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“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

July 1, 2018
Film Review by Ron Wells
I never watched Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. I was too old, and didn’t see much need for it. I thought it was a bit silly, and it didn’t really resonate during the turmoil of the ’60’s. Yesterday, I saw Won’t You Be My Neighbor, a documentary about Fred Rogers. I highly, highly recommend this film. Directed by Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom), this documentary is the perfect antidote for the crassness and crudeness that dominates our lives.  It will certainly hold your attention for  the 1 hour and 34 minutes you’re in the theater. 
If you’re lucky, it will stay with you much longer as it seeps deeply into your soul.

Read more…


Don’t Just Stand There, DO SOMETHING! #ThanksLarry 4 #BurningMan

June 21, 2018

The Otters and the Seaweed by Teddy Macker

This is what you need to know:
you need to know that otters wrap themselves
in seaweed so they won’t,
while sleeping at night, float out to sea . . .
Are you imagining this?
Can you see the otters actually doing this?
Does it break your heart a little?
Does it seduce you just a bit
into loving more
this odd hard world?
Oh otters, wrap yourselves tight! And sleep,
exactly like you do, floating but seaweed-held
in our salty living waters! Oh otters,
wrap yourselves tight! And you,
the one who doesn’t, the one who doesn’t
tether himself down right,
we are with you as you float away,
we are with you as you sleep
and lose yourself in the night.
Teddy Macker is the featured poet tonight June 21 at weekly reading at the EP Foster Library in the Topping Room followed by an open poetry every Thursday at 7:30pm 651 E. Main Street – Ventura  with host  Phil Taggart. 

Today, Thur. Jun 21, 2018 is the solstice, and in the northern hemisphere, it is the first day of summer and the longest day of the year. In the far north, the stars barely get a chance to shine during the twilight that goes from sunset to sunrise.

On this, the longest day of the year, it’s time to GET OUT THERE AND DO SOMETHING! Save the otters and be the seaweed!

This is the perfect way to honor the memory of Larry Harvey, the founder of Burning Man who died earlier this year on April 28, 2018 on this “Day of Gratitude” as well as service because for many of us, Larry Harvey and Burning Man has served as the seaweed that has kept us from floating out to sea:

Burning Man participants around the world will toast Harvey at events, at home, or wherever they may be on this day, because according to the Burning Man Journal, June 21, 2018, is the anniversary of the first Burning Man in 1986.  we invite you to connect, reflect and celebrate the life and gifts of our original instigator and firestarter, Larry Harvey. If you don’t know much about Larry, you can read some moving tributes here in the Journal, as well as on the public memorial site. Check out the hashtag #thankslarry  on social media.

One of the most important “rules” at Burning Man is: NO SPECTATORS. That means, instead of standing around gawking, DO SOMETHING! It is up to all of us to make the world a better place. As the Burning Man Journal points out, “Larry lived a life of purpose, play, creativity and service. One of his greatest talents was making opportunities for others to co-create in imaginative ways. The results sparked a network of participatory events, which gave rise to a year-round community and a global cultural movement.” They ask us to consider today: Who were you before you found Burning Man? Who are you now? What are you inspired to do? How do you want to see more Burning Man in the world?

The Burning Man Journal reminds us that “The hour around sunset is a special time of reflection on the solstice, no matter which hemisphere you’re in.” They encourage us to gather and share “the moment of sunset” which is what we did here in Ventura on the day that  Larry died.  Read more…

Amgen Tour of California 2018 Races Through Ventura and Lodi Wine

May 21, 2018

What do Ventura’s historic Mission, Olympic cyclists, and Lodi wine have to do with each other?

The Amgen Tour of California! Read more…

Art Equals Life :: Art Saves Lives :: Bad Exhibition :: Value in Art :: Art City

May 19, 2018

Tonight’s historic opening of the Bad Exhibition: Value in Art at Ventura’s Art City is dedicated to Joe Cardella, artist, book designer, and publisher of ArtLife who died of cancer last week.

“I have used the word avant-garde a number of times in talking about Bad Exhibition: Value in Art, though I know it’s a pretentious and problematic word. This is precisely what I want to talk about. What would it mean to talk about a 1980’s and 1990’s avant-garde in Ventura and Santa Barbara as distinct from L.A., for example? Southwest China early 1990’s avant-garde as distinct from Xiamen Dada, mid-80’s?” writes curator Dr Sophia Kidd.

Read more…

“Hands Across the Sand and Land” Reaches Around the World This Saturday May 19th

May 18, 2018

Environmental Activists in Ventura earlier in 2018; I’m holding the “P”! 


Communities standing up against offshore drilling in 17 states and seven countries

The Trump administration has announced a proposal to expand offshore oil drilling in U.S. waters, threatening ocean recreation, tourism and fishing industries. This extreme proposal opens over 90% of the Outer Continental Shelf to new drilling and puts our nation’s coastal communities, beaches, surf breaks, and marine ecosystems at risk of a catastrophic oil spill.

In response,  please join us as we take hands across the sand and land! Details from a press release on how how and why you should join below!  Read more…

The Little Prince: It’s a Question of Discipline

May 15, 2018

‘It’s a question of discipline,’ the little prince told me later on. ‘When you’ve finished washing and dressing each morning, you must tend your planet,” writes Antoine de Saint-Exupery in his classic novel The Little Prince.

The semester at Ventura College where I teach writing is coming to a close. It’s been an amazing semester, one where we’ve learned a lot about loving kindness, compassion, community, and yes, about tending our planet, our home.

We’ve been studying ecology.

The term ecology comes from the combination of two Greek words: oikos meaning “home” and logos meaning “the study of.” So, the word ecology means “the study of home.” You can think of a home as the place that meets your needs.

In our ecological studies, we’ve faced many of the problems troubling our planet and examined our role — what can we do to address climate change? Plastic pollution in the ocean? Nature deficit disorder? Technology addiction?

It is a daunting task. And it is easy to get depressed.

“One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise,” writes Aldo Leopold in A Sand County Almanac.

This semester we have actually learned that we do NOT live alone in a world of wounds: we live in community. By working in community, we can together be the doctor that sees the mark of death in communities that see themselves as well enough and we can guide out communities along the path to wellness.

I appreciate the willingness of my students to travel this path with me this semester. Not only did they learn how to be better writers, researchers, and critical thinkers but together we are making a difference. Of that I am very proud and happy.


Two Poems by Kevin Patrick Sullivan

May 9, 2018
Phil Taggart, Ventura County Poet Laureate at invites you to come to downtown Ventura this Thursday, May 10 hear featured poet Kevin Patrick Sullivan at 7:30pm and join the open mic at EP Foster Library 651 E. Main Street, Ventura in the Topping Room where there’s poetry every Thursday. To whet your whistle, here’s two poems by Kevin Patrick Sullivan:

Read more…

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