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Thursday, December 13 , 2018, 11:09 am | Fair 62º


Tell Me Mo’: From Write Stuff to the Right Stuff

Groundhog Day happenings include Farmers' Market, art shows and a dance video number.

Some serious cabin fever was setting in with all the rain we were getting last week. "Living In Paradise, Typhoon Style" might be the chapter title I’d assign.

The sheer intensity of the storms woke me several times, punctuated with a take that! and that! by the thunder and lightning. Yes, I was glad to get the rain and the actual weather and some of the photographs of the snow-capped Santa Ynez Mountains took my breath away. I bow to her highness, Mother Nature. She doesn’t need a script.

Mo McFadden
Speaking of scripts, how about this writers strike? Would that my words could reach the table at the Writers Guild of America talks, this is what I would say:

"Ladies and Gentlemen (I’m being kind here), you have profits coming out your ears. The producers at this table need to give the writers their worth and value. What they are asking for is fair.

"There would be nothing to produce were it not for writers. Here’s a question — Who was the producer at the Globe Theatre back in, ahem Shakespeare’s — the writer’s — day? Do you know? The whole world knows who William Shakespeare was. This is when art gives one immortality. Something I’m sure a producer craves. Perhaps you’re jealous of this and are being tough guys. Get over it. There are too many people adversely affected by this strike, and you, the producers, are the ones who need to look at “the big picture” and make the shift.

"No one is winning here. I believe the Internet is going to be the primary delivery system of the future. Writers can see this path as well and want assurance they will be compensated fairly. So, cut your losses now and give the WGA what it wants. You’ll be back at the table in a few years. A favorite proverb of mine is ‘You cannot hold water with a clenched fist.’ I hope you could apply it to your negotiations and be gracious, not greedy."

Earlier this month, Tatiana Siegel wrote a story in Variety about veteran publicist Julian Myers, who is 90 years young. He expressed his distress at the erosion the strike will cause the industry. I consider Julian my mentor in the PR field. And he’s got a great overview of the biz. Now, two weeks later, the moguls and the WGA are back in talks — but with a media blackout. Hoping for the best since too many friends of mine in the biz are hurting and they don’t deserve to be punished by the strike.

OK, I’ll get off my apple box now. Hey, Saturday is Groundhog Day. If Punxsutawney Phil sticks his head out of his burrow and sees his shadow, we’ll have six more weeks of winter. If not, it will be an early spring.

[Editor’s note: Phil saw his shadow Saturday so expect six more weeks of winter.]

Punxsutawney is a town in upstate Pennsylvania, in the Lehigh Valley, where my dad’s family was from. We’d driven through it so, we kind of took ownership of Punxsutawney Phil and were diligent to always watch his moment on TV. My mom would always feed the groundhogs that lived in the woods behind our place in the ‘burbs of Philadelphia, Drexel Hill to be precise. There was one she named Humphrey. I remember this guy coming up over the little hill, peering toward our garden and looking for handouts. As a kid, I was sure Humphrey knew Punxsutawney Phil and so I was convinced my family was tied in to the groundhog underground.

Loved this piece of info on Punxsutawney Phil’s aforementioned Web site: So the story goes, Punxsutawney Phil was named after King Phillip. Prior to being called Phil, he was called Br’er Groundhog. S’up Br’er. I have these uncontrollable Dr. Doolittle/Uncle Remus moments, what can I say? There are chapters for Punxsutawney Groundhog Clubs noted on the Web site and not one west of the Mississippi, even though the U.K. and the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq have chapters. I think Santa Barbara might be ripe for one even though there are no groundhogs here.

But I digress. There’s a bevy of events on Groundhog Day, starting with the fabulous Farmers’ Market in downtown Santa Barbara — all that produce, those flowers, those scallops … so little time. Can’t you just see Punxsutawney Phil there, not knowing which way to go?

On Saturday, my mom and I are going to the Friendship Center’s annual fund raiser, the Festival of Hearts, A Valentine Party for Friendship Center, at the Montecito campus, 89 Eucalyptus Lane. The event starts at noon and you really should RSVP. Mom goes to Friendship Center twice a week and she just loves the staff and the house cat, Emma. For me, the care she gets is so affirming and they have a support group for care givers. They know their stuff. Supporting this is a no-brainer for us.

You can still call Friendship Center at 805.969.0859 and see if you can get in — $75 in advance and $85 at the door.

Later Saturday, the Summer Solstice Parade holds its artists reception at Sojourner Café, 134 E. Canon Perdido, from 3-5 p.m. On display will be all the art submitted for possible T-shirt and poster designs for the 34th annual parade, which is scheduled for June 21 and comes with a Solar Flair theme. Light nibbles and bevies are provided and you can vote for your favorite design, although the Solstice board has the final say.

Fascinating fact: Claudia Bratton, Solstice’s current executive director, designed the very first T-shirt for the parade in 1982 at the request of parade founder Michael Gonzales. Amazing … the Summer Solstice parade has given Gonzales immortality. Long live the artists! (Déjà vu? A-ha! I’m tying the pieces of the column together here.) To see the past T-shirts, click here. For posters, click here. Full disclosure: Yours truly represents Summer Solstice Parade.

There are a few more events I would recommend for Saturday: Check out Michele Zuzalek’s new paintings,  “The Art of Trees,” at the reception from 5-7 p.m. at the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara, 229 E. Victoria St. She has done some great graphic work and her invitation art is compelling, so I can’t wait to see the show. It runs through the end of February — Leap Day! Feb. 29.

Back on track, Santa Barbara filmmakers Catherine Bennett and Robin Bisio (who I wrote about in my last column), premiere Blue Meadow, a dance video installation for the 2008 Santa Barbara International Film Festival from 5-8 p.m. at the Patty Look Lewis Gallery, 25 E. De la Guerra St. It’s free.

And, I’ll be zipping further downtown to East/West Gallery, another client at 714 Bond Ave., for its reception for Ron Reihel’s opening of “The Absence and Presence of Light.” I dropped over to the gallery Monday and the one big piece is up; I’ve never seen anything like it. Absorbing light and reflecting back, with no wires. The receptions are always fun with music, and refreshments. Goes from 6-9 p.m. Call 805.963.4041 for more information.

Sports Fans: I hope you note this writer did not mention any conflicting events for Super Bowl Sunday. Even an entertainment writer/press agent knows when to hold ‘em and when to fold ’em … I fold to the jocks. May you be lucky in your bets and may your team win. And be kind to your lady. Remember to vote Tuesday.

Mo McFadden’s Tell Me Mo’ column is published every other week on Noozhawk.


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