Thursday, March 13, 2003
MAC AND AVA ON OPRAH...Monterey filmmaker/producers Terri DeBono and Steve Rosen labored for four years on Accidental Hero: Room 408, a moving portrayal of a high school speech teacher from Union City, California, who molded a group of at-risk kids into a nationally-acclaimed debate team (the "sport" is actually called "forensics," but no one knows what that means besides investigating corpses). Despite critical acclaim and airings on PBS last fall, the talented duo couldn't seem to get the funding needed to bring this uplifting and very smart documentary to a wider public. Maybe, DeBono muses, it's just too happy a story. But Oprah Winfrey loves happy stories, so Accidental Hero will be featured Thursday, March 13, at 3pm on the Oprah show, and the Queen of Feeling Good will present teacher Tommie Lindsay--the star of the film--with a check for $100,000. Way to go, Mac And Ava!
NEA BUCKS FOR TWO GROUPS...The Western Stage at Hartnell College in Salinas has received a prestigious $13,000 matching grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, in honor of the theater's innovative Rain of Gold project. Rain of Gold, adapted from the best-selling work by Victor Villasenor, is a dramatization of the history of the author's own family as they made the long trek from Mexico to the ranchlands of California over several generations. Villasenor has just been named to the new Steinbeck Chair at Hartnell College, the first recipient of that honor. AT&T Pebble Beach Charities has also stepped up to the plate, with a $20,000 matching grant for Rain of Gold. The Western Stage production opens on the Main Stage August 8. A second NEA grant of $25,000 was awarded to the Monterey Jazz Festival.
MUSEUM GOES MOBILE...Thanks to the efforts of Rep. Sam Farr, the Monterey County Youth Museum will get $300,000 to expand its current services to local schools and outlying neighborhoods with a mobile hands-on unit. MY Museum, housed for the time being on Cannery Row, teaches children about Central Coast history and promotes awareness of social relationships as the building blocks of community.