Arts & Culture Blog
Arts & Culture Blog
Criminal justice in Salinas, cinema at CSUMB and celebrity sightings in Big Sur
SHORT STORY: The aftermath of the tragic accident in which Carmel photographer and gallery owner Rachael Short was partially paralyzed while returning from a Halloween party in Big Sur continued to play out in the legal system last week. Myles Goldman Lerner, the driver of the car who has been charged with felony hit-and-run driving, appeared at a scheduling hearing before Monterey County Superior Court Presiding Judge Adrienne Grover. Vanessa Hacker, Lerner’s girlfriend, and Joseph McEvoy, a passenger in the car, were also arraigned on charges that they helped Lerner avoid arrest. Lerner and Hacker were also charged Thursday on an additional count of cultivating marijuana for sale. Grover set a preliminary hearing for the three for Feb. 10 before Superior Court Judge Larry Hayes.
A chastened-looking Lerner appeared in court flanked by family members; Hacker looked similarly somber.
Lerner’s attorney, Joe Cisneros, speaking on behalf of lead counsel Larry Biegel, had little comment on the case except to say: “These are very serious allegations. Mr. Lerner is taking them very seriously, and we’re taking them very seriously.” Someone apparently forgot to tell McEvoy just how serious the allegations were, however. He showed up late to the hearing, wearing blue jeans, an open-necked shirt he hadn’t bothered to tuck in, and tennis shoes. All three defendants have entered a plea of not guilty. More details will no doubt be forthcoming as this sad story unfolds, but one thing is clear: Rachael Short deserved better.
MAHITO’S MEMORY. Enid Baxter Blader, chair of the Teledramatic Arts and Technology Department at CSUMB, reports that an estimated $9,000 has been given thus far for the Mahito Shirako Scholarship Fund (go to www.csumb.edu.edu/give, click “donate” and complete the form with the name “Mahito Shirako” in the remarks section if you want to contribute. CSUMB graduate Shirako was a beloved tech assistant in the department who died in a dirt biking accident in early November. The goal is to raise $25,000 in his name. His life is remembered by friends and loved ones at www.mahitoforever.com and includes this high-spirited salute from Shirako’s friend, Greg Hamer: “Steps toward a Mahito Shirako Scholarship have been/are being taken. Although the applicants are going to have a hard time meeting the application requirements! Filling the shoes of a big-ass, half-Japanese, half- German, dirt-bike riding, sushi loving, turkey-frying beast-of-a-man can’t be too easy!’’ Nevertheless, the department plans a Jan. 15 event called “Mahitapalooza,” with bands and a silent auction of a limited edition of Blader’s hand-drawn posters, along with other items to further this extremely worthy cause.
The energetic Ms. Blader adds that there is now an open call for free submissions to the Teen Film Festival, a new addition to the Monterey Bay Film Festival. Deadline is Feb. 11; the Festival takes place at the World Theater on April 19. Information: www.montereybayfilmfestival.com.>
Oh yeah, she also informs that CSUMB was recently awarded $385,000 in stimulus funds for innovative projects, including workshops at 13 sites across Monterey County that help at risk, incarcerated and migrant youths. And local screenwriter Julie Howe, whose film Jasper Milliken recently won the screenplay award for Best Comedy at the Austin Film Festival, appeared the other week to talk with Blader’s students. Also on the panel: Howe’s colleagues Michael Ryan-Fletchall, CEO-Film Division at Experience Media; Jason Kay, Experience’s North American production vice president; and Joanne Storkin, a local writer who executive produced Wild Target, an indie currently showing at Osio Cinemas.
Experience recently acquired the rights to Carmel: The Movie, a (prophetic?) fictional account of an art forgery in Carmel starring Lauren Bacall, Josh Hutcherson, Dina Eastwood, Alfred Molina and Hayden Panettiere. Howe, an investor in the project, which was previously beset by host of legal difficulties, said it now has a tentative release date of February 2011.
In other film news, Hello, Lonesome, one of the entries at this fall’s Carmel Film and Art Festival, just won the “New Visions” category of the Bahamas International Film Festival. The Adam Reid-directed indy depicted a love affair between a single urban guy and the woman of his dreams, who turns out to have a fatal illness. It was released before the big studios pursued a similar story line in Love and Other Drugs. Who needs Anne Hathaway or Jake Gyllenhaal?
POSTING UP: If you were wondering the answer to the last half of the previous question, the winner is: the ubiquitously annoying Taylor Swift. According to a recent Us Weekly cover story and other reports, Gyllenhaal and Swift, whose latest album, “Speak Now” is number two on the Billboard charts, were hot and heavy in a tryst at the Post Ranch Inn over the Halloween holidays. No word on whether Kanye, whose current release “The Gift” suffered the indignity of being knocked to seventh place by Susan Boyle, was picketing—or Tweeting—outside the Big Sur spot.
PESTICIDES AND PAINTINGS: Dan Beck, the Salinas artist responsible for the Weekly’s cover art of workers in an agriculture field in the Dec. 9-15 issue, is a triple threat: In addition to his landscapes, regularly on view at the 4 Word Art Gallery on West Gabilan Street in Salinas and the nearby Green-Belly Yoga Studio, he’s a musician who regularly gigs at the Salinas Fish House and the Kokoro and La Fogata restaurants, playing a mix of jazz, blues and fusion. In between, he helps mind the store at 4Word on behalf of his equally busy partner, perennial Salinas advocate Trish Sullivan. Check out more of Beck’s art at http://blog.outhousestudios.net/topics/salinas-valley/page/2/danbeck.com.
WOMEN WARRIORS II: After the deadline passed for last week’s offering, it was announced that in addition to her other honors, Carmel author Belle Yang’s graphic memoir, “Forget Sorrow” was named one of the top books of the year by the Los Angeles Times Book Review and the literary website www.barnesandnoblereview.com. And Jane Smiley’s “Memories of the Gore Administration,” a riff on what might have been if George W. Bush had not been put forward as our 43rd president, appeared in New York magazine, along with fantasies by other distinguished authors including Kurt Anderson, Walter (Up In The Air) Kirns and…Glenn Beck. Well, almost all of them are distinguished.
IT’S GREEK TO ME. And best-selling author/computer/artificial Intelligence geek Zachary Mason had this to say about the inspiration for his best-selling novel, “The Lost Books of the Odyssey’’ in a talk at the MPC Library as part of the school’s Great Books program www.mpc.edu/greatbooks) introduced by English Department prof Dave Clemens. “In his story, ‘The Gospel According to Mark,’ Jorge Luis Borges wrote that there only two stories central to Western culture: one about a man who gets killed on a hill, and the other about a man who is lost at sea and is trying to find his way home.’’
And so it goes: email your thoughts, tips and brickbats to… firstname.lastname@example.org.