Archive for July, 2010

Earthquake Shakes Idyllwild

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

It's better to be outside than inside when an earthquake strikes

At 4:55 p.m. on Wednesday, July 7, an earthquake shook Idyllwild, CA. It registered a 5.4 on the Richter scale, and the epicenter was in Borrego Springs, about 85 miles away, according to news reports.

At the time, I happen to be sitting on the ground outside in my neighbor’s yard. I was taking a break from raking. The earthquake felt like a big, base drum knocking underneath me. Then the vibrations got louder and more intense.

At one point, I looked over at my cat, who was sitting about five feet from me. She didn’t move, nor look alarmed. I thought, “She’s a total California cat. Earthquakes don’t even faze her.”

Yet, afterwards, she threw up.

My neighbor, Gene, who lives in Whittier, ran over pretty excited.

“Did you feel the earthquake?” he said. “It shook everything on the shelves in my house.”

Come to think of it, I did hear dishes rattling in the house next to me. It sounded so faint and delicate, like porcelain wind chimes.

“It must’ve been a number five on the Richter Scale,” Gene said. “I bet they felt it down below too. But you can’t get on any more solid ground than granite!”

Just then, a jogger passed by, and Gene asked if he felt the earthquake.

“Yep, I thought I felt something,” he said, and kept on.

People driving in cars rarely feel earthquakes. My neighbor, Louise, is one of them.

“No, I didn’t feel anything,” she said. “And I was driving past Anza at the time.”

Guess it’s the weight of the car and the forward motion that absorbs the earth shaking for 10 seconds. But Gene said that when the Northridge Earthquake hit, he was driving on a freeway, and his car slid sideways.

“You were pretty safe out here with all these tall trees,” Gene added. “It’s better than being inside your house with stuff falling all around you. Just don’t forget to look up.”

My friend, Charles, 80, was inside his house in Fern Valley at the time.

“That was really something,” he said. “It lasted five, six, maybe 10 seconds.”

He admitted to being scared.

For details on the earthquake in Idyllwild and anywhere around the world, visit the Green Café web site at Jeffrey Taylor, a computer programmer, has tapped into free USGS information on sismetic data. Results are available almost immediately.

A Tribute to Indian Artist Michael Kabotie

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

Chloe Della Costa shows off a suede jacket with a Michael Kabotie design

All any artist can ever hope for is that their images will live on, inspiring others, long after they’re gone.

The suede and wool jacket was in a blue garment bag hanging over a chair at the Dorothy Ramon Learning Center in Banning, California.

“This must be it,” said the volunteer. “But I cannot believe that someone would leave it here while we’re painting the building.”

Inside, was a jacket made of soft brown suede with gnarly white sheep’s wool lining. Hanging next to it was a shoulder bag made of the same material. But the design on the outside was the most amazing. It showed bold lines and strong characters, things that are held dear and sacred to the Hopi Indians.

“It’s a design created by Michael Kabotie,” said the volunteer. “And someone else put the image on the jacket and bag.”

Kabotie's designs are featured on the suede jacket and shoulder bag

The suede jacket and shoulder bag were going to be on display next Sunday, during a tribute to the Hopi Indian painter, poet, silversmith and philosopher who taught at Idyllwild Arts for 26 years.

According to news reports, Michael Kabotie, 67, died Friday, Oct. 23, 2009, at Flagstaff Medical Center after battling the H1N1 flu and associated complications.

He was from the village of Shungopavi, located on Second Mesa on the Hopi reservation, but had also lived many years in Flagstaff and New Mexico.

He created many beautiful works of art, among them murals at Sunset Crater and the Museum of Northern Arizona, and a gate he designed to look like a piece of overlay jewelry at the Heard Museum in Phoenix.

According to his web site, Michael Kabotie was born in 1942 on the Hopi Indian Reservation in northeastern Arizona. He grew up in Shungopavi and graduated from Haskell Indian School in Kansas. In his junior year there, he was invited to spend the summer at the Southwest Indian Art Project at the University of Arizona, where he met  Joe Hererra, who became a lifelong friend and mentor.

Michael studied engineering at the University of Arizona, but left to hold a one-man show at the Heard Museum in Phoenix. His work was featured on the cover of Arizona Highways magazine.

An Idyllwild Arts invitation to the Native American Arts Festival features one of Kabotie's paintings

In 1967, Michael underwent his Hopi manhood initiation into the Wuwutsim Society and was given the Hopi name, “Lomawywesa,” which means, “walking in harmony.”

Both Michael and his father, Fred Kabotie, have been innovators in the Native American

Fine Arts Movement, creating paintings that reflect traditional Hopi life in contemporary media. Fred was one of the Hopi artists responsible for developing the trademark overlay methods used by many Hopi silver and goldsmiths today. He is also the painter of the “Desert View Watchtower” murals in the Grand Canyon.

In his silver work, Michael used the overlay technique developed by his father and friends, but in his own jewelry, he developed a unique style of his own that is also reflected in his paintings. In 1973, Michael was a founding member of “Artist Hopid,” a group of painters who experimented in fresh interpretations of traditional Hopi art forms.

Michael’s works appear in several museums around the world, from the Heard Museum in Phoenix to the British Museum of Mankind in London, England, and the Gallery Calumet-Neuzzinger in Germany.

His book of poetry, “Migration Tears,” was published in 1987 by UCLA. Michael has lectured across America, in Germany, Switzerland and New Zealand, and has taught Hopi overlay techniques at Idyllwild Arts for many years.

To honor him, Idyllwild Arts will host a “Tribute to Michael Kabotie,” on Sunday, July 11, with a pottery trunk show, with discussions by his son, Paul, and other family members.

The tribute kicks off the weeklong “Native American Arts Festival” at Idyllwild Arts that includes Native American performances, lectures, films and pottery demonstrations. According to the invitation, the festival will explore topics that were of particular interest to this extraordinary artist and teacher: the trickster concept, the artist’s journey, healing and recovery, music and chanting traditions, and cross-cultural dialogue.

Moreover, you will see Michael Kabotie’s images all summer long at Idyllwild Arts. The T-shirts worn by the Summer Program staff, counselors and students features a bright pink Hopi image similar to the one featured on the suede jacket.

The tribute to Michael Kabotie and the Native American Arts Festival events are free and open to the public. For more information, call Idyllwild Arts at (951) 659-2171, extension 2365, or visit, and hit “Summer.” 

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‘Colorful’ Locals Make Up the Parade

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Local belly dancer Raye De Ross will be in Idyllwild's Parade Saturday

Besides the horses, marching bands and floats, they’ll be plenty of “colorful” locals in this Saturday’s Independence Day Parade in Idyllwild, including Raye De Ross, and her belly dancing troupe, “The Outskirts.”

Raye’s the front desk secretary-receptionist for Idyllwild Arts Academy, but also teaches belly dancing classes once a week at The Chakra Shack.

“The Out-Skirts” belly dancing troupe is made up of her friends and customers, namely Sherry Cheney, Dakota Bailey, and her mother (who begged not to be identified for this article.)

“I have to live in this town!” she exclaimed.

She also insisted that she be covered in black from head to toe, including a veil for her face, that only exposes her eyes.

“If no one knows who I am, I can be free to have a little fun,” she said.

“Then we’ll have to put a lot of eye makeup on you, and put a bindi on your forehead,” De Ross said.

She is dressing the rest of them in colorful outfits with veils that cover their faces, long skirts that show off their waists, and belts that “chime” as they move.

Colleen is part of a belly dancing troupe called "The Outskirts"

De Ross started belly dancing 16 years ago, when her then-5-year-old daughter, Colleen, exclaimed that she wanted to take lessons. They were living in Seattle at the time, and had just watched an international belly dancing competition on TV.”

“It’s a misconception that belly dancing is erotic dancing,” said De Ross, who encouraged both of her pre-teen girls to take lessons. “It was originally created by women for women.”

She said belly dancing builds self esteem in young women and in larger women like her, who often don’t feel coordinated and pretty.

“Belly dancing is embracing our sacred feminine,” she said.

De Ross and “The Out-Skirts” plan to be walking more than dancing in the parade, however.

“Anyone who has been to a parade knows there’s a lot of standing around, waiting for everyone to catch up,” she said. “But, this year, we’re behind the jeeps.”

Like other parade participants, De Ross will be handing out candy and maybe some business cards to the crowd. She hopes to drum up more clients for her $10 lessons on Tuesdays at The Chakra Shack.

Idyllwild Independence Day Parade begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 3rd, at the top of North Circle Drive, then winds down to the center of town. For more information, call the Idyllwild Rotary at (951) 659-4957. For belly dancing lessons by Raye De Ross, call The Chakra Shack at (951) 659-3191.

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