Archive for October, 2011|Monthly archive page

Pumpkin Carving at Idyllwild Arts

October 30, 2011

Vampire and her pumpkin

Jimmie with many other pumpkin creations

Zen and his Heath Leger pumpkin (with cell phone image)

Pumpkin vomit

Group carves away

Mia, Randy and their John Beluchi pumpkin (with cell phone image)

Jimmie and his pumpkin

Mad Hatter and friends

Friday: Final Day for Student Art Show

October 28, 2011

Dean's painting shows color, texture, detail and refection“I think this is the best first Visual Arts show that we’ve had,” exclaimed Peter, a senior art student at Idyllwild Arts. “A lot of new students came to our school, and they were already good.”

Today (Oct. 28) is the last day of the “Parents Weekend Student Art Show” at the Parks Exhibition Center on the Idyllwild Arts campus. The show is free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Jane's teapot and cup feature fingers as handles

Jane agreed with Peter about the show.

“Last year, we weren’t ready, and kind of rushed our projects during the last two hours or so,” Jane said. “This year, we all planned ahead, and it shows.”

Jane’s tea pot and cup aren’t your garden variety set. Her green, multi-layered glaze draws you over. At closer inspection, you see that the handles of the cup and pot are made up of human fingers. Even the spout is a finger.

It’s a little unsettling since we’re getting so close to Halloween. But my guess is that Jane was not going for the grotesque, but something deeper about the human condition.

Some of the new students that Peter and Jane might be talking about include: Yixuan known as “Maisie,” a 9th grader; Neil, another 9th grader and Niger and Dean, both 10th graders. Each has shown early mastery of their particular mediums.

Maisie's dinosaur drawing in drag show promise

Maisie’s drawing of a raptor or a large lizard in drag “pops” from the center of the page, while newsprint and a line drawing of a mother and child are in the background.

This was likely a drawing exercise using established media, such as newsprint or magazine cut -outs. Yet, it’s more than the raptor from a book coming to life before them.

Why is the raptor hostile, and wearing a black suit? It could be a commentary on a teacher, parent or other adult figure.

You have to look for subtleties to get the bigger picture of what Niger is trying to say. His black-and-white photo of a young Asian woman is physically appealing. It shows good composition and contrast. However, it’s attached to white paper that’s been crumpled and smoothed over.

Niger's photo may be a commentary on violence against women

And the woman is shown licking a cut on her knee.

Is Niger trying to tell the story of violence in this young woman’s life? Or is he talking about violence against women in general?

Another promising young visual artist is Neil, whose father works in the Transportation department.

Neil’s drawing of Bob Marley, the enduring symbol of anti-culture is also compelling in its composition. It depicts a portrait of the musician’s face and hands, yet it is placed off center.

“I should have trimmed it off,” Neil said later.

Yet, his use of excessive white space is interesting. In any given picture, your eyes automatically go to the light, or the whitest part of the painting. Like looking at a candle in a dark room. However, when you have more white space than dark, your eye is drawn to the dark. Sort of like seeing a bowling ball in the snow.

Neil's drawing of Bob Marley has interesting use of white space

Dean’s painting of an older black woman shows great use of color, texture, detail and reflection. The detail on her gray hair looks nearly like a photograph. And the reflection in her cat-eye glasses show good handling of the paint. Oftentimes, you see reflections in glasses in photographs, but they are omitted in paintings.

It’s hard to say where he got the photo. If he took it himself, or found it online. Yet, the closeness of the taker to the subject shows intimacy. Even the elderly woman’s smile was just starting to form when the photo was taken. It was as if the photographer was young or inexperience in taking photos. Yet, the image is sweet, typical Americana from the 1950s.

Yep, the new visual artists are good, but the seniors still need to be reckoned with, namely Jimmie and Delaney.

Jimmie's nude composition looks like a Michelangelo

Jimmie’s image of a nude woman looking towards the light in the heavens looks like the church paintings from the Old Masters, such as Caravaggio. He was known for emotional depictions of humans using dramatic light.

You can tell that Jimmie spent many hours adding layers of charcoal until it looked like night.

It’s interesting that he used only black and shades of gray to depict this image. If it were the Old Masters, there would be all kinds of colors, and about 40 other people in the picture, including angels.

Later on, Jimmie said that Caravaggio wasn’t so much an inspiration, but the drawing started looking like one of his, so he made the lighting more dramatic.

Yet, the way that Jimmie does it, makes you want to spend a few hours looking it over.

“I like Rei’s painting because it looks simple, but it’s really complex,” said Peter.

Rei’s black-and-white image engulfed in blue looked abstract to me at first. Such as a rock or a crumpled piece of paper.

Yet, at closer inspection, I saw women’s legs in heels, and remembered that Rei is studying fashion. Then it looked like the woman in heels was walking towards the viewer, and was putting on or taking off a large cape. But then attached to the top of the cap was an animal head, such as a Halloween costume.

Knowing that Rei is a deep thinker, I doubt if he did a painting of a woman taking off a Halloween costume. Perhaps his painting is also a commentary on the human condition.

Delaney's drawing depicts turmoil

Delaney’s drawing of two heads in distress was intriguing. How she accurately portrays her subjects looking up and looking down is amazing. If you’ve ever tried to draw them, its difficult to get the perspective, and make it look realistic, yet Delaney makes it look easy.

The final image that I looked at in this show was a headset on a pedestal. Next to the disc player was a list of five student names, including Peter, Jimmie, Jessica, Kevin and Rei.

“It was selections from our ‘New Genre’s’ class,” Peter explained. “We just mixed some music from a software program according to a title, such as ‘summer’ or ‘winter.'”

Rei's fashion image shows a deeper meaning

Most of their music selections included new age music with some sound effects. For example, Kevin’s “summer” selection featured kids laughing, while Jessica’s “winter” had footsteps crunching in the snow.

But how does the music tie into visual art?

“Do you know sometimes there’s a part in a painting that looks like a piece is missing?” Peter said. “Well, you can fill that void with music.”

Student Visual Art Show ends today, Friday, Oct. 28 at the Parks Exhibition Center on the Idyllwild Arts campus. Gallery hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The show is free and open to the public.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: Oct 28, 2011 @ 12:38


Idyllwild Arts Teen Enters Pageant

October 22, 2011


By Marcia E. Gawecki

Cheyenne, an Idyllwild Arts dance student, entered a beauty pageant to earn a college scholarship. Courtesy photo.

Even in the 21st Century, beauty pageants are still a great way for teenage girls to earn scholarship money for college.

On October 30, Cheyenne, 17, a dance major at Idyllwild Arts Academy, will compete in the “Miss Colorado Teen USA” Pageant in Greeley, Colorado.

There will be an interview, swimsuit and evening gown portion of the competition.

“There’s no talent requirement in this pageant,” explained Cheyenne. “Dance would be easy, but they don’t require talent until you reach the national level with ‘Miss Teen USA.’”

Cheyenne said that she’s been entering beauty pageants since she was 13 years old, and usually makes it to the Top 5.

“My mother lets me enter pageants because she said that I can learn a lot about public service and possibly earn scholarship money for college,” Cheyenne said.

According to the Miss Colorado USA and Miss Colorado Teen USA official web site, six schools provided applied scholarships to the 2011  pageant winners, including Lindenwood University ($45,600), Alverno College ($12,000), Wartburg College ($2,000), William Penn University ($10,900), PCI Academy ($3,000) and the New York Film Academy ($13,600).

For the evening gown portion of the “Miss Colorado Teen USA” pageant, Cheyenne found the perfect gown for a great price.

The dramatic images showed off her gown in its full glory. Courtesy photo.

“We had been looking for gowns online and all over the place,” Cheyenne said. “Then we walked into a small dress shop and found a Sherri Hill (brand) gown that was my size and on sale.”

Cheyenne’s one-shoulder gown is white, and its accented with sequins and ostrich feathers. She said that it complements her red hair and fair skin.

“When I tried it on, I felt glamorous,” Cheyenne said, laughing.

The glamour she felt was captured by a modeling agency photographer recently.

Shots of her posing in between tall buildings, some of them skewed, show off her gown in its full glory. The photo shoot was part of her winnings from a previous beauty pageant, she said.

Besides her regular dance classes at Idyllwild Arts, jogging and watching her diet, Cheyenne has brushed up on Colorado local and regional news in the weeks leading up to the pageant. She said that she’s not worried about what the judges will ask her.

“I pretty much know what to expect since I’ve been in pageants before,” Cheyenne said.

Years spent in dance classes, master classes, and performances at Idyllwild Arts have helped Cheyenne build her poise and confidence. She said that she doesn’t get stage fright either.

If she were to win “Miss Colorado USA,” Cheyenne would automatically enter the “Miss Teen USA” pageant in Atlanta, Georgia, held around Thanksgiving time.

“If I won, it would be a great way to continue my public service,” Cheyenne said.

This summer, Cheyenne and her mother helped out at a local animal shelter in Colorado. They fostered a Pitt Bull mix puppy named, “Cookie.” Cheyenne showed off several pictures of the cute puppy on her cell phone. It was hard to believe that that she wasn’t adoptable.

Cheyenne's dramatic gown features sequins and ostrich feathers. Courtesy photo.

“Cookie’s mom started getting aggressive at the shelter trying to protect her, so they separated them,” Cheyenne said.

When she arrived in their home, Cookie wasn’t potty trained and couldn’t even eat dry food.

“Cookie is so smart, and caught on to the potty training right away,” Cheyenne said.

Within two weeks, Cookie was trained and adopted by a nice family. A week later, her mother was too, Cheyenne said. A happy ending that may not have been had they not intervened.

Cheyenne’s friends are supportive of her decision to enter the “Miss Teen Colorado” contest, but they sometimes tease her, which she takes good-naturedly.

“It’s always a great experience,” Cheyenne said.

Via Facebook and email, she stays in touch with friends that she’s met in pageants.

The “Miss Teen Colorado” pageant won’t likely be broadcast outside her home state, but “Miss Teen USA” will. As a hobby, Cheyenne often watches beauty pagaents.

“I can always pick the winner,” she said.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: Oct 22, 2011 @ 11:45





Soloist & Student Orchestra Handle Mishap with Grace

October 17, 2011

Peter Askim's violin soloist showed grace under pressure Saturday night. (Photo from another event. Courtesy Idyllwild Arts).

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Broken strings. You can bet that world-class violin soloists playing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony have broken their violin strings onstage before.

However, that must’ve been cold comfort for Ally, the 16-year-old sophomore, during her first solo with the Idyllwild Arts Orchestra (IAO) Saturday night, Oct. 15.

Halfway through her 20-minute piece, Beethoven’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Major, Op. 61, Ally’s violin strings broke. Immediately she said, “Sorry,” and stopped playing.

“I knew that she was in trouble,” said Xiofan, better know as Sa-Sa, the principal violin player. “There’s no way she could fix it.”

Sa-Sa offered his violin to Ally, and she continued playing the rest of the piece without incident.

“You barely noticed that anything was wrong,” said Alex, a voice major from New Zealand who attended the concert Saturday night. “There was a natural pause. But afterwards, I think she sounded better on Sa-Sa’s violin.”

Ally's strings broke halfway through the Beethoven piece Sat. night (File photo).

But that left Sa-Sa without a violin. As first chair and concertmaster, you can bet that the orchestra needed him to keep playing as much as they needed the soloist.

Without prompting, Lin Ma, another student violinist, offered Sa-Sa his violin, and the music continued.

“I think that’s the natural order of things,” said one Idyllwild Arts student whose sister plays violin with a professional orchestra. “The concertmaster offers the soloist his instrument, and the violin next in line offers the concertmaster his and it goes down the line. They did the right thing.”

What Peter Askim, music director and conductor, was thinking, no one knows but him. Yet, Peter addressed the mishap with humor by using an analogy before the Sunday afternoon, Oct. 16, concert began.

“Most of the students in the orchestra are brand new to Idyllwild Arts,” Peter explained. “Like a new sports car, we took it out for a ride yesterday and tested its meddle. After shifting a few gears, we’ll sound even better today.”

There was laughter coming from audience members who knew about the mishap, while others didn’t know why Peter was talking about sports cars.

“I checked Ally’s violin before she went onstage today,” Sa-Sa said. “Everything was just fine.”

You can bet that Ally’s heart was racing a bit faster as she neared the part in the music where her strings had broken.

“Sa-Sa was the hero Saturday night,” Alex exclaimed. “When he came onstage after the break, everyone clapped especially hard for him.”

Shen was the clarinet soloist

Sa-Sa said that he didn’t notice.

But a 10-second mishap is not the entire concert, and a lost shoe is not the game. I once saw a star shooter during a UCLA basketball lose his shoe, and scramble to recover it without stopping play.

It happens to the best of them.

For her second concert solo on Sunday afternoon, Ally showed incredible grace and composure. Perhaps only her mother would know how nervous she was. Only once during a rest did Ally inspect her violin strings, and hold the instrument up to her ear.

Mr. and Mrs. Yang came all the way from Dalian, on the coast of China, to her their daughter play. (Their uncle is a pilot so they can fly free). During the concert, both were busy recording Ally’s performance on their cameras.

Not only did Ally maintain her composure, she played the Beethoven concerto as if it wasn’t difficult at all. At times, it sounded as if two violins were playing simultaneously. And there were parts where Ally’s fingers were moving so fast, it looked as if they weren’t moving at all.

That’s the beauty of young talent, and she’s only going to get better with each experience.

“You did a great job today, honey, and yesterday too,” said one woman to Ally after the concert Sunday.

Ally thanked her and smiled. The hard part was over.

For his clarinet solo, Clarinet Concerto No. 2 in F Minor, Op. 5, Shen appeared serious, but also played with grace and a loud, clear sound. For fans like me, it seemed like eternity before he got to play. Yet when Shen was in the spotlight, he took his time. Yahuda, his teacher, would have been proud.

According to the program, Crusell wrote most of his concertos so that he’d have something to play. And this clarinet concerto was one of the best works – both melodic and emotionally inventive.

On Sunday, both Ally’s and Shen’s solos were perfectly executed. During their encore bows, both received standing ovations from the audience. New headmaster Brian Cohen, who plays the violin, was first on his feet applauding loudly. Peter Askim also appeared pleased, giving Shen a hearty hug, and holding Ally’s hand as they bowed together.

As someone once said, “It’s not about the mistakes you make, but how you recover.”

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: Oct 17, 2011 @ 12:56






Holocaust Survivor Fulfills Family Promise

October 15, 2011

Holocaust survivor & author David Faber and Grace, from Idyllwild, at the Mt. San Jacinto College lecture

By Marcia E. Gawecki

David Faber was only 13 years old when he promised his mother, who had just been shot and killed by the Nazis, that he would tell the world about what they had done.

At age 85, a Polish Jew, Faber has spent the greater part of his lifetime giving lectures to audiences, such as the 2-hour one at the Mt. San Jacinto College held on Thursday, Oct. 13.

The event, sponsored by the Phi Theta Kappa, an academic honor society, was open to the public, although the audience was comprised mostly high school and college students. Some were getting extra credit for writing a report. Tickets were $5 each, and hours before, the show was sold out.

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Mary Lehman, an Idyllwild resident whose 14-year-old daughter, Grace, is home-schooled, and wanted to attend the lecture. “We need to hear what these survivors have to say because they’re not going to live forever.”

Grace had already researched the Holocaust for a school project when she attended the Idyllwild School and got an “A.”  And this past summer, the family had visited the Dachau concentration camp in Germany, where Grace had heard a lecture by another concentration camp survivor.

“He said that another prisoner had drown in a puddle of mud because he was too weak to get up,” Grace recalled. “Now I don’t look at mud puddles the same.”

Before the lecture when David Faber was signing books, Grace got her picture taken with him. Faber offered the autographed books for $15 each.

David Faber, an award-winning lecturer, signed copies of his recent book named after his brother, Romek.

During the next two hours, David, with a single microphone, stood before a panel of family photos and news clippings, and recounted the atrocities that happened to him and his family during the weeks that followed the Nazi invasion of Poland. After that, David told of how he barely survived nine concentration camps.

“Jews who went to the concentration camps don’t have photos,” David began. “They are stripped naked of their clothes and possessions, and sent to the gas chambers. Ninety-five percent of them don’t make it out of those camps alive. I was one of the lucky ones.”

The family photos that Faber referred to came from his eldest sister who escaped to England before WWII began. Rachael Faber was a talented dress designer and was invited to show her work in Paris. When she got a VISA, she ran away and later lived in England. These photos David received from her husband after her death.

In Katowice where the family lived, the Nazis forbade Jews to enter stores and banks following the Nazi invasion. So the family fled to a nearby town where they stayed with cousins. When they were murdered in their home, with David as a witness.

(from L) Grace attended the lecture with many college students who were getting extra credit for writing a report on Faber's lecture

“Let’s get out of here,” David’s father had said upon returning from a job search. “The Nazis will come back.”

When random shootings continued, David’s father found an abandoned warehouse where they slept on potato sacks filled with straw. They would have eventually been found by the Nazis had Romek, David’s brother, a soldier and ex-POW, had not found them.

Romek banged on the warehouse walls and eventually found a crawl space where the family hid from the Nazi shootings. Yet, after days of no food and water, the family gave themselves up and registered at Nazi headquarters. Each received a stamp on their papers.

“The letter ‘K’ in a circle means death,” warned Romek, whom they later found out was working for the British Intelligence.

Since several of the family members had that stamp, Romek advised them to hide again, this time in an abandoned apartment building. He banged on the walls in one apartment and found another crawlspace where the family would hide when the Nazis would raid. Romek had hung pictures over the hole and decorated the area with more pictures and a small couch.

One day, the Nazis came quietly. They shot David’s father first outside, and then his mother and five sisters near the crawl space. During the commotion, David had slid under the narrow couch. When the shooting was over, all of his family was dead. One of the Nazi’s jumped up and down with glee on the couch, unaware of that David was underneath it.

“See? I told you that we would get them all if we came quietly,” the Nazi had said.

After days of no food and water, David turned himself in, but remembered what his brother had told him:

“You speak perfect German. If you are caught, use it to impress them,” he said.

“I stood before the Nazis and clicked my heels, and said that I was a 21-year-old electrician, and could help them,” David said. “They laughed at me, knowing that I was only 13, but were impressed that I knew their language.”

David was sent by rail car to a concentration camp, where several men, women and children died along the way. His job there was to open the cans of poison that would later be used in the gas chambers. After they died, David had to gather up their possessions, including jewelry and gold fillings.

One time, David noticed that a baby was still alive, still attached to his mother’s breast. He and another man tried to give the baby to women in the camp, but they were found out, and the man was tortured and killed. David was ordered to throw the baby into the oven.

He asked the Nazi soldiers if it would be better to give the baby to some of the women instead.

“Dare you defy my orders?” the soldier yelled and threw the baby into the oven himself.

David later was beaten with a hose until he passed out.

“How I survived nine concentration camps, I don’t know,” David said towards the end of his lecture.

The last concentration camp he was at was called Bergen-Belson, made famous by Anne Frank.

“When the British Army liberated Bergen-Belson on April 15, 1945, most of us were dead or sick from typhoid,” David recalled. “The British forced the Nazis to dig 122 open graves in which they put some 5,000 bodies.”

Two women from the British Red Cross were checking out those massive graves before burial, when they spotted David, moving among the dead bodies.

“I was 18 years old, and only weighed 72 pounds,” David recalled.

A picture of him at that time is shown in his book. It’s a haunting image that you will not soon forget. He survived typhoid and polio. In 1957, he immigrated to the U.S. and five years later, became an American citizen.

Over the years, David was sick and in and out of American hospitals.

“But now I am 85 years young, and God is still looking after me,” he said, and thanked the audience for listening, and helping him fulfill the promise that he had made to his mother:“I will tell the world what the Nazis have done.”

Later on, Grace was appalled to hear that some people believe that the Holocaust never really happened.

“How can they face a man like David Faber and say that?” she asked.

Yet, even at a young age, Grace knew of the importance of attending Holocaust lectures and spreading the word so that it will never happen again.

David Faber’s book, (1997), “Because of Romek: a Holocaust survivor’s memoir,” is produced by Granite Hills Press, and is available by Amazon and most major book retailers.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.


Clarinet and Violin Solos in Weekend Concert

October 12, 2011

Shen will play a clarinet solo with the student orchestra Sat. and Sun.

By Marcia E. Gawecki

This weekend, two music students will perform as soloists along with the Idyllwild Arts Student Orchestra (IAO) during their first concert of the year. Both soloists come from China, yet grew up on opposite ends of the country.

Manje, better known as “Ally” is a sophomore violinist, yet exudes an older maturity. She will be playing Beethoven’s Concerto for Violin & Orchestra in D Major, Op. 61. The entire orchestra piece will last about 20 minutes.

“I’ve never played that long onstage before,” Alley exclaimed.

Yet, the teenager has performed many times last year with the IAO, and at different events, such as the one at Palm Springs High School, as part of a yearly outreach. Idyllwild Arts students sing, dance, and play classical and jazz numbers. The event  is hosted by the Steinway Society and Dr. Nelms McKelvain, who also teaches piano at Idyllwild Arts.

Ally was excited that her mother was coming from China to see this concert. Mrs. Yang will be among many parents attending the “Parents Weekend” events on campus this weekend.

Ally will play with the orchestra in a piece that lasts 20 minutes

Shen, the other soloist, is a clarinet player. He is very busy these days. First of all, he’s a prefect, or student leader, and has regular dorm duties. Secondly, he’s a senior, so he must submit his college applications soon and prepare for his upcoming auditions in Jan./Feb.

Last year, Shen was thinking of giving up the clarinet and studying psychology instead. However, Yahuda, his clarinet teacher from USC and Colburn, would hear none of it. He insisted that Shen continue his clarinet studies, even during the summer at Idyllwild Arts.

Those two weeks were the longest for Shen.

“It was weird being on campus and not knowing anyone,” he said.

Yet the experience of working with Yahuda in an intense program was worth it.

“I might even got better,” Shen quipped.

Just yesterday, Shen was performing with seven other Idyllwild Arts students at the Palm Springs High School.–the same one Ally had performed at last year.

Show poster

Shen played a clarinet solo by Massaje, and was accompanied by Nelms on piano. Even though there was music on the stand, Shen didn’t look at it once. He said that every time that he appears before a large audience is a good experience.

“Maybe I won’t be so nervous when I play with our orchestra this weekend,” Shen said.

For his piece, Shen will be playing Crusell’s Clarinet Concerto No. 2 in F Minor, Op. 5. His mother from San Diego will be there, but not his teacher.

“Yahuda’s busy and Idyllwild is a long way from LA,” Shen said.

Besides the Beethoven and Crusell piece, the Idyllwild Arts Student Orchestra will be playing Haydn’s Symphony in E Flat Major, Hob. 1:99.

Like all events at Idyllwild Arts, this concert is free and open to the public. The Saturday, Oct. 15 show will be held at 4 p.m. and on Sunday, Oct. 15 at 2 p.m.. For more information, contact Idyllwild Arts at (951) 659-2171, ext. 2200, or visit

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: Oct 12, 2011 @ 20:17


Featherbrained Comedy Set for Nov. 4

October 11, 2011

(from L) Idyllwild Arts students Paul, Jake and Chase pause before they hang show posters around Idyllwild.

By Marcia E. Gawecki

“… for the birds!” the next comedy by the Idyllwild Arts Theater Department, may be director Howard Shangraw’s “feather in his cap.”

It’s a new adaptation of Aristophanes’ comedy, “The Birds,” an ancient Greek play from around 14 B.C. in which the birds build a city in the sky, in hopes of reclaiming their rightful status between the gods and the humans.

Before you start thinking that this adaptation is going to sound like old English Shakespeare, remember that “for the birds” is a modern take written by Howard Shangraw.

For one thing, Howard is a great writer, actor, director who heads up the Theater Department at Idyllwild Arts.

About three years ago, he wrote a comedy called “The People vs. B.B. Wolf,”(B.B. standing for “big” and “bad”) which was performed by the South Coast Repertory Theater and the Idyllwild Arts Theater Department. Howard received a Target grant that helped them tour 3-4 public schools.

“All the kids loved it,” said Nelms MacKelvain, who had helped Howard with the show’s piano arrangements.

“Expect the unexpected,” said Jake, a theater major, as he hung “for the birds” posters around Idyllwild. “It’s going to be fun, colorful and a modern take on the play.”

Naturally, the play is going to be about birds, but these birds will have flair and personality. Some might even resemble notable TV stars, such as Suze Orman and Judge Judy.

The stage at the IAF Theatre on campus is not set up for any flying acrobatics or trapeze stunts. However, Todd Carpenter and his crew will likely improvise.

Chase said that he jumps up and down on a mini trampoline, giving the impression of a bird in flight.

Jake holds up the show's poster

When it comes to costumes, “Think more a Las Vegas spectacle than Shakespeare,” offered Kimber, a junior in the chorus.

Paul, a senior fashion design major, plans to help out Minnie Walters, the school’s costume designer. Last year, he received a grant to host his own fashion show at Idyllwild Arts.

Although Paul has never sewn with feathers, he’s had some first-hand experience with birds.

“On Mother’s Day last year, Evie, my mom’s cat, brought in a dead bird,” Paul said. “My mom told Evie to get that disgusting thing out of the kitchen, so Evie flung it at her face!”

Paul said he’s looking forward to helping out with the costumes, but nothing has been decided yet.

Until modern times, Ornamental feathers were more widely used by males than females. Princes and nobelmen tried to outdo each other in finding the most colorful and expensive plumage to put in their hats.

Robin Hood, the famous outlaw, always had a feather in his cap.

Although it’s a comedy, “for the birds” will also have music.

“But it’s not a musical,” warns Kimber. “There’s a difference. It’s a comedy with music.”

She explained that, in a musical, the music moves the plot along, but in this comedy, music is just an “addition.”

Some favorite bird-centric tunes, such as “Rockin’ Robin” will be performed, but not Michael Jackson’s version, they all insisted.

They also let it slip that there will be a few guest appearances.

“We’re all sworn to secrecy,” they said. “Howard wants it to be a surprise.”

“for the birds,” a new adaptation of Aristophanes’ comedy, “The Birds,” will be performed by the Idyllwild Arts Theater Department Nov. 4-6 at the IAF Theatre on campus. Show times for Friday and Saturday will be at 7:30 p.m., while Sunday will be at 2 p.m.

Each performance is free and open to the public. For more information, call (951) 659-2171, ext. 2200, or visit

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: Oct 11, 2011 @ 16:51







Nature’s Tears for Steve Jobs’ Passing

October 7, 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’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