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Spring 2018



Patricia Kopatchinskaja

in The EAR and NOW

TO ‘THE FRINGE’ AND BEYOND Peter Bellwood and the British Satire Boom FIRING LINE Stories of Loss, Redemption & What’s Next SAX OJAI AVENUE Top Brass Talents At Home in Ojai, World

OQ / SPRING 2018




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Four Top Brass Talents at Home in Ojai, the World Story by Jesse Phelps Spring 2018

Editor & Publisher Bret Bradigan Director of Publications Ross Falvo Contributing Editors Mark Lewis Jerry Camarillo Dunn Jr. Jesse Phelps Contributing Designers Paul Stanton Marty Mellein Columnists Bennett Barthelemy Peter Bellwood Ilona Saari Kit Stolz Sami Zahringer

Director of Sales

Laura Rearwin Ward Circulation Target Media Partners

Contact Us: Editorial & Advertising, 805.798.0177 The contents of the Ojai Quarterly may not be used, reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the written consent of the publisher. Subscriptions: To subscribe to the OQ, visit or write to 1129 Maricopa Highway, B186 Ojai, CA 93023. Subscriptions are $24.95 per year.


Firing Line

The Thomas Fire is Gone, But What’s Next? Story by Kit Stolz & Michelaina Johnson



Spring 2018



Patricia KoPatchinsKaja in

The eAr And now

‘The Fringe’ And BeYond Peter Bellwood and the British Satire Boom FIRING LINE Stories of Loss, Redemption & What’s Next

You can also e-mail us at Please recycle this magazine when you are finished. © 2018 Bradigan Group LLC. All rights reserved.

SAX OJAI AVENUE Top Brass Talents At Home in Ojai, World OQ / WINTER 2017-2018

Spring 2018.indd 1


2/17/18 11:18 AM

On The Cover

Patricia Kopatchinskaja by Julia Weseley

Photo of Jacob Scesney, Karl Hunter, Jimmie Calire and Ruben Salinas, Jr by Dean Zatkowsky

, r.



‘Beyond the Fringe’

Peter Bellwood and the British Satire Boom Story by Peter Bellwood


Green Weddings

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Flavor Favorites Chef Dominguez on His Influences By Sarah Howery Hart


Food & Drink South of the Border, Ojai Style By Ilona Saari


Nocturnal Submissions Overheard Conversations in Ojai By Sami Zahringer


Ask Dr. Beth Self Care For Stressful Times By Beth Prinz, M.D.


Bellwood Chronicles Temporarily Here, 2018 By Peter Bellwood


T.C. Boyle’s Home Stand Renowned Author’s Take On Fire, Mudslides and the Way of the World Story by Kit Stolz


24 Editor’s Note 25 Contributors 29 Ojai Notes 62 Artists & Galleries 78 Ojai’s Wine Trail 118 Street Map 124 Healers of Ojai 127 Retreat Page 134 Top Seven Ojai Hikes 146 Calendar of Events

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CARNIVAL ACTS “We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.” — George Bernard Shaw Graydon Carter wrapped up his 25th year as editor of Vanity Fair with a poignant essay to the joys and wonders of his job — spending his days in a creative hustle with talented people. “The result of all this long-term collegiality is that in your professional life (as in your personal life) you become the sum total of the parts you’ve met along the way.” Spending my time around our contributors this past issue, as in issues past, is one of the key joys of my life. It doesn’t feel like work; it feels like play. Some years ago the Wall Street Journal featured a story on lessons every business could learn from traveling carnivals. They set up in a new location in a matter of minutes, with everyone having a clear role and in maximal efficiency of time and motion; the arcade games are carefully monitored for popularity and traffic, with carnival workers diverted toward the busiest and away from the least. Then the weekend ends and they pack up in reverse efficiency and head off to the next stop. At every new location, adjustments are from a feedback loop based on the practical evidence of what’s actually happening. There are some similarities to the magazine business — the working together part especially. The main difference between Graydon Carter and myself is the scale. Well, that and glamor. And cultural impact. And those exclusive postOscar parties. And the hobnobbing with the literati and glitterati. And his majestic hair. Aside from those, though, it’s practically the same. The Music Festival is another superb example of creative collaboration, so superb, in fact, that it will be a case study in an important book coming soon (more about that in a later issue). Our cover subject, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, this year’s Music Festival music director, is making waves in the music world with her virtuosity on the violin, her exuberant spirit and sparkling mind that is always making connections that didn’t exist before. In the process, peerless experiences are created. The experience of surviving the Thomas Fire and what’s comes next are the focuses of Bennett Barthelemy’s touching essay on how the effort to heal the land can bring us together, in Ojai as well as in Bosnia. Kit Stolz and Michelaina Johnson capture the Ojai spirit with a series of interviews, and Patricia Clark Doerner’s 14 file cabinets filled with family history are a loss that can’t be measured, let alone recovered. Kit also interviewed top-shelf author T.C. Boyle about his take on catastrophe and our times. Few people possess minds as creative as Peter Bellwood, whose fabled career includes historic collaborations with legends Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. He gets the full Mark Lewis treatment in this issue, taking the particular facts, from which emerges a grand narrative to the joys, and importance, of having fun. Speaking of which, Jesse Phelps writes with clarity and wit about the amazing coincidence that four incredible saxophone players call Ojai home. It’s the kind of thing that surprises us in its improbability, and also reassures us that Ojai is just the kind of place in which such improbabilities are likely. Thank you for taking the time to pick up this issue and sharing in our collaboration. Maybe it’ll spark some creative connections of your own.


OQ / SPRING 2018

CONTRIBUTORS Bennett Barthelemy is a freelance adventure photographer and writer who was born and raised in Ojai. Check him out at

Peter Bellwood is a

screenwriter and collage artist who works and plays in Ojai, usually both at once.

Brandi Crockett is an Ojai pixie tangerine peelin’ native and an editorial and destination wedding photographer. Check out her work at

Logan Hall was born in Ha-

Linda Harmon is a freelance writer and artist. You can email her at lhart412@, or visit her website at highergroundart. com.

Sarah Howery Hart is a

Michelaina Johnson is

Mark Lewis is a writer and

waii, but raised in Ojai. He was most recently the chief photographer for the Ojai Valley News and Visitors Guide.

Ojai’s locally owned and operated

an environmentalist and freelance journalist with Ojai roots. After graduating from UC Berkeley in 2017, she started working for the World Wildlife Fund as a John Gardner Fellow.

local writer whose work has appeared in local and national publications. She is working on a sci-fi/ fantasy series. She may be reached at sarah@

editor based in Ojai. He can be contacted at mark


By nationally award-winning writers and photographers.



Ilona Saari is a writer

Kit Stolz is an award-win-

Sami Zahringer is an Ojai

in Ojai and has written extensively for and about the town. He enjoys freelance projects and throwing things. Jesse can be reached at jessephelps@

ning journalist who has written for newspapers, magazines, literary journals, and online sites. He lives in Upper Ojai and blogs at

who’s worked in TV/film, rock’n’roll and political press, and as an op-ed columnist, mystery novelist and consultant for HGTV. She blogs for food: mydinnerswithrichard.

writer and award-winning breeder of domestic American long-haired children. She has more force-meat recipes than you.

u ary 2 01




Jesse Phelps grew up


On the Firing Line with Travis Escalante

MONTHLY Lifestyle & Visitor Information

Ojai by Design:

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Ojai’s toy story: The barthelemys have more in store

Cover Sponsored by Oak Grove School “Where the World is Our Classroom • See More On Page 19 Visitor Information • Hikes • Events • Activities • Lifestyle Tips & Tactics - December 2017 See More

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OJAI NOTES GEORGE BALL TAKES ON THE BARD’S ‘KING LEAR’ Longtime Ojai resident George Ball will be starring in the title role of King Lear in Rubicon Theatre Company’s upcoming mainstage production in Ventura. George has starred on- and off-Broadway in “Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living in Paris” and at Rubicon Theatre where he was last seen in the world premiere of “Hello! My Baby” and was nominated for an L.A. Ovation Award for the leading role in the production of “All My Sons.” He starred as Don Quixote in “Man Of La Mancha.” Directed by company co-founder James O’Neil, the play is set in a mythical ancient kingdom in middle

805 Strong poster sales support Thomas Fire victims.

England. “King Lear” is a portrait of an aging ruler who hungers for power and craves adulation. When his youngest daughter refuses to flatter her father falsely, Lear exiles his beloved child and divides his kingdom between his plotting elder daughters. Lear is catapulted into a raging, bitter storm, where he must make his way to shelter, compassion and forgiveness. Ball is joined by Meghan Andrews, Rubicon’s first company member Joseph Fuqua, Michael Matthys and Sylvie Davidson. King Lear opens on March 14 and plays through April 1 at Rubicon Theatre, 1006 East Main Street in Ventura. For tickets call 805-667-2900 or visit

805 STRONG ‘THANK YOU’ POSTER ON SALE Photographer Holly Roberts has captured many of the hand-made signs and banners of ‘Thanks’ in appreciation for the first responders who fought to contain the fire. She is donating 100 percent of the proceeds from this poster to help victims of the Thomas Fire. Suggested price is $15 and they will be available at community events or contact kadayaphotography@gmail. com for more information.


Ojai resident George Ball will play the title role in the Rubicon Theatre’s production of “King Lear.”

The Winter issue of Ojai Quarterly contained two misstatements. 1. Karen Evenden was listed as the founder of a Women’s Fund in Seattle. She was actually a founder. 2. The wrong Clark was listed in the Table of Contents in the “Chariots of Fair” story. It should have read “pioneering politician Tom Clark” not Sheriff.

More Inside 57 Arts of Ojai

Artists, Galleries, Exhibits and More

64 Food & Drink

Comfort Food, Wine Tasting Rooms

127 Wellness

Healers, Hikers and Ojai-Based Medicine

al voices for nearly 100 years. Known for setting the tone of debate in the country with its cast of stellar journalists, reviewers and editors, the New Yorker has been called “the best magazine in the history of the world,” by Harrison Salisbury. O 1. Its popular caption contest regularly brings in more than 20,000 submissions, and the three finalists receive upwards of 20,000 votes each. “I faked my applause” by Ojai’s Sandy Treadwell 2. Sandy Treadwell, an Ojai was the winning caption from more than 20,000 resident and former political entries back in 2015. In February, another of his capTwo Degrees of Separation Between strategist, has won the contest tion was chosen as one of three finalists, a rare feat. Ojai & Anyone, Anywhere once, and been a finalist twice.

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41 Sax Ojai Avenue

Top Brass Talents at Home in Ojai, the World

36 In The Ear & Now

Patricia Kopatchinskaja’s Turn at Festival Music Director

T.C. Boyle’s Take on Thomas Fire, Mudslide

47 Off The Shelf

52 ‘The Fringe’ And Beyond

Peter Bellwood’s Key Role in the Satire Boom

62 Artists & Galleries

OQ / SPRING 2018


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In an uncertain age, this year’s music director aims to ‘look truth in the eye’ By Bret Bradigan It’s been a disconcerting year so far in Ojai. Between the state’s largest-ever wildfire and the tragic mudslides with our near-neighbor Montecito, people feel off-center and far out of our comforting rhythms. Ojai’s astonishing natural beauty turned menacing. It feels wrong. But maybe it’s also an opportunity to peer deeply into our assumptions. Perhaps we’re ready to listen more deeply — more open and vulnerable. Toward that end we offer an interview with Patricia Kopatchinskaja, music director for this year’s Ojai Music Festival, June 7-10. Ojai Quarterly: What can we audience members expect from the 2018 Ojai Music Festival? How can it relate to this moment? What should we be listening to? And why? Obviously, Dies Irae “Day of Wrath” seems bespoke for this time, but where else in the program can we listen deeply and find insight and understanding? Patricia Kopatchinskaja: I like contemporary music because it speaks to us, to our times, not to the long forgotten times of the courts and churches. And in this contemporary music I just choose what speaks to me, what affects me, changed me, left an indelible impression. This I will bring to Ojai. OQ: Particularly, the way you talk about Michael Hersch (Friday at 8 a.m. at Zalk Theater) “as a composer who completely fits my imagination. In this darkness, I can see so much more than in the light,” seems like a key insight. You say we need to listen to music that isn’t pretty, that challenges our ears. Why 36

is that? What can we learn from that experience? PK: I may only be a little singing bird with very little brain. But birds get rarer and rarer in Europe, because of sharply declining insect populations. We already lost two-thirds of our bees. The climate warms up and up while our so-called elites assemble in Davos to endless talks about nothing more important than free trade, tariffs and globalization. Whole democracies are hijacked by big money, scientists are not allowed anymore to speak out their findings and warnings. My little bird brain cannot otherwise than be in deepest anxiety and the man who writes the music about this is Michael Hersch. He survived cancer and he is able to look truth in the eye. OQ: The programming includes Ojai Festival favorites like Ligeti, Cage, Berio along with unfamiliar names like Galina Ustvolskaja. Can you describe the selection process? How long has it taken? Did Tom Morris (artistic director) give you notes, was there a lot of back and forth? For an artist to have such an opportunity, it must have been stressful but also a lot of fun. PK: Tom Morris gave me complete freedom within the limits of his budget and then took up any suggestion, elaborating, adapting to the venues, and, together with me, melting everything into a meaningful whole. Indeed it was a lot of back and forth for a year, he is always taking meticulous notes, encourages me, thinks open but also practical. It’s safe to say that without his help we would not have a coherent and doable program. OQ / SPRING 2018

OQ: About Galina Ustvolskaya: Her music seems long overdue for a reintroduction to modern audiences. What did Igor Stravinsky mean when he said about her music, “Now I understand the Iron Curtain?” PK: Ustwolskaya wrote in Soviet times, you feel oppression and despair, you feel the Gulag, you feel muted hope of an undefined religious nature. One cannot explain it, but one just feels being behind the Iron Curtain. Ustwolskaya once heard well played will never be forgotten. OQ: Having grown up in a talented family of folk musicians, how has that experience — that context — informed your own approach to music? PK: My parents being folk musicians it comes naturally to me to look for folkloristic roots in any music. Folklore doesn’t need a translation or explanation; people understand it in a very direct, functional and human way. If you want your listeners to dance, play joyful and rousing, if you play at a funeral, play so sad and touching that tears stream.

Interview with Patricia Kopatinskaja, 2018 Ojai Music Festival Music Director

Patricia Kopatchinskaja in a pensive moment (photo by Julia Wesely). Other performers for this year’s Music Festival include Jay Campbell, Markus Hinterhauser, the JACK Quartet and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.

OQ: As you know, there’s been a few folk-contemporary hybrids at the Ojai Music Festival — a particularly memorable one was a program of Percy Grainger music, who did such important work preserving these old tunes. Do you feel that in your work you are carrying on these folk traditions? Reinterpreting them for new audiences? What is your goal in this regard? PK: I doubt if I have goals and I do not want to teach people. However, a lot of music from Bach to Beethoven, Brahms, Bartok, Berio is somehow rooted in folk music and if I find these roots I base my presentation on them. OQ: How and when did you and Tom Morris connect? How did that conversation go? PK: I think Tom noticed me because of the recommendation of his friend and former director of St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Bruce Coppock, but also my CD “Take-Two” where we recorded duets for violin and different instruments from a thousand years of music history. And then he just asked what I would like to present and with whom, this went very quickly and there we are. OQ: What does the Ojai Music Festival mean to you? Before you agreed to be our music director this year, and someone

would mention Ojai, what did that mean to you? PK: Friends told me about it, but I did not know much about it, but then I learned of its impressive tradition, Stravinsky, Boulez, Krishnamurti, hippies and Flower Power. OQ: Can you share some of your own observations about Ojai — its people, culture, nature? PK: I spent just three days in the festival last year. Ojai is incredibly beautiful, a sort of paradise. I can understand that people want to live here. I was very scared and sad to hear about the horrible fires that surrounded it — it’s truly a miracle that it survived.

OQ: Besides yourself, who are some “up-and-coming” talents that contemporary music audiences should be listening to? PK: You should listen to the JACK Quartet, a daring U.S.-band playing what has to be played today. You will have a very rare opportunity to hear U.S.-composer Michael Hersch play his own piano music. And do not miss Markus Hinterhäuser play all of Ustwolskaya’s piano works, he plays with such force that his fingers bleed and the late Galina Ustwolskaya was wholly convinced by his interpretations. Ah Young-Hong is a remarkable singer and Anthony Romaniuk is a keyboard player with a rare improvisatory gift.

OQ: The Mahler Chamber Orchestra is a big “get” for our festival. How did that happen? PK: The Mahler Chamber Orchestra was the only thing Tom Morris had already in place with Esa-Pekka Salonen before I took over. But they are one of my preferred partners, I did my “Bye-Bye-Beethoven” project with them in Europe and they fit ideally into our plans. I love them very much.

OQ: What do you listen to for fun? What are your favorites for exercise classes, road trips, the morning commute, etc? PK: If not playing I often just prefer silence. For parties I love French Musette, Oscar Peterson. Sometimes I have to listen to current pop my daughter, 12, gives me. On my long travels I often listen to new repertoire to learn or to expand my knowledge.

OQ / SPRING 2018


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& Curiosities new and used books

on Life, Liberty & Happiness 110 South Pueblo Avenue Ojai, California 93023 in Meiners Oaks, corner of El Roblar

open 10 am to 6 pm (closed Wed)


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Beatrice Wood center for the arts



with Duchamp & Picabia

Art Student


in New York




March 3 - April 15, 2018

May 5 - June 24, 2018

March 10 - April 22, 2018

Glenda Clift - Shawl

Visit the Center and view our permanent collection, current exhibitions, and recent work created in Beatrice Wood’s studio

6 Ojai Santa Paula Road 8585



Happy Valley

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“If you like an instrument that sings, play the saxophone. At its best, it’s like the human voice.” Stan Getz

By Jesse Phelps

Photos by Dean Zatkowsky


Visitors and locals alike know that Ojai serves as home base for a stunning array of talented artists. On the musical front, singer-songwriters seemingly dominate the landscape (if it can be said that singersongwriters are in any way “dominant” — = no offense to singer-songwriters). That said, you’ll also find guitar heroes and piano studs, a banjo gal and, notably (if you’ll excuse the pun), a group of (at least) four sublime saxophone players. Walk downtown on a Sunday afternoon and you just might hear the sweet sounds of a tenor sax emanating ridiculous jazz runs from the patio at Majestic Oak. That’s likely Jacob Scesney out front of the Mario Calire Quartet. Some nights, you might happen upon the smooth riffing of Rubén Salinas playing his tenor sax in Libbey Bowl alongside Eric Burden and the Animals or his baritone as a complement to any number of local heroes. Stroll into any musical or theatrical performance in town, and as likely as not, you’ll be treated to the artistry of Jimmy Calire (though catching him on sax is a special treat). And if you’re lucky, you’ll find Karl Hunter doing his thing at The Vine or the Deer Lodge — if he isn’t on the road with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. That a town the size of Ojai could boast four saxophonists with this much talent may be the greatest proof yet that the valley is blessed with some magical woo power from deep in the earth. Everybody knows we collect seekers and painters. That’s all well and good, but the reason Ojai totally owns Carmel-by-the-Sea is our kick-ass horn section. (What you got, Carmel? Bring. Meet the Players.

INTERLUDES Karl Hunter Associated Act: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Superpower: That swing If we’re building Ojai’s dream sax quartet, the latest comer to Ojai, having lived here the past 10 years, would be Karl Hunter. He’s a must-see player when he appears at local venues. A multi-talented multi-instrumentalist, he’s best known 42

as the lead saxophone soloist for popular, Grammy-nominated swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. A full member of the band — a distinction many horn players never get to claim — for more than 21 years, Hunter credits his bandleader, Scotty Morris, with having the long-term vision to carve out a successful niche beyond the swing revival heyday of the mid-‘90s. “We weren’t aiming for having the hit of the week. We were aiming for a career,” says Hunter. In 1995, the Doug Liman film “Swingers” helped reintroduce the

“A smooth and silky evening to you all. On nights like this when the cold winds blow and the air is awash in the swirling eddies of our dreams, come with me and find safe haven in a warm bathtub full of my jazz.” Duke Silver/Ron Swanson

world to 1940s style and music. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s “Go Daddy O” and “You & Me & The Bottle Makes 3 (Tonight)” became radio staples. The band parlayed that success into a 20-plus-year run of relentless recording and touring. “We’re always working,” Hunter says. “We hardly ever take a long period of time off. We don’t let it slow down.” After more than two decades, the band still includes six of seven original members. The rarity of that speaks to the importance of a pet phrase of Hunter’s OQ / SPRING 2018

— “the hang” — the ability of a group to have a good time playing together, both musically and in life. “I feel super fortunate to have been in that situation,” he says. Hunter says the band is a family. All the guys have families of their own and their families hang, too. Hunter started his when he married his high school sweetheart, Christy, after reconnecting. They have three kids — Linus, 18, Rylan, seven, and Canyon (named for Matilija Canyon, where the Hunters made their home for five years), three. A Santa Barbara native, Hunter originally moved to Ojai to join Christy and escape the hectic city life in Los Angeles. He’d discovered the town long before, when attending his first concert — jazz legend Nat Pierce at the Ojai Jazz Festival — in Libbey Bowl as a teen. Known equally for his abilities to groove, to riff and to perform, Hunter’s versatility allows him to, seemingly effortlessly, blend in or take charge with a swing ensemble on the big stage, a mellow trio in the bar or an ambitious jazz fusion group. Of his style, fellow player Jimmy Calire (profiled below) says, “Karl is a great player. Dogged. He’s gritty. A great gift.” Fellow saxophonist Rubén Salinas (also profiled below) says Hunter has been a “huge influence” in his own playing. In a neat twist, his first live show was Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Save Ferris at the Santa Barbara Bowl. “To this day, it’s still one of my all-time favorite shows,” says Salinas. Jimmy Calire Associated Act: America Superpower: Being the Maestro of Soul “I want to hear the voosh! I want to hear the power,” says Jimmy Calire of the saxophone. “It’s a power instrument.” Calire would know. The power, soulful stylings and ferocious nature of his playing, both on the sax and the keys, are the stuff of local legend. Jimmy Calire is a familiar figure around town. Whether you see him at church, as a student, in front of a stage lending his musical talents to a play or up on it behind a keyboard or a saxophone, he’s one of Ojai’s most recognizable faces and prodigious talents. On the sax, he says he’s essentially selftaught. While growing up in Buffalo, N.Y., “I was given a saxophone in the seventh

grade and I started playing. I was really into it and I played for a couple years with rock bands,” he recalls. “Then I put it down for 15 or 20 years.” He remembers watching a friend play and feeling like, given the talent he saw but didn’t feel he had, he’d be better off sticking to the keys. And that gift is what landed him his gig touring with America during the band’s 1970s heyday. Still, he couldn’t resist picking the horn back up in his late 20s. He was playing

“Learn to work the saxophone/I play just what I feel/Drink Scotch whiskey all night long/And die behind the wheel” Steely Dan in a house band with Jay Beckenstein of Spyro Gyra at the time. He recalls Beckenstein telling him to “Get out of here with that thing!” when he broke out

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the saxophone. That didn’t stop him. But it took another friend watching him painfully play while biting through his own lip to get Calire to the next level by correcting his form. “It was just stupid,” he says with a laugh. After relocating to California, Calire says he finally took a couple lessons with the late jazz legend Gary LeFebvre. Calire’s recall is vivid. “He said, ‘You know that (expletive) you do on the piano? Do that on the saxophone.’”


He did, and the rest is the stuff of Ojai legend. He’s considered, on some level, a mentor, influence and/or fun guy to jam with by each of the other guys in our quartet. The feeling is mutual. Calire claims to have written sax parts, and even whole pieces, with the other guys in mind. We await their debut. Rubén Salinas Associated Acts: Eric Burdon and the Animals; Noble Creatures Superpower: The low-end theory Rubén Salinas’ smiling face is familiar to those in Ojai who enjoy good Mexican food, a taste of top-shelf tequila or funky horn playing. For more than two decades, his family ran the beloved and much-missed restaurant and tequila bar, Los Caporales. He could be found any starry Ojai evening mixing the finest premium margaritas in town. These days, he still plies those skills at the Vine if he’s not playing a gig. Born in Irapuato, Guanajuato, Mexico, Salinas came to Ojai as a kid and cut his teeth in the restaurant business from the word go. “Growing up, those were my ‘chores,’” he says with a rueful laugh. he credits his initial inspiration to 44

explore music to family friend Phil Long. “He was one of the first reasons I started liking jazz, and one of the first reasons I picked up a saxophone,” Salinas says. “He showed me Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan, and then he showed me John Coltrane, and then he showed me Stan Getz and Sonny Rollins. He was my first delve into the music, and I loved it.” As a teenager, Salinas listened to ska and punk, and he saw a place for the horn in modern music. “It was something I could tell I could totally do and I aspired to be, so I practiced all time,” says Salinas. “It was kind of my little therapy, and my time away from the restaurant. My dad called me on it. ‘You’re really doing all this stuff so you can get out of working!’” But, says Salinas, it wasn’t just way of avoiding childhood chores. It was a passion. He entered Ojai’s music program, taking inspiration from Nordhoff’s Bill Wagner. “Bill was really good at bringing everyone up to a certain level,” says Salinas. “I paid attention to listening to what was going on around me. Now that’s where I feel super comfortable. It’s a musical conversation. It’s not always about who’s in front.” He says Calire also provided another OQ / SPRING 2018

model of how to succeed as a working musician. ‘Growing up, I always had Jimmy as an influence,” Salinas says. “He and John Cross were the go-to sax guys in town.” Like Hunter, Salinas studied under Garry Pratt at Cal State Northridge. “He always questioned our drive and taught me the importance of hard work,” he remembers. He’s applied that, and carved out a smooth voice, not just as a tenor player but also as the Ojai quartet’s beast of the baritone. Salinas’ professional break came when he joined the rock-soul band Noble Creatures, contributing the sound of his soulful tenor to their funky, melodic, Latin-tinged sound. Then, last year, he got a call from the wife of legendary singer Eric Burdon, who’d he’d been introduced to one night at the tequila bar by Kelley McDowell, wife of Malcolm. The call was well-timed. The restaurant was closing and he had a decision to make. Should he move and continue with the family business fulltime in another state, or should he focus on his music? “I opted for the music,” he says. The next day, he got Burdon’s offer to

audition in preparation to tour. That was March of 2016. By May, he was playing with the Animals in Australia. He says he talked with Hunter shortly thereafter. Having established that the musical fit was right, Hunter then asked the most important question: “How’s the hang?” The hang, Salinas replied, was perfect. “It’s my musical comfort pillow, if you will.” Jacob Scesney Associated Acts: Postmodern Jukebox; The Mike Posner Band Superpower: Mind-blowing chops and precision Batting cleanup in our Ojai sax quartet is its youngest member, Jacob Scesney. At 24 years old, he’s already asserted himself as a force in the musical world as a member of the Mike Posner Band and Postmodern Jukebox (see YouTube now) and as an A-list sideman. His résumé includes tours or recordings with a Who’s-Who of popular recording artists including JoJo, Kesha, HAIM, Fantasia, Kool & The Gang, blackbear and Rachel Platten. His television credits over the past few years include gigs on “Ellen” (twice), “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve 2017,” “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” “Late

“The saxophone is the sexiest instrument. Except the bass.” Alison Ellsworth

Night with Seth Meyers” and “The Voice.” Though he says he used to prefer the alto, and can play virtually any instrument, he’s an absolute titan of the tenor sax. He’s often found demanding otherworldly phrases from his preferred instrument, a Selmer Mark IV — the same prized horn that Hunter plays. A lifetime Ojai local, Scesney came up through the town’s public school system, attending Mira Monte, Matilija and Nordhoff. He credits several local figures as “important musicians” from his youth: “Jimmy Calire, Joey Horswell and Bill Wagner,” he says. “I owe them. They were always so supportive. And they are all great people, too. It was important for them to show me that you can be whatever as a musician, and it doesn’t matter if you’re not a good person.” He credits Salinas with another very important inspiration. “When I was in fifth grade, I heard Rubén play saxophone and it made me want to switch over and play saxophone,” he remembers.

That credit, says Salinas, is an honor. “It’s amazing to see how he’s absorbed so much. Jacob is a technician. He’s one of those guys who is constantly challenging himself, so it’s really cool to see how far he’s come. He’s doing great stuff.” Calire echoes that sentiment. “Jacob has a different kind of gift. I try to just show him different guys. He’s such a sponge,” he says. “He sits there with his iPad, he listens, and then he can pretty much just do it.” Hunter, too, is full of praise for Scesney, saying, “That kid is something else. He’s amazing. He goes off for a month or two, and then I see him again and (the growth is) exponential.” Scesney’s playing segues delightfully between disciplined and technical and delightfully experimental, but it’s always in the groove and soulful. He’s also a ton of fun to watch, with an intrinsic knowledge of how to put on a show. He loves performing, and relishes making his horn a lead instrument. “The spirit of music is fun and energetic. I think there’s nothing cooler than when someone is nailing the music but also — like Bruno Mars or James Brown, —I love great performers,” he says. “They have that showmanship but never sacrifice on the music.” For all his accomplishment at such a young age, Scesney remains remarkably humble and approachable. And he’s grateful for the camaraderie with the other local sax men. “I mean, I owe all of them everything,” he says. “Jimmy taught me so much. Ruben and Karl, they taught me so much, and they continue to teach me. It’s the most beautiful kind of friendship you can have.


This is a foursome dripping with talent and soul. With Hunter on Tenor, Scesney on alto (if he doesn’t mind putting the Mark VI down for a couple hours ... or maybe we just have a couple tenors), Salinas on baritone and Calire on soprano, it’s an Ojai sax quartet waiting to happen. Might we see such an event come to pass? Keep your eyes peeled and ears open, Ojai. Such a gathering would be something to experience. (But it’s not happening in Carmel.)

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...he was happy, as happy as he’d ever been, right up to the moment when the wind plucked the fire out of its bed of coals and with a roar as loud as all the furnaces of hell set it dancing in the treetops.” The OQ talks to novelist T.C. Boyle


o begins the final act of T. Coraghessan Boyle’s most controversial novel, The Tortilla Curtain, which includes a wildfire followed by a mudslide — a potentially fatal disaster for all its central characters. It begins with a twist of fate. An Anglo nature writer driving through Topanga Canyon inadvertently clips and injures a young Mexican man, who with his teenage mate is trying to find work in Southern California. Unable to afford rent, the immigrant Mexican couple camp out in the canyon and, later in the fall, try to cook a gift Thanksgiving turkey over the fire. Inadvertently they set off a wildfire that all but destroys the development in which the Anglo couple lives. Boyle, one of Southern California’s most prominent writers, and a distinguished professor at the University of Southern California, has published 14 novels and ten collections of short stories since the 1970s. After the Thomas Fire, Kit Stolz of OQ’s “Off the Shelf” asked to interview him, because he is a writer who has often focused on environmental topics, including wildfires, mudslides, and climate change. He graciously consented to do so by email, even though his own neighborhood in Montecito was nearly destroyed in the debris flows of January during the course of the interview. OJAI QUARTERLY: What drew you to the story of “The Tortilla Curtain?” And why do you think it has stood up to the passage of time since the book was published, over twenty years ago? T.C. BOYLE: I grew up in suburban New York and moved to California in l978 to teach at USC. This translocation is, I think, what gives me a unique outsider’s look at the issues and environment of California. The debate about illegal immigration at the time I was writing “The Tortilla Curtain” in the 1990s wasn’t really a debate — it was yes or no, period. I took on the topic, presenting four points of view — those of an Anglo couple living in a gated community at the top of Topanga Canyon and of an immigrant Mexican couple living

in the canyon itself, in order to broaden the debate.

facing a threat to your home over a week later?

Why has the book endured? Because of the hard sociological and environmental issues it takes on — and which remain unresolved. We are now seeing the effects of global warming, overpopulation, and the fight for resources globally. That’s not going to go away until our species is decimated by war, disease, and famine. We are all one and we are all equally subject to the laws of nature and we are in deep trouble.

BOYLE: I’m fielding your question in the aftermath of yesterday’s debris flows that killed 15 of my neighbors, while 24 are still missing. (Final count as of press time — 21 dead) Let me say that the fire had me fully terrified and doubtful that our 109-year-old Frank Lloyd Wright house would survive. The rains? In relief — and oh, so short-sightedly — I welcomed them.

STOLZ: How did you and yours fare in the Thomas Fire? And when you first heard of the fire in the Santa Paula area, could you imagine

STOLZ: It’s apparent in Ojai and I expect in Montecito that we are not going to be “the same” anytime soon. Yet major disasters — fire, landslide,

earthquake — made the dramatic landscape of Southern California. Santa Barbara, for example, is a city built on a landslide. Ojai has a history of monster fires. Is denial baked into our lifestyle? Are we dumb or freaking crazy — unable to see the amount of risk we live with? BOYLE: See my story, “La Conchita,” about the disastrous mudslide in that community, which was first published in The New Yorker. Our memories are short. The sun shines. Nature smiles on us. Danger? What danger? When we evacuated in advance of the fire last month, I thought all Montecito would burn and knew how hard it would be to live anywhere else. I’ve lived in this house for 25 years now and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. STOLZ: In the story, you describe a mudslide: I don’t know if the average person really has much of an idea what a mudslide involves... maybe it was the fault of the term itself — mudslide. It sounded innocuous, almost cozy, as if it might be one of the new attractions at Magic Mountain, or vaguely sexy, like mud-wrestling … but that was thinking of a limited sort. A mudslide, as I know now, is nothing short of an avalanche, but instead of snow you’ve got 400,000 tons of liquefied dirt bristling with rocks and tree trunks coming at you with the force of a tsunami. And it moves fast, faster than you would think. It feels as if you’re trying to use your imagination to see beyond the obvious, and perhaps for that reason stories like “La Conchita” read almost like prescient visions of the future. BOYLE: I must compliment you on choosing those apt quotes. Am I prescient? A little, I suppose — or maybe just ahead of the loop. As an environmentalist, I read widely

about climate change, habitat loss, extinction -- and the sustaining joys of nature itself. STOLZ: Prominent climate researchers such as Sarah Myhre complain that the existential concerns of scientists about today can’t be heard in a national discourse dominated by a crass politician who has no apparent connection to the natural world. Do you ever feel that frustration? BOYLE: I do feel that frustration, but in any case I must explore my concerns through fiction, as I am an artist, not a scientist. Art cannot be advocacy or it ceases to be art. But art can hit you in that hidden place where your emotions reside and that is the pathway to a deeper view of things. STOLZ: Regarding climate change, you had a excellent and factual description in your novel “A Friend of the Earth,” from the perspective of an environmentalist struggling to live a sustainable life through floods and droughts in Santa Ynez Valley in the near future. “Global warming. I remember the time when people debated not only the fact of it but the consequence. It didn’t sound so bad, on the face of it, to someone from Winnipeg, Grand Forks, or Sakhalin Island. The greenhouse effect, they called it. And what are greenhouses but pleasant, warm, nurturing places, where you can grow sago palms and hydroponic tomatoes during the deep-freeze of the winter? But that’s not how it is at all. No, it’s like leaving your car in the parking lot all day with the windows rolled up and then climbing in and discovering they’ve been sealed shut — and the doors too. The hotter it is, the more evaporation; the more evaporation, the hotter it gets, because the biggest greenhouse gas, by far and away, is water vapor.

That’s how it is, and that’s why for the next six months (in Southern California) it’s going to get so hot (the local creek) will evaporate and rise back up into the sky like a ghost in a long trailing shroud and all this muck will be backed to the texture of concrete. Global warming. It’s a fact.” BOYLE: When we look at global warming as a present fact, we get beyond the rhetoric of the environmentalists and the obstruction of the oil-company shills occupying the White House. Fiction is for dramatizing the problem, which also humanizes it. STOLZ: There’s a fearlessness in your writing — a willingness to dive into seemingly almost any plight or any character’s perspective, be it past, present, or future. Is that willingness to dig deep and take dramatic risks your message, as it were, to readers? To turn us on to possibilities? To not settle for the expected, but to dare to think big? BOYLE: I like the way you put it, Kit. But I am not consciously transmitting any message beyond demonstrating the joy I take in making art and presenting it to you. I do like to push boundaries in my fiction, though, rather than playing it safe. For me, anything can be the basis of a story — and I can set a story anywhere and see it through any character’s eyes. Or at least that’s what I attempt to do. STOLZ: You have a great gift for satire, for making fun of people, all sorts of people, from the horny teenagers of “Greasy Lake,” to “econuts” and idealists of all sorts, to cynics like big game hunter Mike Bender, and on and on. Yet you also have a knack for making even misguided characters deeply sympathetic despite their foolish mistakes. How do you know when

you’ve found a juicy character, worthy of following and exploring over the course of a novel? BOYLE: I don’t. I just follow the story. Of course, in the case of historical figures like Frank Lloyd Wright, Alfred C. Kinsey, Stanley McCormick, John Harvey Kellogg (and in my just-completed novel, “Outside Looking In,” Timothy Leary) I found myself drawn to such characters. But sometimes characters sneak up on me, like Sarah Hovarty Jennings, the antiauthoritarian zealot of “The Harder They Come.” STOLZ: People in Ojai who suffered losses in the Thomas Fire have shared their sense of “overwhelm” — an inability to think clearly, or plan wisely, or even take in a full-scale disaster. You live in Montecito, and though you and your family survived, no doubt you were affected by what happened. People often look to storytellers for emotional wisdom. How did you deal with the disaster on a personal level, and do you have any possibly helpful advice to offer? BOYLE: Ground zero of the disaster here, at the junction of Hot Springs and Olive Mill, is two blocks from my house. We are among the lucky ones. We suffered no physical damage, but the psychological toll is incalculable. (My essay on the fire/flood disaster here, “The Absence in Montecito,” was posted by The New Yorker Online on on Jan. 21.) As for advice, I have none, other than to come together with your neighbors in mutual sympathy. STOLZ: A neighbor took this picture (page 48) in her neighborhood in Upper Ojai a few days after shortly after the Thomas Fire hit Upper Ojai. To me this seems very much like a T.C. Boyle moment: a spectacular animal in a

crazy situation that evolution may never have expected, surviving by its wits and its sheer determination to live. (Like the boar and the rattlesnakes in “When the Killing’s Done,” for example.) Does this kind of survival in the post-apocalyptic future inspire you? Make you smile? Make you wonder? Are there human lessons to be drawn here? BOYLE: Among the sad pictures of the destruction here in Montecito is one of a bear on our beach (below) the morning after the rains. It appears on my Twitter feed and was posted by one of the followers on my site. The animals are taking their chances out there too — and

they have no choice but to adapt to our ways. Which is why, as Richard Leakey pointed out some years back in “The Sixth Extinction” (one of the seminal texts I absorbed when I wrote “A Friend of the Earth” in 2000, which projects to 2026 and concerns global warming and the alarming disappearance of species worldwide) we are living in a world of rapidly dwindling diversity. Black bears are commensal with us and doing just fine, thankfully. But if you want to weep, weep for the polar bears. We are just now seeing the very last of them fade away into extinction. Of course, we’re on the way out too — we just don’t realize it yet.

When Britain’s legendary Satire Boom took off in the early 1960s, Ojai’s Peter Bellwood was right in the thick of it, hopping on one leg.



By Mark Lewis Many people in Ojai are fans of the popular Netflix series “The Crown,” but few feel a personal connection to its subject matter. We’re contemporary Americans, watching a historical drama set in Britain the middle of the last century – a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. But for the Brits in our midst, the series hits rather closer to home. Especially if, like Peter Bellwood, they spot some old friends among the characters on the screen. Bellwood, an Englishman born in 1939, has never met Queen Elizabeth II, the lady who wears the crown in question. Nor did he ever meet the late Harold Macmillan, whose term as prime minister from 1957 to 1963 provides the setting for Season 2. But there’s a key scene in the season finale where Macmillan visits London’s Fortune Theatre to see a satirical revue called “Beyond The Fringe,” featuring four young men dressed in gray. In real life, Bellwood knew the four performers well — especially Peter Cook, shown humiliating Macmillan with a deft and mercilessly phrased ad-lib. Bellwood was not in the theater that night, but he was living in London at the time, and Cook soon would invite him to join the cast of another satiric revue, “The Establishment,” a major link in the chain from “Beyond The Fringe” to “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” That was the beginning of Bellwood’s professional career in show business, which later brought him to Hollywood


as a screenwriter, and eventually to Ojai, where his surrealistic columns enliven the pages of the Ojai Quarterly. But his connection to Cook actually went back several years before “Beyond the Fringe,” to his undergraduate days at Cambridge University. The Satire Boom was still a squib, and Bellwood was present at the creation. A YORKSHIRE LAD Bellwood was born and raised in York, where he attended St. Peter’s, a private school of ancient lineage where past alumni included the infamous Guy Fawkes, who tried to blow up Parliament in 1605. (It seems that Old Peterites are predisposed to booms, satiric or otherwise.) In the fall of 1958 he arrived at St. Catharine’s College at Cambridge University with a view to studying law. But fate diverted him to a different path, due to an unusual talent. “Well, I played the ukulele,” he explains. During his freshman year a St. Catharine’s group called “The Midnight Howlers” put on a concert that included Bellwood with his ukulele, singing comical songs popularized by the entertainer George Formby. Adrian Slade, the president of the very prestigious Cambridge University Footlights Dramatic Club, happened to see the show, and was impressed enough that he recommended Bellwood to John Bird, who was directing the annual Footlights revue. Bird auditioned Bellwood, inducted him into

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the club and cast him in the show. “It just fell out of heaven,” Bellwood says. “I was the first freshman ever invited to join.” And so at a tender age he found himself among the players in “Last Laugh,” in June 1959. The revue’s other cast members included Bird; the actress Eleanor Bron; the future politician Geoffrey Pattie, who one day would serve in Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet; and Peter Cook, who preferred tormenting prime ministers to serving under them. “Last Laugh” was no mere run-of-themill college revue. The performance was recorded for a privately pressed LP (Bellwood still has his copy), and the cast was photographed by Princess Margaret’s fiancé, Antony ArmstrongJones, whose romance with the queen’s younger sister figures prominently in Season 2 of “The Crown.” Cook was already a legend in the making. Cambridge was grooming him to be a diplomat, but diplomacy was not his forte. Everything Cook encountered became grist for his comedy. Seemingly without effort, he churned out skit after skit, and not just for the annual Footlights revues – he also was supplying material for London stage revues. “Peter was regarded as a phenomenon,” Bellwood says, “because he was an undergraduate making West End money.” One of Cook’s most famous skits, “One Leg Too Few,” was inspired by

Peter Bellwood, at right, in “Last Laugh,” the 1959 Cambridge Footlights revue. Photo by Anthony Armstrong-Jones, the future Lord Snowden, who would marry Princess Margaret in 1960. Left to right: Geoff Pattie, David Monico and Bellwood.

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the sight of Bellwood standing on one leg to scratch the sole of the other foot. Instantly, Cook invented a scene in which a one-legged actor auditions for a role that would seem to require the full complement of lower limbs. “It just came out of his mouth,” Bellwood recalls. “He said, ‘Now, Mr. Spigott, you are auditioning, are you not, for the role of Tarzan.’ ” When “One Leg Too Few” was first performed on stage, Bellwood himself played Spigott, hopping about on one foot. In later years the role would be associated with Dudley Moore, who in 1959 was still an Oxford undergraduate who sometimes visited Cambridge to play jazz piano in a Footlights venue. Bellwood bonded with both Cook and Moore – but not with David Frost, another Cambridge undergraduate and Footlights stalwart. “He was a creep,” Bellwood says of Frost. “He stole all of Peter Cook’s material.” Cook served as president of the Footlights in the 195960 year, then made his big leap shortly after graduation. That summer, he joined the cast of “Beyond the Fringe,” a Footlights-style revue that debuted at the annual Edinburgh International Festival on Aug. 22, 1960. (The “Fringe” in the title referred to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, an alternative arts festival that takes place each year at the same time as the more traditional festival.) The other three “Fringe” cast members were Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller. Together with Cook, they comprised a cultural pivot point in Britain’s postwar history. “It created an explosion,” Bellwood recalls. So much so that in May 1961, “Beyond the Fringe” took up residency at the Fortune Theater in London’s West End. It was such a hit that Harold Macmillan came to see it, having heard about Cook’s impersonation of him. Spotting the prime minister in the audience, Cook ad-libbed a new line, which he delivered using Macmillan’s plummy upper-crust accent: “When I’ve a spare evening, there’s nothing I like better than to wander over to a theater and sit there listening to a group of sappy, urgent, vibrant young satirists with a stupid great grin spread over my silly old face.” As “The Crown” would have it, Macmillan was deeply embarrassed. In real life, the PM was a better sport. (Queen Elizabeth also saw “Beyond The Fringe” and reportedly enjoyed it.) Cook’s irreverent humor suited the times. The Suez Crisis of 1956 had stripped Britain of the illusion that it was still a first-class world power. The British had won World War II but lost their empire, and now found themselves playing second fiddle to those upstart Yanks across the pond. As a result, the traditional deference given to establishment institutions like the monarchy, and to upper-class statesmen like Macmillan, was curdling into something far less respectful. Bellwood points out that Cook’s humor owed a great deal to the anarchic antics of Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers and others on the popular 1950s BBC radio program “The Goon Show,”


Peter Cook’s classic sketch “One Leg Too Few” was inspired by the sight of Peter Bellwood, right, standing on one leg. Here they perform it in a Cambridge revue. which was more surreal than satirical. But in Cook’s hands, British humor acquired a political edge that had much to do with the nation’s suddenly diminished place in the world. His Macmillan impersonation called to mind an out-of-touch aristocracy in the process of passing from the scene. Hence the sting of his ad-lib at the Fortune Theatre that night. Back at Cambridge, Bellwood was now a senior, and had succeeded Cook as president of the Footlights. One day he and Frost, the club secretary, were invited to a cabaret revue that featured future Monty Python stalwart Graham Chapman, who was angling for a Footlights audition. “We gave them gallons of claret and didn’t start until they’d drunk at least a bottle each,” Chapman recalled in the book “Pythons The Autobiography By the Pythons.” Whether it was the claret or his performance, Chapman did wangle the coveted invitation from Bellwood and Frost to audition. So did John Cleese, another future Python. “I impersonated a carrot and a man with iron fingertips being pulled offstage by an enormous magnet,” Chapman recalled. “In the same set of auditions John Cleese did a routine of trampling on hamsters and can still do a good pain-ridden shriek. We were both selected and very soon were able to wear black taffeta sashes with Ars est celera artum (the art is to conceal the art) on them.” Bellwood by this point had switched from law to history

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writer and performer at The Establishment. Early today they hired a car and drove across the border at Belfast. — The New York Times

but was devoting most of his time to the Footlights and to having fun, to the point where he was in danger of being sent down before he graduated. But the head of his college noted that Bellwood was the first St. Catharine’s man to serve as president of the Footlights, which constituted a feather in the college cap. So Bellwood was allowed to graduate with his history degree in June 1961. Going up to London, he found a flat in Notting Hill and a job in advertising, producing TV commercials for laundry soap. His flat-mates included his old Footlights comrades John Bird and John Fortune, who were now performing on a London stage. (Later, Bellwood would share Peter Cook’s flat in Battersea.) “Beyond the Fringe” was still playing in the West End, and its success had prompted Peter Cook and another old Cambridge pal, Nicholas Luard, to found The Establishment, a nightclub on Greek Street in Soho. The main stage featured Bird, Fortune, Eleanor Bron and Jeremy Geidt performing a “Fringe” style satirical revue, while the basement stage featured jazz musicians. (“The Establishment,” within quotation marks, refers to the revue; The Establishment, without quotation marks, refers to the nightclub.) The Satire Boom was now in full swing, and not just on the stage. There was also a new satirical magazine, Private Eye, and a new TV show, “That Was The Week That Was,” hosted by David Frost. And everyone who was anyone hung out at The Establishment — including the “Fringe” cast members, who came to the club after concluding their evening performance. Greek Street was jammed nightly with club-goers hoping to rub elbows with hip young movie stars like Michael Caine and current Ojai resident Terence Stamp, or with the supermodel Jean Shrimpton — or, if they were really lucky, with Paul McCartney. (Beatlemania was in full flower in Britain by early 1963, and McCartney was a fan of the revue.) Celebrities and would-be celebrities alike crowded into the club to be part of the scene. “They all came to The Establishment,” Bellwood says. “They all wanted to be seen and be written about in the society columns.”

Mr. Bruce was met in Dublin yesterday by Peter Bellwood, a

“Beyond The Fringe” moved on to America in the fall of 1962 with its four original cast members, who scored a big hit on Broadway. Building on this triumph, Peter Cook decided to replicate his London nightclub success in New York. He acquired the original site of the storied El Morocco club on East 54th Street, lately converted into an imitation English music hall called The Strollers Theatre Club. Cook then summoned the original “Establishment” cast from London — Bird, Fortune, Bron and Geidt — and installed them in The Strollers. They were a smash, giving Cook two simultaneous hit shows in New York, but also giving him a problem: He needed to recruit a replacement “Establishment” cast for his original club back in London. “Peter called me from New York,” Bellwood says. “And I said yes.” This was a pivotal point in Bellwood’s life. He was 24, and making good money in advertising. Did he really want to chuck it, and commit himself to the vagaries of a show-business career? Indeed he did. Performing at The Establishment offered all the fun of being in a Footlights revue while also getting paid for it, and winning applause from the great and the good of Swinging London. “I thought I’d died and gone to heaven,” Bellwood says. And so Peter Bellwood stopped selling soap and became a professional entertainer — and soon a journalist as well, when he agreed to write for Nicholas Luard’s new Scene magazine. His first assignment involved a different sort of satirist: Lenny Bruce. GET HIM TO GREEK STREET Bruce had come to London to play The Establishment in 1962, and was booked for a return engagement in April 1963. “I loved him,” Bellwood says. “A very sweet, charming guy.” Bruce was less sweet on stage. The American comic was famous — and infamous — for “sick humor,” foul language, and his heroin habit, which led to frequent arrests. His satire was much harsher than Cook’s. “He went after sacred cows without caring whether he was upsetting people or hurting their feelings,” Bellwood

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says. “Whereas Cook wasn’t going for the jugular, he was just making fun of things and people. While Bruce may have been savage in his satirical take on the world around him, Cook was really very benign.” Bruce had made quite an impression on his previous London visit, so much so that when he returned, the Home secretary immediately ordered him deported as an undesirable alien. Cook, via transatlantic phone calls from New York, then hatched a scheme to get Bruce back into the country via a back-door arrangement: Instead of flying home to America, he would fly to Ireland — and so would Bellwood, whose assignment was to get Bruce back to London by hook or by crook. Inevitably, given Bruce’s notoriety, this escapade became international news. “Mr. Bruce was met in Dublin yesterday by Peter Bellwood, a writer and performer at The Establishment,” The New York Times reported. “Early today they hired a car and drove across the border at Belfast.” Cook’s idea was to exploit a loophole in British law that made it easier to enter the country by crossing the border from Ireland to Northern Ireland. Alas, the scheme failed. When Bellwood and Bruce arrived back in London, the authorities put the controversial American on a plane to New York. He never did play that return engagement at The Establishment, but at least Bellwood had a good story to write up for Scene. CROSSING THE POND Six months later, Bellwood boarded his own flight to New York. Peter Cook, ever the Satire Boom impresario, had sent the original New York “Establishment” cast on tour and imported a new cast, including Bellwood, to hold down the fort at the Strollers. Cook got Bellwood a room at the legendary Chelsea Hotel on West 23rd Street, a Bohemian establishment well stocked with colorful characters, many of them artist types. (The writers James G. Farrell and Brendan Behan were in residence at the time.) From there it was a short subway ride uptown to the Strollers, where Bellwood made his New York debut on Oct. 31, 1963. “A new troupe took over ‘The Establishment’ last night,” the New York Times announced. “Peter Bellwood does fine as a straight type who tells the sad tale of how heterosexuality brought his downfall.” Cook still was starring in “Beyond The Fringe” on Broadway with Dudley Moore and the others. After concluding their respective evening performances, the casts of both British revues would hang out together, often convening at Barbetta, an Italian eatery on Restaurant Row, west of the theater district. Right across the street was the famous Broadway hangout Joe Allen, where Bellwood met his first wife, Pamela, in the bar. When they married, Cook served as Bellwood’s best man, albeit a memorably irreverent one: “He leaned into my ear and said, ‘Are you sure you know what you’re doing?’ ”


Deciding to branch out into drama, Cook formed The Establishment Theatre Co. with the stage producer Ivor David Balding and the independent film producer Joseph E. Levine. The actress Sybil Burton (recently divorced from Richard) signed on as artistic adviser. The idea was to import cutting-edge plays from London and produce them at the Strollers, after converting the club into a new theater and rechristening it, with stunning originality, the New Theater. Back in Britain the Satire Boom was running out of steam, now that Macmillan had left office and British society was emerging from its postwar funk. The Establishment club on Greek Street, mismanaged by Luard, abruptly went out of business, and Frost’s TV show was cancelled. But in America, British comedy was bigger than ever, thanks to the Beatles. The Fab Four arrived New York in February 1964 for their epochal “Ed Sullivan Show” appearance, and from their first press conference it was clear that their appeal was not limited to music. They were funny, and in a way that seemed utterly fresh to Americans, few of whom had ever heard “The Goon Show” or seen “Beyond The Fringe.” It was the Beatles’ humor and charm that made their first film, “A Hard Day’s Night,” such an enormous hit. (The “Establishment” alum and Bellwood chum Eleanor Bron would co-star in their second one, “Help!”) “I remember seeing Ringo waving to the crowd from a Warwick Hotel window,” Bellwood says. Britain was back on top, at least in the cultural sense. The British Invasion was in flood tide, and Bellwood was along for the ride. When “Beyond The Fringe” and “The

Peter Bellwood, lower right, with the “Establishment” cast in New York, 1963.

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Following Bellwood at the Footlights was John Cleese, left, who joined Graham Chapman in a West End theater with “Cambridge Circus.” The two went on to co-found “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” Before that, though, Cleese joined Bellwood on an American tour of “The Establishment.”

Establishment” ended their New York runs in the spring of 1964, Cook and the others went home to London. Bellwood remained. He was already home. “I’d always wanted to be here, in America,” he says. “I wanted to stay.” It was at this point that the Strollers Theatre Club became the New Theater. Bellwood was part of the transition. “I joined The Establishment Theater Co. and started producing plays with Ivor David Balding,” he says. “We did ‘The Knack,’ with Mike Nichols directing.” “The Knack,” by Ann Jellicoe, was an import from London that opened in the New Theater on May 27, 1964, and became a major success, making a star of George Segal. Meanwhile, downstairs in the basement of the same building, Sybil Burton created New York’s first discotheque. Its name was suggested by Mike Nichols, inspired by the scene in “A Hard day’s Night” in which a supercilious journalist queries George Harrison about his mop top. “What would you call that hairstyle you’re wearing?” “Arthur,” Harrison replies, in the anarchic “Goon Show” spirit. Arthur, the disco, was phenomenally popular. As with The Establishment club in London three years earlier, everyone in New York flocked to East 54th Street to be part of the new scene. Not just anyone could get in, of course, but Bellwood was a regular. He had

only been in New York for a year, but he most definitely had arrived. He had not completely turned his back on performing. Periodically he went out on short tours with “The Establishment.” One such venture loomed in the summer of 1965, which would reunite Bellwood with old castmates such as Roddy Maude-Roxby. But only three former “Establishment” players were available, so the producer began casting around for another Brit with satire chops who could fill the fourth slot. The pickings were slim, apparently, but finally the producer heard about an actor who might be suitable. AND NOW FOR SOMEONE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT John Cleese had caught the tail end of the boom in Britain when he co-wrote and starred in the 1963 Footlights revue, “A Clump Of Plinths.” A hotshot London producer renamed it “Cambridge Circus” and transferred its cast to a West End theater, where Graham Chapman joined the lineup. A year later the show landed on Broadway for a short run. After it closed, Chapman went back to London, but Cleese stayed on in New York. First he appeared in a Broadway musical, “Half A Sixpence;” then he gave journalism a whirl, hiring on at Newsweek magazine. That did not work out well, so Cleese quit before he was fired.

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Rather than go back to performing, he decided to find himself a serious job, perhaps in a bank or an advertising agency. But before he could carry out that plan, he had lunch with the abovementioned producer, who offered him the fourth “Establishment” slot. Having just renounced show business, Cleese was all set to decline the offer, until he found out who else would be in the cast. “The group of four included Peter Bellwood, who had been president of the Footlights in my first year at Cambridge, and who was an immensely likeable and amusing fellow,” Cleese wrote in his autobiography. “I knew it would be a pleasure to work with him, so I said ‘yes’ over the coffee, and agreed to start rehearsing the very next day.” This iteration of “The Establishment” was a mini-tour with two stops, Chicago and Washington. It opened in July 1965 in a small theater in Hyde Park, near the University of Chicago. Inevitably, the sketches included one that lampooned Queen Elizabeth. The Queen: “Philip, what is an anachronism?” Bellwood, as Prince Philip: “You’ve been reading again, haven’t you.” The show was such a hit that it was held over for a week and attracted the attention of the novelist Saul Bellow, who lived in Hyde Park. “I had just finished reading ‘Henderson The Rain King,’ recalls


Bellwood, who was nonplussed when the book’s famous author came backstage before the performance to meet the “Establishment” cast. “I heard you guys are funny,” Bellow said. When the show was over, Bellwood recalls, the novelist came backstage again to deliver his verdict: “He shook all of our hands and said, ‘You guys are funny.’ ” Bellow was not the only one who thought so. “The critics were surprisingly enthusiastic about our performances, too, singling out Peter Bellwood in particular,” Cleese wrote. “He had a very engaging, relaxed style, with a wry affability that concealed his precision.” Bellwood returns the compliment, describing Cleese as “one of the funniest men, after Cook, I’ve ever known.” Cleese enjoyed this “Establishment” tour so much that he never followed through on his decision to leave show business. When the tour ended, he went back to London and accepted an offer from David Frost to join the cast of a new BBC TV show, “The Frost Report.” That show reunited him with Graham Chapman, who was one of the writers, and introduced him to three of the show’s other writers: Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. These five, plus the American Terry Gilliam, would go on to create “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” Here is irony. It was the prospect of working with Bellwood that induced Cleese to do the mini-tour, the success of which prompted him to continue as a performer,

Dudley Moore and Bellwood in California.


which in turn led him to “The Frost Report,” which led directly to “Monty Python.” Yet Bellwood, despite his excellent notices, made the opposite decision: After the mini-tour ended, he turned away from performing and went back to being a producer. Only now it was a film, rather than a play, that he was trying to produce. He acquired the movie rights to Bruce Jay Friedman’s novel “Stern,” offered Alan Arkin the title role, and approached Richard Lester to direct it and Terry Southern to write the screenplay. Everybody said yes except Southern, so Bellwood wrote the screenplay himself, and shopped the project around to the money men. “I came close, but it didn’t happen,” he says. But his script impressed Arkin, who showed it to his agent, who signed Bellwood as a client and sent him to Hollywood to be a screenwriter. And that, to cut to the chase, is how Bellwood gave up producing and performing for writing, the trade he still plies today, having won an Emmy along the way. ROLL THE CREDITS Near the beginning of his 50-odd-year stretch as a professional writer, Bellwood wrote the book for a starstudded Broadway musical, “Gantry,” which featured Robert Shaw and Rita Moreno, and played four weeks of previews before it officially opened and closed on Valentine’s Day 1970. Four days later, Bellwood scored a television triumph (and earned his Emmy) as a co-writer of “Annie: The Women in the Life of a Man,” a CBS special starring Anne Bancroft and a long list of Hollywood luminaries. Some years later, he co-wrote the film “Highlander,” an enduring cult classic. His current project is the film “Monster Butler,” starring his friend Malcolm McDowell, who has lived in Ojai even longer than Bellwood has. (McDowell will also serve as the film’s producer.) Peter and his wife Sarah (also a screenwriter, and a cartoonist to boot) moved to Ojai from L.A. in 1992 to raise their daughter, Lucy, in these bucolic surroundings. These days Lucy is a self-described “professional adventure cartoonist” based in Portland, Ore., where she creates comics and graphic novels. Once settled in Ojai, Bellwood resumed performing, mostly in his adopted hometown and mostly for the fun of it. As an actor, he has trod the boards at Libbey Bowl, the Art Center Theater and other local performance spaces. As a singer and ukulele player, he performs with the popular group The Household Gods. As a raconteur, he is in demand as a master of ceremonies for local charitable events. As a visual artist, he shows his vibrant collage work in local venues. As a journalist, his column, “The Bellwood Chronicles,” has been an Ojai Quarterly mainstay since the magazine’s 2010 debut.

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WAIT, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE SATIRE BOOM? Glad you asked. The movement’s brighter lights kept working in comedy after the boom petered out in 1964, and they enjoyed considerable success, especially in Britain. Peter Cook and Dudley Moore worked together as a duo for many years, until Moore moved to Hollywood to act in comedies such as “10” and “Arthur.” “Dudley became a star,” Bellwood says. “Peter was very jealous of this, although he never admitted it.” Cook was tall, handsome, charismatic, and a prodigiously talented comedian. But he could not credibly deliver lines written by anyone other than himself, and he preferred ad-libbing to following a script. “He wanted to be a star,” Bellwood says. “He wanted to be Cary Grant. But he was not an actor. He was an improviser.”

Cook succumbed to alcoholismrelated illnesses in 1995, at the age of 57. Moore also died relatively young, at 66, in 2002. Bellwood remained friends with both men until their deaths. (See “The Bellwood Chronicles” on Page 152.) David Frost moved on from satire to forge a long and successful career as a TV interviewer, living long enough to see himself immortalized on stage and screen in “Frost/Nixon,” and to accept a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth. He died of a heart attack at the age of 74 in 2013, while traveling on a cruise ship named for the queen. “Monty Python,” of course, became an international phenomenon as a TV show, a film franchise, and eventually a Broadway musical. John Cleese’s post-Pythons career included at least two additional classics — “Fawlty Towers” on television and “A Fish Called Wanda” in films. He lived in Santa Barbara for many years, until an expensive divorce forced him to sell his beachfront mansion in Montecito,

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whereupon he moved back to England. Most of the hip young satirists of the 1957-1963 period are now rather long in the tooth, if still above ground. But their former target, the queen, is still going strong in Buckingham Palace at the age of 91, as is her curmudgeonly consort, Prince Philip, age 96. Helen Mirren won a best-actress Oscar several years ago for playing Elizabeth in “The Queen,” and Claire Foy is garnering honors for playing her in “The Crown,” but neither “Queen” nor “Crown” is a satire. They take Elizabeth seriously and portray her respectfully. The last word goes to Peter Cook’s favorite target, Harold Macmillan. When Frost’s “That Was The Week That Was” debuted on the BBC, the minister in charge of broadcasting took offense at its satire and threatened to take it off the air. The prime minister told him to leave it alone. “It is a good thing to be laughed at,” Macmillan said. “It is better than to be ignored.”


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d in i ng o ut

South of the border ...

Growing up in Queens (New York), I never knew Mexico had a “cuisine.” Please! I didn’t even know what a “cuisine” was. It wasn’t that my town didn’t do “ethnic,” we did have Sal’s “Italian” and Pearl’s “Chinese.” In fact, the first time I heard of “cuisine” was at Pearl’s. Right there in neon lights above the entrance: “Mandarin Cuisine.” I gathered “Mandarin Cuisine” meant a type of Chinese food. Hey, I was ten.

... down Ojai way. 70

by ilona saari OQ / SPRING 2018

As my palate matured, so did my understanding of “cuisine.” But it wasn’t until I moved to California that I learned that Mexico really did have a cuisine. Like most countries, each region has its own take on Mexican fare, a mix of ancient Aztec, African slave and Conquistador dishes based around staples such as corn, beans, avocados, chili peppers, meat, cheese and chocolate (molé sauce – be still my heart!). What’s not to love about a cuisine founded by an ancient civilization that built pyramids populated by folks covered in gold jewelry and feathers, dashing explorers in colorful pantaloons and metal helmets on horseback ... and African soul food? Ojai is no exception to this California Mexican food tradition, from hole-in-the wall discoveries to cantinas and full-service restaurants, our town holds its own in its south of the border choices. My first taste of Ojai Mexican was at Agave Maria’s, a great place to have dinner before a show at the Ojai Art Center Theater across the street. It even has a “back story.” In 2010, motivated to recapture a piece of Ojai history, the Trudeau family restored the old house that had been the legendary Antonio’s restaurant for more than thirty years. Abandoned in the ‘90s, the space was in terrible shape and in need of serious repair. The family did just that and created Agave Maria, which has one of the loveliest dining patios in town. Sip a Pixie Tangerine margarita with a chips and salsa chaser and sample some of the Mexican, farm-to-table dishes such as ceviche and handmade chile relleños. Non-carb eaters can feast on Niman Ranch steaks or Chicken Campestre entrees. Since 1985, Casa de Lago has been feeding Ojaians delicious homemade Mexican food. Owners Joel, Gabriel and Sandra Hernandez are proud of their restaurants, one in Spicy Salad from Oak View, the other in the town of Agave Maria’s Ojai. Sit on the patio and enjoy the night air while dining on a tostada grande chicken entrée or the meltiest, cheeziest enchilada evah! Or try one of the house specialties such as beef or chicken fajitas for two, or shrimp rancheros. Jim & Rob’s/Lisa’s Cantina seems always to be jammed with folks clamoring for its Mexican fare. From breakfast bowls to lunch tacos and burritos to dinner combinations, the food is fresh and delicious. Try the chimichango, their signature burrito, or their chicken tortilla soup that my

husband says is the best in town. Grab a booth or table or go outside and find a table under the arbor and enjoy. In Meiners Oaks, drop in at the rustic designed Don Lalo’s Mexican Food cantina for some delicious authentic Mexican favorites… everything from soups to tacos, burritos to tamales, quesadillas to buche (pork stomach). Something for everyone… and they cater! In the “hole-in-the-wall” category, try the Red Barn Liquor store in Mira Monte. I always wondered why there was such a huge grill out in front of a liquor store barbequing chicken and meats (including goat, a specialty). What a surprise when I discovered in the back of the store an open doorway (hence the “hole-in-the-wall) that led into a small kitchen where inexpensive, Mexican food is cooked up.

CheeseEnchilada from Red Barn Liquor Store

The menu is extensive for such a tiny place. You name it, they make it. Grab your order and sit at the narrow counter in the kitchen, or take it outside to one of the umbrella tables. Speaking of “holes-in-the-wall,” head to Ojai’s Tortilla House on Signal Street where you’ll find scrumptious, made-to-order treats such as burritos, tacos, quesadillas and specialty dishes made from recipes from Guanajuato, Mexico. Everything’s “to go” as there’s no seating in this tiny Mexican food gem. But, if it’s a beautiful day, sit down and enjoy your order on the bench out front and watch the world go by, or walk down the street and into Libbey Park for a picnic. Buen provecho! Tacos from Tortilla House

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Become a member and you can be part of keeping our valley green for future generations!

Vaughn Montgomery and family picking up trash in the Ventura River Preserve on October 29 as part of the Greater Good’s Little Footprints event that the coalition sponsored.


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— Person of Valor Pendants

Ojai’s locally owned and operated magazines. By nationally award-winning writers and photographers. DISCOVER

OJAI MONTHLY Lifestyle & Visitor Information

This medallion is available in both Sterling silver ($135) or 18k gold ($1,250) and is available at the Susan Cummings Jewelry Gallery located at 453 East Ojai Avenue in Ojai. 100% of profits from sales of the necklaces will go to the purchaser’s choice of the Upper Ojai Thomas Fire Relief Fund, the Ojai Land Conservancy, or Help of Ojai. Inspiration for this piece came from Kerri Sengstaken, artwork was executed by Kili Behlman and production was done by the Susan Cummings studio.



On the Firing Line with Travis Escalante

u ary 2 01




It is difficult to adequately describe the heroism and selflessness witnessed during the Thomas fire and in its aftermath. This piece was designed in recognition of the brave people who fought the fire and for the spirit of our community. The Topa Topa mountains depicted on the face of the medallion overlook the Ojai Valley and are sacred to this community. In the native Chumash language, the word Nunašéš” inscribed on the back, is used to describe these people of valor.

Ojai by Design:

book spotlights famous architects

Ojai’s toy story: The barthelemys have more in store

Cover Sponsored by Oak Grove School “Where the World is Our Classroom • See More On Page 19 Visitor Information • Hikes • Events • Activities • Lifestyle Tips & Tactics - December 2017 See More

Ojai Quarterly & Ojai Monthly @

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At the intersection of kitchen tradition and innovation By Sarah Howery Hart


n 2010, a bit of Ojai’s history was brought back to life when longtime Ojai residents, David and Mary Trudeau, opened Agave Maria’s Restaurant at the South Montgomery Street location once inhabited by another popular restaurant. The old home-turned-restaurant had been Antonio’s for 30 years, and the Agave Maria’s website states that the new owners were in part motivated to restore it by stories of “rock stars, cowboys, hippies and large family gatherings which took place for years — where legend had it that Antonio with his handlebar mustache and large personality would pass by with a shooter of tequila for the adults and a kiss on the cheek for the newest member of the family.” Agave’s manager, the Trudeaus’ daughter, Tracy Jeffares, says the name evolved because agave is the basis of tequila, and the restaurant is famous for its libations such as the Agave Margarita and Pixie Tangerine Margaritas. The second part, Maria, was selected for its status as a traditional Mexican name. We began this interview with Chef Oscar Dominguez, creator of Agave Maria’s expansive menu, by inquiring about his experiences learning and perfecting his culinary skills. Ojai Quarterly: You’ve stated that 76

you’re originally from Encinitas. Is that where you learned your culinary skills? Oscar Dominguez: Yes, back in my hometown I started cooking at age 16 or 17, when my mother taught me to cook. I got the essentials from her, then just started learning on my own. I learned more and more. Back then, I made the traditional fresh dishes from my hometown. Then, I started creating my own style. OQ: Eventually you came to Ojai. Did you come here to work as a chef? OD: I worked for many years in Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, and yes, I was the chef there. I studied with the executive chefs. The 17 years I spent with them, there were quite a few executive chefs with a lot of different ideas, and a lot of different cuisine. OQ: You’ve mentioned that you get many of your ideas and recipes for the cuisine at Agave Maria’s from Mexico. OD: I go to Mexico once a month, and if I cook something good there, I try it in my restaurant. I experiment with foods down there. For instance, I saw some people doing carnitas tacos. I cooked them, too, did some onions, jalapeños, cilantro. It’s spicy, but you want more and more and more. OQ: Speaking of “heat,” going spicier seems to be a trend over the past few years. Are you seeing this as a trend in Agave OQ / SPRING 2018

Maria’s? Is this something you incorporate into your recipes? OD: The more spicy, the more it gives a little kick. I think people around the world like spices. Some people use turmeric, we use jalapeños. Some people use curry powder, we have chipotle powder. That’s like a Mexican curry. It’s from Yucatan, and Mexican restaurants are using it right now. OQ: There are many other trends in cuisine now, including gluten-free foods. Is that something you can offer Agave Maria’s customers? OD: Yes, and I can say that 80 percent of our menu is gluten-free. A lot of people want gluten-free food, and we provide that. When I do fajitas, and when I do rice, I can do it gluten-free. I use cornstarch instead of flour, and I wash all my spices to make sure there’s no gluten there. OQ: Many people are also vegetarian now. Can you accommodate their dietary preferences? OD: From the beginning, when we opened the restaurant, I had six or seven recipes that were vegetarian. That’s what I do, because I know in Ojai a lot of people are vegetarian, and we can provide that for them. That’s one of the reasons I use veggie broth for my rice. That’s why I use tofu and soy cheese. We can do a lot of things with tofu, and then I add a quinoa salad. It’s very nice, amazing. That makes my restaurant

different than other Mexican restaurants. OQ: And, what about customers who are vegan. Can you also accommodate their requests? OD: Absolutely we have foods for people who are vegan. I can make nachos with soy cheese. Some people who are vegetarian and vegan don’t want to go to a Mexican restaurant because they think we don’t have what they want and think they use a lot of chicken stock. I don’t. OQ: According to several “foodie” websites Coconut and Quinoa (Feb. 13, 2017), and the New Yorker, Daily Shout (Feb. 1, 2017) one of the noted food trends in 2017 is “taco fever.” Why do you think tacos have become so popular? OD: Tacos are very simple, have a unique flavor that everyone likes. If you go to Mexico and have a nice taco, everyone is going to love it. If you order tacos, you know they’ll be good. OQ: What kind of tacos do people order the most at Agave Maria’s? OD: Mexican taqueria style Carne Asada, Chile Verde, Chile Colorado. My specialty, I always use tri-tip for tacos. OQ: What are some of your other specialties? OD: I would have to mention the whole menu. I really like the whole menu. Everything is good. The Chicken Campestre is really amazing. OQ: What do you personally like the best? OD: For me, I’m very simple. I’m a meat lover, so my best thing for me is the Niman Ranch Ribeye. OQ: What’s coming up in the future for Agave Maria’s? Are you

making any changes to the menu? OD: Usually, we change things every six to eight months, and I may just add a new salad and main entreé next. I’m going to think even more about the people in Ojai who are vegetarians and the Mexican people. My main goal is that everyone can enjoy the restaurant. Also, I’m using organic beans and organic rice. Organic is best. OQ: You’ve opened a second restaurant, Agave Maria’s in Camarillo, might you open another one, too? OD: We probably will open another one, but only three. Three is the magic number. OQ: And what about your personal plans for the future? A cookbook, perhaps, a TV cooking show? OD: You know, six or seven years ago I was working with a friend who said “Why don’t we create a cookbook?” I’ve wanted to do that for years, put down on paper the recipes I have. It’s one of my goals. I have enough material to do one. And, if somebody asked me to do something on TV, I would do that, too. OQ: With all of the time you spend creating recipes, planning menus and cooking, now for two restaurants, do you cook at home? OD: No I don’t! My wife, Norma, is such a good cook, I don’t need to do that. I only cook at home three times a year. Thanksgiving, New Year’s Day, and usually Fourth of July when we have a barbeque. (Agave Maria’s, 805- 646-6353; 106 South Montgomery Street, Ojai, and 710 Arneill Road, Camarillo, 805-383-2770)

e Maria. ork at Agav w t a lo il d a r Delg Chef Osca

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CASA BARRANCA ORGANIC WINERY & TASTING ROOM Located in Ojai’s Historic Downtown Arcade. Stop by and relax in Casa Barranca’s Craftsman style-designed tasting room. Browse our collection of wine accessories and gifts. Ask about joining our Wine Club – it’s FREE. 208 East Ojai Avenue, 805-640-1255. OPEN DAILY: Sunday — Thursday 12-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday until 12-7 p.m. or VENTURA SPIRITS Ventura Spirits is a California Craft Distillery specializing in distilled spirits inspired by the native and cultivated flora of California’s Central Coast. We offer distillery tours and tastings of our award winning spirits in our new onsite tasting room. For more information or to contact us please visit:, email to: info@ or call us at: (805) 232-4313

TOPA MOUNTAIN WINERY Topa Mountain Winery offers premium wines made from grapes grown on its estate in upper Ojai and sourced from other premium vineyards in the region. A large selection of red and white varietals will be available for sale in its beautiful new tasting room and gardens. Available for events. The wines are also available for sale at



BOCCALI VINEYARDS & WINERY is a family-owned and operated winery located in the scenic Upper Ojai Valley. Father and son winemakers DeWayne and Joe Boccali are the driving forces behind the label. Boccali Vineyards produces 100 percent estate wines; grown, produced and bottled on the same property. Visit us in Ojai’s East End on weekends for a tasting at 3277 East Ojai Avenue in Ojai. Visit us on the web at

MAJESTIC OAK VINEYARD Hidden in the stunning Ojai Valley, the Majestic Oak Vineyard is deeply rooted on land our family has held for decades. As fifth generation Ojai-ans, we had a dream of bringing you the quintessential Ojai experience — something as beautiful and unique as the Valley itself. We believe a great bottle of wine represents the hard work that goes into it. From the land, to our hands, to your table, we are proud to offer you our labor of love. We invite you to be part of our legacy. It’s not just our wine; it’s our story. 321 East Ojai Avenue (downstairs), 805-794-0272,










OLD CREEK RANCH WINERY Old Creek Ranch Winery is a 100-year-old Winery and Wine Tasting Room situated on a true working ranch in the Ojai Valley. The prestigious winery specializes in 18 varietals spanning over half a decade. Currently, the winery is undergoing renovation and will be reopening soon. Please continue to check social media for opening dates and sign up on our website to join the wine club (no obligation to buy) for upcoming exclusive events! Located at 10024 Old Creek Road, Ventura, CA 93001. 805-649-4132.

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OJAI OLIVE OIL Our Tasting Room at 1811 Ladera Ridge Road in the Ojai Valley’s East End is open daily, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sample our oils produced on site and more for free! On Wednesdays, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. plus Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. we also offer Free Educational Talks with product tasting. No reservations required. Discover the true taste & health qualities of locally produced organic extra-virgin olive oils! Balsamic vinegars imported from Modena, Italy and olive oil-based skin care products are also for,, 805-646-5964.

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OJAI ALISAL’S handcrafted wines are made only with grapes we grow in Upper Ojai. We grow Syrah, Grenache, Malbec and Viognier in our beautiful vineyards dotted with California walnuts and sycamores (or Alisal in Spanish), bringing the spirit of the Rhone region to California. Please visit our Weekend Tasting Room at Azu Restaurant, 457 East Ojai Ave, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 12 noon to 5 p.m.. For more information 805-640-7987 or online at and


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ORMACHEA JEWELRY Specializes in hand-made, artisan jewelry creations; offering custom and unconventional engagement ring design in precious metals with unique gemstones. Each piece is slowcrafted in our studio by the sea. 432 East Main Street, Ventura 805.652.0484

JES MAHARRY Artisan and famed Sundance jeweler Jes MaHarry has teamed with her sister Wendy MaHarry to create the perfect space for their magical creations. Walk into the boutique and you will instantly feel surrounded by beauty. 316 East Ojai Avenue (In the Arcade) 877.728.5537 •


GEM QUEST 18 karat yellow and white gold with yellow sapphire and diamonds. Hand made at Gem Quest Jewelers 324 E Ojai Ave, Ojai, CA 93023 Phone: (805) 633-4666


HUMAN ARTS GALLERY Ojai’s most interesting and eclectic contemporary jewelry by nationally known artists, plus exciting new ideas for custom designed wedding rings by owner and resident jeweler Hallie Katz. 246 East Ojai Avenue. 805.646.1525 OQ / SPRING 2018


IN OJAI When out and about in the tea-houses and bars of Ojai, you might occasion to see a pale, etiolated, approximately female figure, hunched not unattractively over her beverage. (Not the sexy sort of tea house, you rascals, but she’s bad at coffee so coffee-shops to her are ever tea-houses. Or tea palaces as she calls them, on those giddy, grandiose days when wearing silk knickers and a feather boa with her largely regrettable sweatpants seems like really the only way to trapeze, one arm waving free, etc. over the howling chasm of empty, modern existence.) Anyway, she will have a ludicrous accent which need not concern you but makes every trip along the Subway counter for her a journey of misunderstanding, befuddlement, resentment, a brief purpling of rage, and, finally, weary resignation. She’s constitutionally quietly-spoken though, so chances are you won’t hear her at all, unless she whispers. She has a booming whisper which has been known to send whales thousands of miles off course. If this wretched, deceitful creature appears thoroughly absorbed in her book, you should know she is not. If she is steepling her fingers and staring into the mid-distance as if deep in the mysteries of the universe, she is almost certainly not. If this unprincipled tea-monster is scowling at a spider or shuddering at that one inevitable person-of-coffee who, following each sip of latte, leaves a thin, milky line between their dreadful lips, she is both doing these things, but also not. Indeed, if she appears benign, absentminded, aloof, insane, or in any of the late stages of constipation, it is all a damnable lie. Her bowels are actually in tip-top condition and she has no problems in that

area, she probably wants you to know. What this dreadful human being is doing is eavesdropping, possibly on you. If she drops something on the floor and picks it up, it is a deliberate ploy to see if a person is the sort of person who wears socks with their sandals. She cannot help herself for she is pathologically interested in the human condition, or “nosy” as unkind people might surmise. Her notes from the field though are always interesting. As she is my good pal — indeed we are inseparable — she often reports them back to me. Here then, for your prurient edification, is the latest in a vast collection of what she has Overheard in Ojai: 10:14 a.m.: Java & Joe. Subject female. Beverage — hibiscus tea. Snack — yogurtcovered raisins. Overheard on phone talking to suspected friend: “It’s over between him and me, Shirley (real names disguised by means of using other letters). I accidentally hacked into his phone last night and found a whole bunch of texts from Shiana. Yes, that Shiana, the one who was two-and-aquarter girlfriends before me. They were grocery aisle sweethearts, remember? Kept bumping trolleys in the cereal aisle, which led to corny ‘let’s have breakfast together hahaha’ jokes (completely unfunny and rather pathetic, in my view) which led to ‘urgent’ (puh-lease) and apparently ‘exciting’ sex (yawn) round the back of ‘Eggs and Potatoes’ which led to a deep love unlike any he’d ever known before (until I came along) and which would have been abiding had NASA not transferred her to take over at Cape Canaveral. Yeah, that Shiana. Anyway, listen. The text said she was lying on her sofa, eating salted nuts and drinking bourbon, and laughing because she was was remembering the time they’d got splashed by that taxi in a rainstorm in N.Y.C. Drinking bourbon! Remembering OQ / SPRING 2018

By Sami Zahringer


a taxi! That utter trollop! (Subject now hissing.) And he had responded ‘Hahahaha!’ Well, it was clear to me from that, that they’ve been carrying on some sort of salted-nut online orgy and, Shirley, I just can’t be with a man like that! Which is difficult, of course, because I live with him and we have poodles together but nevertheless. Well, no, there weren’t any other texts but ISN”T THAT ENOUGH? Anyway, what I did was I kissed him very coldly that night at bedtime — I think he knows something is up — and listened in silent fury as he said “‘Night, baby” and fell right to sleep when he should have…, no, he KNEW, I was upset about something. Well, by 3 a.m. I realized I had no choice but to seek this woman out and ruin her life. By 5.15 a.m. they were both dead, the victims of a horrifying bloodbath. By 5:23 a.m. I was attending his funeral in a dignified but darling black veil and that dress I showed you from ‘Camouflage’ near Vons. I eventually fell into a deep but nevertheless upsetting sleep and woke to find I’d chewed almost right through my hairbrush. I don’t know what’s happening to me Shirley. I am one hibiscus tea away from becoming a headline.” Wait ... no hold on ... there is some pale, etiolated, approximately female person who has just pretended to drop something but is looking closely at my shoes. Now she’s huddling not unattractively over her cup and writing something in a notebook! Look, Shirley, this is weird. I’m moving coffee shops. I’ll call you back in 10….” What was my point in telling you this, dear reader? Well, because, this pale eavesdropping woman, friend as she is, is an undoubted public menace. She ought to be stopped. Somebody ought to write a letter. 85

green union

By Sarah Howery Hart


Part of what residents and visitors love about the Ojai Valley is the respect for and protection of the environment, the chance to return outdoors to nature, and enjoy activities that are healthy, not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally. All of this is carried out in the context of leaving a lighter footprint on the environment. These are also the reasons many couples choose the Ojai Valley for their “green” weekend weddings.

WHERE TO STAY Topping the list for most couples planning a weekend destination wedding is determining where to stay, and in the case of an Ojai green wedding, Mellanie Hilgers, owner of Caravan Outpost, has the answer: a lush tropical forest campground setting, where the accommodations are 11 comfortable, well-appointed, nostalgic Airstream trailers. Ten Airstreams sleep four, one sleeps five, and all have bath, shower, kitchen and yard with sitting area and hammock. There are public spaces too, including the firepit, where campfire activities begin at dusk, including S’mores. In case you didn’t pack your guitar for campfire songs, Caravan Outpost has one for you to use. Grills for outdoor cooking are available, as is a full range of cast-iron cookware. Other communal areas include the Outpost

lobby, with complimentary coffee, tea and filtered water, and seating areas for reading and games. The Caravan Outpost store stocks souvenir t-shirts, caps, and other items, but also vintage clothing, such as fringed buckskin jackets GETTING AROUND OJAI Getting around the Ojai Valley can be an easy-on-the environment activity too, and for another touch of nostalgia, you’ll want to hop on the vintage-style Ojai Trolley, which can take your wedding group most places in Ojai. At one end of the fixed route, you’ll find Mira Monte’s Red Horse Plaza, which is home to Spin Rotisserie & Spaghetteria, owned by Stefano and Tammi Bernardi who also own Osteria Monte Grappa downtown Ojai. The other end of the Trolley’s route is the East End, where you can enjoy a picnic and games such as horseshoes

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Caravan Outpost’s 11 Airstream trailers (model Jessiqa Pace, photo by Matt Alberts) offer firepits, barbecue grills and live music performance spaces that are down-to-earth and fun;

Ojai’s Culver Academy has plenty of ideas for baseball- and softball-centric couples, including a regulation-size diamond on which wedding ceremonies can be performed.

in Soule Park, while enjoying views of Ojai’s Topa Topa Mountains. Or play a round or two at the Soule Park Golf Course. Another way to get around with a light footprint, is via bicycle, also available at Caravan Outpost. The Mob Shop rents specific types of bikes, mountain, road, electric, town, hybrid, and kids’ bikes and can also take your wedding party on a tour.

can sample unusual flavors including buckwheat, avocado, sage, and lavender. “We have things that come right out of the Ojai Valley,” says owner Barbara Hoskins. “Avocado is one variety that comes from this valley. People are finding out how much they like the avocado.” She adds, “Now, we have another variety of honey also from the valley, our lavender honey.” Hoskins offers another experience, as well, in keeping with the bee theme, an actual guided beekeeping experience. “We’re launching that this spring,” Hoskins says, “and guests can put on a beekeeper’s suit and go out to the hives.” There is one more sweet treat at Heavenly Honey — custom tastings for couples. “We do custom tastings with the couple who wants to use our honey for wedding favors for their guests. They can come in and taste and figure out what varietals they would like to have.” Another adventure for your Ojai weekend wedding is Lanny Kaufer’s Herb Walk. In addition to being a healthy outdoor activity, this is educational, whereby your wedding guests learn about local herbs, including plants’ culinary uses, uses as home remedies, botanical medicine, and in survival, wildcrafting, landscaping, camping, crafts, and ceremony. Walks and workshops are also held in two native plant gardens in downtown Ojai. “One is Vista Park,” Kaufer says. “it has about 40 different native plants represented, and something that’s interesting is that it has such a wide range from different plant communities on the central coast. Plants that grow on the Channel Islands, in a streambed, and the mountains.” The other garden is the Chumash Interpretive Garden. “We tour the gardens, then I have a hands-on sessions where people can make a

WEDDING WEEKEND ACTIVITIES The Ojai Valley offers a long list of resources for your environmentally aware weekend wedding activities, ranging from what you might call “relaxed” to “energetic,” beginning with a visit to the area’s bookstores, featuring new, used, and collectibles. This includes Twice-Sold Tales, which is affiliated with the Ojai Library and Bart’s Books, internationally acclaimed and recognized as the United States’ largest independently owned and operated outdoor bookstore. Interestingly, you’ll find another Airstream at another bookstore, Book Ends. This Airstream is a retrofitted 1961 model, and houses the adventure, great outdoors, and history of the West books, serving as an auxiliary to Book Ends’ main building, an old church, built in 1943 by Ojai’s famous beekeeper, George Biggers, famous on Ripley’s Believe It or Not for making a beard out of bees. “People can hang out under the shade of the oak trees, too,” says co-owner Celeste Matesevac. And, you might have some company while you’re shopping and hanging out, with resident canines Willa and Read. There are many “tasting” opportunities in the Ojai Valley as well, including at Heavenly Honey, where the wedding party

product.” This includes making coastal sage liniment. In addition to hikes and golf, there are more “energetic” activities your wedding party can engage in, such as ... baseball? Gary Culver, owner of Culver Baseball Academy, can offer you and your guests everything baseball using his batting cages, bullpen, and regulation-size baseball diamond. Culver, who has coached in the Ojai Valley for nearly 20 years, says he can provide several forms of baseball-related entertainment. “The wedding guests can hit balls in the batting cages. They can take batting lessons, practice grounders, practice double plays. Anything, including playing an actual game. If you’re softball nuts, we’ve got a place for you!” For guests who don’t wish to play, cheerleaders are always needed. Bring pom-poms! And, speaking of double plays, visiting Culver Academy can become a double experience. “They can bring beverages, food,” Culver says. “I have a barbecue and firepit, and a hot tub guests are welcome to use.” These amenities are close to the ballfield, on a patio and lawn, with lounge chairs and umbrellas.

catered meal, with Old Creek’s preferred caterer being Main Course catering in Ventura. The original winery was built in the late 1800s, formerly Rancho Ojai, an 850-acre cattle ranch, and Holguin says tours of the historic facility are available.

REHEARSAL DINNERS Tasting varieties of honey, as mentioned above, is a great weekend opportunity, but so is tasting wine, and the newly reopened Old Creek Winery offers wine-themed events geared toward wedding parties. This includes tasting several varietals. “We could talk to them about red wines or white, or a mixture that we would set up for tasting,” says owner Jane Holguin. Additionally, the Old Creek winery group will pair a preselected wine of the couple’s choosing with their choice of

WEDDING ELEMENTS: CUISINE, RINGS & FLOWERS One Ojai caterer, Food Harmonics, specializes in raw, vegan and vegetarian menus, and owner Gabriella Chesneau, says such “plant-based” meals are rapidly entering the wedding cuisine arena. “This is what’s happening,” she explains. “The younger 20s and 30s are getting married, and they’ve been vegetarian or vegan all their lives. We’ve been speaking to a lot of couples.” In fact, couples now rent the entire lush Food Harmonics back patio. “We’re doing plant-based rehearsal dinners on our patio,” Chesneau says. “These people are coming to me saying, ‘We want to be more conscious, we want our wedding to be in line with how we live, more connected to the earth.’” In conjunction with plant-based cuisine, Food Harmonics creates vegan wedding cakes, too. They carry the “green Ojai” theme one step farther. “We use palm leaf plateware and bowls,” she explains, “which is compostable and also biodegradable if it goes in the garbage.” She adds that their catering cutlery is all recycled, containing no plastics. Couples may not think to consider the wedding rings from an environmental standpoint, but this is where Hallie Katz, coowner of Human Arts, fits into your green wedding plans. Katz is an expert at repurposing, reusing metals, stones and gems,

Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy wedding weekend activities such as a guided tour of Ojai’s backcountry with Lanny Kaufer’s Herb Walks to learn about edible and medicinal plants; Heavenly Honey’s tasting room gives wedding party guests an au-

thentic taste of Ojai’s wildflowers. Owner Barbara Hoskins says the local avocado honey has been especially popular. The honey jars also make superb party favors and table decorations. Coming soon — a guided beekeeping experience.

Old jewelry pieces can be recycled into something new from which a couple can create their own treasured memories. Above are two rings that have been re-fashioned by Hallie Katz of Human Arts Gallery: “One is 14K white gold such as those from a couple’s inherited jewelry. With this method she uses some new material, but incorporates elements of the older jewelry. In a second method, Katz uses all older material. “Sometimes people have a lot of scraps, an earring, a broken gold chain. I can take their own materials and melt them down into clean gold, which is economical and green. I can also take something sentimental, like a grandfather’s ring, and make it into a new ring. We use any stones or diamonds if they’re in good shape. Everything can be recycled and used again.” Although the wedding flowers will inherently be green plants, they can be made even “greener,” according to Elizabeth Cohn, owner of Forage Ojai flowers. “I like to buy local from local farms. Spring, summer and fall are bountiful with different flower varieties. Other than winter, we source only from California or Oregon farms,” she said. She also forages at her own home. “My backyard is full of olive trees, eu-


with old mine cut diamonds and blue sapphires, and one is 14K yellow gold with diamonds,” she said. “Both customers were very happy to have something quite different and unique, and to enjoy their ‘family treasures’ once again.

calyptus, pepperberry, sage, bay leaf, lavender.” She often forages for repurposed containers as well. “We have used eucalyptus bark to wrap vases, large oversized tropical leaves, and textiles from my travels.” There is one more element from nature she uses. “Some of our arrangements have crystals and other specialty stones in them. I like to leave our clients with something special after the flowers have passed.” MAIN EVENT: THE WEDDING The green Ojai wedding, itself, calls for a particular type of venue, and ironically, some of the most unusual venues for an outdoor wedding are offered by some of the vendors mentioned above, including Caravan Outpost, frequently a wedding site for up to 200 guests. “We can handle and manage the event,” says Mellanie Hilgers. This includes everything from arranging for chairs to arranging for catering. “We have beautiful plank tables we use.” Herb walk leader Lanny Kaufer, in

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addition to leading you and your guests to a beautiful remote area, can perform the ceremony himself, because he’s a minister. “I’ve been doing weddings since 1969,” he says, “in parks, forests, private land, retreats. I specialize in customized ceremonies developed in collaboration with the couple.” And, this may be unexpected, but did you know that there are actually weddings held on baseball diamonds? The popular wedding site, “The Knot,” offers several ideas for the baseball fan couple, and this type of wedding is something Gary Culver is quite willing to undertake. “I’ve seen weddings where guests form two rows, raise crossed baseball bats, and the couple walks down the middle to home plate.” He adds that catering is welcome, and guests may enjoy the hot tub, bar area, and lounge on the lawn. Or, they can engage in a friendly game of baseball. The Ojai Valley, conscious Ojai vendors, an environmentally aware wedding, what better way to start your married life.

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Understanding the Impact of the Thomas Fire on the Ojai Valley

On the Firing Line

‘One smell of smoke and it all comes back’ By Kit Stolz and Michelaina Johnson

On Dec. 4, Ojai awakened to a catastrophe: two fires surrounded the town, fueled by unusually powerful Santa Ana winds. Quickly the two blazes morphed into one and sprinted toward Ventura, Santa Barbara and Santa Paula, burning hundreds of structures in the process. Ojai residents evacuated to Buellton, the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Bakersfield and beyond, each returning to Ojai with their own story to tell.

Looking across the riverbottom, from Highway 150 toward Mira Monte, an ominous glow could be seen behind Ojai on Dec. 4 not long after the fire started. Fire photos by Logan Hall


nce the blaze had moved on, at least 171 homes were lost, and many more suffered significant damage. No life was left unscathed by this natural disaster. While the fire was still raging, on January 9, massive mudslides devastated Montecito, killing at least 21 people and destroying 100 homes. Then, on Jan. 12, the U.S. Forest Service declared the largest fire in California history completely contained at 281,893

acres. The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy lost about 65 percent, or approximately 1,500 acres, of their land to the fire. More than 152,000 acres burned in the Los Padres National Forest, making the Thomas Fire the third largest blaze to burn within the forest after the 1932 Matilija Fire and the 2007 Zaca Fire. A preliminary damage report by the Ventura County Agricultural Commissioner found that the inferno affected more than 10,289 acres of irrigated cropland and another 60,000

acres of rangeland with damage costs reaching an estimated $171,296,703. While the igniters of the Thomas Fire were still under investigation as of late January, a confluence of the “perfect conditions for wildfires” made the size and ferocity of the record-breaking blaze possible, according to Bryant Baker, conservation director of the Los Padres Forest Watch. These factors include years of drought, a 300-day period of record dry days in Southern California, a statewide heatwave in the fall and the warmest December on record along California’s southern coast. While these temperature-related records are cause for alarm, Jon Keeley, fire expert and research scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey, is quick to point out that “those who conten d that global warming accounts for the Thomas Fire are distracting our attention from the more significant factors, such as the anomalous Santa Ana wind event and land planning decisions that put increasing populations into dangerous watersheds.”

U.S. Forest Service firefighter Dana Harris and Oxnard Fire Department fireman Chad Carroll answer questions from Santa Paula resident Jaime Cienfuegos during the Upper Ojai Relief event in December. Photo by Logan Hall.

The scientific explanations, dates, statistics and numbers tell one story. The tens of thousands of people in Ojai affected by the fire tell another. The following pages recount local residents’ experiences with the Thomas Fire.

A Governor’s Office of Emergency Services firetruck pulls up to a blaze adjacent to the 101 freeway near Highway 150 on Dec 6. Photo by Logan Hall.

JIM CHURCHILL The Ojai Quarterly talked to Jim Churchill at the Farmers’ Market on a recent Sunday morning. Churchill Orchard has been selling organic citrus — including the Pixie tangerines Jim and his partner Lisa Brenneis first retailed — for many years, but this was the first time they had been to the market in Ojai since the Thomas Fire. OQ: You compared the impact of the Thomas Fire on Ojai to what happened to New York after 9/11. Why? JC: The community is in shock. Everybody knows somebody who was devastated. It’s most awful for people who have been burned or flooded, but the community as a whole has been traumatized. I don’t see a quick recovery. I see people in town walking around looking shell-shocked. OQ: You mentioned that you and your wife had done a little “disaster tourism” around town. JC: We went up Koenigstein Road in Upper Ojai. We wanted to see what it looked like. I take fruit to Santa Paula every day to be packed, so I had some idea, but you can’t really understand the devastation until you get off the highway. Lisa and I also drove up Highway 33 to see what it looked like at the higher elevations. South of Rose Valley, but north of Wheeler Campground, there’s a place where the highway is undercut, and it’s a steep long drop and it looks like it’s going to be

Smoke settles in the west end of the valley along the Ventura River. Mellein Photo. really difficult to put that back together. We went out to Matilija Canyon, and saw Jeff and Karen Hesli at their place working frantically with a crew of volunteers to prepare for mudslides. How awful is that, to have struggled to save their home from a firestorm, which they did by dint of great effort, only to have to immediately turn around and get ready for a deluge. OQ: What lessons can we learn from this disaster? JC: Our friend David White (a leader in the Ojai permaculture movement, and the founder of the Center for Regenerative Agriculture) says that it’s time to modify the building code to approve fire-resistant building materials and buildings. We saw that adobe and super-adobe buildings at the Ojai Foundation survived the fire, whereas most conventional structures did not. Despite a lot of advocacy, I think it’s going to be quite a struggle. The Ventura County Building and Safety Department doesn’t seem to respect opinions from outside their department.

OQ: Did you have any personal or business losses? JC: We lost 50 percent of our avocado crop immediately to the winds. The fire didn’t reach us directly, but we know it’s not going to be a good year for our citrus. OQ: Any local heroes come to mind, during the fire? JC: In Ojai, Dave West (of Westridge Markets) stayed open through the fires, even though he had to recruit members of his own family to do it, and that was a great and useful gift to the community. The folks at Beacon (Jennifer and John Wheir) opened despite bad air quality. Since the fire Liz Haffner at Azu has been working very hard to foster connections in the community, and bring business back to Ojai. OQ: How’s the Farmers’ Market looking to you? JC: I’ve seen more vehicles in town today, but the market still feels light. A lot of sellers, from places like Cuyama and Goleta, simply can’t get here, because Highway 101 and Highway 33 are closed.

Genevieve Dron-Smith, Karin Dron’s great-niece, sifts through the ashes at the family’s Sisar Canyon property.

KARIN DRON The Thomas Fires destroyed Karin Dron’s historic stone house and family compound in Sisar Canyon, about four miles off the road that runs past Summit School in Upper Ojai. The stone house, built in the 1930s, was home to Karin, her late husband Boyd Dron, and three daughters, for decades. Despite knowing that her family home had been destroyed by fire on Monday, Karin — a rounds singer, contra dancer, and massage therapist who has lived in Ojai since marrying her late husband in the 1970s — worked frantically with a couple of friends and relatives to save the “Dronhame” (family home) on Gridley Road, not far from the Hermitage Ranch in the East End, from the fires during that fateful week in December. A fire photojournalist mentioned that a “strike team” was coming to help, but no help arrived. Firefighters on Gridley Road told her that the home was “undefendable” and drove away. With Rick Bisaccia and three others, she spent hours clearing brush and wetting exposed wood, leaving only when the fire began to surround them. She returned the next morning, fearing the worst, and discovered that her house, which had nearly been destroyed in another major fire in 1948, had survived. Most of the surrounding landscape and secondary buildings in the area were vaporized. Karin talked to the Ojai Quarterly, and also told her story as part of a performance on the Thomas Fire put on at Kim Maxwell’s studio on three dates this past January. This is a blend of her performance and an interview. OQ: How are you feeling? KD: Emotionally exhausted. There’s just been so much heartbreak. My husband died in 2014. My best friend died five months later, of cancer. I lost my family home, where we raised our daughters and where we lived for 37 years. At the same time part of me feels I have no right to complain. I still have a house I inherited after all, on Gridley. I have close friends, like Coline Tabrum, who have lost everything. But it just keeps coming. The fire burned the water line, and then the rains (in January) disrupted the line again, and buried my septic tank. It’s a very old house, and it’s a constant struggle to keep it

liveable in these conditions. The temporary water line is hanging by a thread. I’m on the edge of losing it at all times. I don’t have insurance. If one more person asks me why I’m not OK, given that I still have a house, I may break down. I’m just not OK. I evacuated after the fire, and slept a little better when I was away, but when I slept in the house again, I found myself waking up at 4:30 a.m., with my heart pounding, with visions of fire. OQ: Your house in Sisar Canyon — on a 40-acre in-holding, surrounded by the Los Padres National Forest — was pretty special. Give us an idea of what it was like. KD: I remember building that house in Sisar Canyon, rock by rock, beginning with the hand digging of the foundation trenches. I was eight months pregnant, but there was no holding me back. So many people became part of the counterculture community we created up there, and shared our dream of living close to the earth. I remember splashing into the icy cold spring-fed pool on a hot Ojai day. I remember the children climbing into the cherry tree to gather the delicious fruit the birds had missed, and the fig tree spreading its protective branches over the shimmering trout-fed pool. I remember celebrating birthday parties, where visiting little girls in shiny, patent leather shoes and frilly dresses were at a definite handicap compared to our hiking-boot-and-Levi’sclad mountain goat daughters. I remember the girls scampering up the nearly vertical hill to our garden, with the baby goats and the heart-opening view of the Topa Topas. OQ: I understand you haven’t been back to the Sisar Canyon stone house. KD: No. I haven’t been able to go back. I’ve seen pictures, though, and oh my God, the destruction. We called it the “couldwithstand-all” house, because it was built of rock, and had a metal roof, and wooden shutters with metal on the outside. But when the fires came the guys who lived up there had to evacuate. A tree caught fire and fell through the skylight. The fire cracked the mortar, the walls began to crumble and the roof’s timber burned. It’s distorted almost beyond recognition now. Gone are all the tiny houses on the property, the workshop, the massage room, the infrastructure. The bridge across the creek burned, and so the physical connection to all that is gone too. How do you reconcile a pile of rubble with the family home of 37 years? How do you say OQ / SPRING 2018

goodbye to a life’s journey? OQ: Are you going to rebuild the Sisar Canyon property? KD: I don’t think I can. I just don’t think I’m the person to do it. It’s still amazing to me that (my husband) Boyd was able to make it possible for us to live in that kind of wild nature so close to this community, and yet so isolated, for so many years. And when I start thinking about it, and excavating the stories about our life up there, it’s like losing Boyd all over again. OQ: Do you worry about not being able to recover emotionally from these disasters? KD: People tell you that you will get beyond the trauma, but they don’t tell you that you will be a changed person. We all want to move on, to have fun, but it doesn’t take much to be overwhelmed all over again. One smell of smoke, and it all comes back. When I drive to Upper Ojai I look around and think oh my God, there’s no escaping it, it’s everywhere. It’s horrendous. For me it’s an inkling of what it must be like to go through a war in your community, with devastation that continues day after day. OQ: Do you see a way out of our collective grief? KD: From my house I can look out and see this one palm tree, a non-native planted by some bird God knows when, that didn’t completely burn, and it’s putting out a new palm. My eye goes to the green, and I know that it will come back. And I have heard from so many people who knew the Sisar Canyon community we had, and loved the serenity and beauty of that place. The coming together of the Ojai community has been incredible. OQ: What about fire? How do you feel about fire these days? KD: In my singing group we used to sing a song to fire, thanking it for its warmth, its beauty, the way it brought people together. It’s a beautiful song, written by Marilyn Power Scott. Thank you Fire, for your beauty Thank you Fire, for your sweet sweet song Thank you Fire, for your warmth and your light And for your dance of joy in the cool, cool night. Marilyn wrote that song around a campfire in Wheeler Campground in 1999, and we still sing it, but not as much as we once did. We always saw the duality of fire in Sisar Canyon — its beauty and its threat. 101

Understanding the Impact of the Thomas Fire on the Ojai Valley

The Things We Lost in the Fire 14 File Cabinets of Family History By Patricia Clark Doerner


HE LEGACY OF THOMAS AND OTHER FIRES OF THE OJAI: Grandfathers are great teachers. I had two of the best. My maternal grandfather, Obie Bounds, grew up among the Nez Perce of Idaho as his father, Willard, was a Federal Marshal for the Reservation. He taught me the “HI YA, Hi Ya, Hi Ya, Hi Ya,” feet shuffling, body rising and falling in time to the music. Imagine, calling Chief Joseph (“I will fight no more forever”) as one of your childhood friends! At any rate, my cousins and I would dance the dance of the Nez Perce while sacrificing our dolls to the Gods (on the unlit barbecue). It was my paternal grandfather, Robert Emmett “Bob” Clark, however, who truly caught my imagination. His father had emigrated to the United States from famine-stricken Ireland. At every family gathering, the grandkids would gather at his feet as he told tales of his adventures as Sheriff of Ventura County (he was elected by an overwhelming margin). Later, he gathered renown as the “Last of the Frontier Marshals.” I knew that one of his jobs was transporting criminals to 102

Federal Penitentiaries. For many years, I thought it was “Billy the Kid” that he’d taken to prison, but with a bit of research as I grew older, I found that it was the much less appealing, at least to this kid of the West, Al Capone or “Scarface.” I found that he was instrumental in settling one of the great feuds of Castaic (the JenkinsChormicle Feud). But I never sat at his feet to hear his tales. His voice was very soft as he’d injured his lungs in fighting fires in The Ojai, both as one of the first rangers in California, under the enormously popular Colonel Slosson, and later — whenever there was a fire threatening his beloved Ojai Valley. For example, in the Great Fire of 1917, “Big Bob and all the rest of the family, even the women, managed to save the Foothills Hotel but Bob suffered from huge blisters on his face and hands.” I was shy and somewhat hard of hearing. When all the grandchildren would gather at his feet, I declined to join them; I was afraid I might fail to answer a question if it came in my direction. But I still was driven to hear his tales. So, after his death, I gathered the stories his OQ / SPRING 2018

children had been told. All agreed that Uncle Bill’s tack room was the logical place to start. Even though he was a rancher, a prize-winning horseman, his tackroom contained leaning stacks of historical papers, boxes of memorabilia, all stories of his father whom he adored. I spent 18 months categorizing, filing in steel cabinets, then, finally, listing all in a compendium so that he could easily locate any one of his treasures. His youngest daughter told me she was certain my work had added years to his life. I was amply rewarded when I found that Uncle Bill stipulated, with the agreement of his children, that all his files would come to me on his death. So, the stories that I’d been too shy to listen to as a child, came to me as gathered through the years. They served as priceless sources for short essays and stories of my colorful grandfather and my first book publication: “The Judge: William P. Clark, Ronald Reagan’s Top Hand.” Using Uncle Bill’s files as clues to further research, my collection grew to 14 four-drawer file cabinets filled with

Lake Casitas glows with the reflection of flames covering the hillsides on Dec 7. Photo by Logan Hall

nuggets of Ojai, Ventura County, Missouri and Irish history — all as our family fit into the sequences. For example, Great-grandfather Michael Hugh Clark spent the duration of the Civil War in Andersonville prisonof-war camp — where prisoners picked through feces, desperate to find nutrition. Cousin Howard Bald told me that none of the children could remember seeing him smile. Each story, a treasure, leading to more stories and insights in to family, Ojai, California, Wisconsin, and Irish history. From the other side of the family, tales of the privileged folk of the plantation South, the Pettits and Barnetts. The treasure here was a tale told by a slave, Jasper, who witnessed the killing of Great-greatgrandfather William McAfee Pettit who had stopped “Ol’ Man Burrs” from beating a crippled slave. Your Uncle William took us (the Negroes) to Arkansas for safety and we were going along the road one day and Adam was going for the letters. He (Adam) was singing “When I can read my title clear to mansions in the skies”—just singing and didn’t mean any harm. Ol’ Man Burrs (here he registers contempt and didn’t say “Mister”) came out and said ‘What you n----ers mean? We don’t allow no Missouri n----ers to come down here hollerin’ and carryin’ on like that. I’ll whip you by law for it.’ With that he struck Adam four or five times across the

The chimney is all that still stands on Patricia Clark Doerner’s homestead on Black Mountain. face and then he whipped him by law.” We went home and Dr. William washed and dressed Adam’s face — dressed it with stickin’ plaster — and a day or two later we ran into old man Burrs and your Uncle John Edwards said, ‘Are you the man that whipped our black boy?’ ‘Yes, but I whipped him by law.’ Dr. William said, ‘Well, you hit him in the face with a stick before you whipped him by law.’ Then Dr. William knocked him down and said, ‘That’s once,’ and every time Ole Man Burrs got up he would knock him down again — told him he wouldn’t kick him, but would knock him down every time he tried to get up. We went on then and a few days later we met Ol’ Man Burrs again and he said he wasn’t satisfied with that fight. Dr. William said, ‘All right, we’ll fight it over,’ and, as he was getting off his horse, Ol’ Man Burrs pulled up his shotgun and shot him in the chest. Ol’ Man Burrs got away. It was war times and nothing could be done. Dr. William said for us not to carry OQ / SPRING 2018

guns as we were in Southern Country and everyone was friendly.” In addition to countless oral histories, priceless photographs, as well, filled my 14 file cabinets, gathered, copied from more family members than I can name. The only reason I have the above story is that I helped my grandson, Brian, with a history project many years ago. When he heard that the Thomas Fire had destroyed my home — especially my priceless 14 file cabinets, he brought me his copy of our project — a precious remnant of our family — or, rather, our country’s — history. There is no fitting conclusion to this story; I truly thought my stucco house was fireproof. When the bang on my front door was followed by “Mandatory Evacuation,” I was certain that my fire hydrant and fire hose would keep my house and especially my 14 file cabinets safe. When I returned the next day, all that was left standing were two chimneys; no sign of the file cabinets and their contents — so, now, for all time, I’ll not be able to hear my grandfather speak. 103

Understanding the Impact of the Thomas Fire on the Ojai Valley

Out of the Ashes A new vision for tourism By Caryn Bosson and Kathleen Schafer

Credit this page and facing page: Mellein Photo


he Thomas Fire burned with abandon throughout our region, while blessedly leaving much of the Ojai Valley untouched. Its destructive force is evidenced by a glance at the local mountains. The flames cleared away the undergrowth, revealing the hauntingly beautiful landscape underneath: rocks, ledges and barrancas visible in the brown silhouettes. Once thought to be untouchable terrain symbolic of our community, our local mountains have changed, revealing an unseen beauty. Just as with the landscape, the fire’s aftermath has revealed essential contours of our community: showing that, when all else is stripped away, we are a small town of people who care about each other. In the months preceding the Thomas fire, other flames were smoldering. Emotions were heated over the issue of whether Ojai’s popularity as a tourist destination was overwhelming the community. Sides were drawn between those favoring a tourist-centric economy and those wanting to “Keep Ojai Lame,” as bumper stickers proclaim. Wherever people landed on the spectrum, it was clear with the opening of every new wine tasting room that change was afoot. Then came the fire, and the need to label people dissolved as inspiring acts of courage and generosity allowed us to see one another as simply human. Neighbors helped save each other’s homes and relief efforts mobilized Ojai residents by the hundreds. The love of this sacred valley drew people toward nobler causes, because the luxury of division no longer existed. As the fire’s heat faded, it was evident that the community’s heart was opened. We may be a bit battered and charred, yet we are also more connected with what’s truly important — with each other, and this unique place we call home. So what does this mean for our visitors?One reason for the tourism controversy was people’s sense that Ojai’s essence was in jeopardy; that our success would become our downfall, a threat facing popular destinations around the globe. But in the post-fire weeks with nary a tourist in town, we experienced what Ojai could be like without them. And in the

quieter streets, a large segment of Ojai’s economy — our hospitality, dining and retail sectors — quickly fell into distress. The fire revealed that Ojai needs tourists, and tourists need Ojai. Tourists needing Ojai is the often unrecognized part of this equation. We’ve long prided ourselves on being “ShangriLa” with our natural beauty and the attention it garners — yet, even in our most distressed state, with naked mountains and moonscape trails, tourists are still coming. Why? Because Ojai is special. It isn’t just a place to drink wine, shop, bike or hike. It has a long heritage as an an oasis for the spirit and for healing, as well as a seat of learning. It is no wonder we are Los Angeles’ most popular day trip, because we are a place where people come back to themselves and to what’s important. Creating a Better Way to Be Together Just as fire germinates seeds dormant in the soil, so post-fire Ojai can be reborn as a new kind of tourist destination. We can begin by seeing tourists not as strangers, but as guests. And like OQ / SPRING 2018

good hosts, we can build authentic exchanges, deep friendships, and livelier experiences for everyone involved. This new type of tourism — sustainable tourism — invites people to our community for meaningful interactions that benefit Ojai and them. It’s built on the three key components of sustainability: attention to the economy, environmental balance, and community values. When we give equal attention to each dimension, tourism can be reimagined. In fact it’s already starting. Since the fire, Ojai residents are coming together to support local business in the face of the Amazon e-tail tidal wave, determining how collaborations can be strengthened and grow. Others are re-thinking building materials and land uses so our environment, economy, and community can be more resilient. Ojai’s vibrant artistic, spiritual, health, athletic, and ecological organizations can likewise come together in new ways, with even more creative offerings for locals and visitors alike. 105

Credit: Mellein Photo

Out of the ashes, Ojai can become a model community where people come to learn, be inspired and recharged, and take what they’ve gained back to their homes and communities. As we recover and regenerate after the Thomas Fire, Ojai has an opportunity to move forward with our hearts open. If we focus on a common vision, with strong civic and grassroots leadership, inclusive of all voices, we will not only be able to transform Ojai’s next decade, but Ojai’s transformation will ripple out throughout the country and beyond.

~ Caryn Bosson is a nonprofit leadership consultant and the Executive Director of Ojai-based nonprofit, the C.R.E.W. - Concerned Resource & Environmental Workers. Kathleen Schafer has been at the forefront of developing leaders who impact the public good for more than 25 years; learn more about her work at

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hat’s the next year look like for building in Ojai? We sat down with Allen Construction’s President and long time Ojai resident, Bryan Henson, to find out. Based on the company’s 35 year history helping residents rebuild after natural disasters, Bryan believes that affected homeowners should prepare for an 18-24 month road to recovery. While Ventura County is doing all that they can to speed up the permitting process, Bryan feels that there are a few significant hurdles for homeowners to overcome: INSURANCE: Understanding insurance benefits is not an easy process. Be sure to get an expert involved ASAP to help you make sense of your insurance policy and offer suggestions on how to best negotiate your settlement. General contractors often have significant experience in this arena and can be a good ally. Don’t hesitate to enlist their support. Allen and other local experts have been hosting workshops throughout the region and will continue to do so as long as their guidance is needed. TIGHT LABOR MARKET: Due to the magnitude of the disasters, general contractors and trades are getting booked several months in advance. If you know that you will need construction services, make the calls to trusted local resources as soon as possible. Bryan recommends that you remain cautious of out-of-town contractors, as events like these will require long term commitments to rebuilding. Create local partnerships you can count on for the long haul. PREPARE YOUR PROPERTY FOR THE FUTURE: Even if your property wasn’t directly impacted in December and January, you need to protect it from future forces of nature. Have an expert evaluate your home’s wildfire, storm, and erosion protection needs before the next storm hits. Bryan, who has experience in both the disaster remediation and insurance industries, has helped homeowners with insurance and/or rebuilding efforts in recent wildfires. “A year from now, as we look back on 2018, our team will remember our community coming together as locals helping locals rebuild a stonger Ojai.”

Allen Construction 805.884.8777 |

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We know Ojai.

Saddle Mountain Estate with Guest Quarters, Custom Pool and Amazing Views $1,550,000

Enjoy great views from nearly every room in this thoughtfully designed, gated Saddle Mountain estate where upscale touches abound, such as the stone fireplace in the living room, the exposed-beam, vaulted ceiling in the formal dining room, the breakfast room off the kitchen, the Zen sand garden in the foyer and the imperial staircase to a versatile loft with a balcony. The remodeled kitchen features double ovens, built-in TV, wine refrigerator and large island with a breakfast bar. The master suite is a well-designed retreat with an elevated seating area with fireplace, wrap-around balcony, and spa-like, marble bath with 2 vanities, jetted tub with mountain views, steam shower, separate lav, and walk-in closet. A separate guest wing offers 3 guest rooms and a guest bath. The outdoor kitchen, pergola-covered patio and guest quarters are adjacent to the stunning, custom pool with two waterfalls. Other features include a sand volleyball court, 3-car garage, workshop and room for horses.

The Davis Group

Nora Davis 805.207.6177

We’re lifelong residents.

5 Bedroom Horse Property with Guest House, Pool, Horse Facilities and Views $2,995,000

Move-in-ready 3 BR + 3 BA on corner lot in cul de sac set at foot of Topa Topa Mountains. 2017-2018 remodel, including kitchen, bathrooms, flooring, HVAC and more. $949,000


Beautifully Remodeled in Camarillo! Two bedroom, two bathroom remodeled home in Old Town Camarillo just steps from restaurants, shops and more! $629,900

Three bedroom, two bathroom on Ventura River bluffs with fantastic views, swimming pool, fireplace and exposed-beam ceilings. $689,000


20+-acre Upper Ojai Montecito-style estate. $3,995,000

Rare opportunity to buy Gateway Plaza! Oak View shopping center with long-term occupants, large parking lot and great location. $1,950,000

The Davis Group

Nora Davis 805.207.6177

. . . now you’re connected.


news | events | visit

from the creators of Ojai Quarterly and Ojai Monthly

The Hoff Group

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805-290-6907 OQ / SPRING 2018



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The Williamson-VanKeulen Group Let us show you what Living Ojai is all about!

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Since 1989

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920 Loma Drive. 2 acres with many Avocado trees. 3-Bedroom, 2-Bath View home over 2,000 sq ft horse pen, covered RV, close to trails List Price: $1,250,000

CATHY TITUS In the Real Estate Industry Since 1986 805-798-0960 •

1. Azu 457 East Ojai Ave. 640-7987 2. Bart’s Books 302 W. Matilija Street - corner of Cañada Street. 646-3755 3. Besant Hill School 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Road 646-4343

The Ranch House 15

4. Ojai Music Festival 201 South Signal 646-2094


5. Boccali’s Restaurant 3277 Ojai-Santa Paula Road 646-6116 6. Emerald Iguana Inn Located at north end of Blanche Street 646-5276 7. Genesis of Ojai 305 East Matilija Street 746-2058


8. OVA Arts 238 East Ojai Avenue 646-5682 18

9. Knead Baking Co. 469 East Ojai Ave. 310-770-3282

14 8

10. Ojai Art Center 113 South Montgomery Street 646-0117




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11. Nutmeg’s Ojai House 304 North Montgomery St. 640-1656 12. Ojai Café Emporium 108 South Montgomery Street 646-2723

e Oliv Ojai


13. Ojai Valley Electronics & Hobby 307-A East Matilija Street 646-7585 14. Ojai Valley Museum 130 West Ojai Avenue 640-1390 15. Ranch House 102 Besant Road 640-2360

16. Sea Fresh 533 East Ojai Ave. 646-7747


17. Studio Sauvageau 332-B East Ojai Ave. (Inner Arcade) 646-0117


18. Treasures of Ojai 110 North Signal St. 646-2852

13 8 7



STAY ON HWY 150 for about 2.2 miles 10





19. Porch Gallery 310 East Matilija St. 213-321-3919 20. Ojai Olive Oil 1811 Ladera Ridge Road (off Hermitage) 646-5964


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We have

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Healers of Ojai

Science Taking the ‘Woo Woo’ Out of Ojai


Retreats of Ojai




Ask Dr. Beth

Stressful Times And Their Impact On Our Health


Ojai’s Top Seven Ways to Get Lost, Found

Outside In

Lessons Learned From Loving the Land


Calendar of Events


Photo by Bennett Barthelemy

Bellwood Chronicles

Temporarily Here, 2018

HEALING ARTS SCIENCE MAY SOON TAKE THE ‘WOOWOO’ OUT OF OJAI By Judy Gabriel The “buzz” words in Ojai’s healing community are all about resonance, vibration and frequency. You will still get the eyeroll from your primary care physician if you bring up Sound Healing, Bio-Meridian, Alpha Neuro Feedback, Rife, Scalar Waves or Reiki. But in today’s world of nanometers and muons, are they really that far out there? We all learned way back in elementary school science class that the desks we were sitting in were made of molecules, and those molecules were made of atoms, which in turn were made of protons and electrons rotating around the nucleus. What flabbergasted us all at the ripe old age of 10, was that those tiny microscopic parts were vibrating at millions of times per second. Our brains still have trouble comprehending that which our eyes cannot see. Humanity has an ongoing struggle with this limiting frame of perception. We have been taught that for something to be true, it has to be perceived by one or more of our five senses. The proverb “Seeing is believing” has inspired us beyond microscopes to nanoscopes, which use a beam of atoms instead of light to illuminate the nanometers, a measly one billionth of a meter. On the list of greatest scientific discoveries in 2017, the Business Journal lists a new imaging technique that allowed them to look through millions of pounds


Lic. Acupuncturist since 1986, voted best in Ojai! Natural medicine including Microcurrent, nutritional and herbal consultation, Facial Rejuvenation. Call for a consultation: 805-798-4148


of stone to find a new chamber in the Giza Pyramid. It depends on high-speed particles called muons. Wrap your brain around this one. These particles are made when “cosmic rays from supernovas, merging neutron stars, black holes and other high energy objects reach Earth and interact with air molecules.” Scientists (and therefore thousands of science teachers) over and over again have had to eat humble pie, retracting that which previously was fact and set in stone. (The earth is flat. Protons and neutrons are the smallest particles., etc.) When will we finally accept that there will always be more beyond that which we can perceive today? Tomorrow’s facts are today’s science fiction. And tomorrow’s standard medical and healing practices will be using frequency, biochemistry and beyond. These alternative healing modalities are based on the premise that every piece of matter is in motion to some degree and therefore has a frequency. Our human bodies, each animal, plant and mineral all carry a unique signature. As these pieces of matter come in contact with other pieces of matter, vibrating higher or lower, they affect each other. By harmonizing those frequencies, we can restore balance to a system, and allow the body to heal itself. Bruce Tainio, of Tainio Technology (an


Energy Landscaping Using intuitive vision and energy dowsing, Judy brings the health of your body, land, business, or home into balance to support your highest potential. (805) 798-4111

OQ / SPRING 2018

independent division of Eastern State University in Cheny, Washington) determined that the average healthy human body frequency is 62-72 MHz. He used the first frequency monitor, which he had designed and built to study and prove this new way to monitor our bodies. He also determined that each of our organ systems have their own frequencies. Our eating habits will undoubtedly change as we standardize a system to rate our food and healing products. For example, rose oil claims the highest energy level in essential oils, at 320 megahertz. Lavender comes in second at 118 MHz and Peppermint oil at 78 MHz. Who knows? Future food labels may indicate how much energy a food contains in MHz instead of calories. It will be a bit less mystical and romantic, but the day may come when Ojai, and our Valley’s “Vortex” will be scientifically explained and assigned a number on a frequency scale. The millions, who have come to experience the Valley buzz, will finally be validated. Ojai may have a reputation of some “WooWoo” healing practices. But, that’s ok, because we are proud to be out in front smashing the next illusion of framed perception. The next time you see a flyer for a crystal bowl sound healing, you might want to give it a try. Your kidneys may thank you.


Emotional Healing, Intuitive Readings and Creative Empowerment Visit: 805-804-7024


Talk to your Spirit Guides. Accurate, detailed readings. Psychic Medium - 40 years experience. Ordained Minister, A Course in Miracles. Officiates Ceremonies. Rev. Kate Hawkins. 805-280-2560 -


Functional Art for Heart & Home - American Made Fair Trade - Psychic Tarot and Astrology Readers, Energy and Crystal Healings daily by appt. Walk-ins welcomed: 805-6401656. Open daily 11 am-6 pm 304 North Montgomery Street


TO ADVERTISE HERE please call or email Laura Rearwin Ward at: or 805-479-5400


CRYSTAL LIGHT HEALING Rev Deb Court 7 Chakra Crystal/ Color Light Therapy. Endocrine and Immune System. Relax, relieve pain and stress. Heighten awareness/ Deepen Connection Developed By John of God 805-669-5643

Nathan Kaehler (Best of Ojai 2014). Licensed Acupuncturist, MA Psychology. Gentle acupuncture, 14 years experience Personalized herb preparations Large onsite herb dispensary (805) 640-8700


Healing sessions for the mind, body and spirit. Guided breath work meditation opens the flow of energy from the universe. Get help with insomnia, anxiety, depression, trauma, anorexia, and addiction.   970-208-7733


2nd generation Acupuncturist who brings 13 years of Meditation, Tai Chi and Kyudo Zen Archery experience to his healing practice of Functional Medicine and TCM. 805-486-3494




Pre-birth to 3; pre/post-natal well-being; infant/toddler development; parent education/ support. Phone 805-646-7559

Counseling others for decades with clients all over the world. Specializing in love, relationships, self care and spiritual growth. Author of five books including the best-seller “Beyond the Secret.” 805-233-4291




Offers Swedish, deep tissue, reflexology, reiki, cranialsacral and pre and post natal massage with a reverent and joyous balance of hands and heart. 805-886-3674


Certified Colon Hydrotherapist Ojai Digestive Health With more than 30 years of experience in healing modalities, Jacalyn brings a deep level of caring to the art of colon hydrotherapy. Professional, nurturing, experienced. 805-901-3000

Welcome to Somatic Sanctuary — a somatic-based healing and movement arts center. Explore healing treatments, group movement sessions, workshops and community events. 410 W. Ojai Ave.


Cert. Hypnotherapist Find your calm center. Release negative thinking, emotional reactivity, anxiety, fear and unhelpful behaviors. Improve sleep and comfort. Safe, loving, rapid change. It’s time to feel better! 805-796-1616


Master Teacher, Alexander Technique - Feldenkrais Method. State-of-the art in stress management. “Life Just Got Easier.” More than 40 years of international teaching experience. Free 20-minute consultations. 310-880-7700

OQ / SPRING 2018

Gong Meditation and Acutonics Sound Alchemist. Master Bodyworker. Founder of Harmonic Earth — sacred space for healing arts and performance. Call or text. 107 W. Aliso St., Ojai 720.530.3415

Chumash Elder Consultant • Storyteller • Spiritual Advisor • Workshops Weddings and Ceremonies 805-646-6214


Dr. John R. Galaska, PsyD, BCN, Cht, university professor of Psychology, Neurofeedback, biofeedback, hypnosis for past troubling experiences and enhancing subjective life experience. 805-705-5175 125


Institute of Theosophy An international center dedicated to understanding, harmony, and peace among all peoples, comparative studies in religion, philosophy and science, altruism and the ideals of a spiritual life.

Buddhas to Birthday Cards

2 Krotona Hill, Ojai 805 646-2653

Walk-ins welcome!



Library and Research Center Quest Bookshop School of Theosophy

and a Huge Selection of Crystals

est. 2000 ...


Bumperstickers to Beeswax

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INTUITIVE READERS DAILY Tarot Readers Spiritual Counselors Astrologers Chair Massage & Energy Healing


304 N. Montgomery Street, Ojai, CA

2 blocks north of Ojai Avenue & A World Apart!

805.640.1656 • •


Chinese massage releases stress, increases circulation and energy – at affordable prices

Reflexology Massage

Full body, foot or chair massage 60 minutes - $35

Oriental Oil Body Massage 60 minutes - $48

Hot Stone Therapy

Ojai Avenue

Open daily from 10 am to 10 pm (except Tuesday open 11 am to 8 pm) 1002 East Ojai Avenue, Suite B, Ojai • (805) 299-5899 • Our Arcade location • AA Relaxing Station • 323 E. Matilija Street, #112 126

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Shady Lane

Grand Avenue

Park Road

AA Relaxing Station


Signal Street

60 minutes - $68

Bamboo Creek Spa


A PLACE FOR RETREAT OJAI LOVE CENTER • (323) 854-5182 Welcome to the Ojai Love Center! Located 10 walking minutes to quaint, historic downtown, on one of the most private, prestigious lanes in Ojai, nestled within majestic ancient oak trees on two acres. We have a unique floor plan that’s perfect for retreats and family gatherings with stunning views of the Topa Topas to enjoy the famous Pink Moment.


1130 McAndrew Road, Ojai • (877) 355-5986 If you are seeking a retreat in Ojai, you’d be following famous footsteps. The Pepper Tree Retreat has played host to some of the most influential people in the world, from D.H. Lawrence to John Lennon. As Krishnamurti himself said, who lived on the property from 1922 to 1986, “It is essential to go into retreat, to stop everything you have been doing, to stop your experiences completely and look at them anew ... you would then let fresh air into your mind. This place must be of great beauty with trees, birds, and quietness, for beauty is truth and truth is goodness and love.” The Pepper Tree Retreat includes an impeccably restored 1910 farmhouse, and features eight guest rooms and newer cottages. All rooms have private bath, writing desk, wi-fi and air conditioning. The retreat also features both indoor and outdoor meeting areas. The retreat is run by the Krishnamurti Foundation of America. The two original buildings on the site, Pine Cottage and its accompanying guest house, have been designated historic structures by Ventura County. Set amid the flourishing and fragrant orange groves of Ojai’s East End, and tucked into a grove of ancient oaks, the retreat offers serenity and solitide amid stunning natural beauty. Three rooms have their own kitchen, and a vegetarian breakfast buffet is offered every morning. Access is offered to the nearby Krishnamurti Library, where people from all over the world have drawn inspiration and insights. The Pepper Tree Retreat prides itself on being an island of calm in a turbulent world, where couples, small groups and individuals can relax, soak in beauty and establish a new relationship with life.

OJAI RETREAT 160 Besant Road, Ojai • (805) 646-2536 The Ojai Retreat is located on a 5-acre hilltop property with spectacular views. It offers 12 beautiful guestrooms, European-style breakfast included. It also features a spacious living room, a reading room, a waterfall garden, a nature path, and several outdoor spaces to enjoy the view and the surrounding nature. Ideal for individuals and couples.

MEDITATION MOUNT 10340 Reeves Road, Ojai • (805) 646-5508 Devastated by the Thomas Fire, with 28 of its 32 acres burned, Meditation Mount is closed for repairs until further notice. “We have been greatly heartened by the many voices now asking, ‘How can I help?’ We invite you to increase your contribution or make donations to rebuild, regrow and revitalize this sacred place of beauty, harmony and inspiration,” their website states. Donations can be made at


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Stress and Sweets:

TO DO OR DOUGHNUT DR. BETH PRINZ The Food Doctor M.D. – Dr. Beth Prinz is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and passionate about preventing disease through healthy living and a whole-food plant-based dietary approach to health.


jai has been through a rough time recently. Almost everyone was affected in some way by the devastating Thomas Fire and the subsequent catastrophic debris flow in neighboring Montecito. People have experienced psychological stress. A simple definition of stress is “the ongoing or anticipated threat to homeostasis or well being.” Threat to our well being prompts changes in the body’s chemistry, metabolism, neuroendocrine and immune systems. These changes are necessary for improving our chances of survival when faced with danger. The “fight or flight” phase of stress is a fear response, activating our sympathetic nervous system, mobilizing stored glucose and fats for the anticipated increased energy demands. Researchers also describe an induced “sickness behavior” from stress — an inflammatory, flu-like state in which energy-wasting processes shut down, such as food intake and digestion. We may lose our appetite or become socially withdrawn. Chronic stress can also make us sick. Researchers call this “stress-induced disease susceptibility.” A study in The New England Journal of Medicine showed that selfperceived stress is enough to make us more likely to catch a cold. Volunteers exposed to cold viruses via nasal drops were more likely to become infected the more stress they selfreported on a questionnaire. Our food preferences shift with chronic

stress, (an effect observed to be stronger in females). Researchers studied what kind of food mice would prefer under normal conditions vs. conditions of chronic stress. Mice were offered access to their usual nutritious “chow” and also highly-palatable sugar and lard (junk food for mice). When not stressed, mice chose a mix of the chow and the “comfort food” but maintained the same daily caloric intake. When chronically stressed, the mice increasingly ignored their regular chow in preference of the comfort food. Initially, the comfort food blunted signs of stress, but with continued exposure to stress and access to comfort food, the benefits ceased and the opposite effect was observed. The stress pathways became hyper-responsive and the animals became obese. Comfort food is more effective when limited. Mice whose access to sugary water was limited to a few sips twice a day fared better than mice in the previous experiment: the sweet snack provided a stress-reducing response without spoiling the animals appetite for nutritious chow, nor causing weight gain. Researchers speculated that the dopamine reward pathway in the brain was a common thread for reducing stress and wondered if other “rewards” would be effective. The theory was tested and it turned out that saccharin and sex were pretty good substitutes for sweets, (as far as male rats were concerned!) So what should the people of Ojai and their neighbors, who have endured more OQ / SPRING 2018

than their share of stress recently, do if they find themselves craving doughnuts and ice cream. Indulge or deny? The science seems to be saying go ahead and enjoy a sweet treat, but in moderation. The doughnut will satisfy the reward center of the brain, alleviating stress temporarily, if overall calories are kept in check. If acute stress has caused your appetite to vanish however, worry not, because your appetite will bounce back and probably with a vengeance. Keep nutritious food readily available so that every bite counts, fortifying your immune system and keeping infections away. When your appetite returns, consider hiding the comfort food to make it less tempting. Finally, keep in mind that there are many healthy ways to activate the reward centers of the brain. Figure out what feels like a treat for you and make this a priority and a practice. Suggestions include walking in nature, talking to a supportive friend, getting enough sleep, talking to a therapist or counselor, volunteering to help someone else, donating to a cause, reading a book, meditation, yoga, a massage, a hot bath, playing with your dog, etc. Ojai is a beautiful and caring community with many opportunities to rest and restore. Help of Ojai has been instrumental in giving a hand up to people in need. The Ojai Land Conservancy is working to repair and protect Ojai’s trails. Ojai was surrounded by a ring of fire and survived. Ojai will continue to be a place for healing and recharging from stress. 129

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OQ / SPRING 2018

OQ / SPRING 2018



7 WAYS TO GET LOST By Bret Bradigan

1. SHELF ROAD Directions: From Ojai Avenue, head north on Signal Street until it ends. Length: 3.5 miles return trip. Difficulty: Easy. It takes about an hour at a brisk pace to walk the length of the trail and back between the trailheads at either North Signal Street or Gridley Road. This hike is perfect for visitors or residents to get “ the lay of the land” in Ojai. It is also one of the most “dog friendly” walks around.

2. VENTURA RIVER BOTTOM TRAILS Directions: From Highway 150, there’s a trailhead just east of the Ventura River bridge. From South Rice Road, there’s a trailhead just north of the intersection with Lomita Road. Also from South Rice, take a right on Meyer Road to the Oso Trailhead. Length: Varies. Difficulty: Easy to Moderate. Three trailheads lead you into the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy’s 1,600-acre Ventura River Preserve. This three-mile stretch of the Ventura River offers a spectacular glimpse into old-growth oak canopy, splendid vistas from rocky ridgelines, deep swimming holes, lush fern grottoes, rare wildflowers and many miles of trails to choose from.

3. PRATT TRAIL Directions: From Ojai Avenue, turn north on Signal Street and drive about 1.2 miles until you see the Forest Service sign on the left. The trailhead is a further half-mile. Length: 4.4 miles to Nordhoff Ridge. Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous. The Pratt Trail criss-crosses a seasonal stream through the backyards of private properties before opening onto a natural bowl formed by the slope of Nordhoff Ridge. Follow the signs through about two miles of dry and dusty switchbacks until you reach the ridgeline. From there, it’s another two steep, dusty miles to Nordhoff Peak, 4,426 feet above sea level.

4. GRIDLEY TRAIL Directions: From Ojai Avenue, turn on the Gridley Road.

Photo by Caitlin Petersen

Follow it to the gated end, about two miles. Length: 3 miles to the Gridley Springs, 6 miles to Nordhoff Peak. Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous. Elevation gain: 1,200 feet to the springs. This trail, at the north end of Gridley Road just to the left before the gates to Hermitage Ranch, begins with a steep climb, then follows an orchard road through avocado trees before making a northeastward turn along the rocky western flank of the mountainside. The trail winds along the steep flank of the mountain until it enters the cool, dense side canyon wherein lies Gridley Springs.

6. COZY DELL TRAIL Directions: Head east on the Maricopa Highway (Highway 33) for 3.3 miles. The turnout is on the left, just before and across from Friend’s Ranch packing house.. Cross the street to the trailhead. Length: 1.9 miles to Cozy Dell Creek. Difficulty: Moderate. The trail begins along a seasonal creek and quickly climbs about 640 feet in elevation along a well-forested and wild-flowered canyon to a ridgeline knoll with spectacular views of the Ojai Valley.

7. MIDDLE FORK OF MATILIJA CANYON Directions: Head east on Highway 33 for about 4.7 miles to Matilija Canyon Road. Follow the road to the end — about another two miles. Length: Up to 7 miles (14 miles return). Difficulty: Moderate. Follow the trailhead at the end of Matilija Canyon Road through the gated property to the west side of the creek. The trail, more of a one-track road at this point, heads towards the gates of Blue Heron Ranch, a historic farm with orange and lemon groves. The trail then clambers through thickening chaparral scrub for another 1.5 miles until you can see tilted slabs of weathered granite and a long, green pool to the right. The trail descends back into the creekside sycamore and willow forest through a series of campsites, swimming holes and geologic marvels. The shifting and often-concealed trail eventually leads you to the fabled Three Falls of the Matilija.

OQ / SPRING 2018


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OQ / SPRING 2018

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1 1 TH A N N U A L



SUNDAY, JUNE 3 4:00pm - 7:30pm

The Thacher School, Ojai

RSVP by Friday, May 18th Tickets available at Individual: $125

Table of 8: $1000

You are invited to share a very special afternoon with Los Padres ForestWatch at The Thacher School’s Upper Field, with spectacular sweeping views highlighting the renewal of the beautiful Ojai Valley and the Los Padres National Forest.

For sponsorship, donations and further information contact: or (805) 617-4610 x4


Los Padres ForestWatch is the only nonprofit organization dedicated solely to protecting wildlife habitat, watersheds, and wilderness landscapes throughout the Los Padres National Forest. Founded in 2004, ForestWatch has safeguarded more than 2,000,000 acres of public lands along California’s Central Coast, from the famed Big Sur coastline to the Santa Lucia Mountains and the Carrizo Plain, to the rugged backcountry of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties and beyond. We have also organized more than three dozen habitat restoration projects, improving the health of our region’s largest open spaces and the communities that depend on them.

Local craft brews from Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.

Proceeds from the event will be used to protect and preserve our local forest.

Live Music

Delicious appetizers and a selection of local hand-crafted wines Organic, locally sourced gourmet dinner by Seasons Catering A delightful selection of desserts and coffee Exciting Live and Silent Auction items

OU T S I D E I N By Bennett Barthelemy

Mike Gourley works with a crew after the Thomas Fire to help trail erosion. Photo by Bennett Barthelemy

It seems we need calamity to wake us from our daily slumbers, our catatonic but animated wanders. Otherwise we gently work around the frayed edges, careful not to ruffle them too much. But it’s the frayed edges and the ruffling that keep us human, keeps us sharp. I often find myself perpetually drawn into the two dimensional, the emotion-less and taking the easy way into and out of engagement. Killing my desire slowly with electron overload, simple textual connectivity, sensationalist politics — glued to the ephemeral, the happy idiot with my magic carpet in the palm of my hand wandering the global soup of the immaterial. Then Dec. 4, 2017 happened and shook things up a bit. I explored the news and recognition from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram from Denmark and I knew of the Thomas Fire within hours. I helped to spur the speedy evacuation of my parents from next to Wheeler Hot Springs from afar, knowing too well the epic fuel load that covered the local mountains. I finally entered the Ojai Valley again on Dec. 20 after more than three months away, to columns of dark smoke that instantly hammered my lungs and forced me to endure Prednisone. My car had burned and the family home had been evacuated, wings clipped physically and in the mobility sense. But through this, I would argue that there was also an awakening of sorts. I was offered a chance to be more present again, with a wanting, a needing to engage with others on a more direct and human level. I saw my landscape change almost overnight, recognized more acutely the other denizens of the land more intensely, suddenly helpless and with burned paws. This sense of stewardship revitalized. Many community members in Ojai were no longer silent. People were suddenly present. Stepping in where they saw need. There was a free flow of ideas, expertise, energy from volunteers, selflessly updating and visiting properties for those absent by those in the area, giving for the sake of giving, offering without expectation. In the Fall of 2017 I traveled through the Balkans, a largely forgotten part of Europe. I visited many areas and people that had lived through one of the darkest conflicts of the 20th century, barely two decades ago. These same individuals were now taking on big business and their governments — as

their backyards, their water supplies and rivers, their livelihoods tied to a healthy river and ecosystem — were and are in grave danger. This is being taken from them. I got to spend a rainy night with guardians on a bridge in the one small town in Bosnia, Krucisca — in a makeshift hut. In this little town I was told that nearly very household lost a family member in the 1993-94 conflict. Three months earlier some 40 women peacefully faced down special police forces to protect their river. Now, with other members of the town (and even some from further towns that suffered similarly the effect of losing their free-flowing

Vulnerability helps, but I would argue that having lived through extreme hardship fosters a strong sense of honor and duty to others in need. I think it shapes a different reality when things are violently taken from you. A favorite trail perhaps, a tree, a ridgeline trail now closed and blackened by fires, a car, a house, a pet, a loved one in subsequent mudslides. There has been a needed upsurge in community engagement that will be important to maintain. But the reality is that the need is always great to be engaged and fully human. There is always room to be larger than ourselves and to be a part of the larger community. Not all of us can or should be the

Rick Bisaccia works with a crew to make water bars to protect the Cozy Dell Trail from erosion and winter rains post-Thomas Fire for the Forest Service.

rivers) they held vigil at the site 24-7 to keep the heavy machinery away from the headwaters. It seemed that through this trauma and terror they had grown stronger, more resolved to protect and be the guardians of water, the local wildlife that had no voice to share. They knew what could be lost, what is really at stake. I had been lost in the Balkans too many times to count, crossing some 19 borders in my tiny rented VW. I suffered mechanical breakdowns and had to rely on the kindness and generosity of strangers. I was left with a sense of community I had not experienced anywhere else.

wounded Bosnian war hero that I met who rescued and carried his wounded friend through sniper fire through the hillsides above their hometown they protected on a suicide mission. With awareness and engagement, we can hope that it won’t ever come to this. This, of course, brings me to our next great calamity that is nipping at our collective heels, from the backyards here with the challenges of the federal government to fund the Forest Service and keep the local backcountry healthy, to the threats of the wider backyard of the American West with species and environmental stewardship.

Above: Rob Young and Martin Krestan work on Upper Gridley a couple weeks after the Thomas Fire for the Forest Service. Below: A trail guardian— a burned rodent post-rire nourishing sprouting lilies in the Ojai backcountry. Photos by Bennett Barthelemy

We need to keep, maintain and nurture this awareness of threats and of engaging in grassroots action and to continue aligning ourselves with people and companies that champion this as well. Recently, I was stoked to see that The Guardian is now heavily invested in exposing the threats to our public lands and is vowing to continue reporting on it. Keep and expand the awareness. Join the greater collective voice and reach of that awareness. “National parks recorded 331 million recreational visits in 2016 (the highest ever), boast an estimated economic value $92 billion” via the Guardian’s new series of articles “This Land is Your Land.” The human spirit is powerful but needs to stay engaged. There has been a nice effloresence in grassroots action, moving from the ground up. I would argue that the Thomas Fire and our moving forward from it has allowed many of us to slough some of the coils that ensnare us in the miasma and potential oppression of the mortal coil. So volunteer to work on an Ojai Valley Land Conservancy or Los Padres Forest Service trail, offer some clothing to a neighbor or a stranger that needs it more than you. Learn what we stand to lose with the ongoing threats to public land. Let’s try to stay awake and engaged for a while. We will all be much better for it moving forward.

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OQ / SPRING 2018


The Agora Foundation

Great books seminars The Agora Foundation offers small groups of interested people a unique opportunity to consider and discuss important themes over a series of inspiring weekend seminars. Explore the questions that have been debated through the centuries by the greatest minds of our civilization. Full Scholarships are available for teachers. Saturday, March 24, 2018 Nicomachean Ethics - Aristotle on Friendship

Saturday, April 21, 2018 Double Header Concurrent Events The Federalist Papers (selections) & The Aeneid by Virgil Saturday, May 19, 2018 Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Visit our website to Register:


OQ / SPRING 2018

(805) 231-5974

Explore Ojai Valley’s History, Art and Culture 130 West Ojai Avenue (805) 640-1390

OQ / SPRING 2018


MARCH 10: The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy will host a talk about the Matilija Dam Removal project, 10 a.m. to noon. Photo by Bennett Barthelemy

CALENDAR OF EVENTS MARCH “John Gorka in Concert” Date: March 1 Time: 7 p.m. Location: Ojai Woman’s Club, 441 East Ojai Avenue Contact: 665-8852 “Ventura County Handweavers & Spinners Guild” Date: March 3 to April 15 Time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday through Sunday Location: 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Road Contact: 646-3381 “The Art of Mardi Gras” Date: March 3 to April 5 Time: Tuesday to Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Location: Ojai Art Center, 113 South Montgomery Street Contact: 640-0117 Chamber on the Mount: “Anthony Trionfo” Date: March 4 146

Time: 3 p.m. Location: Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts, 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Road Contact: 646-9951 “Urinetown, The Musical” Date: March 8 to 18 Time: Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays 7 p.m., Sundays 2 p.m. Location: Matilija Auditorium, 703 El Paseo Road Contact: 640-4343, extension 1861 “All About Ojai: Matilija Dam Removal Project” Date: March 10 Time: 10 a.m. to noon Location: Ojai Land Conservancy, 370 West Baldwin Road, Building A4 Contact: 649-6852 “Jon Keenan: Ceramics” Date: March 10 to April 22 Time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday through Sunday Location: 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Road OQ / SPRING 2018

Contact: 646-3381 “Origami Tales” with Kuniko Yamamoto & Paper Folding Workshop Date: March 10 Time: Workshop at 11 a.m., performance at 3 p.m. Location: Ojai Art Center, 113 South Montgomery Street Contact: 646-0117, “Macbeth” Date: March 16 to April 8 Time: 7:30 Friday to Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday Location: Ojai Art Center 113 South Montgomery Street Contact: 640-8797 “The Art of Joanne Pavlak ” Date: March 19 to May 26 Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday Location: Ojai City Hall Gallery, 401 South Ventura Street, with additional work on view at Ojai Valley Museum,

130 West Ojai Avenue Contact: 640-8751 “Ruth Pastine: Selected Works” Date: March 22 to April 11 Time: Thursday to Friday noon to 5 p.m., Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., or by appointment Location: 310 East Matilija Street Contact: 620-7589 Ojai Chautauqua — “American Identity: Soup or a Salad ?” Date: March 24 Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Location: Matilija Auditorium, 703 El Paseo Road Contact: 231-5974

Certified Farmers Market

THROUGH APRIL 11: Porch Gallery is exhibiting works by noted artist Ruth Pastine.

Historical Walking Tours of Ojai Date: Every Saturday Time: 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Location: Departs from the Ojai Valley Museum, 130 West Ojai Avenue. Contact: 640-1390

Ojai Photo Club: “High Key — Low Key/Iceland and Global Warming” Date: March 20 Time: 7 p.m. Location: Kent Hall, 111 West Santa Ana Street Contact: info@ojaiphotoclub. com Agora Seminar: “Aristotle on Friendship” Date: March 31 Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Location: Thomas Aquinas College Contact: 231-5974

Full Moon Meditations

MARCH 20: Ojai Photo Club’s “High Key — Low Key/Iceland and Global Warming” will show at Help of Ojai’s Kent Hall.

Dates: Dec. 2., Jan. 1, Jan. 30 and Feb. 28. Time: 7 p.m. Location: Meditation Mount, 10340 Reeves Road Contact: 646-5508 ext.103, Open meditation at the Full Moon.

‘Eating Ojai’ Food Tour “Eating Ojai” Food Tour Date: Call to schedule Time: 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Location: Varies Contact: 295-8687

“All About Ojai: Guided Bird and Native Plant Walk” Date: March 31 Time: 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Location: Ojai Land Conservancy, 370 West Baldwin Road, Building A4 Contact: 649-6852

Ojai Seeker’s Bike Tour

APRIL “All About Ojai: Guided Wildflower Walk” Date: April 7 Time: TBA Location: Ojai Meadow Preserve MARCH 16 to APRIL 8: Shakespeare Contact: 649-6852 theater veteran will direct “Macbeth” at the Ojai Art Center.

Date: Every Sunday Time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Contact: 698-5555 Location: Matilija Street city parking lot behind the Arcade. Open air market featuring locally grown produce, as well as plants, musicians and handmade items.

OQ / SPRING 2018

Date: By reservation, 48 hrs in advance Time: varies Location: varies Contact: 272-8102 or email ride@ Ojai bike tour features agricultural, artistic, culinary, cultural, and historical landmarks in Ojai. Riders are guided to eight stops where they answer questions about each place. 147

APRIL 21: The Agora Foundation will host a seminar on Virgil’s “Aeneid.” Clare Murphy in “Universe” Date: April 21 Time: 7:30 p.m. Location: Jewish Community Center of Ojai, 530 West El Roblar Road Contact: 1-310-890-1439 “All About Ojai: Guided Nature Walk” Date: April 14 Time: TBA Location: Valley View Preserve Contact: 649-6852 Earthday and Native Plant Sale Date: April 21 Time: TBA Location: Besant Meadow Preserve & Nursery Contact: 649-6852 “The Great Art Theft” Date: April 7 to May 3 Time: Tuesday to Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Location: Ojai Art Center, 113 South Montgomery Street Contact: 640-0117 Ojai Photo Club: “Shoot from the Hip” Date: April 17 Time: 7 p.m. Location: Kent Hall, 111 West Santa Ana Street Contact: Agora Seminar: “The Aeneid by Virgil” Date: April 21 Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 148

APRIL 25 TO APRIL 29: Tennis Hall of Famer and 1977 “The Ojai” champion Tracy Austin will be this year’s honoree at the Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament. Location: Thomas Aquinas College Contact: 231-5974

Contact: 646-6281

Chamber Music Concert Date: April 22 Time: Tuesday to Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Location: Ojai Art Center, 113 South Montgomery Street Contact: 640-0117

“Bakersfield Mist” Date: May 4 to 27 Time: 7:30, Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday Location: Ojai Art Center, 113 South Montgomery Street Contact: 640-8797

118th Ojai Tennis Tournament Date: April 25 to 29 Time: Varies Location: Libbey Park and 29 other locations listed on website Contact: 646-7241 “China Adams: Massage Generated Energy Drawings” Date: April 26 to May 15 Time: Thursday to Friday, noon to 5 p.m., Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., or by appointment Location: 310 East Matilija Street Contact: 620-7589 Herbwalk: “Spring Medicinal Plant Workshop” Date:April 28 Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Location: meet at ATT parking lot, 180 North Blanche Street OQ / SPRING 2018


All About Ojai: Birdwalk Date: May 5 Time: 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Location: Besant Meadows Preserve Contact: 649-6852 Ojai Chautauqua - “What is a Smart Education in the 21st Century?” Date: May 5 Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Location: TBA Contact: 231-5974 “Lauren Hansen Ceramics” Date: May 5 to June 24 Time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday through Sunday Location: 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Road Contact: 646-3381

Contact: 888-645-5006 Al Stewart Concert Date: May 12 Time: 7 p.m. Location: Libbey Bowl Contact: 888-645-5006

MAY 11: The English Beat will headline Libbey Bowl at 7 p.m. Chamber on the Mount: Zora String Quartet Date: May 6 Time: 3 p.m. Location: Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts, 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Road Contact: 646-9951 English Beat Concert Date: May 11 Time: 7 p.m. Location: Libbey Bowl

54 Ojai Photo Club: “Black and White” Date: May 15 Time: 7 p.m. Location: Kent Hall, 111 West Santa Ana Street Contact: “Mona Kuhns: Selected Works” Date: May 17 to June 24 Time: Thursday to Friday, noon to 5 p.m., Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., or by appointment Location: 310 East Matilija Street Contact: 620-7589 Agora Seminar: “Man’s Search for

Meaning by Viktor Frankl” Date: May 19 Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Location: Thomas Aquinas College Contact: 231-5974 Ojai Playwrights Conference Benefit Gala Date: May 19 Time: 4 p.m. show, dinner to follow Location: Matilija Auditorium show, Upper Ojai ranch for dinner Contact: 640-0400 “27th Annual Art in the Park” Date: May 26-27 Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Location: Libbey Park Contact: 646-0117 Los Padres Forest Watch “Ojai Wild” Date: June 3 Time: 4 to 7:30 p.m. Location: The Thacher School Contact: 805-617-4610 x. 4 org





The Janet and Mark L. Goldenson

Photo by Steve Wilson

KING LEAR is considered by many to be Shakespeare’s greatest play. This monumental drama is an epic and hauntingly unforgettable story of love, greed, madness, and reconciliation. Starring George Ball, Meghan Andrews, Joseph Fuqua, Michael Matthys and Sylvie Davidson. “Shakespeare’s crowning achievement.” ~ The Telegraph

THE BABY DANCE: MIXED by Jane Anderson. In the story, Rachel and Richard, an affluent California couple, have everything except a child. Their lawyer connects them to Wanda and Al, a desperately poor couple in Louisiana who agree to let them adopt their next baby. Both couples do their best to fulfill their agreement, but is the chasm between them too wide to bridge? “A stunner…funny as well as perceptive.” ~ L.A. Times OQ / SPRING 2018

Join Broadway Veteran ERIC KUNZE for an evening of story and song. Featuring highlights from some of Eric’s signature roles including Les Miserables, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Evita, The Little Mermaid, Damn Yankees, Sondheim. Eric received an Ovation nomination for the role of Che in Evita.



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returned from Ventura yesterday shaven and shorn — shave fantastic, face smooth as a baby’s bottom. Hair not so smooth — all sticky-uppy. Running into old friend Linda, she looked at me, grinned and said: “We used to call that ‘bad boy hair.’” I was crestfallen, but she added: “No, no, it’s a good thing. Sexy.” Thank God! I can go on poncing about as usual. Dr. Sprinkel’s lecture next week will be “Prior Darkness” or “Temporarily Here.” Come early. If you ever feel sad, remind yourself that all sorrows can be borne if you put them in a story or tell a story about them. I feel so much better. Incidentally, the reason we’re not all over here is that we’re no longer all over there. Actually, Isak Dinesen said that — the bearing of sorrows bit — but she’s dead, so who cares? Out of the blue, things seem to be going better. A movie I started writing 16 years ago looks like it might go. Wooo! Cue new accoutrements. Dark blue Audi TT, buy out our neighbors on both sides and house-swap with some cool UK couple. The film hasn’t happened yet, so I shouldn’t be counting chickens I know, but it looks good. I’m resting on my laurels, flying high — the best place to look down on the earth below. Falcons soar to 8,000 feet then plunge after their prey at 150 miles an hour. Cool, huh? Incidentally, there’s a grasshopper embedded in Vincent Van Gogh’s 1889 painting “Olive Trees.” Oscar Wilde said “It is because humanity has never known where it was going that it has been able to find its way.” Another one: “My tongue will tell the anger of my heart, or else, concealing it, will break.” Shakespeare, 152

By Peter Bellwood

what a wonderful writer! My Grannie used to read his poems to us during World War II, hiding from German bombs in the air-raid shelter in York. I was born two months before it broke out, but I didn’t start it. My Dad was called up into the RAF and went off to learn how to launch bombers in Scotland. England was blacked out and my mother, assuming the role of Brecht’s “Mother Courage,” dragged me around from base to base wherever he was stationed until she was too exhausted to continue, and when I misbehaved, she’d round on me and shriek, “If you’re not a good boy, Daddy won’t come back from the war!” I still have the letters she wrote to him when they were apart, and across the bottom of each, my spidery scrawl: “Dear Daddy, I have been a good boy. Please come home.” He did eventually, which gave me a sense of power, quickly dispelled because immediately after he was demobbed, he shipped me off to boarding school at age 7 which meant we never developed any real relationship, not an unheard-of problem between fathers and sons, even during peacetime. Without him around, and my mother off playing golf and canoodling with Yanks, I was left to my own devices. Lonely, yes — but free, free to do whatever I wanted. I was reading Time Magazine and the Illustrated London News at 8, the Spectator at 9, the poems of Auden, Pound and Larkin by 10. My relationship with Dad deteriorated. Whatever he ordered me to do, I did the opposite, to spite him. That was the pattern for the rest of my life. Getting me into Cambridge had far more to do with him being satisfied for himself, because he wished he could have done that but his parents wouldn’t let him. And so I revelled in the undergraduate OQ / SPRING 2018

life of parties, pubs, girls-girls-girls — and then something amazing happened, almost akin to an hallucination, the dictionary definition of which has less to do with taking acid and more to do with its actual meaning: “to wander in one’s mind.” I became friends with two unique men, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. Peter and I got drunk together, he teased me mercilessly, droned on endlessly about aviaphobia, the fear of birds flying up out of your lavatory when you’re sitting on it. I loved it all. Dud was a double-first in music at Oxford and a great jazz pianist. Cook was at Pembroke College in Cambridge. He talked in strange voices, was always assuming different characters. One day, when he’d come to my rooms for tea, I stood up and hoisted my left foot up behind me to scratch an itch. Immediately assuming the persona of a film producer, he said: “Mr. Spigott, you are, are you not, applying for the role of Tarzan?” “Yes,” I replied. He went on: “A role traditionally involving the use of a two-legged actor, and yet you, a one-legged man, a unidexter, are applying for the role, a role for which two legs would seem to be the minimum requirement. Your right leg I like, it’s a lovely leg for the role. I watched it hop in here, I thought that’s a lovely leg for the role. I’ve got nothing against your right leg. The trouble is, neither have you. You fall down on your left leg, and I don’t think the audience is yet ready for the sight of a one-legged Tarzan swinging through the jungly tendrils and shouting ‘Hello, Jane.’ It was his most memorable sketch, and he acknowledged my “being present at the creation,” just because I was standing on one leg. (No money, though!) So, long story short, Cook was the first bookend of my life. After uni, I acted,

Bellwood channeling the spirit of music hall legend George Formby: “And so I revelled in undergraduate life of parties, pubs, girlsgirls-girls — and then something amazing happened, almost akin to a hallucination ...”

made TV commercials, wrote for a magazine, went to New York with a political satire show, won an Emmy, produced theater, ended up in Hollywood writing movies. Dud by this time was a movie star, having made the hits “Arthur” with John Gielgud and “10” with Bo Derek, whom he kissed, and everyone who saw the movie wanted to be him at that moment, grappling with her busty substances. “Arthur-2”, however, was a bomb, and to help him get over the blues, his third wife Brogan — the best of them all — flew my wife Sarah and me, plus Dud’s agent and his wife, to Tahiti with them. Plane from New York, catamaran to Bora Bora and into a luxury hut. Still sunk in gloom despite our efforts to cheer him up, poor Dud hardly appeared the whole time. His agent had the Wall Street Journal faxed to the hotel every day, and would sit on the beach in the midst of Paradise intently reading these long strips of fax paper. It was all downhill from there … until he told me, back in the US, where I was driving him in my yellow Beetle to LAX, about The Phantom Bee-Fang Gluer of Amsterdam. I was confused. What exactly did this guy do -- ? Voice a quiet rasp, Dud explained: “He

creeps around Amsterdam glueing sets of fangs onto dead bees. Yes, glueing sets of fangs onto dead bees. Well, it was all hushed up. They had to hush it up! It was completely hushed-up ... !! and as we proceeded to the airport, he got thrown by the man’s name, kept referring to him as the Phantom FooGee-Flanger, the Phantom Gang-Fly- Feeboo-Banger, the Phanty-Goo-Flee-Wanker … on and on and on. So much so, I nearly drove my Beetle off the road. So there are my bookends. Cook with One Leg and Dud with Bee-Fang. It’s the end of this saga. Cook died of cirrohsis of the liver at 57, Dud of supra-nuclear palsy years later. And I was the falcon, elevated by their soaring flights of fancy and affected forever by their sublime lunatic gymnastics. Some words of wisdom: beware of seriousness, it is a form of stupidity, laugh and the world laughs with you, and just remember — without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning. Sure works for me. I love you all. And in the words of Pete & Dud: “Goodbye-eeeeeee -- !”

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OQ / SPRING 2018


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OQ / SPRING 2018


Over-the-Top Home | Gst Hse + Gym/Workshop | Large RV Water Well | $2,839,000 |

727 W. Ojai Ave. - Ojai - CA 93023 - Larry - 805.640.5734 - Erik - 805.830.3254 - - 156

Larry Wilde DRE:#15216270 - Erik Wile DRT:#01461074

OQ / SPRING 2018

Ojai Quarterly Magazine Spring 2018  
Ojai Quarterly Magazine Spring 2018