Glen Ellen Telegram for Nov. 15, 2019
Anyone familiar with Sonoma's country roads is familiar with the presence of abandoned/dumped large items, and not too long ago a truck camper shell showed up along Sonoma Mountain Road. Then, some creative person recently turned it into the thought-provoking art installation you see in the photo below. I commute along this road and perhaps it was those words, together with the anxious boredom of a six-day power outage, that suddenly compelled me to clean and organize and rid myself of kitchen/pantry items. I didn't go full Marie Kondo, but definitely set free those things I was “tired of” and I'm certain “the feeling was mutual.” A little fall cleaning sure feels nice.
And on the topic of “cleaning up,” Glen Ellen's own Ed Davis is now ranked number six in the world and number three in the U.S.A. for Master's Level Discus in his age category. He says that throwing requires the careful integration of many small elements to find just the right balance so that the released discus stays somewhere between wildly out of bounds and falling short. As a master writer, he says the process is much the same to find balance in each sentence. If you aren't familiar with Ed's writing, check out Road Stories, In All Things, and A Matter of Time. Ed and his wife Jan are long-time residents of Glen Ellen who raised their children here and now enjoy being very active grandparents. They continue to be advocates for both education and community.
Speaking of education ... great news from Dunbar School! Transcendence Theatre Company (TTC) has launched its School Arts Integration Program with our village elementary school as the pilot site for the program. I recently sat down with Nikko Kimzin, director of education and community outreach, and the two professional artist/educators who are in-classroom for this new program, Erika Conaway and AJ Ackleson. AJ comes to this position direct from an NYC-based non-profit that provided musical theater training in high-risk, low-socioeconomic school settings. Erika has decades of experience as a dance educator, substitute teacher, and nanny, and both have been involved for several years with TTC's summer kids' camp program.
This month marked the kick off of 45 minute lessons paired with language development, including everything from vocal/physical warm ups to discussion, and from character development to performance elements. The program is a six-week fall curriculum with grades first through fifth and some afterschool programming that will culminate in a talent show. In the spring, upper-grade curriculum will culminate in a revamped and production of the retired “5th grade play.”
Regarding this program, Kimzin says the stage was set with the district back in 2018 with a decision to start with one school and Dunbar seemed the perfect fit. The intention is to expand to three schools by fall of 2020.
After the first week of lessons, the TTC team reports that “we have already seen how students who begin the class timid eventually come out of their shells and are able to stand and present their character creations.”
“The Dunbar team is amazingly supportive and we are truly loving this school community,” said Kimzin.
In addition to this elementary-level program, TTC is bringing an Advanced Training experience to 50 high school kids over a series of three workshops that will focus on voice and body language for the working professional. These are meant to tie in not just with performance art but also with preparing students to present their student projects and to be more confident going into any professional interview. Dunbar Principal Jillian Beall is “very excited to keep the tradition of arts education alive at Dunbar School and thrilled that such a group of professionals will be helping to inspire our students.”
The buzz from around the bendThe Jack London Saloon has some new signage and each Monday has great eats, typically from a food truck or a pop-up with a local chef.
The smalltown fair last month was awesome: more updates on those details next month as we are waiting to hear about the overall financials and how much/to whom the non-profit is able to donate this year. Save the date for the 30th Annual Glen Ellen Village Fair, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020.
The Glen Ellen Forum welcomed Executive Director Jennifer Gray Thompson of Rebuild Northbay to the early November meeting where she presented the mission of the non-profit and several examples of programs/projects they have been involved in or helped to spearhead. Communities such as Glen Ellen can continue to reach out for Rise Up small community grants through RBNB for collective resilient recovery projects. The forum will be having a more informal social-style holiday meeting next month on Monday, Dec. 9, from 7-9 p.m. in the Jack London Saloon restaurant space. There will be no monthly meeting in January.
On Saturday, Nov. 16, Hanna Institute at the Hanna Boys Center is hosting a free movie screening of Warrior Women, which is described as “the untold story of American Indian Movement activists who fought for civil rights in the 1970s, and the children who served as their inspiration and their cohorts.” The doors open at 6 p.m., with program 6:30-8:30. After the film there will be a “talkback” including local indigenous elders. Hanna says that this “film is part of a bigger ongoing initiative known as the Warrior Women Project (WWP), an innovative collaboration of community based scholarship, media, leadership development and grassroots activism that provides a forum for Indigenous activists to tell their stories for the benefit of future generations.” Visit Eventbrite or call Hanna Institute at 996-6767 to RSVP.
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Do you have any Glen Ellen stories to share? Milestones? Celebrations? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 996-3352.