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Wilde

Erik 805.830.3254 Larry 805.640.5734

Wheeler Hot Springs | Residentially Zoned | 84.4 Acres | $2,875,000

Downtown Ojai | Contemporary Finishes | Built 2014

Commercial Lot in Ojai $375,000

Commercial Lot for Sale $325,000


SOLD - FULL PRICE

Modern Ranch in Downtown Ojai | $7,500,000

IN ESCROW

Downtown Ojai Church For Sale Approximately 4000 SF | Prime Half-Acre+ Ojai Location | $995,000

SOLD

SOLD

2+ acre Oak Studded lot with water in Rancho Matilija | $549,000

East End | Spectacular Views “Rodney Walker” Pedigree | $2,950,000

727 W. Ojai Ave. - Ojai - CA 93023 - Larry - 805.640.5734 - Erik - 805.830.3254 wilde-wilde.com - lwilde@west.net - erikw@west.net Larry Wilde DRE:#15216270 - Erik Wile DRT:#01461074


Donna Sallen

WOW, Sitting on over three acres in the prestigious Persimmon Hill area of downtown Ojai. This five-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom sprawling ranch-style home showcases open-beamed vaulted ceilings, a stunning great room with a massive brick fireplace, formal dining room, hardwood floors and a large master suite. The magical meandering pathways will lead you to an Artist’s studio where you can once again find your creative soul. Living off the grid is easy with your own private well and solar panels. This slice of Country living offers a prime location all within walking distance to Libbey Park, shops, restaurants, and the Ojai Bike/Hike Trail. Horses welcome.

There’s no place like home ... Let me find yours.


A hidden little gem! Very private, quiet, respite right in town. Bright, light-filled modern turnkey home that features ease of indoor-outdoor living with a modern kitchen with Viking stove and Subzero fridge, outdoor shower, bike and surf shed, and ample shade from a multitude of fruit trees including persimmon, fig, mulberry, apricot, plum and pineapple guava. This home is zoned residential and commercial. Come experience this unique in-town Ojai oasis where views of the Los Padres and a sense of peace will surround you.

Beautiful, flat useable lot, just under an acre located in the City of Ojai. great views from this lot. Zoned commercial — come build your dream!

If you are looking for a quintessential downtown cottage with a guest house ... then look no more. Located in the heart of downtown Ojai.

Donna Sallen

805-798-0516

w w w. D o n n a S a l l e n . c o m D o n n a 4 re m a x @ a o l .c o m

Located in the Golden West neighborhood of Ojai downtown, this incomegenerating home is very warm and welcoming. The backyard is a gardener’s delight.


G a b r i e l a Ce s e ñ a T H E N E X T L E V E L O F R E A L E S TAT E S E R V I C E S Re a l t o r ® | L u x u r y S p e c i a l i s t Unwavering commitment to my clients’ satisfaction. D R I V E N B Y PA S S I O N F O R T H E W O R K I D O !

805.236.3814 | gabrielacesena@bhhscal.com LIC# 01983530

Gabrielacesena.bhhscalifornia.com © 2020 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties is a member of the franchise system of BHH Affiliates LLC.


Est. 1914

R AINS

A Specialty Department Store

Over 100 years of exceptional quality and good value.

RAINS

805-646-1441 | www.rainsofojai.com | 218 E. Ojai Ave. OQ / SPRING 2021

7


THE TRUSTED NAME IN REAL ESTATE FOR OVER 20 YEARS

Chic & stylish property with views of the Topas and a sparkling pool, too! $1.295m

Wake up to the ocean as your front yard with world-class surfing at Pitas Point $3.995m

ILiveInOjai.com

Team@PeraltaTeam.com @PeraltaTeamOjai

Tonya Peralta Serena Handley 805.794.7458

805.798.1286

Rachelle Guilani

Ashley Ramsey

805.746.5188

805.302.4175

DRE# 01862743 8

OQ / SPRING 2021


Spanish charmer on 2+ acres, large pool house and a well $2.595m

Oh-so-Sweet in downtown Ojai $789,000

Arbolada meets New York loft $1.899m

OQ / SPRING 2021

9


BLATZ LAW FIRM Your Trusted Ojai Attorney For 30 Years

PERSONAL INJURY FAMILY LAW CRIMINAL WILLS & TRUSTS REAL ESTATE CONTRACTS

“You would rather have me on your side... than theirs” Paul Blatz (805) 646-3110 206 North Signal Street, Suite G, Ojai

www.blatzlawfirm.com Email: blatzlawfirm@gmail.com


SPRING 2021

Adventures in Fashion

O P E N DA I LY 1 1 - 5 : 3 0 | 3 2 1 E A S T O J A I AV E N U E | 8 0 5 . 6 4 6 . 1 9 2 7 F o l l o w U s o n I n s ta g r a m @ d a n s k I b l U e


OJAI QUARTERLY

p.76

Parker Bowles Chronicles Is Ojai Ready For a NightClub? By Emma Parker Bowles

p.84

THE BOX ON THE HILL Famed Architect Builds His Ojai Dream Home Story by Jerry Dunn

p.98

the phil harvey century The Many Lives Of An Ojai Legend By Mark Lewis


FEATURES HOO DONE IT? Only The Owls Know By Chuck Graham

118

p.46

BAND BONDS

Cover

Love of Music Strikes Chord For Lennon Family By Betty Love Nguyen

The Momentous Pinkening Illustration by Daren Magee


3000 E. Ojai Ave | $1,899,000

Breathtaking Valley-wide Views!

East End retreat. Rolling 5+ acres off private lane. 3 ensuite bedrooms (1 upstairs with private access) plus office. Solar: low carbon footprint. Oak studded gardeners oasis. Unforgettable sunsets & memorable moonrise.

10152 Ojai Santa Paula Rd | $1,600,000

Upper Ojai Oasis

Idyllic 2 acre country ranch. Remodeled 2,983 sq ft, 4 bedroom single story. Supreme privacy & views without close neighbors. . Chef’s dream kitchen. 4-stall equestrian facilities. Detached art studio. Towering redwoods.

KELLERWILLIAMS

I N T E R N AT I O N A L

Charleen Michaels | michaels+associates | DRE 00878649 www.ojaihomes4sale.com | char@ojaikw.com | 805.620.2438


701 Grandview Ave | $939,000

Classic Ranch meets Modern & Hip!

Updated & expanded. In-town 2,296 sq ft 4+2 with open floor plan on a 9,404 sq ft corner lot. Great room with soaring ceilings. Master with steam shower. Short stroll to the Farmers Market. Private yard with patio and room for gardening.

Taormina Bliss

66 Taormina Lane | $899,000

Coveted serene neighborhood. Elevated cul-de-sac with mountain views. 8,866 sq ft lot. Rare 3+3 floor plan with fireplace. Hardwood floors. Solar, dual pane windows. Native drought resistant landscape. Direct Access to trails and pond in nearby nature preserve.

char michaels


The Care You Need Shouldn’t Wait Ojai Valley Community Hospital Is Always Here for You. Now more than ever, Ojai Valley Community Hospital wants you to know that it’s safe to come to us when you need care. Our Emergency Department is OPEN and ready to care for you and your loved ones.

With mandatory patient, physician and staff screening protocols, enhanced sanitizing and cleaning policies, and socially distant waiting accommodations, you can rest assured that you’ll be safe when you seek emergency care at Ojai Valley Community Hospital.


Some of the Enhanced Policies in Place to Keep You Safe Include:

Mandatory Coronavirus (COVID-19) screening for everyone who enters our Emergency Department and hospital facilities, including patients, essential companions, physicians and staff.

Mandatory use of surgical masks for everyone in our Emergency Department and eye protection for all staff, regardless of their COVID-19 status.

Continued use of separate treatment areas for patients who present with COVID-19 symptoms and those who do not.

Continued use of separate waiting areas (including waiting in vehicles) and phone registration following appropriate screening, in order to minimize contact and maintain social distancing standards.

Continued use of enhanced sanitizing and cleaning protocols for all patient treatment rooms and the entire Emergency Department to ensure optimal cleanliness and minimize potential spread.

Continued restriction of visitors (one essential companion only) to our Emergency Department and hospital facilities to limit potential exposures.

If you need care, DON’T WAIT until your condition worsens! Your health and safety are, and always have been, our number one priority. Rely on Ojai Valley Community Hospital for the care you’ve come to know and trust – visit www.cmhshealth.org for more information. Policies and procedures are subject to change. For any questions or concerns, please call Ojai Valley Community Hospital at 805/646-1401.

1306 Maricopa Hwy., Ojai 805/646-1401 cmhshealth.org/ovch


836 Monte Vista Drive, Santa Paula - $899,000 This 4 bedroom/3.5 bathroom, 2,759 sq. ft. home sits on a .40 acre hillside lot and features spectacular sweeping views of the Santa Paula valley and mountains. Amenities include a swimming pool, a sport court, formal dining area, a master bedroom suite, and a fantastic step-down family room off the kitchen/breakfast area. Sale Pending

Sale pending

12251 Linda Flora Drive, Ojai - $525,000

Step 1: Imagine summer evenings spent sipping your favorite drink, sitting on your patio, facing the majestic Topa Topa mountains as the sun sets. Step 2: Realize the dream when you build your custom home on this 2.03 acre parcel in Rancho Matilija!

172 N. Encinal Avenue, Ojai

611 Emily Street, Ojai

Sale pending

Sold for $880,000

8025 Camp Chaffee Road, Ventura

Sold for $621,000 P: 805.272.5218 E: ContactUs@TeamDeckert.com VenturaAndSantaBarbaraHomes.com

DRE# 01761150, 01859199

18

OQ / SPRING 2021


OQ | DEPARTMENTS p.31

Ojai Notes

OJAI LIFE:

The Hearsts, Audio Movie & The Mayor By Bret Bradigan p.56

Artists & Galleries

p.27 Editor’s Note

p.28 Contributors

p.31 p.62

Ojai Notes

Takeout Shoutouts

p.56

By Ilona Saari

Artists & Galleries

p.70

p.62

Food & Drink

Chef Randy

Food & Drink

Garden Goddess Sandwich By Randy Graham

p.104 Beyond the Arcade Map

p.110

Happy New Ear Cochlear Implants & Ojai By Richard Camp

p.108 Ask Dr. Beth

p.115 Healers of Ojai

p.126

Nocturnal Submissions

p.123

Diary of the Covid-Era Queen.

Top Ojai Hikes

By Sami Zahringer p.125 Calendar of Events


DRE#01768956

YOU DON’T HAVE TO PUT YOUR HOME SELLING PLANS ON HOLD unless you want to. People are actively buying homes from a distance. We are open for business and here to help you!

LET’S TALK.

805.646.6768

NextHome 307 A East Matilija Street

Jeri Becker 805.340.2846

20

Lynn Goodman 805.573.5927

Ojai

Heather Erickson

805.798.3358

OQ / SPRING 2021

CA

Riley Becker

805.646.6768


OQ / SPRING 2021

21


OJAI QUARTERLY Living the Ojai Life

SPRING 2021 Editor & Publisher Bret Bradigan Sales Manager David Taylor

Director of Publications Ross Falvo Creative Director Uta Ritke

Social Media Director Elizabeth Spiller

Ojai Hub Administrator Jessie Rose Ryan Contributing Editors Mark Lewis Jerry Camarillo Dunn Jr. Jesse Phelps Columnists Chuck Graham Dr. Beth Prinz Ilona Saari Kit Stolz Sami Zahringer

Circulation Target Media Partners

CONTACT US: Editorial & Advertising, 805.798.0177 editor@ojaiquarterly.com David@ojaiquarterly.com 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 ojaiquarterly.com or write to 1129 Maricopa Highway, B186 Ojai, CA 93023. Subscriptions are $24.95 per year.

#OJAI IG: @rhdixon IG: #Ojai — Rainbow over Ojai photo, courtesy of at Eric Joule @ejoule the Ojai Valley Inn

22

You can also e-mail us at editor@ojaiquarterly.com. Please recycle this magazine when you are finished. © 2021 Bradigan Group LLC. All rights reserved.

OQ / SPRING 2021


OQ / SPRING 2021

23


Announcing the Opening of Proper Beauty in Ojai!

805 633 9099 305 E. Matilija Ave, Suite 101 A, Ojai Ca 93023 www.properbeautyojai.com

The pandemic has changed us as people and as a community forever. It certainly did Denise Heller. And if she didn’t use it as an opportunity to renew herself then it will have all been for nothing. Denise was born and raised in Ojai and returned to be with family. If anything, these past months have taught her that Ojai is her family. The warmth and encouragement of this community has given Denise the strength and opportunity to open her own business, Proper Beauty Ojai, at 305 East Matilija Avenue, Suite101-A

24

It’s often at the worst times that the best things come. As Leonard Cohen put it so beautifully, “There’s a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” As Denise opens the doors of her new salon, she welcomes everyone to share this journey with her. OQ / SPRING 2021


a moment of silence

oakgroveschool.org/silence


YOU

www.besanthill.org

BELONG

26

HERE.

OQ / SPRING 2021


O Q | E D ITO R’ S N OTE

OJAI & US “Stare. Pry. Eavesdrop. Listen. You are not here long. Die knowing something.” — Walker Evans

The ur-text of understanding the routines and rhythms of humanity from the individual to the community level is Christopher Alexander’s “The Pattern Language.” This living document with a long list of co-authors describes the 253 patterns that make up the language of livability. I’ve banged on this drum before, and I promise you that I will again. It’s an important lens through which to view Ojai. Most of us have chosen to live here. Or, if born here, have chosen to remain. Even those hundreds of thousands who visit each year do so with intention. That’s a big difference from a lot of places. We owe it to each other to understand why. It is no coincidence that the “Pattern Language” authors state the Rule of 7,000. “Individuals have no effective voice in any community of more than 5,000 to 10,000 persons.” That means the optimal size for being heard, for making a difference, is right around the size of Ojai. Any more, we get lost in the crowd; any fewer and there’s no scale of people and resources to do anything meaningful. Community organizer and conservative beté noir Saul Alinksy describes the contrary: “In our modern urban civilization, multitudes of our people have been condemned to urban anonymity — to living the kind of life where many of them neither know nor care for their neighbors. This course of urban anonymity is one of eroding destruction to the foundations of democracy ... millions of our people feel deep down in their heart of hearts that there is no place for them — that they do not ‘count.’” If that description seems familiar to the reasons why people move to Ojai or choose to stay here, there’s good reason. We have been left a a long line of examplars going back to Edward Drummond Libbey through generations of activists and civic warriors like Patricia Weinberger or Rodney Walker to the Ojai Valley Defense Fund and Ojai Valley Land Conservancy. It’s a constant effort to keep Ojai serene and beautiful. Jerry Dunn’s account of famed architect Fred Fisher building his Ojai dream home makes use of these patterns of living — open, bright and close to the rhythms of the land. Emma Parker Bowles’ antic romp through the meanings of Ojai brings the fun that is often missing from our serious self-regard, while Mark Lewis marks the loss of a man who raised the act of having fun to an art form. Of course, Ilona Saari’s compendium of all things takeout celebrates those restaurateurs who struggle through a pandemic with panache (not to mention ganache). Speaking of owls (were we?) Chuck Graham provides another glimpse into the quiet lives of the wildlife among us, our very own Aldo Leopold. Then theater director Richard Camp talks about his journey to recapture his hearing, with a few Ojai flourishes along the way. Betty Nguyen delves into a family of musicians who provide the steady backbeat of Ojai, while Sami Zahringer continues to astound with her glorious absurdity. We have never had a more nuanced look at the Queen. We’d like to think we play our modest part at Team OQ magazine. And how would you describe the model citizen? Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote “to succour the helpless and oppressed; always to throw himself on the side of weakness, of youth, of hope, on the liberal, on the expansive side, never on the defensive, the conserving, the timorous, the lock and bolt system.” Check out this issue and you’ll see what we’re talking about. There’s a pattern to everything, including your Ojai magazine. Here, we count. Please enjoy responsibly.


OQ | C O N TRI BU TO R S

EMMA PARKER BOWLES

is a freelance writer with a background in automotive journalism. Adrenaline sports, Mama Nature, dogs, fast cars and motorbikes are her jam.

MARK LEWIS

TIM STREETPORTER is a

DR. BETH PRINZ

a writer 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. blogspot.com.

has appeared in Outdoor Photographer, Canoe & Kayak, Trail Runner, Men’s Journal, The Surfer’s Journal and Backpacker.

BETTY NGUYEN works as

DAREN MAGEE

is our cover artist and a freelance illustrator based in Ojai. His work can be found in shops across the globe but he’s most comfortable at home on his couch. @ realfunwow

ILONA SAARI is

28

worked with the National Geographic Society for 35 years and has won three Lowell Thomas Awards, the “Oscars” of the field, from the Society of American Travel Writers.

is a writer and editor based in Ojai. He can be contacted at mark lewis1898@gmail.com.

photographer and author of numerous Rizzoli books on architecture and design. The latest is Los Angeles Today, City of Dreams, a personal view of the city he loves. timstreetporter.com, iconiclosangelesagency. com

CHUCK GRAHAM’S work

JERRY DUNN

a creative consultant to help clients rebrand. Offering fresh copy, engaging photos and impactful marketing strategies. Follow @ chironhouse

UTA CULEMANNRITKE

has lived and worked as a doctor in New York, London and locally. If she were president, she’d make fruits and vegetables free for everyone, and end chronic disease. Until then, she hopes to persuade with words. askdrbeth@ ojaiquarterly.com

is an independent artist, designer and curator. She is a member of Ojai Studio Artists and runs utaculemann.design and inbetweenwhite.art

SAMI ZAHRINGER is

KIT STOLZ is an award-winning journalist who has written for newspapers, magazines, literary journals, and online sites. He lives in Upper Ojai and blogs at achangeinthewind.com.

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

OQ / SPRING 2021


Dr. Drew eggebraten, DDs

general & family dentistry... “We specialize in biomimetic principles. Biomimetic dentistry is the reconstruction of teeth to emulate their esthetic and natural form and function. It is the most conservative approach to treating fractured and decayed teeth — it keeps them strong and seals them from bacterial invasion. By conserving as much tooth structure as possible, we can eliminate the need for many crowns and root canals.” Dr. Andrew Eggebraten, USC Graduate

Dr. Drew eggebraten, DDs

...for a better smile! 805-649-1137 110 E Portal Street Oak View, CA 93022 Fax: 805-649-1919

ojaidental@hotmail.com

www.dreweggebratendds.com


Bear-Creek-Ranch.com

SOLD! Call Riki to List & Sell your property.

1885Maricopa-11-Ojai.com SOLD!

Cabin & Guest House on 39+ acres

2012 Bungalow & Mountain Views Affordable Ojai Valley Living - Gated 62+ Community

Riki Strandfeldt

(805)

794-6474

Riki4RealEstate.com Search all Ojai Valley & Ventura County-Regional MLS Listings ( No sign-in required ) CA DRE Lic. # 01262026

Vintage Ojai Valley Home Ready for updating 4 bedroom / 1.75 bath 8000 sq ft lot Private wooded backyard

~ Coming Soon ~ Call Vivienne for pricing.

Vivienne Moody OjaiViv.com

(805)

798-1099

vmoody10@sbcglobal.net

CA DRE Lic. # 00989700


OQ | OJAI NOTES Jiddhu Krishnamurti was born in 1895 and moved to Ojai in 1922. It became a sanctuary for this peripatetic teacher. “If I had nowhere to go in the world, I would come to Ojai. I would sit under an orange tree; it would shade me from the sun, and I could live on the fruit.”

Brian Cox

PATRICIA HEARST ABDUCTION & OJAI ONE: The entire nation was gripped for months when heiress Patricia Hearst was abducted from her Berkeley apartment on February 4, 1973 by the Symbionese Liberation Army, a far-left band of urban guerrillas. On April 15, Hearst was caught on surveillance tape robbing a bank in San Francisco, and was involved in a crime spree until her arrest on September 18, 1975. She was sentenced to 35 years in prison, reduced to seven years before being pardoned by Pres. Jimmy Carter. She claimed to have been brainwashed.

John Malkovich

OJAI ACTOR-PRODUCER BRINGS ‘UNSINKABLE’ AUDIO MOVIE TO LIFE

OJAI MAYOR INSPIRED TO RUN BY OJAI AUTHOR Betsy Stix decided to run to become Ojai’s only second-directly elected mayor because of Ojai’s vulnerability to the elements — earth, air, wind and fire — as well Betsy Stix as community issues such as affordable housing and policing. In a recent podcast episode of “Ojai: Talk of the Town,” Stix revealed that her inspiration came after reading “The Big Leap,” by Gay Hendricks. It seemed auspicious that she met Hendricks when she was canvassing door-todoor. “That was incredible” she said. Stix, a graduate of Williams College with a master’s degree in education at Stanford University, has taught English, French and yoga at local schools for 20 years. She succeeded Johnny Johnston for a two-year term in December 2020. Check out her “Ojai: Talk of the Town” podcast interview.

John Mawson

John Mawson, an English-born actor and writer, had a busy covid quarantine, writing and developing an 11-episode “audio movie” about the San Demetrio, a tanker ship attacked by a German destroyer during a 1940 convoy delivering much-needed fuel to Blitzbesieged Britain. The thrilling story about how the fiery ship was abandoned, then re-boarded, has brought on board actors Brian Cox (“Succession,” and “Deadwood,”) and John Malkovich (“Being John Malkovich) as well as Thomas Brodie-Sangster (“Queen’s Gambit,” “Game of Thrones”). Mawson, an Ojai resident, spent 17 years as an officer and navigator in the merchant navy, before GPS rendered his skills obsolete. Mawson then went into maritime law, which helped him depict the precedent-setting salvage operation

2 OJAI

TWO DEGREES

of

OF SEPARATION

that was adjudicated in the San Demitrio case, determining that the crewmembers who re-boarded the flaming ship were entitled to salvage rights. “Unsinkable” is expected to be available later this Spring on all the standard platforms. It will use a stateof-the-art technology, Dolby Atmos, which Mawson described “as a threedimensional sound; you can literally hear things moving around you.” Mawson said the process has been a creator’s dream. Rather than settle for a take in which everything was not exactly perfect, “We’ve been able to focus on every single phrase, every single scene.” For a full-length interview with Mawson, check out episode 42 of “Ojai: Talk of the Town” podcast episode wherever you catch your podcasts.

?

BETWEEN

Patty Hearst’s 1973 bank robbery stunned America.

OQ / SPRING 2021

TWO: The Hearst family has had longstanding connections to Ojai. In 1889, Hearst’s grandfather, William Randolph Hearst, sent a reporter to Ojai with orders to capture a live grizzly as a emblem for his newspaper chain. The bear, called “Monarch,” lived until 1911 and his descendants can be found at the San Francisco Zoo. Monarch himself was stuffed and is still on display at the California Academy of Science at Golden Gate Park. Monarch is also reputed to be the model for California’s state flag. Her cousin, George Randolph Hearst Jr., former chairman of Hearst Corporation, also owned property in the “Little Orange.” 31


15% Discount Restrictions apply. Not to be used with other offers or discounts.

Call for free design consultation

805-988-7861

the art of organization

closets | garages | home offices | entertainment centers | wall units | wall beds pantries | craft rooms | laundry rooms | mud rooms | wine rooms ©2019 Closet Factory. All rights reserved. CA Lic. #937353

32

OQ / SPRING 2021


monicaros.org

JOYFUL LEARNING

75 years of 34

Blending academic fundamentals with the richness of the visual arts, drama, and music. Preserving the magic of childhood in Ojai’s beautiful East End. Pre-K - 3rd Grade • Toddler Program • Summer Camp 805.646.8184 783 McNell Rd. Ojai, CA 93023 monicaros.org

OQ / SPRING 2021


Derby & Derby

An

Company

Derby & Derby, now operating under Integrity Wealth Advisors, has been committed to helping individuals, families, and businesses grow, preserve, and distribute wealth since 1979.

THOUGHTFUL - INDEPENDENT - FIDUCIARIES Visit Our Website and Download the Quarterly Economic and Financial Markets in Review.

derbyandderby.com 603 West Ojai Avenue #C, Ojai, CA 93023 | (805) 646-3729 Investment advice offered through Integrity Welath Advisors, a registered investment advisor.

Donna Lloyd

Margaret Marapao

Cindy Rodarte

Vicki Breen

BRANCH MANAGER

CFP®

CLIENT SERVICES ASSISTANT

INVESTMENT ADVISOR

CUSTOM BEATS FOR TOMORROW’S CHART TOPPERS

Virginia S. Johnson

Audio Engineer Music Production

Phone: 805.901.4559 DRE # 01865972

Video Editing

beatsbyolsc@gmail.com Twitter: @beatsbyolsc

Photo by Adi Goldstein

Broker / Realtor

www.soundcloud.com/oldschoolbumps

OQ / SPRING 2021

35


an Ojai tradition since 1964

Open Every Day 9:30 - Sunset

302 W. Matilija Street | 805-646-3755


OQ | A RTS & L I T ER ATURE

46 41 Off the SHelf

52 The healing Voice

Ojai Author Writes to Change Lives, Including Her Own By Kit Stolz

Singer Shylah Ray Finding Lessons Through Teaching Others By Betty Love Nguyen

46

56

staying & playing

artists & galleries

Making Music All in the Family for Lennons By Betty Love Nguyen

The People, Places That Make Ojai An Arts Destination OQ / SPRING 2021

37


Krotona 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. • BOOKS

• LEGO

• SCIENCE TOYS

• PLAYMOBIL

• MUSICAL TOYS

• PUZZLES

• KITES

• ART TOYS

• PLANES FAMILY OWNED & OPERATED SINCE 1979 221 E. Matilija Street in Downtown Ojai (805) 646-2585 Open Monday - Saturday, 10 - 5:30 Sundays from 10 - 3

Library and Research Center Quest Bookshop School of Theosophy

2 Krotona Hill, Ojai 805 646-2653 www.krotonainstitute.org

Explore Ojai Valley’s History, Art and Culture 130 W. Ojai Ave. 805 640-1390 OjaiValleyMuseum.org

38

OQ / SPRING 2021


Frameworks of Ojai custom picture framing

archival quality friendly service

HOLISTIC, REGENERATIVE GARDENS

Hours: Monday ~ Friday 10 - 5 Saturday 11 - 3, or by appointment.

Organically improving soil water holding capacity and vitality through water catchment systems, applications of active compost, soil injections and foliar spraying compost teas & extracts and mulching

(805) 640-3601 236 w. ojai ave, #203, ojai, ca 93023 info@frameworksofojai.com

Native and Mediterranean garden specialists

805-640-1827 • www.greengoddessojai.com

Buddhas to Birthday Cards

OJAI HOUSE m

a

and a Huge Selection of Crystals

est. 2000 ...

um

Bumperstickers to Beeswax

ys tical empori

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

OPEN DAILY 11-6

304 N. Montgomery Street, Ojai, CA

2 blocks north of Ojai Avenue & A World Apart!

805.640.1656 • OjaiHouse.com •

OQ / SPRING 2021

nutmegs_ojai_ 39


STORY BY KIT STOLZ

OQ | OF F T HE S HEL F

MEREDY BENSON RICE WRITES TO CHANGE LIVES INCLUDING HER OWN

AT the height of the pandemic, Meredy Benson Rice, who published her third book of young adult fiction in 2020, sat down to talk about her writing and her work as an educator. This meant wearing masks, of course, and on that day it so happened that a mid-January wind40

storm hit Ojai. This meant huddling in a sheltered corner of the backyard, while powerful gusts of wind shook the nearby trees, and flurries of fallen leaves whirled around the patio. OQ / SPRING 2021


OQ | OF F T HE S HEL F

BOOK COVER OF “THE WISDOM PALACE”

MEREDY BENSON RICE

The atmospheric chaos didn’t seem to trouble Rice in the slightest: she has seen plenty of change in her life, living in Canada, England, and California, traveling to India, and serving for more than 20 years as the director of learning at the independent Oak Grove School in Meiners Oaks. Through it all she retains an abiding faith in human potential and growth — in change itself. “I work in education and know a lot of young people,” she says. “I’ve seen a lot of people transform. As a writer, I think one of

the reasons you’re with a character is that you want them to experience that transformation, because you’re personally seeking a transformation of your own.” Each of Rice’s three novels features a young adolescent on the cusp of an enormous change. In “Dreamcatcher,” the first of her books, published by Polestar in Canada, the hero is Fran, age 13, struggling to find his way forward after the abrupt death of his beloved father. Fran doesn’t have the language to grieve his father’s loss, but in his isolation the boy finds meaning in caring


OQ | OF F T HE S HEL F

for an orphaned raccoon pup. Not telling his distracted mother, he hides “Bandit” in an old tree stump with the help of a new acquaintance, Jo, an indigenous girl whose people know the land and its wild creatures intimately. Through his caring for the tiny animal, and through his encounters with Jo, Fran finds himself pulled into a completely new existence, to his own surprise and, eventually, his own delight. Rice put a good deal of herself into Fran. She too lost her beloved father overnight, to a brain aneurysm, and she too raised a raccoon pup to maturity. “At the time [of her father’s death] I had a hard time understanding why the world did not stop — I wanted to press pause on the entire world because my dad had died,” she said. “But things just keep moving forward and we have to find the strength to face it — to me it’s almost a spiritual thing, because we do have the capacity to find meaning in our lives, no matter how hard it may seem.” Rice’s second novel, “Blue True Dream of Sky,” focuses on Nickie, a logger’s daughter living in a rainy forest in Canada on a peninsula north of Maine. Fate has dealt Nickie a very tough hand. She’s a 14-year-old albino, long playing second fiddle in the family to her older brother Calvin. She’s more alone than ever now that Calvin has been left in a coma after a devastating brain injury suffered in a car crash. Her father seems to have very little to say about anything, and her mother, depressed, cannot seem to emerge from the gloom of her darkened room.

Nickie doesn’t know which way to turn. On an outing to an island with a friend, Nickie watches a harbor seal effortlessly dive and play in the water and wonders enviously about the seal’s joyousness: “Why do animals know what to do but not us?” Rice understands the frustration first hand. Having known hundreds of students in her decades of teaching and school leadership, she sees the complexity and confusion of young people — how they must contend with turbulent emotions even as they are just beginning to understand themselves. “I think what’s scary for children is the fear that they don’t have 42

agency — the idea that other people can make decisions over which you have no control,” she observes. “But at the same time, I think it often takes a young person a while to figure out what they actually feel. They’re vulnerable but they’re often not able to understand or put into perspective what is going on.”

It’s this journey — a young person making sense of his or her own emotions — that engrosses Rice. In “The Wisdom Palace,” Rice’s most recent book, published in 2020, her heroine is 13-year-old only child Isabelle, aka Izzy, who is sent from suburban California to live with her Aunt Beth and her chaotic household for a summer, in part to give her parents a chance to work out issues in their marriage. Izzy trusts her warm-hearted Aunt Beth, the matriarch of the family, but finds living with a new family — including a free-spirited Uncle Dave, crusty grandfather Jojo, her outspoken cousin Missy, her kid filmmaker cousin Sammy, and her surly half-cousin Zo — bewildering. Adding to the confusion, Aunt Beth — needing to make some money — impulsively launches a summer camp for older people in the farmhouse. They call it “the Wisdom Palace,” at thoughtful Izzy’s suggestion. A new resident named Ida Wells, a 91-year-old painter, reaches out to Izzy. She seems completely at home in the chaos of the large farmhouse, full of all sorts of wacky characters. A troubled Izzy tells Ida that she wants a normal life, but at “the Wisdom Palace” has found “everything is so different here, so crazy, so disorganized, so chaotic … “ OQ / SPRING 2021


OQ | OF F T HE S HEL F MEREDY BENSON RICE

“So spontaneous and so interesting,” interjects Ida. Rice based the character of Ida on the most famous of all of Ojai’s free spirits, the legendary artist Beatrice Wood. In the story, Ida befriends Izzy at the first opportunity, sits her down, reads her fortune in the Tarot cards, and declares that she and Izzy will be sisters. “You shall be my very young sister and I shall be your very old sister,” she says with a smile. “I’d like that,” Izzy says. So begins the summer that will change her life. To Ida she admits that chaos makes her feel “insecure.” She yearns for a plan. Ida understands her anxiety, but she says there’s a lot to be learned from confusion, and — reflecting on her own life journey — says she wishes as a younger person that she herself had been wilder and “not so good.” “It’s scary when things don’t go as planned,” Ida says, “and boring when they do. Take your pick.” In this spirit, the summer that follows does not go at all according to plan, but the chaos turns out to be mostly delightful, for Izzy, and for the reader as well. Rice’s books move briskly, and touch on serious topics — on indigenous rights, on saving the old growth rainforest, on aging and death — and yet retain an upbeat, amused spirit. She says that adults tell her that they often enjoy reading the books as “romps” despite the enormity of the issues facing their young lead characters. Rice notes that it’s not

just children who lack agency — it’s all of us. “There are things none of us have control over,” she points out. “You get cancer. Your parents divorce. You get old even though you don’t want to. We have to learn the same lessons over and over again. We forget. We get distracted by this idea that we have control over the universe, but for me, in my books, each time a character makes a transformation, I’m also making that transformation. It’s a joyful process.” Rice sees writing as akin to having “a good friend.” “When you sit down to write it’s as if you’re creating a relationship to your inner world,” she says. “That’s a fun thing to do and it feels like a lovely thing to turn to at this stage of my life, when I feel as if I’ve kind of done everything else. It’s good company. The writing is not dependent on anything else, and it comes with your own transformation and it comes with age.”

Rice continues to find the resilience of children inspirational — she speaks of little kids, two-year-olds, learning how to wear masks, and matter of factly adjusting to the worst outbreak of a deadly disease in a hundred years. She compares this process of “normalizing” a traumatic experience to what her mother faced, living as a child through the Blitz — the bombing of London — in World War II. To be human is to grow, to change, and, Rice suggests, through writing we can turn trauma into a journey and an overcoming. For ourselves, as well as for our characters. Rice’s first two books were published in Canada, after she methodically sent out the “Dreamcatcher” manuscript until at last it caught on, but her most recent novel she self-published. She recommends the experience. “A book doesn’t have to be a bestseller,” she adds. “If I had something I liked and wanted to see in print I would go ahead and do it ... the idea that something has to sell to have any worth!” Meredy Benson Rice smiles at the absurdity of the thought. Despite the tumult of wind and the whirl of leaves, at that moment she appears at ease and — like her character Ida — entirely calm amid the storm.

OQ / SPRING 2021

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Photo by Stephe Johnsom

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Joan Roberts 805-223-1811 CalBRE# 00953244

roberts4homes@gmail.com 727 W. Ojai Avenue Ojai, California, 93023 639 West Villanova Road, Ojai | $1,250,000 Long private driveway to a park-like serene world with mountain views. Solid built 1954 3 + 2 home has massive windows to let the outside in for a natural relaxing environment. Open floor plan flows out to the patios for a seamless convenient lifestyle. Newer expanded dream kitchen has a wall of windows for natural light, LED lighting, large island work space and plenty of storage. Fruit trees and vegetable gardens are steps out the kitchen door with room for much more. Expanded master suite, owned solar panels. A large classic AirStream is included.

al Realty. All rights reserved. All data, including all measurements and calculations are obtained from various sources and has not and will not be verified by Broker. All information shall be independently reviewed and verified for accuracy. LIV Sotheby’s International Realty is indeand supports the principals of the Fair Housing Act.

1489 Foothill Rd, Ojai | $2,150,000 A quiet peaceful retreat, tucked away on a private elevated knoll placed to maximize the property’s 360 degree exceptional views! Nestled at the base of Ojai mountains, with hiking/biking trails, just minutes from downtown. The multi-room master features a walk-in closet plus a view office and private patio. With 5 bedrooms including a 2-bedroom separate entrance suite upstairs, there’s lots of room for creativity; offices, etc. With fruit trees and lots of land, just sit back or swim and savor the peace and solitude of dreamy Ojai living. Incredible views, exquisitely designed, custom-built home, owned solar, whole house water filtration system and alarm system in place!

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© 2021 and/calculations are obtained from various sources and has not and will not be verified by Broker. All45 informa LIV Sotheby’s International Realty. All rights reserved. All data, including all measurementsOQ SPRING 2021 tion shall be independently reviewed and verified for accuracy. LIV Sotheby’s International Realty is inde- pendently owned and operated and supports the principals of the Fair Housing Act.


I’m

not sure if it’s a coincidence that my father passed away recently from Covid-19, but this will be my first father-son interview. My brother texted me that he didn’t believe in coincidences, when a cross appeared in the clouds, the day I received the fateful news. As I take with me the positive memories from his life, I find myself adrift in the strands of this beautiful relationship between Tom Lennon and his son, Ted, (one of five children) as they share their musical histories with me. As we sit, (outdoors and apart), I witness them finishing each other’s sentences and inside jokes, mirroring each other in every delightful way. Even their homes have a similar touch of coziness and warm hospitality. How I would love to be reincarnated as a male Lennon.

TED AND TOM LENNON

The world that they have created is one that feels welcoming, and that can instantly be felt in their music. The Lennon world, like their music, is imbued with folklore and love.  Tom Lennon was born in 1946 and grew up in a musical family of 13 siblings near the iconic Venice canals. It was an era where: the canals were occupied by beat poets and artists; fuzzedout day trippers frequented the Strip; and velvet-clad serpents jammed during late night recording sessions that echoed throughout the Canyons ‘til dawn or whenever the drugs wore off.


BY BETTY NGUYEN SHOW POSTER “THE OTHER HALF”

By day, Tom worked in the mailroom at MGM studios, where he and his fellow co-workers started a rock n’ roll cover band called, “The Other Half.” They opened for the lesser known band (at the time) called the Doors. Tom’s band rode the wave of American music culture and were getting their own following and press, but then he was drafted for the “War” (Vietnam), and got replaced on guitar by Randy Holden, who later played in the psych band Blue Cheer (which I love, and saw later in Brooklyn). With him, they made original albums but later disbanded soon after Tom’s return. When Venice started to commercialize, Tom, who worked at a sourdough bakery then, took the opportunity to transfer up to Oxnard to break upwards and onwards. He envisioned baking bread alongside clam diggers and crabbers in northern California but made it only so far as Ojai.

The Lennons’ first came to the Valley of the Moon in the 1930s to visit their great uncle, who owned an apricot orchard in upper Ojai, before settling down here permanently in the 1970s. When Tom moved his family here, his cousins, “The Lennon Sisters,” became household names due to their singing appearances on the popular television show, “The Lawrence Welk Show.”

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Tom’s father became the Vice President of the entity and he was able to buy instruments off the show at cost. They made their way into his recording studio in Ojai, where he invited his cousins to record albums.Tom also recruited them to perform at benefits in Ojai, knowing that their fame would bring more energy and funds. What made Tom stand apart from all of his siblings was that he was the first one in the family to learn an instrument. He passed this along to his son Teddy and turned him onto formative albums that you can still hear playing at his house, including a carousel of Merle Haggard, Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson and Neil Young. “Some of my earliest musical memories with my dad were out at the Channel Islands, singing songs around the campfire,” Ted said. “He made it fun by doing a kind of call and response where all of us kids would get involved and have our parts to sing. Like the song, ‘Zombie Jamboree*’ we’d sing, ‘Back to back, belly to belly’. There was also a ‘spitting song’ where we would all spit in the fire when he’d say, ’Spit!’ They were all classic, timeless folk songs that made you feel good.”  Ted moved to New York in the aughts to push his own music out into the world and found himself at CBGB’s gallery playing one night. He invited friends and, in a moment of stagefright, stowed himself away into the bathroom and turned out the lights. Centering himself, he realized, “You gotta just go out there and try your best.” They say that New York is where you cut your teeth. “It was a good place for me to study being a performance artist. I just stopped caring what others thought. Everyone’s just doing their own thing.” Tom said, “I found that Ted had matured while away and he returned playing as my equal.” When he was a cheesemonger at the famed Dean & DeLuca deli, his co-worker spotted Elvis Costello. “She pointed him out to me and asked if I was a fan. I waited ‘til he left the shop because I didn’t want to bring any attention to him inside. I rushed after him and told him I grew up listening to his records as a kid. I played him my newest song that I recorded the night before. He listened to the entire song on my headphones, which was like five minutes. Halfway through, he took the headphones off and asked, ‘This is you?’ in a flattering way. He liked my voice and where it sat in the mix, then gave me advice on considering the addition of a Hammond organ to the song and invited me to come check out his show that evening in Brooklyn.”  Ted returned home to Ojai, remembering the timeless feeling of the canyons and its closeness to the ocean. When he moved back in with his parents, he played his father some of his new 48

music. “He just immediately started strumming along to my songs on the ukulele. My dad’s got this sense of rhythm that’s like a train movin’ down the track. It sounds like a drum. I think that’s what Thom Yorke said about Jack Johnson.” Johnson was been a friend to the Lennon family years before he gained notoriety. In 2005, Jack invited Ted to open for him at the first Food For Thought benefit concert at Libbey Bowl. “It was an unadvertised show that sold out. The only tickets were available that day at the Ojai’s Farmer’s Market.” Ted’s self-titled album was recorded in their living room live on a quarter-inch analogue TEAC reel to reel from the 1970s. The release got the attention of a product manager at Universal Music Japan, who signed Ted for two albums, “Water & Bones” and “The Taste of Time.” Ted and Tom together toured the albums in Japan in 2006 to 2008. They opened for Jack Johnson in Tokyo in front of 15,000 people and were invited to play the Summer Sonic Music Festival, a two-day festival  in Osaka and Tokyo where they shared the Beach Stage with Devendra Banhart, The Flaming Lips and Metallica headlining later that evening. “It was an awesome experience. Everyone loved my dad.” Tom added, “I spent my 60th birthday there, and I stayed up later than Ted the night of my party!”  Sometimes one may wonder if living comfortably in Ojai, if you’ll miss out on intellectual conversations or lose your cosmopolitan aspirations for travel or sophistication. Listening to Ted and Tom’s music, you can hear that none of those things matter. They’re emulating a lightness of being in their world that feels wholly fulfilled in their songs. It’s like the simple satisfaction of seeing the stars at night or sitting down for a meal and a joint with your best friend. Take it easy. Life’s happening right here and now. In Ted’s song, “So in Love” (2015) featuring Jack Johnson and Colbie Caillat, you’re reminded that the beauty of falling in love is what life’s worth living for. There’s plenty of creative productivity here. Ted’s new song on Spotify, “Animals,” has a David Byrne, calypso vibe. It’s a place to escape to that sounds sunny and carefree. It goes down easy with coconut water. He’s also currently working on a new music project called “We Are The Neighbors,” which also hosts a podcast. “It’s an exploration on thought and sound with some of the local artists, philosophers and characters in the Ojai Valley within, like, a ten-mile radius.” I hope his father Tom will make a guest appearance in that garden of delights. * “Zombie Jamboree” was thought to have origins in the song,  “Jumbie Jamboree” by Conrad Eugene Mauge, Jr. a calypso song that came from the Carnaval culture in Trinidad. “Jumbies” were evil spirits that caused wild dancing in their victims. OQ / SPRING 2021


COMING TOGETHER, AGAIN THE TIERRA SOL INSTITUTE is curating a series of benefit shows for Meditation Mount, which recently opened their doors again to the public after being closed for nearly three years due to damage from the Thomas Fire. For the recent Muses on the Mount performance, guests safely experienced an eclectic outdoor performance featuring RyX, Orpheo and Rachel McCord, Poet Mandy Kahn, Painter Vera Long and Sound Bowl artists Trinity of Sound. Tierra Sol Institute is currently developing pop-up immersions to further its mission of empowering artists to charter Ojai's resilient future. TO BE NOTIFIED of events in April and May, and to learn how renewable energy can be beautiful, go to www.tierrasolojai.org and www.meditationmount.org. 50

OQ / SPRING 2021


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BY BETTY NGUYEN

Singing

is a very physical action that can release what’s stirring inside us on so many levels. The voice can signal our deepest emotions and, on a primal level, communicate fear, happiness, anger, pleasure or death. Animals like coyotes, or birds like crows, use their voices in nuanced ways to develop language. Together, our voices can move people and mountains.


SHYLAH RAY

Starting from our deep root chakra, then moving up through our hearts and outward from our throats, the energy of our voices takes shape from entire beings, not just at our vocal cords and mouth shapes. The sounds we express during intense moments like birth, sex, or anger are all part of a divine plan to connect us to our nature. The familiarity of a loved one’s voice, drops us into our softness — words or sounds can open our hearts to loving kindness and soothe our weariness. Voices carry memories and emotions. 


After birthing her first daughter in Topanga Canyon, Shylah Ray Sunshine moved to Ojai as a lot of parents do, because there is a gentle community here that is connected to nature. “I made a living as a doula for many years and sang here and there. I learned that making certain noises in childbirth, you can really drop into the pain and ground into it.” I ask her to emulate the sounds of a mother birthing. As she inhales, her voice, as well as her eyebrows, go higher and higher. “I learned from my midwife, that the secret when you’re in labor is to go down into some lower notes. That’s where you center. And it works.” The high-pitched sounds are like a breaking point where you hold pain and those energies. It sounds like shattering glass. Whereas, the lower sounds feels like she’s pushing back down through her root and back into Mother Earth to release. I equate it with the sounds one makes while having sex and being able to orgasm. You need to relax into it, surrender ultimately — letting go in order to fully receive. “That’s exactly it,” she affirms.

Shylah Ray sang around her house growing up, like most of us do, but she had the motivation and most importantly discipline, to teach herself piano at the age of 23, so that she could start songwriting.  Developing her own range and style, she built up the confidence to perform. She began her musical journey connecting with audiences and musical collaborators locally. She started a band with Soma Miller, Shawn Jacobson and Taylor Quinn in Upper Ojai. “We played all the venues here and then we landed a residency every Sunday night at the Deer Lodge. That kinda started my reputation for what I was capable of with performances and it was a great learning experience. Then, I started to get more gigs in Los Angeles.” When I ask what musicians inspired her, she replies,”Reggae really saved me in high school whenever I felt depressed. I believed in the authenticity of Bob Marley to make music for the pure love of it. I see Erykah Badu as a completely genuine and whole person. “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” was a game-changing album for me. Whitney (Houston) of course, for her range was incredible.”

I could see who was on there, through the comments and in a way, we felt connected. It felt good to bring people together even if it was virtually, and the music can shift the energy which could get really down and stagnant at times.” Sheltering in place can be pleasant when reading or quietly watching a film (or two) in bed, but there is a joy to music in a room she provided that definitely uplifted the spirits. She played ‘80s and ‘90s hip hop mostly, with tracks by Missy Elliot, Mary J Blige, Jill Scott, Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls, Puff Daddy, Mase, Naughty by Nature, OutKast and A Tribe Called Quest as well as contemporary artists like Jidenna, Anderson Paak, Mac Miller, Drake and Kaytranada on heavy rotation. “I enjoyed having a consistency to the Saturday night sessions. People knew when and where they could tune in for some weekly fun and see me on the video stream. I would do “shout outs” to the audience and take their song requests, which made it cool and interactive.”  Before Covid, Shylah Ray produced and promoted a Radical Women’s event in Los Angeles with performances and workshops. “It’s a lot of work to put a really intentional event like that together. Eighty women came out for the first one, and it was really meaningful.” In Miami last year, a group of women healers invited her out for a performance and workshop. “I had no idea that I had a following in Miami, which was so radical. My supporters sold out the workshop and it was so cool to experience everything with new people,” she said. Shylah Ray offers voice lessons that not only offer vocal tips and exercises, but empowers studentst to find their expression and the worthiness to share it. You can witness her songs’ embodiment of this holistic message of acceptance and celebration. In the video for her song, “Sacredness,” women are seen bathing and laughing together in Ojai. “I had this connection to myself as a woman more closely after my daughter’s natural birth. I didn’t bleed for like a year after while I was breastfeeding, but when it came back, I just kinda felt more grateful and aware of what it meant. So I wrote this song about it.” 

Shylah Ray’s love of music not only comes through in her soulful music production but her deejay sets.

Her continued self-motivation will see the release of an album and EP in 2021.

During Covid in 2020, she was inspired to deejay every weekend over the summer on Instagram live. “It was a cool way to keep the vibe going.

With songs like “So Far,” with the lyrics Everytime I close my eyes / I can feel it / All the things I’ve kept inside — It’s no secret / Everything could be wonderful if I would just believe it / I know I’ve got to be the one / (If a real change gon’ come)

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OQ / SPRING 2021


Photo Courtesy of Gerdi Alvarado, Ojai Artist & Community Member

6 Feet of Connection Back to our Roots

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OQ | VIS UAL ARTI STS Perhaps it was potter and “the Mama of Dada” Beatrice Wood’s influence, going back nearly 90 years. Maybe it even goes back further, to the Chumash people’s ingenious and astounding artistry with basketry. It’s clear that Ojai has long been a haven for artists. The natural beauty

RICHARD AMEND

Mysterious equations of abstraction, nature, architecture, and illumination rolled into the stillness and clarity of singular, psychological moments. “Thought Form #1: Clearing.” Oil on canvas, 48” x 36.” Contact: amend@pobox.com or visit RichardAmend.net. 323-806-7995

PATRISH KUEBLER

is an artist who expresses herself in two strikingly different mediums: soft pastel and rich encaustic. 805-649-3050 PatrishKueblerFineArt.com

MARC WHITMAN

SUSAN STINSMUEHLEN AMEND Paints on

CINDY PITOU BURTON

Photojournalist and editorial photographer, specializing in portraits, western landscapes and travel. 805-646-6263 798-1026 cell OjaiStudioArtists.org

clear glass with kilnfired enamels, mapping unpredictable rhythms of thought. Custom commissions for art & architecture welcome. SusanAmend@pobox. com She is also on Facebook.

DUANE EELLS

KAREN K. LEWIS

Eells searches for beauty in his work. His paintings are about energy, empathy and connections. Bold strokes with classical drawing principles drive his work. Studio visits by appointment. Collect online at eells.com 805-633-0055

Painter and Printmaker of People, Places and Things. Media: oil on canvas and printers’ ink on paper. lewisojai@mac.com. 805-646-8877 KarenKLewis.com

ELAINE UNZICKER

Original Landscape, Figure & Portrait Paintings in Oil. Ojai Design Center Gallery. 111 W Topa Topa Street. marc@whitman-architect. com. Open weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Inspired by medieval chain mail — stainless jewelry, scarves, purses, belts and wearable metal clothing. UnzickerDesign.com 805-646-4877

JOYCE HUNTINGTON

LISA SKYHEART MARSHALL

Intuitive, visionary artist, inspired by her dreams and meditations. It is “all about the Light.” Her work may be seen at Frameworks of Ojai, 236 West Ojai Ave, where she has her studio. 805-6403601 JoyceHuntingtonArt.com

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framed so well by the long arc and lush light of an east-west valley lends itself to artistic pursuits, as does the leisurely pace of life, the sturdy social fabric of a vibrant community and the abundant affection and respect for artists and their acts of creation.

ROY P. GRILLO

Creating life-like highly detailed drawings and oil paintings of ballerinas, pet and people protraits. 805-450-3329 Roygrillo.com

TOM HARDCASTLE

Rich oils and lush pastel paintings from Nationally awarded local artist. 805-895-9642

Original watercolor+ink paintings --Plants and flowers, birds and insects. Plus scenes of cottages and gates inspired by Ojai and beyond. SkyheartArt.com.

OQ / SPRING 2021


OQ | A RT GA L L E RIES

FIRESTICK GALLERY Firestick Pottery provides classes, studio/kiln space and a gallery abundant with fine ceramics. 1804 East Ojai Avenue. Open from 10 am to 6 pm every day. Gallery Open to the Public. FirestickPottery.com 805-272-8760

NUTMEG’S OJAI HOUSE

Featuring local artists, including William Prosser and Ted Campos. American-made gifts and cards, crystals, new and vintage goods. 304 North Montgomery OjaiHouse.com 805-640-1656

PORCH GALLERY

Contemporary Art in a Historic House. 310 East Matilija Avenue PorchGalleryOjai.com 805-620-7589 IG: PorchGalleryOjai

CHIRON HOUSE

Working with reclaimed, organic, local materials such as bones, clay and drawing on fabric and newsprint. “Datura / Kanye” (2019) bettynguyen.carbonmade.com

You haven’t seen Ojai until you visit us! Local art of all types, unusual gifts, Ojai goods! Open daily 10-6. Closed Tues. 323 Matilija Street

DAN SCHULTZ FINE ART

Plein air landscapes, figures and portraits in oil by nationally-acclaimed artist Dan Schultz.  106 North Signal Street | 805-317-9634  DanSchultzFineArt.com

STUDIO SAUVAGEAU

OVA ARTS

40+ LOCAL artists with a unique selection of contemporary fine arts, jewelry and crafts. 238 East Ojai Ave 805-646-5682 Daily 10 am – 6 pm OjaiValleyArtists.com

POPPIES ART & GIFTS

Exquisitely handcrafted bags. 305-G East Ojai Avenue New Location! StudioSauvageau.com 805-798-2221

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Ojai Cafe Emporium Ojai’s favorite gathering and eating place for over 30 years.

Voted Best Bakery, Breakfast & Lunch Place ‘10 ‘11 ‘12 ‘13 ‘14 ‘15 ‘16

805 646 2723

108 S. Montgomery Street / off Ojai Ave www.ojaicafeemporium.com BREAKFAST Served All Day Every Day LUNCH Served Daily11am-3pm BAKERY & COFFEE BAR Open Daily 6:30am-3pm 58

OQ / SPRING 2021


OQ | W I NE & DIN E

62 takeout shakeout Turning the Tables on Local Chefs For The Holidays

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CHEF RANDY

Ojai Wine Map

The Garden Goddess Sandwich By Chef Randy Graham

Wineries, Breweries & More

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Espresso

Breakfast

Lunch

CIAL CAF O E S

OJA I

Love is gr eater than everythi ng.

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2 0 5 No r t h S i g nal S t re e t

D aily 8am-2p m

L o v e S o c ialC af e .co m

Mo b ile O rde rs

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“...The feel is fun, energetic & evokes the perfect Ojai picnic...” 469 E. Ojai Ave.

www.OjaiRotie.com

805–798–9227

Celebrating 32 Years Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Open Daily 8 am to 10 pm (Call for summer hours) Home of the $2.50 Mimosas and $4 Bloody Marys and Margaritas. All Day, Everyday.

Sea FreSh SeaFood

Restaurant, Sushi Bar and Fresh Fish Market

805-646-7747

• 533 E. Ojai Avenue, Ojai OQ / SPRING 2021

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OQ | FOOD & DR I NK

PHOTO BY KELLY SIKKEMA

S HOUTOUT FOR

TAKE BY ILONA SAARI

I LOVE

eating in restaurants — from a funky Summit drive-in cheeseburger to a five-course, romantic meal at The Ranch House. Growing up in Bayside, Queens, Long Island, New York, a Manhattan “suburb,” a restaurant outing for family dinners was always exciting. For “Hallmark” occasions we drove farther out onto the Island to Candlelight Inn with its pretty popover/honeybun girls floating around the floor in pastel uniforms with white ruffled aprons, carrying baskets filled with muffins. To my young eyes, they were like movie stars. And, what a treat when my dad packed the family into the car and drove us to Howard Johnson’s for a dinner of burgers with that “secret sauce,” and a side of fried clams … or when we went “downstreet” in Bayside to Sal’s “grown-up” Italian restaurant that boasted scenic Italian murals, white table cloths and red candle “globes” in plastic webbing. Atmosphere!!! 62

UT Most impressive to my inexperienced taste buds was McElroy’s, a wood-paneled, dimly lit tavern with B&W photos of local celebrities on the dining room walls just like Sardi’s, that famous Manhattan restaurant where Nick and Nora Charles went for a nightcap (though I hadn’t clue then what a night cap was) in the old movies I watched on TV. It didn’t matter that in McElroy’s the peas were canned or the mashed potatoes “instant,” in my budding writer’s imagination, I really was in Sardi’s. A memorable restaurant isn’t always about the food… it’s about the feelings the room gives you and the memories it creates… childhood family memories… dating, and “dinner-with-friends” memories that stay with you long after the food is gone.  Because of Covid-19, restaurants are hurting all over the country and Ojai’s eateries are no exception. We might not be able to make new memories within their walls, but we will again if we support them now.  Not long ago, fellow Ojaian, photojournalist/artist Cindy Pitou-Burton inspired this column by making a list of some favorite Ojai eateries that prepare take-out meals.  I hope y’all will jump into the take-out fray and support your favorites during this difficult time.  Give them a call or check out their websites. OQ / SPRING 2021


OQ | FOOD & DR I NK DINERS

DRIVE - INS

COFFEE HOUSES & CAFES

BEACON COFFEE

BONNIE LU’S COUNTRY CAFÉ

CAFÉ EMPORIUM

7 am - 2 pm

8 am - 2 pm

7 am - 3 pm

www.beaconcoffee.com

805-646-0207 www.bonnieluscafe.com

805-646-2723 www.ojaicafeemporium.com

Breakfast & Lunch only.

Memories of Ruebens and pastrami

Full menu available, including the

Fresh croissants & vegan goodies.

melts on marbled rye dance with sugar

café’s delish, daily quiche.

plum fairies in my head.

COFFEE CONNECTION

FARMER AND THE COOK

HIP VEGAN CAFÉ

6 am - 1 pm

8:30 am - 4 pm (Farm to Table Menu)

11 am - 3 pm and 4 am - 7 pm

805-646-7821 www.coffeeconnection.com

805-640-9008 www.farmer-and-the-cook.com

805-669-6363 www.hipvgn.square.site Asian spring rolls to old-fashioned, marinated tempeh burgers.

HOME KITCHEN

JAVA & JOE

JOLLY KONE

7 am - 2:30 pm

7 am - 5 pm

10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. 805-646-5176

805-646-5346 www.homekitchenofojai.com

805-646-3138 www.javajoeojai.com

Comfort food with an amuse bouché

Burger/Hot Dog Stand - Great chili

Swedish pancake — a tradition that

cheese dogs.

I hope will continue when in-house

Muffins & more.

dining resumes.

LO>E SOCIAL CAFÉ

OJAI COFFEE ROASTING

SUMMIT DRIVE-IN BURGERS

8 am - 2 pm

5:30 am - 2 pm

Hours vary.

805-415-1171 www.lovesocialcafe.com

805-646-4478

805-229-0030 www.summitdrivein.com

Great bagels.

Also, great chicken sandwiches.

Avocado toast, breakfast burrito or BLT on Ojai Rotié sourdough.

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OQ | FOOD & DR I NK AMERICAN - CALIFORNIA CUISINE HARVEST MOON

THE NEST

OJAI ROTIE

Fri 5- 8 p.m. Sat-Sun 12-3 p.m. 5-8 p.m. 805-633-9232 www.orderharvestmoon.com

NOON - 7 pm (Thursday to Monday)

Hours vary

805-798-9035

805-798-9227 www.ojairotie.com

Savor a Nest favorite - Duck Confit Bao Family comfort food.

Buns or “Tireman,” a twist on a brisket

Chicken lover’s delight, even a whole

sandwich.

Rotié chicken pick-up picnic dinner

AJ CHINESE EXPRESS

EXOTIC THAI

HAKANE SUSHI

11-3 p.m. 4:30-9 p.m. 805-646-1177

Hours fluctuate

11:30 am - 2 pm

805-646-6618 www.exoticthairestaurant.com

805-640-3070 www.hakanesushi.com

Limited menu.

Limited menu.

ALSO OPEN FOR DINNER

ASIAN CUISINE

Call to order take-out.

LIVE TO EAT

MANDALA

Hours fluctuate

Noon to 8 pm

805-640-0201 www.livetoeat.com

805-613-3048 www.mandalallc.com

Asian Fusion.

Tibetan Momos - yum-mo.

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OQ / SPRING 2021


OQ | FOOD & DR I NK ASIAN CUISINE OM THAI CAFÉ

SAKURA BAR & TEPAN GRILL

Hours vary

11:30-2 p.m. 4:30-9 p.m.

805-649-9001 www.omthaicuisine.com

805-646-8777 www.sakuraojai.com

Customer favorite Pad Thai salmon or meat of your choice.

BARS

PUBS

Sushi, teriyaki and more.

TAVERNS

AZU BAR & RESTAURANT

DEER LODGE

OJAI BEVERAGE COMPANY

Thursday - Tuesday hours vary 805-640-7987 www.azuojai.com

Takeout hours/days vary

11:30 am - 2 pm

805-646-4256 www.deerlodgeojai.com

805-646-1700 www.ojaibevco.com

Order online Thursday-Sunday, grab a bottle of Alisal wine to “go with.”

Get Brussels sprouts as a side to go with your Buffalo burger.

SOULE PARK BAR & GRILL

THE VINE

6 a.m.-9 p.m. 805-646-5633 www.soulepark.com

Hours vary

The Classic Burger, be still my heart.

805-798-9015 www.facebook.com/thevineojai

No tee time necessary. Great tuna melt.

Full bar. Check out the Sunday Supper Club dinner … includes a bottle of wine.

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OQ | FOOD & DR I NK ITALIAN CUISINE BOCCALI’S

CA MARCO

NOCCIOLA

11:45 a.m. -8 p.m. 805-646-6116 www.boccalis.com

2 pm - 8 pm (Tuesday to Saturday)

5:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday-Monday 805-640-1648 www.nocciolaojai.com

805-640-1048 www.camarcoojai.com

Wednesday to Sunday - Special takePastas to pizzas.

Creamiest fettucine alfredo carbonara.

out menu.

OJAI PIZZA

OSTERIA MONTE GRAPPA

PAPA LENNON’S

11 am - 9 pm

Take out 5 pm to 8 pm

11:30 am - 8 pm

805-646-7878 www.theonlygoodpizza.com

805-640-6767 www.omgojai.com

805-640-7388 www.papalennons

New York style pizza/Italian entrée options.

Gourmet pizzas, paninis, salads and Full menu.

more.

If your favorite restaurant serves alcohol, ask if they will also pack your favorite cocktail, beer or wine to go.

Some Ojai restaurants deliver, if yours doesn’t, call the OJAI FOOD TAXI 805-444-0884. The drivers follow all Covid-19 guidelines to bring your food to your door, safe and sound.

Don’t forget, you’re not only giving yourself a cooking break, you’re supporting the restaurants’ futures. Takeout now, so you can take a table later.

As of this writing, some of your favorite eateries or watering holes may be temporarily closed, check their

websites or give them a call.

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OQ / SPRING 2021


OQ | FOOD & DR I NK MEXICAN CUISINE AGAVE MARIA’S

CASA de LAGO

DON LALO’S

4 pm - 7:30 pm

11 am - 8 pm

6 a.m.-9 p.m. 805-620-2121

805-646-6353 www.agavemarias.com

805-649-9595

Located in Meiners Oaks. The cheesiest cheese enchiladas.

Oak View location only.

JIM & ROB’S FRESH GRILL 10 am - 8:30 pm 805-640-1301 www.jimandrobsojai.com Full menu - often voted best burger in Ojai.

SEAFOOD IDEAL SEAFOOD 11 am - 6:30 pm

SEAFRESH SEAFOOD RESTAURANT & FISH MARKET Hours fluctuate

805-640-1514 www.idealseafoodofojai.com

805-646-7747 www.seafreshseafood.com

Drive-thru fresh-caught fish market

Delicious “ocean to table” seafood

with prepared takeout selections.

entreés and sandwiches

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CRAFTED IN OJAI SPROUTED SNACKS, SPREADS & GRANOLA

www.larkellenfarm.com

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OQ / SPRING 2021


illage marketplace


CHE F R A N DY

GARDEN GODDESS SANDWICH PREP 10 MIN

COOK 0 MIN

SERVES 1

EASY

This recipe makes one sandwich, but if you need more, multiply accordingly. Make the pickled onions the day before. Leftover onions will keep in the refrigerator for at least a week. They are an awesome topping for your favorite burger.

INGREDIENTS:

DIRECTIONS:

SANDWICH INGREDIENTS: • 2 slices fresh multigrain bread (such as Dave’s Killer Bread) • 2 tablespoons Vegenaise • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish • ½ ripe avocado (sliced) • 2 slices fresh mozzarella (¼-inch slices) • 2 slices green heirloom tomato (¼inch slices) • 4 slices cucumber (1/8-inch slices) • ¼ cup pickled red onions (see recipe below) • 2 leaves butter

lettuce (rinsed and dried) • Pickled cucumbers (to serve on the side)

PICKLED RED ONION DIRECTIONS: In a glass mixing bowl, combine hot water, vinegar, sugar, oregano, and salt. Stir until sugar and salt are totally dissolved. Add onions, chili and pepper flakes. Stir to blend. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

PICKLED RED ONION Ingredients: • 1½ cups boiling hot water • 1 cup distilled white vinegar • 3 tablespoons sugar • ½ teaspoon Mexican oregano • 1/8 teaspoon salt • 1 medium red onion (cut in half and sliced thin) • 1 serrano chili (halved lengthwise) • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

SANDWICH ASSEMBLY: Toast the bread and spread both slices with one tablespoon Vegenaise and ½ teaspoon horseradish. Top the bottom slice with the avocado, mozzarella, tomato, cucumber, pickled onions, and lettuce. Lay the other slice of toasted bread on top, Vegenaise side down, and press gently. Slice in half. I like to serve these with pickled baby cucumbers.

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Note: Wrapping the sandwiches in parchment paper prior to cutting helps to hold them together.

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OQ / SPRING 2021

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OQ | OJA I W I NE MA P CASA BARRANCA ORGANIC WINERY & TASTING ROOM Historic Downtown Arcade. Stop by and relax in Casa Barranca’s Craftsman style-designed tasting room. Taste our award-winning wines made with organically grown grapes, also our USDA certified wines containing no added sulfites! Join our Wine Club!. 208 East Ojai Avenue, 805-640-1255. OPEN DAILY: Sunday — Thursday 1 to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday until 1-7 p.m. CasaBarranca.com or facebook.com/casabarranca.

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: venturaspirits.com, email to: info@ venturaspirits.com or call us at: (805) 232-4313

TOPA MOUNTAIN WINERY Topa Mountain Winery offers handcrafted wines made from grapes grown on its estate in upper Ojai and sourced from other premium vineyards in the region. Located on two acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, Topa Mountain Winery has been voted Ventura County’s best Tasting Room two years in a row, is family and dog friendly and offers live music every Saturday and Sunday. TopaMountainWinery.com

OJAI OLIVE OIL Ojai’s no. 1 rated visitor experience, our Olive Mill & Tasting Room is open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for free tastings and shopping. We also offer free guided tours on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Visit an organic family permaculture farm and learn everything about extra virgin oil. We also have balsamic vinegars, olive trees, skin care products and more. No reservations required, pets welcome. 1811 Ladera Road , Ojaioliveoil.com, 805-646-5964.

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 at Boccali Ranch. 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 BoccaliVineyards.com.

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OLD CREEK RANCH WINERY Old Creek Ranch Winery is Ventura County’s only rural winery situated on an 850-acre ranch in the Ojai Valley. A tasting room as well as lawns and guest areas with handcrafted chairs and couches, surrounded by lush landscaping, have been designed for relaxing and enjoying fine wines. Pack a picnic, gather up the kids and dog, and head to the Ranch! A selection of 25+ red and white varietals are available for wine tastings and purchase. Check oldcreekranch.com for a schedule of live music and food trucks. Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Located at 10024 Old Creek Road, Ventura, CA 93001. 805-649-4132. OldCreekRanch.com OQ / SPRING 2021


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. 321 East Ojai Avenue (downstairs), 805-794-0272, MajesticOakVineyard.com.

OQ / SPRING 2021

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 OjaiAlisal.com and AzuOjai.com.

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*Manufacturer’s mail-in rebate offer valid for qualifying purchases made 1/9/21–3/22/21 from participating dealers in the U.S. only. Bonus PowerView® rebate is only available when making a qualifying purchase. Rebate will be issued in the form of a Reward Card and mailed within 6 weeks of rebate claim approval. Funds do not expire. Subject to applicable law, a $2.00 monthly fee will be assessed against card balance 6 months after card issuance and each month thereafter. See complete terms distributed with reward card. Additional limitations may apply. Ask participating dealer for details and rebate form. ©2021 Hunter Douglas. All rights reserved. All trademarks used herein are the property of Hunter Douglas or their respective owners. 21Q1MAGDUC3

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OQ / SPRING 2021


OQ | YEST ER DAY & TODAY

98

98 the voice of peace

76 Parker Bowles Chronicles Is Ojai Ready for a Nightclub? Emma Parker Bowles

The Phil Harvey Century By Mark Lewis

98 The box on the hill Mr. Fisher Builds his Dream House By Jerry Camarillo Dunn Jr.

104 OQ BEYOND THE ARCADE MAP Street Map & Landmark Businesses


BY EMMA PARKER BOWLES

IF

you didn’t catch my outburst, sorry I mean feature article, in the Winter OQ edition, where I interviewed some of the marvelous Brits in Ojai, let me give you a quick recap. Salty Penis. No, that is not my stage name (although if I ever revive my contemporary mime ‘The Dance of

the Seven Swans’ then I will strongly consider it) but an old Afrikaans name for British people in South Africa, straddling both countries, with their nether regions dangling over the Atlantic. And according to feedback, or the smorgasbord of emails I got with ‘salty penis’ in the subject line, this is what stuck in some people’s mind. Which is not the way I was planning on launching myself into the bosom of the Ojai community and we can safely assume I won’t be hired to do any after-dinner speaking at the next Rotary Club jamboree. In fact, I am sure there are some older and more refined folk who will have been horrified by my potty mouth. Fun fact: I don’t care.


Spin the wheel motherf***ers, spin the wheel. You never know what you are going to get. ‘What other people think of me is none of my business,’ is a saying in one of my circles. You just can’t care, can you? And I tend to burn my bridges whilst I am still standing on them. Besides, if I didn’t lose the pious at ‘salty penis’ then they sure as shit were running for the hills when they arrived at ‘undercarriage.’ So, all I can say to any shrinking violets who were reaching for the smelling salts, is that things are only going to deteriorate from here because decorum is not a flower that grows in my garden.

I am not so much a ‘basic bitch’ as a ‘base bitch.’ This is who I am. You can always count on me to lower the tone of any conversation, laugh in inappropriate situations and you should NEVER put me on speaker phone. I also have the impulse control of a toddler. Sometimes things come out of my mouth that surprise even me. I have always lived by the motto ‘probably not a great idea, but let’s just see what happens.’ So here I am, flying my freaky flag high and proud so all you other weirdos know where to find me. And that is one of the things that I LOVE about Ojai. Lots of people running around just marching to the beat of their own drum. As Nirvana sang, “Come as you are’ and if you don’t like that then you can be whoever you want to be. If you want to whittle down sticks and sell them as fairy wands? Marvellous, where can I buy one? Run up and down the 33 in a suit of armour during a thunderstorm to try and catch a buzz? You do you, Boo. You want to ride up and down Main Street on a unicycle with nipple tassels? Bring it on, baby, no judgment here.

So I won’t be toning myself down. Hold on to your hats folks because I am going to unleash myself on these pages. And if it is just ‘too much’ then there is an abundance of brilliant and sophisticated writers amongst these pages. Like the great Peter Bellwood, whose ‘Chronicles’ I am carrying on. I know I might seem like an odd choice to take over from such an elegant and eloquent satirical writer, actor and all-round top banana. Talk about a tough act to follow. Rather like watching Laurence Olivier perform in King Lear and then Big Bird from Sesame Street comes bouncing out. Or listening to an oeuvre


from London Philharmonic Orchestra and then be treated to Psy and his Gangnam Style of comical horse-riding dance. But you know what? If anyone has a love of the absurd and an appetite for mischief, it is Peter Bellwood. His crew were the Beyond the Fringe, the progenitors of Monty Python’s for goodness sake. He did a sketch about a one-legged man auditioning for the role of Tarzan, he plays the ukulele like Jake Shimabukuru (look it up) … I could go on (and on). I would just like to thank my editor for the opportunity to stretch my rusty old writing muscle. In my previous career as an automotive journalist there was not much opportunity to go hog wild on the page, although God knows I tried. I reviewed some exceptionally fast and sexy supercars, raced some single seaters and straddled some fast motorbikes way above my paygrade. And then POOF it all disappeared when I had my child and my career has been languishing in the toilet ever since. But with Bret’s encouragement and support I am going to rise like a phoenix from the smouldering ashes of my writing career. Ok, maybe not a phoenix. A slightly demented pigeon perhaps. But thank you, Bret, for the kickstart. Thank you for being my cheerleader. Because we all need cheerleaders in our lives, don’t we? And during these tough times that we are (hopefully) living through, I know that I have been hanging on by my fingernails at times and have certainly found it hard to be my own cheerleader. Our inner critics can run rampant at the best of times, but there is no hiding from ourselves as we ride the ‘Rona Rollercoaster. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said, ‘When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” And whilst you are doing that, as somebody else said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is facing a great battle.” Amen. But we also have to remember to be kind to ourselves.

Apart from all the death, lunacy and uncertainty we have been living with, we are also all learning to navigate on new ground that we no longer trust to be safe. It’s a lot. At times it has felt like I am in a bad B movie where I don’t know the plot, there is a scary monster lurking round the corner and all I have wanted to do is hide in my closet and cry until it goes away. But better things are on the horizon. As my cheerleader said to me, “It’s going to be a fun ride in Ojai over the next few years.” He pointed out that after the Plague came the Renaissance, after the 1918 Pandemic came the Roaring ‘20s, so ‘let’s get this party started.’ Oh hell yes. I am down like James Brown. I might even start drinking again. 78

Just kidding. Only plant medicine for me (wink, wink) I love the idea of everyone just letting loose and getting up to all sorts of shenanigans. My favourite way of letting off steam is by dancing. Not in any sort of organized fashion, but more of a freestyle situation. I still bear the scars of a few D.R.I.’s (disco related injuries) from falling off speakers that I had been dancing on. I love me a nightclub and put in more hours in my late teens and early 20s in nightclubbing than I did in the jobs that had to fit in around it. From the Ministry of Sound and the Limelight in London, where we used to sneak out of our all-girls boarding school and hitch a ride to London looking like jailbait in our Wonder Bras and catsuits (sorry Mum) to nightclubs all over the globe. I ran around squandering the many opportunities I was given by partying like a lunatic. Keith Richards was my Spirit Animal. For example, during my year in Paris, did I spend my time studying at the Sorbonne and wafting round the Rodin museum looking chic in a beret? No, I did not. I was raving until the sun came up at ‘Queen’ on the Champs Elysees with mascara running down my face. When I went to live in Australia ‘to get myself together,’ did I spend my evenings taking in “La Travatia” at the Sydney Opera House? Again, that is a hard no. Instead of improving myself, I was fraternizing with nefarious characters in a club called Black Market in Northern Sydney, which opened on a Thursday night and went through until Sunday. I told you I was committed. And all I had to show for my efforts was a degree in Debauchery and a Ph.D in Hedonism. But Bret is right. There are some fun times to be had on the horizon. And it got me thinking, is Ojai ready for a nightclub? Somewhere with a loud and throbbing sound system, a sticky and sweaty dancefloor and a bar serving ‘Slippery Nipples’ and ‘Crack Baby’ shooters (or is that just an English thing?) We could have Thirsty Thursdays with some Trance music, a bit of Reggae on a Friday night and then some down-and-dirty deep House on a Saturday? Who’s in? Think Kevin Bacon in “Footloose.” ‘I just want to DANCE.’ Do you remember Ren’s speech at the city council meeting? Allow me to refresh. “Ecclesiastes assures us ... that there is a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to laugh ... and a time to weep. A time to mourn ... and there is a time to dance. And this is our time to dance. It is our way of celebrating life. It’s the way it was in the beginning. It’s the way it’s always been. It’s the way OQ / SPRING 2021


it should be now.” Ok, maybe not NOW now, but hopefully we are just a bat’s squeak away from being able to get down-anddirty in a disco.

Yes, a nightclub is just what we need. I just love to take an idea and run with it, normally very fast in the wrong direction, like Forrest Gump with an American football. Luckily, I know just the man to ask. Mr. Steven Edelson, who has owned more nightclubs than I have had hot dinners. Edelson is to nightclubs what the Pied Piper is to rats. So Steven, is Ojai ready for a nightclub? “No,” he said. Oh. Way to harsh my mellow dude. Why not? “Because I don’t think there is the amount of sustainable night-time traffic for that.” Well, I don’t know why he has to be so grown up about the whole thing.

to connect,” says a Dr. Peter Lovatt, a dance psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire. “Modern living often leaves us feeling disconnected from our bodies, because we spend so much time sitting down and hooked up to technology. Dancing makes you feel good because it makes you feel so alive.” Who doesn’t want to feel alive right now? However, until Shits and Giggles opens its doors there is still dancing to be done. In fact, I would strongly recommend putting on your favourite song, cranking up the volume and then just dance like no one is watching.

But he points out that there are already ‘so many great spaces in Ojai’ to have a cheeky sharpener, like his own establishments, obviously, that he is the landlord of, like Ojai Rancho Inn, the Ranch House and the Deer Lodge, and then places like the Ojai Valley Inn and the Topa Topa Brewery. There are also an abundance of new places opening. “Eric Goode, one of the big bar owners and big hotel owners of the world, bought the Oaks at Ojai hotel and he is using the people who remodeled the Ace hotels, so it is going to be super hip.” Which sounds fucking awful to unhip-me and sitting around being groovy is not my idea of a good time. Ok, so my days of dropping disco biscuits might be over, but I don’t need drink and drugs to do some serious damage to a dancefloor. And some people like a bit more debauchery. “I like debauchery too,” Steve says. “I just don’t think there are enough debaucherous people in Ojai to fill a club on a regular basis. But I support what you are thinking and if you do decide to open a nightclub then I am going to be your very first customer.” Build it and they will come, Steve. I might do it anyway, just for shits and giggles. Which is a wonderful name for a nightclub, don’t you think?

Can you think of a more fun night? A bit of sedate al fresco dining at the Ranch House, followed by a few Shirley Temples at the newly christened El Roblar Hotel and then dust off your dancing shoes and come and shake your tail feather at Shits and Giggles. Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that dancing helps with social bonding? “The synchrony involved in dancing to a beat along with other people is a powerful way for humans

Unless you are at work, of course, that might be awkward. You won’t regret it though. Salt N Peppa’s “Push it,” Tiffany’s “I think we’re alone now” and Stealers Wheel’s “Stuck in the Middle with You” do it for me every time and get all of those beautiful happy hormones like dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins flowing. Feel free to break out the air guitar or a toothbrush microphone. Catch you on the flipside, my darling. Carry on!

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LEFT: LIVING ROOM WITH “FLOATING” LIBRARY. ABOVE: KITCHEN/DINING AREA WINDOWS FRAME THE VIEWS.

“The land was overgrown, and there were dilapidated structures all over,” recalls Los Angeles-based architect Fred Fisher about his first visit to view an Ojai property listed for sale. “Broken-down cars. Animals in cages. You needed a hazmat suit; it was so creepy!” He and his wife, Jennie, were looking for a site where they could build a peaceful Ojai retreat. As they wandered around the crazily distressed property, they looked at each other and said: “This is it! Now let’s get the heck out of here!” It takes a visionary to see potential where others don’t — and Fred Fisher is first-rate. His award-winning architectural designs range from the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica to museums and academic institutions worldwide. As it turned out, he and Jennie had stumbled upon an amazing find in the heart of Ojai, nine acres that spill down from a secluded hilltop with a wide-open mountain view. “Our dream property was something that felt like you were in the wilderness,” he says, “and yet you could walk into town for coffee.” The Fishers first tore down the derelict structures, and during the planning stages for their new house, the couple and their two sons, Henry and Eugene, all moved into the only building worth saving, an 800-square-foot cabin. The hilltop had old rock walls and groves of olive trees, a setting that reminded Fred of Italy. In

2008 he and the family had lived there for a year after he won the prestigious Rome Prize in Architecture. “In Tuscany you see how they put little villas on top of hills. It’s a sort of primal idea, settling on top of the hill so you can have your view over the estate and the environment. Some of the great residential projects are like this: Monticello. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin. As an architect, I very quickly came to this notion of ‘the box on the hill.’” Fred and Jennie call themselves “Rust Belt people” — they’re from Cleveland and Pittsburgh respectively — and he visualized their Ojai house as looking like a rusted metal barn. The exterior is sheathed in corrugated steel, called Cor-Ten, that is actually designed to rust — and then stop. “It was created for bridges and things you don’t want to paint. The rust becomes protection, no maintenance.” The sides of the house show streaks of orange, brown, purple, and oxblood. “I’ve always thought rusted steel blends into nature well,” says Fred, something like old farm equipment in a field. “And the rust instantly lends the character of an aged building, rather than something shiny and new.” This approach spins directly out of Fred’s guiding architectural principles. “Because of my love of history, I really think things have to be designed to be timeless. Architecture is a big investment and it’s going to be around for a while, but life changes and

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LASER-CUT STEEL STAIRS LEAD TO LIBRARY, FISHER’S RETREAT.

functions change, so a building needs to have a timeless quality to it. I’ve always tried to do that, to make my buildings so they don’t feel like, ‘Oh — there’s 1978!’” Another Fisher guideline was laid down in the 1st century B.C. by the Roman architect and writer Vitruvius, who declared that a building not only has to stand firmly but also perform its function well. Fred’s father, an architect who designed hospitals, was “passionate about the idea that a building is meant to serve a purpose for its users. It’s not meant to be a tool for the architect’s sculptural expression. So that’s in my DNA.” Vitruvius had one more standard for successful architecture: It must delight. “For me, timelessness and delight come from simplicity,” says Fred. “There’s a contemplative emotion that comes from looking at or being in a great architectural space. It’s not yelling at you and demanding your attention. “Tried-and-true proportions are built into this house,” he observes. “It’s square on 88

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TOP FLOOR MASTER BEDROOM WITH MARC SWANSON SCULPTURE (BELOW).

the ends, and on the sides it’s a golden section” — a pleasing ratio that often appears in nature and was noted by the ancient Greeks. It imparts a classic serenity. “Delight also comes from filling the house with your family and friends, your art and furniture, and enjoying them.” Some standard features of contemporary architecture are notably missing. “Modernism is great,” says Fred, “with windows wall to wall. But if you have pieces of art, and if you want a sense of protection and privacy, you need solid walls.” The house does have a panorama of glass in the living room and the master bedroom, but the rest of the windows are relatively small. “They’re meant to frame and kind of compress your experience of the view,” he explains. This makes each window seem like a picture on the wall, a California landscape in a frame. “One of the beauties of living here,” Fred muses, “is that I’ve never been in a place where the light changes so dramatically, hour to hour, day to day. We never know what to expect. It could be orange clouds above the mountains, or mist, or the

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THE NINE-ACRE SITE SITS AMID OJAI’S NATURAL BEAUTY YET IS A SHORT WALK FROM DOWNTOWN.

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Pink Moment. I think of it as a light show. It’s a never-ending display of different light conditions and cloud shapes and colors. “Every morning I wake up and think: ‘How lucky we are to have discovered this place!’”

BLUEPRINT How did you end up an architect? Growing up in the house of an architect, I had Legos, Lincoln Logs, and an Erector set, and I just loved building things. At Oberlin College I majored in art and art history, then got my architecture degree at UCLA. When I started out I just wasn’t getting it. Architecture seemed so narrow; it was architecture about architecture. What liberated me was reading Robert Venturi’s book, “Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture;” it made me realize you can talk about history, literature, visual arts. Architecture is about everything. Work for Frank Gehry? He had the idea that architecture could be connected to art, the first time I heard an architect talk like this. That’s what led me to literally call him up on the phone and say, “Can I come work for you?” I did for several years, an exciting period when he was really becoming the Frank Gehry we know today. Ojai connection? Ojai is unique — the intimacy of the town, the authenticity, the people and the creative community. I’ve been coming for 30 years and am on the board of the Ojai Music Festival. Ojai Valley School was a big part of our decision to settle here for the boys’ education. The Upper School lost the heart of the campus in the Thomas Fire, and my firm, Fred Fisher & Partners, has designed the new one.

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BY MARK LEWIS

IN

small towns like Ojai, individuals loom large. Whether a person’s contributions to communal life are artistic or organizational or inspirational, other people take notice. In the case of Phil Harvey, all three categories apply, and when he died in January at 99, everyone in town took notice.

Back in 2015, I hosted “A Conversation With Phil Harvey” at the Ojai Valley Museum, in front of a large and appreciative audience. To prepare for that event, I visited Phil at his home on South Montgomery Street to interview him about his life. When he died, I dug out my notes from that interview and used them to write this profile.

PHILIP C. HARVEY grew up in the most famous small town in America, and no, it wasn’t Ojai. Phil was born on May 11, 1921, in Emporia, Kansas, the hometown of William Allen White, the nationally famous author and longtime editor of The Emporia Gazette. For many decades, White was the recognized voice of small-town America, even as small towns declined and surrendered their cultural pre-eminence to the fast-growing cities and suburbs. Phil Harvey grew up in a bucolic world that already

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HARVEY WAS A CONTRACT ACTOR FOR UNIVERSAL-INTERNATIONAL, INCLUDING SUCH FILMS AT “THE LAND UNKNOWN”

was fading into irrelevance. Phil’s father sold and repaired Singer sewing machines, a tough way to make a living during the Great Depression.

“The ‘30s were hard,” Phil recalled. When the soles of his shoes wore out, his parents plugged the holes with cardboard rather than buy him a new pair. But the family got by. His mother, a staunch Quaker, brought her son up in that pacifistic and meditative faith. The Harveys lived in a small house on the outskirts of town, near a lake where young Phil loved to go fishing. Emporia was not entirely off the beaten path — Route 66 ran right through the middle of town, as did the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. Once a year, the railroad would disembark the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus — “The Greatest Show on Earth” — and Phil and his friends would thrill to the sight of colorfully garbed elephants parading through town from the depot to the fairgrounds. 100

During his high school years, Phil fell in love with music and art. He drew and he sketched, and he sang in church chorales. The singing, especially, won him plaudits. “I found that I had a voice,” he said. After high school, he moved on to Wichita to study art and music at Friends University, a Quaker-affiliated school. He was inspired by the example of a former student who had gone on to perform at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. “I wanted to sing,” Phil said. Then came Pearl Harbor, which plunged America into World War II, and plunged Phil into a quandary when he was drafted at the age of 21. Remaining true to his Quaker beliefs, he registered as a conscientious objector, and ended up moving to Southern California to fight fires in the Angeles National Forest, in lieu of fighting enemy soldiers overseas. OQ / SPRING 2021


PHIL HARVEY IN THE “LAND UNKNOWN”

PHIL HARVEY AS CURLY IN “OKLAHOMA!”

CATCHING POISON OAK is seldom anyone’s idea of good luck, but it worked out well for Phil Harvey. He caught his case circa 1944, while he was part of a crew fighting fires out of a camp near Glendora in the San Gabriel Valley. The painful rash ended Phil’s firefighting career and set off the unlikely chain of events that would bring him to Ojai.

“Several times we hitched a ride with Jack to come to Ojai to hear Krishnamurti,” Phil said.

The rash sent him to the infirmary, from where he later was transferred to the camp kitchen to be a cook. There, he befriended a fellow kitchen worker named Roy Patton. Roy, like Phil, was a Quaker and a conscientious objector. Unlike Phil, Roy was not a college student just starting out in life — he was a sculptor from New York in his early 30s. The two men bonded over their shared interest in spirituality and pacifism. As it happens, Roy knew a Monrovia man named Jack who regularly traveled to Ojai to attend talks given by Jiddu Krishnamurti, the noted philosopher from India. Krishnamurti also was a prominent pacifist, who attracted like-minded folks like Aldous Huxley to Ojai.

On one of these visits, Phil and Roy found themselves stuck in Ojai without a ride back to Glendora. Somehow, Roy wangled an invitation from Rosalind Rajagopal for him and Phil to spend the night at Krishnamurti’s home, Arya Vihara (now the Pepper Tree Retreat) on McAndrew Road. The invitation included dinner, so Phil and Roy found themselves joining Krishnamurti and his friends around a big table. The conversation was stimulating, the scenery inspiring, the vibe intoxicating. “I fell in love with Ojai,” Phil told me. “I said, ‘When I get out of the camp, I’m going to go to Ojai.’ ” And so he did, in the fall of 1946, with Roy Patton in tow. (Roy would remain in Ojai until his death in 1998, carving wooden marionettes and crafting artistic redwood signs for local businesses.) Phil still wanted to sing, so he looked around for opportunities to showcase his mellifluous baritone voice. He found one

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at the Art Center, where the Ojai Chorale made its home. They made Phil a soloist. It was there at the Art Center that Phil first crossed paths with Margaret Smith, a registered nurse and a very talented musician, who accompanied the chorale on piano. Phil and Margaret began making beautiful music together, in more ways than one. Moving to a small town in the middle of nowhere is not necessarily a shrewd career move for an aspiring singer. But as it turned out, Phil had arrived in Ojai at precisely the right time. The music impresario John Bauer and the English actress Iris Tree were organizing the first Ojai Music Festival, which premiered in the spring of 1947. Both Bauer and Tree took notice of the Art Center newcomer with the big voice.

and Margaret did their part: Jim was born in 1951, followed by Jeannie in 1952 and Babette in ’53. Meanwhile, Phil was gracing various Southern California theaters and concert halls, singing such roles as Marcello in Puccini’s “La Boheme.” Phil had more than a voice to offer audiences; he also had stage presence. That’s what had inspired Iris Tree to recruit him for her Ojai theater troupe back in 1946 — and a decade later, that’s what brought him to the attention of Hollywood. The inspiration this time came from a friend named Barbara Muhl, who admired Phil’s performances. She introduced him to her husband, Edward Muhl, the head of production at Universal-International Pictures. He gave Phil a screen test, then offered him a three-year contract.

At that time, the festival was supposed to be as much about drama as music, and Tree was in charge of the drama. At the Art Center, she saw Phil take on dramatic roles such as the title character in Richard Wagner’s opera “The Flying Dutchman.” Impressed with his acting as well as with his singing, she approached Phil about joining her Ojai Festival Players troupe.

“Light Opera Singer Gets a Picture Pact,” the Los Angeles Times reported in August 1955. “Phil Harvey, who has sung with the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera, and who was in ‘Bittersweet’ and ‘Bloomer Girl’ at the Greek Theater, besides the Opera Foundation’s production of ‘La Boheme,’ has signed a contract with U-I.”

“She said, ‘Philip, would you like to become an actor,’ ” Phil said, imitating Tree’s upper-crust English accent. “And I said, ‘I guess so.’ ”

Contract players like Phil comprised the studio’s farm team. They attended acting workshops, filled small roles in films and auditioned for bigger roles, hoping to move up in the ranks toward stardom. Other Universal contract players at the time included Troy Donohue and Clint Eastwood.

Phil pitched in to help Tree & Co. convert a house in Upper Ojai into the High Valley Theatre, and he appeared alongside Woody Chambliss, Ford Rainey and Tree herself in their 1947 production of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” a highlight of the first Ojai Music Festival. (Phil played Malcolm, son and heir of the murdered King Duncan. Roy Patton was in charge of props.) Meanwhile, Bauer was urging Phil to focus on singing. “He said, ‘Hey, you’ve got a great voice,’ ” Phil said. “I kind of looked at him askance. He said, ‘You know, you have talent.’ ” Bauer helped arrange a scholarship for Phil at the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music and Arts (now part of CalArts). And so, after a relatively short time in Ojai, Phil headed off to the big city to become an opera star.

MARGARET SMITH had no intention of being left behind. She regularly drove to L.A. to visit Phil. He could not return the favor, having no car of his own, but he could rent a little boat and take her for a cruise on Echo Park Lake, during which he popped the question. They were married in the Ojai Presbyterian Church early in 1949. The baby boom was in full swing, and Phil 102

“We would meet in the gym,” Phil said of Eastwood. “He was really cool. A down-to-earth guy.” Phil continued to sing professionally, but Universal was not especially known for its musicals. In the movies, Phil was strictly an actor. He worked for some legendary directors, albeit mostly in small parts. In Orson Welles’s “Touch of Evil,” Phil shared a scene with Charlton Heston. He also appeared in two classic melodramas directed by Douglas Sirk, “Written on the Wind” and “The Tarnished Angels.” His bigger roles tended to come in TV Westerns like “Gunsmoke” and “Death Valley Days,” and in B-movies that fused the horror and science-fiction genres. These low-budget “creature features” were a Universal specialty in the 1950s. Phil’s film credits include at least five of them: “The Deadly Mantis” (in which Phil is menaced by a giant praying mantis); “Monster on the Campus” (gamma rays are involved); “The Thing That Couldn’t Die” (it’s a severed head with an attitude); “The Monolith Monsters” (one of the monsters turns Phil to stone); and “The Land Unknown,” in which Phil is menaced by a tyrannosaurus played by a man in a rubber T-Rex costume. OQ / SPRING 2021


PHIL WITH HIS WORK. PHOTO CREDIT: SALLY CARLESS

visual art. Phil being Phil, he wanted to share his knowledge and enthusiasm with a large group of people, so in 1984 he founded the Ojai Camera Club. (Now known as the Ojai Photography Community, it still existed at the time of Phil’s death, although its current leaders have announced their retirement, and it’s not yet clear whether anyone else will step up to take their place.)

All told, Phil appeared in about 20 feature films from 1957 to 1960. He acquitted himself well as an actor, but he never did become a movie star. One reason is that studio lost interest in promoting him when he declined to play the Tinsel Town publicity game. The studio P.R. people wanted Phil to be seen regularly in Sunset Strip nightclubs with glamor-girl starlets like Jill St. John. He said no thanks: “I’m married, I have three children, I’m not your man for that.” “Things cooled off after that,” he said. But his singing career was going well, so after 1960 he turned his back on Hollywood to focus on concerts and stage productions. He performed in venues all across Los Angeles and up and down the West Coast, often paired with the soprano Dana Winslow. His repertoire ranged from sacred music performed in churches (Handel’s “Messiah”), to opera (“The Marriage of Figaro”), to operetta (“The Merry Widow”), to Broadway musicals (his favorite parts included Curly in “Oklahoma!” and Gaylord Ravenal in “Show Boat”).

Over the years, Phil mentored and inspired many an aspiring local photographer, and he has exhibited his own beautiful photographs in the City Hall Gallery and at the Ojai Valley Museum, among other places. He also collected many of his most striking images in a popular postcard book titled “Mystique of Ojai.” The museum is honoring Phil during its current photography exhibit (“Ojai Eye: Master Photographers”) by dedicating the show to his memory. Despite his focus on photography, Phil never gave up singing. After returning to Ojai in 1980, he joined the Ojai Presbyterian Church choir. When the church’s music director left, Phil took over. “I said I’d help them out for a few months,” he said. “It ended up being 15 years!” Nor did his confine his musical activities to the church choir. In 1987, Phil founded the Ojai Community Chorus, which he led for many years as director and conductor. (It’s still going strong today.) Phil also was known for opening each weekly meeting of the Ojai Valley Retired Men’s Club with a song, and for opening each Wednesday Summer Band Concert at the Libbey Park gazebo with his immortal rendition of “The Ojai Song:”

“I also did a lot of music teaching,” he said.

“Ojai, oh Ojai, where the stars they shine so bright …”

IN 1980, with their kids now grown up, Phil and Margaret returned to Ojai, and to the house on South Montgomery Street that had belonged to Margaret’s mother. It would be Phil’s home for the next 40 years.

For his many contributions to Ojai’s civic and artistic fabric, Phil Harvey was awarded the Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award by the City of Ojai in 2003; chosen as grand marshal of the Fourth of July Parade in 2004; and named a Living Treasure by the local Rotary clubs in 2010.

He got a job at Dexter’s Camera Shop. His interest in photography arose from his approach to painting watercolors. “I wanted to get the colors right,” he said, “so I started taking photos of the things I was painting.” Eventually, photography displaced painting as his preferred

2010 also was the year Margaret died. Phil soldiered on as a very active widower for another decade before dying peacefully on January 5 “of non-Covid natural causes,” according to his newspaper obituary. He was four months shy of his 100th birthday. Left to mourn him are his son, two daughters, two grandchildren, and the many Ojai Valley residents whose lives he touched in one way or another.

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1. Azu Restaurant & Ojai Valley Brewery 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

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4. Ojai Music Festival 201 South Signal 646-2094

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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

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

9. Ojai Rotie 469 East Ojai Ave. 805-798-9227

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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

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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

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17. Mud Lotus 332-B East Ojai Ave. (Inner Arcade) 646-0117

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

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STAY ON HWY 150 for about 2.2 miles 1

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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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ask dr. beth

Healers of Ojai

Hoo done it?

Diet v. Exercise By Beth Prinz, M.D.

Practitioners Healers & Helpers

Only the Owls Know By Chuck Graham

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Ojai’s Hiking Map

calendar

nocturnal submissions

Our Top Trails Art by Colleen McDougal

Ojai’s Busy, But Still Mostly Online, Schedule of Events

The Queen’s Covid Diary By Sami Zahringer

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OQ | A S K DR . B ET H DIET V. EXERCISE Food: The Most Powerful Medicine in the World

DR. BETH PRINZ Contact: doctorbeth@ojaiquarterly.com 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.

Hippocrates famously said, “Let food by thy medicine.” Notice he did not say, “Let food be thy drug.” Maybe Hippocrates needs to find a new PR firm, because from the looks of the American diet today, he might as well have said, “mainline some sugar, fat, and salt, and call it a meal!” The Global Burden of Disease study, a systematic evaluation of diet and health in 195 countries published in The Lancet, found that “suboptimal diet is responsible for more deaths than any other risk globally, including tobacco smoking.” Furthermore, “low intake of whole grains was the leading dietary risk factor for deaths and disability-adjusted-life-years (DALYs) in the USA.” Non-optimal intake of three dietary factors (whole grains, fruits, and sodium) accounted for more than 50 percent of deaths and 66 percent of DALYs attributable to diet. The study concluded that “improvement of diet could potentially prevent one in every 108

five deaths globally.” The pandemic has increased the concern over chronic conditions. Hypertension, diabetes, obesity and lung disorders are associated with increased risk of poor outcome with coronavirus infection, the famous “co-morbidities.” Now more than ever, it’s important to understand that real food is the most powerful medicine we have. Even exercise — no matter how beneficial — cannot make up for poor food choices. A Spanish study published in January looked at cardiovascular risk in those who exercise more versus less and concluded that it’s better to be thinner and sedentary than heavier and to exercise. One of the study’s authors stated, “Our findings refute the notion that a physically active lifestyle can completely negate the deleterious effects of overweight and obesity.” To put it more bluntly, they stated “exercise does not seem to compensate for the negative effects of excess weight.”

However the EPIC study, a prospective study of 500,000 people in Europe, followed since 1993, concluded that “the combined impact of four behaviours — not smoking, being physically active, moderate alcohol intake and the consumption of at least five fruit and vegetable servings a day — was estimated to amount to 14 additional years of life.” Five servings of fruit and vegetable a day in exchange for 14 years of life! That’s doable! Real food is the most powerful medicine in the world. There’s nothing I dislike more than informing my patient that it’s going to take a second, or third, or fourth blood pressure medication to reach the goal, when I know there is a better way. Eating fruits and vegetables is a life-ordeath proposition. If you can take four different blood pressure medications, I know you can eat five servings of fruit and veg a day. I am not saying, give up everything you love. All I am saying is, give peas a chance! OQ / SPRING 2021


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BY RICHARD CAMP

CAN I

RICHARD CAMP

TRUST

the science. For Ojaians who may be considering a Cochlear Implant to improve hearing, this article will offer some helpful pros and cons. I recently had this procedure, and also spoke to local actor, singer, musician John Bennett Perry, who’s had an implant since 2012 and who encouraged me in this decision. I had been considering the operation for years, but had serious doubts. The rewards promised to be excellent, but the downsides triggered considerable concerns. Ultimately, I remembered the

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YOU NOW? A Personal Journey with a Miraculous World Changer

mantra that we should all strongly affirm for advances in the medical world: trust the science. First, some background on the science. As early as 1748, researcher Benjamin Wilson connected electrified wires to the temples of a deaf woman who said she experienced a “small explosion” in her head. She claimed that her hearing improved, but experiments with six other subjects fell literally on deaf ears. OQ / SPRING 2021


HOUSE FOUNDATION BUILDING, LOS ANGELES

DR. JOHN HOUSE

Around 1800, Italian physicist Alessandro Volta placed metal rods in his own ears and connected them to a 50-volt circuit. Results were discouraging enough for Volta to give up his efforts, although other experiments with electrical stimulation were carried out throughout the 19th century with repeatedly dispiriting results.

to say that if not a miracle, this procedure is at the very least a spectacular culmination of scientific discovery and implementation. “The cochlear implant has been a great advance in hearing,” says Dr. John House. “Prior to its development persons with hearing loss could only communicate with signs or writing notes. William House, my uncle, spent years developing the implant. He was met with a great deal of skepticism by authorities; but he persisted and now we can restore hearing to the deaf.”

It wasn’t until the 20th century when experiments showed that electrical energy can be turned into sound. In France, in 1957, André Djourno and Charles Eyriès invented an early version of a cochlear implant that was the world’s first stimulation of an acoustic nerve with an electrode. But the two men failed to follow up on their rudimentary invention.

Important findings continued through the 1960s, when researchers discovered that specific auditory nerves must be stimulated with electrodes in the cochlea to reproduce sound. After years of research and experimentation, a cochlear implant (CI) was created by Dr. William House. In 1961, in Los Angeles, Dr. House and neurosurgeon John Doyle performed the first modern Cochlear Implant. Continuing research and development resulted in a procedure that’s deemed one of the greatest advances in modern medical history, although it wasn’t until 1984 that it was judged “not experimental” and given FDA approval. Today an estimated 250,000 people in the world hear better because of CIs, roughly 58,000 adults in the United States and 38,000 children, according to the FDA.

Dr. William House’s brother, Howard, founded the House Hearing Institute in Los Angeles, where my surgery was performed by Howard’s son and William’s nephew, Dr. John House. I have

CIs are very important and helpful to those “of a certain age,” but they are also a life-changing benefit to young children. “William House was the first to implant children in 1982,” continues Dr. House. “Now children who are born deaf are able to hear with their implants and attend regular school.” So, what exactly is the cochlea? You may have seen renderings of it. It’s the spiral cavity of the inner ear that looks like a cross section of a snail and is filled with tiny hair cells that transform vibrations into electrical impulses that are carried to the brain by sensory nerves. A CI does this bionically and is made up of two parts. The external processor picks up sound and transmits it through a coil that rests on the side of the head, connected by a magnet to the internal device, which receives signals from the processor and converts them into electric impulses via electrodes embedded in the cochlea. Those electrodes stimulate the cochlear nerve, triggering signals to the brain.

If you’re thinking of having this procedure, it helps immensely to have a positive attitude and willingness to work through the process. CI candidates must have inner ear hearing loss, have trouble understanding speech even with hearing aids, and be motivated, with a strong support system. That last point is very important. It is extremely helpful to have a spouse, partner, or

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close friend who understands that the initial operation is only the beginning of the new hearing experience. It’s not like getting a shot and suddenly you’re hearing. It’s a process, and after the operation, each patient must undergo activation, programming and rehab. In the operation, Dr. House made an incision above my left ear and implanted the internal portion of the CI. An audiologist stood by the operating table to make sure that the doctor did not get anywhere near the facial nerve (one rare side effect is the accidental injuring of the facial nerve, resulting in a sagging face. Complete failure is another negative, thus my trepidation). After anesthesia, I woke up twoand-a-half hours later, done. A breeze! I was sent home with a protective cup over the wound and a prescription for hydrocodone to counter the inevitable headaches. This was followed by a three-week period whereby the implant was left to “marinate” before being activated. The activation is the crucial moment when patient and doctor find out if the operation “worked,” or, if the implant has been rejected. After several more tests, my audiologist, Jordan Rock, programmed my external processor meticulously. Hearing aids work by amplifying sound waves, but the CI actually turns sound into electrical impulses, not sound waves … quite a different process.

I waited, breathlessly, my heart beating. Although it’s called the world’s most successful medical prosthesis, with a failure rate of 0.2 percent, I worried that I’d be among the unlucky ones. Finally, my device was connected to the computer and the implant was activated. Dare I say that the sensation of hearing sound in an ear that hadn’t heard sound in a very long time was, well, sensational? But, that was only phase two. Now came the hard part. My brain, not having had aural stimuli in many years, now needed to adjust and learn how to discern and accept the impulses. Yes, there was sound, but it was not “normal” sound. It was very robotic, metallic. Like a tiny elf had taken up residence in the left side of my head, and this “elf ” sounded like a high-pitched Robbie the Robot, who had no discernment whatsoever. ANY sound that came its way was sent to the auditory nerve: speech, music, birds chirping, esophagus swallowing, stomach gurgling and many more. (Yes, I can now hear my stomach gurgling. Not a high priority, but hey.) It was now up to my brain to learn how to distinguish between the important and the unimportant; to isolate, for instance, speech from a humming air conditioner or wind-blown rustling leaves. 112

I was warned that music would take longer for my brain to finetune, and as a music lover, this proved to be frustratingly true. The Beatles or a Beethoven symphony were harsh, discordant noises. The lovely, quiet, Judy Collins version of “Send in the Clowns” actually sounded like a duet. I was hearing her voice in my right ear and that little punk Robbie in my left implanted ear … and they were out of sync (I still have a conventional hearing aid in my right ear and the sound was a second or two off from the sound transmitted in my implant.) I was told that this is normal and that part of the process of the brain assimilating sounds is also the synchronization of those sounds.

John Bennett Perry plays guitar and sings in a musical group, and found that it didn’t take long to get used to his implant. “I just had to ask the other boys to turn down some of the instruments, because they were too loud,” he says. “And the balance between my guitar and my voice is generally good.” My own musical “eureka” moment happened when a friend sent a video of an opera tenor singing “Nessun Dorma” in the courtyard of a hospital filled with Covid patients, who listened from their windows. That was emotional in itself, but about halfway into the aria I realized that I was hearing it somewhat “normally.” The music didn’t sound cacophonous or metallic. My brain had synthesized! It actually brought me to tears, 39 days after my operation.

It’s a given that I will never be a normal-hearing person, but, with this implant, I will never be completely deaf. I continue with my audio therapy every day (my wife, Ilona, reads to me and I repeat back. We do this during cocktail hour, because, of course, things sound better with wine, right?) When I watch TV I try not to rely on captions, and I’ve even had successful phone conversations. My hiking buddies marvel that I can hear them through Covid masks (something that would be nearly impossible pre-CI). It’s a new world, unhushed and lush with sound, and I highly recommend this Medicare-covered “miracle” of scientific diligence to anyone who needs to break their own sound barriers. As I said to my friends on January 1st … “Happy New Ear!” OQ / SPRING 2021


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STORY AND PHOTOS BY CHUCK GRAHAM

ONLY

the owls knew what had happened. After stepping inside a prominent sandstone cathedral, I discovered the fresh carcass of an adult barn owl sprawled out on the dry, dusty floor of the gritty, lichen-covered rock outcropping. The inside of the sandstone monolith was honeycombed with ledges, alcoves, and caves, some splashed with thick raptor guano. High in the upper reaches of sandstone was a concealed alcove housing four barn owlets and the surviving parent. The owlets huddled closely behind their lone parent anticipating the morning sun creeping into their sandstone loft. At that moment I thought the barn owls to be alone in that pockmarked amphitheater. Nothing else stirred minus a Say’s phoebe, several raucous ravens and a couple of desert cottontails reveling in a mid-morning dust bath. After leaving the sandstone, I hiked back to the trailhead, tiptoeing around several coiled western Pacific rattlesnakes. Until the next time.


A BARN OWL SOARS ABOVE LICHEN-COVERED SANDSTONE MONOLITH.


A GRAVEYARD OF GIANT KANGAROO RATS IS PILED ON THE FLOOR OF AN ABANDONED TRAILER CLAIMED BY A CUNNING BARN OWL.

CROWD CONTROL Next time turned out to be a couple days later. This time I was armed with binoculars. Without stepping inside the sandstone condo, I could see from well outside the entrance that the barn owl carcass had been moved to the other side of the shaded cathedral, possibly a play toy for marauding coyotes or a lone kit fox during the cover of night.

On the same ledge, the four barn owlets stood perched on its 118

precarious edge, and then one by one the owlets took flight back and forth swooping over the multi-colored cathedral. Most impressive were their feathers blending in with the different hues of lichen. Continuing to scan the innards of the sandstone, something else caught my eye that I was not aware of the time before. A pair of yellow eyes stared back at me, barely visible behind some loose rock obscuring parts of the ledge. Just a few feet to the southwest OQ / SPRING 2021


A YOUNG GREAT HORNED OWLET, PERCHED INSIDE A SANDSTONE ALCOVE, STILL HAS A FEW DOWNY FEATHERS CLINGING TO ITS SPECKLED FRAME.

of the barn owl nest two speckled great horned owlets sidled up to one another. I thought back about the dead barn owl lying on the floor. With a lethal competitor possibly too close for comfort, a midair confrontation was not out of the realm of possibilities. Great horned owls are larger and more aggressive than barn owls. What if crossed my mind. What if both the barn owl and the great horned owl parents left their perches at the same time, converg

ing in the air and the great horned owl winning out with a blow to the neck, mortally wounding the barn owl? The barn owl could have also been clipped while perched, never seeing the great horned until it was too late. Fortunately, for the lone, remaining barn owl parent, its owlets were all grown up and as large as the parent. They were flying regularly from their ledge, but always returning to their coveted sandstone loft at day’s end.

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GREAT THEY ARE The great horned owlets were nearly ready to fledge themselves. Their wispy, downy feathers were morphing into speckle-colored feathers and thus, did not hide them as well as the barn owls against the lichen-cloaked sandstone. They were not nearly as skittish as the barn owls either. The great horned owlets appeared stoic and seemed more steely, more composed, as they watched me from their perch. Their parents were nowhere to be seen but they looked as if they were not missing any meals either.

Another day ended at the sandstone cathedral, but something told me I would return once again. Walking back to my truck, a pack of coyotes yelped from within the tall grasses. A pair of them loped toward the sandstone. There was plenty of prey living in and around the massive rock outcropping, a daily potential food source for the pack. A week went by and I hiked back out to the sandstone. Things

A BARN OWL PERCHED INSIDE THE SANDSTONE CATHEDRAL

120

had changed quickly around the gritty monolith. All the barn owls were flying around and landing in and around all the countless caves, nooks, alcoves inside and outside of the massive rock outcropping. In all I counted 11 barn owls. The sandstone was their sanctity. If one young barn owlet ventured away from the sandstone, then a squadron of ravens would let them know about it.

Inside the cathedral, I spotted only one of the great horned owlets. It was resting on a ledge, and it was looking quite a bit larger. The passing week had revealed a mix of downy and mature feathers and that laser, yellow-eyed gaze was more piercing. After watching for 30 minutes, it flew off away from the sandstone. That was the last time I saw it, as spring transitioned into summer.

GONE OWLING I was not expecting to see owls. I had no expectations at all, but I

A PAIR OF GREAT HORNED OWLETS

OQ / SPRING 2021


am always curious about the old ranch buildings and some of the other dilapidated structures that continue to waste away on the Carrizo Plain National Monument. There are two old trailers out near the Panorama Hills that have not been humanly inhabited for who knows how long. However, and over time, wildlife tends to claim old dwellings and structures left by us humans. As I approached, I could hear lots of scurrying around the weathered trailers. Grassland fauna had been busy it seemed. Stepping inside was with great caution; inhumanity was evident in every corner, trash of all types filled the floor. In an opening towards the ceiling of the trailer, I heard some movement. Climbing up and peeking around the corner I found four, downy white barn owlets, their heads bobbing back and forth before they sounded off like some fiendish sci-fi creature.

After slowly stepping out of the first structure, I walked west to the next one. Halfway there, one of the parents flew out of the doorway. I walked up the creaky steps and went no further. Just

inside the doorway was a graveyard of giant kangaroo rat carcasses piled in a broad mound several inches high. The carcasses extended well into the trailer, the little drummers of the grasslands proving to be a reliable food source for all predators across the Carrizo Plain. Later that day, I sought the shade of cottonwood trees at the Goodwin Education Center. Midday at the visitor center was not a place I was anticipating seeing owls, but there they were in the cottonwood tree shading my truck. They caught me completely by surprise.

I walked around to the passenger side to get another lens for my camera. When I opened the door, four barn owls took flight simultaneously, and when they did, they all pooped at once. They got me good and the inside of my truck, too. It was just another reminder that you never know what you will see in one of the last, great wild places north of Highway 33.

A LONG-SINCE ABANDONED TRAILER MAKES A GOOD BARN OWL NEST

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OQ / SPRING 2021 Title VI Civil Rights The Ojai Trolley Service is committed to ensuring that no person is excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of its services on the basis of race, color or national origin as protected by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. For additional information, please call (805)272-3883.

Aviso de Derechos Civiles de Título VI Ojai Trolley esta comprometido a asegurarse de que no se excluye la participación, o negar a ninguna persona las ventajas de sus servicios a base de raza, color o su origen nacional según Título VI del acto de las derechos civiles de 1964 en su forma emendada. Para más información, llame al 805-272-3883.

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El servicio de Ojai Trolley opera diariamente, excluyendo los siguientes días feriados: Día de Año Nuevo, Día de Conmemoración de los Caídos, Día de Independencia, Día del Trabajador, Día de Acción de Gracias, y Navidad.

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Ojai Trolley Route Legend

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Whispering Oaks & East End

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The Ojai Trolley Service, established in 1989, is owned and operated by the City of Ojai. The Trolley provides daily fixed-route transportation to approximately 9,000 riders per month throughout Ojai, Meiners Oaks, and Mira Monte. The Trolley is a well-known feature in the Ojai Valley, and in addition to the daily fixed-route services, participates in many local community events, fund raising activities, community service, and educational functions.

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OQ | HI K I NG MAP 1

SHELF ROAD 3.5mi EASY | Elev. Gain: 200 ft | Overlooks downtown Ojai.

2 VENTURA RIVER PRESERVE | 7mi EASY TO MODERATE | Elev. Gain:

520 ft (Wills-Rice). Trailheads at end of Meyer Road, South Rice Road and Baldwin Road. Great for birding.

5 HORN CANYON 5.5mi STRENUOUS | Elev. Gain: 1,600 ft.

Trailhead near Thacher School’s gymkhana field. Goes to shady stand of 80-foot tall pines.

8 ROSE VALLEY 1mi EASY | Elev. Gain: 100 ft

Trailhead at Rose Valley Campground. Leads to a spectacular 300-foot, two-tiered fall.

3

4

PRATT TRAIL 8.8mi STRENUOUS | Elev. Gain: 3,300

GRIDLEY TRAIL 6-12mi MODERATE | 3 mi to Gridley Springs

6

7

COZY DELL 2.2mi MODERATE | Elev. Gain: 740 ft |

MATILIJA CANYON 12mi MODERATE | Elev. Gain: 1,200 ft |

ft | Trailhead off North Signal Street. Goes to Nordhoff Peak. Clear day? See forever.

(Elev. Gain: 1,200 ft) 6 mi to Nordhoff Peak. Trailhead at north end of Gridley Road.

Trailhead 8 miles north of Ojai on Maricopa Highway. Short, intense hike that also connects to trail network.

Middle Fork. Trailhead at end of Matilija Road. First 1.5 miles of trail well-maintained, the rest a scramble.

9

10

SISAR CANYON 22mi STRENUOUS | Elev. Gain: 4,800 ft to

SULPHUR MTN. 22mi MODERATE | Elev. Gain: 2,300 ft |

Topa Topa Bluffs. Trailhead at end of Sisar Road. Trailhead on eastern side of Sulphur Mountain Road. Only for experienced, f it hikers. Views are unsurpassed. OQ / SPRING 2021

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4.22-26

AGORA FOUNDATION | SAT-SUN @ somaticsanctuary.com

MARCH 7 “Beloved, Jazz, and Paradise” By Toni Morrison Time: 10 a.m. to 12 noon. “Beloved” is the first of three novels about love and African-American history. Morrison said that they are intended to be read together. March 7 will be “Beloved,” pages 87-158. Contact: agorafoundation.org Phone: 805-231-5974 THROUGH MARCH 8 “Selected Works” by George Stoll Porch Gallery Ojai presents sculptor George Stoll, who has been showing internationally since 1994, and is in permanent collections at UCLA’s Hammer Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington. Location: Porch Gallery, 310 East Matilija Street Contact: porchgalleryojai.com 805-620-7589 THROUGH APRIL 3 Janna Ireland “Ojai House — Looking In, Looking Out” “Looking In, Looking Out” features new photographs created during the last year viewable through the front window and by appointment. The exterior windows will feature large scale images of an Ojai home by Paul R. Williams, printed on translucent vinyl. Viewing by

GEORGE STOLL’S SELECTED WORKS PORCH GALLERY | THUSUN | TIME VARIES appointment. Location: 248 South Montgomery Street Contact: 805-633-9188 Email: fjanka@cgbfoundation.org MARCH 21 “The Wisdom of Humor - Part IV” “Many a truth is spoken in jest.” Time: 12 noon to 2 p.m. Selections from Jonathan Swift and Frederick Douglass. Other readings include Aristophanes, “On Lying” by Twain and Wilde and “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift. Contact: agorafoundation.org Phone: 805-231-5974 MARCH 27 “Love - Gunnar’s Daughter” by Sigrid Undset Othello said about himself that he “loved not wisely but too well.” It seems that one can love things too much, but can one really love someone too much? This series will devote itself to a discussion of the mystery and majesty of love. Contact: agorafoundation.org Phone: 805-231-5974 APRIL 18 Ojai & Rosendal Climate Park Art Exhibition and Auction - Ojai Earth Day 2021 Tied to the Earth Day celebrations in Ojai and its sister city Rosendal, South Africa, will be

Every Day Farmer & The Cook Location: 339 West El Roblar Avenue, Meiners Oaks Times: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This popular farm-to-kitchen destination has reopened, with usual precautions in place to reduce exposure to coronavirus.

simultaneous physical and online art exhibits in both cities. The Ojai art show will be safely held in the Ojai Woman’s Club. Contact: ojaichamber.org, 805-646-8126 THROUGH MAY “Insight 20/20” - Ojai Studio Artists Dates/Times: By appointment Artists have taken creative notice of the changes that have been forced upon all of us. This sampling of work by the Ojai Studio Artists is their response to a scary and surreal 2020. Location: Ojai Valley Museum Contact: info@OjaiValleyMuseum.org THURSDAYS “Ojai: Talk of the Town” Podcast New episodes come out Thursday evenings through OjaiHub.com newsletter. Sign up at OjaiHub.com STAY TUNED Tierra Sol Institute’s “Muses on the Mount” The institute is curating shows for the benefit of Meditation Mount, which recently re-opened its doors after the Thomas Fire. Recent Muses on the Mount performances included RyX, Orpheo and Rachel McCord, and also painter Vera Long and sound bowl artists Trinity of Sound. Contact: To be notified of events in April and May, go to tierrasolojai.org and meditationmount.org.


OQ | N O C TU R NA L S U B MI S S I ONS

WEEKEND DIARY OF THE QUEEN IN LOCKDOWN. A Housewife’s Log Saturday.

BY SAMI ZAHRINGER

Well this is a rum lot. It appears one’s palace, indeed one’s whole capital, is under Covid-19 lockdown and we are running on a skeleton staff. All one’s engagements are canceled and it seems one’s husband and one are at rather a loose end for the foreseeable. Well, the only thing one can do is put one’s best foot forward and jolly well make the best of it! Now, how does one get dressed again?

FIGURED

out getting dressed on one’s own eventually but fear one’s bloomers are on backwards. Pheeleep nowhere to be seen to ask. One’s morning routine lately usually consists of having a cup of tea in one’s nightie and not wishing Boris Johnson well. Sometimes one wakes up having already started not wishing him well. Pheeleep, has a theory that Johnson is what happens when one sends an egg with some straw still stuck on it for an Eton education. It appears there he learnt much Latin, more braying, and little else. Except for a nation-sinking sense of destiny. And how to comb his hair with a balloon. And how to laugh like dashed good chap while harboring the soul of a creased hamster eating its young. He has all the moral backbone of a custard tart. One is not charmed.

However, at least it is he that is PM and one does not have to have a weekly audience with the ghoulish Jacob Rees-Mogg, whom I believe the papers are now calling “The Honorable Member for the 18th Century.” He looks like he was hatched fully formed from a cobwebbed attic with the ability to slither through any space wider than his spectacles. One swears one once saw him unhinge his lower jaw and almost 126

devour one of one’s corgis before being spotted by one and slinking off to shed his outer skin. Not even Andrew likes him. Parched for lack of tea so from 9:30- 11:15 am went searching for kitchens. Eventually found one. Remembered from the war how to boil egg and make tea. Tried something rather thrilling called a Pop Tart and found it all a bit of a lark! Spirit of the Blitz, what-ho! Went exploring! Found where they keep my hats and the room where Anne Boleyn’s execution dress is kept. Tried it on, pulled up collar to top of one’s head and did a spot of wandering around moaning with one arm outstretched and a wastepaper basket under the other for her head! Haunted one’s way all the way to a small upstairs room somewhere and entered wailing headlessly. Afraid one frightened two maids terribly. Bit ashamed of oneself, even though am Queen. Asked maids if they would like a carriage clock each by way of apology and, frankly, as hush-clocks in case Pheeleep finds out, but they asked for iPhones instead. The price of servant silence has rocketed since the 40s when I last did anything naughty and could get by with a packet of Carr’s Water Biscuits and one of Mummy’s lipsticks as a bribe. Was led back to one’s own rooms, given tea and The Times, and asked not to wander off by oneself again. Drew mustache and OQ / SPRING 2021


some sticky hairspray bits out from around jewels on one’s crown for a bit with a sapphire toothpick gifted from an important Portugese sardine mogul, and wondered if, when crows get old, do they get people’s feet? Then went online to buy some sort of ethical cheese that Princess Anne’s very keen on, and to see what one’s subjects are doing in lockdown. Couldn’t remember one’s bloody password at first so had to wander about and find the scepter-and-orb repair-man to find a lady’s maid to phone one’s secretary at home to eventually tell one it is Betty_Reginal. Some frightening stories in the Daily Mail about sourdough-starters going rogue and forcing people out of their flats. One remembers what it was like when Churchill started ballooning so can definitely sympathize with one’s subjects there. Fell down internet ermine hole for a bit and learnt all about the Norwegian Butter Crisis of 2011, the ongoing nightmare of online teaching, what horrid Boris is doing to the NHS, and renewed speculation that Kim Kardashian really has had buttock implants. warts on front-page Boris and made paper airplanes out of articles about Manchester United and the Welsh and flew them them out of the window. Hit a passing member of the Household Cavalry on his silly hat — Strike! — and ducked down out of sight in fits of giggles! One loves lockdown! Just then, a masked Prince Andrew burst in looking shifty and as if he might ask one to hide a warm gun under a corgi for him. He said “Yes. Hmm. Yes. Yes. No” and then just as quickly burst out. One worries about that boy, especially after the Woking Pizza Express fiasco. One might have him followed by unmarked Land Rovers, just to keep him out of trouble and prevent him from speaking to anyone at all ever again if possible. Got a bit bored then. Bit lonely. One’s day is usually so full of people and having to get on with the next engagement. Poked

Fascinating! When else would one have the time to read about all that! Time flew by and one was amazed when a servant brought dinner! Apparently Pheeleep is using lockdown to tackle a long overdue shelving project in his Socks Room so one found oneself dining alone, giddily free to tuck one’s napkin into one’s pearls and eat shoeless for the first time in decades! Made Balmoral Castle out of mashed potatoes with pea windows, and a small sausage-bound gravy moat on which one raced some sweetcorn swans. One’s favorite kernel won, naturally. What is even the point in being Queen if one’s corn swan can’t win. Telephone rang after dinner to say that Prince Pheeleep had been spotted charging this way in a state of some agitation. They used the word “empurpled.” He had banged his thumb with

OQ / SPRING 2021

127


a hammer apparently so was already much peeved when he heard on the wireless that Prince William had been spotted by a drone enjoying a socially distant croissant with Ellen Degeneres at Kensington Palace. “A croissant!” Pheeleep screamed. “Ellen and a bloody croissant! What’s next?” he foamed “Quiche at Windsor? Truffle oil at Sandringham? Elton John and a light quinoa salad at Holyrood? Is all the world going homosexual?” One blinked supportively, then pressed a button and soon Nurse arrived with the powders, leading him gently away as he slapped his gloves at imaginary homosexuals and shouted “Devil take the hindmost!” It was quiet again very quickly. One had one’s warm bedtime milk and read about someone called Elon Musk. That was a mistake. Went to bed but still have many concerns. One has a bad feeling re: Musk. What if he says or does something else tomorrow? Why would Kim Kardashian do that do her buttocks? And what if all this masking gives unscrupulous ventriloquists free rein to create havoc and dire misunderstandings?

Sunday. Woke early and with purpose having dreamt one was a detective triumphantly solving the theft of a diamond necklace in a country house in deepest Surrey. Everyone in dream dazzled by one’s dogged determination and perspicacity! All astonished when one removed wig and revealed self as monarch! Pheeleep still knocked out and snoring softly in the next room. Dressed oneself and got one’s bloomer’s definitely right. Tied headscarf around mouth, found kitchen again and made tea and eggs for three footmen and a Keeper of the Privy Something or Other.

Back in one’s rooms I took a call from the elderly husband of my closest lady-in-waiting who is isolating at home but not dealing with it very well, one is afraid. She has lost her mind and begun to buy a clinically worrying number of bed-jackets from Amazon. One murmured many understanding yesses to the poor chap and expressed fervent hope that the madness is temporary. 128

One has been through it all before with Princess Margaret, after all. Have had a brace of pheasant and some medicinal cocaine sent around by a man one knows. Had a productive morning drawing up plans to have a new kind of scented candle made that smells of snuffed-out candle even before one snuffs it out. Rather pleased with oneself ! One doubts King Harald of Norway is doing anything so useful with his lockdown! Received email from online ethical cream cheese people saying delivery to Anne will be delayed because their chief herdsman got stressed and shouted at the cows and now they are sulking and won’t produce. Well! One has been around livestock one’s whole life and offered some cow-calming techniques to try but irked that online tech support girl would not believe one was the Queen. Ah well, one must muddle through in the fog pandemic, I know, but nonetheless expressed one’s blazing anger with ethical cheese people by signing off with a curt “Regards,” instead of “Kind regards.” One must maintain one’s standards at times of crisis above all. As it is St. Crispin’s Day I re-enacted the Battle of Agincourt with my luncheon. A fish-stick Henry V and serried ranks of baked beans vs. an army of wilted French fries. Interrupted once by a footman wondering what all the booms were. Rewarded the bravest beans by knighting them with butter-knife. After luncheon, one went hunting for the Prince of Wales and, not unworryingly, and not for the first time, found him talking to some ferns. “Light misting and regular repotting, you say? Fascinating. Fascinating. And what sort of light conditions do you favor? Morning or late afternoon? Indeed! Aha. Of course.” One wonders whether it might be best to have Charles followed by unmarked Land Rovers too. One’s other children had better not cause any further scandal to the monarchy. There simply aren’t the Land Rovers.

“Ah, Charles! I’m glad I found you! Edward has been telling me about a Netflix show he’s heard about that we might want to try tonight. He thinks we all deserve some light relief at present. It’s called “The Crown”! Isn’t that fun?” OQ / SPRING 2021


75

JUNE 2021 • 2022 ARA GUZELIMIAN ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Save-the-Dates 75th Festival

June 10-13, 2021 JOHN ADAMS MUSIC DIRECTOR 

76th Festival June 9-12, 2022  AMOC MUSIC DIRECTOR 

“Ojai, a Musical Utopia.”– New York Times

for more information | OjaiFestival.org | 805 646 2053


The Legacy of Paul Williams Paul Revere Williams (1894-1980) was a pioneering African-American Los Angeles architect who designed myriad celebrity homes, churches, municipal buildings and hotels. His designs include private estates for Frank Sinatra and Lucille Ball, the Los Angeles County Courthouse, the Beverly Hills Hotel and the iconic modernist Theme Building at LAX. A master of proportional space, his designs were characteristically balanced, intimate and elegant. He always endeavored to seamlessly integrate a building into its natural and human environment. Good architecture should reduce human tension by creating a restful environment and by changing social patterns. Paul Williams


ICONIC PAUL WILLIAMS DESIGN Originally built in 1927, this Spanish Colonial Revival home has been lovingly restored in the spirit of its famous architect while upgrading all infrastructure, wiring and plumbing to modern standards. One of only two Paul Williams homes in Ojai, it perfectly encapsulates his values of balance, purpose and proportion to create an intimate family home that takes full advantage of its ideal location and natural environment, including views of the Topa Topa mountains. With 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms, an office, a detached studio, a pool and an expansive veranda, it combines spaciousness, functionality and aesthetics in a rare blend. Custom original tiles decorate the many fireplaces and bathrooms, designed to integrate with the architecture. The lushly landscaped, park-like grounds include a grape arbor, an orchard and a bocce court. The beauty and wholeness of this truly unique refuge will bring effortless peace to your heart. 906FoothillRdOjai.com

Offered at $7,250,000

PAT T Y WALTCHER

(805) 340-3774

pattywaltcher.com


Patty Waltcher 25 ye a r s o f e x p e r i e n ce m a tc h i n g

p e o p l e a n d p ro p e r t y i n t h e O j a i Va l l e y

JAPANESE INSPIRATION WITH EPIC VIEWS

Beautifully restored and re-imagined, this breathtaking architectural masterpiece is a perfect example of the natural aesthetic of Japan. With a bridge entrance, exposed beam ceilings, solid white oak floors, walnut cabinetry, handmade tiles, and cedar soaking tubs, every aspect of this home invokes a sense of integration. Includes a separate guest house, an acre of pristine gardens, a finished garage, and a large pool. 701DelOroDriveOjai.com Offered at $3,150,000

I will help you discover the home that brings peace to your mind and heart ( 8 0 5 ) 3 4 0 -3 7 7 4 ~ pa ttywa ltc her. c om 132

OQ / SPRING 2021

Profile for Ojai Quarterly

Ojai Quarterly - Spring 2021  

Not only Ojai's longest continuously published magazine, but the most prestigious. Full of the best of Ojai's arts, culture, events, history...

Ojai Quarterly - Spring 2021  

Not only Ojai's longest continuously published magazine, but the most prestigious. Full of the best of Ojai's arts, culture, events, history...