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THE QUESNOY HOME Home Is Where the Hunt Is



Celebrating 85 Years at the Fox Theatre ECRWSS RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMER LOCAL

APRIL 2015



24 HOME TOUR The Quesnoy Home



Letter from the Executive Editor

Levi Gill

10 Wordplay

Rounding Up the Past to Brand the Future


Fifth generation cowboy ropes tradition with ingenuity.

22 Sip: Wine & Cheese Walk – Rocking, Walking, and Wining Down Main Street


History: A Visalia Girl – Bright, Modest, & Winsome

40 Travel: Petra, Jordan – A Desert Masterpiece


52 Community: Sequoia Garden Club – Inspiring Gardens in the Midst of a Drought


56 Happenings

South of the Border Brunch Huevos Rancheros with a Pepper Bloody Mary Go Spanish for your next brunch menu. PAGE

34 ART

A Sweet Escape Celebrating 85 Years at the Visalia Fox Theatre PAGE

46 4

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Recall the heritage and history of the Downtown Visalia staple.

ON THE COVER: The porch that sits off the back of the Quesnoy home is the ideal place to be one with nature. PICTURED: The front of the cabin is something out of a movie, of what you would picture for your idyllic cabin home.


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Visalia Lifestyle Magazine is published monthly and is distributed via direct mail to nearly 13,000 homes in the upper-middle and high-income neighborhoods in Visalia and Exeter. An additional 2,000 copies are distributed at various distribution points around both communities. Views expressed in columns are those of the columnist and not necessarily those of DMI Agency or its advertisers.

Circulation of this issue: 15,500 © 2015 DMI Agency


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DMI Agency Evolutions Fitness Center, Tulare TAZZARIA Coffee & Tea The Lifestyle Center Visalia Chamber of Commerce Visalia Convention Center COUNTERTOP LOCATIONS

210 Cafe Art Consortium Ashoori & Co. Jewelers Avedian Properties Bravo Farms Smokehouse Café 225 California Fitness Academy Chicago Title Creekside Day Spa, Skin & Laser Center Courtyard Aesthetics Dale Bruder Law Offices Envie Boutique Exeter Chamber of Commerce Flow Studios Franey's Design Center Fugazzis Hobbs-Potts Associates Holiday Inn Kaweah Delta Hospital Keller Williams Reality Lewis & Associates McDermott Counseling Michaels Jewelry Monet's, Exeter Pacific Treasures Pro-PT Renaissance Salon Sequoia Prompt Care Sherman & Associates Smiles by Sullivan, Tulare Smile Visalia Suncrest Bank V Medical Spa Velvet Sky Visalia Airport Visalia Business Bank (Downtown) Visalia Ceramic Tile Visalia First Assembly Visalia Marriott Visalia Medical Clinic Watsons Wildflower Café, Exeter Williams, Brodersen & Pritchett, Attorneys at Law Windows Plus, Inc.

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KAREN TELLALIAN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR For more information or to submit a story idea email or call (559) 739-1747 or fax (559) 738-0909.


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t started out like any other Sunday morning, with me in the kitchen, looking out at the backyard and pool. On this particular day, I happened to be home alone…or so I thought. From the kitchen window, I watched in panic as a wild animal (opossum) made its way around my “cement pond” in search of water. While I have many fond memories about growing up in the country, surrounded by farmland and a horse or two, this moment made me forget all about that and reminded me that critters and I do not, I repeat, do not get along. Even so, I bravely walked outside, thinking it would scare off easily like the neighbor’s cat, but not so. As I clapped my hands and yelled, it instead turned and looked at me as if to dare me to lay claim on my own backyard. It is important to note that I did not push, shove, or otherwise force the critter into the pool, but that is exactly where she ended up. Traumatized and in a total panic (me, not the opossum), I did what any converted city gal would do – I called my best friend to come help me. She did, and then called two more friends. Before I knew it, three friends came to my rescue. This story did not end well for the opossum, and there were many tears shed (some of laughter, some of grief), but as always, there is a silver lining. We all like to think we have at least one friend we can call day or night, no matter the situation, and know they would drop everything to be by our side. Thankfully, it is not often we put that to the test. Stress can cause a friendship to crack or grow stronger, but it’s not likely a great relationship will develop if you never let them see the ugly. It is in these moments the character of the friendship is determined, and I am grateful to know that even if I call early on a Sunday morning, at least one pajama-clad friend will come running. Not to mention, jump into my pool to try and save an opossum from a dreadful fate. You might be wondering why an opossum, largely nocturnal, would be wandering about in broad daylight. If I had to guess, it would be in search of water, which is in very short supply. Perhaps that desperate search caused it to be less fearful and it decided to take a chance and come out during the day. Without rain, soon we might all start to behave, or misbehave, in odd ways as we continue to suffer the effects of this drought. It is great to know some have been much more proactive in terms of dealing with water conservation. This month, we tip our hats to the Sequoia Garden Club and its efforts to educate and inform our drought stricken community about how we can have a beautiful, lush yard without further depleting our already low water supply. The Club’s recent “Lawn-Free Garden Tour” showcased five home gardens, each one a beautiful low-moisture example of living the lush life, without draining water resources. For ideas about how you can do the same, be sure to look on page 52. Once again, the Lifestyle staff would like to thank you for reading, and also our advertisers for allowing us to bring the best of art, style, culture, and events directly to your home. If you know someone with an interesting home you think would make a great feature, please let us know. Also remember to follow us on Facebook for sneak peaks and behind-the-scenes photos at LifestyleMag.




pril 22 is the 45th anniversary of the first Earth Day. In her controversial book, This Changes Everything (Simon & Schuster, September 2014), Naomi Klein writes that the climate change crisis will require major shifts in the way people live and do business in order to save the environment as we know it. Klein argues that by switching the focus from consumption to renewable resources and restructuring economic and political systems, not only will the physical earth benefit, but so will the people who currently live in poverty. Another book on the topic of a changing earth is The Sixth Extinction (reprint edition January, 2015, Picador) by Elizabeth Kolbert. This book on soon-to-be extinct species was a New York Times Best Seller and a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist. For a novel on the topic, there is Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior (reprint edition Harper Perennial, 2013). A distressed woman in Appalachia, trying to run away, discovers a valley filled with monarch butterflies. The townspeople see it as a miracle, but a visiting scientist learns it represents a systemic disorder. Kingsolver has Appalachian roots and a background in biology. World Book Day April 23 is The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Book and Copyright Day. UNESCO is joined by the International Publishers Associations, the International Federation of Library Associations, and the International Booksellers Federation to select a World Book Capital City each year. This year’s city is Incheon, Republic of Korea. The selection acknowledges the cities with the best programs for the fostering of books and reading. Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega died on April 23, 1616. Book Festival The Romantic Times Booklovers Convention will be May 12 -17 at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas, Texas. Tons of 10

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free books and more than 800 authors are reported to be expected at the event. The affair includes Shayla Black and Lexi Blake’s Party Bus Adventure, a teen day program, themed nighttime parties, author signings, and workshops. Agents Seeking Clients Among the agents scheduled for the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference in July-August are Marilyn Allen of the Allen O’Shea Literary Agency, seeking young adult fiction and nonfiction such as health, cooking, and history; Kaylee Davis of Dee Mura Literary looking for science fiction, fantasy, and steam punk; Stephanie Delman of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, Inc. seeking literary and historical fiction, narrative nonfiction, and voice-driven memoirs. The Big Read The Fresno County Public Library is currently reading Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon for this year’s Big Read. The detective novel is a thriller, love story, dark comedy, and brilliant literary work all rolled into one tale about the quintessential, hard-boiled detective, Sam Spade, and a complicated search for an elusive figurine. A live radio play of the 1940s broadcast of The Maltese Falcon will be presented Sunday, April 19, at Fresno City College in the Old Administration Building at 2 p.m. A discussion by Reedley College professor David Borofka titled “Beyond Hard-Boiled: Politics, Sociology and Myth in the Maltese Falcon,” will look at how the book reflected the society and politics of its time. This will also be at Fresno City College, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 22. The Kingsburg Library will offer a discussion of the book on Thursday, April 23, at 5:30 p.m. Tulare County Library The Visalia Branch is exhibiting a display featuring women from Tulare County’s past and present. It is located on the second floor near the door to the History Room. The display can be viewed from 1 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday until June 4. Valley Publisher Quill Driver Books of Fresno has published A Cross of Thorns (February 2015)

by Elias Castillo. The book is subtitled The Enslavement of California’s Indians by the Spanish Missions and challenges the popular view of the missions as a peaceful and beneficial co-existence between the church and the native people. Castillo’s view of enslavement and deliberate cruelty are backed up by church and Spanish government archives as well as letters from Friar Junipero Serra, founder of the missions. Look on the Exeter publisher Bear State Books’ website to see a video of Visalia’s involvement in the history of one the old Wild West’s most famous gangs of outlaws, the Daltons. Also, a reprint of Frank Latta’s Dalton Gang Days is available from Bear State Books. Tulare County Sheriff, Eugene Kay, managed to arrest Bill Dalton on more than one occasion, but the outlaw was released for lack of evidence and allowed to continue his life of crime with his brothers throughout the west. The Last Word “Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together.  All things connect.” – Chief Seattle, 17801866


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A V I S A L I A G I R L– B R I G H T, M O D E S T & W I N S O M E

Text by Terry L. Ommen


hen 8-year-old Anna May Bell arrived in Visalia in 1885 with her father, Isaac, mother, Serafina, and grandfather, Tyree, the community had no idea how lucky it was. But it didn't take long for the townsfolk to realize that Anna was special and that her move here was a wonderful addition to the town. Anna, or Annie as she was called, came to Visalia with an impressive pedigree. Her grandfather, Tyree Harris Bell, had been a Confederate Army general during the American Civil War, and her father, Isaac Thomas Bell, also in the Confederate Army, served as an aid to him. Leadership was engrained in the genes of the Bell family, and it didn't take long for the Bells to become politically connected in Visalia. They quickly became friends with families like the Bradley's, Hyde's, Boynton's, and Hayes'. The Bells joined the Methodist Episcopal Church-South, and Annie attended public grammar school.


Her ability as a student was noticed quickly. She was chosen to make a presentation at the dedication of the new Tipton Lindsey School in 1891. Two years later, Annie would again be in the spotlight when she excelled in a statewide academic contest offered by the San Francisco Examiner. The newspaper was giving away all expense paid trips to the Chicago World's Fair to school age children of California, and she could not pass up the challenge. On May 2, 1893, Annie began the contest examination in Superintendent Crookshank’s office in Visalia. After the grueling two-day ordeal, Annie had worked her magic and was named the best student in the county. The accolades about her success came from many sources. The Hanford Sentinel reported, “The young lady is said to be very modest and received the glad news in a manner that a sensible girl should.” The Visalia Daily Morning Delta called her a “bright, modest, and winsome girl of 16 years…”.

ABOVE: Anna at the time of graduation from Stanford, circa 1900. LEFT: Tipton Lindsey Grammar School in Visalia, CA.


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PICTURED: The graduating class of Visalia High School, circa 1896. Anna May Bell is in the middle row on the left. Clinton Miller is seated next to her on her right.

Her classmates joined in honoring her achievement. On May 19, they held a reception in her honor. Clinton Miller gave a speech praising his classmate. He said, “Our coming together this evening is to do honor to one of our number who has, by her perseverance and close application to study, won for herself that much coveted trip to the World's Fair. We can but feebly express our feelings of joy and pride on this occasion. Not only has Annie May Bell crowned herself with glory, but its reflecting rays cast their shadows over us. She has achieved a victory not only for the Visalia public school, but for Tulare County and the State of California.” Then Annie spoke, “I have not words at my command to express the gratitude that I feel. It is needless for me to say that I feel honored on this occasion, but allow me to thank you, one and all, for the honor you have conferred upon me. I do not accept these ovations as an expression of my superior merit, but as an opportunity to show the people the excellent schools of our county, and that we possess a corps of teachers excelled by none. Had it not been for their kindness and perseverance, I would not have received a share of the laurels, which The Examiner has so generously bestowed upon our schools. Do not think, my dear classmates, that I excel you in anything, for if any of you had chosen to try in this contest you would have been succeeded equally as well, if not better, than I have done.” On June 10, 1893, Annie and the other winning students from throughout California left Oakland by train. “At every station in California, and many in Nevada, people were at the depots to see us,” she wrote in a letter back home. Annie graduated from Visalia High in the class of 1896, and went on to Stanford University, graduating in 1900. Upon completion, she returned to Visalia and began her teaching career, first at the Tipton Lindsey School and later at Visalia High. Often 14

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during the summers, she would spend time in Santa Rosa staying with family friends, James and Mattie Oates. Even in Santa Rosa, Annie was popular in social circles. By mid-1908 she had a big announcement–she was engaged to Samuel Cary Dunlap, a Los Angeles grain merchant. Even though Annie had friends throughout California, she chose to be married in Visalia. October 2, 1908 was picked as the date and the Methodist Episcopal Church-South was obviously selected as the place. The ceremony began at 8 p.m. with violin and organ music filling the air, and white and yellow flowers decorating the sanctuary. The bride wore a “dainty imported dress of messaline with point lace trimmings,” and carried a shower bouquet of lilies of the valley. After the ceremony, the guests attended a gala reception at the Bell family home. Following the festivities, the newlyweds boarded the train for Los Angeles, where they would make their new home, and stay for the rest of their lives. They had three children and Annie taught school for several years. She was very active in the community. She was President of the California Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Chairwoman of the Los Angeles War Chest, and she held memberships in many other war effort organizations. Even though she lived out her life in Los Angeles, she never forgot the place in which she grew up. In an interview in 1952, she made her feelings known. “Visalia will always be my hometown. The things that I learned there, the inspiration of those good friends and fine teachers will always be remembered with deep gratitude,” she said. Anna May Bell Dunlap died in 1967 at the age of 90. Her remarkable life touched many people and she is included in the 1947 edition of the “Who's Who on the Pacific Coast.”


Rounding Up the Past to Brand the Future


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Text by Lisa McEwen | Photos by Taylor Johnson


evi Gill is a fresh face in an industry steeped in tradition. As a rancher and cattleman, Gill draws on experience from his youth, gained on horseback while rounding up cattle near the family homestead east of Exeter as well as in rugged terrain throughout the West. As a businessman, Gill shows determination to uphold the family name while carving out his own identity in the family-run business. Gill, 31, is a fifth-generation cowboy who is balancing long-standing methods of raising cows and calves while incorporating new ideas and technology. Throw in the effects of a four-year drought, a nasty spill on a dirt bike, and an upcoming wedding, and one will wonder just how Gill keeps it all together.

PICTURED :Levi Gill, ďŹ fth generation cowboy, herds cattle with his horse.

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N NEXT GEN Gill rolled up to a coffee shop in downtown Exeter for an interview, driving an old truck with a bumper sticker that reads: “Eat Beef. The West Wasn’t Won On Salad.” “I’m lucky I could drive into town for this,” Gill said, noting that a fellow rancher in Texas pilots his own plane for an hour’s flight to go to the grocery store. “Even though I live on the ranch, we’re really close to town.” Born and raised in scenic Yokohl Valley, Gill lives and works on the land that has been in his family since the 1870s. Gill Cattle Company, the cow/calf operation he owns with his parents, Fred and Teresa Gill, and brother Brian, is headquartered there today. A mural in Exeter, “Cattle Drive Down Rocky Hill,” pays homage to the Gill family’s deep roots in the area by depicting Levi Gill’s grandfather, Adolf, on horseback. The Gill Cattle Company was once one of the largest such businesses in the United States. Though his grandfather passed away early in Gill’s childhood, the desire to be like the men who surrounded him was strong. The closest person he had to a grandfather figure was ranch foreman Edmundo “Raymond” Brito. “A good cowboy kid wants to be considered a man and help with the big cattle movements, to be an asset to the team,” he said. “You always want to go with your dad.” He recalled finishing two weeks’ worth of high school homework in a remote cabin by the light of a fire, getting help from the other cowboys with whom he was working.


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Through the decades, Gill said, members of the large family have left the ranching operations to seek other lines of work. “My dad, brother, and I are the only ones keeping the tradition going.” Gill’s decision to join the family business came after years of “day helping” on other cattle ranches in California, Arizona, and Nevada. “I call it ‘Cowboy College,’ except that you don’t get a diploma,” he said. “To truly learn, you have to go work with other people and see how other ranches are run. Cowboys have to do that while they’re young.” Gill moved back to the family ranch in 2008 and soon joined forces with the family business. During his childhood and “college” years, Gill learned the definition of a good cowboy. “It’s kind of an art,” he explained. “You understand the cattle’s patterns, recognize their health and personalities, and it boils down to forming an attachment with the cattle. And it falls on the men and women who really want to be there. When it’s hot, when it’s cold, you’re worrying more about the cattle than yourself. It’s not the most well-paid career, so you have to have the passion to be there.” Gill tips his hat to fellow cowboys in their 20s and 30s who work for the family business.“Some of these guys have college degrees, and have passed up other opportunities just to work as cowboys. It’s a complete lifestyle,” he said, noting its round-theclock, year-round pace, all dependent on the weather. Last fall, a dirt bike accident forced Gill to transition from the saddle to the office while recuperating, and one of the


challenges he has faced is incorporating new ideas into the business. “The old traditions are correct in every way; they’re another tool in the toolbox,” he said. “I’m trying to find the balance between the two, and keep the business constantly evolving and working for future generations.” Technology, for one, is critical to keeping a competitive edge. For example, maintaining extensive databases can assist in tracking generations of cows on the ranch, right down to which ranch she was born on and what vaccinations she has received. “If there is ever a disease outbreak, we have everything we need to mitigate that.” He is also looking forward to drone technology becoming more affordable, allowing him to observe cattle movements and ranch conditions from the sky. As the drought stretches into a fourth consecutive year, Gill said its effects are real. “For the first time, we had zero cattle turned out last year,” he said, meaning all cattle were raised on feed lots, fed by hay and silage wagons. “Wasteful use of water should continue to be a thing of the past.” This year, rains provided half the grasses needed for the cattle, “enough to limp by.” Being involved in the day-to-day operations has given Gill a new perspective on the changing nature of beef production, from fluctuating market prices to the human impact on their properties. “People often don't understand that this is how we make our livelihood,” he said. “The hikers and bikers and others who use Rocky Hill have no idea that when they cut our fences or wreck their car, we have to fix that.” Trespassers are also a problem, especially those who think the ranch is a place to practice shooting a gun or stage a gang initiation. “They don’t realize that there’s someone out in the field with the cattle,” he said. Encountering illegal marijuana grows are also a continuous battle. “It’s a different beast than 20 years ago,” he said. Despite the challenges, Gill is optimistic about what lies ahead as he progresses through life as a young business owner. Along with running Gill Cattle Company, he is the California distributor of Big Bend Trailers, which are designed for hauling cows and calves over all types of roadways and terrain. “This is something I can do in the evenings,” he said. And just last month, he asked for Visalian Hannah Mendes’ hand in marriage. They met at a concert in downtown Exeter a few years ago, and wedding planning is underway. Running a progressive business founded on tradition is one way to ensure survival of the company and a lifestyle that Gill embraces. “I hope to be able to share what I’ve learned someday with my own offspring,” he said.


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316 W. MAIN, VISALIA 559.734.7079 M-F 10A-5:30P SAT. 10A-4:30P



Rocking, Walking, and Wining Down Main Street


elieve it or not, Downtown Visalia’s 4th Annual Wine & Cheese Walk wasn’t all about the wine and cheese. While it’s true that by 9 p.m. on April 2, everyone had indulged in more vino and queso than any one person can handle, this sold-out event is about more than just full bellies and happy palates. Since 1963, members of Downtown Visalians, a business association made up of 72 square blocks of downtown, have been working to keep Visalia vibrant and healthy. If you’ve walked Main Street recently, it’s clear they have been successful; on any given night, parking spaces are full, satisfied “foodies” occupy restaurant patios, and shops are bustling with consumers. Events like this year’s sold-out Wine & Cheese Walk, raise awareness about the businesses people might not even realize are here in Visalia. “The whole reason we do events is to get people into our merchant locations,” said Christi Metzner, event and membership coordinator at Downtown Visalians. “When they taste the wine, they have to walk in each store so they see what they have to offer…I’ve talked to a few of them who say even the next day they have people coming back to make a purchase. Which is the whole idea; to bring business to the stores.” This year, 26 downtown businesses were filled to the brim with visitors tasting local wine and enjoying cheese, 22

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among other appetizers catered by local restaurants. Shops like Such A Time Boutique, Sequoia Cigar, Central Valley Healthy Foods, and Pacific Treasures, were booming with activity. And while people strolled from store-to-store, they enjoyed tunes from the band Midnight Wine, an ironically named country-rock band that perfectly complemented the evening’s relaxed vibe. Several local wineries represented included Cacciatore Fine Wines, Ramos Torres Winery, Farmers Fury Winery, and Kings River Winery, among others. Even our coastal neighbors, Tobin James and Bodegas Winery, came to visit from Paso Robles. Avedian Properties, one of the event sponsors, arguably provided one of the tastiest and most elaborate spreads catered by Charcuterie. The platters included prosciutto di parma, cashel blue, beet root dipped goat cheese, and a variety of other impressive feasts. While many of the “walkers” may have come for the wine, they left with a better sense of what downtown Visalia has to offer its residents, and there’s a good chance they’ll be bringing more friends with them to next year’s event. “We’re so happy everyone had fun at the Wine & Cheese Walk and everything went so well,” said Christi. “We will actually be adding a surprise to the Wine & Cheese Walk next year that everyone will really love.”


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THE HUNT IS Text by Christopher Wilder

PICTURED: The living room of the Quesnoy home features a woodpaneled roof along with three mounts, and stone hearth. L I F E S T Y L E | A P R I L 2 015




ay what you will about his writing, but Ernest Hemingway knew a thing or two about the great outdoors. No other American novelist captured through narrative the excitement of the hunt, the unfolding drama between hunter and prey, in quite the same way as Ol’ Hem. If you’ve never hunted but wanted a glimpse, pick up one of his novels – or you could just ask Visalia’s Dru and Gene Quesnoy. Avid hunters themselves, the Quesnoys aren’t altogether unlike characters from a Hemingway story, and their cabin coincidentally is likely the kind of place Hemingway would have gladly called home. Like Hemingway, both Dru and Gene know a thing about the great outdoors – fishing, boating, skiing, and especially big game hunting. That passion has led them to hunts across the country, across the world even, but it has also brought them back to their own little nook; their cabin in Shaver Lake.

PICTURED: The kitchen, featuring Mr. Moose, is perfect for Dru and Gene, who both enjoy the sights from its windows.


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H HOME TOUR The Quesnoys admit that "cabin" is something of a misnomer. It’s certainly not some squat, square pile of logs heated by a wood-burning stove. But though their wellinsulated, two-story and three-bedroom cabin sits on the electrical grid, it was built far from the beaten path. Still, says Gene, “it’s just a home,” with Dru quickly adding, “we just call it a cabin because it’s in the mountains.” But their cabin is so much more than “just a home,” and far better suited for the mountains than the suburbs. Even its façade seems to emulate its mountain surroundings. The cabin’s high-peaked and green gabled roof blends into the tree line, while its red-stained wood panels match the color of a pine’s trunk. Even the cabin’s stack stone veneer foundation suggests the bedrock of a deep-seated mountain. Intentionally or not, their cabin appears to have grown out of the hillside rather than having been built upon it. This “quiet and peaceful” cabin is a perfect getaway for anyone with an appetite for either isolation or an immersion into nature. Dru describes a beautiful hillside behind their home, where deer and quail roam, which she watches from her kitchen window. If their home isn’t a cabin, nature didn’t get the memo. Whatever term best suits the cabin, the Quesnoys aren’t the only ones that call the house a home. “It’s a wonderful place up in the mountains for us to go, and a place for us to put the animals we’ve collected over the years,” says Dru. “Yeah, dead animals,” Gene clarifies; the trophies from their hunt. In a sense then, their Shaver Lake home is less like a cabin and more like a natural history museum, an exhaustive exhibition of their hunt. There’s the mounted lynx at the top of the staircase, and a shaggy Bighorn sheep from New Zealand frozen in repose, ever climbing a rocky pedestal. Other animals are mounted upstairs: Alaskan caribou, elk, Chamois sheep, and mountain goat. The two upstairs bedrooms also have “themes built around hunting,” says Dru. There’s the Bear Room, displaying a “black bear that [Gene] nabbed from British Columbia,” made into a rug and hanging on the wall. The Africas Room commemorates the safari that Dru made with her son, Wyatt, and is decorated with a zebra rug, ornamental giraffe, cheetah-patterned bedspreads, and a picture of a lion. Downstairs are other mounts: a Tahr from “the top of a mountain in New Zealand” and “a couple of white tail deer from Nebraska,” and moose horns hanging above the garage door. But the king of the jungle, so to say, demands tribute from his mount above the cabin’s stone hearth. Bordered by two rising peaked windows and two smaller mounts in thrall, the branching antlers of a massive elk soar to the pinnacle of the cabin’s wood-paneled roof. TOP: The master bedroom's simple decor gives it a homey feeling. MIDDLE: The bear room features a mounted black bear that Gene got from British Colombia. BOTTOM: The Africas Room features trinkets from the safaris that Dru has taken, including a cheetah print bedspread and ornamental giraffe.


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It might sound like a zoo, “but we’re not overwhelmed,” Dru assures. Nor would their guests be. They needn’t worry about turning a corner and colliding with a black bear during a midnight bathroom trip. No, everything is tastefully placed and evenly dispersed. “Also everything’s mounted higher than your head,” says Dru, before Gene laughs, “we haven’t set them up so their eyes glow or anything.” Truly, the Quesnoys have mastered the hunting aesthetic as much as they’ve mastered the hunt itself. And just as the aesthetic really brings together their Shaver Lake cabin, as a hobby, hunting also brought the couple together. “We’re both mountain people,” says Dru, so perhaps that makes sense. But their number one passion and love, beside each other of course, is the hunt. Dru and Gene met in December 1999. “I was fundraising for The Creative Center,” says Dru, “and I had already been supporting The Creative Center for quite a while,” adds Gene. And once introduced, “we met for dinner and Gene and I started talking about all our hunting trips, and that brought us together,” says Dru. “Our first date,” she laughs, “was all about who got the biggest animal… Gene showed up to our real first date with his album just to show me.” They both admit hunting can, in good nature and fun, get a little competitive. “Just today he reminded me that his elk is actually bigger than mine,” says Dru, though Gene was quick to admit that Dru’s moose is larger than his. It’s all friendly competition. And while hunting is a sport that is competitive by nature,

it’s more likely an event to bring family together. For Dru, hunting and family camaraderie have always gone hand-in-hand. Whenever her father returned from a duck hunt, her mother prepared the ducks and threw a party for family and friends. And that carried over into Dru’s adulthood. She jokes her own children have probably never eaten hamburger, though they’ve had plenty of wild game. “It really is a family experience,” says Dru about hunting. “Love of family, and love of the outdoors.” And since hunting was a family affair, Dru has been at it just about her whole life. She grew up hunting duck and dove with her father, and later got her first taste of big game in Colorado. Not counting smaller game, Dru has 25 years of big game hunting under her belt, and she laughs, “I’ve more years out there on the hills than [Gene] does.” Gene got a later start than his wife, but he’s also been on the hills now about 30 years. A retired electrical engineer, Gene owned and operated a business that his father started during WWII. Gene admits it wasn’t until his brother’s death in 1985 that he realized, “life’s too short not to do something… Up until that time, all I did was work, and occasionally go fishing. But at that point in time, I decided to get into hunting.” It might sound like a paradox, that his brother’s death prompted Gene to take an interest in a hobby that some criticize makes sport of death. But that interpretation would be a simplification and misunderstanding of both the nature and purpose of hunting, which arguably creates a greater appreciation for nature and understanding of our roles within it.

PICTURED: On the front of the cabin, “The Quesnoys” engraved slab of wood sits just below a set of moose antlers.


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Because when Dru and Gene talk about hunting, not only is it clear that it drew them and their families closer together, but it also led to their appreciation and respect of nature. “I don’t hunt to kill,” explains Dru, “and I enjoy being out in nature.” She emphasizes that nothing from the animal is wasted, and “whether you eat a piece of beef in the market or eat a piece of elk you put on your table yourself, that’s providing food that happens to be a part of a wonderful experience in nature.” Hunters in fact are more likely to appreciate that balance in nature, much more than a consumer eating fast food. “Most hunters think of themselves as conservationists,” 32

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explains Gene. Beside licenses and seasons that regulate hunting, “we’re not going out there to slaughter animals.” Hunting removes the illusion of modern processed food, a cycle that is likely more harmful to the environment, en masse, than individuals responsibly hunting. While hunting is their primary passion, the Quesnoys also have other interests. “The 49ers are our second passion beyond hunting, and we always root for them, good or bad,” says Dru. To prove the point, they’ve painted upstairs red and gold, and have curio cabinets full of 49er memorabilia. In a way, the upstairs great room is dedicated to another kind of game. “We’re also card fanatics. We

HOME TOUR H PICTURED: The game room is where the Quesnoy’s keep all of their treasured 49ers collectibles. BELOW RIGHT: Former 49ers quarterback, Steve Young, autographed football. BELOW LEFT: A 49ers memorbilia hat from the 1995 Super Bowl game versus the San Diego Charger.

love to play cards and games, and upstairs is a shuffleboard and big game room.” Mostly, it’s their way to entertain friends, and especially their grandchildren. And of course, they love their animals. Not just their trophies, but also their “two darling dogs. They go with us everywhere,” says Dru. “They are our real wild animals.” Hunting may be seasonal, a once-a-year kind of sport, but the Quesnoys have created a space where they can enjoy the atmosphere of the hunt year-round – at least whenever they can get up the hill. But again, their cabin isn’t just about celebrating their trophies, but also finding a way to be in mountains and nature, which they love, as often as possible. But of course, all these activities, fishing and hunting, hiking, and skiing – played out on the stage of the great outdoors – all go hand-in-hand. As Gene puts it, “when you hunt, you become one with nature. It’s not the taking of an animal’s life that’s exciting – it’s the excitement of being on one very long hike.” That’s a sentiment that not even Hemingway could have phrased better himself. L I F E S T Y L E | A P R I L 2 015




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Recipes by Elaine Dakessian, Trés Bien Tailored Cuisine Photos by Taylor Johnson


mmm, what’s that smell? is one phrase any veteran or amateur chef will never

tire hearing. The next time it’s your turn to show off your skills in the kitchen, spice up your brunch table with this Spanish-style menu. To add a refreshing beverage, whip up a pitcher of our Pepper Bloody Mary. By the end of the meal, all of your guests' taste buds will be doing a little salsa dance.

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HUEVOS RANCHEROS Serves 6 Tip: Prepare the pork and red chile sauce a day in advance for a simpler brunch service Ingredients 6 eggs, poached 6 sopes, fried 3 lbs. carnitas (recipe below) Red chile sauce (Bobby Flay recipe to the right) 1 C Mexican cheese blend 1 avocado, diced 1 bunch cilantro leaves Salt and pepper to taste

CARNITAS Ingredients: 3 lb. pork butt 2 onions, chopped 2 cloves garlic, chopped 2 T cumin 4 tsp. chili powder 48 oz. chicken broth 2-3 T salt and pepper Directions: Season the pork with salt and pepper. Place on a sheet pan with non-stick spray, and brown in the oven at 375°F for 10 to 15 minutes. Take out the pork and place in a roasting pan. Add chicken broth, onion, garlic, cumin, and chili powder. Cover and bake in a 375°F oven for 3 to 4 hours. Remove from oven, cool,


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RED CHILE SAUCE (From Bobby Flay)

Ingredients: 2 T olive oil 1 red onion, finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 C dry red wine 2 ½ C plum tomatoes with juice, canned ½ C water 2 T ancho chili powder 2 T chipotle in adobo puree 2 T honey Salt and pepper to taste 1 T fresh lime juice Directions: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half. Add the tomatoes, water, ancho chili powder, chipotle, and honey, and cook over medium-high heat until the sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally, about 20 to 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the lime juice just before removing from the heat. To assemble: Poach an egg using an egg poacher or simmering water method (poach lightly as the eggs will go under a broiler or in the oven to melt the cheese for 3 to 4 minutes). Right before using, fry the sopes on both sides with ½ cup vegetable or canola oil in a deep sauté pan. Place on paper towel to drain. Place a on plate. Toss carnitas with the red chile sauce and place a mound on the sopes. Top the carnitas with a poached egg and sprinkle with cheese. Place in 375°F oven for 3 to 4 minutes to melt the cheese, being careful not to overcook the egg. Pull from oven and top with avocado and cilantro leaves. Season with salt and pepper.

COMFORTABLE, DISCREET OFFICES LOCATED IN BEAUTIFUL DOWNTOWN VISALIA Rachel McDermott, LMFT, is a Marriage and Family Therapist whose work in the mental health field spans more than 20 years. Her career began in 1984 at Chamberlain’s Children Center caring for severely mentally disturbed children. For two decades, her experience involved social work for Kaweah Delta Mental Hospital as well as Child Welfare Services, conducting mediation for Tulare County Family Court Services, and substance abuse counseling at various drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities. She completed her 3,000 hour internship for her licensure at Synchrony of Visalia, where she performed psychotherapy with individuals, couples, and children. Since 2009, Rachel has been a psychology professor and presently serves as the Faculty Advisor for the local University of Phoenix’s Psychology Department. In 2004, Rachel opened a private practice specializing in individuals, couples, children and teens. Ten years later, her

business continues to expand. She sees new clients each week, as well as clients from fifteen years ago who periodically visit her because of the positive results in their lives. Rachel depends solely on word-of-mouth referrals to keep her business growing, so excellent customer service and a quality staff are important to her. She hand-picks the best resident interns to join her in private practice: Tracy Slack, M.S., Rachel Sievers-Herrera, M.S., and Amy Durst, M.S. Rachel and her staff currently work with couples and individuals of all ages with issues including depression, anxiety, ADHD, grief and loss, sexuality, parenting, marital discord, suicidal thoughts, abuse and chemical dependency. Her comfortable and discreet offices are located at 718 W Center Ave in downtown Visalia. Call (559) 280-5756 or visit for an appointment.

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C CULINARY PEPPER BLOODY MARY SERVES 6-8 Ingredients: 2 qt. tomato juice, chilled 1 ½ C Absolut Peppar vodka, chilled in the freezer 3 T horseradish 2-4 T Chipotle Tabasco hot sauce 4 T worcestershire sauce 1 T kosher salt 1 T celery salt (keep extra for rimming the glasses) 2 limes 2 lemons, juiced Celery stalk, mini bell peppers, and jalapeno stuffed olives, for garnish.


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Directions: Pour tomato juice in a pitcher and add the 7 remaining ingredients. Stir well. Wet the rim of each glass with a wedge of lemon or lime and then dip it into a dish of celery salt. Fill your glass with the mixture and garnish with a celery stalk and skewered mini bells and jalapeno olives.

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T TRAVEL PICTURED: These impressive tombs are thought to be those of several Nabatean kings. Fairly inaccessible they were cut deeply high into the cliff face to make them relatively safe from tomb robbers.

PETRA, JORDAN - A DESERT MASTERPIECE Text and Photos by Cheryl Levitan


etra is remarkable; not just for the structures that have been left behind, but for the simple fact that they existed in the first place. Surrounded by 600 ft. canyon walls, this ancient city is located in one of the world’s harshest climates. Built by a nomadic tent dwelling tribe called the Nabateans, they managed to not only make the shift to urban living, but also create an oasis at the intersection of the trade routes between Asia and southern Arabia. In a bone-dry desert these ancient people developed an ingenious water system with cisterns to collect rain, ceramic pipes to transport water from desert, springs, reservoirs to hold excess water, and dams for protection from flash floods. If this water system was built today, it would be impressive. That this engineering wonder was developed 2,000 years ago is unbelievable. At its prime, this city of 30,000 was one of the wealthiest in the ancient world, collecting fees and taxes from merchants for water, safe haven, and secure passage. And those structures left behind? Most of them were not built; they were painstakingly carved into the surrounding sandstone walls. In keeping with their nomadic roots, the Nabateans had no distinctive structural design; instead, they borrowed and mixed architectural elements from at least four other ancient civilizations. And somehow they did all of these things – gaining control of the Arab trade routes, developing a water system, becoming master carvers and building an entire city – in such a way that archeologists today marvel at their skills as engineers, stonemasons, and businessmen. Our journey to reach this UNESCO World Heritage site was an experience in itself. Arriving days before in the southern port of Aqaba, Petra was located about two hours north. A highway


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connects Aqaba’s beaches and coral reefs to Wadi Musa, the town that has developed to service Petra’s 500,000 annual tourists. Along that highway lies one of the world’s most beautiful desert landscapes, Wadi Rum. Sensing a chance for a bit of adventure, we chose to detour through the desert and visit a Bedouin camp on our way. There are four modes of transport for tourists in the Jordanian desert: trekking by foot, riding a camel, hanging onto wooden benches in the open bed of a Bedouin pickup truck, or riding in air conditioned 4 x 4 vehicles. Needless to say, the last was the handsdown winner. Catching sight of our driver in his authentic gabeya standing by a sturdy and relatively new vehicle convinced us we were off to a great start. It quickly became apparent, however, that the hot outside air would be “conditioning” the interior of our 4 x 4. Our inquiries regarding the open windows elicited a palms-up shrug and a “no work” reply. Although first in line, our driver also seemed content to allow the three other vehicles to leave us, literally, in their dust. We quickly realized, however, that our driver was merely waiting for others to pass in order to forge a new trail at full speed like some sort of frustrated race car driver/explorer. Flying over hills and then bottoming out below, we alternately screamed and laughed as we were shaken and thrown, our hats and sunglasses flying out the window (no doubt, collected by fellow tribesmen to be sold later at tourist bazaars). We certainly passed some spectacular sites, but it was hard to tell with all that sand flying. Finally skidding to a stop at the camp entrance, our driver turned his head, broke into a smile and said, “Good?” Thanking him profusely (we were alive, after all), we dragged our bruised and


PICTURED: The first view of the magnificent Treasury Building seen from the Siq is magical. BOTTOM: In 1979 a young backpacker named Marguerite van Geldermalsen from New Zealand married Mohammed Abdullah, a Bedouin in Petra. She was the only western woman who has ever lived in Petra. She now designs jewelry which one of her son’s makes in silver and sells to Jordanian tourists. Dean and I met him in Petra and I bought some of his jewelry.


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sand-blasted bodies out of the vehicle to visit Tripadvisor’s top rated Bedouin style desert camp. Located at the base of a small mountain, this was about as close as any tourist would want to get to “real” Bedouin living. The “rooms,” as well as common areas and shared bathrooms, were all tents covered and decorated with thick woven goat hair rugs. Only a cold desert night could make sleeping possible in a tent that felt more like a dry sauna during the day. To augment the “sauna” experience, the camp offered hikes, camel rides, and jeep rides to desert sites (hopefully the latter with a different driver!). Guests told us that the sunsets and stars were breathtaking, and we were impressed with the friendly and warm staff. But the intermittent electricity and feral cats convinced us that a hotel room in Wadi Musa was a better overnight choice. Petra is not for the physically challenged. Its buildings are scattered over 400 sq. miles of uneven surfaces and can be very hot as the sun heats the rock. The walk from the closest hotels to the entrance to the Siq (the narrow walkway in the canyon walls leading to the city itself) is about a mile. Tourists can then opt to ride through the 1 ½ mile Siq in horse drawn buggies driven by local Bedouins. Although walking on uneven cobblestones doesn’t sound like the better choice, a teeth-chattering ride over that surface in a buggy didn’t seem wise. Just seeing the look on those passengers’ faces as they passed us later confirmed that we had chosen well. More a crack in the canyon walls than an actual pathway, the Siq is only 8 ½ -13 ft. wide with rock walls rising 300 to 600 ft. on either side. The assorted carvings, remnants of ancient ceramic pipes, and colors of gold and red from mineral deposits can only really be appreciated by foot. The most spectacular sight occurred just as we negotiated the last narrow turn and a sliver of the magnificent Al-Khazneh (the Treasury) came into view. With each step, we could see a bit more until the narrow, dark Siq suddenly opened into a sunny plaza and the complete building was revealed. No picture can do justice to the magnificence of that edifice. Its architecture is a bizarre mix of Greek, Roman, Assyrian, and Eqyptian styles, but together they are beautiful. For those who used “rent a ride,” their arrival at the Treasury is the end of the road unless they stay in the buggy for the return trip through the Siq. Sold rather disingenuously as a roundtrip, everyone instinctively climbs down to join the awestruck crowd, only later realizing their drivers have left to pick up unsuspecting new passengers. Tourists wanting to ride further into Petra must rent camels or tiny donkeys. From that point on, everyone walks out on his or her own. Clearly, present day nomadic Bedouins are crafty businessmen just like their ancient ancestors!

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T TRAVEL All who visit or read about Petra will recognize the Treasury; it’s an iconic image of Jordan. Standing 80 ft. wide and 127 ft. tall, it is twice the height of Mt. Rushmore, and just like that American symbol, it is completely carved into the stone. Some may remember it from the climactic scene from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” when Harrison Ford and Sean Connery enter the Treasury to find the Holy Grail and leave riding Arabian horses through the Siq. The original purpose of this building isn’t known, but one thing is clear – it was never used as a Treasury. The name is unfortunate since it’s caused many to chip away at the edifice, hoping to find hidden riches. With no burial niches carved inside, it also wasn’t purposed as a tomb as were many of the 800 canyon structures that remain. Whatever its function, it was built to impress all who entered the Nabatean capitol. More ruins beckon and the ancient city gradually unfolds, one site leading to another as you walk mile after mile. In Petra everyone ends up walking…a lot. This ancient city was a metropolis about the size of Manhattan with ruins scattered over many miles. How far you trek is up to you. With less than 2 percent of its structures excavated, the sheer size of the city, quality of the carved facades, and colors within

the rock are staggering. At its heyday, the city had fountains, pools, gardens, baths, temples, a 6,000 seat amphitheater, colonnaded streets, and arched gateways. Petra flourished under Nabatean rule for more than 400 years from about 300 BC to 100 AD. Roman occupation and rise of sea-based trade routes took their toll after that. A severe earthquake in 363 AD damaged many structures and the water system. Without those original dams, occasional flash floods further harmed the city. A final earthquake in 551 AD and Arab conquerors in 663 AD caused the last of the Nabateans to abandon Petra. In a place that receives so little rain, the notion of floods seems strange. Yet much of that rain can fall within a short time and parched soil simply can’t absorb it. After 22 French tourists died in 1963 when a flash flood washed through the Siq, Jordan rebuilt the original dam across the Siq entrance. But weather, time, and people have taken their toll. UNESCO lists Petra as one of the most threatened sites from tourism. Jordan has invested a great deal of money to build infrastructure in Wadi Musa to improve the flow of tourist traffic and bring jobs to the area. Unfortunately, the funds and infrastructure required to preserve and protect such a vast area of ruins is simply beyond the means of this small country.

PICTURED: Petra's theater is cut out of solid rock, and badly deteriorated. The front of the theater, including most of the stage, was badly damaged by floods INSET: Two camels sit rested after a long, hot trek.


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Celebrating 85 Years at the Visalia Fox Theatre Text by Erin Olm-Shipman Photos by Taylor Johnson


t’s a cool spring evening and I’m sitting in the courtyard of an East Indian palace, surrounded by perfectly manicured gardens, underneath a blanket of twinkling stars. I sink into the soft velvet cushions beneath me and soon forget all about my impending deadlines at work and the unpaid utility bills still sitting on my kitchen counter. Twilight fades into night as the heavy curtains in front of me are slowly drawn open. Suddenly, I’m lost in the energy and electricity radiating from the stage as the legendary Count Basie Orchestra wails its way through some of the greatest Jazz hits of all time. Long after the show is over, the excitement lingers… or at least until the next morning when I find myself pouring over projected program budgets and growing increasingly frustrated that I still can’t remember my password for online bill pay. This is the real world. It’s demanding and competitive, takes a lot of hard work and long hours, and more often than not, the events that take place in it are completely out of our control. But as I sat in the lavishly grand auditorium of the Visalia Fox Theatre, I couldn’t help but feel as if, at least for those two hours, I had somehow managed to escape.

LEFT: The lobby of the Visalia Fox Theatre features intricate crown moldings, along with miniature plaques on the wall. INSET LEFT: A fundraiser at the Fox for the Visalia Women’s Club, circa 1949. INSET RIGHT: The Visalia Fox Theatre lobby during its opening year, circa 1930.


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On February 27, 1930, William Fox opened the doors of our beloved theatre to the public for the very first time. From the Spanish Colonial architecture of the clock tower rising prominently amongst the Downtown skyline, to the ornately carved plaster and dazzling chandeliers, it is clear the space was intended to transport theatre-goers to another world as soon as they stepped through the lobby doors. Little did he know when construction of the Visalia Fox began in early 1929, just how badly the people of Visalia would need this escape in the years to come. Just a month before the originally anticipated opening of the Visalia Fox Theatre, the stock market crash of 1929 forever changed the course of American history, and the nation quickly plummeted into the Great Depression. For ten years, citizens of nearly every industrialized western country suffered, and the 7,000 residents of Visalia were no exception. With the arrival of the new Fox Theatre, however, they were at least provided some relief – an entertaining distraction at the very least. For $0.50, an adult could purchase a ticket to the theatre and spend the afternoon inside its “scientifically refrigerated” interior, laughing along to a Laurel & Hardy comedy, tapping along to live organ renditions of popular music, and experiencing the magic of “talkie” films on the big screen – a phenomenon which had only just been introduced in 1927. Within months of opening, the experience was enhanced by the addition of live entertainment. Talent TOP: Once inside, theatre guests will see the red velvet seating along with picturesque walls.


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competitions, vaudeville skits, and various music performances became a regular fixture before every main cinematic feature. To further entice the public, every Wednesday was designated “Ladies’ Cream Night,” wherein every woman in attendance received a free jar of beauty cream, which undoubtedly paired quite well with her buttered popcorn and Diet Coke. Random drawings were periodically held for IGA Stores gift certificates, a General Electric refrigerator, and even a brand new Chevrolet. None of these promotions, however, compared with the theatre’s brilliant marketing plan to drum up business on slow evenings with the inauguration of “Ham ‘n Bacon Night,” which consisted of weekly drawings that sent the lucky winners walking away with armfuls of free ham and bacon. In this day in age, when escaping from your nephew’s third consecutive birthday party at the park is as easy as pulling out your cell phone, it’s perhaps difficult for most of us to comprehend what the Visalia Fox Theatre really meant to the people of this town. How can painted elephants, the grotesque face of a genie, and the smell of popcorn provide so much solace for one person? But the theatre wasn’t just a place where people would retreat in solitude; it was also a place where the community gathered together. It’s where all the kids in town sought refuge from the scorching summer heat. Long before televisions became a staple in American homes, people caught up on current events by

INSET LEFT: The Fox filled the seats with kids in attendance for the Kiddie Klub, circa 1950.

INSET RIGHT: Visalia children outside the Fox, circa 1932.



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A ARTS watching newsreels before a movie. When the United States formally declared war on Japan following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the National Guard reported to the Visalia Fox lobby before being ordered to active duty, and throughout the course of the war, dozens of bond drives held at the theatre raised tens of thousands of dollars to support the efforts overseas. In June 1944, days prior to the D-Day invasion of Normandy, a community prayer was held in the auditorium, attended by over 1,000 citizens. In an article published shortly before the theatre was rescued and restored by local teacher Rami Cherami and the Visalian Friends of the Fox Theatre, the Visalia Times-Delta described the theatre as, “a landmark, an emblem, a place of our identity.” It’s where Genevieve Harrell spent afternoons with her mom on the one day a week the family restaurant was closed for business; it’s where Louise Salierno and Bob Dilbeck had their first kiss before they were married three years later; and it’s where Mike Wallace used the marquee to invite Katie Miller to his high school prom. The City of Visalia certainly made no mistake when they decided to display an image of the theatre so prominently on their logo. Why not celebrate the 85 years of rich history the Visalia Fox Theatre has given us, and raise a glass to many more to come? On Friday, May 8, Co-Executive Directors Matthew Spindler and I, together with the Visalian Friends of the Fox Theatre Board, invite you to the theatre to do just that. At the original admission price of $0.50 for adults and $0.10 for children, come delight in “the beat of hoofs… the shots of the cattle rustlers,” and “rouse to the daring escapades of the rangers who take life and love as they find it” in Zane Grey’s “Lone Star Ranger” – the first film ever shown at the Visalia Fox. A silent auction will take place in the lobby, and Pete Sweeney, who assumed the position of theatre organist in the late 1940s, will fire up the Wurlitzer once again for a special performance. Kiddies will delight in the presence of the evernostalgic A&W Root Beer Mobile, and an animated short will play just for them prior to the main feature. The 85th Anniversary Celebration will also debut the theatre’s Memorable Fox Moments campaign. In association with Revolier Films, the staff of the Visalia Fox will film and produce a number of personal stories that will be screened at theatre events throughout the year, which will later become permanent fixtures of the Visalia Fox Theatre website.

PICTURED: The grand staircase takes guests from the first floor to the second floor seating.


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WHAT IS YOUR VISALIA FOX THEATRE STORY? IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO ESCAPE TO THE VISALIA FOX THEATRE AND MAKE ONE. The Visalia Fox Theatre’s 85th Anniversary Celebration and Fundraiser will take place at 7:30 p.m. (doors open to the public at 7 p.m.) on Friday, May 8. Event sponsorships are available at levels starting at just $250, and include admission to a catered pre-show reception and champagne toast in the theatre from 6 – 7 p.m. For more details, visit


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Inspiring Gardens in the Midst of a Drought


isalia has its own population of “secret gardens,” but their secret isn’t that they exist; it’s how they exist. Driving by most of these gardens, you would never suspect they rely on little to no water to survive, and that’s what the Sequoia Garden Club wants this drought stricken community to realize; it’s possible to plant and maintain a lush garden without depriving the valley of already scarce water. March 28 proved to be a perfect day for the sold-out Lawn-Free Garden Tour, hosted by the Sequoia Garden Club. Guests had the opportunity to tour five Visalia lawn-free gardens, as well as the Ralph S. Moore Rose Garden. Some were engineered intentionally to save water, while others were by happenstance. But no matter the original intent, each garden beautifully showcased how a little bit of water can go a long way.

THE POWELL GARDEN The Mulch and Natives Approach For true gardeners, spending a day with knees in the dirt doesn’t feel like work. As Rosalie Powell says, “If you really enjoy working in a garden, when you’re through, you’re not tired; you’re happy, you’re relaxed, you’re enjoying life. Gardens aren’t just something to look at; it’s something you live.” Rosalie’s garden was a priceless gift from her husband, Mickey, who wanted to leave her with something meaningful before he passed away. Believe it or not, the garden is drought tolerant almost by accident. With the initial design, she was aiming for the look of a peaceful meadow, which was achieved with many drought-tolerant plants and Mediterranean’s, excluding her hydrangeas and azaleas. THE ALLEN GARDEN The Hardscape Approach Not many people understand the importance of water conservation more than Margaret and Bill Allen, who use recycled shower water to nourish their plants. Over 60 years of marriage has had the Allens living in 13 different homes, seven of which did not have lawns. A trickling fountain, surrounded by razzleberry fringe, boulders, New Zealand Flax, and a variety of other low-water species, greets guests as they walk up the front yard. The backyard, while mostly hardscape, conveys a sense of “green” with scattered palms, ferns, and a beautiful dogwood tree. The Allen’s passion for sustaining a drought tolerant garden was displayed by their support of this tour. “It’s a great idea and probably should be done in different sections of the town so others can get the idea that it is possible to have an attractive yard that does not take too much water,” said Bill. THE LUNA GARDEN The Rock Approach The Luna Garden may be considered “The Rock Approach,” but there’s nothing stone cold about it. Lori Chan Luna’s mother originally planted the garden’s beautiful peonies thirty years ago. When her mother passed away in 2003, Lori was adamant about carrying on her mother’s legacy and has been working on the garden now for 13 years. Today, the garden features 30 fruit trees, four different kinds of wisteria, a giant gingko tree, a flower umbrella, a hanging book swing, countless species of plants, and more. With a background in environmental design, Lori understood the threat the drought posed in California, so she took out most of the lawn and installed drip irrigation. Now, she says they use about $50 a month of water. “We’re very cognizant of the fact that there just isn’t going to be a lot. The peonies don’t really take much water, and the things that take a lot of water usually don’t last very long in this garden because we’re pretty stingy with it,” laughed Lori.


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C COMMUNITY THE MILLER GARDEN The Cacti and Succulent Approach The Miller garden is an oasis of its own sorts. While not particularly lush, the abundance and varieties of cacti and succulence make up for the lack of green space. A native to Minnesota, Paul has experienced both ends of the weather spectrum, and obviously prefers sun, sun, and more sun. Paul and his wife Su visit Palm Desert at least once a year, so it’s no wonder they wanted a yard that reminded them of their desert getaways. “We’ve just gotten to like the whole scenery, even the desert, the cactus, all the tiles on the roofs, the whole picture,” said Paul. “We really didn’t do it for drought purposes; we just liked the look of it.” Ironically, out of all the gardens toured, the Miller garden requires the least amount of water; even with a pool, their water bill comes in at around $30 per month. THE SALIERNO GARDEN The Faux-Turf Approach There’s no better way to describe the breathtaking Salierno Garden other than “colorful.” While this yard was featured because of its faux turf lawn, the vibrant garden seemed to steal the show. When Tony and Mary Salierno took out most of their lawn and replaced it with faux turf six years ago, they removed a total of 18 sprinkler heads. “We did the faux grass to save water, but a lot of it was because the water was running off,” said Mary. While the artificial turf was of interest to many visitors, the garden itself demanded everyone’s attention. You couldn’t take a step without hearing comments from guests like, “This is just beautiful,” and “would you look at that color?” Just a few of the many plants Mary tends to include a rare yellow peony tree, the most colorful Red Japanese Maples, a sea of rainbow poppies, and lively razzleberry plants. “I wanted perennials so I could have flowers all year long,” said Mary. THE SEQUOIA GARDEN CLUB As far as the club is aware, this is the very first lawn-free garden tour ever to be done. Maile Melkonian, the Sequoia Garden Club’s project chair, hopes other clubs are inspired to do the same. The local club’s goals were to raise awareness about lawn-free gardens to help the drought situation, and inspire others to “go lawn-free” by showcasing a variety of practical and beautiful examples. “We were wondering what we could do as a club to help the drought situation, and we felt this was a way we could nudge people toward getting rid of their lawns,” said Maile. “People have had ‘lawns’ in their minds for so long that it’s difficult to get the imaginative juices going.” The Sequoia Garden Club meets September through June on the second Tuesday of each month. For more information, call the club’s president, Virginia Monreal, at (559) 592-2475.


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VISALIA FOX THEATRE 85TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION The Visalia Fox will be celebrating 85 years with a special showing of Zane Grey’s “Lone Star Ranger,” the first “talkie” film shown at the theatre back in 1930. The celebration will also feature a performance by Pete Sweeney on the mighty Wurlitzer organ, an animated short film for the kids, a silent auction, and more. Tickets are at their throwback prices of $.50 for adults, $.10 for children under 12. When: May 8, 7p Where: Visalia Fox Theatre, 300 W. Main St., Visalia Contact: 625-1369


APR 23


Spend the day enjoying handcrafted nature themed pieces by local artists, live music, children’s activities, quilt show, and “Outside the Lens” children’s photo exhibit. When: May 2-3, 10a-5p Where: Three Rivers Memorial Building, 42490 Sierra Dr., Three Rivers Contact: 561-7718


This Western swing ensemble formed in 1998 in Nashville features 11 members, each having made major contributions to the richness and vigor of country music. Some names include Vince Gill, Kenny Sears, Ranger Doug Green, and others who have made country music what it is today. Nominated for two Grammy awards for Best County Performance by a Duo or Group, and Best County Album, this is one act that is tough to beat. Tickets are $35-$75. When: Apr. 23, 7:30p Where: Tachi Palace, 17225 Jersey Ave., Lemoore Contact: 924-7741



Presented by the City of Visalia, the Visalia Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Visalia Convention Center, this event will consist of amazing southern gospel music, fantastic fellowship with old and new friends, powerful devotionals from artists and speakers as well as a meet and greet with the artists. For ticketing information, call 1-800-965-9324. When: Apr. 30-May 2, times vary Where: Visalia Convention Center, 303 E. Acequia Ave., Visalia Contact:


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MAY 12


Longtime comedian, Paul Rodriguez, has been making audiences laugh all over the world (in Spanish and English) for nearly three decades with his unique brand of humor that is a perfect blend of his Latin heritage, the American dream, and his undeniable universal appeal. Tickets are $25-$30. When: May 9, 8p Where: Visalia Fox Theatre, 300 W. Main St., Visalia Contact: 625-1369


Join the Visalia Rescue Mission for a night of appetizers, drinks and desserts from Downtown restaurants, along with listening to New York Times Best Selling author, Bob Goff. Goff is a sought after speaker for leadership, church, and university events, inspiring current and future influencers to get the “do” part of life. With the purchase of a ticket, you will receive a signed copy of Goffs book, Love Does. Tickets are $40-$100. When: May 12, 5:30p Where: Visalia Fox Theatre, 300 W. Main St., Visalia Contact: 625-1369


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FIRST FRIDAY Explore the muli-sensory art events featured throughout the Downtown Visalia area. Stroll Main street and see, hear, taste, and smell the art while spending the event outdoors, engrossed in the cultivating arts scene here in Visalia. When: May 1, 6-9p Where: Downtown Visalia Contact:


The Main Gallery Artists, Toni Best, Jeri Burzin, Joy Collier, Laurie Gorman, Beckie Nava, Linda Hengst, and Kay Woods, present this exhibit in honor of Marjorie Brandon. When: Apr. 12- Jun. 28 Where: Exeter Courthouse Gallery, 125 S. B St., Exeter Contact:


This three-day event features an antique equipment parade, swap meet, boutiques, cornhole tournament, auction, competitions, antique tractor-pull, barnyard Olympics, children’s area, and more. Tickets are $5 per day, or $10 for a three-day pass. When: Apr. 17-19, times vary Where: International Agri-Center, 4450 S. Laspina Ave., Tulare Contact: 688-1030 or visit


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APR 25


The City of Visalia Arbor Day and Earth Day celebrations will be held together this year. Highlights include planting, spreading mulch, and visiting the many informational booths. When: Apr. 25, 10a-2p Where: St. Johns Riverwalk Park, St. Johns & Ben Maddox, Visalia Contact: 713-4365


Come out and watch the orange blossom parade, followed by food, entertainment, arts and crafts, horseshoe tournament, and carnival. When: Apr. 25, 10a-5p Where: Lindsay City Park, 850 N. Elmwood Ave., Lindsay Contact: 333-1020


A multitude of activities are offered for the entire family at the Porterville Iris Festival. Attendees will enjoy over 200 craft, food, and vendor booths, free entertainment on two stages, antiques and collectibles, a kids zone, chili cook-off, and more. When: Apr. 25, 9a-5p Where: Porterville Chamber, v93 N. Main St., Suite A, Porterville Contact: 784-7502


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12TH ANNUAL GARDEN WALK Join Exeter in their “Full Bloom 2015” garden walk. Visitors are invited to explore beautiful and unique private gardens in and around the Exeter area. Be sure to stop by the By the Water Tower Antiques to enjoy some light refreshments in between gardens. Tickets are $20. When: May 9, 9a-2p Where: By the Water Tower Antiques, 141 S. B St., Exeter Contact: 592-2919

APR 29




CHARITABLE EVENTS: 7TH ANNUAL DANCE AWAY HUNGER ZUMBA DRIVE Dance for a great cause with your favorite Zumba instructors. This outdoor class has a live DJ, along with fitness vendors. All proceeds to benefit the Visalia Rescue Mission. Entrance is $5. When: Apr. 29, 5-7:30p Where: Visalia Rawhide Stadium, 300 N. Giddings St., Visalia Contact:

10TH ANNUAL BIRDHOUSE AUCTION Habitat for Humanity’s annual fundraiser includes auctioning off custom-made birdhouses by auctioneer Amy Shuklian, wine tasting, and hors d’oeuvres. Also making an appearance is “speed painter,” Rick Alonzo. Tickets are $75. When: May 1, 6:30-10p Where: Holiday Inn, 9000 W. Airport Dr., Visalia Contact: 734-4040


The friends of Tulare Animal Services invites you to their prohibition themed fundraiser that includes a bourbon tasting, hors d’oeuvres, candy bar, wine grab, games, as well as live and silent auction items. The proceeds from this event will help provide medical care to injured animals, and provide quality transportation vehicles for Tulare Animal Services. Tickets are $55. When: May 9, 5:30-10p Where: International Agri-Center Social Hall, 4500 S. Laspina Ave., Tulare Contact: Cindee TenBroeck, 303-6930

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MAY 15


CASA of Tulare County and sponsors invite you to their 21st annual Once Upon a Dream fundraising event, supporting volunteer advocacy for the abused and neglected children of Tulare County. Keynote speaker, Jimmy Wayne, will be in attendance, along with a dinner provided by The Vintage Press, and live and silent auction items. Tickets are $150. When: May 15, 5:30p Where: Visalia Convention Center, 303 E. Acequia Ave., Visalia Contact: 625-4007


It’s golf “fore” a good cause! Hit the links to help Wish Upon A Star raise funds to make even more dreams come true for California children with life-threatening and high-risk illnesses. All proceeds go directly towards wish granting. When: May 15, 12p Where: Valley Oaks Golf Course, 1800 S. Plaza St., Visalia Contact: 733-7753


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March 2015  

Style, Art, Culture, and Events of the South Valley

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