ITâ€™S A L I F E S T Y L E! October 19, 2012
Michelle Goodall Serving New Mexico . . . and the rest of the world!
To understand the soul of a horse is the closest we humans can come to knowing perfection. â€“ Unknown â€“
photography by Helene Kobelnyk
Are youClassy? by Helene Kobelnyk
What kind of image does your mind conjure up when you hear the expression, “Wow, she (or he) has a lot of class!” Our world today seems to revolve around crass notoriety, vulgarity and hedonism. It seems the more bizarre and harmful the behavior the more it is publicized, admired and unfortunately, emulated. Becoming “famous” has become a life’s ambition for many and more often than not, these folks are really just “infamous.” We’ve become a society driven by narcissism, instant gratification and euphoria—by any means necessary. Which is perhaps why the term “class” is slowly disappearing from our vocabulary as in “someone with class.” It’s often difficult to pinpoint and while it eludes concrete definition, it is unmistakable and unforgettable when encountered. Youth, beauty, wealth, fame and power have little to do with “having class,” because it can’t be bought or willed. However, education, behavior and decorum certainly contribute to a person having class. But this, too, is not the whole sum or source of it. So, how exactly does one define this ethereal quality? In my line of work, past and present, I’ve met with the powerful and famous, old and young, rich and poor. Often, I have seen how politicians and social climbers scan the room while “talking” to you—all in the hope of not missing someone more influential than you. I’ve watched the well-to-do flaunt their pricey threads and jewelry while assessing your appearance as they condescendingly smirk at their “superior” taste. Before we can be considered genuinely “classy,” we have to know who we are. Real “class” stems from a sense of inner peace and security, a self-confidence that is not arrogant, but rather is based on an understanding of who we are ON THE INSIDE. All the plastic surgery, glitz and fine clothes cannot mask the real person if truth does not reside within.
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table of contents Publisher Helene Kobelnyk Not To Be Missed
INSPIRATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Exclamation Point! by Helene Kobelnyk
ARE YOU CLASSY? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Cover Story by Lucina Sarber
MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 THE VIVA! Scene by Helene Kobelnyk
FIESTA DE QUINCE AÑOS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Dennis Dunnum
EDUCATION OF YOUNG HUMANS . . . . . . . . 18 Kat Attack by Katherine Umberger
A REAL FRIEND OR NOT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Georgene Inks
THE ZENITH OF JAKE McCAW . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Cover Photo "Going Home" by Michelle Goodall
Editor Lucina Sarber Creative Director Greg Sarber Photographer Helene Kobelnyk Writers Peter Brickey Debe Campbell Dennis Dunnum Georgene Inks Helene Kobelnyk Dr. JC “Kay” Neine Lucina Sarber Jack Shuster Katherine Umberger
RUIDOSO NM www.michellesruidoso.com REQUEST FOR SUBMISSIONS: Please feel free to express yourself! Those interested in submitting articles, polemics, promotional materials, photography, artwork, etc. for publication in VIVAcini, submit to: Helene Kobelnyk at firstname.lastname@example.org
Articles should be in the 500-600 word range and emailed as WordDoc attachments. Photos must be high resolution, 200-300 dpi and submitted as jpgs. VIVAcini is published each Friday so “get us your stuff” no later than the previous
Tuesday at 12 noon. WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF VIVAcini “where a sense of community takes ﬂight, and knows no bounds!” All content, photographs and artwork are the intellectual property of the contributing author, photographer and/or artist and are protected under copyright law. Reprduction of any part of this e-zine without the express permission of the author, photographer and/or artist and publisher is expressly prohibited. All rights reserved.
When we’re comfortable with and grounded in our “true self,” then everything on the outside is a projection of what’s on the inside, and all our behaviors are a natural outcome of the values we hold dear. The people I consider “classy” don’t do things to earn fame, money or notoriety because it’s incongruent with their true self. They are also generous with what they consider their most valuable assets, their time and attention. When you dialogue with a “classy person,” you are treated as the most important person in the room—they give you their time and undivided attention, regardless of your social status. Classy people are the epitome of courtesy and respect. Some powerful contrasts of who is/was truly classy for your consideration: Lady Diana or Madonna? Lindsay Lohan or Taylor Swift? Brad Pitt or Charlie Sheen? The Dalai Lama or Pat Robertson—some make us smile at their innate dignity, the others make us squirm. Classy folks have compassion and empathy, and the ability to look past the obvious and superficial, connecting with people on a deeper level. We’ve lost that in our society. Perhaps that’s why it’s such a “wow” experience when we do meet someone who has real “class." It saddens me that our young generation tends to idolize notorious, ill-mannered and vapid celebrities. If we could teach young people to look past the exterior, to take the time to truly know the person in front of them, perhaps bullying in our schools would not be so pandemic, and certainly our society might take one more step toward civility, along with moral and spiritual evolution.
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Michelle Goodall, Magnificent Obsession by Lucina Sarber
ENCOUNTERING Michelle Goodall’s remarkable photography, one concludes that this can only be the product of a person with an amazing dream life. From mysterious, diaphanous orbs to feline femme fatales, to snarling dragons to delicate dancing dolls with dresses covered in carrots, there is only one conclusion: wow, how did she do that!?” Encountering Michelle herself is another surprise. I expected a self-impressed member of the intelligentsia, a grad school grad with lots of pretense; instead I found a delightful down-to-earth, and humble woman who is completely shocked that people are in awe of her work. Her responses repeatedly caught me by surprise, like when she reveals that she’s on her fourteenth Harley-Davidson. Once again, expect the unexpected. Michelle was born in Muskegon, Michigan the oldest of eight kids. “Dad was a golf pro and my mom raised us all and still somehow managed to be very creative, she painted and did stained glass windows and lamps. I probably get the creative gene from her.” But Michelle was also the “wild child” who drove her mother to declare: “if you want to live like that, get out of this house.” Michelle was only 14 years old but even
"Death Becomes Her"
then felt strongly that: “if you say it, you mean it.” So, she left. The barely pubescent girl spent the next year hitchhiking around the country, something she certainly does not advocate even though she encountered only “the kindness of strangers”— like the fire chief of Tucson: “He picked me up and I could tell he was real concerned about me. He explained that he was on his way to New York for a month and would I promise to stay at his house the entire time? I said ‘yes’ and he gave me the keys to his house. Another time a family from Montana picked me up and took me to a hotel—they got me a room and paid for a two-week stay for me.” Incredibly, Michelle encountered no dangers or inappropriate behaviors— unless one counts the trucker who offered her, “A ‘twenty for well, you know’. . . when I stared at him blankly and said ‘no I don’t,’ he just got frustrated and said, ‘never mind!’” By the time she was 16 years old Michelle had settled down and married. “I had my daughter, Glenda, was divorced by 17and re-married at 18. My new husband worked on power lines, putting up big towers and we were constantly on the move. We saw the entire country because of his job and when Glenda was in first grade, we ended up in Denver.” By 1994, with her daughter grown and finding herself single once again, Michelle was able to focus on her art and began showing her work in galleries, at art shows and art
"Goddess" fests—back then it was mostly Native American arts and crafts like Dream-catchers and mandalas. “But I get bored easily. I needed a new challenge. I had been dabbling in photography since the ‘80s so I started getting serious about taking photos. In 1996 I submitted my black and white photo of ‘Three Dead Trees’ to a gallery show in Englewood, Colo. and was stunned when I won! That inspired me on the mission I am still on. I don’t know if it’s an
obsession or a passion but I live and breathe photography. I can look at a door and ponder, ‘hmm, what if . . .” “Everyone asks, ‘where do you get these ideas from’ — Rusty, my poor husband has learned to RUN when I say, ‘I have an idea.’ But they pop out of nowhere, suddenly I see it in my head and the obsession begins all over. I will not stop . . . I have to figure out how to bring my vision to life!”
National Geographic has twice published her photos. “One is of a humingbird sticking its tongue out; the other is of a silver back gorilla that I took while on safari to the Colorado Springs Zoo”—she says with sly humor. What, I ask, was the inspiration for her photo, “Cleanliness” (depicted here in VIVAcini) of the delicate sprite in what appears to be a teacup made of other-worldly materials, and she replies with typical wit: “Cleanse your soul of stupid ideas.” I comment to Michelle that her haunting “Godess” photo, also pictured in VIVAcini, reminds me of some of the creatures that poplated James Cameon’s blockbuster movie “Avatar” and Michelle responds matter-of - factly, “Gosh, I did that many years before the movie ever came out.” Michelle loves trains and it is her photo titled; “La Veta Train” taken in 2008 that has received the most attention. “It was exhibited in the governor’s office, at Denver International Airport and currently hangs in the office of Smugmug’s CEO.” This last year saw more awards and
accolades for her work: she won third place in Range Finder Magazine’s “2011 Best Photo” contest and placed in the top 12 of Adorama’s “Best Photo of 2011.” So, what does the future hold for Michelle Goodall? “With my life experience so far, I have learned to take it a day at a time. You never know what will happen –I just choose to believe in the innate goodness of people, and in the magic of life.” She then shares what happened just two days before our interview: the loss of her beloved dog of 12 years. “I found her when I was driving past a field and from the corner of my eye saw movement
in the grass. I got out and found this poor dog so beaten up and raggedy . . . her fur was missing in chunks, her legs were broken. I took her to the vet and he kept trying to get me to put her down, he said she was too far-gone. He thought she’d been a bait dog or a fighting dog. But I wouldn’t hear of it, so I nursed her back to health and we spent many happy years together. Want to know what name was on the tag around her neck: ‘Ginger Michelle.’” The magic of life indeed. www.alockintime.com email: email@example.com
by Helene Kobelnyk
She looked like a fairy tale princess as she elegantly swooshed through the doorway in an iridescent sapphire blue gown to rival those worn at the cotillions of Scarlet O’Hara. The glittering tiara on her head completed the look, reminding the world that she was a princess in the eyes of her parents. Escorted by her cousin while her parents and relatives proudly looked on, Alejandra began the celebration of her 15th birthday in the Catholic Church in Capitan. Birthdays are always special events for both the child and the parents, with none as special as a girl’s 15th birthday— her presentation to society in Latin American cultures—which is called a Quinceañera (lit. meaning One (f.) who is fifteen), and is sometimes called "fiesta de quince años," "fiesta de quinceañera," "quince años." For many families, this event is as important and as elaborate as a wedding. Many cultures celebrate the “coming of age” of a young woman with debutante balls—the tradition stems back to the wealthy and aristocratic societies of Europe, where the young woman was presented to the court and society in a “debut.” In those days it was not just a celebration but served as a form of presentation and exhibition to eligible young men in the process of selecting a bride. Today, in the modern world, these celebrations continue in the form of “Sweet 16” parties and debutante balls with less emphasis on a marital outcome.
Following the Mexican tradition, the Quinceanera celebration began with a Catholic Mass, with Alejandra and her escort seated in a place of honor. A special blessing was bestowed by the priest on Alejandra while her god parents presented her with a special rosary. The rest of the day was spent celebrating joyously with family and friends at a dinner dance at a country club. Early on festivities were reserved for visiting with immediate and extended family. School friends and classmates arrived later in the evening to join in the celebration. Preserving the memories of this event were of the utmost importance to Alejandra and her parents—I was there in the role of photographer to insure they had vivid images of the day. It was amazing to see how much detail and preparation went into decorating the venue. Alejandra’s parents worked hard to make this celebration an unforgettable one for their daughter. Once my job was done, I left the gaiety of the celebration and the infectious rhythms of salsa music behind reluctantly. I thought about how lucky I was to live in a country where people are free to keep their old traditions while also adoptting new ones. Let’s hope we never forget that our nation began as a “melting pot” made up of immigrants who were simply looking for a better life—it’s this diversity that made us a great nation and continues to keeps us strong. Viva America!
The Education of YOUNG
HUMANS by Dennis Dunnum
I want to follow up on our esteemed publisher’s challenge to start taking the education of our country’s children seriously (VIVAcini, 10/5). Below are two articles taken from last week’s news wherein religious/political leaders from the world’s two most prevalent religions, make known their feelings about "faith-based" education for children. I admit their comments made me furious. Granted, these are very extreme examples of Muslim and Christian reliance on ancient, outmoded traditions, but we cannot deny that radical elements of both of these faiths, and others, are promoting the belief that their ideas of morality should not only apply to their followers, but must become civil law of the land for ALL! It matters not whether we’re talking Sharia Law in the Middle East, Talmudic adherence in Israel or Christian doctrine being written into the Constitution of the United States. KARACHI, Pakistan — At the age of 11, Malala Yousafzai took on the Taliban by giving voice to her dreams. As turbaned ﬁghters swept through her town in northwestern Pakistan in 2009, the tiny schoolgirl spoke out about her passion for education—she wanted to become a doctor, she said—and became a strong symbol of deﬁance against Taliban subjugation. On Tuesday, masked Taliban gunmen answered Ms. Yousafzai’s courage with bullets, singling out the 14-year-old on a bus ﬁlled with terriﬁed school children, then shooting her in the head and neck. Two other girls were also wounded in the attack. All three survived, but late on Tuesday doctors said that Ms.Yousafzai was in
critical condition at a hospital in Peshawar, with a bullet possibly lodged close to her brain. A Taliban spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, confirmed by phone that Ms. Yousafzai had been the target, calling her crusade for education rights an “obscenity.” (New York Times, 10/10/12) And lest we take comfort in believing that these things are only happening in “less civilized” cultures: ............................................................................ ARKANSAS, USA - "The maintenance of civil order in society rests on the foundation of family discipline. Therefore, a child who disrespects his parents must be permanently removed from society in a way that gives an example to all other children of the importance of respect for parents. The death penalty for rebellious children is not something to be taken lightly. The guidelines for administering the death penalty to rebellious children are given in Deut. 21:18-21:"Charlie Fuqua, GOP candidate for the Arkansas legislature. REALLY?! As a nation, how is it possible insane people like this find others who condone such madness and even greater numbers who do not vehemently challenge them!? My heart screams out for children trapped within the narrow restrictions imposed on them, purportedly, by a loving God—deemed to be ﬂawed from birth and threatened with the everlasting fires of hell! Children who are cast out, persecuted, killed or driven to suicide for trying to achieve their dreams in spite of ancient scriptures and cultures based in fear and domina-
tion. Actually, I don’t know if religions ever were about understanding, compassion and inclusion – I find too many for whom these are NOT major tenets today. Many are not content to prescribe torments for humanity in the next world but rather, in their God’s name, inﬂict suffering in this one! These excerpted articles certainly show two extremely, brutal, religious reactions against children who "strayed" from the moral guideposts established by the religions of their community. Tragically, they are not the only ones that are damaging or fatal. If we—and people in the Middle East and everywhere else on the planet—are ever going to create a world where peace is the norm rather than the exception, we MUST put all religions back where they belong—in the hearts of individuals. Not in the halls of government and certainly NOT in schools where we hope to teach our future generations to find humanity in themselves and in their fellow humans. There is much screaming about “secular humanism” being tantamount to destroying religion, when, in reality, it might be the only thing that will save it. It holds in highest esteem that which we have in common, our humanity, while allowing for the incredible diversity of spiritual and religious affiliations. It is no accident that the First Amendment to the great American Constitution insists on a separation of the state from the religious faiths
of the governed. That was to allow freedom for people to believe what they will, with no interference from the state and for the state to govern WITH NO INTERFERENCE FROM ANY RELIGION, lest all the others be oppressed. Those who teach the children of our country must be those who, regardless of their personal faith, have a reverence for that level of freedom of thought and pass it on to each new generation. They must be able to teach children of their inherent goodness and encourage them to be independent thinkers who can find their own way of being in a worldwide society of billions. Most children will likely follow the spiritual faith of their families, while some will choose other ways. But some will be physically, mentally or emotionally unable to believe as their families wish them to—punishing, humiliating or killing them is certainly not the way to change their minds. Here in the crowded, inter-twined 21st Century, we live with an incredible diversity of colors, beliefs, sexualities, tastes in clothing, music, toothpaste and, yes, even Gods. In the end, we are all exhuberantly human. Keeping the education of our children run by men and women who respect and celebrate our diversity, is the only chance our race, our planet has to survive.
White Oaks resident Dennis Dunnum is a former restaurateur, teacher, builder, model, Carrizozo town councilman, and advocate for the homeless and those suffering from AIDS.
KAT ATTACK by Katherine Umberger
Dear Kat, I have a hard time dealing with people who are not like me. I don’t want to say that I am a racist but I am beginning to think just that. I see Mexicans and think ugly thoughts without even knowing them, the same with various other races. I can’t help but feel superior to them. I’m having a really hard time ﬁghting back anger about this, what do you suggest? “Not Equal” 24
Dear “Not Equal,” I really appreciate your honesty! I am unclear as to what you want me to suggest: do you want help with anger management or for your fear of being a racist. But actually, since I feel your overall anger would be resolved with a little perspective on other races, I will talk about that. Not many people are so honest and openly aware that they feel this way about different people. The fact that you are and that you worry about whether or not you’re a racist means that you have the right frame of mind NOT to be! Here are a few thoughts for you to consider that might help. I personally believe that no, not everyone is equal. We are all individuals. It’s not a matter of being “equal” it is a matter of being who you are and allowing others to be who they are. Not everyone has to be the same. It’s not that you are “better” than someone else or that they are “better” than you, it’s that the person is different from you. For example, I can’t count change! That doesn’t mean that I am stupid or that you are better than me because you can count change. It simply means that I can’t count change. The fact that you do something “better” than me or do something that I can’t do—does NOT DEFINE WHO I AM. So, when you are looking at someone, anyone, look at them as a mystery, an adventure waiting to happen. Everyone is different, even if they share a common race, culture or religion. Sure, this is part of who they are but that IS NOT ALL there is
to them. Challenge yourself to look at someone you would normally get mixed feelings for in a new light. Don’t look at race or nationality; try to notice their hair or smile. Make it a point to say “hello” and be friends. There is so much to be had through gaining a new friend; especially one who isn’t similar to you. You have opportunities all around you to try new things and learn what you’ve never known before. I would like to say something regarding your comment of feeling “better” than other people. It is good and healthy to have a strong self-esteem and self-confidence but don’t let that become a negative attribution. Good for you for feeling good about yourself! But everyone has the right to feel good about themselves—and remember, feeling good about yourself doesn’t involve anyone but you. You should feel good about yourself solely for you and not be dependent on feeling good about yourself because of what others can’t do or lack in some way. I wish you lots of luck and hope you enjoy all of the great friends you are about to make! To request a Kat Attack on a certain subject or have your question featured in the next issue email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Capitan resident Katherine Umberger, is a dedicated mother of two, writer, artist and world traveler. Follow Katherine on VIVAcini in her “Kat Attacks” advice column.
Chille Relleno Casserole
If you live in or have ever visited New Mexico, you know how crazy we are about our chile, and Chile Rellenos are my absolute fave. It does however take quite a bit of time to prepare individual rellenos. This delightful casserole is a great substitute because it blends all the flavors of a dish of chile rellenos yet takes half the time and effort to prepare. INGREDIENTS: • 5-8 (or as many as you like) roasted, peeled and cleaned green chiles (if desperate, use canned chiles) • 5 eggs • 1 cup of half and half • 2/3 cup flour • 1/2 lb Monterey Jack cheese and 1/2 lb cheddar cheese, grated • Salt to taste, usually about ¼ tsp. If you’re using freshly roasted (or frozen—we usually buy a bag of roasted chile in the fall, pack them 6-8 in a bag and freeze for later use), rinse and peel the chiles. Cut the stems and remove the seeds. Mix the eggs, half and half, flour and salt into a pancake-consistency batter. Lightly coat a medium-sized oven casserole dish with olive oil. Place a few chiles on the bottom of the dish. Spoon some of batter and cover with the grated cheeses. Repeat the layering until all the ingredients are used up. The top layer should be cheese.
Cover and bake at 355 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove the cover, and bake for an additional 30 minutes until done. Check for “done” by taking a long toothpick or wooden skewer and poking the center. If no batter is attached to the skewer, then it is done. Let cool for about 10 minutes and serve with condiments of your choice. Makes about 4 servings. If you want to make this a more substantial meal, you can add ground beef or chuck. • 1 lb ground chuck or very lean ground beef • 1 small onion • Salt, pepper, garlic to taste In a skillet sauté the chopped onions and garlic in one tablespoon of oil until the onions become transparent. Add the ground meat and sauté until done. Drain any fat from the meat mixture. I us-ually let the skillet sit with one end tilted up so that the fat drains to the lower end. You shouldn’t have too much fat if you use a high quality beefor chuck. Use this mixture as one of the layers in your casserole. Enjoy
The Zenith of Jake McCaw
s I remember it, Jake was new to the high school theatre program that year, exposed to it while working on the Red Feather Theatre Company’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. Impressed with our theatre students, whom he says he observed working together and staying together, like a family, Jake began exploring theatre. Initially, his exploration led him to the high school art class that was painting a replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on seven “periaktoi” (ancient theatrical device by which a scene or change of scene is indicated) with canvases 14 ft. high and 6 ft. wide designated for the upcoming Shakespearean production. Not only did he paint, he was even offered the role of a statue in the play, which he gracefully declined.
He found himself enrolling in the theatre class. Upon entering class, he immediately received a special project, a kit, about the size of a thin magazine wrapped in plastic. Receiving this “thing,” along with painting Shakespeare’s Globe, he recently reminded me, is how he began with Red Feather. Many years before meeting Jake, I placed a very special kit in my backpack, after buying it in London. I was there attending a production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet at The Globe Theatre and watched the famous play, from the point of view of a groundling, standing for three and a half hours at the foot of the stage; it seemed like mere moments. The stage background was vivid and colorful and the roof over the stage was brilliant with painted designs of stars, the entire Zodiac. It I
had been traveling with my 15 year old son—we were “doing Europe” on a shoestring staying in youth hostels even sleeping in train stations. For a month, I carried only a backpack and everything I needed was in it. The kit, which I’d purchased while visiting The Globe’s wonderful store, thus had only the backpack to rest in—and that is where it stayed, flat against the back cover. It traveled with me by train to Amsterdam, along the Rhine River to Munich and later by sleeper train to Florence, Rome, and finally all the way down the boot to Brendisi. Next the kit went on a ferry to Greece, on a bus over to Athens and finally down to Crete, island of the mythological Minotaur—then we traveled by ferry and train back to Italy coming to rest for a while in Paris and finally, via plane to Houston, Texas. Once, back on U.S., soil I took the kit out of my backpack and before too long, we were on board my 36 ft. sailboat, Morning Star. The English kit was tucked into a floor storage pocket on the boat, resting quietly there for four years while my husband and I voyaged from the U.S. mainland to the Virgin Islands, then on to the British Virgin Islands and all the way to Venezuela; we even endured a dangerous dance with Hurricane Emily in St. Croix one year. Finally, after “the boating life” ended, the kit found a resting place on a bookshelf in the theatre classroom at Ruidoso High School during my first year of employment as a drama teacher with the district. It was during my second year of teaching at RHS that it finally found a permanent home—I gave my precious kit to a new student named Jake, who impressed me with his unusual concentration, motivation, inquisitiveness and “trust me, I can do this!” attitude.
Once I decided Red Feather would produce Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, I thought the background of The Globe would be appropriate and a great learning project. Also, I wanted this kit, to finally get used and used properly. I’d been waiting for just the right time, place, person . . . an “auspicious star” to coin a phrase directly from Prospero’s lines in The Tempest. Little did I know when I handed Jake the project, that this would be the first in a series of accomplishments with Red Feather productions over the next four years. By his senior year, not only would Jake construct and play the leading role in the last play Shakespeare ever wrote, The Tempest, he would also compose and play his own musical score in conjunction with performing it! Jake took his role with Red Feather seriously and applied a perfectionist methodology constructing the miniature replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre—these flat sheets of thin cardboard, intricately divided to form the Bard’s theatre, complete with stage, columns, balconies, walls, and roof. The flat kit of The Globe, which had traveled to so many places, now became an intricately constructed 3D model; an effective hands-on tool helping students see the connections of what they were painting and what the staging of a Shakespearean production was really designed for. Only someone with razor-like focus, patience, and an ability to follow direction could have constructed the model. Jake was entrusted with it and in the end, constructed The Globe Theatre, flawlessly. Today, Jake is the musical director and composer as well as lead actor in the upcoming Red Feather production, Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Carrying a
full-class load, Jake is under tremendous time and energy constraints rehearsing and constructing the character of Prospero, one of the greatest roles Shakespeare ever created; a character who perhaps is saying farewell to the world and his beloved stage, “This flat we call The Globe.” Jake’s musical composition for The Tempest is written to reflect life’s tempests as well as joy and aspiration. Jake uses music as an outlet—a way to unwind and reveal his emotions—fairly heady stuff for one so young to apply this to scoring Shakespeare. But who is to say what age qualifies as the “best” to perceive Shakespeare’s intentions? What level of “education” qualifies one to understand? What kind of “experience” prepares one to construct a psychological universe?
Students and most parents, who usually stay in the background, bring to the public schools an array of experiences and expectations which can greatly contribute to or challenge any learning environment. From the onset, Jake brought into our school system years of musical training, time management skills and discipline, consistently nurtured by supportive and involved parents. Jake also credits a series of teachers in several New Mexico schools that contributed to his creative and intellectual make-up. He is the product of insightful and caring adults, creative passion, and consistent direction. Now, he is putting that all together in The Tempest however imperfectly, since the energy, and
interactions of others will undoubtedly factor in. Yet, audiences will see clearly in the play’s many moments of brilliance, a predictor of what is yet to come from this young man. Jake has worked at his performance art since the age of three when his father asked if he would like to take piano lessons—now, after 14 years of practice, audiences will see the result as Jake expresses his heart and mind through his music. He often elicits estactic applause and even tears from his peers and teachers who hear his lastest compositions. Driven to write passionately is what now guides him in his career choice and college direction. He plans to attend The Santa Fe School of Art and Design to write film scores and act. He loves Shakespeare and says the Bard’s plays are woefully underappreciated since they are infinitely better than most of what Hollywood puts out. Jake also likes the huge canvas Shakespeare uses in directing actors within the lines themselves. Bringing words to life through action and music, Jake says he applies all he has learned from his New Mexico teachers and directors, like piano teacher, Carol Floyd, band directors Mike Lee, Adam Bryant, Bill Lamb, Gary Shaver, and in theatre,“The Missoula Children’s Theatre Company and at Ruidoso High School, yours truly. As a result of these learning environments, and consistent parental support Jake plays the trombone, guitar, harmonica, and of course, piano. His compositions for The Tempest include parts for violin, cello, flute, drum and piano. In the near future, he also plans to develop skills with violin and Spanish guitar.
Jake’s acting experiences have been honed by roles with Missoula and have included playing a spider in The Frog Prince, a villiager in The Tales of Hans Christian Anderson, a magician in The Wizard of Oz, and assistant director on Robin Hood. With Red Feather he developed into an expert stage fencer and combat choreographer—played many varied roles like the role of The Dark Spirit Astro in The Fallen and Broken Wing both written by Red Feather graduate Mercedes Espinoza. In these productions Jake also composed the fiery musical score for piano, which he played with great passion. He also played the piano offstage in The Importance of Being Earnest. In Peter Pan he played a drunken pirate and impersonated Jack Sparrow. He was the 'commedia' character Dr. Purjon in a Moliere rendition; played an indifferent psychologist in Grey Rose written by Red Feather graduate Candace Christopher—and an eccentric and cocky actor in Greyworld written by Red Feather graduate Meagan Meyer. His long list of accomplishments include makeup artist on The Wizard of Oz, and his upcoming role as Prospero in The Tempest. For those of us observing Jake and enjoying his work: “by (his) prescience, (he) finds (his) zenith doth depend upon a most auspicious star" . . . as he becomes one . . . on this flat we call 'The Globe.' VIVAcini contributor, Georgene Inks is Theatre Arts Instructor at the Ruidoso Municipal School District and director of the Red Feather Theatre Company. Photos courtesy of Georgene Inks and Ashley Gonzales.
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