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Swing into Spring’s Festival Season! Santa Barbara’s Lucidity, Ventura College’s Culture in Diversity, and more

April 11, 2019

Coachella may be the biggest around here, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only festival or the best one for you! It’s Earth Month so watch for Earth Day Festivals near you all month!

This weekend is Lucidity near Santa Barbara, California and yesterday and today is the FREE Fourth Annual Diversity in Culture Festival at Ventura College, 4667 Telegraph Road, Ventura CA 93003. The FREE event includes a number of speakers on stages and classrooms around the campus.

We’ll be performing an extended version of our Thomas Fire piece, “What Does Thomas Teach Us” TODAY at just after noon on the Main Stage located by the library. We follow the Student Slam and the announcement of the winner of next year’s poster contest.

Here’s the blurb and our bios:

In the surprising, humorous, entertaining, and award winning “What Does Thomas Teach Us” originally produced for Santa Barbara’s Lobero Theater, experienced performance artists Gwendolyn Alley, Rasika Mathur, and Rosel Weedn present personal, poetic, and eco-psychological interpretations of the events that led to and transpired following the December 2017 Thomas Fire.

With original music co-created by the trio and performed on a traditional wash tub bass by Rosel Weedn, comedian Rasika Mathur shares her story of losing her Ojai home while Ventura College professor Gwendolyn Alley brings in perspectives from Batchelard, Galway Kinnell, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Edison, and Grandmother Spider and others while asking “Will the Thomas Fire convince Doubting Thomas of Climate Change?”  Time permitting, Rasika and Gwendolyn will also perform individual works.

Who are we? 

Gwendolyn Alley has parented peregrines in San Diego, hooted for spotted owls in the Sierra, searched for goshawks around Lake Tahoe, climbed a bunch of 14,000′ peaks as a mountaineering instructor in Colorado, lived in her VW van in Wyoming, participated in the Burning Man Festival in Nevada 18 times, and backpacked 2800 miles from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. A lifelong learner and nature lover, Gwendolyn double majored in literature and environmental studies at UC Santa Cruz where she wrote a novel about her experience as one of the first women to complete the Pacific Crest Trail; she also has a Masters in English from the University of Nevada Reno and a Masters in Depth Psychology with an emphasis in Ecopsychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. She has received literary fellowships from the City of Ventura as well as grants to write about water and power for a public art installation in Pasadena (2013) and about fire for a performance at the Lobrero Theater in Santa Barbara (2018). Her publications include multiple issues of ArtLife Limited Editions.
You’ll generally find Gwendolyn teaching writing at Ventura College by day, and by night tasting and writing about wine for her Wine Predator blog ( and about life on her Art Predator blog ( When she’s not writing or teaching, you’ll find Gwendolyn in the Sierras hiking, skiing, and camping with her son and husband in their VW van.

With a grant from Pacifica Graduate Institute’s Opus Archives, Gwendolyn co-created the Thomas Fire piece with someone who lost her home in that tragedy: improv comedian, actor, and storyteller Rasika Mathur. Rasika Mathur has worked in the Writers Room for Kevin Hart and as an Improv cast member on MTV’s Nick Cannon Presents Wild N Out; she booked a spot on Will & Grace just days after the Thomas fire. She was a 2017 Hollywood Fringe Scholarship Winner for her one woman show, My Hustle Has ADHD. As a former President of Ventura’s Oceanview Toastmasters Club, Rasika cultivated a supportive environment to overcome the fear of public speaking. She is currently pursuing her 200HR certification from YogaWorks. Find her on Twitter @RasiRas

Rounding out the “What Does Thomas Teach Us” cast is Rosel Weedn performing original music on a washtub bass (also known as a gut bucket). A long time participant in the creative arts in Santa Barbara, Ventura, LA, Black Rock City, and NYC, Rosel is usually found behind the scenes working as a production designer, lighting engineer, dresser, and costumer.

Today is also the start of the Lucidity Festival located at Live Oak which is near Lake Cachuma behind Santa Barbara. Lucidity is similar to Lightening in the Bottle which got its start in this location.

Lucidity has lots of music, but it is known equally for being family friendly, for all of the art on the beautiful festival site including Deniz Nichole’s latest SPARKLING art project, and for offering many wonderful workshops. You can see the complete list here.

ON FRIDAY, my son and I will be teaching people how to make their own mouthwash and my family and I are also organizing a geocache adventure. Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices that’s fun for all ages. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. It’ll be ongoing Saturday and Sunday as we add geocaches.

I’ll also be performing poetry on the Mighty Zenith — a 24′ giant 1974 television set! On Sunday, Rasika, Rosel and I will perform our Thomas Fire piece as described above then a Thomas Fire documentary will be shown. 

Read more about me and my workshops on the Lucidity site.


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