Happy to Be Here
Thursday, April 26, 2007
UCHAINED… I heard the other day that rainfall is something like 11 inches less than usual this year. That’s not good, especially when looking ahead to the really hot and dry weather in the coming months. Gotta give huge props to all the firefighters out there—I’m guessing they’re feeling like a bunch of soldiers on furlough, living in the moment but knowing full well what they’ll be facing around the next corner. Not trying to sound cynical, here, despite having some type of bug that’s got me virtually bed-ridden, but we really need to think about slowing everything down somehow.
Since the industrial revolution, which only the most futuristic thinkers may have questioned, modernization of the world has been focused on one formula: How fast, how cheap, how much. We apply that formula to everything from creating desktop computers to laying out chicken cutlets in the grocery chains. In some cases, the Henry Fordian assembly-line formula is a blessing. In others, a curse. Unfortunately, the world’s leaders (a mildly sarcastic term) disregard obvious and less-than-obvious detrimental offshoots of rampant mass productivity, endangering everyone with their myopic tenacity. Like artists who must periodically step away from the canvas to reflect, and envision, today’s world hierarchy needs to chill out a bit and tweak a few dials on this runaway civilization.
EAT WELL AND GOOD… Those dedicated folks at the Monterey Bay Aquarium know a few things about vision. On Thursday, May 17, the Aquarium will host a daylong Sustainable Food Institute for members of the media featuring key figures in the retail, food distribution, academia, restaurant, and wine and food-service industries—all looking at the growing movement of sustainable seafood and organic products into mainstream markets. It’s exactly this type of reflective approach to existing situations that all humans need to apply to their activities to connect food decisions with the health of soil, water and ocean. At the events they’ll honor chefs MARY SUE MILLIKEN and SUSAN FENIGER, and welcome JOHN CLEESE as a special guest. A dozen other celebrated North American chefs will also participate. To find out more, get on mbayaq.org and start fishing.
A GOOD PAISAN… On Sunday, April 29 at 4pm, head over to the San Carlos Parish Hall at 500 Church St. in Monterey to help raise funds for SAL SARDENA, who recently suffered a very serious injury that left him facing possible paralysis. BERT CUTINO told me about it after he was approached by a local civic group, I Giovanotti, longtime Montereyans committed to the community. Please call NINA RODRIGUEZ at Bert’s office: 649-2610 to offer help.
BIG FUN… Head up to the Pinnacles Saturday, April 28, from 11:30am to 4pm for the Fourth Annual Pinnacles Wine Festival. It’s hard to beat the combination of great wines, great food (hey, Chef TODD FISHER will be there) and great views. Hop on pinnacleswinefestival.com or call 678-2400…speaking of the one and only, larger-than-life Chef Todd, he recently did his Seventh Annual Zin Din wine dinner at Hullaballoo. Todd Fisher, big wines and a captured audience—you may have missed something special…another special wine dinner some of you missed was at Melange in PG. Chef DAVID FRAPPIEA prepared an amazing six-course feast to go along with the wines of Dry Creek Vineyards, all for the exceedingly reasonable price of $80, all inclusive. If you aren’t checking out the combination of great food, fascinating wines and friendly service at Melange, you’re missing out.
THAT OTHER WINE REGION… Went up to the Sonoma Valley Film Festival last weekend with SCOTT BROWN. If you follow this space, you may remember I wrote about his creation of the Carmel Film Festival, to take place in October of 2008. He’ll be partnering with the folks who organize Sonoma and, having lived that festival for just two of its four days, I am totally stoked. The festival uses a theme they call “Cinema Epicuria,” incorporating the great food and wine from the region. Add the diversity and stunning quality of the films, tributes and galas, like the salute to Pixar and Disney’s JOHN LASSETER, a Sonoma resident, emceed by TONY SHALHOUB, and featuring tributes by BONNIE HUNT, CHEECH MARIN and ROBIN WILLIAMS, and you have magic.
Celebs intermingled casually with the crowd (during the gala at Cline Winery, I was hanging out with JOE PANTOLIANO—by the way, his name is an anagram for mine—and his wife, talking about Sedona). JOEY RAPPA, local boy turned Hollywood producer, was working the room. What a fun guy with great stories—look for his recently made film >>Talk to Me, with DON CHEADLE, CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER and more.
Read some of what Scott envisions for the Peninsula: “The same food, wine and party emphasis, although on a much greater scale. This will be a huge cultural asset year-round, hugely fun (drive-in during Concours, films on the beach and Mission courtyard, a film sommelier, 48 Hour Movie-Making competition, the Sunset Center transformed into the country’s most beautiful movie theater) and an economic stimulus to the tune of $12 million annually. It’s all set up; all we need is money and people willing to help. Mostly money, sold in the form of memberships enabling folks to go to these film events year round. Those interested can reach me at 224-3187 or firstname.lastname@example.org.”
With the systematic reduction of tourist revenues since the dot-com bust and 9/11, the area has needed a large, world-class addition to its lineup of events. The Carmel Film Festival is just the ticket. Let’s make this great idea a reality…and let’s make my great ideas wait ‘til next week.