Wednesday, May 23, 2012
➱ switch to KingsRiverLife.com for this week's issue ➱by Stan Morris
Ready for a contest or two?
Kings River Life Magazine is turning 2 years old this month
& we'd like to share the fun of publishing by publishing you.
Besides the taste, the memory I have of visiting the orange groves is of all the cars parked along the road. We were not the only ones, it seemed, who had the idea of picking up oranges that had fallen on the ground along the side of the road. I'm sure this made the adventure much more difficult than it would have been if we had been alone, or at least with only a few other pickers about, for it meant that my dad and mom had to contend not only with the other pickers, but the likelihood that me or one of my brothers or my sister would thoughtlessly run out into the road in the path of an on-coming car.
Celebrate KRL's 2nd birthday & see how you can be published too!
I’m sure my dad, who was a young earnest minister, did not consider it stealing to pick up oranges that had fallen over the fence onto the shoulder, or else his conscience would have bothered him, and if he had harbored any reservations about the morality of this, he would never have involved his wife and his four children. However, he sternly warned each of us that we were not to pick any oranges from the trees, even if the branch was clearly not in the field, but on the other side of the barbed wire, and even if we saw other people picking from the branches. However, oranges that lay on the ground in the public thoroughfare were fair game.
Since I remember this from a time when I was about eight years old, I cannot say how far from home we had to travel to get to the orange groves, but it must not have been far, for I don’t remember any of us kids asking, “Are we there yet?”
At that time, Norwalk was suburbia, but just barely. Behind our house was a barbed wire fence, and on the other side of the fence was a cow pasture for the dairy. On our side of the fence, there stood a cinder block, fireplace looking structure in which we could place our trash and burn it. This was one of the new and modern features of our track home. Los Angeles had not yet come to grips with air pollution.
We left Norwalk in the 1952 white and blue, four-door Oldsmobile that my grandfather had given to his son-in-law. It also was a modern wonder; it had an automatic transmission. I remember how much fun it was to ride in the back seat. The cushion on the bench seat was deep and we could bounce around, hang our heads out the side windows, look out the rear window, and even climb onto the wide ledge in front of the rear window, until my father yelled at us to get back down into the seat. There were no seatbelts in automobiles in those days. Unfortunately, there was also no air conditioning in that car. Traveling long distances in that car was an uncomfortable experience, especially when we visited our relatives in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. I hated Route 66.
But driving out to the orange groves was not unpleasant at all, and when we ended our orange gathering adventure and climbed back into our car, I was feeling happy, and I was looking forward to eating one of those sweet oranges. By then, other people were leaving also, but most of the traffic had cleared from the narrow rural road, and we had a leisurely drive home. Our adventure was over and tomorrow was Sunday, so my parents had to prepare for church. Monday I would be back at Elmcroft Elementary School. But as we drove home, I could always look forward to the next adventure. Perhaps we would visit the beach, or even Knott’s Berry Farm, or even, if my Dad was feeling rich, go to Disneyland.
Image: the four Morris children, provided by Stan Morris
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Ready for a contest or two?
Kings River Life Magazine is turning 2 years old this month
& we'd like to share the fun of publishing by publishing you.
There is a bookstore in my hometown, Ojai, California that is one of the most interesting I have ever been in. Before I tell you about it, I would like to give a few facts about Ojai itself. (Pronounced "Oh Hi"). Situated in the foothills of Southern California, between Santa Barbara and Ventura, it has a short rainy season, and what rain does fall quickly evaporates, with very little runoff. The residents hardly miss a beat because of rain. Also, because of its small size and rural atmosphere, there is little need for folks to double lock or even single lock their doors. All in all it is small town America at its best. Both of these factors, (rain, locks) make it possible for the bookstore to operate successfully.
Celebrate KRL's 2nd birthday & see how you can be published too!
The first thing one notices about the store is the sign by the front door: "When closed, please throw coins in slot in the door." Lining the outside wall are rows and rows of books. One is free to read them and purchase one even if the store is closed; the honor system that is sadly disappearing in this country.
Stepping inside, the big surprise is this: There is no roof! The entire bookstore is open to the atmosphere. Shaded here and there by a tree, only the bookshelves themselves have a covering.
On the rare occasions when it rains, the books are protected by these coverings. The water evaporates in hours leaving the area dry and the books undamaged.
There are thousands of books in every category one can imagine. Fiction and non-fiction, clearly marked and separated into the various genres. History, Biography, Sports, and so on. There are a few enclosed rooms where cookbooks, art, specialty and rare books are housed. In these rooms are chairs and couches where one can sit while contemplating whether or not to purchase the book.
Once you have found the book you have been looking for there are tables and chairs available for you to sit in the shade of one of the many trees and read. There are even snacks and soft drinks available. It would be easy for one to spend the entire day in the store. I have been there several times and have still not seen it all.
The store deals primarily in used books. And, having been asked the question countless times, the management has T shirts for sale with: "What Do You Do When It Rains?" printed on them.
For those of you who love books, if you are ever in the vicinity, make the detour to Ojai and visit this amazing store. You will find it well worth your while.
Image source: Dreamyshade, via Wikimedia Commons
Find out more about Bart's Books at their site, visit them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.
Image source: provided by Herschel Cozine where not cited
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
On May 29, 2010 Kings River Life Magazine was born and it’s been full steam ahead ever since. We’ve gone from a strictly local focus to nationwide, with readers and writers from all over the country, and even one from Australia. So as we set off to see what adventures await us in our third year, as we continue to grow and evolve, we are sharing this birthday with you with two contests! One will begin a week from today, and the other one starts today! Beginning right now, you can share with us on our new sister blog-KRL Lite-one of the following:
Favorite California memory, place you’ve been, or place you wish you could visit, in the form of either an essay, poem or mystery short story. Stories and essays should be 500-800 words.
The best of these will be posted on KRL Lite and voted upon by our the readers and the winner will be published in Kings River Life Magazine in the June 2 issue-the first issue of our third year The winner will also be able to include a plug for the website of their choice whether it be their own, their friends, their favorite charity, etc. but the website must be approved by KRL’s editor-in-chief.
Readers, new posts will be going up often so keep coming back and commenting on your favorites.
Contest submission guidelines:
Send your submission in the body of an email to kingsriverlife[dot]lite@blogger[dot]com by replacing each [dot] with a period (kingsriverlife.lite@blogger…)
Be sure to include your name, city, and state
You may feel free to include your own photos that you would like included if you have any—they can be included as attachments or within the email. If attached and you have a preference for placement please include those instructions.
Let the games begin!
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Starting, May 17, Kingsburg, California becomes more of what it is year-round, a Swedish Village in the thralls of a time-honored festival. It is such an authentic slice of old Swedish culture, that Swedes from Sweden come here to experience a taste of their own past that has disappeared from their home country.
It is the Kingsburg Swedish Festival and it is always the third weekend in May. This year, it is May 17-19. Though the festival officially begins on the 18, every Kingsburg resident knows that it really starts the night before with the Swedish Pea Soup and Pancake Supper downtown. That kicks off the summer’s farmer’s market.
According to Jess Chambers, Executive Director of the Kingsburg District Chamber of Commerce, that supper is a big attraction, especially among locals. He notes that the celebration began in 1924 as a luncheon to commemorate the midsummer celebration of the harvest in Sweden. Kingsburg itself came to life as a Central pacific railroad town in 1873. Soon thereafter, the Swedes came and established "Kings River Switch". In 1874 "Kingsbury" was born, only to change its name to "Kingsburg" and in 1894. At one point, 94% of the population claimed Swedish descent.
The Swedish festival, once attended by representatives of the Swedish Consul General’s office includes a parade of trolls, the coronation of the Swedish Festival Queen, arts and crafts displays, exhibits, folk dancing, the traditional May Pole, a horse trot, love entertainment, rides, and lots of activities on Draper Street.
Then there is the food!
You will need the food to have enough energy to participate in the gammaldans. That is Swedish for “old dance.” And it is an energetic feast for the body and soul.
Jess Chambers attributes the positive spirit and joy of the community to its Evangelical and Lutheran heritage. This heritage gives rise to many of the festivals celebrated in the town, from the story of Santa Lucia to the contemporary car shows. Just a couple of weeks ago, that show attracted 10,000 people. “We are covered by the Holy Spirit,” he says, “The Holy Spirit reigns over this town.”
Over 5,000 people are expected for the Swedish Festival.
According to Chambers, there are many benefits to the community, but one of the most easily measured is the exposure that businesses get as new people descend upon the village. There is a great deal of enthusiasm for this annual event in the community and the ambiance lingers throughout the year.
Rather than just read about it, visit and then comment.
Image source: Kingsburg Chamber of Commerce.
Check out last year's article on the Swedish Festival in Kings River Life.
For more information contact:
Kingsburg District Chamber of Commerce
1475 Draper St.
Kingsburg, CA 93631
559-897-1111; fax: 559-897-4621
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Before you go see The Hobbit movie coming out later this year, why not check out the play now on stage at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia. I went this weekend with friends and it was a lot of fun. It’s the kind of show you can take the family to for a fun night out, while helping to support the school’s theatre program at the same time.
The Hobbit is based on a fantasy novel by the same name written by J.R.R. Tolkien about a Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins and his adventure with a bunch of dwarves and a great wizard named Gandalf. Thinking himself a simple Hobbit, Bilbo is hesitant about going on this grand and dangerous adventure, but Gandalf gives him little choice. Along the way he faces goblins, giant spiders, elves and trolls, and finds he has more luck and courage than he ever dreamed.
The Experimental Theatre Ensemble as ‘the Goblins’
Image source: COS Theatre
This production by the Experimental Theatre Company Ensemble at COS is visually stunning with complicated costumes, masks, and puppets that were a year in putting together as everything was handmade. The giant spiders alone are worth the trip to see it, and I especially loved little Tatiana Ibarra who did a wonderful job as Bilbo. It was obvious that this show was a lot of work and the cast and crew deserve major kudos.
Nereyda Velazquez as ‘the Spider Queen’
Image source: COS Theatre
If you enjoy fantasy and a great adventure, and especially if you are a fan of Tolkien, you should head out and see The Hobbit on their closing weekend. The remaining performances are May 3 and 4 at 7:30, and May 5 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door and the theatre is located at 915 S. Mooney Blvd. in Visalia.
Learn more on the COS Theatre website.
Don't miss your special KRL coupon at the end of this article!
What do a biologist, a physicist, an aging model, a strong-willed mother, an alcoholic lover, a “nervous Nellie”, and a gardener have in common? Humble Boy! Charlotte Jones weaves these diverse characters into an exciting tale about typical and dysfunctional relationships told with humor and pathos. Humble Boy opens this weekend at the Ice House Theater in Visalia, presented by the Visalia Community Players.
At the outset, James Humble, Flora’s biologist husband has just died. His loss sets the stage for relationships to be revealed. For director Donny Graham, the extreme differences between the characters hold the play together, creating problems and the need to understand and appreciate uniqueness. “The incidents between the characters cause you to think about your own relationships.”
Flora (Christina Thorin), the aging model, is also self-centered and may not be initially likable, but Thorin believes that Flora grows during the play. Starting as a thoughtless woman interested only in blaming others for her humdrum life, Flora begins to understand that she has responsibility for what happens in her life. In the end, Thorin thinks there is hope for Flora.
Christina Thorin as Flora and Keith Lindersmith as George.
Image source: Visalia Community Players
Felix (Tim Rich), Flora’s physicist son, described by Rich as intellectually brilliant and socially inept, is attempting to come to grips with failed relationships. Although Felix claims not to have had a good relationship with his father, Rich sees their relationship as closer than it initially appears. Felix’ relationship with Flora is troubled to say the least, but he attempts to work that through so in the end he has a sense of self not tied to his mother.
George (Keith Lindersmith) is Flora’s lover and has few saving graces. “He is full of himself, but has lots of insecurities.” Lindersmith views George as too crass for his liking, making him a difficult character to portray, but he believes that George really cares for Rosie, his daughter. That is the thought Lindersmith keeps in mind to help him see beyond George’s failings to his humanity.
Rosie (Elaine Wood), in addition to being George’s daughter, has been Felix’ lover, adding to the complexity. Rosie cares about her father and wants him to be happy, as deluded as his desires may be. Wood thinks Rosie loves Felix, despite her denials, but wants a total relationship with Felix or nothing. “She is very self-reliant and does not want to settle for less.”
Mercy (Robin Hoffman) might be considered the comic relief. Hoffman says Mercy is clueless and frequently misses the point of the conversation, lost in her own fixation. Mercy thinks of Felix as her son and wants to keep peace in the family. She has reason to be a “nervous Nellie” when she has a cooking snafu! Jim (Donny Graham), the gardener, is rather a philosopher, being outside and yet connected to the story. Graham is finding it challenging to direct and act in the production. “It is hard to balance the jobs of actor and director and do both well.”
All the actors and the director identify with the reality and humanity of the play. Rich noted, “This is a story about every family on the planet with its dysfunctional members, actual and adopted.” For Thorin, the play has “the joys, the disappointments, all the things that happen to real people.” Graham commented, it is like “watching a family with problems, but some are resolved through humor with meaning. I hope people go home thinking about the play, their own relationships, and survive.”
Humble Boy includes adult language and subject matter. It is not suitable for children. The show opens at the Ice House Theater at Race and Santa Fe in Visalia at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 4, 2012 and runs for three weekends with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. on 5/4, 5/5, 5/11, 5/12, 5/18, and 5/19 and matinees at 2:00 p.m. on 5/6, 5/13, and 5/20.
For more information about the Visalia Players, check out their website or for details about local arts groups in Tulare County; check out the Visalia Arts Consortium.
I went to the Enchanted Playhouse in Visalia, and what did I see? OK, I’ll give you clues, and see how long it takes you to guess the answer:
And the answer is…PINOCCHIO!
That’s right, Pinocchio is playing at the Enchanted Playhouse through May 12, and it’s a combination of the Carlo Collodi original and original elements written by John Marley. It’s not quite the same as the Disney version, but you will hear “When You Wish Upon a Star”…several times. Of course, you will also hear Cole Porter and Styne & Sondheim, and some classical music.
If the play is Pinocchio, it’s important that the audience wants the puppet to turn into a real boy, so only a special boy will do. Andrew Rozum is small, cute, wears glasses, and you can hear every word he says. That’s pretty good, in my book.
Andrew Rozum as Pinochio. Image source: Enchanted Playhouse
Ali Malingen was a standout in EP’s The Little Mermaid, and she provides a strong support as the Blue Fairy, in a billowy costume that gives her an ethereal look, yet doesn’t hide her curves. Her voice is strong, and she encourages the audience to respond in call-and-response fashion with her nods, headshakes, and strategically-shown cue cards. The Blue Fairy’s delightful mini-fairy companion, Aqua ( Katie Peters), is sweet and lovely, and does everything she is supposed to do.
From the handsome Prince in Mermaid to Mr. Fire eater in Pinocchio is quite a leap, but Michael Callender accomplishes the feat with great skill. Instead of a kindly, royal demeanor, he creates a pot-bellied, pompous, second-rate puppeteer (Oh-oh, I think I just described myself). By the way, that pot-belly is thanks to an amazing costume, and Debbie Terry and Alison Wahlen should be applauded for their costumes. Pinocchio’s costume imitates the Disney puppet’s color scheme, but it is so recognized in our culture that it would have been foolish to tamper with our memories.
Mr. Cricket (Evan Borboa) and Ms. Cat (Allison Enos) were bright spots in a good cast. Borboa was a gangly, spelling-challenged insect in bright-green make-up, while Allison was purr-fect in a feline hairdo. Jennifer Cawley gifted the sinister Coachman with a gleeful nastiness that would never hurt anyone but a donkey.
Carrie Murphy’s set designs created a Disneyesque Italian village, a carnivalized Funland where bad little boys could make donkeys of themselves, and some wonderful transformations of a Whale’s insides into the open sea. A highlight of the show is the undersea interlude, a black-light fantasy of glowing sea creatures and coral.
As the audience is taught to respond to the situations in the play, the Enchanted Playhouse provides a perfect place for a child’s first exposure to live theatre.
The Enchanted Playhouse is located at The Main Street Theatre, 307 E Main, Visalia. Pinocchio continues May 4, 5, 11, & 12 at 7 p.m., with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee April 29 & May 6. Tickets are $7 in advance and $8 at the door.
Before the show, wander two doors east to Mearle’s on Main, tucked into a corner of Surplus City, for a scoop of Superior Dairy (Hanford’s finest) ice cream. They even have the old booths from the original Mearle’s, and a Rockola jukebox.
Terrance V. Mc Arthur makes little people out of telephone wire, baskets out of pine needles and old newspapers, and theatrical plays out of classic literature. He is a librarian, storyteller, puppeteer, and magician. Terrance lives in Sanger.
Since we are currently without our local theatre auditions page and there are several coming up this month--I am posting them here so they aren't missed!
Sleeping Beauty: Kids! For performers ages 6-10 Auditions: May 5th @ 1:00PM and May 6th @ 1PM Audition Packet Audition Location: Sierra Vista Mall Callbacks: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 Rehearsals Begin: June 18 2012 Performances: July 20-28 2012 Directed by Jenny Myers
Jekyll and Hyde For performers ages 16-20 Auditions: May 4th @ 4 PM and May 5th @ 10AM Audition Packet Audition Location: Sierra Vista Mall Callbacks: Monday, May 7, 2012 Rehearsals Begin: June 18, 2012 Performances: August 3-11, 2012 Directed by Brent Moser
You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown For performers ages 11-15 Auditions: May 5th @ 4PM and May 6th @ 10AM Audition Packet Audition Location: Sierra Vista Mall Callbacks: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 Rehearsals Begin: July 9, 2012 Performances: August 17-26, 2012 Directed by Kyle Dodson
White Christmas For performers ages 8-Adult Auditions: September 29 & 30, 2012 (time TBA) Audition Location: TBA Callbacks: October 2, 2012 Rehearsals: October 22, 2012 Performances: December 7-16 Directed by Elizabeth Fiester
Reedley River City Auditions: Fiddler on the Roof May 5, 2012 2 p.m. at the Reedley Opera House
GCP’s Junior Company Auditions: All Junior Company Auditions begin at 9 a.m. in Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater, 1226 N. Wishon, Fresno MAY 12 - Summer Company Pre-Shows for Calamity Jane and Singin’ in the Rain September 29 - Winter Company Pre-Shows for Beehive & The 1st Show of 2013
Visalia Community Players Auditions: Spelling Bee will be May 20 and 21 at 7 p.m
Possible Call Backs May 22 7 p.m. Ice House Theater 410 E. Race Visalia, CA
Show performs Aug 17 to September 2 Please prepare a song and bring sheet music in correct key Singing from the show is allowed but not required.
The Show: Six young people in the throes of puberty, overseen by grown-ups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves, learn that winning isn't everything and that losing doesn't necessarily make you a loser.
CHIP TOLENTINO An athletic, social, boy scout and champion of the Twenty-Fourth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, he returns to defend his title, but he finds puberty hitting at an inopportune moment. C4 - B5
DOUGLAS PANCH The Vice Principle. Frustrated with his life, he finds the drive of the young spellers alien to him. After five years' absence from the Bee, Panch returns as judge. There was an "incident" at the Twentieth Annual Bee, but he claims to be in "a better place" now, thanks to a high-fiber diet and Jungian analysis. He is infatuated with Rona Lisa Peretti, but she does not return his affections.
LEAF CONEYBEAR The second runner-up in his district, Leaf gets into the competition on a lark and finds everything about the bee incredibly amusing. He is home-schooled and comes from a large family of former hippies. He has severe Attention Deficit Disorder and spells words correctly while in a trance. A3 - A5 >
LOGAINNE SCHWARTZANDGRUNENIERRE (SCHWARTZY) Logainne is the youngest and most politically aware speller, often making comments about current political figures. She is driven by internal and external pressure, but above all by a desire to win to make her two fathers proud. She is somewhat of a neat freak, speaks with a lisp, and will be back next year. A3 - F5
MARCY PARK A recent transfer from Virginia, Marcy placed ninth in last year’s nationals. She speaks six languages, is a member of all-American hockey, a championship rugby player, plays Chopin and Mozart on multiple instruments, sleeps only three hours a night, hides in the bathroom cabinet, and is getting very tired of always winning. She is the poster child for the Over-Achieving Asian, and attends a Catholic school called "Our Lady of Intermittent Sorrows." She is also not allowed to cry. C4 - E5
MITCH MAHONEY The Official Comfort Counselor. An ex-convict, Mitch is performing his community service with the Bee, and hands out juice boxes to losing students. He has no idea how to offer comfort, but does find himself wishing he could find a way to make the kids feel better. E4 - A5
OLIVE OSTROVSKY A young newcomer to competitive spelling. Her mother is in an ashram in India, and her father is working late, as usual, but he is trying to come sometime during the bee. Having found comfort in its words and vastness, Olive made friends with her dictionary at a very young age, helping her to make it to the competition. She starts enormously shy, and shyly blossoms. B3 - F5
RONA LISA PERETTI The number-one realtor in Putnam County, a former Putnam County Spelling Bee Champion herself, and the returning moderator. She is a sweet woman who loves children, but she can be very stern when it comes to dealing with Vice Principal Panch and his feelings for her. Her interest in the competition is unflagging and drives it forward. B3 - F5
WILLIAM BARFEE A Putnam County Spelling Bee finalist last year, he was eliminated because of an allergic reaction to peanuts and is back for vindication. His famous “Magic Foot” method of spelling has boosted him to spelling glory, even though he only has one working nostril and a touchy, bullying personality. He develops a crush on Olive. E4 - B5