Archive for July, 2010|Monthly archive page

Dog Photo of the Week

July 31, 2010

This cluster of canines was parked outside of Fairway Market recently

Farm Workers’ Kids Get IA Scholarships

July 27, 2010

IA Scholarship students from San Jose pose at one of the pullouts on Hwy. 243. They said they'll miss the scenery.

By Marcia E. Gawecki

As they left the Idyllwild Arts campus last week, each of the six scholarship students on the van were crying. They had a great time, and didn’t want to go home yet.

“I want to stay here two more weeks,” said Jose, a trumpet player.

He said that he’d miss his friends, the counselors, and his new girlfriend that he met at the school dance. But he was also sad because he was going to miss his final concert. The flight was prearranged, and IA tried to change it so he could make the concert, but Jose’s parents didn’t want him traveling alone.

“They told me that I could come back,” Jose said. “Even though I’m a senior and will probably graduate, they said they wanted me to come back next summer.”

For years, the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program, along with the Monterey County Office of Education (MCOE), have been providing scholarships to migrant worker’s kids from California. Idyllwild Arts picks up the classes, room and board, while MCOE picks up the students’ flights and guardianship, said Diane Dennis, the registrar at Idyllwild Arts, who handles the coordination.

Diane said that she’s been working with Jorge Morales from MCOE’s Migrant Education Department for about five years now.

“We told Jorge we could offer them three full scholarships this summer, and he sent three more on his own,” Diane said. “It’s an experience they won’t ever forget.”

Steve Fraider, director of the Summer Program, remembers one MCOE scholarship student, a French horn player, who came to Idyllwild Arts a few years ago, and made tremendous improvement.

“He was a decent enough player, but soon met other music students who were determined to get into Julliard when they graduated,” Steve said. “He told them that he wanted to go to Juilliard too, and started practicing a lot more, and learning new music. He came back here three years in a row.”

“As it turned out, he didn’t get into Juilliard, because that school only accepts one or two new students each year,” Steve said. “But he got into another good music school, Eastman, I think.”

For years, Idyllwild Arts have been giving scholarships to migrant worker's kids

And to think that the Idyllwild Arts summer scholarship was the beginning of this success story.

“When the kids come here, they’re in a different environment, and generally, they thrive,” added Steve.

The six migrant scholarship students who arrived at Idyllwild Arts two weeks ago, were from San Jose, CA. All were art students, except for Jose, a gregarious trumpet player.

Jose, the trumpet player (center), wants to come back to IA next summer

During that time, Jose met a lot of music students, including some who played jazz, an art form that he had never tried before. Besides trumpet, Jose plays guitar and bass guitar.

Caleb, a jazz trumpet player who goes to Idyllwild Arts Academy during the school year, impressed Jose.

“We heard him play at a jazz concert, and he was awesome,” said Jose. “He practices all the time. We’d only see him at 6 a.m. in the morning, and then late at night, but that was it. All of the time in between, he was practicing his horn, and it showed.”

When he comes back next year, Jose will likely take art classes, instead of music.

“I drew a few things in art classes this time,” he said. “Mostly tags and stuff. A lot of people don’t think tags are art, but they are. I’ve seen some really beautiful ones.”

He said that he didn’t even think about “tagging” any trees on campus because everyone was so nice to him.

He also writes poetry, and may take some writing classes when he returns next summer.

“But my parents don’t want me to be an artist,” he said.

At Idyllwild Arts, there are many role models with success stories. Professional artists, musicians, teachers, and others, supporting themselves with their art.

Vanessa, from MCOE, arrived early at Ontario Airport to chaperone them on their return flight. The students talked to her excitedly about their stay in Idyllwild, showing them drawings, paintings and jewelry.

Minerva, one of the two girls on this trip, said she was sad to leave her roommate, who was from Korea.

“When we left, she was crying too,” Minerva said.

They plan to keep in touch via email and Facebook.

Johan, whose right hand was wrapped in an ace bandage, said that he sprained it while playing “Catch the Flag,”  a game similar to tag football.

“It was a lot of fun,” he said.

When Vanessa heard that Jose missed his concert, she didn’t even miss a beat.

“Next time,” she said, and he nodded in agreement.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

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Master Chorale’s ‘Cole’ Was ‘De-Lovely’

July 26, 2010

Many of Cole Porter's show tunes showed his bawdy side

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Idyllwild Master Chorale’s “Cole,” a wildly entertaining tribute to musician and lyricist Cole Porter, featured 28 of his songs in two acts, with interesting narratives, Broadway songs, short dance numbers, glitzy costumes and bawdy humor. Locals who went to see the show on Saturday night, July 24, laughed, sang along and gave the troupe standing ovation.

“This show was a lot of fun,” said Rosemary Barnhardt, who came early with her husband, Ken. She is a friend of Phyllis Brown, one of the cast members.

“Phyllis told us to sit in the front row, because she’d might sit on Ken’s lap during one of her solos,” Rosemary said with a giggle.

Phyllis Brown camped it up for her Cole solo, "The Laziest Girl in Town"

As it turned out, Ken had his legs crossed during Phyllis’ rendition of “The Laziest Girl in Town,” so she just flirted with him and laced her feather boa around his neck.

Besides Phyllis, the other cast members included: Scott Fisher, Lisa Furugen, Bella Gioeli, Justin Patrick Holmes, Dwight “Buzz” Holmes, Larry Kawano, Steve Kunkle, Linda Lackey, Lori Palmer, Barbara Rayliss, Jay Rubin and Mike Sebastian.

Interestingly enough, those 28 songs were created with only two instruments a grand piano and a bass. Ed Hansen played the piano and Marshall Hawkins, from the Jazz Department at Idyllwild Arts, was on bass.

Dressed in a black sequin dress, Lori Palmer sings her heart out in "What is this Thing Called Love?"

The staging was minimal, reminiscent of the Broadway productions, with Egyptian columns, and black tiered steps that you could dance on. The back stage was used for the larger group numbers, while the front stage, close to the audience, was used for shorter numbers. More than likely, the shorter song-and-dance numbers were a distraction while the cast changed clothes for the next number.

Act One featured 16 songs from Cole Porter’s early life, including his time at Harvard and Yale.

“He was editor of the school magazine at Yale, and could have gone into lumbering, farming or mining, but he went into Harvard Law School,” said Larry Kawano, who was acting as one of the narrators. However, Cole, who was named after his wealthy grandfather, graduated from Harvard’s Music Department instead.

Cole wrote more than 300 songs at Yale, including “Bingo Eli Yale” and “When the Summer Moon Comes ‘Long,” from 1902 that were sung early that night.

“Cole was a rich man, but also a hardworking one,” said Scott Fisher as another narrator. “’See America First,’ his first attempt on Broadway was not successful. “Everyone hated it, even the cast members.”

When they sang “Lost Liberty Blues,” from Des Ambassadeurs in 1928, the pianist, Barbara Rayliss, in a Doris Day wig, was also sporting a foam green Liberty crown, along with the four guys who sported black robes, the foam crowns and torch flashlights.

(from L) Lisa Furugen sings, "Mrs. Lowborough, Goodbye" with an oversized martini glass

Unlike his contemporaries, Cole Porter was known for his bawdy humor and keen lyrics. According to Will Friedwald, on a CD dust jacket of “The Very Best of Cole Porter,”

“The durability of the songs themselves is proof that he succeeded. A Porter song could tell a whole story, and, like that other great American art form, the Blues, Porter could often communicate with what he leaves out of a song than what he puts in.”

Lisa Furugen, who also co-directed the show, did a hilarious rendition of “Mrs. Lowborough, Goodbye” from 1934. Wearing a red curly wig and dressed in a black sheath dress with lots of feathers, Lisa delighted the crowd when she drank from an oversized martini glass. Her voice started clear, then got increasingly more slurred as she imbibed more gin. Her “gulping” sound effects made the crowd giggle and cheer.

“I’m a Gigolo,” from Cole’s 1934 “Wake Up and Dream,” was made popular in its day for its clever lyrics, such as “I’m pushing ladies with lifted faces around the dance floor.” However, Mike Sebastian took it to another level with his tap dancing. He started from the top tier and danced his way down the steps to the front stage. The audience broke out in spontaneous applause.

'Cole' divas (from L) Phyllis, Linda & Lisa

Lisa Furugen and Steve Kunkle gave a memorable “I Get a Kick out of You,” from “Anything Goes.” Lovebirds Lisa and Steve, looked deeply into each other’s eyes, as they danced and sang.

After the conclusion of Act One, some of the cast members came out and spoke with friends and family members in the crowd. Phyllis, still in character, was wearing her black dress with the pink feathers on the fringe, was “looking for a date” and playing up the call girl role. She followed “Love for Sale,” in Act One with “The Laziest Girl in Town.”

This group sings, "Brush up on Your Shakespeare" to impress women

Act Two started out with signature songs by Cole, including “What is this Thing Called Love?” and “You do Something to Me” from 1929, the year before Cole hit it big with Fred Astaire in “Gay Divorce.”

“Hollywood is like living on the moon,” said Larry of Cole.

“In 1940, when screen legend Greta Garbo asked Cole Porter if he was happy, he said, ‘yes,’” Larry said.

“’That must be so strange,’” was her reply.

“But, by the time he attempted to perform Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” on Broadway, the Cole Porter era was over,” Larry said.

Linda Lackey (with Marshall Hawkins at Rt corner) used to sing professionally

In a barbershop style harmony, Larry, Steve and two others sang, “Brush up Your Shakespeare,” that delighted the crowd. Instead of backstage, they exited down the front aisle, and hurried back to finish the last number, “Every Time We Say Goodbye,” from 1944, that included the entire cast. By the time it was over, the audience of about 50 people, were on their feet.

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Nash’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Photo Exhibit a Hit

July 24, 2010

Eric Metzler gives instructions to students before entering MOPA

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Baby Boomers are going to love this photography exhibit.

Imagine seeing candid photos all of your favorite rock ‘n’ roll bands with their “hair down,” and vunerable waiting backstage, and then see their sweaty, electric performances close-up like you’d never see them before. Or, catch them after the concerts, exhausted and numb “zoning” on the bus or back in their hotel rooms.

“Taking Aim: Unforgettable Rock ‘n’ Roll Photographs Selected by Graham Nash,” is the current exhibit at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park in San Diego. The show continues until Sept. 26.

“There isn’t a bad picture in the bunch,” said Eric Metzler, head of the Photography Department at Idyllwild Arts. He falls into the Baby Boomer category, but he took a group of 10 teenage photography students to see the show on Tuesday, July 20.

For many reasons, taking photographs of the exhibit was not allowed.

There were more than 100 mostly black-and-white photographs, as seen through the eyes of 40 legendary photographers including Lynn Goldsmith, Annie Leibovitz, Henry Diltz, Jim Marshall, Neal Preston, Mick Rock, and Graham Nash, among others.

“What was neat about this exhibit was there were photographers that I had never heard of before,” said Metzler, who has been teaching photography for more than two decades.

Many of the standout photos of this “Take Aim” exhibit were taken by lesser-known photographers, like Alfred Wertheimer, Joel Bernstein, Bob Gruen, Lew Allen, Anton Corbijn, and Jurgen Vollmer.

In fact, the exhibit’s “showcase” photo of Elvis eating breakfast at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, VA, was taken by Werthheimer. The photo shows a close-up of a young Elvis, hair slicked back, blazer on, eating bacon and eggs. Elvis’ eyes are downcast, more interested in the meal, than posing for a photo. He looked like an angel eating breakfast.

According to the web site, the photos in this exhibit depict Graham Nash’s view of rock ‘n’ roll music, and showcase images of live concerts and behind-the-scene shots by The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, Elvis Costello, Elton John, Jimi Hendrix, and Bill Haley & the Comets, among many others.

We knew that Graham Nash, from Crosby, Stills and Nash, could sing, but who knew that he could also take pictures?

“You can get many great shots when people don’t know that you’re really taking their image,” said Graham Nash, a quote that was printed on the wall of the exhibit.

Summer students said they enjoyed the exhibit

Metzler admitted that the “Take Aim” content would appeal mostly to Baby Boomers.  Most of the rock ‘n’ roll groups were from the fifties, sixties, and seventies. But he said that he saw photos from bands from 2003 that would appeal to a younger audience.

Part of the summer students’ assignment was to examine one photograph for clarity, depth of field, composition, and other aspects of good photography, and write their opinions on it. After 30 minutes of looking them over, each student selected a different photograph.

Most of the ones that I liked had mostly to do with rock ‘n’ roll history. For example, a memorable photo of John Lenon and Yoko Ono, taken by Annie Liebowitz, depicts their relationship. It features Yoko, fully clothed, lying on the floor of their NYC apartment, hair spread out like the Venus di Milo. By contrast, John is totally nude, kissing and clinging to her like a baby possum.Yet, what most people don’t know (until this exhibit), is that this photo was taken only a few hours before John Lenon was shot to death.

MOPA wouldn't allow any photos to be taken of their current "Take Aim" exhibit

Nash and his curator did a nice job of grouping photos. For example, they placed a photo of Bob Dylan’s hands just below a photo of Johnny Lee Hooker’s hands. Johnny Lee’s hands were open, palms up, depicting many lines, or a hard road. In one of Bob Dylan’s hands was a lit cigarette, nearly down to the butt. His nails were long, especially the ring finger on his right hand. The left hand was turned over, nonexpressive.

Nash also coupled two photos of Janis Joplin, one by the well-known Jim Marshall, while the other by the lesser-known Elliott Landy. Marshall’s photo depicts a young Janis backstage, all dressed up, yet still defiant. On her lap rests a full bottle of Southern Comfort.

Landy’s photo shows a close-up of Janis Joplin onstage, singing into a microphone. Her hair is frizzed, her eyes are closed, and her right breast has fallen out of her beaded top. Although Marshall’s photo shows a vunerably, Landy’s depiction of Joplin onstage is personal and a bit vunerable too. She is so caught up in the song, that she’s unaware of her “wardrobe malfunction.”

Although there was a couple of photos of Cass Elliot from the 60s vocal group, The Mamas & the Papas, photos of John Phillips was noticeably absent. Perhaps Nash didn’t want to stir up negative feelings after John’s actor daughter, Mackenzie Phillips, recently came out with her incest book. For my part, I was glad not to see him grinning.

Of all the stage antics in these “Take Aim” photos, the ones I liked the best were of Elton John doing a handstand on the piano keyboard, while his platform shoes were flying in the air, and the one of Bill Haley (of Bill Haley & the Comets) playing guitar, while his bass player was standing on top of his bass while playing.

MOPA is located in Balboa Park, the site of many museums and attractions

“Taking Aim: Unforgettable Rock ‘n’ Roll Photographs Selected by Graham Nash,” will continue at the Museum of Photographic Arts until Sept. 26.

The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., but it’s closed on Mondays. For more information, call (619) 238-7559 or visit

Metler’s class will also showcase their photos that they’ve taken over the past two weeks today from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Studio D on the Idyllwild Arts campus. For more information, call (951) 659-2171.

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Possible Drug Bust at South Fork Near Idyllwild

July 21, 2010

A large pullout near the South Fork Trail is deserted now, but had a lot of police activity Wednesday

By Marcia E. Gawecki

At around 10:55  a.m. on Wednesday, July 21, a sheriff’s helicopter (No. 12) flew overhead and landed in the pullout near South Fork Trail on Hwy. 243, near Mountain Center. A cloud of brown dust from the landing covered the road, and motorists found it difficult to see. One man in a truck camper pulled over immediately.

When the helicopter landed, a man in khaki gear (without a hat or helmet), got out and started walking towards a sheriff’s van that was blocking the entryway into the pullout. The sign on the van read: “Law Enforcement.” There were several other sheriff’s vehicles parked in the pullout, but it was difficult to read their markings.

A sheriff's helicopter landed on this site

Was this a drug bust in progress? More than likely. I’m no investigator, but I used to be a reporter for the Idyllwild Town Crier newspaper, and crime was my beat. Whenever there’s a sheriff’s helicopter circling these parts, it’s usually a drug bust.

Years ago, when the Sheriff’s Department, Hemet Station, along with other drug enforcement agencies, made a large drug bust near Idyllwild, the Public Information Officer (PIO) called the Idyllwild Town Crier. Jenny Kirchner, the photographer, raced down to capture candid shots of tons of marijuana being hoisted from the mountains via a sheriff’s helicopter.

“It was one of the largest drug busts in years,” said Gerry Franchville, the PIO at the time. The helicopter photo made the front page of the paper, and I wrote the article based on what Gerry told me.

One interesting aspect is that, Gerry said, is that marijuana fields are a different color from the trees.

“They’re usually a lime green color,” he said.

During that monumental drug bust, the sheriff’s deputies got the loot, but the growers got away.

The pullout near the South Fork Trail has been an attractive spot for drug activity

The same South Fork pullout has been an area of potential drug activity for years. There have been cars, vans and trucks parked there late at night whenever I’d drive by. And it’s not just tired motorists talking to each other.

One time, at the South Fork pullout, while picking up cans to recycle, I noticed a bleach bottle sitting underneath a fir tree. I picked it up to throw it away, but it was full. Now, why would a full bleach bottle be there in the pullout? Anyone who has studied drug behavior knows that drug addicts often use bleach to “sterilize” their needles while “sharing.” I decided to leave the bleach bottle alone.

When I contacted the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Hemet Station, this afternoon, I left a message with the desk officer, Sgt. Jeff Wagman. I told him that I wanted to speak with Gerry Franchville, the PIO, to get some more information on the South Fork activity, but he hadn’t returned my calls by the 1:15 p.m. post time.

If there had been a drug bust near South Fork today, they’ll want to tell us about it. For Riverside County Sheriff’s Department press releases, visit Revised August 15, 2016

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Spending the Summer at Idyllwild Arts

July 19, 2010

(from L) Kim Christensen and Annie Gutierrez have taken three art classes so far

By Marcia E. Gawecki

At Idyllwild Arts, some people are taking one, two, and three art classes, and practically spending their entire summer here. But they wouldn’t have it any other way. Annie Gutierrez, a retiree from El Centro, and Kim Christensen, a teacher from Highland, have already taken three classes so far, and may sign up for more.

“It’s been a great summer,” said Kim, who has already taken two jewelry-focused classes, “Tool Making & Alterations,” and “Navajo Inlay Jewelry,” and is currently enrolled in another, “Soldering Boot Camp.”

Back in Highland, Kim belongs to a group that makes rocks into jewelry.Yet, they were limited in their tools. When Kim brought back a few tools that she created at Idyllwild Arts, her friends were impressed.

“The best tool that we learned to make helps with stamps,” Kim said. She wasn’t talking about the kind of stamps that you put on an envelope or help you make Christmas wrapping paper. “These stamps help you put an image into metal.”

Kim's Navajo bracelet shows stones on one side, and animal stamps on another

She showed off her bracelet that she made in her “Navajo Inlay” class. It was silver, and about 1/2 inch thick, with square turquoise and blue stones on one side, and two ancient animal shapes on the other.

Richard Tsosie, a Navajo jeweler and sculptor from Flagstaff, who taught the class, would show them how to do something, but they’d have to finish the piece on their own, Kim said.

She’s also enjoying “Soldering Boot Camp,” in which they use tools with a flame to connect pieces of jewelry together. According to the brochure, the purpose of the course is not to complete one piece, but to become proficient in soldering.

Annie Guiterrez has been coming to Idyllwild Arts Summer Program for many years. She is a quiet woman in her 70s, who was wearing a T-shirt that read: “My Next Husband is Going to be Normal.”

So far, she as taken “Folding Clay Slabs,” and “Mosiacs 101 & Portraits,” and is currently enrolled in “Creative Nonfiction.” But after a class she took last year, she experienced censorship.

She took the class from Cynthia Constantino called, “Figurative Sculpture,” in which they worked from a live model to create ceramic sculptures. Afterwards, Annie entered her sculpture in the Imperial County Fair and won first prize.

But then they told her, “No, you can’t leave it here.”

“It was a 2 1/2 foot clay sculpture of a nude woman,” explained Annie. “But so is the Venus de Milo. What was the big deal?”

After much discussion between the judges, they told her that she could keep the blue ribbon and the $30 prize money, but she’d have to take her sculpture home right away.

“It was pure censorship,” Annie said. “But El Centro is pretty conservative.”

Many adults in Southern California are spending their summer at Idyllwild Arts

“Folding Clay Slabs,” was one of the first classes that Annie took this summer, and the most enjoyable so far. It was a six-day class taught by Mary Kay Botkins, from East Dundee, IL, who exhibits her folded clay pieces nationally.

“Do you sew?” Annie asked. “Well, I do, and somehow Mary Kay had incorporated sewing techniques, such as pleats and darts, into clay.”

She taught Annie and the rest of the class to roll their clay super thin, about 1/8 of an inch thick, by compressing it.

“That was probably the hardest thing to learn how to do, but when the clay is compressed, it’s pretty strong,” Annie said.

Then, she’d watch Mary Kay create a container, by making a couple of pleats, or adding a waistband, or even a belt loop.

“When she was working, you’d swear that she was working with leather instead of clay,” Annie said.

The students in the class were also expected to be prolific, Annie said, because Mary Kay wanted them to take home a “set” that they could use as a reference. Within six days, Annie created a cup, a vase, a tray and a container.

“It’s something I’ve never seen before,” she said.

For a copy of the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program catalog, stop by the Boman Center on campus, call (951) 659-2171, ext. 2365, or visit the main website, www.idyllwildarts. org, and click on “Summer.”

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Sherman, the horse on Hwy. 243, is OK

July 17, 2010

Sherman, the horse on Hwy. 243 is just fine, says Joyce, his owner

Like hundreds of others before me, I was worried about the horse standing in the hot sun. Did he have enough water? And there was no shade trees around him, next to Hwy. 243. It must’ve been 90 degrees out there. I must help him!

So I ran home, got a bucket of water, and some carrots from the fridge, and drove back. I shimmied under the barbed wire fence, and gave him the bucket. Next to his massive head, it looked like a little Dixie cup. He immediately picked it up and dumped out the water!

I gave him a few carrots, and was searching for a hose to fill the bucket again, when the owner walked up.

“Can I help you?” she asked. Which is very polite for someone messing with their horse on their property. The barbed wire fence should have been a clue.

“Oh, I was just trying to get some water for your horse,” I stammered.

“Well, the fountain that you’re pushing on is the same one he uses to get water,” Joyce Miller explained. “He just pushes this lever with his nose, and he can get as much water as he wants.”

Sherman's water fountain releases water when he pushes it with his nose

As it turns out, I am not alone in my concern for “Sherman,” the quarter horse. In any given weekend, at least three people will come up and ask about the horse. Their main concerns are: There is no shade and no water for the horse.

“When we lost that oak tree two years ago, then more people began stopping by, concerned,” Joyce said.

At least three of them have reported the Millers to Riverside County Animal Control.

“They have to come all the way from Riverside to see that Sherman is OK,” Joyce said.

She’s gone through two inspections, and one time they left a note of approval. First, they inspect the horse to make sure he’s not dehydrated or malnourished. Then they check to see if the area and stables are clean, and free of sharp objects. Each time, the Millers and Sherman got a clean bill of slate.

"People became concerned about Sherman when the oak tree (at L) died two years ago," Joyce said.

Joyce said that horses like the sunshine because it generates a lot of vitamin D, which is healthy for their bones. Sherman is 12 years old, and they’ve had him for seven years.

“When he’s at home in Orange County, there are trees on either end, and he still prefers standing out in the sunshine,” Bill Miller said.

Another roping horse of Bill’s was 32 years old when they finally had to put him down because of a disease.

“Our horses live a long time because we take care of them,” he said.

Sherman is obviously well taken care of. In fact, he has a little bit of a gut. During our visit, he urinated once (for a long time), which is not an indication of a dehydrated animal. There were no piles of manure anywhere, and the ground was raked clean. Nearby trash cans were rinsed and turned upside down. It was a pristine place. But, most importantly, Sherman’s water fountain was full and he had an unlimited supply of water.

However, if you looked closely, there were a few flies buzzing around his eyes and knees. Yet, whenever Joyce puts a hood on Sherman, she gets criticized for that too.

“Can he see through that hood?” one woman asked Joyce. “He might bump into things and hurt himself.”

Joyce explained that the hood, which keeps the flies away, is like looking through a screen door.

Sherman sticks his head through the fence to get pets from Joyce

Sherman started playing with the bucket that I brought, flipping it around like a toy. When Joyce stood next to him, he’d nuzzle her.

“When it’s cooler and less cars on the road, I ride Sherman to the Visitor’s Center,” Joyce said. “I used to ride him down to the stream, but now they have exercise equipment there.”

Twice a day, Sherman gets fed alfalfa cubes. They’re an easier way to feed horses with less waste, Joyce said.

Visitors and locals like to feed Sherman apples and carrots, which Joyce doesn’t mind. However, Bill would rather no one feed the horse, and stay on the other side of the fence.

“You just never know what people are feeding him,” Bill said. “And when we’re not here, we can’t control it.”

Joyce said that when horses get sick, they roll on the ground, trying to alleviate their discomfort. Sometimes, however, the rolling can disturb their organs, and they could die However, Sherman has never gotten sick from anything people have given him. And he’s eaten some pretty strange stuff.

“One time, a woman made Sherman a tossed salad,” Joyce said. “It had different kinds of lettuce, carrots and other good stuff in it. She grew up in a farm in the Midwest, and used to feed her horse salads too.”

Most people give Sherman apples and carrots. One guy tried to feed him a dusty miller, but he didn’t like it, Joyce said.

“One homeless guy was stripping bark off of a nearby tree and feeding it to him,” Bill said. “He may have eaten it and may have not, but it wasn’t good for the tree.”

“If you want to feed the horse, but didn’t bring anything, give him the weeds, like those over there,” Joyce said, as she pointed to a nearby lot.  “Horses love grass and weeds.”

One horse of Bill’s loved carrots, but hated apples.

“They used to give him medicine disguised in apples, so he grew not to like them,” Bill said.

Bill and Joyce Miller live on the same property (about 20 yards from Sherman) in a quaint cabin with lots of windows. Joyce’s parents built the cabin in 1923, and they’ve been living here during the summers since 1952. They’ll bring Sherman back to OC in September.

“Just tell people that Sherman is doing just fine,” Joyce said.

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Sculpture Appears Overnight in Idyllwild

July 15, 2010

A new public art sculpture appeared in Idyllwild on Wednesday night

In the cover of darkness, the four of them unloaded it from the truck. The sculpture was over six feet tall, weighed 250 pounds, and was awkward to maneuver to the ground.

“It was supposed to be four young guys doing the dirty work,” said Steve Moulton, owner of Bubba’s Books. “But it was just me, Dore (Capitani), and another 40ish friend of his. A young passerby stopped and put down his beer to help us.”

All of this was for the love of public art.

At 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday night, July 14, Idyllwild received another public art piece by Dore Capitani, a metal sculptor from Dore’s Mountain Metals, in Mountain Center.

This sculpture was the second of a series of public art sculptures promised to the people of Idyllwild by the Chamber of Commerce. The first one, depicting a young girl reading a book, is placed at the site of the former tree monument. It was also created by Capitani.

The first public art piece promotes children's literacy and is placed at the site of the former tree monument

“I purchased that one for Idyllwild,” admitted Moulton. “And it’s not just a young girl, it’s Mary, Doug Austin’s wife, who passed away.”

On Mary’s sculpture, it states that it’s dedicated to children’s literacy. There’s also text written in other languages, but the book that Mary is reading is a classic, “Great Expectations.”

Moulton and Capitani met because they’re both Chamber members.

“I went to ask Dore to renew his Chamber membership,” said Moulton. “And the next thing I know, I’m unloading a 250-pound sculpture from a truck at night.”

The new sculpture sits in front of Mountain Footwear in the Fort on North Circle Drive. Richard, who owns it, agreed to host the sculpture on his property.

“Richard was supposed to be here too, but he forgot,” Moulton quipped.

Moulton is concerned that the half sphere will invite kids to hang on it

The new sculpture depicts one of Capitani’s “signature” spheres suspended in the middle of a large, rusted metal shape that slants a little to the left. The sphere is powder-coated vibrant red (a new technique).

But the sphere is not complete, and that’s what concerns Moulton. He thinks that the half sphere will be an “invitation” for kids to hang on it, and perhaps break it. Capitani, who’d like to sell the piece he calls, “P1” is also concerned about vandalism.

More than likely, it will be used as another “photo op” for visitors to Idyllwild.

At the sculpture site, there isn’t any description of “P1” or information about the artist, although it’s signed “Dore” at the bottom, if you look for it.

Capitani leaves it up to each viewer interpret his art as he or she sees fit. Whatever it represents, it’s an attractive and welcome site to Idyllwild, “One of America’s 100 Best Art Towns.”

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Speaking of Lemon Lillies …

July 14, 2010

This Friday night, Cafe Cinema/Green Cafe will feature a film and discussion about wildflowers, including the Lemon Lily

As one of the sponsors of this weekend’s “Lemon Lily Festival,” Jeffrey Taylor, from Green Cafe/Cafe Cinema, will show a film this Friday that examines the ecology and biodiversity of the earth.

Taylor chose an episode from the stunning 1984 BBC documentary, “The Living Earth,” in which David Attenborough predicts the fate of the world, if the current pace of industrialization continues.

Before the film, Ina Lengyel, San Jacinto State Park Ranger Aide, (and wife of Richard, who retired from the post office), will give a brief presentation of our native wildflowers, including the Lemon Lily.

“She really loves to talk about wildflowers,” Taylor said. “And she has a bunch of Lemon Lillies growing on her property.”

Main sponsors of this weekend’s “Lemon Lily Festival” plan to plant Lemon Lillies along Strawberry Creek’s bed to help preserve them. Part of Friday’s film presentation and lecture will emphasize the importance of protecting the Lemon Lily’s habitat.

Yesterday, Tucker McIntyre, head of Transportation at Idyllwild Arts, took a hike with his wife, Megan, up by the switchbacks, and found a single Lemon Lily growing by a creek bed.  McIntyre took several pictures of it on his cell phone, but left the flower intact.

“It was the only one out there,” McIntyre said, as he showed off the pictures of the vibrantly colored, yet delicate looking flower. “We found it at about 6,000 feet.”

“The Living Earth” documentary and Lengyel’s talk starts at 7:30 p.m. this Friday, July 16, at the Green Cafe office, located at 26364 Saunders Meadow Road (next to Mile High Cafe) in Idyllwild.

Food, beverages and admission is free. For more information on Cafe Cinema’s weekly film series, visit And for more information on the “Lemon Lily Festival,” held July 16-18 in Idyllwild, visit

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IA Students Also Take Summer Classes

July 12, 2010

Kitty with William, a fellow music student, was a TA for a piano class

Some familiar faces are seen on the Idyllwild Arts campus this week. They’re not former teachers or alumni, but regular Idyllwild Arts Academy students who are taking summer classes. They’re bored watching TV at home, or just want to hone in on some dance, acting, or music skills, before classes resume in the fall.

Jacob, who will be a senior, is a teacher’s assistant for the Costume Shop, and his first assignment is to outfit the play, William Shakespeare’s “MacBeth.”

“I’m really excited to be here,” Jacob said. “I was at home (in Utah) for a few weeks, but I really missed this place!”

Naturally, all of Jacob’s classmates won’t be back on campus until early September, but for many who attend Idyllwild Arts, this full-time boarding school is considered “home.”

As a theater student last year, Jacob became enamored with costumes. So much that he now wants to switch majors and focus on the Costume Shop, instead of acting onstage.

For the “Student Choreography” dance sessions held at the end of the year, Jacob helped out Ariann, a dance student, with her costumes. (See “Student Dance Choreography,” post from May 11, 2010).

“I saw her struggling with shedding the costumes, and I offered to help,” he said. “She was grateful because she needed to get back to the choreography.”

Jacob simply cut the short dresses in strips and pulled and worked with the material.

“It’s all about the material. The cuts needed to move freely when the girls were dancing,” he said.

The most notable part of the costumes was the “straight jacket effect,” in which the dancers arms were confined.

“That was a little tricky,” Jacob said. “Afterwards, everyone said they loved the costumes.”

However, it’s a giant leap from dancer’s costumes to MacBeth, but Jacob is ready for the challenge.

He also was happy to see his other classmates around campus, including Andie, Christine, Haley, Dakota, Kitty, Karina and Dom, among others. Some were visiting, while others were working summer jobs at the cafeteria or in the offices. Yet, most of them were taking summer classes.

“If an Idyllwild Arts student takes a summer class, then their summer tuition is taken off of their academy tuition,” said Diane Dennis, the Summer Program registrar. “It’s called, ‘Pay Once, Learn Twice.'”

According to the “Pay Once, Learn Twice” brochure available in the Bowman main office, Idyllwild Arts students who attend this Summer Program, will receive 100 percent reduction of their summer tuition from their academic tuition. However, it’s only available to IA students who apply to the summer program and are accepted.

Christine, a theater major who graduated in June, is a perfect example. She attended the Idylwild Arts Summer Program for three years, before she spent her senior year at Idylwild Arts Academy. Last year, she said, she received a tuition reduction.

“I wish I would have come to Idyllwild Arts Academy sooner,” Christine said. She was on campus visiting her former theater teachers. “It’s great to be here, and I hope to come back next summer as a teacher’s assistant.”

Andie, who is taking “Song and Dance,” a two-week musical theater workshop, hopes to improve her vocal and dance skills this summer. She will be a junior Theater major in the fall. She said she’ll ask Howard Shangraw, head of the Theater Department at Idyllwild Arts, to attend her final performance.

Diane said that Lina, another Theater student, is enrolled in “Theater Adventures,” a two-week class that begins July 25. There, students will act, dance, improvise and perform a short play.

For these Idyllwild Arts students, Summer Program classes can improve their skills, and “break up the monotomy” of a long summer.

Kitty, who will be attending Rice University in the fall, came back to Idyllwild Arts to help out with a summer class called the “Piano Workshop.”

Since she’s already graduated, tuition reduction is not applicable. But Kitty is happy to be back on campus.

Her plans to travel and perform in Poland were sidelined because of the economic downturn.

“She was really looking forward to visiting Poland. She really loves to travel anywhere,” said Kitty’s mother. “But those who gave her the scholarship said that they couldn’t afford to send her right now.”

Kitty won the MacNeal Award, one of many. Photo courtesy Idyllwild Arts

Kitty, who has won many musical awards and contests, will likely perform for music students during the summer.

Jacob is going to be a teacher’s assistant for three weeks. Look for his handiwork in the upcoming play, “MacBeth,” that will be held at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, July 30-31 at the JPT. For more information, visit the Idyllwild Arts web site at, and click on “Summer.” And for more information on the “Pay Once, Learn Twice Program,” contact Tara Sechrest at (951) 659-2171, ext. 2345.

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