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JANUARY 18, 2019

A supplement to the Gilroy Dispatch & Morgan Hill Times

Homeless Voices South Valley exhibit looks at homelessness with a new lens


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Photographer and storyteller Kirti Bassendine portrays faces of homelessness in her exhibit at Gilroy Center for the Arts through Jan. 26.

“Homeless Voices” a multi-media art exhibit promotes dignity and compassion BY MARY BARTHOLOMEW PHOTOGRAPHS BY KIRTI BASSENDINE

Too difficult to avoid—each passerby bears witness to the homeless crisis. Each exceeding 7,000 people, San Francisco and Santa Clara County almost vie for the highest homeless populations in the Bay Area based on 2017 data. Shedding light and compassion for the homeless is local photographer and storyteller Kirti Bassendine who created a social documentary photographic story to dispel myths in the public’s perception regarding homelessness.

The multimedia exhibit, “Homeless Voices,” is on display at the Gilroy Center for the Arts through Jan. 26. Bassendine’s, who divides her time between her homes in Morgan Hill and Paicines, hopes her work raises awareness and encourages community leaders to allocate resources to help homeless to get back on their feet. “The exhibition is designed to put a name to a face,” explains Bassendine. “It’s a really important element that I wanted to portray.

Any one of us, at any moment, any day, any tragedy, could be homeless.” After Bassendine approached local organizations with her project, the Gilroy Compassion Center, a nonprofit offering the homeless resources for basic needs, offered to help. Executive director Jan Bernstein Chargin started to introduce Bassendine to several homeless men and women in the community. Over a two month period, Bassendine gained their trust and started capturing their ➝ 4

JANUARY 18, 2019


ew can drive down a street or by a freeway overpass without seeing them—makeshift camps in empty lots, tents dotted alongside freeways or by creeks, the worldly possessions of their inhabitants stacked around them.



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SOLUTIONS Bassendine hopes her project raises awareness and

encourages more programs to help eradicate homelessness.

stories through videos and photographs. The project revealed many of the subjects experienced homelessness due to tragic life events. Some would succumb to wildfires that destroyed their homes or the inability to pay for medical treatment. For others, it may have been the death of a spouse, financial market crashes, or the rising cost of rent, divorce, or job loss. These tragedies were only compounded by depression. Some have jobs, but don’t make enough to cover rising rent so they sleep rough in cars, tents or out in the open. Arranged in three sections, “Neutral Space” opens the exhibit with color portraits of subjects, free of judgement and only identified by their first name. Bassendine did not provide any instructions for their portraits and opted not to objectify or even glamorize the homeless because she felt it would detract from the project’s mission—to provide a voice for the homeless. In another portion of the exhibit, Bassendine says she used short films to draw the viewer into the story—asking each subject the same questions. “Homelessness can be a very temporary environment living space and people are able to get out

of with a helping hand,” Bassendine says, “Second chances is a big theme in my project.” One of the featured subjects Faviola came to see the exhibit. “She was so emotionally moved, she was in tears during the film,” says Bassendine. “She later gave me a big hug and said ‘thank you for doing this for us.’” Kevin Heath, executive director of the Gilroy Center for the Arts, says Bassendine’s work fits with the Center’s mission. “It is important to balance social issues and cultural exhibitions with traditional art exhibits,” says Heath. “Art educates, and it’s part of our mission to broaden horizons in the most creative ways we can.” One patron, Veronica Cruz, commented the exhibit is a powerful collection that shines much needed light on the homeless crisis. “Kirti’s collection shows real faces paired with moving stories that could be anyone of us,” says Cruz. “The collection offers a platform for thoughtful discourse to really, truly begin to make tangible strides to address this growing epidemic.” Local architect and vice chair of the Compassion Center Reid Lerner asserts that even acknowledging homelessness is an act of bravery and says it’s possible for people to come out of homelessness, as ➝ 6

O& A


Dance the night away at Clos LaChance’s After Dark Dance Party on Jan. 19.









Head to Clos LaChance for an After Dark Dance Party. Enjoy the music as the lights are dimmed, the sound is turned up and Hackjammers perform all evening long. Pizza prepared by Chef Lou will be available for purchase. Please note that outside food is not permitted, and attendees must be 21 or over. No tickets are required; just join the party Saturday, Jan. 19, 6-11pm at Clos LaChance Wines, 1 Hummingbird Lane. Visit

Those who love plants are invited to learn about rose pruning practices and procedures at a class taught by ARS Certified Consulting Rosarians. Also learn about pruners and tools, safety, integrated pest management, fertilizers and more. Attendees are welcome to bring their own rose plants for pruning and to receive additional tips on proper care. Saturday, Jan. 19, 10-11:30am at Alladin Nursery & Gift Shop, 2905 Freedom Blvd. Visit

The entire family is invited to observe the full lunar eclipse with the San Jose Astronomical Association and Open Space Authority. View the eclipse through telescopes and binoculars provided. Dress in warm layers and note that rain will cancel. Sunday, Jan. 20, 7-10:30pm at Little Uvas Open Space Preserve. Directions provided upon registration. Space is limited, and registration by the number of cars each group is required. For information and to register, visit

Join The California Highway Patrol’s Hollister-Gilroy Area office at the free driving seminar, Age Well Drive Smart. Tune up driving skills, refresh knowledge of the rules of the road and become a better, safer and more alert driver. Also learn about normal age-related physical changes and how to adjust to them, and discuss when it may be time to limit or stop driving and alternatives to driving. Wednesday, Jan. 23, 1:30-4:30pm at Gilroy Library, 350 W Sixth St. Visit

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MUSIC WITH QUIENSAVE! VOICES Bassendine wants to take “Homeless Voices” on tour in cities around the Bay Area to document stories of homelessness.

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is case of one employee at the Compassion Center, Janessa who was once homeless or the story of the center’s own Jan Bernstein Chargin. “When Jan Bernstein Chargin was a young woman, she was homeless,” Lerner says. “Today she has a master’s degree and she is the official spokesperson for the community college, a professional artist, has a family. She is having a normal life after being homeless. She pulled herself together.” Bassendine’s passion stems from her childhood growing up in Kenya and observing discrimination. Her family emigrated to England during a politically turbulent time in the ’70s. Bassendine holds a BA (Hons) in Fine Arts Photography from Derby University, England. Her first photographic exhibit “Voiceless” toured England for three years and received positive accolades documenting the role of a traditional young Indian girl living in a Western world torn between cultures.

Since her move to the United States in the early 1990s, Bassendine has personally endured two wildfire evacuations, and suffered a debilitating car accident leaving her unable to work for two years. Bassendine says she was fortunate to have help getting back on her feet. “Through these experiences and others, I made friends with many people who are currently homeless or on the edge of homelessness for many reasons,” explains Bassendine. “Hearing their stories, you soon realize that these are mostly normal people dealing with extraordinary circumstances, who just want to be heard and treated with some respect as fellow human beings in need of a helping hand or a second chance.” Visit the Gilroy Center for the Arts at and learn more about Kirti Bassendine at homeless-voices.

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Eat up! Come to a fun night of all-you-can eat crab and a raffle drawing at the Operation Freedom Paws (OFP) Annual Crab Feed. Enjoy crab, pasta, salad and garlic bread with all proceeds benefiting OFP. This non-profit organization matches disabled veterans, adults and children with rescued dogs and trains them together to become OFP-Certified service dog teams. Saturday, Jan. 26, 6-9pm at Old City Hall Restaurant, 7400 Monterey St, Gilroy. Chicken Cordon Bleu will be an alternate plate for those that do not enjoy crab. For tickets and more information, visit operationfreedompaws. org or call, 408.641.7137.


GILROY COMEDY THEATER Save the date for Pintello Comedy Theater’s production of The Ladies

Foursome. Experience 18 holes of friendship, secrets and laughter in this funny, fast-paced, heartwarming story, inspired by Norm Foster’s popular play The Foursome. Fridays

and Saturdays Jan. 18-Feb. 9 at 8pm and Sunday, Jan. 27 at 2pm at Pintello Comedy Theater, 8191 Swanston Lane. For information and tickets, visit PHOTO EXHIBITION The social issue photography exhibition “Homeless Voices” features the work of Kirti Bassendine on view through Jan. 26. The homeless population is growing and not all homeless people are on drugs or mentally ill; some are working or have fallen on hard times. This exhibit shows how this population lives in order to survive and how this social issue can no longer be ignored. Admission to the gallery is always free, Tuesday through Friday, 2-5pm and

Saturday, 11am-2pm at the Gilroy Center for the Arts, 7341 Monterey St. Visit TEEN ORGANIZATION Students are invited to attend Hack Your Planner: Organization and Time Management Support for Teens to learn how to better organize themselves and manage their time. This workshop will provide time management skills, a system for streamlining tasks, tips for customizing planners and more. Saturday, Jan. 26, 10:30am-noon at Gilroy Library, 350 W. Sixth St. Attendees are asked to register in advance. For information and to register, visit RESTAURANT MONTH Celebrate California Restaurant

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When Laney Jones first picked up the banjo, it was to escape the pressures of life as a college student pursuing an international business degree. Jones soon found herself thrust into a career as a roots singer-songwriter, where she garnered acclaim and even attracted the attention of bluegrass legend Alison Krauss. Not one to be stuck in any one genre, however, Jones started experimenting with incorporating pop and rock into her sound. The result is a fresh and rocking blend of old-time strings and contemporary styles.

MORGAN HILL SPEECH CONTEST American Association of University Women

(AAUW) presents “Speech Trek,” the 2019 AAUW high school speech contest. Contestants will express their thoughts with a 5- to 6-minute speech on this year’s topic, “How Can We Eliminate Violence Aimed at Our Schools?” Prizes will be awarded to the top three contestants. Tuesday, Jan. 22, 7pm at Morgan Hill Library, 660 W. Main Ave. For more information, visit speech-trek. The EMPOWERING YOUTH Build family connections and join voices to empower youth in the community at the Morgan Hill Values Youth Event. Parents, teachers, adults that work with

Fathers and their daughters, ages 4 to 11, are invited to the annual Father Daughter Dinner Dance in Morgan Hill. Guests will enjoy an elegant sitdown dinner, music and dancing. A grandfather, uncle, family friend or other family member is welcome to take a father’s place if not available. Join the fun Saturday, Jan. 26, 5:30-8:30pm at the Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center, 17000 Monterey Road, Morgan Hill. To register, visit with activity code: WSY004.

youth in the community and community leaders are invited to attend this free event to learn to communicate with youth about mental health, social pressures and vaping. Discover opportunities to impact youth in a positive way Saturday, Jan. 26, 8:30am-noon at the Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center, 17000 Monterey Road. For information or to register, visit OPEN HOUSE Parents and children are encouraged to learn more about Oakwood School by visiting its open house. Meet students, chat with teachers, review curriculum and watch performances at this fun family

event. Guests will also have the opportunity to tour the campus with a student guide and view demonstrations and activities for students in various classrooms. Learn more about Morgan Hill’s independent, non-sectarian, college preparatory school Saturday, Jan. 26, 10am-noon at Oakwood School, 105 John Wilson Way. For more information, visit WINERY YOGA Breathe, stretch and unwind during 75 minutes of yoga in the beautiful surroundings of Guglielmo Winery, the oldest continuously operating, family-owned winery in the Santa Clara Valley. After

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JANUARY 18, 2019

Month in Gilroy as the artistry of the city’s restaurants is displayed and feasting is made even more accessible than ever. Guests are invited to relax and treat themselves to great dining as Gilroy offer “Fit and Sip” specials all month long, pairing lighter foods with local wines from the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail. Celebrate Gilroy Restaurant Month through Jan. 31 throughout Gilroy. For a full list of participating restaurants, visit



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9 26-27, 10am-5pm both days at Monterey Old Fisherman’s Wharf, 1 Fishermans Wharf, Monterey. For more information, visit tinyurl. com/yazzhdqr.


Enjoy watching the January a family friendly viewing supermoon rise over the distant eastern foothills. Wear warm clothes, bring a flashlight and water or hot chocolate to drink. Reservation is by parking space. Please arrive before 5:45pm and join the group to walk together to the viewing site. Gates will close at 6pm to allow better viewing. Monday, Jan. 21, 5:30-8pm at Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve, 550 Palm Ave, Morgan Hill. To register, visit

EVENTS TRIVIA NIGHT Join Vertigo Coffee Roasters each Thursday for weekly Trivia Night hosted by Quizmaster Miguel Silva. Teams

must be limited to six people and prizes will be awarded for first and second place. Also enjoy $1 off all draft beer. Thursday, Jan. 24, 6:30-8:30pm at Vertigo Coffee Roasters, 81 Fourth St, San Juan Bautista. For more information, visit WHALEFEST MONTEREY Celebrate the return of gray whales to the Monterey Bay during Whalefest Monterey. This family-friendly event features live entertainment, face painting, educational exhibits, historic walking tours, chalk art and much more. Saturday and Sunday, Jan.

BOOK DISCUSSION Adults and teens of all ages are invited to the Gilroy Library for a book discussion of “Where’d you go, Bernadette” by Maria Semple. Copies of the book may be checked out at the Gilroy Library information desk upstairs. Tuesday, Jan. 29, 7-8pm or Friday, Feb. 1, 10:15-11am at Gilroy Library, 350 W. Sixth St, Gilroy. For more information, visit sccl. org/events. HISTORIC TOUR Learn about the historic districts of Gilroy the first Saturday of each month during Historic Walking Tours. Join members of the Gilroy Historical Society Saturday, Feb. 2, 10am-noon for a free walking Bungalows Tour. Reservations are recommended, but not required. Meet at the Gilroy Historical Museum, 195 Fifth St, Gilroy. For information, call the Gilroy Museum at 408.846.0446. MOTHER SON DANCE Moms and their sons, ages 4-11, are invited to a casual carnival-themed Mother Son Dance to play and compete in games together. A light, informal dinner and snacks

BLACK HISTORY Join the Gilroy Center for the Arts for its fifth annual Black History Month Exhibit. Experience the featured work of black folk artists, collage artists, photographers, sculptors and more. Join the Celebratory Reception Saturday, Feb. 9, 12:303:30pm and view the exhibit Feb. 2-Mar. 3 at Gilroy Center for the Arts, 7341 Monterey St, Gilroy. Admission to the gallery and receptions is always free. For more information, visit KNIT-IN All knitters are invited to gather their needles and yarn and work together at the First Tuesday Knit-In at the Morgan Hill Library. Show projects to others and get advice and help from more experienced knitters. This free drop-in event will be held Tuesday, Feb. 5, 6:30-8:45pm at Morgan Hill Library, 660 W. Main Ave, Morgan Hill. For more information, visit morganhill. GRANT REQUESTS The Gilroy Assistance League is accepting grant requests for the year 2019 to benefit Gilroy youth organizations and programs. In 2018 Gilroy Assistance League distributed $24,000 in grants to various youth services. A formal grant request must be completed and returned no later than Monday, Feb. 25. Grant request proposal forms may be downloaded at For more information, call Gina Anderson at 408.843.8604.

JANUARY 18, 2019

yoga head to the tasting room and try award-winning, premium wines. During winter months yoga is held inside the Heritage Room. Dress in layers and bring a yoga mat. Enjoy yoga in the vines Sunday, Jan. 27, 10:45am–noon at Guglielmo Winery, 1480 E Main Ave. For more information, visit

COMPETITION REGISTRATION Piano students from fifth to 12th grades are invited to register to compete in the Marian Filice youth piano competition and music festival at Gavilan College. Contestants will be expected to prepare two contrasting pieces from the classical repertoire and perform them by memory. Winners will be chosen in junior and a senior divisions. Nearly $2,000 in prize money will be awarded, and honorable mentions will be recognized. The competition will be held Sunday, Mar. 3, 10am at Gavilan College. The deadline for entry is Monday, Jan. 28. For more information contact, for applications, visit

will be served, and guests are encouraged to dress in play clothes to enjoy the fun. A grandmother, aunt, family friend or other family member is welcome to take a mother’s place if she’s not available. Saturday, Feb. 2, 6-9pm at the Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center, 17000 Monterey Road, Morgan Hill. To register, visit with activity code WSY005.


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BIG WINS Several local wineries bring home wins during

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A good year Best of South Valley winegrowing region By LAURA NESS

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any local winemakers should be toasting their accomplishments in 2018, which will go down as a year of firsts for the Santa Clara Valley wine region. Alara Cellar’s Janu Goelz became the first winemaker from the Santa Clara Winegrowing region to win a wine competition outright on her first attempt, taking Best White and Best of Show for her 2017 Grenache Blanc at the 2018 Central Coast Wine Competition. And it didn’t stop there. She went on to receive 90 points or higher for an additional six wines in Wine Enthusiast, including the 2016 Pinot Noir (92 points), 2016 Tempranillo (91 points) and 2017 Grenache Rosé (91 points). Well done! Winning praise from Wine

Spectator was Tim Slater of Sarah’s Vineyard, whose 2015 Estate Pinot was rated an impressive 93 points. Slater was featured as one of the four rising stars of pinot noir in the October issue, a first for Santa Clara Valley. Jason Goelz of Jason Stephens scored 94 points for his 2014 Merlot and 93 points for his 2014 Malbec ( and 92 for his 2014 Cabernet (SF Intl Competition). Fernwood Cellars got love from Wine Enthusiast with 91 points for the 2016 Estate Vanumanutagi Chardonnay, as did Clos la Chance for their 2016 Reserve Chardonnay, plus 92 points for the 2014 Whitestone Cabernet Sauvignon. Therese Martin scored Best in CA for her 99 point 2014 Malbec from Dos Ninas Vineyard at the 2018 California State Fair.


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that stage three, which kicks off in Stockton, will be wrapping up in Morgan Hill! How cool is that? It all happens on May 14, so you might want to request that day off work ASAP. Congratulations are in order! Yep, the city of Gilroy was recently named a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community, joining the ranks of only 65 communities that have achieved that award level. That’s a very big deal! And finally, coming full circle, we return to January. ’Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions. If your goals for 2019 include losing weight, morphing into better shape, or just getting more fun

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appy 2019 to you and yours! I have so much to share! First, for all of you teenagers out there: Have you ever lamented that there isn’t a mountain biking team for you? Lament no further! Welcome the newest NICA High School Mountain Bike Team! It’s called South Valley Composite, and races start in February. Bike Therapy’s Doug Hall is their team director and the man with all the answers; contact him today at 415.640.9574 or Next, did you see the list of Amgen Tour of California host cities for 2019? The great news is



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Friday, January 18


Friday, January 18