The Ojai Valley Green Coalition invites you to the second film in its Summer Film Series, the inspiring documentary, “City Dark.” In this award winning film, director Ian Cheney blends visual poetry and hard facts for a film that chronicles the disappearance of night skies and what we can do about it. The screening will start with a short program on Saturday, August 11 at 4:30 p.m. and takes place at the Ojai Theatre, 145 E. Ojai Ave., Ojai. Beat the heat and be informed and inspired. Suggested donation $10 at the door. For more details visit


Friday, August 17 at the Agriculture Museum
Santa Barbara filmmakers Susan Jensen and Paul Singer.
Santa Barbara filmmakers Susan Jensen and Paul Singer.

If you find mules irresistible, don’t miss Dinner and a Mule Movie at the Museum of Ventura County’s Agriculture Museum in Santa Paula on Friday, August 17. The summer evening will begin with dinner at 6:00 p.m., followed by the first Ventura County screening of Mula: The Long-Eared Hero of the Old Spanish Trail, with an introduction by the filmmakers. Dinner includes a full taco bar with dessert and soft drinks; and popcorn with the movie. A no host bar is also available. Admission is $20 for the general public and $10 for children under 12. Space is limited; for reservations, call 805-525-3100.

Santa Barbara filmmakers Susan Jensen and Paul Singer will introduce the movie at 6:45 p.m. It follows the story of the California Mule Rush, when thieves plundered ranchos and missions, stealing thousands of prized California mules to take over the Old Spanish Trail to sell in Missouri. Learn why California mules were worth ten times the price of horses at that time, and hear about these hard working animals from today’s packers, breeders, traders and mule drivers. Filmed in California, Missouri and Tennessee, the film is underscored with the music of award winning Dave Stamey and Juni Fisher. Mula: The Long-Eared Hero of the Old Spanish Trail is the seventh in J & S Productions’ Vaquero series.

The Museum of Ventura County’s Agriculture Museum is located at 926 Railroad Avenue, Santa Paula, California, in their historic downtown, near the Depot and next to the railroad tracks. Hours are 10 a.m.– 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is $4 adults, $3 seniors, $1 children 6-17, free for Museum of Ventura County members, and for children ages 5 and younger. On first Sundays of the month, general admission is always free. For more information, go to or call (805) 525-3100.


Terry Spehar-Fahey with some of her Venice paintings.
Terry Spehar-Fahey with some of her Venice paintings.
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CLU lecturer led students on travel seminar to city

THOUSAND OAKS, CA - Terry Spehar-Fahey will exhibit a series of watercolors inspired by her trip to Venice, Italy, withCalifornia Lutheran University students.

“Imagining Venice: Watercolors by Terry Spehar-Fahey” will run from Monday, Aug. 20, through Friday, Sept. 28, in CLU’s Kwan Fong Gallery of Art and Culture. An artist’s reception will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15.

When Spehar-Fahey began teaching watercolor at CLU in 2006, the Moorpark resident dreamed of taking a class to Venice to paint in the footsteps of her heroes William Joseph Mallory Turner and John Singer Sargent. She made it happen in 2011, when she and communication professor Dru Pagliassotti led their first two-week travel seminar to the Italian city. After taking a semester-long course in preparation, the students toured, sketched, painted and blogged their way through Venice. Spehar-Fahey and Pagliassotti plan to return with a new group of students in spring 2013.

Some of Spehar-Fahey’s CONTINUED »


August 16

Ojai Valley’s Chuck Testa attained unexpected cult status when an offbeat advertisement for his taxidermist business went viral on YouTube. The video with the catch line “Nope! Chuck Testa,” has had more than 12 million views in less than a year. On Thursday, August 16 at 6:00 p.m. at the Museum of Ventura County, Testa presents Taxidermy 101, explaining the process used for museum mounts of fur-bearing animals. Admission is $5 and includes entrance to all museum galleries until 8:00 p.m. For reservations, call 805-653-0323 x 7.

The talk sheds light on the Museum of Ventura County’s current exhibition “Featured Creatures,” which includes now rarely seen mounted animals and birds from their collection, some almost 100 years old.

Testa has mounted specimens for the Channel Islands Visitors Center, the Ojai Valley Museum, and the Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center, as well as other locations, where they are used to educate visitors about local wildlife.

In his August 16 talk Testa will discuss innovations such as manufactured molds, as well as the importance of anatomical knowledge. He became interested in taxidermy in his mid-twenties and largely taught himself with the help of only a few mentors. He opened Ojai Valley Taxidermy in 1987. Testa notes that today more information is shared, with tutorials posted on line, including many by him.

The Museum of Ventura County is located at 100 East Main Street in downtown Ventura. Hours are 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission to the exhibitions is $4 adults, $3 seniors, $1 children 6-17, members and children under 6 are free. The first Sundays of every month are free general admission for the public. For more museum information go to or call 805-653-0323.



VCPG Pottery Gallery is featuring the duo talents of Christine Watte and Ellen Williams at their pottery and sculptural gallery from July 28 through August 30, 2012. RECEPTION Saturday, August 4th 3 - 6 pm

Christine Watte and Ellen Williams both create whimsical, happy moods with their ceramic works that include mermaids and a variety of fish in bright glazes.

Originally from Zurich, Switzerland, Christine Watte has moved around California, but for the last 20 years has lived in the beach city of Oxnard, CA. She is a self-taught artist who has spent many years painting, wood working and experimenting with different mediums. Watte strives to use many natural findings along with recycling various items. Being a dedicated full-time artist and member of the Ventura County Potters’ Guild's Gallery, the Buenaventura and Harbor Village Art Galleries and the American Gourd Society, Watte keeps very busy. You will find her at the VCPG Pottery Gallery on most Tuesdays making her delightfully, cheerful array of fish and turtles along with her amazing ceramic carved vessels.

Ellen Williams was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and graduated from Ohio University with a Fine Arts degree. Early in life Williams found she had an inner need to express herself by painting and drawing. She now uses clay as the canvas of her creations. Each piece is a unique and original porcelain painting and takes on a sense of whimsy. The colors create a feeling of light-hearted happiness as one feels when taking a stroll through a beautiful blooming garden on a perfect day. Williams is also experimenting with new glazes and the results are luscious and very beautiful. The porcelain sculptures are a delight to see and touch... very detailed.


“The White Chess King”, oil on canvas, 24” x 36”, by Michele Baggenstoss
“The White Chess King”, oil on canvas, 24” x 36”, by Michele Baggenstoss
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Recent paintings in watercolors and oils by Ventura artist and teacher Michele B. Baggenstoss will be exhibited Aug. 21-Sept. 17 at Harbor Village Gallery in a show titled “Games People Play: You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore.”

She will be present for a reception from 5-8 p.m. Aug. 24, the Friday after the show opens.

As campus coordinator, Baggenstoss works closely with students and faculty members at Laurus College in Oxnard, one of four campuses of the postsecondary vocational school. Licensed by the state, it offers certification programs in several technical specialties, including 3-D animation, computer networking, medical billing, and web design, which Baggenstoss teaches. The school also is helping to sponsor her show.

“There is no separation between me being a teacher and me being an artist. An artist is what I am, not what I do,” said Baggenstoss. “I would miss art if I only taught, would miss teaching if I only did art.”

Her show theme resulted CONTINUED »

Event part of series marking exhibit of his Western art

THOUSAND OAKS, CA - Former game show host Bob Eubanks will discuss his varied career, touch on his friendships with Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, and answer questions from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 28, at California Lutheran University.

“An Afternoon with Bob Eubanks” will be held in CLU’s Lundring Events Center.

The event is one of a series of informal salon gatherings celebrating “Western Salon,” a CLU exhibit of art that Eubanks and his family donated to the university and pieces on loan from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. “Variations,” featuring classic Western theme songs played and discussed by Armenian-born master pianist Mikael Oganes, will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, in the William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art. The CLU English Department will present “Readings from the West” from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8.

Eubanks, a Westlake CONTINUED »

July 29, 2012

SANTA PAULA, CA – Ventura County’s premiere men's barbershop chorus, Pacific Sound, is coming to the Santa Paula Art Museum on Sunday, July 29, 2012 from 4 to 6 p.m. The concert, a perfect summer Sunday event for all ages, will feature Barbershop style music with jazz, pop and gospel influences. Concert goers will also enjoy refreshments as they listen to their favorite melodies. Admission to the event is $10.00 for Members and $15.00 for non-members. Children and students are admitted free.

Formed in 1999, Pacific Sound is an award winning championship a cappella chorus comprised of men of all ages and from all walks of life who come together to sing for the joy of harmony. Barbershop music is a uniquely American art form, one that Pacific Sound has traveled around the world to promote, preserve and encourage. Their style and talent will remind you of the simple joy inspired by a great musical show.

“Pacific Sound is not only delightful to listen to, but to watch as well. The chorus puts on an incredible performance full of fun, color and classic songs”, says Museum Executive Director, Jennifer Heighton. So add a little more glee and harmony to your summer by seeing Pacific Sound live at the Museum.

The Museum is located at 117 North 10th Street, Santa Paula, CA 93060. Reservations for the concert are recommended. The Museum’s regular hours are Wednesday – Saturday, 10 AM – 4 PM, and Sundays, 12 PM – 4 PM. More information is available by calling the Museum at (805) 525-5554, or email

Kelp Dance, acrylic, by Diana Caskey
Kelp Dance, acrylic, by Diana Caskey
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Diana Caskey didn’t have to look far for a theme for her solo exhibition next month at the Buenaventura Gallery, but she chose an ambitious one. The Ventura painter, who often finds her art inspiration along the nearby shoreline, is calling the Aug. 14-Sept. 8 show “The Sea and Everything in it.”

“I hope that my show will evoke some of the wonder and majesty that I see in the ocean and the God who created it,” said Caskey, who will be at the downtown Ventura gallery from 4-8 p.m. Aug. 18 for an opening reception.
Her interest in creating art stemmed from watching her father, Marion “Pat” Patterson, paint colorful canvases during her childhood, she said. A construction tradesman and primarily self-taught artist, he joined the Buenaventura Art Association’s forerunner, the Ventura Art Club, after moving his family here in the 1950s and served as its president in the late 1960s. He’s now 94 years old and still painting.

“My father was such a quiet man that it was mysterious how to get his attention, so that (making art) is how I got his attention,” Caskey said. “I liked it and got praised for it, so I kept it up.”

She began studying CONTINUED »

Big Band, Army of Freshmen, Jeff Hershey and the Heartbeats, The Shoemaker Brother and more to appear

The 5th Annual Citrus Classic Balloon Festival has officially announced its music line-up for the 2012 event.

Taking place in Santa Paula, California on Friday, July 27 and Saturday, July 28, the event will feature a who’s who of local talent including a closing performance from one of the area’s most talked about acts, Big Band- Ventura County’s All Star 10 Man Cover Band.

Though the Citrus Classic draws attendees from all over the country to marvel at the breath taking hot air balloons during sunrise and sunset, as well as, enjoy sunset dinners, beer and wine tasting, car and tractor shows, kid’s activities, rides, games, vendors, food trucks and so much more, live music has always been an important part of the event.

Now in 2012, Festival organizers are raising the musical bar with a line-up of some the area’s most popular artists.

Headlining the event CONTINUED »


Relax and enjoy the classic country western sounds of the Lucky Sons band on August 5 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m., during Free First Sunday at the Agriculture Museum in Santa Paula. Refreshments are available.

The Museum of Ventura County’s Agriculture Museum features a special vintage tractor as well as a buggy for children to climb, and two summer exhibitions. Horse Play, with larger than life-size paintings by Katie Upton, captures equine exuberance, and Team Work: Horses & Mules on the Job includes rare historic images illustrating how these animals once provided the major muscle for agriculture and commerce.

The Lucky Sons band have been together for more than 15 years, and includes Brian Hernandez on drums; Ray Magee on pedal steel guitar and vocals; Paul Skeels on lead guitar and vocals; and Jim Stephenson on bass guitar and vocals. In the 1990’s they were part of Cletus Bumpus and the Other Guys, and later were known as the Ellsworth Barranca Band. They specialize in three-part harmony with an emphasis on music made famous by Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, Willie Nelson, the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and others.

The Museum of Ventura County’s Agriculture Museum is located at 926 Railroad Avenue, Santa Paula, California, in their historic downtown, near the Depot and next to the railroad tracks. Hours are 10 a.m.– 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is $4 adults, $3 seniors, $1 children 6-17, free for Museum of Ventura County members, and for children ages 5 and younger. On first Sundays of the month, general admission is always free here and at the Museum of Ventura County in Ventura. For more information about the Agriculture Museum, go to or call (805) 525-3100.

Book Fair at the Ojai Valley Museum. Photo by Fred Kidder.
Book Fair at the Ojai Valley Museum. Photo by Fred Kidder.
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Friday, July 13, 2012, 5-7:30 P.M., in the back courtyard

The Ojai Valley Museum invites community and visitors to meet eight local authors who are regularly represented in the Ojai Valley Museum Store. These novelists, historians and gourmands will each have a table at which they will discuss their books and sign copies on Friday, July 13, 2012. This early evening event from 5 to 7:30 pm is free to the public and will include a cheese and no-host wine bar. Attendees may bring books that they already own, or buy from the authors at the event.

The following authors and books will be featured:

ELISE DePUYDT: A Photo Guide to Fountains and Sculptures of Ojai: Art, History & Architecture is a valuable guide to the public art and historic places of the Ojai Valley with over 200 color photos taken by the author. Elise is the Ojai Valley Museum bookkeeper and one of the museum’s Historical Walking Tour docents.

KAREN EVENDEN: A Taste of Croatia is both a delightful travel memoir and an easy to use cookbook with recipes savored by Croatians and adapted for use in American kitchens. Included in the book are her and husband Bill’s delightful and adventuresome memoirs of sailing the Adriatic coast.

RANDY GRAHAM: Ojai Valley Vegetarian Cookbook is a collection of the 120 most popular recipes from the first two years of Graham’s posts to his Ojai Valley Vegetarian Blog, that appeal to everyone without regard to any specific diet. His recipes are also printed under the heading “Chef Randy” in the Ojai Valley News.

PATRICIA A. HARTMANN: The Ojai is a novel that takes the reader on a journey of personal discovery, of the rich and colorful history of the Ojai Valley. Hartman has made Ojai her home for 37 years. She lives with her husband in a 145-year-old farmhouse on nine acres where they grow Pixie Tangerines

TERRY TALLENT: Making The Reata is a moving story told with historical insights into Ojai and Chumash life before the coming of the Spaniards. Tallent did not set out to write a historical novel, but says, “The material lent itself so well.”

TONY THACHER: The Ojai at 100: Tennis, Tea & Tradition chronicles the history of Ojai’s world famous amateur tennis tournament, endearingly nicknamed, “The Ojai.”
The insightful text and facsimile documents, combined with historical photographs, provide a comprehensive history of the tournament’s 100 consecutive years.

CRAIG WALKER: Co-author of Postcard History Series of Ojai. More than 200 vintage postcards were collected for this nostalgic look at our beloved Ojai. Craig is currently on the Board of Directors of the Ojai Valley Museum.

EDWARD D. WEBSTER: A Year of Sundays is a beautiful, travel/love story of Ed Webster and his wife of 28 years, who took their 16-year old cat on a Grand Tour of Europe. The fact that Webster’s wife, Marquerite, is blind, adds unexpected layers to their relationship and travel experiences.

Authors in absentia, with autographed books for sale on July 13th, include: Mr. George Stuart, Richard Senate, and Fred Rothenberg. Books by all of the writers participating in the fair, or with publications only, are currently available in the Museum Store.

A few, out-of-print copies of the book, Birds, Boughs, & Blossoms: Jesse Arms Botke (1882-1971) will also be available at this sale.

The Ojai Valley Museum, established in 1967, is generously supported in part by Museum Members, Private Donors, Business Sponsors and Underwriters, the Smith-Hobson Foundation, Wood-Claeyssens Foundation, City of Ojai, Rotary Club of Ojai, and the Ojai Civic Association.

The museum is located at 130 W. Ojai Avenue, Ojai, CA. Admission: free for current 2012 members, adults - $4.00, children 6–18 - $1.00 and children 5 and under – free. Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Saturday 10 to 4 pm; Sunday, noon to 4 pm. Tours are available by appointment. Free parking is available off Blanche Street at back of museum.

For more information, call the museum at (805) 640-1390, ext. 203, e-mail or visit the museum website at: Ojai Valley

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July 17, 2012

Colin Finlay, one of the foremost documentary photographers in the world, will be sharing his imagery on Tuesday evening, July 17, at the Ojai Photo Club’s monthly meeting. Finlay will present images and reflections from Rwanda, Darfur, The Alberta Tar Sands and his project on Agent Orange. He will include written text pieces that accompany his essays and explore each of the projects in depth.

Finlay has documented the human condition with compassion, empathy, and dignity for almost twenty years. His work has taken him around the world many times. He covered conflicts in Northern Ireland, Israel, and Haiti; was in Rwanda during the time of the genocide; and photographed imprisoned child soldiers, abandoned children dying from AIDS in Romania and child laborers in Egypt’s “City of the Dead.” He has also documented the effects of climate change on the Arctic Circle and Antarctica as well as on people in locations such as the Sudan.

Finlay has been awarded the prestigious Picture of the Year International honor six times. His photographs have been published by TIME, US News and World Report, Asia Magazine, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization, and are in the permanent collections of the George Eastman House, J. Paul Getty Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, LACMA and MOCA.

Local photographer and club member, Sally Carless, says, “I am very excited that Colin has agreed to come to Ojai. I recently attended a presentation of his in Hollywood and was very moved—not just by the amazing photographs—but also by who he is as a person. He speaks of the people he has photographed with such respect and compassion, and is committed to making a difference in the world through his photography—even when it means risking both his life and his emotional well-being over and over again.”

Please join us for an unforgettable evening. The meeting begins at 7:00 PM, July 17, at Help of Ojai’s Kent Hall, 111 Santa Ana Street, Ojai, CA.

For more information, visit: and

Hear Wildlife Biologist Describe How Recovery Program Works

Wildlife biologist Tim Coonan has led Channel Islands National Park’s successful recovery program for the endangered island foxes since 1999. Hear his presentation “Saving the Island Fox” on Thursday, July 26 at 6:00 p.m. at the Museum of Ventura County. Admission to the lecture is $5 for the general public, free for members, and includes entry to all exhibit galleries until 8:00 p.m. To RSVP call 805-653-0323 x 7.

Threatened with extinction by non-native predators and diseases, the endangered island fox has for a number of years been the object of intense recovery methods such as captive breeding and reintroduction. Coonan details in his presentation just how and why fox populations on almost all the Channel Islands have now recovered to pre-decline levels.

Coonan has studied island foxes for 20 years, and in 2010 he co-authored a book on their decline and recovery. Coonan is also currently president of the board of trustees of the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy. Prior to his present work at Channel Islands National Park, he was at Death Valley National Park, where he studied bighorn sheep and desert pupfish.

The Museum of Ventura County is located at 100 East Main Street in downtown Ventura. Hours are 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission to the exhibitions is $4 adults, $3 seniors, $1 children 6-17, members and children under 6 are free. The first Sundays of every month are free general admission for the public. For more museum information go to or call 805-653-0323.


Santa Barbara, CA - Los Padres ForestWatch has kicked-off its first ever Wilderness and Wild River Photo contest in support of the ongoing Los Padres Wild Heritage Campaign. The photo contest seeks to bring attention to special places, diverse wildlife, and those enjoying our local backcountry in existing wilderness areas or areas that are proposed for new wilderness in the Los Padres National Forest.

Three categories will be judged: landscape, wildlife, and images with people. In addition to the “Judge’s Awards of Excellence,” presented by the judges panel, there will also be awards given for a “People’s Choice” – determined by online popularity vote. Additionally, the judge’s panel will award a “Best in Show” prize for the best overall picture in any category. Submitted images must be from existing or proposed wilderness areas and/or wild rivers within the Los Padres National Forest (visit to view the Los Padres National Forest wilderness map).

Photos will be judged on CONTINUED »


The Santa Paula Art Museum presents:

The De Colores Art Show

Art will be on exhibit at the
Santa Paula Art Museum
117 N. 10th Street
Santa Paula, California

About the Santa Paula Art Museum
The Santa Paula Art Museum, Jeanette Cole Art Center was established as a not-for-profit organization with a mission to preserve and share Santa Paula's artistic heritage including the famous Santa Paula Art Collection; and to educate and engage the community through collection, exhibition, interpretation, programming and outreach.

The Museum is located in the historic Limoneira Building at 117 North Tenth Street in downtown Santa Paula. It is next to the established City of Santa Paula's California Oil Museum, located in the original Victorian headquarters of the Union Oil Company of California which was founded here in 1890.

Purpose of the De Colores Exhibit

The De Colores Art Show in Santa Paula is one its proudest achievements. Founded by Xavier Montes, the exhibit celebrates Mexican American heritage, history, and icons.

Its inclusive theme CONTINUED »

Premieres July 6

SANTA PAULA, CA – Celebrate the freedom and fun of summer with classic British motorcycles at the California Oil Museum (1001 E. Main St. Santa Paula, Adults $4, Seniors $3 and Youth (6-17) $1). This year, the Museum’s annual motorcycle show features gorgeous bikes from rarely seen private collections and from all of the famous British manufacturers including Ariel, BSA, Norton, Velocette, and Vincent!

The history of the British motorcycle follows closely the history of Britain itself. The earliest British motorcycles were created at the beginning of the 20th century as excitement for motorized transportation and industrial innovation spread rapidly. A few decades later, the country was at war and so too were its motorcycles. Hundreds of thousands of British motorcycles were manufactured for the Allied forces during both WWI and WWII and drove them towards victory.

In the 1950s and 1960s, British bikes continued to set land speed records and dominate off-road competitions as their unique shape and styling became iconic. While British motorcycle manufacturers suffered a decline in the 1970s and 1980s, these classic bikes are now highly sought-after not only for their handsome forms but for the stories they tell. Join us all summer long to experience this British bike invasion!

WHO: The City of Santa Paula’s California Oil Museum

WHAT: The British are Coming: Vintage British Bikes, an exhibit of classic motorcycles from rarely seen private collections

WHEN: July 6 through September 30, 2012 (Museum Hours: Wednesday – Sunday 10 AM – 4 PM)

WHERE: California Oil Museum, 1001 E. Main Street, Santa Paula, CA 93060 (Admission: Adults $4.00, Seniors $3.00, Youth (6-17) $1.00, Children under 5 and Museum Members are free)

WHY: To celebrate summer and motorcycles!

Premieres July 14

SANTA PAULA, CA – Next Generation, a refreshingly contemporary show of art works by local students from Brooks Institute, Cal Arts, Cal Lutheran, Cal State Channel Islands and Ventura College will open at the Santa Paula Art Museum on Saturday, July 14, 2012 with a premiere party from 4 to 6 p.m. Admission to the exhibit premiere is $10.00 for Museum Members and $15.00 for non-members. Students of all ages may attend free.

Next Generation, inspired in part by the Museum’s current Carlisle Cooper Retrospective on exhibit in the main gallery, highlights the significance of the collaboration between artist and teacher. Carlisle Cooper, an art instructor at Ventura College for almost fifty years, is a perfect example of the profound influence a teacher can have on their artist student. The students featured in Next Generation were specially selected by their own teachers for their emerging talents and unique perspectives on art.

The student show features fifty pieces of art in a variety of two and three-dimensional mediums. The works are bold and thought-provoking as they explore a variety of themes including human connection, mythology, science and music. Each artwork will be accompanied by a narrative written by both teacher and student describing how each has been inspired by the other.

The exhibit will run through October 21, 2012 and may be viewed during regular Museum hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays, 12 to 4 p.m. The Museum is located at 117 North 10th Street, Santa Paula, CA 93060. More information is available by calling the Museum at (805) 525-5554, or email

Daniel Hayek as Romeo and Rachel Seiferth as Juliet
Daniel Hayek as Romeo and Rachel Seiferth as Juliet
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Romeo is Muslim and Juliet is Christian in production

THOUSAND OAKS, CA - Religious conflict will play a role in the Kingsmen Shakespeare Company’s production of “Romeo and Juliet.”

The 16th season of the Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival will conclude with the second and final play at 8 p.m. July 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29 and Aug. 3, 4 and 5 in scenic Kingsmen Park at California Lutheran University.

Arguably the world’s mosttreasured love story, “Romeo and Juliet” tells the story of idealistic young love beset by conflict and hatred. William Shakespeare’s iconic lovers descend from rival clans whose longstanding blood feud turns their tale from lyric romance to violent tragedy.

Kingsmen Shakespeare’s production places this timeless work in a setting that bridges past and present. The show will be set in the late 15th century Spanish city of Granada, an outpost on the frontier of Christendom and Islam. Juliet’s family, the Capulets, will be Christians, and Romeo’s family, the Montagues, will be Muslims. The two faiths in that time and place shared a complex and uneasy coexistence, mingling in the marketplace one day, clashing on the battlefield the next.

The rift between Islam and Christianity predates Shakespeare by several centuries, continues largely unabated today, and promises to linger into the foreseeable future. “Romeo and Juliet” is, among other things, a play about the human consequences of just such a conflict. It’s a tangled relationship whose challenges are as pervasive in today’s global community as they were five centuries ago.

In anticipation of thisproduction, director Brett Elliott has been working with the Christian-Muslim Consultative Group of Southern California, facilitating a series of interfaith workshops between the First Christian Church of North Hollywood and the Islamic Center of Southern California. With participation from members of the Kingsmen company, the groups have spent the past two months exploring the issues that have divided and united the two faiths for the past 500 years.

Daniel Hayek, a passionate actor of Lebanese heritage who trained in England, will play Romeo in his Kingsmen debut. Rachel Seiferth, who has extensive screen credits, will play Juliet.Kingsmen veteran Ross Hellwig, who recently returned from starring in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” in Vienna, will play Mercutio.

The Kingsmen Shakespeare Company is the professional theatre company of CLU. In addition to producing one of the area’s most popular outdoor theatrical events, it provides apprentice programs, aneducational tour program and theater camps.

Individual tickets are $20; free for those under 18. Box seats, which accommodate six adults, are $75 or $90 and side box seats are $75. For more information or lawn box reservations, call 805-493-3014 or visit Individual tickets are available at the door.

Featured Artists: Dianne Bennett & Studio Channel Islands Art Center

Join a free “Arty Party” at the Museum of Ventura County, to celebrate their selected ArtWalk artists Dianne Bennett and the Studio Channel Islands Art Center. The party is on Saturday, July 21 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. with live music by Gypsy Death Star and We Govern We. No host bar is available.

During Ventura’s free Westside ArtWalk on Saturday July 21 from noon to 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, July 22 from noon to 5:00 p.m., meet resident artists of Studio Channel Islands Art Center during their special exhibition and sale in the museum pavilion and plaza. Among those participating are Rich Brimer, Pat Richards Dodds, Karin Geiger, Carol Henry, Tracy Jones, Maggie Kildee, Shelly Moore, Lucia Grossberger Morales, Sherron Sheppard, Judy Winard, and Marion Wood.

Visitors will also meet Dianne Bennett at the museum during ArtWalk weekend. Her exhibition, One Time, One Place: Retablos by Dianne Bennett, continues until August 19.

Go to for information about Studio Channel Islands Art Center; for museum information go to or call 805-653-0323. The all-volunteer Westside ArtWalk is a weekend of coordinated exhibits, sales, artist demonstrations and events at galleries, studios, and other venues. To learn more, go to for details.