Thursday, July 6, 2000
Golden trout, poppy, dog-faced butterfly, Charles B. Garrigus. What do these things have in common? Eureka! They're all official state symbols of California.
Although most folks around Monterey Bay maintain close ties with gray whales (State Marine Mammal) and redwoods (State Tree), few know that California has a State Poet Laureate. Nor had we ever heard of Charles B. Garrigus, who holds the esteemed (and mostly symbolic) post.
On the roll of California state insignias, a photograph of Garrigus, with his melancholy jowls and hopeful bolo tie, stands out somewhat incongruously among the flora and fauna, song and dance that is Official California. For one thing, he's the lone representative of his species. Sandwiched between the Official State Fossil (saber-tooth cat) and the State Prehistoric Artifact (the chipped stone bear), as well as all the other endangered and extinct lifeforms, is it any wonder that Charles B. Garrigus looks so blue?
We suspect that Garrigus, a former member of the state legislature, is somewhat of a fossil himself: His most recent work is Brief Candle: A Novel (1987) and he's been Poet Laureate of California since March 1966--and it's a lifetime appointment. We here at ArtiFacts feel that a post as vital as Official State Poet shouldn't be left to molder among the detritus of bureaucratic archaeology. Charles B. Garrigus is probably a fine fellow and all, but linguistically speaking, what has he done for us lately?
Let's put it to a vote. Who do you think should be California's Poet Laureate? Send your nominations (living poets only, please) to email@example.com.
Season of the Schlockbuster
The Outdoor Forest Theater Guild's annual summer film festival, Films in the Forest, is in full swing, showing some of the classic films of the 20th century on its outdoor projection screen. On chilly nights--which, let's face it, are most nights--the audience's tootsies are warmed by the glow of bonfires on either side of the screen/stage. And unlike at standard indoor theaters, where you're frisked at the door for contraband, here you're actually encouraged to bring a picnic and a bottle of wine, giving new energy to the tired concept, "date flick."
The July lineup is especially enticing. On July 11 is Sorry, Wrong Number (1948), with the sublime Barbara Stanwyck as a bedridden woman who believes she overhears her own murder being planned on the telephone. Next, on July 12, is the 1932 film Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, generally regarded as the best film version of the Robert Louis Stevenson novel. The July 18 offering is Sunset Boulevard, the story of aging silent-film star Norma Desmond (played by the truly terrifying Gloria Swanson), who attempts to engineer (manipulate might be a better word) a comeback.
On July 19 is Hitchcock's comedy-thriller To Catch a Thief, which featured the pyrotechnic pairing of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. Speaking of sparks, the film was shot in Monaco, where of course, Grace met husband-to-be Prince Rainier.
What more can be said about the 1971 cult classic Harold and Maude (July 25), except that seeing this morbidly funny, sweetly romantic film is something of a rite of passage for most people. And on July 26, the great Billy Wilder film Stalag 17, starring William Holden as a suspected spy in a POW camp during WWII.
The Outdoor Forest Theater is at the corner of Santa Rita and Mountain View in Carmel. Individual tickets are $5/adults, $3/kids. Box office opens at 8pm, and films start at dusk, around 8:30pm. Bring a blanket and dress in layers. For more information call 626-1681.