Ojai Valley Guide Winter 2019

Page 1


VOLUME 37 No.4








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805.236.3814 | gabrielacesena@bhhscal.com | www.gabrielacesena.bhhscalifornia.com ©2019 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties (BHHSCP) is a member of the franchise system of BHH Affiliates LLC. BHH Affiliates LLC and BHHSCP do not guarantee accuracy of all data including measurements, conditions, and features of property. Information is obtained from various sources and will not be verified by broker or MLS. Buyer is advised to independently verify the accuracy of that information.



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Integrity, knowledge and experience you can trust

Nora Davis 805.207.6177 nora@ojaivalleyestates.com www.ojaivalleyestates.com 727 Ojai Avenue, Ojai CA 93023 DRE 01046067




works on paper

Gustav Klimt Egon Schiele

December 12 – March 1

canvas and paper

311 N. Montgomery Street

Thursday – Sunday noon – 5pm







s we shut the door on a decade, the promise of a new one opens in front of us. This presents us with a golden opportunity to greet the next 3,653 days with a reset.

Looking back, the 2010s (our teens decade) seemed to spin with ever greater speed toward the next calamity, with an ever-growing focus on the next crisis of existential threat. Drought, Santa Ana winds, and fires — people slept with one eye open. Ojai earned a new title: “High Fire Hazard Area.” We were told about a new normal, that packing go-bags and backing into parking spots was our new way of life. By the end, the City of Ojai declared a climate emergency and we officially entered into a permanent state of crisis. Between fire and flood danger, planned power outages, earthquakes, and humans going off the rails, I’m having trouble keeping my preparedness plans straight. But is this constant state of alert healthy? The Ojai Valley is a place we love — a small, peaceful place to live — so why self-impose a daily agitation, sleep loss, emergency anxiety and hypervigilance? It’s a funny thing about worry — it rarely turns out to be about the right things anyway. My resolution is to not let the worry of existential threats consume my personal enjoyment of Ojai life. Perhaps we can use the “Ojai vortex” as a shield, unwind the crisis consciousness and tap into the power of Ojai. We can consider adaptation, creative thinking, proactive preparedness and courage and take positive action. What would we be choosing to do if we were days, or months or years, from the end of Ojai life as we know it? My preparedness plan includes a move toward personal clarity, joy and appreciation for this beautiful place, and acknowledging satisfaction with my life choices. To find calm without complacency, preparation without panic, personal and community resilience. Let’s live a life worth saving! So take a timeout, decompress, appreciate the gifts of our valley, consider what you came here for and why; give thanks. Then let’s take on whatever comes next with a level head, together. Now is the moment to savor the stories of Ojai life in our Winter Ojai Valley Guide as the promise of our 2020s opens up to us. Cover story Horace Bristol, Ojai’s most renowned photojournalist; his images live on through the careful preservation by his son. Discover the inside story of Ojai resident and award-winning actor and activist, Diane Ladd’s extraordinary life from Mississippi to New York to the Ojai Valley. Visit the Ojai Valley during World War II. Zhena Muzyka, creator of Gypsy Tea Company, speaks with intention about her newest endeavor, Magic Hour. Ojai’s own advice goddess, Michaela Boehm, author of “The Wild Woman’s Way” returns us to our passionate sides. Don’t miss artist Stanley Boydston at the Biennale, Alana Mitnic in her Yoga Shala, the value of the work of the C.R.E.W., Topa Mountain Winery, local filmmakers — the Tickells — “Kiss the Ground” about regenerative agriculture, Ninakuru’s hat trick, a Chanel girl’s secret, winter waterfall hikes and Drew Mashburn battling the smelter. And we are still ....“Worried in Ojai!” Here till the wheels come off, Laura Rearwin Ward

EDITOR & PUBLISHER Laura Rearwin Ward publisher@ojaivalleynews.com


Perry Van Houten • Karen Lindell Alicia Doyle • Austin Widger • Ellen Skarlz David LaBelle • Zhena Muzurka Drew Mashburn • Sami Zahringer Jesse Grantham • Andra Belknap


ASSISTANT EDITORS Linda Griffin • Annah Seibel Georgia Schreiner


Linda Snider • Mike Nightingale





team@ojaivalleynews.com Phone: 805.646.1476 Fax: 805.646.4281 101 Vallerio Avenue Ojai, CA 93023 ©2019 Downhome Publishing Cover: An iconic image of wranglers in a snow-dusted desert by legendary documentary photographer, Horace Bristol.





WINTER 2019 VOLUME 37 No.4


Cover story: His Father’s Keeper: Horace Bristol - 18 Artist: Stanley Boydston - 28 Chanel Girl’s Secret - 36 Ninakuru’s Hat Trick - 42 Artists and Gallery Directory - 35

PAST AND PRESENT Ojai Goes to War - 50

Look Back in Ojai - 146


Topa Mountain Winery - 62 Dining & Tasting Directory - 70

OTHER DIMENSIONS The World According to Nora - 72




Diane Ladd - 82 Sami Zahringer is Worried In Ojai - 91


EVENTS Calendar -78


Kiss the Emerald Valley - 122 The C.R.E.W. - 116


Michaela Boehm, Wild Woman - 102 The Magic Hour - 110 Ojai Yoga Shala - 94 Mind, Body & Spirit Directory - 109


Winter Waterfall Hiking Trails - 132 Feed the Birds - 138

REAL ESTATE Page - 135


Advertiser Index - 153









An Ojai tradition for over 50 years 302 W. Matilija Street (805)646-3755 9:30 - Sunset daily









His Father’s Keeper He was one of the 20th century’s great documentary photographers. Horace Bristol gained prominence for his portrayal of poverty in rural America and later, for his dramatic images of war. His last years were spent in retirement in Ojai where his son Henri strove to conserve his work for posterity.

It’s the stuff of movies. An aging, once globe-trotting photographer distances himself from his early life and is comfortably living out his final years with his second family in relative anonymity in small town Ojai, not far from where he grew up and where his grandfather once owned the Santa Paula newspaper. That is, until his youngest son, Henri, from his second marriage, a junior at Nordhoff High School, is assigned to read and report on John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. It was 1985, and Horace Bristol’s life was about to change, once again.

By David LaBelle

“I was putting together a book report and my dad was always there and very helpful and knowledgeable about things, remembers Henri, now 51, so I figured I’d ask him if he ever heard of the book.” Ended up his father knew a lot about the book, since he was the one who initially asked Steinbeck to join him in the soggy fields and migrant work camps to create the text for a Life Magazine story Bristol had proposed. “Then my dad realized, obviously, there was a huge part of his life that he hadn’t really shared with his second family, and that he had kind of put that in his past.”



Tom Joad from The Grapes of Wrath Series, 1938. This image was also used on the cover of John Steinbeck’s book “The Grapes of Wrath.” Photo: The Horace and Masako Bristol Trust.



Like the opening scene from a great movie, Horace Bristol begins unraveling the story of his life in layers to his 17-yearold son and 21-year-old daughter, Akiko. And a new, deeper, more connected relationship begins with his children from his second wife, Masako. What he learned: Through the years Henri learned his father, born and bathed in photography’s golden era, taught himself photography at night while reading copy at the Los Angeles Times after graduating from high school. He discovered that in 1933, his father, in the midst of The Great Depression, quit his job at the Times, moved to San Francisco and opened a studio, doing freelance commercial photography in hopes of making ends meet. By 1937 his dad had been hired by prestigious Life Magazine as a regular contributor with a salary of $750 monthly. He also learned of his father’s association and friendship with now famous author, John Steinbeck. It was his father, documenting migrant farm workers in California’s Central Valley, who asked Steinbeck to collaborate, and accompany him in the soggy fields and labor camps for a proposed story for Life Magazine. Above: Henri Bristol. Photo: Greg Cooper.

Born when his dad was 60, Henri learned that his aging, white-haired father was a photographic legend, who traveled the world covering historic events and became friends with famous photographers like Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Dorothea Lange and Edward Weston, and that his dad was one of only five photographers chosen for Edward Steichen’s legendary naval aviation unit. His work was published throughout the world in Life, Fortune, National Geographic. His father’s love of Japan led him to stay for 25 years, building a photo agency in Toyko called East West, while also building houses from his own plans and living off the rent. He had a pretty good life until his wife, Virginia, of 27 years got a hysterectomy, fell into a depression and committed suicide. Grief-stricken and irrationally blaming photography for her death, his father gave up photography and set his

Below: Boy With Goggles, 1947. Photo: The Horace and Masako Bristol Trust.

belongings on fire, including all the prints and negatives he had in his possession. Bristol later instructed his new wife to destroy all of his work, the negatives and prints he has stored in a locker in Japan, because he felt all of that was his past. Masako and her mother disobeyed the order. Years later, Bristol and a photo community are thankful for their choice.



Right: PBY Blister Gunner, Rescue at Rabaul, 1944. A hero gunner on a rescue plane. An airman was down in the bay and the Japanese were shooting at him. This gunner stripped off his clothes and jumped in to bring the blinded pilot, who had been shot down, aboard. Since they were being shot at the man didn’t wait to get dressed before getting back to his position while the flew away and escaped gunfire.

Below: Life Magazine Cover, 1953.

Racing time Below: Noh Mask Spirit, 1946. Photo: The Horace and Masako Bristol Trust

Nearing 80, Horace became preoccupied with getting his work organized. Realizing his life shadow was growing long, having his archives in order became an obsession, and organizing a lifetime of work from as far back as 60 years was a daunting task, especially so late in life. And it still is, 20 years after his passing. Horace recruited Ojai native Greg Cooper, who loved photography and worked for the Ojai Valley News after high school before going to Ventura College, then on to Western Kentucky University. Greg and Henri were also classmates at Nordhoff.



“I had no idea that his father was a Life magazine photographer, one of the originals,” recalls Cooper who worked with Bristol from 1988 until 1993. “I was mostly matting and mounting. I was also helping him with the organizing, and whatever else he needed. I would even drive him around sometimes,” Cooper remembers. Cooper recalls one day in particular when he was asked to make editing judgements on the legendary photographer’s work. “He said we were going to work on negatives, and we went into this room with a chest of drawers, like a clothes chest, and there were two chairs and a big trash can. The whole thing was stacked with 2-1/4 x 2-1/4 negatives. The top drawer was full. All the drawers were full. And he was going through, pulling one out, looking, throwing it in the trash, and he wanted me to do that too – to throw negatives in the trash!” “At some point, I told him I don’t feel comfortable doing that at all. Not at all! I couldn’t make that decision about this man’s work, at least what’s left of his life’s work.” Above: The Joad family applying for relief, Farm Security Administration Office, 1938. Bristol made this iconic photograph while traveling in the migrant labor camps with John Steinbeck. The photograph is part of the Grapes of Wrath Series. Photo: The Horace and Masako Bristol Trust.

Henri’s interest in his father’s life and work grows. Working on his undergraduate degree at UCSB, Henri Bristol often came home on weekends and helped his father with organizing his archives. Layers of his father’s life and work were revealed. “It is amazing to uncover part of your life at his age, and to be part of that was certainly enjoyable,” Henri said.

Right: Cowboys, New Mexico, 1939. Photo: The Horace and Masako Bristol Trust.

Young Bristol worked with film, doing commercials, etc., but his heart never moved far from the guardianship of his father’s work and legacy. Then the mission became personal. Who else, if not him, would shepherd his father’s legacy he considered. A gift and a burden “It was an incredible gift, and I think of it more as a gift than anything, just to have this amazing legacy that I could be a part of, but it is also kind of a burden,” Henri admits.


Above: A member of the Joad family, 1938. Photo: The Horace and Masako Bristol Trust.

Now, 22 years after the celebrated photographer’s passing, Henri, his youngest son ( he had two older sons, Horace Jr. and Kit, who died before he passed) still feels the guardianship of his father’s work and legacy.

“Now it’s time to kind of wrap up with my dad. “It’s been kind of quiet the past five years; It’s time to get the work out again.”

Henri Bristol pauses. “This is kind of the phase I am in, I just want to make sure that his legacy is preserved properly,” that the institution, whatever it ends up being, or institutions, are the appropriate place for the work and that they will have a life beyond me.”

“It really feels like a privilege to have been part of the process of recovery. My father was a remarkable man and photographer.”

“I feel like I really understand the idea of legacy, and it certainly is worth my time to get involved as much as I can and to really make sure at least the work passes on to the next hand, the appropriate place.”

Below: Airmen rescued from the Sea, 1944. Photo: The Horace and Masako Bristol Trust.


Right: Horace Bristol poses for a portrait in his home in Ojai in 1992. Photo by Greg A. Cooper.

What next?

He weighs the responsibility, then reassures any burden is a burden of love and appreciation.

“The fact that he was able to share his journey of rediscovery with his family, despite bringing up some of the difficulties he had coming to terms with the price he paid personally, felt like he was able to have some sense of closure in his life and work. In the end, he felt that his life had come full circle.” And now, what stands out most to me as a photographer and teacher, even beyond Horace Bristol’s compositional artistry and applied technical excellence, is the compassion he captured in his portraiture. Unlike most of his contemporaries, who made controlled, straight-forward portraits with people staring into the camera lens, Bristol’s candid, documentary images and real, unrehearsed, portraits speak to the authenticity of the people and the environment, often creating gripping documents – human souls wrapped in tired, hopeless flesh – yet unstripped of their dignity. He was the consummate documentary photographer whose photographs reveal both craftsmanship and compassion. Henri said, evaluating his father today, “His images were honest. My father was an observer who really cared about the world around him, and I think that’s why photography was a draw for him. He really just loved the human connection, to be able to document that in some way. His book was published and works were acquired as part of important collections like LACMA, and the Getty, he (Horace) finally felt like his work was validated. By the institutions, and ultimately by himself.” OVG









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hen Ojai resident Stanley Boydston’s artist grandmother, Wanda, put a paintbrush in his hand at the age of 2, it’s unlikely she envisioned a life pathway that would lead to his being a renowned painter, one of only two Americans among 200 artists whose work recently was shown in the inaugural Biennale of Contemporary Sacred Art in Mentón, near Monte Carlo, Monaco, and while there, invited — on the spot — to participate in the highly celebrated Venice Biennale taking place concurrently, where he would create a painting and literally show the world his unique vision of California life. The sacred art biennale was commissioned by Mirabile Dictu (Spoken Miracles), the International Catholic Film Festival, with a theme of “Ode to Life”. A series of paintings created at Rincon Point, a California Beach known worldwide for its consistent, machine-like barrels, inspired the piece chosen for the exhibition in Mentón that has received critical acclaim at home and abroad: “Creation/Emergence”. The buzz around that painting on opening day — Stanley had been featured in the Mentón newspaper the day prior — garnered so much attention that within minutes of the show opening he was approached by the Italian art critic Giorgio Grasso and invited to the great Venice Biennale. The organizers in Mentón had set out to explore from the philosophical and existential to the personal, political and social perspectives of how contemporary artists are responding, through their art, to some of the major challenges that life represents, how they register change and how they imagine the future. Among the 200 artists representing Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, South Africa, South America, Russia and the United States are some of the world’s most recognized: Banksy, Damien Hirst, Enrico Baj, Christo, Yayoi Kusama, Joe Tilson and Gerhard Richter. And, now, Stanley Boydston.

From Ojai to the biennale


“The impetus for that exhibition seemed to fill a desire on the part of some very important people affiliated with the Vatican art collection to set a tone among artists, collectors and museums that moves toward the light in art instead of darkness, as has been the fashion for quite some time now,” said the artist. “Darkness is easy — very easy — to portray. Light or positivity will overcome darkness or negativity. That is not ‘easy art’. Hence, the important challenge of excellence in this biennale.” Throughout his four-decade career Stanley has allowed himself to explore myriad styles and mediums, from painting to performance art, photography and sculpture. Those many forms of expression generated a yearslong evolution of style and, until recently, Stanley’s work was primarily about color, shapes and outlines.

by Patricia Heller

But in 2017, he began spending more time at Rincon Point, the “Queen of the Coast” beach and surf spot nestled at the Ventura and Santa Barbara County line. Even though he’d painted it off and on for 20 years, he began seeing it in a different way. Over the next year, he painted from the same location two to three times a week, adjacent to a hut decades of surfers have built using materials washed up on the beach where they gather, eat, share surfboards. Using easel and oils and finishing the same day, the result was around 50 paintings influenced by the emotions generated by the scene. Then, in 2018, after the Rincon area experienced a tremendous electrical storm, Stanley headed back to the beach and his vision changed

once again. He began to make lines and spaces priorities over the free flow of drawing with the brush. Lines became straight and parallel and a maturity of vision began to open up a more coherent investigation of color and space. His paintings slowly evolved into studies of “push and pull,” a theory developed by German artist Hans Hoffman that warm colors appear to advance toward the viewer — pushing — and that cooler ones appear to be moving away, pulling. The work, says Stanley, becomes a personal space and the physical and mental collide, creating an actual physical sensation when viewed. The culmination is “Creation/ Emergence”, selected for the Mentón biennale. It consists of 10 canvases, one large with nine smaller paintings arranged in an adjacent grid. “We are 75% water when we are born,” says the artist. “I see Rincon as representing an expectant mother. The large piece represents her, and the nine smaller panels represent her anxiety and preview the upcoming nine months as she discovers that she is ‘with child’.” Stanley knows precisely when and why the shift in style and his new work began taking shape two years ago. “I had found my faith and when that happens, it sets one free. Your mind and soul open and the word comes to you. There is great satisfaction in what I am doing now. Earlier in my career, I was influenced by the work of great artists like Dali. Today, I paint with a consistency of personal vision.” With “Creation/Emergence” sold to a New York collector,


the unexpected Venice invitation required that Stanley set out to find the paints and supplies he needed to create a new work specifically for the Italian show, themed “May You Live in Interesting Times”. He had a canvas built in Venice, identical to the long, narrow format he painted on in California, and brought to the Palazzo Zenobio, his hotel and one of the biennale sites, via the city’s magnificent waterways. But the highlight of the entire trip came with another unexpected opportunity: the Venetian authorities allowed him to set up an installation of “Rincon Low Tide” in Piazza San Marco in front of the Basilica San Marco for one hour on October 14. ‘Rincon Low Tide’ immediately took the form of a mandate from God to protect Venice from high tides, which are threatening the city’s existence,” he said, noting that the extraordinary combination of painting, sculpture, scaffolding, water and people became a part of and completed the installation. “My painting served as a conduit between a Byzantine blessing of Christ on the front of the Basilica and the earth, a city in need of healing and protection from rising waters.” A native of Oklahoma and member of the Cherokee Nation, Stanley explains his very personal and spiritual connection with the water that influenced both of his biennale paintings. “The Cherokee traditionally have had a strong connection with water. Our ancestors would take every opportunity to walk through rivers to get where they were going. Even if one is on a dry path to the



house, if water is sighted, the path would change and lead through the river, lake or creek to get to the destination. It slows down the walk and reflects your image with what is above you, allowing you to be fused with nature, to become one, visually and tactilely, with the earth: rebirth at every opportunity.” The many phases of Stanley’s art since he began showing in group exhibitions in 1982 and solo shows in 1983 present a continuum of work that reflects his vision of the world as he traveled through it, as he has created and emerged himself. His formative years were spent in Dallas, where his mother took him to see a large showing of Peter Max paintings in 1970 at the Fairmont Hotel, an outing that cemented his future. “I got to meet Mr. Max and knew then that I wanted to be a painter,” said Stanley of the artist, who was then at his height of popularity among collectors. “I loved his colors and everything about his work.” Those colors — which Stanley refers to as “drug culture colors,” a culture from which he carefully was kept by his parents — still influence his work. “I was prohibited from being around it, so the whole scene was like a


wonderful mystery to me. The psychedelic art of the ‘70s created a forbidden feeling about things at a distance from me. I began to associate free-flowing Baroque lines and complimentary colors with doing things you weren’t supposed to — pretty exciting for a 10-year-old artist.”

fact, they were such good friends that Picasso — who Dominguin’s daughter often described as her babysitter — would disguise as a Banderillero (a bullfighter who uses a decorated barbed stick to gore the bull) and Luis would smuggle him from

Robert Rauschenberg and the renowned art dealer Leo Castelli, known for, among other accomplishments, discovering the work of Jasper Johns.

France into Spain for the bullfights, in an enormous, black 1950s American car, because the artist was persona non grata in Franco’s Spain. And, thus was born Stanley’s bullfight period.

to the parallel lines he sees as he gazes at the ocean and the role water plays in all life, Stanley Boydston’s journey has been an eclectic, continually emerging and gratifying one. The concepts behind Creation/ Emergence that took him to the first Biennale d’Art Sacré Contemporain and Rincon Low Tide to the 58th Biennale Arte Venezia have had their own creation and emergence, birthed at Rincon Point to a life filled with interesting times. It’s more than likely adventures still to come will continue to impact this visionary artist’s creations.


For information on purchasing his work, contact the Elizabeth Gordon Gallery, 5 W. Gutierrez St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101 805-963-1157 www.elizabethgordongallery.com.

From the outlines, curves and objects of his earlier career

Later, at the University of Texas at Austin, he was introduced to the work of Picasso, to composition and European art. He met John Carter, a Texan “who spoke like a cowboy but knew about French art,” which he displayed in a gallery bearing his name. Carter further schooled Stanley on the French art of the last century. “I discovered that the formulas for the ‘60’s counterculture art and fashion were actually an extremely aggressive rehashing of the popular French art of ‘la Belle Époque’.” As a child, Stanley had loved the iconic black outlines artists used in comic books. After he had discovered Van Gogh, whose work is widely known for his outlines, he started using the technique within his own paintings. After college, Stanley made his first visit to Spain. He’d wanted to meet Salvador Dali, who already had profoundly influenced his work and who was being honored with a retrospective showing in 1983 in Madrid. At the exhibition, he met a young woman who was the daughter of a good friend of Pablo Picasso, the artist’s favorite bull fighter Luis Miguel Dominguin. In LEFT: Venezia Necesita Bassa Marea, 2019 - shown here before the Basilica San Marco, Venice, Oct. 14, 2019. The piece was shown for one hour prior to being officially hung at the Biennale site, Palazzo Zenobio.

Seeing “things so unexpected that we would never see anyplace else got the bull paintings going, Chinese style, simple lines — they don’t stay still long enough for much else,” he said. Fulfilling a desire to witness the “apparent insanity of bullfighting,” Stanley stayed in Spain for 10 years. He never met Dali, but has many vivid memories of his stay there, including time spent with the artist


ABOVE: Rincon 2018 and Rincon Low Tide 2019. Precursors to the line paintings that led to Boydston’s being chosen for the Contemporary Sacred Art and Venice bienalles.




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F I R E S T I C K P OT T E RY Creative Workspace Open to Public

Open 10-6 daily 1804 E. Ojai Ave 805-272-8760

Gallery Workshops Pottery Parties Free tours



Brittany Davis Gallery

OVA Arts

canvas and paper

Ojai Studio Artists

Dan Schultz Fine Art Gallery & Studio

Pamela Grau

Firestick Pottery


Fall in love with art 214 E. Ojai Ave. Open Monday-Sunday 11:00 am -7:00 pm. Closed on Tuesday brittany@brittanydavisgallery.com 714-369-9869

A non-profit exhibition space showing paintings and drawings from the 20th century and earlier in thematic and single artist exhibits. Hours: Thursday – Sunday, noon – 5pm 311 North Montgomery Street canvasandpaper.org

Plein air landscapes, figures and portraits in oil, with a special focus on California landscape paintings. 106 N. Signal St., Ojai www.DanSchultzFineArt.com 805-317-9634

Creative workspace or clay artists & students. Open 10-6 daily. Closed Tuesday. 1804 E. Ojai Ave. www.firestickpottery.com 805-272-8760



Your Go-To Place For Gifts. 238 E. Ojai Ave. Open daily 10-6 www.ojaivalleyartists.com 805-646-5682

2019 Annual Studio Tour Oct 12 · Oct 13 · Oct 14 Free, Self Guided Tour 10am - 5pm www.ojaistudioartists.org

www.pamelgrau.com pamelagraustudio@gmail.com 949-903-9743

Surf Board Art by Bobbi Jo 416 Bryant Circle, Unit D, Ojai. Instagram: Stoked-SurfBoards www.stokedsurfart.com 805-680-3587 by appointment



Human Arts Gallery

Porch Gallery

Karen K. Lewis

Ventura County Pastel Artists

Martha Moran

WU2 Creations

Poppies Art & Gifts

OVG Artists and Galleries Guide

Folk art, jewelry, glass, art wearables, furniture, sculpture and more. 246 East Ojai Avenue www.humanartsgallery.com 805-646-1525

Painter & printmaker; etchings, monoprints, figure drawings, plein-air landscapes, still lifes and large-scale oil paintings. www.ojaistudioartists.org | 805-646-8877

The Ojai Rockstacker Rock stacks, fountains & more for garden or desktop. Studio visits by appointment. martha@ojairockstacker.com | 805-279-7605

323 E. Matilija Street in beautiful Ojai, California. We are behind the historic downtown Arcade. Stop in for local art and art events. 323 E. Matilija St., Ojai. www.poppiesartandgifts.com | 805-798-0033


310 E. Matilija St. Open: 11-5, Sunday: 9-1:30 Closed: Tuesday and Wednesday Instagram: porchgalleryojai lisa@porchgalleryojai.com 805-620-7589

“Fall into Pastels” Sat., Nov. 9 - Sun. Nov. 10. 11am - 4 pm Bert Collins Studio, 1545 Cuyama Rd., Ojai bobbib1@me.com 805-798-2403

Acrylics and watercolors by William & Karen Wu. 852 Oak Grove Ct., Ojai (by appointment) www.WU2Creations.com | 805-649-5312

Reach a wider audience with the Ojai Valley Guide, Artists & Galleries listings. The OVG is distributed throughout Ventura, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties. Contact us for details. team@ojaivalleynews.com | 805-646-1476



Chanel Girl If you are a woman who remembers “Dynasty” and the “Dukes of Hazzard,” then you surely remember the ’80s iconic Ridley Scott TV commercials for Chanel No. 5: “Share the Fantasy,” complete with ongoing characters Catherine and Charles. Lounging by the pool, the jet-setting woman in the red dress clearly had it all. Carolina Gramm was that supermodel and is that woman. Her predecessors include Chanel models Marilyn Monroe, Catherine Deneuve, Nicole Kidman and Brad Pitt. We’ve tracked her down to her very own shop in Ojai where she shares her charm, good taste and beauty secrets in the form of her own skin-care line, Extra-Virgin Skin. Carolina is a self-made woman who has bet it all on her own ingenuity many times over. Her story before her glam life with Versace and Chanel made her

Carolïna for an advertising still for the Chanel N°5 commercial, “L’invitation au rêve - Le jardin,” by Ridley Scott. Los Angeles, California, 1982.

tough. She grew up in foster care in northern Italy and was required to grow up quickly when at age 11 when her foster mother died. Carolina worked as a manicurist while obtaining her cosmetology license in a group home. At first glance, her story sounds purely romantic and glamorous: poor orphan girl discovered on a beach in Portofino by Gianni Versace, while waiting to begin her first government job. She began her modeling career in Milan, then immigrated by herself to New York City in 1979, becoming a high-fashion model for top agent Eileen Ford. She fell in love with and later married the dashing model and Formula race car driver, Jack Bunce. “I model to race,” he said in 1982 to Stars and Stripes News. The two have been life partners ever since. In 1981, Chanel was engaged in a worldwide search for its next model. “Every booking agent in every country was involved in the search,” Carolina said. She decided it would be a waste of time to audition for such an incredible long-shot “cattle call.” When she didn’t show up for the interview, her agent (now Elite Model Management Inc.) hunted her down across town, (premobile phone days) and forcefully insisted. “Then I got it!” she said. The important lesson she said she learned from that experience was that “life is

SHARES HER SECRETS By Laura Rearwin Ward

all about jumping in and risking it all.” “Modeling is not a lifetime career,” Carolina said. She made the transition by following her passion for architecture and antiquities, studying interior design at New York University. She found the work of restoration consulting and improving, while preserving inherent structural integrity, to be rewarding, both personally and financially. After some years living in Los Angeles, the couple moved to Ojai. “We moved here from Los Angeles to Ojai to raise our son, Graham,” she said. When I met Carolina 18 years ago, our sons were 5. I frequented her Ojai East End estate, following her around like a puppy as she shaped an outdated 1970s French villa on McNell Road like it was clay. Not an inch escaped her influence, while keeping all the bones of the place intact. Her career at that point, besides being a mother, was remodeling high-end homes in Manhattan and Los Angeles. Jack was flying private helicopters and airplanes while marketing his invention at racetracks — an enhancement for high-performance sports cars. From early on, Carolina was always seeking the best-quality olive oil both for her exquisite cooking and for the face cream she and Jack were making. “I’ve always been passionate about healthy lifestyle, food from scratch and a fresh Mediterranean-style cooking,” she said.




VOLUME 37 NUMBER 3 4 | FALL WINTER 2019 2019


Carolina explained that after some experimenting with the cream formula, she contacted a friend from her modeling days, someone who “must remain nameless, who is very big in the cosmetic industry.” She told him about what she had discovered and urged him to improve the quality of his ingredients, get rid of palm oil and use top-grade olive oil instead. As luck would have it, her manufacturer friend did not take her advice, so Extra-Virgin Skin continued in development for nine years. Carolina is not only a connoisseur of olive oil for cooking and skin care, she is also an expert in its manufacturing process and varietals, along with how to use them. For her skin-care line, she uses only top-of-theline California-certified organic extra-virgin olive oil. “I wash my face with olive oil, for years now, but you cannot use just any oil or you will clog your pores,” she said. When asked why she ever started making her own skin-care products, she explained it was because she found the mass-market highend face creams to be lacking in quality and social responsibility “and because I use it on my skin,” she said. Carolina and Jack tried to use “sustainably sourced” palm oil, but they discovered, after


the product had gone through a couple of distributors, that what they received wasn’t as advertised. They were determined to eliminate palm oil as an emulsifier, which was not easy. “All women I meet care about preserving their looks. Some may say they don’t, but they do!” Carolina said. “The ingredients we use are Edelweiss, olive oil, peptides and vitamins. That’s it.” Edelweiss is known to neutralize free radicals and slow down the aging process, while strengthening the walls of the blood vessels. “I am in charge of the smell of our products, Jack is all about the sheen and texture,” Carolina said. Their signature black glass jars keep light and plastic residue from degrading their product. Carolina explained that, as a small company, they are able to continue to use the very best ingredients, whereas, the international brands cut their product quality to achieve corporate profit margins. Local buying never looked so good … better quality, sustainably sourced, and better pricing than the high-end brands. A stop at Carolina Gramm’s shop on the Arcade, should include time to pick up some aromatic artisaninfused extra virgin olive oils and infused balsamic vinegars.

LEFT: Jack Bunce on the grid for a supporting race for the 1982 German Grand Prix, Hockenheim Germany.

Edelweiss symbolizes deep love and devotion — qualities of Carolina’s you will surely observe yourself every time you meet Ojai’s own Chanel No. 5 girl at Carolina Gramm’s in the Ojai Arcade shops, 326 E. Ojai Ave.

LEFT INSET: Carolïna and Jack in their newly constructed home for the cover story of House Beautiful Magazine, 1993.








10am-7pm Sunday

12pm-7pm Visit us online at SLCC.info and on Instagram

408 Bryant Circle, Ste. G, Ojai

805.640.6464 State permit C10-0000474-Lic






Jennie Moray’s

Alicia Doyle speaks with one woman who is preserving the art of the handmade.



ennifer Moray is recognized for her bespoke collections of Ecuadorian handmade Panama hats, hand-shaped wool hats, leather and straw handbags, and many other accessory inspirations that are reimagined with her discerning eye for quality finishes, clean design and refined simplicity. As the founder of Ninakuru — an Ojai-based eco-luxe accessories

Ecuadorian entrepreneur and style maker.

the water, the energy of the sun — “is exhilarating.”

“We recognize and honor our shared talents — we collaborate and create holistically beautiful handcrafted one-of-a-kind pieces,” she said. “And most importantly, we derive strength, motivation and purpose not only for one another but through one another.”

“Combine it all, and let the natural processes flow around you and allow them to envelop you … inspires me to start with something simple and raw and create something exquisite and wonderful,” she said. “Seeing the potential of raw materials — and most importantly the intrinsic value and talent of the artisans I work with — goes to show you can find beauty in everything. One just needs to open their eyes.”

Jennifer’s academic and professional background includes dual degrees in international business and marketing followed by 20 years of experience in these fields — 14 of which were based in Ecuador where she honed her professional skills in global trade and indulged in her creative passions. Most of all, Jennifer considers herself a visionary and entrepreneur, with the ability to see opportunity, potential and beauty in all that surrounds her.

Hat Trick brand — her private collections are curated for a select group of highend boutiques in California and South America, attracting a sophisticated and mindful clientele who recognize and appreciate skilled craftsmanship, and the associated artistic value and luxury it represents. However, Jennifer emphasizes the true purpose of Ninakuru is investing in people and understanding the symbiotic relationship between designer, artisan and customer, to create value. “I recognize success can only be realized by valuing the potential, creativity and skills of the people who surround me and the masterful artisans who invest their time and talent in my imagination,” said the American-


For instance, Jennifer named her first Ninakuru collection of Panama hats and straw bags after the enchanting Galapagos Islands, having been impacted by “the awe of raw natural beauty” of the islands, which became a theme to several of her collections. “Some of the Galapagos Islands are lush and beautiful, and some are raw and quite desolate,” said Jennifer, adding that the essence of this untouched splendor — the animals,

Jennifer is the daughter of an Ecuadorian mother, who Jennifer praises as “a talented and meticulous dressmaker, treasure hunter, and lover of all things beautiful.” Her American father, who is a biochemist by profession, is “a gifted artist, painter, teacher and lover of photography.” Jennifer’s early exposure to her parents’ “creative and artistic souls” ignited her lifelong passion for art and design that sparked the fire for Ninakuru, which she launched in 2014. Translated from Quechua, the language of the Incan people, Ninakuru means firefly. “Ninakuru is a wonderfully fitting name for the company, representing that true beauty radiates from within, and each of us has an inner glow worthy of being noticed,” Jennifer said. Ninakuru was developed to help preserve the livelihood of artisans in developing countries who rely on their trade to support the economic and educational development of their families. “Each purchase of a Ninakuru handmade product helps us actively engage in supporting artisans obtain fair prices for their goods and helps promote their sustainability, while helping us raise awareness for the need of higher ethical and environmental standards in international trade,” Jennifer explained. Jennifer Moray and the talented indigenous weavers in Ecuador. Photo: Edwin L. Spacke



100% ethically produced with sustainably harvested materials, sales of Ninakuru products help indigenous artisans support and promote the educational development of their children. Photo: Edwin L. Spackey

She noted that few artisans are able to obtain the financial resources to purchase materials needed to produce a higher-quality product, which would secure a better profit margin for their goods. “This is where we come in,” she said. “We look for the most talented artisans, contract them to create our designs, provide them with quality materials, then I finish all our hats in our Ojai workshop, ensuring each hat is one-of-a-kind. Adding high-quality finishes polishes and differentiates the products, allowing us to place them in international markets where better prices can be obtained.” Jennifer travels to Ecuador biannually, spending several weeks working side by side with her artisans throughout the entire design and creation process, hand-selecting each raw material, ensuring a quality product is produced and delivered. “By adding top-quality finishes sourced globally, we can obtain a fair sell price, enabling us to pay the artisans prices representative of their work,” she said. “In this way, we help provide a sustainable living for our craftsmen and, by doing so, they are better able to sustain their families.” While Ninakuru was created to help people create a better life for themselves and their families, it’s not lost on Jennifer that the consumer is just as important as the person who makes the product. OVG

A sample of Ninakuru’s 2020 line of Panama and wool hats. 100% handmade from fiber to finish, with love and passion woven into every thread. Photo: Jennifer Moray




“Ninakuru products are fun and inspire people every day,” she said. “Wearing a Ninakuru hat, bag or accessory will upgrade your look. You will get noticed. You will get compliments.” Ultimately, Ninakuru is Jennifer’s way of creating a livelihood for herself that unites her educational background and professional experience with her creative passions and desire to give back to those in need and preserve the art of handmade. To learn more, visit www.ninakuru. com, email cservice@ninakuru.com or call 805-886-6884. Jennifer’s hats are also available at deKor & Co., 105 S. Montgomery St. in Ojai; or on the second floor at the Porch Gallery, 310 E. Matilija St. in Ojai.




NINAKURU Luxury Artisan Boutique PANAMA HATS • WOOL HATS • STRAW & LEATHER HANDBAGS • ACCESSORIES Custom fittings by appointment www.ninakuru.com • 805.886.6884 • cservice@ninakuru.com


Hours 10 - 6 Mon - Sat and 10 - 5 Sunday









Ojai goes to war In February of 1942, more than 1,000 U.S. Army soldiers took over the Ojai Valley Country Club (now the Ojai Valley Inn) and turned it into a combat training camp. Perry Van Houten tells the story.


he troops, part of the 35th Division’s 134th Infantry Regiment, were stationed in California to help defend the coast from attack during World War II. An invasion was feared after a Japanese submarine had shelled oil installations north of Santa Barbara with heavy 5-inch guns. The men from a National Guard unit in Nebraska quickly became friendly with the locals. “They were mostly farm boys, and Ojai was a farming community, so they got along fine,” said historian and Meiners Oaks resident David Pressey. But being from out of state and unfamiliar with the name of the town, many of the soldiers thought they were going to “O-jay.” The camp was dubbed “Camp Lah We Lah His,” meaning “the strong, the brave” in the language of the Nebraska Pawnee. The officers stayed at the country club, while the enlisted men set up tents on the marshy ground where Vons is today. Later, barracks were built. Bruce Vail lived in Meiners Oaks and could hear training exercises going on in Matilija Canyon, including machine gun, artillery and mortar fire. Sometimes the troops would fire off a few rounds and then spend the rest of the day fighting the brushfire they had started.

Vail, who served with the U.S. Army in Czechoslovakia during the 1950s, remembered seeing hundreds and hundreds of infantrymen on training exercises, “marching down the railroad tracks to Ventura,” said Pressey. Some of the men of the 134th were sent to the Aleutians. “The guys in Ojai had been trained for desert warfare, not for Alaska,” Pressey said. “They were getting off those boats in Massacre Bay and many froze before they got ashore.” Some of the soldiers from Ojai joined Patton’s Third Army. Some went to the South Pacific, said Pressey, “wherever they needed replacements.” On the home front, star flags were hung in the windows of local military families. When a star went from blue to gold, it meant a relative had been killed in the war. There was full employment with overtime and good pay, but a lack of things to purchase. Citizens bought war bonds, raised money for the Red Cross and used ration books for food and gasoline. As in every town in America, the citizens of the Ojai Valley collected scrap metal and glass, rationed rubber tires and salvaged newspapers and kitchen grease. Nothing was wasted. “So-called environmentalists are pikers compared to the way everything was saved and salvaged,” said Pressey.



“Mr. Ojai” David Mason, about 4 years old, behind the wheel of the military jeep that was parked in front of his grandmother’s Fox Street home. Joyce Nichols (left) and Janice Cornine ride in the back seat. Officers’ wives lived at the house, so the servicemen would take the jeep from the Ojai Valley Country Club to visit them. Picture: Ojai Valley Museum



While there were shortages in Los Angeles, food was more plentiful in agricultural communities. Dan Lopez grew up on Rancho Dos Rios, along Creek Road, and remembered living comfortably during the war. “They weren’t lacking for meat and butter and eggs because they were farm people, and they traded them back and forth,” said Pressey, who recalled eating lots of mackerel loaf. Ranch families even traded food for gasoline. Around the Ojai Valley, aircraft observation posts were set up. Spotters had begun organizing in September 1941. “Every time someone saw a strange light, they’d report it,” said Pressey. The bell in the Post Office Tower signaled blackouts and air-raid drills. The Pressey family was living in Los Angeles in February of 1942 when air-raid sirens sounded and anti-aircraft guns opened up during a false alarm. He remembers watching tanks roll off the assembly lines at General Motors and huge formations of aircraft flying off to somewhere. “We’d see how many we could count and we’d lose count,” he said. World-famous Ojai potter Otto Heino was a waist gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress and was twice shot down over the same area of Germany and captured. Both times, he was rescued by the same members of the German underground. “What, you again?” they said. In the spring of 1943, the 17th Infantry from New Jersey replaced the 134th. The camp became Camp Oak. At first, the soldiers from back east viewed the locals as hillbillies, “but soon they came to realize that Ojai people were authentic, patriotic and very gracious,” Pressey said. Harry Hunt was 10 years old in 1944 and remembered working as a shoeshine boy to raise extra money for his family, shining the boots of soldiers camped at the Y. Sarzotti Park was the site of sports events pitting soldiers against local teams. Of course, romance bloomed and marriages occurred between soldiers and local women. Army Air Force veteran Phil Culbert remembered seeing German prisoners of

war wearing their summer uniforms and picking oranges in the orchards along Grand Avenue. In May of 1944, the U.S. Navy Seabees Acorn Assembly and Training Detachment from Port Hueneme replaced the 17th Infantry. The Seabees helped build the Henderson Field airstrip in Mira Monte, created lakes and built roads in Rose Valley. In April of 1945, Ojaians were invited to Camp Oak to watch an exhibition match between radio and film stars Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. The match, played on the camp’s nine-hole course, drew 3,000 spectators and raised funds for the Navy Relief Welfare Fund. Hope’s team won by a onehole margin. Nine days later, the war in Europe ended. More than 50 barracks and Quonset huts were auctioned in 1946. Some were bought by locals, who converted them into homes, businesses and workshops that are still in use today. “Ojai really responded to the war effort. There were blackouts and air-raid warnings that people had to respond to. There were lots of young men who served, and women, too,” said Ojai historian and author Craig Walker. Local families invited soldiers into their homes for dinner and rented rooms to the wives of officers. David Mason, the man known as “Mr. Ojai,” remembered his grandmother dividing the parlor of her Fox Street home into apartments for Army wives. The Ojai movie theater would run films for the soldiers seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Officers at the camp would give the manager of the theater extra rations of gasoline so he could make the trip to Hollywood to pick up the movie reels. Though supporting the war effort was the accepted and expected thing to do in

The U.S. Navy moved into Camp Oak at the Ojai Valley Country Club in 1944. Picture: California Military Museum



RIGHT: An anti-tank company of the 134th Infantry Regiment undergoes a field inspection on one of the former fairways at the Ojai Valley Country Club. Picture: California Military Museum

but it wasn’t because they were proGerman or anti-American,” said Walker, explaining Krishnamurti’s philosophy went much deeper than that. “It was about seeing yourself as a human being, not seeing that divisiveness. He saw war as just a projection of our own inner division and inner violence.” Ojai, “it was a little difficult for people who lived here who were pacifists, because it wasn’t like in the Vietnam War where it was more accepted to be a pacifist and people weren’t ostracized,” Walker said. “During World War II, you could get investigated by the FBI.” The most famous of the pacifists was Indian philosopher, speaker and writer Jiddu Krishnamurti. “He and the people who lived here because of him were obviously pacifists,

ABOVE: Distinctive Unit Insignia of the 134th Infantry Regiment. The unit’s motto, meaning “the strong, the brave” in the language of the Nebraska Pawnee, became the Ojai camp’s name. Photo: California Military Museum RIGHT: The regimental band of the 134th Infantry marches in formation on the golf course of the Ojai Valley Country Club, playing the drums, tubas, trumpets, trombones, saxophones and cymbals. Photo: California Military Museum

Krishnamurti spoke in Ojai in 1941 and held a series of talks. “The FBI actually came and listened to his talks, wanting to see if he was practicing sedition,” said Walker. A fistfight between anti- and pro-war supporters nearly broke out during one talk. The pro-war people stalked out. “Krishnamurti cut the talks short that year and decided that maybe, given the environment that was going on, it wouldn’t be good to be actively opposed to the war. He just basically went on hiatus for quite a number of years,” Walker said. Krishnamurti talked again in 1944 and left Ojai after the war in 1947 to go to India. One Krishnamurti follower, English writer and philosopher Aldous Huxley, was part of the Peace Pledge Union in



In 1945, radio and television stars Bing Crosby (left) and Bob Hope performed an exhibition golf match at Camp Oak to benefit the Navy Relief Welfare Fund. Picture: Ojai Valley Inn


Europe. Before the war, they were active pacifists who were trying to avert the war and supported nonviolent means. “Once war was starting to break out, they came and connected up with Krishnamurti, because his philosophy may have informed their feelings about war,” Walker said.

oldest brother George, his wife and three kids. “He said he never experienced any prejudice, but that was before the war,” Walker said. Kiyo Fukasawa, who had earned her bachelor’s degree at UCLA, was assigned to teach in the school at Manzanar. She returned to Ojai in the 1950s, and for 25 years taught math at Nordhoff High School. Walker was one of her students.

Other English expatriates who spent time with Krishnamurti included writers Gerald Herr and Christopher Isherwood, and English actress Iris Tree, who started a group in Upper Ojai called “The High Valley Players.” Many of the group’s members also joined the pacifist movement. “They probably weren’t too vocal,” Walker said. One of the Players was Woody Chambliss, who went on to roles in Hollywood, including TV’s “Gunsmoke.” Another admirer of Krishnamurti, American writer Henry Miller, was living in France before the war and came to California to sit it out. He settled in Big Sur, but never came to Ojai to visit Krishnamurti, Walker said. He posted a sign on his front door that said, “If you’re looking for enlightenment, keep going to Ojai to find Krishnamurti.” The only Japanese-American family living in the Ojai Valley at the start of the 20th century, the Fukasawa family, spent part of the war behind barbed wire at an internment 185 miles north of Los Angeles. Hotei Fukasawa had come to California from Japan around 1905. He settled in Fillmore and the relatives back home sent him a wife. The family moved to the Ojai Valley in 1916 after Hotei landed a job on an East End ranch. All five native-born Fukasawa children went through the Ojai public schools. The family was Christian and patriotic to the United States, Walker said. In 1930, they

The Fukasawa family, the only Japanese-American family living in the Ojai Valley prior to World War II, waits in line for the bus to the Manzanar War Relocation Center near Bishop. (From left), mother Hide, brother John and his wife Miyeko, sister Kiyo and father Hotei. Photo: The Fukasawa family


moved to Santa Monica to be closer to relatives. But December of 1941 brought the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor and submarine attacks off the Pacific coast. As a result, approximately 110,000 Japanese-Americans were bused to prison camps in remote locations, including both parents and three of the Fukasawa children. The family was among approximately 10,000 Japanese-Americans deemed security risks who were sent in April of 1942 to the Manzanar War Relocation Center near Bishop. They included

One day, Walker was driving from Reno to Ojai and saw a sign for the Manzanar Interpretive Center, so he stopped. “They had this big wall with all the names,” he said. “I thought about what that must have been like to grow up here and be an Ojai kid and not really feel any different from any other kid. But then your family has to sell their property.” Another of Kiyo’s older brothers, Peter, served in a Japanese-American unit in the European theater and helped liberate prisoners from the Dachau concentration camp in Germany. “He said the irony of that was not lost on him,” Walker said. A third brother, John, enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in the Far East. He later became the mayor of Carpinteria and had a different take on the internment of his family. “They were so patriotic that he felt they were just doing their part for the war — that it was just what had to be done for national security,” Walker said. “They didn’t have any bitterness.” OVG



Westridge Market 802 E. Ojai Ave • Open Daily 8am - 8pm • Phone 805-646-2762

Westridge Midtown Market 131 W. Ojai Ave • Open Daily 7am - 9pm • Phone 805-646-4082



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Cuyama Buckhorn was founded in 1952 as a roadside stop for weary travelers to enjoy a meal in good company and rest up along their journey. More than 60 years later, Cuyama Buckhorn has become a historic establishment, nestled in The Hidden Valley of Enchantment.

Open Daily 6am–6pm


Open Daily Monday – Thursday | 10am – 2pm Friday - Saturday | 8am - 9pm Sunday | 8am – 6pm

4923 Primero Street, New Cuyama, CA 93254 | cuyamabuckhorn.com | @cuyamabuckhorn

Best Taproom Best New Restaurant

Craft Beer | Cocktails | Wine | Vegan & Vegetarian Options

Thank you, Ojai! www.ojaipub.com | @ojaipub




Special Issue


This is a rare opportunity for you to educate our community about the benefits of your services or products in your own words. Only 12 positions are available for Ojai’s local healing and wellness experts to write an article with each ad.

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Wine can be a sip of liquid sunshine, a taste tinged with romance, a full decanter promising good times and laughter. It has become the go-to drink that bonds youthful millennials (“I pair well with wine”), unruffled gen-Xers (“Keep calm and drink wine”) and blossoming baby boomers (“I’m aging like a fine wine, I’m getting more complex and fruity”). Wine has also become so much more than the fruit of the vines. It’s a unifying impetus that brings people of all ages together for the chance to spend some time in a peaceful setting, perhaps to watch the sunset with a pink moment that kisses the mountains, and to enjoy a glass with friends or family. Wine, indeed, has become not just a drink, but a way of life, and one of the best places to experience that joie de vivre is at the expansive Topa Mountain Winery, just a few minutes from downtown Ojai.

was ready… we grew to be the ‘go-to’ place for both benefits and concerts.”

Located on two acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, the winery boasts three separate outdoor areas as well as a large tasting room with two separate bars that can hold up to 300 guests. Outside, visitors can play bocce ball, cornhole, and giant jenga, or just relax with a family picnic that includes the kids who can enjoy drinks of sparkling grape juice made from Chardonnay or Pinot Noir grapes.

efforts. A former manager of Suzanne’s Cuisine restaurant, Jackie wanted to expand her experience. “The first time I saw Topa Mountain Winery,” she remembers, “my head spun with ideas of concerts, dinners and events, all of which I get to see to fruition here in my hometown.”

Benefits make up a large portion of the winery’s social gatherings, all of them arranged by Larry and the winery’s manager, Jackie Franklin. Jackie is Ojai born and raised and grew up amid the Sespe wilderness and orange groves. She spent much of her career in the music industry and in event planning, making her an excellent fit for a winery that wanted to expand its community

Topa Mountain With such a large outdoor space, it’s only fitting that the winery has become a venue for musical acts, featuring some of the best in the valley. “My vision for Topa Mountain Winery was always for it to be a gathering spot in Ojai for family and friends,” says owner Larry Guerra. “At first, we started small with live music once or twice a month, but once we realized the community

In the past three years, the winery has worked with nearly every nonprofit in Ojai, assisting them with hosting benefits, large or small. Recent examples include a full staged reading of an original play from the new Muse of Fire theater company; a miniconcert performed by the cast of the Ojai Art Center Theater’s production of “Mamma Mia!”; a benefit for Ojai Cares to raise awareness of breast cancer, and, for the first time, the winery hosted the annual Taste of Ojai,

A taste of the good life by Richard Camp



Photo by Sarah Ellefson



benefiting the Rotary Club of Ojai. A recent concert by Dennis Quaid and his Shark Band, called Rock the Wish, was months in the making and a resounding success. “We raised over $20,000 for Make-AWish Tri-Counties, which directly goes to grant wishes for deserving children in our community,” Jackie proudly says. “If that doesn’t make you feel good, I’m not sure what will!” Larry agrees. “We feel that the community of Ojai gives to us and it is our privilege to be able to give back to it,” he says. Larry’s interest in wine began more than 17 years ago when he moved to Upper Ojai and planted a vineyard to enjoy its seasonal qualities. “Grape vines are one of the only plants that allow you to see the seasons change,” he says. “From dormancy to bud breaks and vigorous summer canopy to fall colors of burnt orange, yellow and red, it’s all beautiful to witness.”

After taking winemaking courses at UC Davis, he started making his own wine in his garage in 2013, and things grew from there, to the point that he has the luxury of mixing up the tasting flights, allowing returning guests and wine club members to sample a different wine each time they come in. But, he does have some staples. Blend 33 is a Rhone White Blend, and Blend 150 is a Rhone Red Blend (named for Ojai’s Highways 33 and 150). His flagship wine is the Chief Peak Blend made up of 50% Syrah and 50% Grenache, both sourced from vineyards in the valley. “We try to source as much fruit from the Ojai Valley as possible,” says Jackie, “which usually means Rhone varietals, Syrah and Grenache. Ojai has a very warm climate, which is better suited for hearty red varieties.” At his estate vineyard in Upper Ojai, Larry grows Barbera (Italian), Syrah and Grenache (French), and Tempranillo (Spanish), all of which do well in Ojai’s Mediterranean climate. For variety, he outsources grapes from Santa

Barbara County, such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The winery’s best-seller is its Rosé of Grenache, made in a Provencal style. Not sweet, minerally and refreshing, it’s the perfect wine to sip outdoors on a warm Ojai day. Clearly, the concept of “wine” at Topa Mountain is much more than a tasting, or something to pair with food. In more ways than one, it is a stimulant that brings people together in a space that encourages them to share the beauty of the surroundings, and to give back to a community that’s enriched by its presence. Wine, at Topa Mountain, is indeed a way of life. “When I am here on a busy Saturday afternoon or at a sold-out charity concert and see our guests of all ages and backgrounds genuinely having a good time and enjoying our hard work,” muses Larry, “I could not be more pleased with how things have turned out.” www.topamountainwinery.com





Order your homemade holiday tamales by Dec 22nd

Private Catering available 423 E. Ojai Ave. | 805-646-7715 107 E. El Roblar | 805-646-1066 Skip the lines ... order online!


Best Taco Best Mexican Restaurant





Open Daily for Breakfast & Lunch 7 am - 2:30 pm Closed Wednesdays


328 East Ojai Ave.


2008 “Ojai Style Sushi” ISHED

• Omakase Special Experience • Unique Appetizers • Yakitori • Bento Omakase

Top sushi chef with over 30 years experience! 967 E Ojai Ave, Ojai | (805) 640 -3070 | www.hakanesushi.com





Dining and La Fuente

Ojai Rotie

Homemade Tamales, Tortillas and Tacos. Private Catering. 2 locations. 423 E. Ojai Ave. 805-646-7715 107 E. EL Roblar Dr. 805-646-1066

Free-range rotisserie chicken, organic sourdough and the finest wines, beers & cider from the region. 469 E. Ojai Ave. (805) 798-9227 www.ojairotie.com


Papa Lennon’s Pizzeria

Cuyama Buckhorn

Sea Fresh Seafood

Ca’Marco Ristorante Italiano

Marché Gourmet Delicatessen

Bonnie Lu’s Cafe

OVG Dining & Tasting Guide

Cuisine of Tibet, India & Japan. 11400. N. Ventura Ave. 11:30 to 9:30 Tues-Fri 4:00 to 9:30 Mon. www.TibetanAid.org 805-613-3048 | 805 798-2768 info@TibetanAid.org

4923 Primero St., New Cuyama The Buckhorn Restaurant & Bar: Mon – Thurs 10am – 2pm Fri–Sat: 8am – 9pm | Sun-8am – 6pm The Buck Stop Coffee Shop: Open daily: 6am – 6pm www.cuyamabuckhorn.com 661-766-2825 @cuyamabuckhorn

Delicious and locally inspired Italian cuisine. 1002 E Ojai Ave. www.camarcoojai.com (805) 640-1048

328 E. Ojai Ave. Serving breakfast and lunch Open 7am-2:30pm Mon-Sun. Closed Weds. 805-646-0207

Original Italian cuisine, Best of Ojai winner, local wines & beers on tap. 515 W. El Roblar Dr. www.papalennons.com 805-640-7388

Fresh fish market, sushi & oyster bar. Celebrating 30 years in Ojai. 533 E. Ojai Ave. www.seafreshseafood.com 805-646-7747

Vegetarian, Vegan & Gluten-Free Options. Breakfast & Lunch 9-3 daily. Dinner Fri & Sat 5-8pm 133 E. Ojai Ave. 805-646-1133 www.marchegourmetdeli.com

Reach a wider audience with the Ojai Valley Guide, Dining and Tasting listings. The OVG is distributed throughout Ventura, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties. Contact us for details. team@ojaivalleynews.com 805-646-1476



Tasting Eating and tasting in Ojai is often experienced outdoors, as our little town boasts over 20 restaurants and tasting rooms with outdoor seating options. Most establishments with outdoor dining are pet friendly. So get outside, and gormandize en plein air with your pooch. You are sure to make, or see, an acquaintance while you fortify yourself. Deer Lodge

2261 Maricopa Hwy., Ojai Live Entertainment, Outdoor Dining, BBQ, Vegetarian, Steaks, Bar, Dog-friendly 805-646-4256 www.deerlodgeojai.com

Ojai Beverage Company

Outdoor patio dining, great food! Open 11am to 11pm 655 E. Ojai Ave. www.ojaibevco.com 805-646-1700

Ventura Spirits

Our tasting room is open every Friday from 1-5pm Sat and Sun 12-5pm 3891 N. Ventura Ave. SteB2A, Ventura 805-232-4313 www.venturaspirits.com

Majestic Oak Vineyard

Tasting room 321 E. Ojai Ave. (Downstairs) 805-794-0272 www.majesticoakvineyard.com

Heavenly Honey

Boccali Vineyard & Winery

Ojai Olive Oil Co.

Topa Mountain Winery

Tasting room. All natural pure honey. 206 E. Ojai Ave. 805-207-4847 www.heavenlyhoneycompany.com

100% organic-local-sustainable Tasting Room Open Monday-Sunday 10am-4pm 1811 Ladera Road, Ojai 805-646-5964 www.ojaioliveoil.com

Tastings at Boccali’s Ojai, Sat & Sun 11am-4pm. 3277 East Ojai Avenue 805-669-8688 www.boccalivineyards.com

Tasting room 821 W. Ojai Ave. 805-640-1190 www.topamountainwinery.com




The World According to Nora Diving into conversation with Ojai’s Nora Herold feels a bit like crossing into another dimension. Andra Belknap goes above and beyond to learn more.

I meet her at The Farmer and the Cook on a Friday afternoon; Nora strolls over from her Meiners Oaks home. She wears a giant grin and rose-tinted glasses. Now, Ojai is home to all manner of mystics and spirit guides, but Nora’s spiritual guidance comes with an extra twist: Nora channels wisdom shared with her by extraterrestrial beings. In Nora’s world, not only do extraterrestrials abound, we are -- each of us -- all made up of extraterrestrial genetic material. She’s mostly Pleadian (of the Pleiades star cluster). I personally have a large dose of fairy energy, Nora says. As a person who feels fairly rooted to the reality our society has generally agreed upon, Nora’s reality is deeply intriguing. Perhaps even more intriguing than the fact that she regularly receives information from beings she believes to be extraterrestrial is that she is totally confident in her reality. She knows she’s different, and she revels in it. I ask her if she ever fears people labelling her as strange, or crazy. She laughs. “I have huge fears of rejection,” she admits with ease. “Huge.”

“My higher self has no fear. That’s true about all our higher selves,” she says. “When Nora is into fear of rejection or discomfort or insecurity, I just default to my higher self.” Nora often refers to herself in the third person -- that’s her way of acknowledging that she believes she has experienced life as all manner of beings -- including one lifetime in the fabled city of Atlantis. According to Nora, our higher self is the part of us that sticks with us for the duration -- the higher self, for example, is the part of us that has recall of our past lives and traumas. Nora grew up in Chicago. As a young girl, she had all manner of experiences with the paranormal: ghosts and spirits and such. She shares freely that her childhood was difficult -- and that’s one of the reasons she practices the spiritual work she does today. “I accessed my higher self ’s energy at a pretty young age, due to an abusive childhood,” she said. “It was not something I thought about back then, it was just something I did. I didn’t know quite what I was accessing, I didn’t have language for it. I didn’t have an understanding of it, other than I could feel that love and support,” she explained. “I was 16 years old and I left home. Nora


didn’t really make those decisions, looking back, I know that. I felt within myself that if I did not leave that environment for a period of time I was not going to survive. My higher self walked me out the door and a mile away to a friend’s house.” Nora’s reality not only includes Pleiadians and fairies: she’s acquainted with elves, gnomes, angels, beings from the Lyrian star system, the Cassiopeia constellation and more. “All of the pretend and imaginary and mythical beings we have that we all played with as children in our ‘imaginations’ I see as real,” Nora explained. The way Nora tells it, it wasn’t until she was 29 that she made conscious contact with the Pleiadian collective, a group of beings that have guided her work for the past two decades as a Pleiadian channel and spiritual counselor. All of us channel, Nora says. She uses the example of an artist. “There are those moments of inspiration, all artists talk about it, where sh*t comes through and you don’t know where it comes from. That’s channeling,” she said. (Nora is also a prolific expletive-user -- more on that later). “We all channel. We all operate as channels for that higher energy and it comes through each of us in ways that are specific to our personalities and our own personal abilities. “I’m not special. I mean, I’m special in the way that we’re all special. We’re all special, we’re all unique, but I’m not special in my abilities or special in the information I’m accessing,” she said. “I just like it!”

Nora Herold participates in a live a channeling event at Burbank’s Colony Theatre. Photo courtesy Nora Herold.



Nora is interviewed in her home for the Gaia TV program “Interviews with Extra Dimensionals.” Photo courtesy Nora Herold.

Nora says that her work allows her clients to live more joyful lives. One of the primary lessons the Pleiadians teach, she says, is about consciously operating from a place of joy, as opposed to making choices based on fear and past trauma. “The thing I hear more often than not (from my clients) is that it’s suddenly much easier to be here on planet Earth at this time,” she said. Each first Tuesday of the month, Nora invites folks to participate in a two-hour webcast and teleconference, during which she shares wisdom from the Pleiadians and any other beings who show up. A being Nora calls Ursula, who carries fairy energy, has recently begun sharing wisdom during these sessions, she said. Nora was initially hesitant to have the being Ursula join her monthly transmissions, because, well, Ursula used to exist in the form of a cat that lived with Nora, her partner, and their three dogs. Nora absolutely sees the absurdity here, but again, she just kind of goes with it. “Ursula is a fairy, and up until two months ago, Ursula aligned her energy with the body of a being who existed in my family as a cat,” Nora explained. “She let me know the day she left her body that she’d be coming through on my transmissions. And I said, ‘No, sorry, it’s enough that I’m channeling Pleadians, I’m not going to be the crazy cat lady who now channels her dead cat,’” Nora recalled through a peal of laughter. Ursula, however, was insistent.

Ursula, Nora said, comes with a very simple message: “that we are magic incarnate,” as Nora explained. This is a piece of philosophy that weaves its way into many of Nora’s teachings. “My perspective is that we’re all spiritual. This table is spiritual,” she said, knocking on one of The Farmer and the Cook’s outdoor tables. “The ground is spiritual. We are all spirit having a physical experience. The more you can weave into your everyday life, your spiritual life and your understandings -- whatever they are for you, whatever your belief system is -- the more powerful and empowered you are going to feel, the more connected you’re going to feel to all of humanity.” In Nora’s world, everything we encounter carries a spiritual meaning. “Did you see that butterfly fly by?” She asked me, in the middle of our conversation. “Did that mean something?” I respond, after the Monarch butterfly fluttered by. “Definitely! Have you seen a butterfly yet in our conversation?” “No.” “Exactly. This valley is completely populated by fairy energy!” Nora proclaimed. In Nora’s world, everything is magic. We are magic. And though it’s not my reality, it’s a pretty delightful reality to step into. When I encounter someone who seems to have access to wisdom that I do not, I can’t help but ask her: if all of this is true, what are we doing here, right now, on this planet we know as Earth?

“What are we doing here? What are we doing anywhere in this universe?” She asks rhetorically in response. “We’re experiencing!” Because I can’t help myself, I also ask Nora about how she understands herself. “I see myself as human and extraterrestrial, fairy, incarnate guide, and all the other things as well.” To learn more about Nora’s work, visit www.noraherold.com OVG

Nora’s Affirmations May you always be aware of the guidance and love that surrounds you. May you pay attention each day to the lessons that are being offered and the opportunity to grow in love. May each step you take become more conscious and courageous. May you choose healing. May you listen to that which you know to be true. May you find joy and peace and serenity. May you face your fears so that they can dissolve into Light. May you take responsibility for your creation. May you be honest in feeling and thought and word. May you ask for help when you need it and have the strength to receive it when offered. May you know that you are loved, always loved.


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SHIRLEY VALENTINE January 24 – February 16 An ordinary middle-class housewife reminisces about her life with her husband, her children, her past. She accepts an invitation from a girlfriend to join her in Greece in search of romance and adventure, and finds it, with a local fisherman. Will she stay with him? This Tony award-winning play deals with a real “change of life” in a heartfelt and hilarious manner. Directed by Steve Grumette. VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE March 20 – April 12 Winner of the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play this playful Chekhov parody from the offbeat mind of Christopher Durang offers siblings who bicker and dicker, drink liquor and snicker in an old farmhouse on a Bucks County, Pennsylvania cherry orchard. Movie-star-sister Masha dresses as Snow White and Spike strip teases to the delight of (almost) everyone! Directed by Linda Livingston. YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN May 8 – May 31 This hilarious musical entertainment brings you the story of Frankenstein as transmogrified through the no-filter brain of writer, Mel Brooks. Get ready for bad puns, good badinage, the hunchback Igor, the leggy assistant, Inga, clever songs, outrageous dances and barely controlled mayhem in this Monster-mashup and goulash of ghoulish farce. As young Frankenstein would say, “it’s alive!” Directed by John Medeiros. THE MUSIC MAN June 26 – July 26 Harold Hill is back with his blend of charming smarm and musical magic, while falling in love with Marian the Librarian. Who can resist the classic songs, “Til There was You,” “76 Trombones,” or “Goodnight, My Someone?” You’ll “Pick a Little, Talk a Little,” as that “Trouble in River City,” that starts with “T” and rhymes with “P” is lovingly sorted out! Directed by Tracey Williams Sutton. THE MIRACLE WORKER November 20 – December 13 This classic tells the story of Annie Sullivan and her student, blind and mute Helen Keller, and dramatizes the volatile relationship between the lonely teacher and her charge. Trapped in a secret, silent world, unable to communicate, Helen is violent and spoiled. Only Annie realizes that there is a mind and spirit waiting to be rescued from the dark, tortured silence. Directed by Gai Jones. Also coming in September 2020, an OPAT production of “Cabaret,” for which season ticket subscribers can receive a special discount. The Art Center Youth Branch presents “Frozen Kids” Aug 6-9. Ticket prices are $10. This is not part of your season ticket.



VOLUME 37 NUMBER 3 4 | FALL WINTER 2019 2019


DECEMBER 2019 - MARCH 2020

Yue Deng plays Bach, January 5 at the Ojai Art Center

December Art Exhibit Dec. 12 through March 1 Thursday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. canvas and paper, 311 N. Montgomery St. (805) 798-9301 www.canvasandpaper.org Works on paper by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele will be on display through March 1. Art Exhibits Through Dec. 28 Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m to 5 p.m. Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts, 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Road (805) 646-3381 www.beatricewood.com “Impressions,” an exhibit of works by Ojai Studio Artists, will be on display in the Logan Gallery, and “Small Treasures,” an exhibit of works by Ventura County Potters’ Guild, will be on display in the Beato Gallery, through Dec. 28.

January Art Exhibit Jan. 3 through Jan. 30. Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Ojai Art Center 113 S. Montgomery St.

(805) 646-0117 www.ojaiartcenter.org Works by artists Carolyn Fox and David Reeser will be on display. A reception will be held Jan. 11 from 1 to 3 p.m. Chamber Music Concert Jan. 5, 2 p.m. Ojai Art Center, 113 S. Montgomery St. (805) 640-1158 www.ojaiartcenter.org Violinist Yue Deng will perform a concert of classical music, including Bach.

(805) 646-3381 www.beatricewood.com The exhibit “California Fibers: A Closer Look” will be on display in the Logan Gallery through Feb. 29. An opening reception will be held Jan. 18 from 2 to 5 p.m. Chamber on the Mountain Jan. 19, 3 p.m. Logan House, 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Road (805) 646-9951 www.chamberonthemountain.com Happy Valley Cultural Center’s

Art Exhibit Jan. 18 through Feb. 29 Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts, 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Road

Art Exhibit Through Jan. 19 Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Ojai Valley Museum, 130 W. Ojai Ave. (805) 640-1390 www.ojaivalleymuseum.org “Legacy: Krishnamurti and Ojai” will be on display through Jan. 19, examining the sage’s teachings and especially how his followers shaped the valley. “Shirley Valentine” Jan. 24 through Feb. 16 Fridays and Saturdays, 7:30 p.m., Sundays, 2 p.m. Ojai Art Center Theater, 113 S. Montgomery St. (805) 646-0117 www.ojaiact.org The original “Shirley Valentine” was a one-woman play written by Willy Russell in 1986. Shirley was a 40-something Liverpudiian housewife who felt her life had no real meaning any more before taking off for a vacation in Greece.

February Chamber on the Mountain series will present a concert by guitar duo (Leonard and Slava Grigoryan). A meet-theartists reception follows the performance.

Art Exhibit Jan. 31 through Feb. 27 Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Ojai Art Center, 113 S. Montgomery St. (805) 646-0117


www.ojaiartcenter.org Works by artist Otis Bradley will be on display. A reception will be held Feb. 8 (time TBA). Art Exhibit Feb. 1 through April 12 Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Ojai Valley Museum, 130 W. Ojai Ave. (805) 640-1390 www.ojaivalleymuseum.org “22 Miles” will be on display through April 12, featuring landscape paintings that highlight the Ojai Valley. A free opening reception will be held Feb. 1 from 5 to 7 p.m. “Imagine” Concert Feb. 7, 4 p.m. Ojai Valley School, Greenberg Center, 723 El Paseo Road (805) 646-2094 www.ojaifestival.org The Mahadev Indian Ensemble with guitarist Dave Cipriani will perform in a free concert for the public, sponsored by the OVSBarbara Barnard Smith Fund and the Ojai Music Festival. “A Salute to Tony Bennett” Feb. 8, 7:30 p.m. Ojai Underground Exchange, 1016 W. Ojai Ave. (805) 340-7893

Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Ojai Art Center, 113 S. Montgomery St. (805) 646-0117 www.ojaiartcenter.org Works by artist Robbie Braun will be on display. A reception will be held March 14 from 1 to 3 p.m. Chamber on the Mountain March 1, 3 p.m. Logan House, 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Rd. (805) 646-9951 www.chamberonthemountain.com Happy Valley Cultural Center’s Chamber on the Mountain series will present an all-Brahms concert by cellist Zlatomir Fung. A meet-

the-artist reception follows the performance. Art Exhibit March 12 through May 31 Thursday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. canvas and paper, 311 N. Montgomery St. (805) 798-9301 www.canvasandpaper.org Paintings and drawings from the 20th century and earlier will be on display through May 31.

john@hhmusicgroup.com The Lola Haag Jazz Quartet will perform “A Salute to Tony Bennett.” The group consists of: Lola Haag, Jimmy Calire, Danny Young and David Hunt.

March Art Exhibit Feb. 28 through April 2

Art Exhibits March 14 through April 25 Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts, 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Rd. (805) 646-3381 www.beatricewood.com “Sacred Deities of Ancient Egypt” will be on display in the Logan Gallery, and recent ceramics by Patricia Keller will be on display in the Beato Gallery, through April 25. A lecture, book signing and


and handmade items, including soaps, baskets, beeswax candles and olive oil. Ojai Historical Walking Tour Every Saturday (except Ojai Day), October through June, 10:30 a.m. Depart from Ojai Valley Museum, 130 W. Ojai Ave. (805) 640-1390 www.ojaivalleymuseum.org Approximately one-hour tours of historical and cultural attractions in downtown Ojai.

reception will be held March 14 at 2 p.m. Chamber Music Concert March 15, 2 p.m. Ojai Art Center, 113 S. Montgomery St. (805) 640-1158 www.ojaiartcenter.org Musician to be announced. “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” March 20 through April 12 Fridays and Saturdays, 7:30 p.m., Sundays, 2 p.m. Ojai Art Center Theater, 113 S. Montgomery St. (805) 646-0117 www.ojaiact.org This is a comedy play written by Christopher Durang.

Ongoing Events Certified Farmers’ Market Every Sunday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Matilija Street city parking lot behind the Arcade

(805) 698-5555 Open-air market featuring locally grown produce, plants, musicians

Third Friday in Ojai Third Friday of each month, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Ojai Valley Museum, 130 W. Ojai Ave. (805) 640-1390 www.ojaivalleymuseum.org Free admission, refreshments, and something extra every month. Other nearby downtown merchants also participate. Old-Time Fiddlers Second and fourth Sunday, 1:30 to 4 p.m. Oak View Community Center, 18 Valley Road, Oak View (805) 797-6563 www.calfiddlers.com Join the California State Old-Time Fiddlers, District 8, for a fun-filled afternoon of listening or dancing to country, western and bluegrass music. Free admission and parking. Community Healers Gathering Second Saturday of each month, 1 to 5 p.m. Resonance Healing Center 215 Church Road, Ojai (480) 239-0660 www.ojairesonancecenter.com A wide array of affordable or free healing modalities and products for your mind, body and spirit. Arts and Crafts Show First Saturday of each month, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (except January) Parking Lot at Nordhoff High School, 1401 Maricopa Highway, Ojai (805) 640-4343 gduncan@ojaiusd.org Artists may reserve a 10-footby-10-foot booth space for $50, payable to the nonprofit Nordhoff Parent Association (NPA) to participate in this monthly Arts and Crafts Show. Booth fees are due one week prior to the show date and will benefit the school’s arts program.





THE EL TORO ESTATE A n Hi stori ca l Work of A rt This Spanish Colonial Estate was built in 1926 by architect Arthur E. Harvey, creator of the Château Élysée in Los Angeles; on 8 lush acres, it has incredible views. The main house was authentically and beautifully restored with an architectural historian from the original blueprints. Allen Construction from Montecito used the finest materials and and paid exquisite attention to detail. The property is truly a work of art, from the historical tiles to the arched entryways. It feels like a modernized California Mission. The main house has 7 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms; the property includes a well, a tennis court, a pool, and a 2br/2ba guest house. Ecological landscape design facilitates water retention that feeds a huge variety of fruit trees. 1 19 0E l To ro R dO j ai. co m

Pr ice Upon R e q ue s t




Only minutes from downtown Ojai, this gated parcel offers unbelievable panoramic views over 3 counties, which include the Pacific Ocean, the Channel Islands, and the Topa Topa Mountain Range. With ample buildable land, a private well and utilities in place, it is ready for the home of your dreams. 13500ESulph urMt n R dO jai. co m

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(805) 340-3774 pattywaltcher.com



Lady Ladd Moving in a straight line is a narrow way to live. Circling just brings you back to where you started. But spiraling — soaring, falling, twisting — is dynamic.


iane Ladd is spiraling through life. As an accomplished actress, director, writer, activist, healer and concerned Ojai resident, she’s always swirling around a project or cause, full of momentum. “Science uses the spiral as a symbol of all energy,” she wrote in her 2006 self-help memoir, “Spiraling Through the School of Life: A Mental, Physical, and Spiritual Discovery.” “I believe that we’re all circling the tree of life as we evolve. What goes up has got to come down; what comes down needs to go back up. The latter is the real tricky part.” The times Ladd has lifted herself from a fall are among the most interesting parts of her helix of a history. Ladd is a native Southerner from Mississippi. With her warm, lilted accent and sassy attitude, she’s a natural storyteller, brimming with tales of her part-Cherokee psychic greatgrandmother; entertainment beginnings as a Copacabana girl; her hundreds of film and TV roles; daughter Laura Dern; first husband Bruce Dern and current (third) husband Robert Hunter; work and friendships with stars and directors

By Karen Lindell

from Peter Fonda to Martin Scorsese; and interest in alternative medicine, arts education, runaway production, environmental activism, and little-known Watergate-era figure Martha Mitchell. Although she’s probably most known as an actress, Ladd is a quintuple-threat artist who can act, sing, dance, write and direct. She has received three Oscar nominations for best supporting actress: as Flo in “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” (1974); Marietta Fortune in “Wild at Heart” (1990); and Mother in “Rambling Rose” (1991). Daughter Laura Dern received a best actress nomination for “Rambling Rose” — the first and only time a mother-daughter pair has been nominated for the same film. Ladd has also been nominated for three Emmy Awards (for guest actress in “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” “Grace Under Fire,” and “Touched by an Angel”), won a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award, and Golden Globe. Like many aspiring actresses, Rose Diane Ladnier started out on small stages in her hometown. After graduating from high school at 16, she attended a finishing school in New Orleans and sang with a French Quarter band. She gave up a scholarship to study law at Louisiana State University in favor of show biz, when actor John Carradine saw her in a local theatrical production and asked her to join the national tour of “Tobacco Road.”

At age 17, she changed her name to Diane Ladd and moved to New York City to dance for the famed Copacabana in New York City — a notoriously difficult dancing gig to land. She made her stage debut in the off-Broadway version of “Orpheus Descending,” written by relative Tennessee Williams and starring her future husband, Bruce Dern. Ladd’s first big-screen role was in “The Wild Angels.” Numerous other film and TV credits over the years include “Chinatown,” “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” “Joy” (as grandmother to Jennifer Lawrence’s Joy), Stephen King’s “Kingdom Hospital,” “Primary Colors,” “The World’s Fastest Indian,” and “Alice” (the TV show). Most recently, Ladd starred from 2011-13 in HBO’s “Enchanted,” with daughter Dern; and since 2016 has played Nell O’Brien, the matriarch of a Maryland family, on the Hallmark Channel drama “Chesapeake Shores.” Ladd made her directing and writing debut with the 1995 film “Mrs. Munck,” which screened at international festivals and earned Ladd three director awards. Her career is full of highlights, but Ladd’s personal life has taken a darker turn at times. One of the deepest sorrows of Ladd’s life, and possibly her lowest spiral, was the death of Diane, her first daughter with Bruce Dern, to a swimming-pool accident in 1962 when the little girl was 18 months old.



“I felt soulless,” she said. “My world became black and white: It was just pain and merciful sleep, sleep, and unrelenting pain.” The couple tried to have another baby, but Ladd developed a tubular pregnancy that could have killed her. After surgery for the tubular pregnancy, she lost one of her fallopian tubes and nearly all of the other one. Her doctor told her it would be “impossible” for her to have another baby. That unthinkable pronouncement led to Ladd’s interest in alternative medicine and metaphysics, before such things became more mainstream. “When Shirley MacLaine was out on a limb, I was already out on a branch,” she said. Ladd immersed herself in learning about and trying nontraditional healing methods: mud and steam baths, vitamins, minerals, cranberry juice, water, body cleansing, avocados, bee pollen, meditation. And then (with help from her husband, of course), she did become pregnant, with Laura Dern. Since then, Ladd has been a serious practitioner of, and advocate for, alternative healing. She has a degree in esoteric psychology and a certificate in nutrition, and often lectures about health and spirituality. In 2002, she testified before Congress at a hearing on diet, physical activity and dietary supplements. She has been a member of the board of advisors for the National Foundation of Alternative Medicine, and attributes her



own continued health and longevity to complementary medicine and nutrition. Ladd’s interest in health is related to one of her latest crusades. After becoming severely ill from what her doctor believes was caused by pesticide spraying drift in Ojai, Ladd has become a strong advocate for “regenerative agriculture,” a holistic farming method that aims to reverse climate change by restoring soil through such practices as cover crops and crop rotation, and avoiding chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and “it helps their pocket book 10 times!” Ladd declars, “I love the farmers, my people were farmers!” “No one has a right to shoot me like a roach,” she said bluntly. “Get another bug to kill the bug. And people are eating fruit and food with poison in it. Nature’s smarter than we are, so let’s let nature fix it.” In September, Ladd helped organize a town hall meeting in Ojai to focus on the issue. Her Ojai home is now for sale, Ladd said, but mainly because she wants to be closer to her daughter, and will continue to “fight to clean up the air for everybody,” wherever she lives. Ladd directs her other advocacy activities toward the arts. As a longtime member of the Screen Actors Guild, where she has held leadership positions, she often reminds people that the majority of working actors are not gazillionaire superstars. “The fact is that most plumbers and teachers earn more money than the majority of actors,” she said, because entertainers often have to “shell out money to five other people”: agents, managers, business managers, lawyers and PR people. She also founded and serves as president of the Art & Culture Taskforce (ACT), a nonprofit that supports arts education. Ladd said the organization has hosted readings where children act out stories read by celebrities, among other activities. But its biggest success, she said, is preventing “runaway production,” which refers to movies and TV shows released in the United States, but filmed in other countries. Ladd helped pass federal legislation in

Top: As Florence in“Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, 1974. (Warner Brothers) Above: Directing Mrs Munck, 1995 Below: “Chinatown,” 1974. With Jack Nicholson. (Paramount Pictures )



Ladd said she’s “extremely proud” to be starring in the upcoming film “The Last Full Measure,” a Vietnam War drama that tells the true story of William Pitsenbarger, a U.S. Air Force airman. During a rescue mission in 1966, Pitsenbarger had a chance to escape a brutal battle on a helicopter, but stayed behind with his fellow soldiers — and was killed. Decades later, he received a posthumous Medal of Honor. Ladd plays his mother, Alice Pitsenbarger. The film’s title comes from a phrase in the Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln: “that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion…” Above: “The Wild Angels ,“ 1966. With Peter Fonda and Nancy Sinatra. (American International Pictures) Left: “Rambling Rose” 1991. With daughter Laura Dern and Lucas Hass. (New Line Cinema)

2004 that offers tax incentives for keeping production in the United States. “When I was learning to be an actress, I watched Bette Davis and Barbara Stanwyck,” she said. “I swam in their magic and absorbed it. But Europe, China and Prague will get all the future Bette Davises when they start using their own people in films.” The United States, she said, “competes against countries that put up money for films. We’re also one of the few countries in the world that doesn’t have national theater. But culture can be more powerful a weapon than a bomb. What is more powerful than an industry that holds up a mirror to fellow human beings of our pain, pleasure, saints, sinners, and games?” Ladd laments that her current TV show “Chesapeake Shores,” set in Maryland, is filmed in Canada. Still, she’s a fan of the Hallmark Channel, which produces the series. “I wanted to be part of the Hallmark Channel because they don’t use violence to sell their shows,” Ladd said.

Above: As Marletta Fortune in “Wild at Heart, 1990. (Samuel Goldwyn)

And although starring in a popular series would be enough for many actors in their 80s, Ladd’s not even close to winding down her acting and directing career.

Ladd described the film, which premiered to an audience of veterans in October and is set for wide release in January, as “one of the best films I’ve ever been privileged to be part of. It’s all about truth, and reflects problems we have today. I learned about the death of this man who gave up his life in a battle that should have never taken place, and represented what so many young men sacrificed. I also got to meet his mother.” Directed by Todd Robinson, the film also stars Sebastian Stan, Christopher Plummer, Jeremy Irvine, William Hurt, Ed Harris, Samuel L. Jackson and the late Peter Fonda in his final film. Ladd also acted with Fonda in her very first film in 1966, “The Wild Angels.” Ladd, who stayed friends with Fonda over the years, said she and the actor, who plays a soldier in “The Last Full Measure,” didn’t have any scenes together, but met socially during the movie shoot and interviewed Vietnam War veterans together. “He was very gracious and kind to all of them,” she said. Ladd isn’t content just to act, however, and has spent more than 40 years throwing herself into creating a project very close to her heart and mind: a biographical film, “Woman Inside,” about Martha Mitchell, the wife of U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell, who served under President Richard Nixon. Mitchell was somewhat of a whistleblower, warning officials about the White



House antics that led to the Watergate scandal. They ignored and dismissed her, however, and Mitchell claimed her husband and government officials even drugged her and kept her locked up to keep her from talking to the media. The Mitchells later separated. ““(Martha) was inside all of the shenanigans,” Ladd said. “She knew the truth and cared about her country. The truth about Watergate has never quite been told.” Ladd wrote the screenplay after a “spiritual” encounter with Mitchell. She said a spirit made contact with her early in the morning on May 31, 1976 — right after Mitchell died — while Ladd was starring in the stage production of “Lu Ann Hampton Laverty Oberlander” at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. That evening, during her performance, Ladd said, Mitchell’s ghost appeared to her and said, “Chose you… must… Martha.” “She wanted me to tell her story,” Ladd said, who figured out the next day who “Martha” was. “All the congressmen and representatives mocked her, called her a dirty, crazy alcoholic, called her insane, but she was a truth teller.” Ladd won’t reveal many details about the film because she said someone has tried to steal the idea from her (she won’t name the person), but said she might direct or star in the project, which is in preproduction. Ladd doesn’t hold back speaking up about the things she finds unjust, whether retaliation against whistle-blowers or pesticides. But she has a soft, stable interior below the tough, spiraling exterior. “Think with your brain, but feel with your heart first,” she said. “We are all connected. We can’t hurt each other and get away with it.” OVG

Above: Dianne and Laura Right: With actor, Chevy Chase Below: With director, David Lynch


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Sami Zahringer is

Worried in Ojai Fear stalked the aisles of Westridge Midtown Market today. As I shopped for my cottage cheese I could feel it watching me from over by the pears. Abhorrence blocked the bread aisle and, although the other shoppers appeared to be walking, they didn’t move their legs. As I drove home, the clouds took on a malevolent aspect. Great ogres billowed and gaped, breathing down on me the breath of Heaven’s displeasure (which could benefit from a TictacTM) I cleared my throat. Peril was in the bushes, and a rabbit openly loathed me. Trees muttered imprecations and telephone-poles laughed and pointed. Sinister gates creaked open and shut where before there had been no gates, and I watched a raven turn snow white. As I reached my driveway, doubt crouched behind the dustbins and all the world turned sickly and yellow. Perspiration entombed my body as I got into the house as quickly as I could, locking the door behind me. I boiled the kettle and with a trembling hand poured myself a cup of dread. My hand reached for the phone and I dialed. I made the bloody dentist appointment. That done, I collapsed in a sweaty heap. That done, I decided to pull myself together, if not for myself then because my loin fruit shouldn’t have to watch their mother rocking and moaning under the dining room table with her hands over her ears. The surest way to forget a nagging worry is to distract oneself with other things to worry about. Fetching a pencil and paper, I made a list:

Things to Worry About That Are Not The Dentist.

Is the way you sneeze hereditary?

What if vaccines cause autism?

Do I pee enough?

Will I be a nice old person or one of those really mean old people?

What would people think if they knew I, a grown-up woman, sleep with the three-eyed alien from Toy Story. Would it help to explain to anyone who found out that it’s because it was gifted to my daughter but she didn’t like it and I felt sorry for it so have slept with it ever since, or would that make it worse?

When I do that thing of trying to silently diagnose the other people in the doctor’s waiting room, are any of them silently diagnosing me? What do they think I have? It’s something to do with my nose, isn’t it? They think I’m there for a broken nose when, in fact, this is just my nose. Should I straight up tell people that next time I’m at the doctor. “Excuse me. You may think I am here for a broken nose but I’m not.” Why must Nature mock me with a lower back mole in the shape of a broccoli floret? Even if I did want to get a lower back tattoo, it would have to have a vegetable theme or somehow incorporate an evil-looking piece of broccoli. Does the cat love me? I really, really love him but what if he doesn’t love me back?

this f i t a h W ... really is

D? N E E H T

Do I pee too often?

Why does my son dip his pizza in ketchup? Is this some flaw in his upbringing? How could I have let this happen? The Kurds. The Big One. (I still haven’t braced my bookcases.) Why have I still not braced my bookcases? William H. Macey. I have no idea why I worry about him but I just do. What if I’ve already made the best lasagna I will ever make and it wasn’t that good? What if my mother finds out I swear? Should I become an astronaut? Why is Donald Trump? As I’m typing this out am I doing that double chin thing? How can humanity keep David Attenborough from ever dying? The world and everything in it. Well, worrying about that little lot should keep me occupied until the dentist appointment if I ration them out to one and a half worries per day. THE END. What if this really is The End?




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Alicia Doyle Pictures: Alana Mitnik








when alana mitnick took her first yoga class at age 15 in ventura, she never expected to discover the science of inner transformation and philosophy of life that led years later to her ownership of ojai yoga shala. “I didn’t know anything about yoga — I’d never heard of it,” recalled Alana, a resident of Ojai who was born and raised in Ventura. “Like for many of us, yoga found me. And it changed my life.” As an athletic teenager with a background in dance, Alana took her first yoga class at a gym, where she walked into a room filled with senior women. The yoga instructor worked with props and straps, but it was at the very end of the class when Alana experienced “an awakening.” This happened during Savasana, which is used for relaxation at the end of a yoga session.

“It was that moment at the very end where it hooked me … this experience for the first time of quiet, silence. I felt like I woke up. I didn’t know what happened, but I wanted more of it, so I kept on coming back.” As soon as she got her driver’s license, she drove across town for more, taking yoga classes before heading off to Ventura High School. Over time, “it helped accelerate this path and process of becoming more aware and deepening a sense of love and connection … this intimacy with self.” She continued taking yoga classes when she went off to college


at UC Santa Cruz, where she earned a degree in community studies with a focus on community activism and leadership. When she came back to Ventura to visit her family, her passion for yoga continued to solidify as she took classes near home. In 2006, she walked into Lulu Bandha’s, a yoga studio owned by Kira Sloane, located inside a house built in the 1920s on Matilija Street in Ojai. “She opened her arms and said, ‘Welcome’ — and then she said, ‘Don’t leave.’”



‘It’s ab out me eting yourself exactly where you are in t h i s m o m e n t .’

In the span of the next decade, Kira became one of Alana’s most influential teachers and mentors. She guided Alana through the yoga teacher training program and hired her to manage Lulu Bandha’s Yoga Studio. Together, they also worked on the Ojai Yoga Crib, an annual gathering and “community barn-raising.” In early 2016, Kira closed Lulu Bandha’s and Alana reopened the studio in March of that year with a new name: Ojai Yoga Shala. “It was a natural transition. I followed my heart and the energy of yes,” Alana remembered. “Shala is a Sanskrit word, meaning home or gathering, a place of study, a place of practice,” explained Alana, adding that the site is known as one of the longest-standing yoga studios in Ojai. “I’m so grateful to be a part of this lineage and tradition of yoga in the valley.” Yoga means many things, and is deeply personal for every individual, she noted, “from the deepest, most intimate human experience of consciousness … to something that expresses beyond your understanding for whatever word you might use — God or universe or divine.” As the owner of Ojai Yoga Shala, Alana said she is inspired by sharing

the teachings of yoga “authentically, wholeheartedly and with integrity — the spiritual essence and roots of yoga.” While she and her instructors teach physical alignment principles and the inner mechanics of how things work, “there’s also emphasis, encouragement and attention toward the more subtle aspects through meditation and breath awareness,” as well as “yoga philosophy and techniques that draw our attention inward to experience the inner landscape.” To that end, her favorite definitions of yoga are union, integration, wholeness, belonging and connection. “Yoga happens in relationship, and it begins with an intimacy with self.” Alana said she views yoga as “a living and breathing tradition and lifestyle, not just something we do on our mat, but part of who we are and how we live our life.” Yoga is a “process of waking up, paying closer attention, and becoming more conscious,” she said. “The techniques of yoga are designed to help us see more clearly … and increase our capacity to hold the tension of opposites, whether that’s on our mat or in life, so we can respond appropriately, spontaneously and

skillfully in each and every moment of our lives.” Her classes are accessible to a wide range of people, from beginners to seasoned practitioners. For instance, the Yoga Rx class focuses on strength, mobility, stability and balance, whereas Vinyasa is rhythmic and designed to generate heat while increasing strength and flexibility. Yin Yoga, designed for all levels, is a deep stretch class that awakens the connective tissue, mobilizes the joints, and prepares the mind to meditate. Restorative Yoga, also for all levels, involves using props to support the body in deep relaxation while reducing stress and anxiety, and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. Ojai Yoga Shala also specializes in teaching seniors and offers a “Yoga for Seniors” Teacher Training with Tucker Adams and Karen Kelly. Additionally, The Shala works in close partnership with Help of Ojai to provide a senior yoga program for the community. Alana emphasized that “yoga meets us where we’re at.” “So if we’re looking for a good workout and a sweat, yes, it will meet us there. And then gradually, things will start to change and we might see things a little


bit differently. It’s not that our lives change drastically, but we move out into our lives with a slightly different perspective — more of an inner space to respond — rather than going into our usual patterns of reacting.” She noted one of her most beloved yoga teachers, Ravi Ravindra, said it best: “Yoga is anything that assists you in moving toward truth.” Today, “I feel so fortunate to be a part of this lineage and tradition that really honor the spiritual roots of yoga which I connect so deeply with. It’s not a scene; it’s not about needing the right pair of leggings. It’s about meeting yourself exactly where you are in this moment. Not where you want to be a month from now, but taking the time to slow down and settle, and feel what’s going on inside … to allow for the possibility of transformation.” OVG

Ojai Yoga Shala is located at 306 E. Matilija St. in Ojai. For more information, call 805-552-6524 or visit www.ojaiyogashala.com




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Wild “I have called on the Goddess and found her within myself.” – “The Mists of Avalon,” by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Picture: Michaela Boehm

How do we keep the spark alive and enjoy intimacy while attending to the challenges of life and relationships? Michaela Boehm knows and has coached the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Will Smith.



jai rewilded Michaela Boehm. Serene but rugged natural surroundings can do that.

Boehm, a relationship and intimacy expert who has worked with Gwyneth Paltrow, Will Smith and other high-profile people, along with noncelebrities, offers workshops and counseling in Ojai and around the world. She’s also the author of the 2018 book “The Wild Woman’s Way: Unlock Your Full Potential for Pleasure, Power, and Fulfillment.” The “wild woman” is probably not what you think, if you’re imagining a female in scarlet red at a Las Vegas bacchanal, a crazed or carnal gleam in her eye. The wild woman, Boehm said, is the part of each of us, including the feminine aspect of men, “that is deeply and inextricably connected to natural life, including our own bodies.” The “www” we should be paying attention to, she said, is not the digital one, but rather “the worldwide web of natural information — the vast and deep knowledge of nature and the body that has kept us alive.”

Woman Story by Karen Lindell

We lose that part of ourselves, Boehm said, by living in our heads and sitting too much, planted in our cars or at desks in front of computers. Overwhelmed by the massive noise, technology and busy-ness of life including emails, texts, sirens, social media, meetings, video streaming and trying to be everything to everyone, we’re no longer capable of picking up the body’s instinctual messages: hunger, thirst, intuition and sexual desire. Boehm’s goal is to guide both women and men back to nature — not to the wild outdoors (although that can help), but to their own personal deeper nature.


Rewilding does not happen, she said, “in a world-denying, granola-crunching, unwashed-and-ungroomed kind of way, but rather {through) integrating ancient wisdom, the natural genius of our bodies.” Boehm has degrees in psychology, but does not call herself a therapist. She prefers teacher and counselor. “I don’t really do psychotherapy,” she said. “My work has to do with somatic and tantric principles, and the work of intimacy and relationships as expressed through the body.” All of Boehm’s advice, whether she’s trying to help couples improve their sex lives or guide women to more balanced lives, comes back to the body. Paltrow, who has called Boehm “one of my amazing teachers,” features advice from Boehm on her website, www.goop. com. The actress interviewed Boehm during her 2018 In Goop Health Wellness Summit in Los Angeles, where they discussed “creating sexual tension.” Boehm, referring to tantric principles, first spoke about what tantra is not. “It’s not pretzel-like sex,” she said. “That comes way later in the game. How I describe it is a full engagement with life through the body, and what that means is, of course, all that the body does, including sex.” Before becoming an intimacy and body specialist to the stars, Boehm was a tween girl who wanted to be a witch. At age 12, Boehm, who grew up in rural Austria, read Marion Zimmer Bradley’s book “The Mists of Avalon,” a Celtic retelling of the Arthurian legend that focuses on the tale’s strong females. “All the characters are powerful sorceresses and priestesses,” Boehm said. “For me, the thing that stuck was their connection to nature, herbs, spells and the Earth, and using that to help people — being a good witch.” When Boehm was a teen, a local woman named Magdalena taught her Celtic and herbal practices, eventually introducing her to an Indian woman named Deepa who was skilled in Ayurveda practices and became her longtime mentor.



From Deepa, Boehm said, she received “classical Kashmiri tantric lineage,” a line of knowledge passed down from one person to another, including “the mysteries of spices, teas, sound and movement.” Given from one woman to another, it is a “householder lineage,” she said, “where the people teaching are not monastics, but real people having a life, with children and jobs.” Boehm considered other ways to help people as a career, such as becoming a doctor, but found medical studies “too mechanized,” and ended up studying psychology at the University of Vienna. She became especially interested in somatics. Somatic work, she said, goes beyond “talk therapy” to “engage our whole being. There is now widespread understanding of how the body stores trauma and unexamined or unfinished emotional material, and the psyche moves away from the body until the trauma is released.” Boehm moved to the United States in the 1990s for a sort of sabbatical, not intending to stay. But she built up a successful counseling career in West Hollywood, met her future husband and didn’t want to move. Adamant about keeping her clients’ privacy (Paltrow and Smith have praised her on their own in the media), Boehm said she ended up working with celebrities and other high-profile people through word-of-mouth. “It started with one very well-known person 15 years ago or so,” she said. “All my celebrity clients came through a noncelebrity person who had worked with me.” Jesse Carmichael, keyboardist and guitarist for Maroon 5, said in a statement posted on Boehm’s website that she “is like my real-life version of Yoda meets the Elf Queen from ‘Lord of the Rings,’ meets The Oracle from the Matrix, meets any other archetypal guiding figure you can think of. … Basically, she is a lot of help.” That help includes individual and couples counseling, and workshops she teaches such as “Embodied Intimacy.”

Paltrow, whose lifestyle website and advice are popular yet controversial, was mocked by the media after announcing this year that she was living apart from her new husband, Brad Falchuk, a few days each week to improve their relationship, advice she reportedly got from Boehm. Although Boehm does recommend alone time for couples, she said the media “have blown that out of proportion and made it sensationalist. I’m just saying you have to stay an individual to stay interesting to your partner. And I’m not saying you have to live in separate houses; just spend enough time apart so you are truly happy to see the other person.” Before anyone can be in a relationship with another person, they must get in touch with themselves first, Boehm believes, and that includes living a more balanced life, integrating both “go” and “flow.” “Go” mode, she said, is the ability to “get things done, create structure, create and execute plans, and give direction to the flow of life.” “Flow,” on the other hand, is “the part of us that is creative, connected to the body, feeling the swirl of things.” Both, she said, are essential, a lesson she learned herself after moving to California. “Somewhere along the way, I forgot about the pursuit of ‘witchy’ and magical things and instead became a businesswoman,” she said. Boehm realized her life was out of balance, and missed her connection to Celtic lore and the rhythms of nature. She wanted to move to a more remote area than bustling West Hollywood, but needed to see clients one-on-one in an office setting. That need changed with the advent of Skype and phone-counseling sessions. “Through a series of miraculous events,” she said, “I managed to buy a beautiful 4-acre piece of land” in Ojai. Boehm built a teaching studio; planted flowers (she especially loves dahlias), herbs and vegetables; adopted rescued animals; and hiked and rode horses. “Working on my land reconnected me to

Gwyneth Paltrow and Will Smith are amongst the A-list celebrities who turn to Michaela to help them deal with difficult moments in their personal relationships. Pictures: Creative Commons



2017. As the Thomas fire sweeps through the valley, Michaela flies back from Europe to find her house has been completely destroyed. Picture: Michaela Boehm

it translates emotionally into stagnation. Boehn has developed what she calls the Non-Linear Movement Method, which can be summed up in four words: “move, release, feel, respond.” It’s “very practical” because it’s unstructured, free, and anyone can do it, Boehm said. Unlike yoga, running or cycling, which are all valuable exercises that promote health, nonlinear movement doesn’t follow any patterns. It might involve jumping up and down, flailing your arms, rolling on the ground, or unstructured dancing. It can be more subtle, like wiggling your toes, or swaying your hips while washing dishes. “Our bodies were designed to move,” Boehm said. “When the body does not move enough, we get stuck, not only physically, but also emotionally and mentally.” Movement, she said, “unfreezes” you, so the body’s “natural genius” can release and attend to whatever needs to be let go.

myself,” she said. “I began attending to my marriage and my personal life from the place in me that was connected to my original nature. Gradually, my nervous system reset itself.” She began sharing the rewilding practices that helped her with clients, and continues to do so. Boehm said she knows not everyone can move to the countryside, or tend to a garden and a menagerie of pets. Still, we each have “a place like this, where body, heart and mind can remember their true nature,” she said. “Your ‘place’ might be a … ritual, or playing an instrument; you might find it by reading a book or listening to music through headphones. It could be a beach, a mountaintop … pay attention to where you feel the happiest and most alive.”

Rewilding can’t happen without true “embodiment,” Boehm said, a term she uses in her workshops and counseling. She talks frequently about the part of a woman’s body from the solar plexus on down through the belly, bottom, genitals and thighs — and how women are hopelessly out of touch physically, emotionally and sexually with this core part of themselves. “When you see any kind of tribal dancers, or women cooking together in indigenous cultures, they squat,” she said. “They don’t sit on a chair. Those kinds of activities, all of them connected to the earth, are a source of nurturing, communion and creative momentum, and essential for our well-being.” When that core part of the body is tense or ignored, she said,

Boehm has had to use embodiment herself to keep herself from “freezing” when she thinks about a traumatic Ojai event: Her house burned in the Thomas Fire in December 2017. She also lost two dogs, three cats, and numerous chickens, ducks and tortoises. During the fire, she was teaching in Europe, but flew home right away. She’s now living in a home next door while the house is rebuilt. She still uses nonlinear movement to keep herself aware and feeling when she sees or thinks about the fire and her destroyed house. Because embodiment allows women to relax, stay in their bodies, and move as happily and freely as they need to, she said, it “allows you to actually be life. It’s a slightly more esoteric way of describing what a woman’s purpose is: She’s life itself.” OVG

Pick up a copy of The Wild Woman’s Way at Barnes & Noble or Amazon and learn more about Michaela’s work at www.michaelaboehm.com



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wenty years ago, I wanted to open a Gypsy Tea Room in the lovely Ojai Valley, as chronicled in my book, “Life by the Cup.” I ended up managing Local Hero, our then bookstore/café and moved on to selling Zhena’s Gypsy Tea off of a tea cart and eventually into 22,000 retail stores internationally. I’ve always said that “what you plant in Ojai grows,” and it’s true. Ojai became the launchpad of one of the world’s first 100 percent fairtrade, organic, women-owned and Biodynamic tea company. Last year, the investors opted to close the company after their attempt at going into “diet teas” cost them both me as their spokesperson, and the reputation of 18 years of fair-trade good will. I left the company in 2013 when they launched those teas, which would eventually fail. I went on to publish more than 30

Inspire Nourish

books on spirituality, ecology and women’s empowerment with my own imprint at Simon & Schuster. After four-and-a-half years as a publisher, I opted to leave New York City the same month I got the notice the tea company was closing. For the first time in 20 years, I didn’t know what I would do next. Part of me just wanted to hang out in Ojai and enjoy this spectacular place I’ve often been too busy to fully enjoy. But the universe, namely Ojai, had another idea. One evening, as the full moon was rising and the sun was setting, I stood on top of Piedras Blancas — the moonscape of mountain boulders above our sacred valley. As the pink and purple hues painted the sky, the inspiration to capture Ojai’s Pink Moment in a daily tea ceremony captured my imagination. Thus, Magic Hour was born.

I ventured that by helping people slow down through a sacred tea ceremony with those they love, we could help shift the energy of our planet from one of divisiveness to one of connection. I’ve always said that the “daily grind” can easily become our “daily shrine” if we remember that our life itself is a miracle, a symphonic collision of light, sound and divinity. To share our awareness of the miracle of life with others, through a ceremony based around the “magic hours” of dawn and dusk, is to honor the sacrament that is existence itself. We have enough busyness in modern life, but what we lack is intentional ritual for thanking life for creating us, which is why so many people are drawn to our valley of the moon — Ojai — which is a place that reminds people of what is possible.

Through the Magic Hour Box, we incorporate wisdom teachings from transformational leaders with tea ceremony and ritual items such as altars and intention setting. The monthly and quarterly subscription boxes have broadcast-quality videos taped in our beautiful Ojai Valley from teachers such as Gay and Katie Hendricks (“Conscious Loving”), Anita Moorjani (“Dying to be Me”), Michaela Boehm (“Wild Woman’s Way”), along with meditation teachers, leadership trainers and other wisdom guides. Those who receive the box receive a tea blend from my repertoire of medicinal, fair-trade and gourmet teas, a video teaching, a ritual item like an altar, and other surprises to enhance their Magic Hour ritual. After several months of shipping these boxes to clients all over the United States, we began getting orders from



Zhena Muzyka tells how a culture of divisiveness inspired Magic Hour, a new Ojai company based on connection.

Canada, Japan, Australia, India, the Philippines, the United Kingdom and from those who missed their favorite Zhena’s Gypsy Tea blends. Yet, something felt like it was missing — a local, Ojai flagship where we gather our community and share the teachings and experience of Magic Hour in a space that is warm, welcoming and nurturing. As a natural evolution, Magic Hour Ojai was born at 928 E. Ojai Ave. The new location is not a tearoom, as we won’t be serving tea. It doesn’t have a kitchen, but it does have ample space for gathering people for deep conversations and ceremony. We will be taping our wisdom videos there for the Magic Hour Box and those are open to the community. Our ceremonial products are also available for private tea explorations by appointment. Mostly, it’s a space for our community

and our visitors to create ceremonies for themselves and as gifts they can then take home and incorporate into their lives on a daily basis. A little Ojai magic goes a long way! In the tea studio, we have a “create your own ceremony” gift box area where you can choose from sacred incense from Japan, handmade stationery, foraged local smudging herbs from my land, crystals, teapots and strainers I’ve designed that are handmade in India, Sri Lanka and China, as well as packaged teas such as our famous Coconut Chai, Raspberry Earl, Bohemian Breakfast, and Child’s Pose sleep tea. The idea that you can mix and match items that resonate with you, creating your own Magic Hour ceremony at home, will allow you to take a piece of Ojai’s magic and your own intention into the quiet moments of your life so

that you may touch upon the miracle of existence. The world does not need more busy. The world does not need more talk without intention. The world needs more connection, togetherness, love and wisdom-sharing. With this in mind, we’ve scheduled readings, meditations and events from local and international authors who host our boxes. Creating ceremony around connection matches the unparalleled creative energy of Ojai. Thus, we will have books from local authors, as well as those from our Magic Hour teachers, where one can lounge and get lost in the pages of imagination. Our mission at Magic Hour is to connect the world through tea ceremony. We are thrilled to have a space where we can share with others who are aching for more sacred time in their lives. We cannot

think of a better place than Ojai to begin what we hope will be a worldwide movement of connecting hearts, minds and souls to that which matters most: love, nature, and each other. We hearken you to celebrate with us at dawn and dusk, where everything is possible. OVG

www.ClubMagicHour.com Zhena@ClubMagicHour.com

“Life by the Cup” and Zhena’s latest book “Love in Detail” are both available from amazon.com and other good bookstores.



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Brian Holly partners with members of the C.R.E.W., Ojai Valley Green Coalition and the City of Ojai on a creek restoration project. From left: former Ojai City Councilwoman Betsy Clapp, Wally, McCall, and various OVGC volunteers. Picture: Timothy Teague

the C.R.E.W. Story by Austin Widger



“We all need wild spaces,” said Brian Holly of Ojai, co-founder of Ojai-based Pax Environmental. Understanding ecology and wild areas is imperative, he continued, “not just so that we can live physically, but mentally and emotionally.” Working in high school with the C.R.E.W. (Concerned Resource and Environmental Workers) ignited Holly’s ambition to work in the field of environmental science and is the basis for his longtime collaboration with the local nonprofit youth leadership and employment organization.

up in junior high and high school who may not otherwise know about these issues, they’re learning about these things, and a lot of them go on to be firefighters. I’ve known a lot of folks who have gone on to universities to be environmental scientists and all that. It’s such a powerful organization.”

Holly grew up exploring the backcountry with his family; his first backpacking trip was at age 3, riding in his dad’s backpack.

Holly’s budding passion for environmental science drew him to the C.R.E.W. That first summer, he spent a lot of time doing trail work in the Sespe Wilderness. It was his first glimpse into the idea of working in environmental science and ecology. Along with the work in the Sespe, Holly and the C.R.E.W. would go on spike-outs, which are Monday-to-Friday backcountry trail-building projects. “It’s pretty rough work, but at the same time it’s rewarding because you start to develop this group of people that you can trust,” Holly said. “For me, it was like not just doing the work, but it was also that bonding experience of meeting and working with other people, and camping out with them and sharing dinners and all that kind of thing.”

“I knew at a pretty young age that whatever I was going to do with my life was going to be pretty involved in natural habitats and wild areas,” Holly said. “It was just something I was really drawn to.” When Holly was 15, his family ran the first jeep tour company in the valley called Pink Moment Jeep Tours. He would jump in the jeeps to learn more about the local environment from the naturalists on the tours. Soon after, Holly had to choose between two summer job offers: drive golf carts around the Ojai Valley Inn or work for the C.R.E.W. “A lot of my friends … decided to have an easy job in the shade and hang out at the golf course, and I decided I wanted to go out with the C.R.E.W,” he said. Founded in 1991, the C.R.E.W. employs people ages 14 to 24, many, but not all, from disadvantaged backgrounds. “We give them paid work in improving the environment doing conservation work,” explained Caryn Bosson of Ojai, C.R.E.W. executive director. “The C.R.E.W. is out there keeping our trails clean, keeping us safe from wildfire, doing fuel breaks, doing restoration projects, restoring — I mean, it’s amazing,” Holly said. “Meanwhile, all of the folks who are working for the C.R.E.W. are learning. All these guys and girls who are coming

The summer of Holly’s senior year, he worked with the Sundown Fire Crew, contracted by the U.S. Forest Service. The spike-outs he had gone on with the C.R.E.W. ended up being vital experience for fighting fires in the backcountry. As Holly entered his freshman year at the University of Oregon, he decided to major in environmental science. “That first year at the University of Oregon opened up my eyes to a whole lot of different environmental issues in the north, issues with spotted owls and logging and things that I had never really known about just growing up in California, relatively naive to those issues,” he said. He later joined another fire crew in Oregon before transferring to the University of California at Santa Cruz to finish his undergraduate degree.

During part of his college experience, he spent summers working for the C.R.E.W., eventually becoming a supervisor. The executive director at the time was Wally McCall, so Holly worked under him. After graduation, Holly got a job with Ojai biologist and environmental consultant David Magney. They created a comprehensive map of the entire

Above: Brian Heath (left) and Holly when they were Ventura County Fire Department cadets at Station 22 in Meiners Oaks during their senior year at Nordhoff High School. Heath went on to be a captain for VCFD. Picture: Norm Plott.

watershed, and studied water quality, dissolved oxygen, pH, whether there were pathogens in the water, and more. They also did a comprehensive wildlife habitat map and looked at opportunities for restoration. This lengthy document collected dust for a while before Holly and Brandon Titus formed Pax Environmental in 2012 and developed project objectives. Holly said: “About 2007 to present, I’ve been working basically in partnership with the C.R.E.W. …. We’ve written over a dozen grants to different agencies since then, and we’ve been awarded several.”



One of the first restoration projects took place in 2007 at Ojai Creek, which goes right through Libbey Park. Holly worked with the Ojai Valley Green Coalition at that time on the watershed committee to realize the project. They received a $30,000 grant for this project, and another $30,000 to work downstream. “We thought, one, it’s an important project because it needs to be restored,” Holly said. “Two, it’s in downtown Ojai so it’s going to receive a lot of public commentary and interest. So it was kind of a showcase of what we wanted to do.” Holly was collaborating with McCall for a number of years around this time, getting awarded more and more grants. One of the biggest projects Holly and the C.R.E.W. collaborated on was called Lower West Barranca, which starts at the back end of Libbey Bowl and drains all the way down to the Fox Canyon Barranca. California Department of Fish and Wildlife awarded them about $450,000 for the project. Sadly, right as it was awarded, McCall died of cancer. Holly said: “The last time that I saw him, I went to the hospital and gave him a hug and he said, ‘Did we get the grant?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ He got a tear in his eye. It was like one last thing for him.” When Bosson took over as the new full-time executive director of the C.R.E.W., Holly was already familiar with her work from the time she had worked at the Ojai Valley Green Coalition. With the joint efforts of Pax and the C.R.E.W., a grant was awarded to remove arundo and restore San Antonio Creek at Camp Comfort. Now, the two organizations are waiting to learn if they will receive a grant for the Middle Stewart Canyon Creek restoration project. This is a partnership with the city of Ojai to restore the area behind City Hall. When one of the palm trees back there caught fire during the Thomas Fire, it sparked debate among the Ojai City Council as to what should be done with the area. Holly said that city Public Works

Brian Holly is all smiles as he poses with his two children Everett and Skylar Holly. Picture: Camille Holly

Director Greg Grant asked if the city could add that project to its previous restoration efforts. “I said, ‘Definitely we should do that,’”Holly said. They expect to learn whether they grant is approved by the end of 2019. If they get the green light, the plan is to take out the non-native palm trees, Mexican Fan Palm, Washingtonia Robusta and Eucalyptus. That would be accomplished with the city of Ojai as a lead, working with the C.R.E.W., Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, Pax Environmental and possibly a couple of local civil engineers. The work Holly did with the C.R.E.W. as a teenager made him realize he could make a living doing what he loves, which is being in the wilderness and studying the environment. He focused on conservation biology at UC Santa Cruz before getting his graduate degree in restoration ecology, ecology and environmental science from Duke University. “My master’s degree was basically a three-year study on the Santa Clara River, looking at changes in plant composition,” Holly said. “It was about a mile-long stretch of creek that

we did a really cool study on.” Holly volunteers as well as collaborates with the C.R.E.W., and considers himself an ambassador for the organization. If he isn’t out there working on restoration projects with the group, then some other Pax staff are. Holly said he wants to make sure people understand its importance. “I have two young children — my daughter is 5 and my son is 3,” he said. “I know that when they get to be the age where it’s time for them to get a summer job and start learning about working, I would recommend it…. So that’s the kind of thing I want to make sure other people and other families understand as well. “Given the fact that the C.R.E.W. has always been an important part of my life and I’ve done a lot of work with them, I wanted to give back and keep assisting and working with the C.R.E.W,” Holly continued, “ partnering with that organization and putting grants together and moving that forward. I believe heavily in the C.R.E.W.’s mission and I think it’s an important organization for the Ojai Valley and surrounding cities within the county.” OVG


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Award winning environmental film makers, Rebecca Harrell Tickell and Josh Tickell are helping to make the Ojai Valley a model for countless other communities.

By Ellen Sklarz

Kiss the emerald



Pictures: Josh and Rebecca Harrell Tickell

In 1997, when sixteen-year-old Rebecca Harrell saw the “Veggie Van guy” pouring used frying oil into his van on the “Today Show,” his message instantly called out to her. As a young girl in Hinesburg, Vermont, child actress Rebecca had a lead role in the Christmas classic, “Prancer,” a film that had touched many people’s lives. When her career then morphed into acting in a series of horror films, this soulful actress knew she was ready for a change. She dreamed of making meaningful movies about positive transformation. That dream would take her on an unusual journey, a love affair with a well-known environmentalist and, eventually, to a home in Ojai. Josh Tickell (aka the “Veggie Van guy”) was originally from Tamworth, the “Country Music Capital of Australia.” Similar to Ojai, with hot, arid summers and mild winters, the small city is also known for ranching and year-round equine events. When Josh’s family relocated to the United States, they settled in Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley.” Once a sugar-growing region, this area along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans is now dominated by petrochemical plants. Allegedly, this stretch of riverfront has the highest cancer risk in the nation — “more than 700 times the national average” — according to NOLA. com (March 8, 2018). When asked about illness in his own family, Josh reports that his mother had lupus and nine miscarriages, with other family members afflicted by cancers. In her 20s, former child actress Rebecca moved to Los Angeles, becoming a successful real estate agent. After she and the Veggie Van guy fortuitously met in LA, she ditched her job, sold her house and moved


in with Josh in Ojai — all within two months. One might say it was meant to be, except for the part where Josh urged Rebecca to sell her restored, classic, gas-guzzling ’68 VW bug and replace it with a biodiesel-fueled Golf. About 12 years later, Rebecca Harrell Tickell and Josh Tickell have one of the most enduring, boutique environmental filmmaking companies in the country, making movies with the commitment to heal themselves and the planet. Rebecca’s quiet beauty belies her bold, fierce passion, while Josh — just as passionate — is more measured in his delivery. In their presence, the cadence of their dance is one of mutual respect and cooperation. In 2012, they moved from Venice to a five-acre working ranch in Ojai, with a sprawling one-story house where Rebecca gave birth to their two ginger-haired children, Athena and Jedi. Their Big Picture Ranch is a bustling live-work refuge, where meetings and conference calls take place on a cozy sectional in the large, multipurpose area that had been a formal living room

for previous owners. The constant, comforting hum of brainstorming, kids, snacks, calls with film agents, people coming and going is a backdrop for serious issue-based filmmaking. In another area of the property, the “Barn” has comfortable seating and is used for screenings for up to 100 guests for both blockbuster Hollywood movies and independent films. Big Picture Ranch houses each of the Tickells’ projects, from inception to the moment the film is in the theater. Since almost all production and postproduction takes place in Ojai, the Tickells employ numerous local artists, artisans, engineers, editors and camera people, putting a considerable amount of each film’s budget into the local community. The dynamic pair has created, produced and directed an impressive roster of environmental films, addressing climate and sustainability, regenerative farming and the future of alternative energies and fuels, along with the expansion of related technologies. “Fuel” won the 2008





Sundance Film Festival Audience Award, and “The Big Fix” was an Official Selection of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. The 2014 critically acclaimed “Pump” was followed by “Good Fortune,” the story of entrepreneur and philanthropist John Paul DeJoria, cofounder of hair-care company John Paul Mitchell Systems, and of Patrón Spirits Company. Forthcoming documentaries include “Down to Earth” and “The Revolution Generation.” An upcoming scripted feature, “Heartland” — about a war vet who ends up on a Native American reservation — stars David Arquette and Mariel Hemingway, among others. Woody Harrelson and Jason Bateman have narrated their films, and Leonardo DiCaprio is an executive producer on the upcoming “Kiss the Ground.” The Tickells agree that this body of work — along with published books, consulting with major companies and government agencies in the United States and other countries, and featured television appearances — has led them to “Kiss the Ground.” In 2017, Simon and Schuster published Josh’s “Kiss the Ground: How the Food You Eat Can Reverse Climate Change, Heal Your Body & Ultimately Save the World.” The book details his decades-long journey through farms and ranches of Europe, Asia and the Americas to learn how to regenerate soils and rebuild ecosystems, all while increasing the profits of farmers and ranchers. The companion documentary is still being edited, but select parts were shown at a recent well-attended Ojai town hall hosted by the couple. Their intention was to address the heated issue of pesticides used in local conventional farming. After moving to what they thought was Shangri-La, the entire Tickell family suffered ill health in June when their property was showered with Abamectin, an insecticide neurotoxin sprayed onto a neighboring ranch by helicopter. They attributed their ill health to the spraying and, at that moment, realized that their macro global concerns had, literally, hit home.

“Ojai called us here,” they say, explaining how they were drawn to the charm of the Arcade, kids playing in Libbey Park, the idyllic mountains, and orchards sweetened by alluring aromas of springtime orange blossoms. Rebecca and Josh understand the provenance of the Ojai Valley and the hard work, challenges and pride of farmers who are — and have been — stewards of the land. The Tickells recognize that local growers are facing severe challenges, including drought, extreme temperature variations, and plunging crop prices. They also acknowledge that altering a system that relies on the use of pesticides could take years, without significant capital and community support. “That’s why we’re building a strong network of people who are deeply vested in this community,” says Josh, “to financially help growers with the transition to profitability and soil health.” Certain pesticides and herbicides are designated with “Danger” and/ or have “warning” labels. These include Abamectin, which is banned in Brazil and considered hazardous by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Hazard Communication Standard. Rebecca and Josh’s position on the use of such toxic substances is unequivocal. They say there is no place for these chemicals in Ventura County. They believe the need for change is urgent, as evidenced in “Kiss the Ground,” which shows the results of regenerative farming — once-dead land exploding with life and new crops. The Tickells see that a similar future is possible for Ojai. Through measured planning, they believe the valley can become a community that feeds its residents and replenishes its depleted soils. In this way, the Ojai Valley could become a model for countless other communities — an envisioned “Emerald Valley.” “Now is the time for this transformation,” says Rebecca, “while our kids are young. They are going to be able to tell their own kids how they participated in turning the Ojai Valley into a veritable Garden of Eden.” OVG



Farmers: Is it time to Transition to organic? Our Ojai citrus is so important to us. We want this traditional legacy to continue and are hopeful that we will be able to promote the kind of farming that is both sustainable as well as profitable for the farmers. There is an abundance of information about the advantages of organic/regenerative methods, including: improving crop yield, supporting biodiversity and health of the ecosystem, helping to alleviate the climate crisis by sequestering carbon in the soil, increasing water infiltration rates in the soil, and reducing water usage. After farmer Gabe Brown transitioned to regenerative farming methods, he said the results were “increased production, profit and a higher quality of life for us.” Referring to regenerative ag methods, Brown states, “There are thousands of producers using this model all over the world. It’ll work anywhere.” According to organic/regenerative farming experts, the answer to pest problems is to maximize the diversity and strength of the life in the soil, by planting cover crops, encouraging beneficial insects, applying compost, compost tea and mulch. When you have healthy, biologically alive soil and a healthy ecosystem, pests and disease-causing organisms don’t take over and toxic synthetic pesticides are unnecessary. There are nearly 8,000 acres of organic citrus in California and the sector is enjoying enough success that a thousand certified acres are being added to that total every year. Although organic production can be more expensive, the extra cost is absorbed by the premium paid. And organic growers benefit by having better market stability.

Transition to Organics (TTO) is a program of the Blackbird Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. www.transition-to-organics.org transitiontoorganics@gmail.com

Conventional farmers, if you’re interested in finding out more, please contact us. Transition to Organics and Ojai Center for Regenerative Agriculture will provide support to help you transition.



We care About the Health, Safety & Beauty of Your Trees RCA#592

Owner Mark Crane, member of the American Society of Consulting Arborists, and his team of certified arborists, have been meticulously caring for trees in Ojai, Ventura, Carpinteria, Santa Barbara and Goleta since 1995.

• Tree care planting & trimming • Drought services & fire safety • Emergency tree services • Tree evaluation

Thank you for voting for us!

• Hazardous tree & stump removal • Tree pruning & maintenance

MON-FRI: 8:00 AM-5:00 PM 24-Hour Emergency Service


(805) 646-9484




Sustainable Style

for Personal Well-being and a Healthy Planet

Organic and natural mattresses, organic cotton sheets, duvet covers, blankets, baby clothes, women’s clothing, wool and down pillows, comforters and toppers.

147 W. El Roblar Dr., Ojai • 805.640.3699 Open Tues-Sat 11-5

Protect your home against coming SCE public safety power shut downs.

Thank you Ojai Valley! Give us a call to get your home prepared with solar and battery storage. 805-640-7903 www.californiasolarelectric.com








374 E. MAIN ST. VENTURA, CA 93001 (805) 648.8915 email: sparcsecondchancestore@gmail.com

Stop in and browse some of our Hand Picked Furniture items or Gently Used Clothing.

Are you thinking about adopting a cat or a dog? If so stop in at the


Second Chance Store We’ll have plenty to choose from!

(Pet adoptions once every month - call for details)

We Also Carry

Treasu res Galore !

A large selection of household items, decor, pictures, books and much more! S.P.A.R.C is a California 501C3 non-profit corporation, all donations are tax deductible. Tax ID: 45-4185395

“Like” us on facebook to see our weekly specials

Bryant Circle Mini Storage •Free move in truck •Moving and packing supplies •Security system with TV surveillance •On site resident managers •Competitive rates •Move-in specials

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412 Bryant Circle, Ojai 805-646-2354



believers in the healthful, mood-altering effects of negative ions say thousands of them occur near waterfalls, creating a positive effect on human biochemistry. if that’s true, one of these hikes may be all you need to invigorate yourself this winter. make sure your hike is safe and comfortable by dressing in layers, checking the weather before you go and taking a friend who knows the way.

ROSE VALLEY FALLS A short, pleasant hike to the most accessible Ojai area waterfall, this trek is perfect for kids. The half-mile trail makes a couple of easy creek crossings before starting the gentle climb to the falls. The water flows down a 300foot sandstone cliff. The area beneath the falls is shaded by bays and oaks and makes a great picnic spot. Take Highway 33 north from Ojai about 15 miles to the Rose Valley Recreation Area turnoff. Three miles up on the right is the road to Rose Valley Campground. Park outside the gate if you’re not camping and walk through the campground

P E R R Y VA N H O U T E N ’ S

to the south side, where the trail begins.


Both Lion Canyon waterfalls can be accessed from Middle Lion Campground in Rose Valley. From the camp, cross Lion Creek and hike upcanyon about 2 miles to a grassy meadow, where the trail splits three ways. The left- and right-hand forks lead to camps and waterfalls. The middle trail continues 3.6 miles to Nordhoff Ridge. Take the left-hand trail for the East Fork Lion Canyon Falls, just inside the 220,000-acre Sespe Wilderness. Pass through the camp and look for the waterfall just a ways upstream. Both the east and west fork falls flow over an impressive display of cobblestone conglomerate.

WEST FORK LION CANYON FALLS At the three-way split in the meadow described above, take the right-hand fork and walk less than a half-mile

O J A I VA L L E Y H I K I N G & B I K I N G

past the camp to the falls, which flow down a curved channel carved in rock. Like the hike to the east fork falls, expect some route-finding and scrambling over large boulders. The trail up to the camps was brushed and repaired in fall of 2019, during a National Public Lands Day event.

For Middle Lion Campground, take Highway 33 to Rose Valley Road and drive 5 miles to a narrow road on the right that descends for about 1 mile to the camp. Park outside the gate if you’re not camping. Lion Canyon Trail can also be accessed via the 1.6-mile Rose-Lion Connector Trail, which starts near the upper lake in Rose Valley. Both Lion Canyon hikes are rated easy to moderate.

MATILIJA FALLS The trail to the historic falls on Matilija Creek has been closed for years due to private property issues, but thanks to the cooperation of the

landowner and the work of volunteers, a route to the falls is again open and legal. Total roundtrip mileage is approximately 9 miles.

To get to the trailhead, drive Highway 33 north from Ojai for 5 miles and take Matilija Canyon Road another 5 miles to a parking area at the trailhead. There are no passes required to park and no facilities. From the trailhead at the end of Matilija Canyon Road, follow the dirt road past two creek crossings until you arrive at a T, where a sign points to the Matilija Falls Trail. Follow the signs through private property as the trail climbs and drops, eventually coming to a dead end at the creek. At that point, there’s no trail and it’s a rock-hop and scramble to the waterfalls. OVG



HIGH FIVE: FIVE OJAI WATERFALL HIKES POTRERO JOHN FALLS The first part of this roughly 6-mile round trip is on a flat, easy trail. For the second part, there is no trail. Just beyond a camp at 1.6 miles, you have no choice but to head upstream along the creek. The falls appear at approximately 3 miles — a beautiful 75-foot doubledipper. The Potrero John Trailhead is 21 miles north of Ojai on Highway 33. There’s just enough room for one or two vehicles to park at the trailhead. Otherwise, look for a turnout along the highway. There are no fees to park and no facilities. The area is named for John Powers, who pastured livestock in the canyon in the early 1900s.



Premier Horseback Riding

ojai valley trail riding company Explore California’s Shangri-La with a majestic horeseback tour of one of the most beautiful places on Earth. We have rides suited for a beginner or an advanced rider. Just 3.5 miles from downtown Ojai, we are open 7 days a week. Call for reservations.

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Lisa Clark DRE#Ol 880476

805.698.5986 • lisaclarkojai@gmail.com

Cameron Clark DRE#Ol 86970

818.606.4048 • camaclark@gmaiI.com

www.clarkandclarkhomes.com Cameron Clark: Realtor Associate (DRE#0l869702) at WishSIR (Broker DRE#Ol916623) • Lisa Clark: Realtor Associate (DRE#Ol880476) at LIV SIR (Broker DRE#00969542). We do not guarantee accuracy of square footage, lot size, condition, features, or income provided by sellers, third parties, or public records. Buyers are advised to verify accuracy of all information through independent inspection by professionals. Buyers and sellers are advised to seek legal and tax advice when purchasing or selling real property. Broker does not guarantee specific school availability. Each franchise is independently owned & operated.



For those who seek an exceptional life Your home is more than a building or an address. It’s where you experience life, family, connection, growth. Your home should be as exceptional as you are, and as you are going to be. For a lifestyle inspired by your potential, there is only






Ojai living from this privately gated Spanish Villa in the heart of Ojai’s East End. Perched on nearly 2 acres, extensively remodeled in 2018, nearly 5,000 SF, with pool/spa and guest casita.

On 26 acres in upper Ojai, this ultra-private estate with incredible views includes an exquisitely designed, custom-built, ranch-style home, a gorgeous split-level barn/guest house, and a pool.



Rare opportunity to have a sprawling citrus ranch with 15+ flat usable acres. Nice outdoor living space with covered patio, BBO and fire pit area and ample room for a pool. Lovely mountain and Topa Topa views surround this special property. Property has both a private well and Casitas water.

Nestled in the peaceful and majestic setting of Ojai’s East End, this 3 bedroom, 2 bath ranch style home offers a layout with an abundance of natural light. The roomy 1.4 acre property has a pool, family orchard and horse facilities. All surrounded by mature trees and beautiful mountain views.

3 Beds • 4 Baths • 4,092 SF • $4,295,000 Kristen Currier | DRE 01314850 | 805.798.3757

3 Beds • 2 Baths • 2,200SF • $2,549,000 Ann Marie Parent | DRE 01328373 | 805.452.5209


3 Beds • 4 Baths • 3,480 SF • $4,250,000 Patty Waltcher | DRE 01176473 | 805.340.3774

3 Beds • 2 Baths • 1,875 SF • $1,700,000 Ann Marie Parent | DRE 01328373 | 805.452.5209


4 Beds • 3 Baths • 2,382 SF • $1,375,000 Tyler Brousseau | DRE 01916136 | 805.760.2213

3 Beds • 2 Baths • 1,732 SF • $899,000 Nora Davis | DRE 01046067 | 805.207.6177

A beautiful custom home filled with natural light throughout. Designed for entertaining with a fantastic swimming pool and separate spa with lounging areas and several patios surrounded by Ojai’s abundant natural beauty creating seclusion and privacy. Positioned on approximately 1/2 of an acre.

Just minutes from the shops, cafes, spas, and weekly farmers market in downtown Ojai, this turnkey, Craftsman-style home is ready for you to move in and start enjoying the Ojai Valley way of life.

LIV Sotheby’s International Realty 727 W. Ojai Avenue Ojai, California livsothebysrealtyca.com | 805.646.7288 | DRE 01904034 © 2019 LIV Sotheby’s International 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 independently owned and operated and supports the principals of the Fair Housing Act.






our billion dollars a year is what a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife Associated Recreation (2016) estimated people spend on feeding birds every year. The report also noted eighty-one million people feed birds and watch wildlife in their backyards. The report went on to say that collectively this group spends $7.6 billion annually on feeding birds, purchasing feeders, birdhouses and birdbaths and wildlife watching tools like binoculars and spotting scopes. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, bird watching, or “birding” as it’s generally called now, is one of the fastest growing hobbies in North America. In Canada more time is spent pursuing and watching birds than gardening, historically the most popular hobby in both Canada and the U.S. From this survey it looks as if a lot of people are watching birds, and buying a lot of bird seed. Four billion dollars is a lot of money. As someone who has spent a lifetime watching and studying birds, I couldn’t help but think there is a lot of bird seed going to waste out there, along with quite a sum of money. Done incorrectly you can end up with

just a few species of birds and some unwanted pests. Done properly, with some thought and general knowledge of bird anatomy and behavior, feeding birds can be a great conservation tool and an educational and recreational experience. Discovery channel gone live, with a quarter of the cost of a month’s subscription to cable TV. Here are some key points to consider when setting up an effective bird feeding station in your yard. A bird’s bill is the first step in gathering and processing food and getting it into the body. Not all birds can crack open seeds to get to the kernel or “meat” inside (we’ll spare the botanical terms of cotyledon and endosperm). You may remember from that botany class you took, all seeds are encased in a seed coat, which protects the ripening kernel. This protective coat is usually pretty hard and if you’re a bird it takes a strong and sometimes specialized bill to crack open that seed coat. Bills come in all different sizes and shapes. They can be conical, straight,

the birds Feeding birds in the winter will not disrupt the ‘balance of nature’, says Ojai birder, Jesse Grantham. Pictures: Creative Commons


hooked, or stubby, or long and thin, turned up or turned down…all to allow the bird an advantage in procuring and processing its preferred food. As an example conical bills are for cracking and opening seeds, straight bills are for poking into tight places to extract insects or larvae or get nectar and generally can’t be used to crack open seeds, and hooked bills are for tearing apart flesh or fruit. For those birds that have a gizzard (like quail and doves) they can eat the seeds unshelled and the gizzard can grind off that seed coat. Examples of birds that can’t open seeds would be species like robins, thrushes, bluebirds (see photo), thrashers, warblers, and woodpeckers. Many of those species however will gladly take sunflower hearts (the term for the kernel inside unshelled sunflowers) or other small seeds that have had the shells removed. That is why you will see some of these birds poking around under a feeder looking for small kernel pieces that have been dropped by the seed crackers. Robins and thrushes will also eat very finely cracked corn in what used to be called “chick scratch”. It’s hard to find now. This is very different from what is known as “chicken scratch” which has larger pieces of cracked corn and is too large for most birds that don’t have bills for mashing up hard seeds. There are anomalies as in anything. Many permanent resident birds (those that don’t migrate) that don’t have seed cracking bills have adapted to opening sunflower seeds using other means. Birds like the California Scrub-Jay, or Oak Titmouse hold the unshelled seed between their feet and hammer or pry it open. White-breasted Nuthatches and Acorn, Hairy and Downy woodpeckers have learned how to open sunflower seeds by wedging them in a crack in tree bark and pounding them open.



In general then (and we always speak in generalities when talking about wildlife) the bill determines the types of birds that may come to a feeding station. There are basically only three types of seed mixtures that you need to consider: •A mixture of white and red millet, a small amount of wheat, safflower seed, some finely cracked corn, and unshelled sunflower kernels. •Black oil Sunflower seed still in the shell, •Unshelled sunflower hearts. Some folks like to add niger thistle seed (a real treat) to their feeding station. You will need a separate feeder or mesh bag for niger thistle and it will generally attract only goldfinches. Goldfinches will eat shelled or unshelled sunflowers as well so I’ve gone with that option. Niger seed can be pretty expensive. Many feeder stations avoid milo or sorgum. It has a very hard seed coat and is generally avoided by most small birds. It is however eaten by pigeons, doves, and quail who have gizzards that can grind off those hard seed coats. If you don’t have an abundance of those species the milo may not be eaten and will remain available to many different species of rodents which actually like milo. You can avoid that problem by avoiding large quantities of this grain. Check local and Ventura vendors for best prices and seed that match the three basic types. The Wharf, in Ventura, has a mixture by Western Delight simply called Dove and Quail, with virtually no milo and a nice mixture of millet, wheat, and safflower seed. It’s a favorite of mine. The Wharf also has 20 lb. bags of shelled “sunflower chips”, which if I had only one choice of seed, this is what I would choose. I mix about 10 parts Dove and Quail with one part “sunflower chips” for a nice allaround mix. All birds will eat this mix, and there is no waste. Use a regular sunflower seed feeder for the “chips” if that’s all you want to have available.

Wild Birds Unlimited on Main St. also has a good selection of specialty seeds. Ace Hardware in Meiners Oaks carries a good selection of bird seed, and I prefer their 20 lb. bags of Black Oil Sunflower. Check for sales throughout the winter. In Ojai check Wachters, Vons, True Value Hardware, and several agricultural feed stores for best selection and prices since they can vary throughout the season. I only have one feeder. It’s for black oil sunflower seed. Ace Hardware in Meiners Oaks, Wild Birds Unlimited in Ventura, The Wharf, Wachters, True Value Hardware, and others have sunflower seed feeders that are equipped with exclusion mechanisms that close when something heavy gets on the feeder, like a squirrel or scrub jay. Sunflower seeds are a favorite of squirrels and other rodents. They will clean you out in no time if not excluded Birds that prefer the smaller seed, like red and white millet and safflower seed are ground feeders and don’t want to be exposed to predation when hanging on a feeder. Feeders concentrate the birds in one location and it certainly makes them more vulnerable to predation. Many will grab a seed and drop to the ground and seek shelter under a bush to finish their meal. For those species that just eat the smaller seeds I scatter it in a wide swath on the ground, under shrubs and trees and near brush piles. You’ll get far more use and enjoyment by watching the birds feeding on the ground where they feel more secure in what for them is a more natural situation. We’ve always been told to keep bird seed off the ground because it will attract rodents. To deal with this situation I put out just enough seed so the birds eat it all in one day, usually by mid-morning. Then I’ll throw a small amount of additional seed out in mid-afternoon. I never have problems with rodents, except the occasional rabbit or ground squirrels that like millet, and they’ll be competing with the birds for the seed.

Water is also a key ingredient. I put fresh water out every day. Shallow bird baths are the best, and I always keep them on the ground, not on a pedestal. This is a more natural situation. To have a more natural look, take a large boulder and chisel out a small shallow pool in the top. You can manage the type of birds that come to your feeding station by the selection of seed that you put out. Here are some examples: Unshelled Black Oil Sunflower. Bandtailed Pigeon, Acorn Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Western Scrub Jay, Oak Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Spotted Towhee, Black-headed Grosbeak, Red-winged Blackbird, Purple Finch, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, American Goldfinch. Both goldfinches prefer niger seed. Sunflower Chips (shelled sunflower seed). Almost all species of seed eaters, including Bewick’s Wren, Hermit Thrush, California Thrasher, Pine Siskin, doves, quail, pigeons, and all the native sparrows (fox, white-crowned, golden-crowned, song, Lincoln’s, and dark-eyed junco) will go for this seed. Probably the most favorite of seed. Best if mixed with seed below. White and red millet, safflower seed. This seed is only for those species that have bills adapted to cracking open seeds (all the sparrows, towhees, and blackbirds, and the birds that have gizzards (quail, doves, pigeons). Best if spread on the ground in a wide swath near shrubbery. Our wild finches generally do not prefer millet or safflower and will generally not

Sunflower chips: Probably the greatest all around seed. Will be consumed by the greatest variety of birds. But expensive.

Mostly milo seed mixture: Milo is preferred by the fewest variety of birds. Will be eaten by doves, quail and pigeons. Smaller birds will leave it on the ground uneaten.


eat it. Milo is not included in this mix as few seed eaters can crack open the hard seed coat. Niger Thistle Seed. As mentioned above, this is a specialty bird food, a real treat for mostly goldfinches. You’ll need a special or separate feeder or mesh bag for this seed. I became interested in birds when I was five years old. and I’ve been immersed in bird biology ever since. I went on to study bird conservation and endangered species. I take conservation work seriously. Each succeeding year has convinced me birds (and wildlife in general) need all the help they can get. Feeding birds doesn’t disrupt the balance of nature. If anything it’s going to benefit some poor migratory or resident bird trying to survive the winter. There are very few native undisturbed habitats remaining. It is the loss and degradation of millions of acres of habitat, indiscriminate poisoning, window strikes, collisions with vehicles, and predation by non-native species that does threaten nature’s balance. Here’s an interesting bit of trivia that I’ll leave you with which puts this all into some perspective. The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy’s protected and restored Ojai Meadow Preserve has tallied some 187 different species of birds on it’s 58 acres in the last 13 years. That’s a postage stampsized piece of property when you take in the Valley as a whole. Using that 58 acres as an example of what used to be here in the Valley, it’s pretty mind-boggling what the populations of birds must have been like historically. OVG

White and red millet, safflower and cracked corn: A great all-around seed for small seed eaters as well as quail and doves. Best when scattered on the ground in a more natural setting.

Unshelled black oil sunflower seed: Many birds don’t have bills capable of opening them. Eaten by Oak Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, House Finches, Grosbeaks. Best when used in a feeder.

Jesse Grantham has lived in the Ojai Valley off and on since 1980. He worked for the National Audubon Society for 23 years. Before he retired in 2012 he worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as the California Condor Coordinator. He served on the Board of the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy for 6 years, and now frequently leads field trips for that organization and local Audubon chapters.





2 Beds • 2 Baths • 2,515 SF • $1,800,000 Casual Farm House in Ojai’s East End. This open floor-plan includes a great room with vaulted and beamed ceilings and a massive rock fireplace, and an open kitchen with custom mahogany cabinets. Sitting on one acre with picture perfect views of the Topa Topa Mountains, the grounds offer many areas to relax and entertain with an outdoor cooking and dining area, beautiful rock walls, and a three-car detached garage. Enjoy your own fresh oranges from the many citrus trees around the property, and marvel at one of the most majestic Oaks in the Ojai Valley, all just minutes to downtown Ojai and all the local shops and restaurants.


5 Beds • 4 Baths • 2,978 SF • $1.299,000 Moonview, a wonderful Upper Ojai home situated on 1.36-acres near the end of a private lane. Currently configured with 6-bedrooms, 3.5-bathrooms, (6th bedroom could be an office, dining room, etc.) and graced with inviting and comfortable living areas both inside and out. The property boasts views, an above-ground pool, fruit trees, horse facilities, solar power, both its own well and municipal water, all in a quiet and peaceful location. Moonview can be a great family home, retreat, small family farm and/or investment as it is a proven income-producing short-term rental property. Always well maintained, in great condition, Moonview is ready for its new owners to move-in and enjoy life and all Ojai has to offer!

Cathy Titus

805.798.0960 ctitus@livsothebysrealty.com DRE 01173283

LIV Sotheby’s International Realty 727 W. Ojai Avenue Ojai, California livsothebysrealtyca.com | 805.798.0960

© 2019 LIV Sotheby’s International 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 independently owned and operated and supports the principals of the Fair Housing Act.



2144-2150 BALDWIN ROAD, OJAI 4 Beds • 3 Baths • 3,843 SF • $5 Million

Private 85+ Acre Ranch nestled between the Ojai Land Conservancy, Los Padres National Forest and the Teague Water Shed Preserve. This custom Spanish style home offers open beamed ceilings and fireplace in living room, adjoining kitchen, dining and family areas with open beam ceilings, large master suite with fireplace, Saltillo tile floors throughout, many doors leading outdoors with covered patios. Including 3 bedrooms and 2 baths also a 1 bedroom 1 guest suite, the second home offers a fireplace in living room with open kitchen dining area, den/family space, and master bedroom with in-suite bathroom. A nearby lake is stocked with Perch, Bass and Catfish with river rock BBQ and hostess house, wet work station and built-in picnic tables and two barns.


3 Beds • 3 Baths • 2,747 SF • $2.7 Million Ojai East End, Highly desired area of Ojai Valley. The spacious living room offers a La Cantina folding door, floor to ceiling rock fireplace, wood beamed ceiling and wood floors. Enjoy views of the rear yard from the living room, dining room and kitchen. Kitchen includes a Shaw farm sink, Viking stove, and glass faced upper cabinets. Master wing with large windows and door affording a separate entrance, two large closets, standalone tub with a nature view window, and dual sink vanity. Third bedroom currently used as an office. Entertain on rear patio area near the water fountain, cook in the outside pizza oven, hang out in the tree house or refresh in the pool. Extensive 2017 remodel included the addition of the barn with carport large shop/ rec room/ storage room. The rock house that is now used as a guest house has Historic Designation as the property has a natural amphitheater flow and was once used for poetry readings.

Cathy Titus


805.798.0960 ctitus@livsothebysrealty.com DRE 01173283 © 2019 LIV Sotheby’s International 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 independently owned and operated and supports the principals of the Fair Housing Act.



Downtown Ojai Opportunity ZABILLA GROUP

Located just one block off Ojai Avenue these 4 lots, totaling over 30,000sqft, include one SelfServe Car Wash and Two Single Family Homes. Super versatile Village Mixed Use Zoning allows for a multitude of residential and commercial applications for someone wanting to develop all or part of this parcel. Be realizing income as you envision your next amazing project. Don’t miss this rare opportunity! Price Upon Request

Rosalie Zabilla

Rosalie@HomesByRosalie.com 805.455.3183 HomesByRosalie.com

Annie Cox

annie.cox@sothebyshomes.com 818-517-9440

Sotheby’s International Realty and the Sotheby’s International Realty logo are registered (or unregistered) service marks used with permission. Operated by Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. Real estate agents affiliated with Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. are independent contractor sales associates and are not employees of Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. Equal Housing Opportunity. Rosalie Zabilla DRE: 01493361 | Annie Cox DRE: 02093166



Laugh!!! Go ahead and laugh! I would have laughed too.

Pictures: Ojai Valley Museum


LOOK BACK IN OJAI with Drew Mashburn Contributed on behalf of the Ojai Valley Museum

During my 1960s high school days, there were few job opportunities for teens. I took a variety of jobs to make a few bucks to keep fuel in my little Yamaha 80 cc motorcycle, occasionally buy a new pair of Levis, see a movie, attend a high school dance, buy a container of fishing worms, and so on. I’d always heard that the valley teenage boys smudged citrus during winter months and made some decent coin. Now, it was my turn to do it! Smudging entails lighting smudge pots that emit heat to prevent the citrus from freezing and ruination. A smudge pot has a 2-foot-diameter metal pot with a smokestack that sticks vertically out of it. The stack is about 4 feet high and 6 inches in diameter. A removable stack lid prevents rain from getting inside when not in use. A hinged regulator on the pot’s top sets the temperature. The pot is filled with diesel fuel and a drip-torch is inserted to light the pot. Hangin’ with the guys was fun, and funny things happened. Both ranches we worked for sent us to local restaurants for breakfast, allowing us to order as much as desired. I could down a ton of grub in those days. Food equaled money to this boy! The first season, we ate at the Topa Topa Restaurant, which is now the little deli between the theater and library. The second season, we went to the Boots ’N’ Saddles Restaurant on the corner of Park Road and Ojai Avenue. In 1967, school chum Richard May and I smudged at a ranch bordering the south side of Ojai Avenue not far from what is now Boccali’s Restaurant. I borrowed

my parents’ 1958 Ford station wagon to get there. Had to because riding my motorcycle in near-freezing temperatures would have turned me into a popsicle! Richard and I were the only teenagers on the crew. We gathered in an equipment storage building. The foreman instructed us how to light pots, how he wanted the regulators to be adjusted, and what orchard areas to cover. He sent Richard and me out on the east side of the orchard. The foreman instructed us to light every pot down the row until we got to a narrow dirt road, then flip a “U,” come back down the next aisle and continue. I took the aisle running parallel to Ojai Avenue and Richard took the next. I lit pots until I realized I was near the foot of the Dennison Grade, having overshot the dirt road. It’s dark out there and the dirt roads look quite similar to the dirt aisles. I quickly hoofed it back, located Richard, and informed him of my goof-up. Being behind time, we left the pots burning, hoping the neighboring rancher was happy for the free labor! We kept lighting all the pots and moving toward the low mountains on the southern side of the orchard. At the mountain’s foot were several avocado trees. Richard and I linked up there, noticing a huge avocado tree with limbs so high we could easily walk under it. There was a pot 2 feet away from the tree’s trunk. I don’t recall which one of us lit that pot, but we both agreed it needed to be lit. The foreman drilled into us to “light every pot.” Soon, Richard and I plunked down on a filthy old couch in the storage building. The entire crew was there when in charged the foreman. He was livid! He shouted something like, “Which one of you boneheads burned down my avocado tree?” Richard and I hunkered down even lower into that broken-down old couch as if it could offer us refuge and feigned being asleep. We fretted losing our jobs. Nobody copped to it, but I’m sure the foreman knew it involved the two youngest guys.


In 1968, the second season I smudged, I should have known better, but accidents happen, and it happened like this: About 1 a.m. on a 28-degree night, I was in the orchard. I got hot in my heavy jacket from all the exercise. I removed it and set it in a place I would remember. I was down to a T-shirt. I moved down the rows lighting pots. Eventually, I lit a pot, but it didn’t seem like it was lit. So, I bent way down low to the base. I flipped open the regulator to see if the pot was burning. Flames leapt out of the hole into my face. It was quite dark outside. Those bright flames blinded me! I started to panic in my blindness. Had I damaged my eyes? As I stood

there blinded, I began to get cold without a jacket. I feared going hypothermic. I knew nobody was anywhere around me and I was not familiar with the rugged terrain. I calmed myself. After a few shivering minutes, my sight returned. I felt my face. I was okay! I finished lighting pots ... unknowingly without eyebrows and eyelashes, and a lot less hair drooping down over my forehead. I was the last of the crew to return to our warm little shack at the ranch at the corner of Carne Road and East Ojai Avenue. Thankfully, I didn’t have any upcoming dates! OVG



2939 Matilija Canyon Road, Ojai, CA 93023

Beautiful mountain retreat in the woods, 3 bed + 1 bath, great room, sunroom, two detached bonus rooms. Private well, situated on 2 acres across from a year-round creek, surrounded by Los Padres Wilderness offering hiking & hot springs, 10 minutes to town! Price $550,000

Joan Roberts | Broker Associate/Realtor

805-223-1811 | Cal Dre: 00953244 International President’s Circle | LIV Sotheby’s International Realty 727 West Ojai Avenue, Ojai CA 93023 USA | Roberts4Homes@gmail.com “Be kind whenever possible because it is always possible.”



“Triple your chances for success.” Three top agents on your side. (805) 272-0949 wvojai.com




REALTOR® CalDRE #01929366

REALTOR® CalDRE #01448441

REALTOR® CalDRE #01973956



Ojai Café Emporium

Ojai Café Emporium is a turn key, well established breakfast & lunch restaurant located in the heart of downtown Ojai! Prime location steps away from all of Ojai’s events and attractions. Ojai Cafè Emporium has for over 34 years had a reputation as a warm and friendly dining destination for family, friends and business. Included on the property is an adjoining bakery/ coffeeshop producing fresh baked goods every morning. Real Estate and Land, $2,200,000

Tom Weber - Broker CalDRE# 00805061

805-320-2004 TomWeber@ojaitom.com

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Valley Guide

Your guide to everything Ojai since 1983 www.ojaivalleynews.com/contact-us/subscriptions | 805.646.1476







The Ojai Valley News and Guide wish to thank...

101 CBD.......................................................... 40 AEGM Roofing............................................. 113 Amanda Stanworth, REALTOR................... 151 Andrew Snett Well’s Fargo Advisor............... 114 Anne Williamson, REALTOR...................... 149 Artizen Floors................................................ 120 Austrialian Native Plants................................ 128 Azu Restaurant................................................. 65 Bamboo Creek Spa........................................... 92 Bart’s Books...................................................... 15 Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts.................. 34 Boccali’s Restaurant ......................................... 58 Body Essentials of Ojai ................................... 92 Boku Superfood ............................................. 112 Bonnie Lu’s ...................................................... 68 Bookends Bookstore ........................................ 77 Bryant Street Storage .................................... 131 Ca’ Marco Risorante ........................................ 58 California Solar Electric ................................ 128 canvas & paper .................................................. 9 Casitas Municipal Water District .................. 115 Cassandra Van Keulen, REALTOR .............. 149 Cathy Titus, REALTOR ....................... 142-143 Cattywampus Crafts ........................................ 34 Chamber on the Mountain ............................. 76 Char Michaels, REALTOR ...........................2-3 Chisum’s Floor Coverings ............................. 128 Coastal Softub ............................................... 114 Community Memorial Hospital .................... 101 Cottage Hospital ........................................... 100 Cuyama Buckhorn ........................................... 59 Deborah King Center ...................................... 11 Deer Lodge ..................................................... 67 Derby & Derby ............................................... 89 Dimitar Tennis Academy ................................ 26 Donna Sallen, REALTOR ..................... 154-155 Dr. Richard Gagne, DDS .............................. 120 Emerald & Blue Iguana Inns .......................... 27 Everready Termite & Pest Control ................ 130 Firestick Pottery .............................................. 34 Flying Embers ................................................. 69 For Your Home ............................................. 107 Frameworks of Ojai ......................................... 34 Gables of Ojai ................................................... 4 Gabriela Ceseña, REALTOR ........................... 5 Gem Quest Jewelry ......................................... 33

Gizmo Wizards ............................................... 90 Green Goddess Gardens................................ 127 Greg Rents..................................................... 131 Hakane Sushi................................................... 66 Heavenly Honey............................................... 41 Horse, Heart & Connection........................... 108 Humane Society Ventura County.................... 47 Jes MaHarry..................................................... 13 Joan Roberts, REALTOR.............................. 148 Jones and Co..................................................... 41 Kariella............................................................. 33 Kathi Smith Esq............................................... 89 Kathy Hoff, REALTOR................................ 144 Kerry Miller Designs...................................... 119 Kristen Currier, REALTOR.......................... 144 Krotona Institute.............................................. 26 La Fuente......................................................... 66 Lauren VanKeulen, REALTOR..................... 149 Lavender Inn.................................................... 26 Lisa Clark, REALTOR.................................. 135 LIV Sotheby’s Ojai..................................136 -137 Livin.Guide...................................................... 98 Lyndon Thomas Insurance............................... 90 Majestic Oak Vineyard..................................... 60 Mandala Restaurant......................................... 59 Marché Gourmet Delicatessen......................... 58 Mark Crane’s Tree Service.............................. 127 Mike Davis Patches.......................................... 33 Medicine Shoppe........................................... 148 Mind Your Manors......................................... 150 Modern Age Dentistry..................................... 93 Monica Ros School.......................................... 25 Montessori School............................................ 25 Museum of Ventura County ............................ 32 Ninakuru ......................................................... 46 Nora Davis, REALTOR ................................6-7 Nutmeg’s Ojai House....................................... 41 Oak Grove School............................................ 24 Ojai Art Center ............................................... 77 Ojai Beverage Company................................... 66 Ojai Business Center ....................................... 89 Ojai Custom Painting.................................... 113 Ojai Door & Window.................................... 120 Ojai Energetics ................................................ 48 Ojai Olive Oil Company................................ 160 Ojai Pub........................................................... 59

Ojai Rôtie......................................................... 59 Ojai Trolley......................................................... 8 Ojai Valley Athletic Club................................. 99 Ojai Valley Inn................................................. 49 Ojai Valley Museum......................................... 32 Ojai Valley Trail Riding Co.............................. 13 Ojai Village Pharmacy.................................... 100 Ojai Youth Entertainers Studio........................ 76 OVA Arts......................................................... 32 Papa Lennon’s Pizzeria..................................... 58 Patty Waltcher, REALTOR................ 80-81, 154 Poppies Art and Gifts....................................... 33 Priscilla in Ojai................................................. 46 Riki Strandfeldt, REALTOR ........................ 152 Rosalie Zabilla, REALTOR .......................... 145 Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center ............... 131 Sea Fresh Restaurant ...................................... 57 Serendipity Toys .............................................. 47 Sespe Creek Collective..................................... 47 Sespe Power Solutions.................................... 130 Shangri-la Care Cooperative ........................... 40 State Farm Insurance- Bob Daddi .................. 88 Stephen Adelman, REALTOR ..................... 151 Sunset School .................................................. 11 Susan Cummings ............................................ 14 Taste of California ........................................... 66 Teresa Rooney, REALTOR............................ 151 Terramor Organic Home .............................. 128 The Artesian of Ojai...................................... 144 The Day Spa of Ojai........................................ 87 The Little Garden Spa..................................... 92 The Mob Shop............................................... 134 Thrive Family Care........................................ 108 Tom Weber, REALTOR................................ 150 Top Gun Builders........................................... 114 Topa Mountain Winery................................... 61 Transition to Organics.................................... 126 Trystology....................................................... 106 Ventura Roofing............................................. 121 Ventura Spirits.................................................. 65 Villanova Preparatory School........................... 17 Vivienne Moody, REALTOR........................ 152 Westridge Markets........................................... 56 Whitman Architectural Design........................ 27 Yoga Shala...................................................... 112 Zhena’s Magic Hour....................................... 115



1175 McNell Road Lovely Craftsman style home on over an acre in the magical East End!

1370 Cuyama Road Sitting perfectly on over an acre this home has all the Rustic Modern touches that you are looking for!

301 Park Road Two houses on oversized lot in the heart of Downtown Ojai, possibilities galore!

705 Oak Street Private, gated & renovated Ranch, mere steps from downtown!


3860 Grand Avenue Fabulous & charmingly inviting, this Victorian is full of Southern charm!

520 Buckboard Lane Wonderful sprawling Ranch on three gated acres in Persimmon Hill!

1420 Cuyama Road Stylish Ranch with pool, guesthouse & tennis court near Ojai Meadows Preserve!



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



A R T I S T ’ S E YE

This completely renovated contemporary masterpiece with mountain views in two directions exemplifies good taste and quality construction. From the tiles of the outdoor shower to the color ful drought tolerant landscaping, the play of light and color inspire joy and a sense of integration. Includes a 1200 ft2 finished studio with bath, a huge back yard with pool and a remodeled 34-foot Excella Airstream. Offered at $3,250,000 1701McNellRdOjai.com

I will help you discover the home that brings peace to your mind and heart (805) 340-3774