at the Parks Exhibition Center until this Saturday, Aug. 20. The gallery will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, contact Cristie at the gallery at (951) 659-2171, ext. 2251

EDITOR’S NOTE: Technically, I should not review an art show that I have pieces in. It would never fly in a standard newspaper–conflict of interest and all that. But, for now, a biased perspective is better than none at all, right?

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: Aug 13, 2011 @ 21:41

 

 

 

 

‘Our Town’ Play Opens Friday

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Courtesy photo. Isis Theatre Company.

By Marcia E. Gawecki

“‘Our Town’ is one of the most beloved American plays of all time,” said Suzanne Avalon, head of the Isis Theatre Company of Idyllwild. “We are Grover’s Corners.”

Suzanne was talking about a play which opens tonight, one that has many similarities to Idyllwild. It’s set in a small New Hampshire town and focuses on the daily lives of its residents. Although it’s set in 1901, Suzanne said it’s a timeless piece.

“Sure, we have a lot more technology now, but it’s about what we do in our everyday lives–our attitudes, how we cope and treat our neighbors,” she said.

“One thing that this play teaches us is that things go by quickly, and we forget to pay attention to how wonderful it al is,” Suzanne added.

The three-act play focuses on a young couple, as they go through life’s stages of falling in love, marriage and death.

“The playwright, Thornton Wilder, broke barriers with this play,” Suzanne explained. “He looked at things askew.”

“Our Town” is portrayed with minimal props and costumes, and audience members are not distracted by pageantry, thereby focusing on the words, she said.

Howard Shangraw (center) with Nelms McKelvain and friend

Gemini Anderson plays the female lead, Emily Webb. She is a current theater student at Idyllwild Arts, now on summer break. In fact, Howard Shangraw, who heads up the academy’s theater department, is also in the play.

“He plays plays Simon Stimson, a drunk choir director,” Suzanne said.

In the past, Howard has directed and acted in many Isis Theatre productions, including “I Am My Own Wife,” about an East German transvestite. However, this is the first Isis production for Gemini.

“Gemini is a treasure, and Rebecca, Zora and Chris,” Suzanne said of the young actors. “They found themselves and even though it’s a period piece, they have embodied their characters.”

In one rehearsal, Suzanne said she was so enthralled by their performances that she missed her cue. As a favor to the director, she’s going to play Emily’s mother. It’s also a tribute to her own mother who once played Emily.

There are 18 actors in the “Our Town” production, including many “extras” from Idyllwild.

“We had about a half dozen show up for the audition,” Suzanne said. “Some had never acted before, and wanted to try it and ‘see how it feels.'”

She gave many of them speaking parts, and only turned one or two away.

“I think it’s important to incorporate our town into ‘Our Town,'” Suzanne said.

Ana Lia Lenchantin, originally from Argentina, is in the cast of "Our Town."

Emily Heebner, a veteran Broadway actress, directs the show. Susan Hegarty is the stage manager and moderator. The cast includes Howard Shangraw, Suzanne Avalon, Marshall Smith, Chris Morse, Gemini Anderson, Jeri Greene, Jim Crandall, Duane Minard, Ana Lia Lenchantin, Chris Murphy, Zora Schoner and Chad Jones.

Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. this Friday, July 8 and run through Sunday, July 10. A pre-curtain reception starts at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $18 for general admission, or $15 for seniors and students. The Caine Learning Center is located at 54385 Pine Crest Avenue in Idyllwild.

For more information, call (951) 692-9553 or visit www.isistheatrecompany.com.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: Jul 7, 2011 @ 23:35

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Metals Week Instructor Networks to Succeed

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Fred Zweig from Tucson has been teaching jewelry making for 30 years

By Marcia E. Gawecki

“Metals Week” at Idyllwild Arts Summer Program begins today, June 26, and lasts until Thursday, June 30th. Jewelry makers and metal smiths come from all over the country to teach their craft in Idyllwild. They bring with them a wealth of information about how to make jewelry.

Many who attend “Metals Week” are professionals and hobbyists alike. More importantly, they are loyal followers who come back to the same class and instructor year after year.

Fred Zweig, a self-taught metal smith and jeweler from Tucson, was proud that his class, “Hinges & Articulations,” filled up fast. (Idyllwild Arts limits its classes to 12 students so they can receive better one-on-one instruction.)

The first year, Fred said only six students signed up. The second year, he reached the limit, and this year, his class filled up the first day.

This is a sigh of relief for summer teachers during this economical downturn. When classes don’t fill up, sometimes they go away. That’s why Fred takes an active role all year in generating students for his workshops.

“I post my workshop notices on Facebook and other jewelry groups,” admits Fred. “Jewelers are a pretty close-knit community.”

Other times, when he’s completed one of his own pieces, he’ll post a photo of it on Facebook.

“Most artists hate to do it, but you have to continually market yourself,” Fred said.

Fred Zweig always wears his jewelry (see silver pin at lower right)

On his buttoned down shirt, Fred was wearing a medium-sized silver pin of own creation. He said that he doesn’t cast (melt down metal into molds) to make his creations, but forges them (melts the metal with soldering tools).

“My wife also wears my jewelry,” Fred admitted, although he doesn’t give her a commission if she sells one. “It’s all in the power of suggestion.”

In the description of his class, “Hinges & Articulations,” the summer brochure states that: “Hinges are essential to making other objects that conform to the body, or make a flexible connection between two or more parts.”

The “flexible connection” description is also the way Fred approaches his networking online.

He posts on Facebook, and on various jewelry groups, such as Jewelry and Metalware, The Arts & Crafts Society and The Arts & Crafts Movement, among others.

He also helps out friends in need. And, along the way, he said he learns a thing or two. That knowledge helps him to become a better teacher. He’s been actively working in metal and teaching others for more than 30 years.

SHARE YOUR EXPERTISE

A friend of his recently asked him to help a woman who wanted to sell a certain piece of jewelry. She wasn’t sure of its worth, and wanted his expertise.

She sent Fred some pictures, and he asked for one more, to see the artist’s signature or stamp. He called around to his colleagues in the industry, and found out that it was worth about $1,000. He even found her a buyer.

“A colleague of mine just bought a similar piece,” Fred said. “She answered my question about the materials. Her necklace had silver and copper balls, which the studio of the artist incorporated after his death.”

His colleague confirmed it, and even offered to buy the piece.

Fred didn’t charge anything for that legwork, but he could have. He said that he enjoys learning new things, and connecting people with each other. That luck has landed on his doorstep many times.

Metals Week Workshops at Idyllwild Arts, June 26-30

ANTIQUES ROAD SHOW

He once found a lovely bronze sculpture of an Asian girl at a flea market.

“It was in mint condition, except there was something missing from her hand,” Fred explained. “It must’ve been a bird or a ball.”

He paid $35 for it, knowing that he could sell it for more.

“I estimated that I could get about $1,000 dollars for it,” Fred said.

As it turns out “Antiques Road Show” was in Tucson, and he brought the Asian girl sculpture with him. Immediately, they pulled him aside, and asked how he obtained the piece and how much he paid for it.

“Do you have any idea of what it’s worth?” the appraiser asked him.

Since he knows the value of metals, Fred had a good idea it could be worth $1,000. Well, they asked him to be on the show, and put him in the “Green Room.”

“They didn’t tell me what they thought it was worth,” Fred said. “They really like the element of surprise.”

As it turned out, the appraiser estimated the Asian girl sculpture would garner $3,000 to $4,000 dollars at auction. Fred and his wife couldn’t be happier.

The week after the show, Fred called the appraiser and asked to put the item into auction.

“It took awhile because they had to find the right auction,” Fred said. “You know, ones that specialize in Asian art.”

As it turned out, the Asian girl sculpture sold for $1,400 dollars. The auction house got their cut, and Fred got $1,000 dollars.

“So when my wife sees “Antiques Road Show,” and they say that something is worth a lot, she laughs and says that’s not always the case,” Fred said.

BUYING FROM EBAY

But the entire experience was a good one, and makes for a good story to tell his students. He also buys and resells things on Craig’s List and eBay.

Recently, a friend of his called and told him to buy enamel and copper bookends on eBay. They were identical peacocks.

“But they were also $350 for the pair, which is a steep price for us,” Fred said.

However, he figured that he could resell them easily.

“My wife thought I wanted to buy bookshelves, so she said, ‘Go ahead,'” Fred said.

When the package arrived, however, Fred had a bad case of “buyer’s remorse.”

“We really didn’t have the money for extra things like that,” Fred said. “I’ve been out of work from my engineering job for more than six months.”

Summer Program Brochure is available online

He didn’t even open the package for an entire day.

Yet, when he finally opened it, the bookends were far better than he expected. (See the photo at www.forum.arts-crafts.com).

“The detail was incredible,” Fred said. “I knew that I had something special.”

The bookends came from the Arts & Crafts Movement, a period ranging from about 1870 to 1925.

However, he had his work cut out for him. The original black patina had been rubbed away, so Fred planned on restoring that. Yet, at close inspection, he saw that there was a faint signature on one of the bookends.

“During that time, there were maybe three artists signing their work,” Fred explained. “And Gertrude Twichell of Boston was one of them.”

Gertrude Twichell, from the Boston Society of Arts & Crafts, had signed both pieces, which added to its value. He figured they were worth about $1,000 for the pair.

So did Fred get to work to restore and resell these bookends?

“Oh, I probably won’t resell them for about 10 years,” he said. “I just want to enjoy them now.”

On his web site, Fred posted: “Gertrude Twichell was an extraordinary craftsman. I am ecstatic to own one of her works. The enamels are foil backed and not embossed. What looked like cell walls was gold enamel applied with a brush. The plaques are in perfect condition.”

Others posted, “These are stunning, Fred. Well done!”

Fred’s been collecting certain types of collectables for years now. You can find his web sites at www.fredz49.blogspot.com. For more information on Metals Week, June 26-30, and the other instructors, Harold O’Connor, Sandra Noble Goss, Charity Hall, Joanna Goldberg, and Pauline Warg, at the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program, visit www.idyllwildarts.org, and click on “Summer,” or call (951) 659-2171.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: Jun 26, 2011 @ 14:08

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Japan Relief Student Car Wash Memorial Weekend

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

Students hosted a charity car wash for earthquake and tsunami relief at the van lot on the Idyllwild Arts campus Memorial Weekend

By Marcia E. Gawecki

This Memorial Weekend, student volunteers at Idyllwild Arts will be hosting a charity car wash. All proceeds go to the ongoing earthquake and tsunami relief efforts. The car wash will be held Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. in the van lot on campus.

Cassaundra Dunbridge, who works at the Student Health Center at Idyllwild Arts, is spearheading the event. As a registered nurse, she is aware of the monumental task of the Japanese Red Cross Society.

“We wanted the Japanese Red Cross to know that we continue to support their efforts,” Cassaundra said Saturday. “Our hearts go out to them and everyone in Japan.”

She and a legion of student volunteers worked the event on Saturday, May 28. They made homemade signs and posted them on Tollgate Road and along the fences on campus. They also put a large sign on their bench by the van stop at Strawberry Creek Plaza in Idyllwild.

And since three school vans were going back and forth to town Saturday and Sunday transporting students, the volunteers soaped the windows to advertise the car wash. Other volunteers handed out flyers in town announcing the two-day event.

There was no set price for a car wash, only that all donations would go to the Japanese Red Cross Society.

“Some people donated $5 and even $10,” said Paris, a dance major and car wash volunteer. “One woman gave us more when she heard it was for Japanese tsunami victims. She kept pulling more and more bills out of her purse.”

Soap, water hoses, brushes, rags and buckets were donated by the Idyllwild Arts Transportation Department.

Tucker moved his fleet of vans on the lot to make room for the charity car wash

Tucker McIntyre, head of Transportation, moved his fleet of eight vans out of the way, so people would have a place to park while they waited. He even helped Cassandra and the students wash cars and trucks.

John, a theater major, set up a stereo system and cranked it up loud so that the students would stay motivated.

As Saturday afternoon lagged on, Paris and Shanty, another dance major, took one of the signs and stood at the edge of campus calling out to drivers to come to their car wash.

Other student volunteers put flyers on cars in the parking lot at Strawberry Plaza.

“It didn’t matter if they were dirty or clean, we put one on every car,” one student said. “It was about 35 flyers.”

By days end, Cassaundra said they had raised $274 for their efforts, and hoped for more the next day.

However, on Sunday, May 29, Mother Nature dampened their charity car wash with a steady rain that didn’t let up before their noon start time.

“That’s OK,” Paris said. “We’re already making plans for next year.”

Some changes to their car wash efforts included more wooden signs and balloons further down Tollgate Road.

“I had no idea there were so many yard sales along Tollgate,” said Maria, a Creative Writing student and volunteer, as she rode in the van after the event on Saturday. “We had a lot of competition.”

Although rain may have washed out their efforts on Sunday, Cassaundra plans to continue to collect donations for the Japanese Red Cross Society until the school year ends on June 3rd. Donations can be dropped off at the Student Health Center on campus. For more information, call Cassaundra Dunbridge at (951) 659-2171.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

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Yep, Student Choreography Moved

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Sorrelle performing in one of the pieces in the Student Choreography Dance Concert. Courtesy photo.

By Marcia E. Gawecki

As the school year ends at Idyllwild Arts Academy, there is a mad cumulation of recitals, concerts, readings, plays, and art shows to attend. Sometimes two are three are scheduled for the same night, and you have to choose. Yet, one event stood out because it moved.

The “Student Choreography Dance Concert 2011” was held for three nights, from May 11 to May 13, in the Lewitsky-Fisher Dance Studio on campus. Every night, after the thunderous applause, attendees would spill out into the parking lot and gather in groups by their cars talking about which one they liked the best. Sometimes they lingered for a long time.

That happens a lot at events at Idyllwild Arts Academy. People enjoy the performances so much they don’t want to go home. If they could simply hit “replay,” and watch it all over again, they would.

Gina performed in many pieces but choreographed "Nerds."

Needless to say, the “Student Choreography” was packed every night. Even though the program lasted two hours, some students admitted to attending all three nights. There were 19 dances listed in the program complete with interesting titles, such as, “Look What I Can Do,” “Kneeling Before God,” “December Follies” and “Nerds.”

The 19 dances listed in the program was a significant increase from the 13 performed last year. Each junior and senior dance student created a piece. Some chose to perform their own choreography, while others did not. Yet, each of the 19 choreographers performed in as many as three other dances. The junior and senior dancers included: Christina, Gerard, Ariann, Morgan, Adrianna, Cheyenne, Geneva, Delaney, Will, Madison, Gina, Giovanna, Sorrelle, Lani, Ximena, Allison, Olivia, and two Natalias.

It would be impossible to review every dance, therefore we’ll just hit a few highlights from the final performance on Friday, May  13 (which was not an unlucky evening at all!)

Laura's song, "Time Bomb" was featured in Adrianna's dance piece, "The Last Ones Standing." Courtesy photo.

“Look at What I Can Do,” was perfectly titled for Morgan, a new dancer who plans to become a circus clown. His story focused on two dancers, himself and Christy, his love interest. As dancers would come in and out across the stage, Morgan would juggle, perform difficult acrobatic moves and whistle along to the circus-like music.

“The Last Ones Standing,” a piece by Adrianna, a senior, was notable for its music, which included XXX, Lykke Li, Postal Service, and Laura, an Idyllwild Arts film student. She was surprised that “Time Bomb,” the song that she wrote for one of the movies last year, would be used to dance to.

Everyone around Laura kept nudging her during Adrianna’s performance, saying, “That’s your song!” But she already knew.

“I had come to the dance studio the day before to get something, and heard them practicing,” Laura admitted. “It was really cool watching a dance performance to my own song.”

(from L) Ximena, Cheyenne and Amira's arm movements create a dramatic scene in Geneva's piece, "Pointless."

“Tonic and Gin,” by Natalia, was one of the crowd pleasers for its fun and festivity. The piece begins as Andy, one of the dancers, drinks from a wine bottle and staggers across the stage. The seven dancers, in peasant costumes all dance merrily to the music by Beirut. Props like balloons, the bottle, and flowers in the girl’s hair added a nice touch.

“It was so very European,” one woman exclaimed, as she sat cross-legged on the floor.

“December Follies,” choreographed by Delaney, featured three dancers to simple piano music. It must’ve been bittersweet for Delaney, as she stood in her leg sprint on the sidelines. A couple of weeks earlier, she had been rushing to a Sunday practice, and twisted her knee.

“Oh, my God! What happened?” screamed Jose, a fashion major, along with dancers Gina and Giovanna, as they got off the school van, and headed toward Delaney strapped in a gurney inside the ambulance with red flashing lights.

Delaney, who had been through this many times before with her knee, took it all in stride.

Adrianna in full dramatic makeup. Courtesy photo

“It looked worse than it was,” she said.

Yet, as Adrianna, Marianna and Sorrelle slammed down to the floor, and dragged themselves by their arms across the stage, one couldn’t help but think “December Follies” was about a recent accident.

“Kneeling Before God,” the Lady Gaga piece before the intermission was a huge crowd pleaser. It wasn’t surprising that Will would use Lady Gaga for his music and inspiration. In fact, two years in a row, Will has dressed up as Lady Gaga for Halloween, complete with dress, wig and six-inch heels. Yet, this time, he left the Gaga costumes aside, and just stuck with the glittery makeup.

“It sounded like one piece, but it was really five mixed into one,” explained Kai, a film major, who mixed the Lady Gaga music for Will. The five songs included: “Alejandro,” “Bad Romance,” “Pokerface,” “Telephone” and the “Vitamin String Quartet.”

Just like Lady Gaga, Will likes a big performance. Not only were there eight dancers with glittery tears (including Will), but three shirtless male models (er, theater and visual art students) who brought in the large columns.

Will danced and choreographed the popular Lady Gaga-centric piece, "Kneeling Before God." Courtesy photo

A fast moving strobe light enhanced the Michael Jackson-type unison moves, as Lady Gaga sang, “Judas is coming/let the baptism begin.” When the music ended, all eight dancers were sweating and smiling happily, but none more than Will.

After intermission, some of the people had cleared out, and there was room to breathe in the Lewitsky-Fisher Dance Studio.

First up was “Cualacino,” choreographed by Madison, and the only ballet piece in the all-modern show.

“I can’t blame them,” Maddy said afterwards. “We perform so much ballet every day, that everyone just wants to choreograph something else.”

Yet, with its four dancers in chiffon tutus and point shoes, to calming classical music, it was a welcome break.

Madison choreographed the only ballet piece in the show

“I picked four younger dancers that I knew who loved ballet and could pull it off,” Maddy said.

The four dancers included: Anna, Ximena, Annalise and Isabel.

Ximena held her own in “Kouche,” a modern piece with five dancers in similar navy and white dresses, who danced mostly in unison. It focused on one particular girl, Natalia, who kept pushing the other dancers away, until finally, in the end, she was left all alone.

Other choreographers brought in models or mixed up crazy music, but Olivia brought in another type of dance altogether. For “If I Should Die,” she invited Ryturo and Mitch, two theater majors, who knew how to dance hip-hop.

“I choreographed the hip-hop part,” explained Ryturo, who was shown leaping on the Spring Choreography program. “And Olivia did the rest.”

Morgan and Madison performed "Simple Wishes," an acrobatic piece by Cheyenne. Courtesy photo.

Although the hip-hop parts was brief onstage, it added a different tempo to Olivia’s modern piece.

“Bambara,” the final act choreographed by the other Natalia, was epic in its magnitude. Like Will’s piece, it featured dramatic makeup, costumes and a large number of dancers. The jungle sounding music used heavy drums and bird sounds to create an intense and chaotic story.

The seven dancers, looking like wild animals, began the piece huddle together in a large cage. As the jungle story enfolded, the dancers would leap, crawl and dance back and forth across the stage. In the end, only two broke away from the pack, and the cage, to form a new life.

Everyone knows that choreography is the brains behind the show. It takes time, skill and practice to put on a good show. This year, these 19 juniors and seniors have “raised the bar” a little higher. Their efforts were appreciated. It was truly spectacular to watch.

For those who missed it, keep looking for excerpts to show up on You Tube.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved. Special thanks to Ryturo and Idyllwild Arts Academy for all of the dance photos.

Published on: May 27, 2011 @ 8:59

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Creative Writers Recite Thursday Night

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Austin and his classmate, Austin, will recite tonight.

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Tonight three seniors from the Creative Writing Department will recite some of their favorite works from their time spent at Idyllwild Arts.

It’s the second night of a two-part series. Wednesday night featured works by Katie, Taylor and Madi. Tonight’s event featuring Amber, Austin and Austin will be held at 7:30 p.m. at Stephens Recital Hall.

Stephens is the place where great music happens. All of the junior and senior classical instrumental recitals were held there. And the classical and jazz voice majors sang there too. On Tuesday night, the place was packed and sweaty with jazz fans eager to hear the Final Jazz Concert. Even empty, the place resonates with sound.

Granted, it doesn’t sound like much excitement will be happening tonight at Stephens. Three seniors will come up to the mike at the podium and read. What could be more boring that that? Two guys and a girl reading passages from a book? No music, no dancers, not even video in the background.

But I can’t think of any place that I’d rather be tonight.

Writing is so powerful that you don’t need “all that jazz.” You can just read out loud and captivate your audience. Remember story time at preschool? And bedtime stories with your family? We’d all gather around my dad on the bed and have him read book after book until his eyes crossed.

“Read it again, Daddy!” my sister would exclaim.

Sometimes he would read the same book again, or pick another. The worst words were when he’d yawn loudly and say, “OK, that’s enough for tonight. Everyone get some sleep.”

I miss people reading to me so much that I’d even get “warm fuzzies” when my boyfriend would read the directions out loud on how to install a new appliance.

“Read it again, honey,” I’d say. “I didn’t hear the last part.”

Stephens is the place where jazz recitals are held.

So tonight, when Amber, Austin and Austin (what are the chances of that?) will read some poetry, plays and short stories excerpts, I want to be front row and center. Nothing is more exciting to hear a writer recite his own words that he started long ago on a blank page.

Most writers don’t have great voices. They can be kind of weasly and quiet. The pen takes over where they lack in sound. However, to their credit, Austin and Austin both have great voices. Perhaps it comes from all of that reading practice in class. One of the Austins was a lead in a student movie called, “Penelope,” that will be released next week. Maybe saying, “Oh, my love!” so many times helped his voice.

Boring setup, weasly voices aside, it’s the content that we die for. These writers will recite the best of what they’ve written while they’ve been here at Idyllwild Arts. Maybe some of their best works came during their freshman year, when they were younger and more naive. Perhaps years of living in the woods has opened up their eyes to the wonder of nature. Or years of co-ed living has given way to love and lust that can only be expressed on paper.

If you want to get a preview of some of tonight’s works, pick up a copy of “Parallax, the Spring 2011 Edition.” It’s available for free in the bookstore and in the Parks Exhibition Center. It’s less than 150 pages, but chock full of stories, poetry, plays, and peppered with photographs and illustrations from the Visual Art Department.

Some of the word choices and content will be shocking. Lesbian love, menstrual cycles and butt picking are a few that I came across.

Austin only laughed at me.

“We’re teenagers,” he said. “We’re supposed to shock.”

Scarlett, another writer, didn’t agree.

“What is so shocking about that?” she asked.

So tonight, you be the judge. Come early and sit on the folding chairs, amongst students and staff members that you haven’t met yet. But know that you are among friends who’ve all come together for one reason: To hear gifted young writers read to us.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. at Stephens Recital Hall. It’s free and open to the public. Stephens is located on campus at the end of Tollgate Road in Idyllwild. For more information, visit www.idyllwildarts.org or call (951) 659-2171.

Photos courtesy of Idyllwild Arts Academy.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: May 26, 2011 @ 7:28

Oboe & Vocal Recital with Guest Musician Tonight

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

(from L) Regina (shown with friend Camille) will perform oboe at her senior recital Monday night

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Tonight at 7:30 p.m., two Idyllwild Arts music students will ‘wow’ you at their senior recital. Regina will play oboe, while Helga will sing a selection of jazz and pop songs–with the help of one popular local musician.

For “Both Sides Now,” Helga’s accompanist will be local pianist Barnaby Finch. Since 1982, Barnaby has been a touring member of Lee Ritenour’s band, and has recorded with such notables as George Benson, Lionel Ritchie and Earl Klugh. He also writes his own music and has produced his own albums.

“I was lucky that he was available,” Helga said Sunday, as she headed to meet him for rehearsal. “He was in New York last week.”

Helga, who switched from classical voice to jazz last year, is originally from Sweden. Her mother arrived yesterday for her recital and graduation.

Helga said that she wanted to sing, “Both Sides Now,” but didn’t like the darker tone of Joni Mitchell’s rerelease of that song in 2008. She mentioned this to Paul Carmen, a jazz staff member and saxophone player.

(from L) Paul Carmen working with a drummer last year. He arranged for Helga to work with Barnaby Finch.

“Oh, Barnaby Finch has a better rendition of that song,” Paul told her. “Barnaby even plays in a band that only performs Joni Mitchell songs.”

Paul set up the meeting with Helga and Barnaby, who agreed to perform at her recital tonight.

After their rehearsal, Helga was glowing with excitement.

“Everything went great! He’s such a nice man, and I love his interpretation of ‘Both Sides Now,'” she said. “I can’t wait for everyone to hear it tonight.”

(from R) Barnaby Finch presents award to Whitney last year

Barnaby Finch has always been a big supporter of the Idyllwild Arts Academy. At graduation each year, he gives a scholarship award to one outstanding student. He plays at the “Jazz in the Pines” concert in the fall and occasionally at Cafe Aroma.

“Regina is working hard too,” Helga said of the classical oboe player who will also perform tonight.

Regina and Helga’s senior recital, with guest pianist Barnaby Finch, will be held tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Stephens Recital Hall (at the end of Tollgate Road) on the Idyllwild Arts campus. Like all recitals, it’s free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.idyllwildarts.org or call (951) 659-2171.

Barnaby Finch and Paul Carman photos courtesy Idyllwild Arts Academy.  Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: May 23, 2011 @ 10:38

Unusual Sculptures at Senior Art Show

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Lian talks to another about her 8-foot magician with multiple bunnies

By Marcia E. Gawecki

The last senior class visual art show at Idyllwild Arts showcased some unusual, life-sized  sculptures, along with some standout photos and paintings. Samantha, Ben, Chloe, Veronica and Lian each outdid one another with imagination and artistic skill.

For one of her sculptures, Chloe asked fellow visual artist Sofia to stand on a pedestal and pose for about an hour.

“Originally, Chloe had asked a dancer to pose, but they all were in rehearsal during the visual art show,” Sofia explained. “Someone told her that I had danced before and she asked me.”

Sofia wore a natural colored dance outfit, and Chloe painted over the material, and even her skin with acrylic paint.

“It took me days to get it all off!” Sofia exclaimed.

She said that Chloe left it up to her asto what poses she wanted to perform during the art show.

“She told me just to go slow,” Sofia said.

Sofia became one of Chloe's life sculptures

Another large sculpture was created by Lian. It was part of a series that showcased animals.

In her piece, Lian created an 8-foot magician with bunnies coming out of his pockets, pants and everywhere.

The piece showed Lian’s “dark side,” another student said.

“I think it’s great!” exclaimed Mallory, on the art staff. “It’s expressive and a little edgy.”

Mallory said that Lian coupled the magician along with other circus-type pieces, including a wolf with one eye, and a circus acrobat and clown.

“Lian even added the music, which sounds like circus music,” Mallory said.

She added that all of the seniors had submitted their presentations early on, which were approved by the art staff.

Mallory went on to talk about Veronica’s paintings, which focused on sushi.

“Don’t touch it, it’s still wet!” Mallory exclaimed as I edged closer to a painting that featured a woman’s nude torso with what looked like rose pedals.

“No, they’re sushi,” Mallory said.

She explained that Veronica liked sushi a lot, but was also nervous about its potential to make her sick.

The other two paintings showed a woman’s torso similar to the other one, and rows of different kinds of sushi on a plate.

A sculpture-and-video combination by Veronica personified the “sickness” part of sushi. Mallory didn’t say whether Veronica had gotten sick from sushi before.

On the back wall were a series of student photos by Ben. He hand selected several of his classmates from Idyllwild Arts to act as models. Underneath each close up portrait was a statement about their lives.

Ben showcased photos that revealed his classmates secrets

“I belonged to a religious cult for the first 12 years of my life,” admitted Bram, a theater major.

Later, he explained how the photos came about.

“Ben asked me to model for him, and bring along several ‘secrets’ on pieces of paper,” Bram explained. “The one about me belonging to a cult was considered the best.”

As a theater major, Bram is used to “exposing” various sides of himself.  But he was surprised how few people asked him about the cult.

“I think they being too polite and don’t want to pry,” he said.

Bram is open to talking about the experience. He said that belonging to a cult seemed normal, until he turned 12 and rebelled. He tries to take the best out of the experience, including shunning materialism.

Since the leader of the cult died recently, Bram feels a sense of closure. But he’d like to use the experience in his theater art sometime.

“Perhaps I’ll do a monologue and explain how things really were,” he said.

The other photos by Ben talked about personal things as well, such as inability to trust other people.

Ben enlarged the images, and then emphasized some of the features with a collage. Bram’s eyes were emphasized, while Rebecca, an outspoken writer’s mouth was the focal point.

The largest one along another wall featured Deliah, a pretty blonde girl with black mud on her face.

“Her face and hair were so white, that I had to do something different,” Ben explained.

He projected Deliah’s portrait to enlarge it to about four feet wide.

Lian (at L with camera) in pink wig with friends at the art opening

Right now, there’s another visual art show at the Parks Exhibition Center on campus. It’s a group show featuring a variety of work. It will continue until June.

For more information, visit www.idyllwildarts.org or call (951) 659-2171.

Copyright Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

All photos courtesy Idyllwild Arts Academy.

Published on: May 21, 2011 @ 16:31