Author: Alex Wilson

PHAT THURSDAY | Gordon Goodwin and his Little Phat Band to perform Sept. 24

PICTURED: Composer, musician and band leader Gordon Goodwin. Photo submitted by Alex Wilson The Ventura Music Festival presents innovative, genre-defying big band Little Phat Band, led by Grammy and Emmy Award-winning composer and pianist Gordon Goodwin. Goodwin and Co. grace the stage as part of the popular Concerts in Your Car series at the Ventura County Fairgrounds on Thursday, Sept. 24. Goodwin’s musical diversity is partially influenced by his work on scores for numerous TV shows and blockbuster movies, including The Incredibles, Star Trek: Nemesis and Snakes on a Plane. In addition to all that, he’s also a prolific...

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JUST LAUGH | Rob Schneider brings comedy to the Ventura County Fairgrounds on Aug. 28

PICTURED: SNL alum Rob Schneider. Photo by Scott Yamano/NETFLIX © 2020 by Alex Wilson Ventura’s popular Concerts in Your Car series hosts live stand-up comedy for the first time this week. Coming to the Ventura County Fairgrounds on Aug. 28 will be David Spade and Rob Schneider, former Saturday Night Live cast members from the 1990s. They’ve both seen their stars rise since then, with numerous movie and TV performances as well as stand-up comedy shows. Spade is known for hit films including Tommy Boy and Joe Dirt as well as the TV show Just Shoot Me! Schneider’s post-SNL...

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GETTING BY WITH SOME HELP FROM MY FRIENDS | Finding comfort and community in a meditation group

PICTURED: Koi pond at Deer Park Monastery, where members of Ventura’s “Friendship Sangha of the Heart” sometimes travel together for meditation retreats. Photo by Alex Wilson by Alex Wilson The coronavirus pandemic shuttered the doors of churches and other spiritual gatherings, but a Zen Buddhism meditation group I belong to made a successful move to the online meeting platform Zoom. Even though we were no longer able to form our usual circle for our weekly meditation, we found comfort from sharing our practice online during these troubling times. It also helped me cope with significant personal setbacks in my...

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STOP AND RESET | Local music industry finds its creative spark during the shutdown

PICTURED: Kelly’s Lot performs for a live broadcast from Ojai Underground Exchange. Photo courtesy of Kelly Zirbes by Alex Wilson When the coronavirus caused the sudden shutdown of the live music industry, music industry professionals were profoundly impacted. Even so, some musicians are finding a silver lining; a chance to stop and reset, and discover new ways to stay connected to fans. “We’re right there with you. We can’t wait to get back out and play.” One local band that had hopes dashed for a planned East Coast tour is Yächtley Crëw. The self-described “Titans of Soft Rock” play...

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“YOUR HOUSE HAS BECOME YOUR SET” | CSUCI dance teacher finds creative solution to virtual classes

PICTURED: Heather Castillo’s students dancing over Zoom on May 18, 2020. Photo by Heather Castillo by Alex Wilson The sudden and unexpected switch from classroom teaching to online learning poses challenges for all instructors and students, but classes in the arts present some of the steepest learning curves. While a math, English or computer class might be relatively easy to move online, ones that involve pursuits such as dancing, theater or music might seem almost impossible without having students in close proximity.   Arts instructors are now forced to improvise and create brand new teaching methods, which is apparently sparking...

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