Category Archives: This ‘n’ That

Gold Coast Concert Chorus offers a Toon-Full Cure for the “Twenty-Two Blues”

Let’s face it – 2022 has been a rough year. We’ve been dealing with a pandemic that refuses to go away, higher prices, and weather that can go from one extreme to the next. If there were any time that people needed to smile, laugh, and forget about their troubles for a while, this is it! Well, the Gold Coast Concert Chorus believes they have the cure for the “Twenty-Two Blues” – a concert featuring music from recent and classic Disney animated features.

For the last couple of months, the community chorus has been rehearsing every Monday night in the parking lot of a church in the Ventura foothills. Their singing has gotten good reviews from the church’s neighbors, and now they’re just about ready to come down from the hills and spread a little musical magic to the people of Ventura County, in a concert titled “Toon Tunes 2022”.

“Toon Tunes 2022” has been in the works for a long time – more than twenty years, in fact! It’s a sequel to a 2000 concert by the chorus paying tribute to music from animated films and television shows; this show will focus on a selection of songs from recent Disney films like Tangled, Moana, and Encanto, but will also feature selections from classic Disney features like Pinocchio, The Jungle Book, The Little Mermaid, and Aladdin.

Some people might argue that music from animated films is just kids’ stuff, but the chorus’ artistic director Elizabeth Helms, assistant artistic director Jessica Helms, and the chorus members would beg to differ. “The music we’ll be performing in concert talks about universal concerns like finding and losing love, the power of dreams, and the importance of trust and working together”, said Paul Schnebelen, a singer and the chorus’ membership chairman. “The music and lyrics are rich and complex, can be a challenge to perform, and are a joy to listen to. They’re not just for kids – they speak to all of us.”

Be sure to mark your calendars for “Toon Tunes 2022”, to be performed on Friday, May 20th at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 21st at 2:00 p.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Oxnard. Livestream tickets are also available for the Saturday performance. Audience members will be requested to wear masks or provide proof of vaccination and ID at the door.

Vol. 15, No. 17 – May 18 – May 31, 2022 – Community Events

Events by Ana Baker

Many children and teens have experienced the death of a loved one during the pandemic. This is a difficult time for anyone grieving a loss. Livingston’s Grief and Bereavement Program recognizes the value children and teens receive from sharing their grief experience with their peers. Our groups provide support, connection and validation that they are not alone.

The Good Grief Club meets the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month from 5:30 to 7 pm

The Young Teen Group meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month from 5:30 to 6:30 pm

If you would like to register a child or young teen for a support group, please contact Stacia Sickle at 805-389-6870 x452 or at ssickle@lmvna.org.

All support groups are free and conducted through Zoom at this time. For more information on the Grief and Bereavement Program, visit LMVNA.org.

The Ventura Senior Men’s Group continues to meet for a social lunch and program at the Poinsettia Pavilion on the first and third Tuesday each month. Men of all descriptions are always welcomed to stop in to sample our shenanigans.  Bob Likins at 805-587-1233 or Rick Follenweider at 650-520-1098 can supply details.

May 19: The East Ventura Community Council will meet via zoom on Thursday. Meredith Hart, the city of Ventura’s new Economic Development Manager, will talk about plans within the city’s business community. In addition, Ventura County Ballot Measures A and B will be discussed. Commander Weeks of the Ventura Police Department will share the area crime statistics. The Council represents those who live east of Victoria Avenue, and the public is encouraged to attend and participate. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m., link below. The Zoom link is available on the website, www.eastventura.org. A recording of meeting will be available later at website.

May 19: Join in the fun at our Channel Islands Gulls Fundraising Luncheon and help raise funds for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Ventura). NAMI is a grassroots, family and consumer self-help support and advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with severe mental illnesses. The Luncheon will be on Thursday at Yolanda’s, 86 East Daily Drive, Camarillo. Social hour will be at 11 a.m. and Noon for meeting. Cost: $40 per person – Advance reservations and payment required. For more information, call 263-7759 or cigullsreservations@gmail.com.

May 21-22: The Gold Coast Gem Show is coming to the Ventura County Fairgrounds. I will be featuring 30 dealers, including demonstrators and local Gem and Mineral Societies. Diane Cook, the owner of Daisy’s Rocks and Things, has curated a variety of vendors/dealers who specialize in gems, minerals, and fossils. Show goers will find unique and quality specimens, beads, jewelry, and lapidary supplies, including demonstrations and activities for the whole family.

The show is free and open to the public (fairground parking is additional). The show hours are 10-6 p.m. on Saturday, May 21 and 10-4 p.m. on Sunday, May 22. The Ventura County Fairgrounds is located at 10 W. Harbor Blvd.

May 25: The recently passed federal infrastructure bill potentially provides much needed funding for communities like Ventura. Congressperson Salud Carbajal will be explaining to the College Area Community Council how the city can take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. City Councilperson Doug Halter and Ventura Fire Prevention Supervisor Brett Reed will also be speaking. Join us on Zoom Wednesday, at 7 p.m. A link to the meeting will be sent to everyone on the CACC mailing list. Visit the College Area Community Council website @ caccVentura.com to learn more, to be added to the mailing list, or to access a link to the Zoom meeting.

June 25: Channel Islands PC User Group (CIPCUG) will have a discussion, tutorial, and Q&A sessions centered on Computers, email, the Internet, social media brokers such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, and Yahoo.  9:30 a.m. on Saturday, online and now live at our temporary location Ventura County Computers 2175 Goodyear Avenue, Unit 117. All CIPCUG events may be attended online.  Due to limited space, live attendance is reserved for members.  Details for connecting to online events are emailed prior to the event.  To receive connection
instructions, please sign up on our website: http://www.cipcug.org or call 289-3960

May 25: The Channel Islands Chapter of the Embroiderers’ Guild of America (CICEGA) will meet at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday at the United Methodist Church, 291 Anacapa Drive, Camarillo. This month we will be learning new techniques while we make a Ribbonere Scissor Case. For more information, e-mail president@channelislandsega.org or visit our website at https://www.channelislandsega.org.

Night includes live music, dinner and silent auction to benefit middle school music program

The Cabrillo Middle School Music Department is excited to be holding – once again – their annual fundraising event on Saturday, May 21, 2022 at Boccali’s Pizza and Pasta in Ojai. The event features live music, dinner and a silent auction. All funds raised benefit the school’s music program.

This will be the first time the annual event is being held in two years due to COVID-19. Parent coordinators, the music program’s leadership and student musicians alike are more than excited about being able to hold and participate in this event again.

This event has always been an important event for our program both from a fundraising standpoint and just a super fun event be able to showcase the students’ hard work,” said Cabrillo Middle School Music Director, Mr. Mario Boccali. “All the groups – professional and student – are delighted to perform, especially after COVID which put a lot of groups off the stage for so long.”

Attendees will be able to listen to jazz music from both student and professional groups including Cabrillo Middle School Jazz Band A, The Thatcher School’s Jazz Ensemble, Ventura High School Jazz Band and professional jazz musicians including Sean Riddle, Josh Jones and Andrew Chermak.

The Music Department at Cabrillo Middle School is directed by Mr. Mario Boccali and Mr. Gabriel Garnett and works to bring together music-making and the academic learning of music in the areas of composition, performance, music history and music theory. The department offers a variety of ensembles for every student – from those who have never played an instrument to those who enter the program with years of experience. Students learn music fundamentals and how to work hard and succeed as a group to produce great results. The program aims to provide a positive and fun environment where music students have the opportunity to participate in clinics with music professionals and perform at music festivals and other fun events throughout the community. The school’s top groups perform at nationally adjudicated festivals each year on the annual Spring Tour.

An all-volunteer, nonprofit organization, the Cabrillo Music Boosters serves to support Cabrillo Middle School’s vibrant award-winning music program. The Music Boosters’ primary function is to support the music program in several ways, the most important being fundraising. The CMS Boosters help to pay for new instruments, uniforms, new sheet music, music tutors for beginning band students, and transportation expenses for festival performances. To donate to or learn more about the program, go to:

https://sites.google.com/view/cabrillomiddleschoolmusic/.

The event which is open to the public runs from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Ticket price is $35 in advance, at $40 at the door. Admission includes dinner, music and a silent auction. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time at https://sites.google.com/view/cabrillomiddleschoolmusic/home.

The Romance and Charm of “Sobre Las Olas”

by Patricia Schallert

“Sobre Las Olas”, a charming, antique motor yacht has berthed in the Ventura Harbor (At the Portside Ventura Harbor docks) since November, 2021. “Sobre Las Olas”, translates to “Over the Waves”, was built in the 1920’s and its craftsmanship reflects an era long past. Once owned  by JP Getty, this vessel reflects exceptional attention to detail and continues to be a source of joy and historical appeal for the current owners and now the Ventura community.

The yacht was built around the same time Black Tuesday overwhelmed the country in the 1920’s. The original owners were forced to sell it  and JP Getty was an eager buyer. He held on to it until 1932 where it began to change hands several times before being purchased by the current owners. At present time, “Sobre Las Olas” is one of the largest antique classic yachts on the West Coast.

Strolling the decks of this rare beauty, one is left in awe and a special feeling of charm and wonder. The interior is stunning and there is ample indoor and outdoor space to enjoy with guests and one’s imagination. It feels adventure ready and her elegance is apparent.

The decks and railings are teak and the beautiful Honduras mahogany is all original in the dining salon. Smaller touches, like the dining salon’s lighting fixtures, are also all original.

The interior is gracious, clean and smooth with a  superstructure over the back deck. A new galley was constructed and the lounge area has been renovated, with cabinets, windows and lighting refurbished to keep the living area comfortable for guests.

She comfortably sleeps 12, with a master stateroom, 3 bathrooms, a crew’s quarter for 5, a guest cabin for 2, a master cabin, a pilot cabin, and an additional cabin in the back of the hull. The owners are committed to keep the yacht’s original design intact even as they modernize various areas throughout yacht.

Her engines are original 1929 Atlas Imperial diesel engines and two of four are left in existence. A similarly constructed engine from the same era currently sits in the Smithsonian Institute.

Her appeal is timeless throughout the meticulously handcrafted workmanship. Her classic lines and vintage charm have been only enhanced by her extensive updates over the years, making her the perfect blend of old and new. Since it has been in Ventura, the community has embraced it as heads are turned when strolling by on the promenade or sailing by on more modernized vessels.

The waltz “Sobre Las Olas” (or “Over the Waves”) is the best-known work of Mexican composer Juventino Rosas (1868–1894). It “remains one of the most famous Latin American pieces worldwide”, according to the “Latin America” article in The Oxford Companion to Music.

Editor’s note: This is the second article in the Breeze featuring an historically important yacht berthed in Ventura. If you know of a local yacht that might also be historical to be featured in the Breeze let us know at editor@venturabreeze.com.

Fundraiser held to benefit the City Center

On Saturday, April 30, under a beautiful Ventura evening “La Dolce Vita, Silent Auction Dinner Dancing” was held celebrating and benefiting the families and children at the City Center. The fund-raiser event was held in the beautiful back yard at a magnificent home located on Barnard Way in Ventura.

The evening featured a cocktail party, snacks, great food, live music, dancing and fund-raising auctions. It was attended by several hundred enthusiastic caring people.

Pastor Jim Duran, Executive Director of the center was the MC for the event. He stated “ Not one of our “graduates” have gone back to being homeless. All of our residents start out being homeless. The City Center is the only transitional housing center that does not receive government funding.”

He went on “Thank you for being at tonight‘s event and for all your support! It is because of your donations we are able shelter homeless children in a safe place they can call home. While providing their parents the life skills they need to graduate our program and to be self-sufficient.  This program exists because of the caring people in our community and the desire of giving a hand up not just a handout.”

He stated “Residents must find work and put a portion of their salaries into an account.” He spoke of a resident that left the facility with $19,000 and another with $25,000. Of the approximately 80 residents living there now, 50 are children.

Besides the income from the auctions when Jim Duran asked for donations from the crowd the first one was for $10,000.00.

The City Center and its staff, case managers, therapists, and mentors are dedicated to helping homeless, often single parent families with child transitioning from homelessness to independence. They do this over the course of many months.

The residents and their care team put in a lot of hard work, and it is all worth it. Though the housing is temporary it is a safe place to call their own during that time, a place they can find some needed stability in their life. The City Center is a place where they can concentrate on getting their life under control.

Residents are given more than just spiritual and life skills as mentioned by Jim, residents are empowered to become financially stable through a savings program and employment requirement. With this help and structure, they find themselves back on their feet and on their own. All it takes is a willing heart, and a determined spirit.

The Center is located at 837 E. Thompson in Ventura.

Rubicon Season opens with “Twilight Los Angeles”

Opening night at the Rubicon included many local dignitaries.

by Richard Lieberman

The Rubicon Theatre Company of Ventura opened it’s 2022/2023 season with a play by Anna Deavere Smith “Twilight Los Angeles, 1992” a production that depicts the events of the 1992 L.A. riots. The production premiered on the 30th anniversary of the Rodney King verdict and the L.A. riots. April 29, 1992, the day the verdict in the Rodney King trial, triggered one of the most explosive events of the 20th century.

The one man play chronicles the events leading up to and during the tumultuous L.A. riots. Starring Chris Butler and written by Anna Deavere Smith. Based on interviews conducted by Anna Deavere Smith all words spoken were by the real people involved.

Butler portrayed over fifty people involved in some way with the events leading up to, during and after the riots. His energy and accuracy in describing the events is unappareled in a real-life production.

Opening night at the Rubicon included many local dignitaries and politicians including Steve Bennett California State Assembly member, Doug Halter City of Ventura Councilmember, Erik Nasarenko Ventura County District Attorney, former state senator Hannah Beth Jackson, Regina K. Crawford, President of NAACP Ventura County, Joe Spano award winning actor and many others.

Steve Bennett California State Assembly when asked about the season premiere and how the new season will unfold said “I am very optimistic because I think people are desperate to get back out to these types of things where you can be together with people and watch live theatre” he said. Bennett added “Live theatre just touches you in a way that no other medium does. I am very hopeful and optimistic about the Rubicon theatre.” He also added “I think it is good for us to be reminded and I think it is a real compliment to the Rubicon that they are the ones that get to have this opening here with such an incredible actor.”

Doug Halter City of Ventura Councilmember was instrumental in the creation of the theatre and had this to say about his role and the upcoming season, “In 1998 I heard that the Ventura Pentecostal Church was for sale. I was surprised and impressed, the church had some 10,000 square feet of space with three stories and a great ocean view. I recognized that the church would be a perfect building to house a community theatre in its ground floor sanctuary,”

I mentioned this to Karyl Lynn Burns, and she said “it has been my dream to create a local theatre here in Ventura” he added.

I am very optimistic and looking forward to the upcoming season, all the credit goes to the wonderful artists and volunteers that make the Rubicon successful and fill a need for the arts and theatre in Ventura,” he said.

Karyl Lynn Burns Producing Artistic Director stated “We have created an environment where commitment and risk are encouraged, and where artists are nurtured and respected, “she said. She added “As a result the company has gained a reputation for invigorating interpretations of the classics and for supporting the developments of new work. Rubicon presents at least one World Premiere each season, as well as readings of works-in-progress,”

The upcoming season will continue to honor the legacy and the traditions of our local community theatre” she added.

“Twilight Los Angeles” runs at the Rubicon until May 15.

Ventura Land Trust holds ribbon cutting ceremony at Harmon Canyon Preserve

Organizers of the event hope to raise an additional $1 million dollars.

by Richard Lieberman

In an effort to raise an additional $1 million for the Harmon Canyon Preserve the Ventura Land Trust held a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Harmon Canyon Preserve, located off Kimball and Foothill roads on Earth Day, April 22. The preserve covers an area of 2,100 acres of Ventura hillsides.

Recently the final phase of fundraising for the Harmon Canyon Preserve was conducted by the non-profit Ventura Land Trust. The trust held a kickoff for the campaign with the ribbon cutting ceremony featuring local officials.

Organizers of the event hope to raise an additional $1 million dollars. The funding will go toward maintaining plant life, establishment of new oak trees, and the creation and maintenance of new trails.

The anticipated funds will also be used to remove invasive species like the wild mustard that has invaded the habitat and is growing throughout the canyon. The funds will also be used to clear out downed branches.

The Ventura Land Trust’s goals are to keep the trails open, operating, and available to the public permanently.

“We recognize that is a big promise but it’s something we are committed to for the people of our community and the wildlife,” said Mellissa Baffa Ventura Land Trust executive director. She added “$10.6 million has been raised for the preserve so far. The money comes from a mix of government and foundation grants as well as private doners.”

Harmon Canyon Preserve was opened to the public in June 2020 said Leslie Velez, outreach director for the Ventura Land Trust. From the 1800’s through June 2020, the property had been privately owned, she said.

“The canyon preserve designated for habitat conservation and public access, has been attracting 65,000, people a year since its opening for biking, hiking, and recreation,” Baffa said. “It’s our hope and anticipation that some of those tens of thousands of people that have fallen in love with this space will join the campaign and help to support it”.

Harmon Canyon Preserve is a living laboratory, teaching participants how to identify plants and animals and facilitating hands-on fieldwork projects. Hundreds of volunteers work hand in hand with Ventura Land Trust in the stewardship of Harmon Canyon Preserve each year building trails, removing invasive plant species, and ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for visitors.

The history of the canyon dates back to its original habitants, the Chumash. A Chumash speaker, elder Julie Tumamait-Stenslie, tribal chair of the Barbareno/Ventureno Band of Mission Indians said, “opening the space was important. We lost a lot through colonization of our people. So, we are coming back to that. We are reconnecting that relationship that Indigenous peoples have to this earth and to this land,” Tumamait-Stenslie said.

Ventura Mayor Sofia Rubalcava remarked” the preserve offers Spanish-language signs that help make it accessible and inviting for all communities.”

“I know that Harmon Canyon also offers Spanish language tours so that people who maybe never thought of themselves as hikers or mountain bikers or preservationists can have access to this place and see how beautiful it is and want to come back,” said Rubalcava.

Memorial Tree for Midge Stork

Joe Cahill, Chris Grant, Kevin McDermott, Barbara Brown and Christy Weir were all smiles as Chris Grant and Kevin McDermott planted the Coquito Palm.

The Ventura Tree Alliance, in partnership with the Ventura Botanical Gardens, planted a tree to honor founder Midge Stork — her philanthropic life and her profound contributions to our community and to the development of the Gardens. Midge Stork was one of the five founders and continued as a major force behind the creation, funding and initial development of the Gardens.

The tree chosen to plant in her honor is a Chilean Wine Palm, also known as the Coquito Palm for its small coconuts that first fruit when the tree is thirty to sixty years old. It is arguably one of the world’s most magnificent palms and is often depicted in Chilean historic paintings. The indigenous people of Chile also used its image as a pictograph for the word “huge”. The tree can grow to 80 feet in height and live to be 1500 years old.

This spectacular tree is considered a vulnerable, threatened species, due to the destruction of the tree in its native environment from over-harvesting of its palm honey for wine. Harvesting Chilean Wine Palms for the honey kills the tree. The Ventura Botanical Gardens is part of a global conservation program for this species.

The tree was planted on Earth Day, April 22, 2022. The Ventura Botanical Gardens and the Ventura Tree Alliance hope that visitors will stop by on their walks through the Gardens to pay homage to this tree as a remembrance of Midge Stork, an illustrious tour-de-force of Ventura.

The Ventura Tree Alliance works to enhance Ventura’s urban canopy, to beautify Ventura and contribute to counteracting climate change. The goals are to inspire, engage and support Venturans in planting and caring for trees through education, advocacy, volunteerism, and fundraising.

To find out more, visit VenturaTreeAlliance.com or VenturaBotanicalGardens.com and join us on Facebook.

Westside Born Learning Trail gets revitalized on Earth Day

Born Learning Trails were developed to support language, literacy and social skills. Photos by Michael Gordon

by Amy Brown

Earth Day often includes collaborations of individual and community groups to celebrate the world in which we live, and learn to improve sustainability to preserve it. In that spirit, local community members, the city of Ventura, volunteers from the United Way and Aera Energy gathered recently to celebrate Earth Day and invest in early childhood development and education by renovating the interactive Born Learning Trail at Westpark Community Center. This colorful, educational trail features ten stations for kids and families to get out, get moving and have fun while learning in different languages and through unique activities.

The original trail was put in ten years ago, and it received a comprehensive upgrade at the event from approximately 30 volunteers, whose hands-on efforts included creating new signs, adding new paint, activities, decorations and structures.  “What happens in a child’s early years matters,” said Mitchel Sloan, interim president and CEO of United Way of Ventura County. “The Born Learning Trail is just an excellent way to really utilize our amazing parks, while helping generate conversations between parents, caregivers and child. It can have an amazing impact early childhood learning, really increasing the chance of a child entering school ready to learn.”

According to Aera Energy—which has helped sponsor 12 such trails with the United Way throughout California, including in Oxnard—the trails are designed to spark a love of learning at an age that sets the foundation for lifelong learning, behavior and health.  “A parent is really a child’s first teacher, and this trail gives them activities to teach kids numbers, shapes, counting along with how to get themselves moving,” said Michele Newell, Corporate Community Relations representative for Aera.  “These trails fit in with our focus on education and trying to give families opportunities to learn things differently, all while getting them out and moving together.”

Born Learning Trails were developed to support language, literacy and social skills development throughout local communities, with displays offering engagement with numbers and shapes, while integrating information about exploring nature. John Thomas, a mechanic with Aera and with the company for 15 years, was among the volunteers jumping in to refurbish the trail. A father of two, and grandfather of a two-year-old, he recognized the value of these projects for young learners. “It was cool to participate in this, especially once you learned the reasoning behind it,” said Thomas. “Aera really puts effort into maintaining relationships with the community and being good stewards, and it’s a big reason why I decided to go out there.”

Sloan was enthusiastic about how the newly refurbished trail is already being received by the Westside community, where a rededication ribbon cutting ceremony was held with attendees including local families, the mayor, and representatives from First 5 Ventura County, the chamber of commerce, and the board of supervisors. “This collaboration was a true testament to the idea that it takes a village, with everyone coming together to bring this to fruition,” he said.

Up Close and Personal with Bob Eubanks

Photos by Yana Khiyod and Patricia Schallert.

On April 28, the Museum of Ventura County presented an interview “Ivor Davis:
Up Close and Personal with Bob Eubanks.” The large crowd enjoyed hearing about
his life and illustrious career and asked him many interesting questions. He also signed copies of “Bob Eubanks It’s In The Book Bob!” Eubanks is best known for hosting the popular TV show, “The Newlywed Game.”