By the time you read this, East of Salinas will have aired nationally on PBS (10pm Monday, Dec. 28, on Independent Lens). It’s the story of a gifted 8-year-old boy named Jose, the son of undocumented migrant workers from Mexico, whom the filmmakers (Laura Pacheco and Jackie Mow) followed for three years to see what opportunities are denied him here through no fault of his own. The full film should be available to stream in a couple of months. Go to www.pbs.org/independentlens/films/east-of-salinas to find out more.
Midnight today (Thursday, Dec. 31) is the deadline to donate to Monterey County Gives! You can end 2015 on a positive note of good karma.
Voices of Change has arrived. It’s a book of interviews by the People’s Oral History Project, presented by Karen Araujo, Juan Martinez and Gary Karnes, with “63 local risk-takers, troublemakers, change agents, and community and labor union organizers who have been active across the Salinas Valley and the Monterey Peninsula since 1934.” It begins with an introduction by Sen. Bill Monning. The signing, celebration, historical exhibit and discussion happen 5-7:30pm Friday, Jan. 15, and 2-4:30pm Saturday, Jan. 16 at Unitarian Universalist Church in Carmel, with additional events coinciding with Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. Stay tuned. 402-9106.
Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve is an amazing slice of wild wetlands that’s home to an unexpected array of creatures and foliage – from sea otters and sea grass to blue herons and eucalyptus trees. They’re accepting volunteers for research, stewardship and admin programs (applications are online at www.ElkhornSlough.org). Learn more at one-day classes on various days in January and February. Call 728-2822 for more info.
Now that there’s an interim executive director in Susan Shillinglaw and CSUMB has finally completed purchase of the building and the 2015 Salinas Valley Comic Con is out of the way, the Steinbeck Center is ready to reinstate its annual Steinbeck Festival. It’s headlined as From Salinas to Sea of Cortez: Steinbeck on Land and Sea, and happens in 2016 May 6-8, with speakers, tours, authors, musicians and a beer festival. (Bet you didn’t see that beer festival coming, did you?) Tickets go on sale Jan. 30. 775-4721, www.Steinbeck.org.