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Artifacts Uncle Sam wants you BY RYAH COOLEY
Brief Encounters weekend includes four one-act plays
The Cambria Center for the Arts Theatre holds Brief Encounters: A Weekend of Oneacts on Friday, May 24, from 7 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, May 25, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Each performance includes four one-act plays, each from a different director and playwright. Works by Ray Bradbury, Shel Silverstein, and Jean Lenox Toddie are among some of the plays chosen. Tickets are $17 per showing and are available in advance at my805tix.com. The Cambria Center for the Arts Theatre is located at 1350 Main St., Cambria. Call (805) 927-8190 or visit cambriacenterforthearts.org for more information.
Edna Valley pop-up event showcases nine local painters A private residence in Edna Valley hosts Art in the Gardens and Vineyards, a one-day-only art show, on Saturday, May 25, from noon to 5 p.m. This group show features original paintings from nine Central Coast-based plein air artists. Most of the paintings are of local scenes and will be available for sale as well as viewing enjoyment. Admission to the event is free. The residence is located at 6475 Mira Cielo, Edna Valley. For more info, contact Rosemary Bauer at (805) 390-2497 or rosemary@ rmartstudios.com.
GNH Conference features Bhutanese art and live entertainment
Dancers from the Bhutanese Association of California will perform during the inaugural West Coast Gross National Happiness (GNH) Conference in SLO on Saturday, May 25. The event celebrates the Bhutanese concept of GNH, which was coined in 1972 to rival terms used to measure a country’s economy, such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross National Product (GNP). Instead of using monetary statistics to define a country’s success, GNH findings are based on surveys implemented to measure the happiness and wellbeing of a country’s citizens. The event includes guest speakers, including keynote Kinga Tshering, founder of the Institute of Happiness in Bhutan. Paintings from Bhutanese artists will also be on display and available for purchase during the conference. Tickets to the event are $30 and include lunch. The conference takes place at the Copeland Pavilion at French Hospital Medical Center, located at 1911 Johnson Ave., SLO. Visit ecologistics.org for more information. ∆ —Caleb Wiseblood
Former New Times staffer pens satirical Anyone Can Be President book
PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID VIENNA
hile the 2016 presidential election blew Read on up the unity of the country like fireworks Anyone Can Be going off on the 4th of July, it did make President by David one thing clear to everyone: Just about anyone can Vienna is available on be president. Amazon in paperback David Vienna, author and former New Times for $16.49. For more arts editor, doesn’t remember that moment information on Vienna and his work, visit nearly three years ago when Donald J. Trump davidvienna.com. was announced the next leader of the free world because he was blackout drunk in his own sadness. But Vienna found a silver lining: As a result of that election, more and more normies who didn’t have a background in politics would start to get involved and run for office. Vienna also got a book idea out of it. Anyone Can Be President, which was released in April, is part running-for-president for dummies, part cheeky satire, and part political/comedy quiz fodder. Vienna spoke with New Times about journalism, politics, and making fun of everything. New Times: What’s your background with journalism and politics? David Vienna: My father was a lobbyist in D.C., and my mom was a reporter covering news at the Washington Post and small, community papers, so that was always our dinnertime conversation. I wrote at the Santa Maria Sun, New Times, and The Tribune. NT: Describe where you were and what you were doing and feeling the night of the 2016 presidential election? DV: I can’t because I got blackout drunk. Like a lot of the country, we were surprised and shocked. It was a terrible night. When Trump was elected it was huge steps backward. NT: What inspired you to write Anyone Can Be President? DV: Well, Trump really. That’s kind of the big, glowing racist bulb in the room. And seeing people like AOC [New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez], who didn’t have a specifically political background, that felt inspired and I thought, “Oh, if he can do it, we can do it.” There are a lot of people who took seats who down the road I think would make good presidents.
D VIENNA IMAGE COURTESY OF DAVI
#YOU2020 Yes, you too could be the next leader of the USA! Find out how in David Vienna’s book, Anyone Can Be President.
36 • New Times • May 16 - May 23, 2019 • www.newtimesslo.com
NT: Would you say that more people getting involved in politics is sort of the silver lining in this situation? DV: I think there was that rude awakening of, “Oh, we don’t just have to grumble about it, we can get as involved as we want and run for office.” I think it’s good that D.C. is getting shaken up.
FUNNY GUY Former New Times Arts Editor and author David Vienna blends historical facts with humor in his new book, Anyone Can Be President.
DV: I kind of feel like I’m hoping it’s that darkest-before-the-dawn thing. I feel like what’s happening right now is we’ve always been cocky as Americans about our government, and Trump is showing us where all the weak spots are. I don’t like the vitriol and the division, but I feel like that wave of civic engagement is only going to increase and that’s always a good thing.
NT: Has anyone who has read your book not picked up on it being satirical? DV: I think it’s pretty clearly a satire. The way the publisher describes it is it’s humorous nonfiction.
NT: Do you really think that anyone can be president? Should anyone be president? DV: Anyone can, yes. Not everyone should. You can’t have a government for the people, by the people if you’re going to say, “No, not these people.” I think we need to revamp the campaign process, specifically. I would love to see people going back to taking only federally offered money, and everyone has the same capped budget, and it’s low. I’m also a supporter of an IQ test because I kind of want the person running things to be the smartest person in the room. ∆
NT: What are your thoughts on the current state of the country?
Arts Writer Ryah Cooley doesn’t want to be president. Contact her at email@example.com.
‘You can’t have a government for the people, by the people if you’re going to say, ‘No, not these people.’’ —David Vienna, author
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