25th Anniversary Ventura Music Festival Lineup Announced for July 2019



25th Annual Festival to Feature World-Class Artists, including The Summit: Manhattan Transfer meets Take 6, Ranky Tanky, Calidore String Quartet and more this summer

Each year, the Ventura Music Festival fills venues across the city with top-tier music for two weekends of multi-genre music, dance performances and world-class culture. This summer, the festival is returning with a lineup that promises to be bigger and better than ever. Headlined by the one and only The Summit: Manhattan Transfer meets Take 6 with support by world class acts such as classical guitar virtuoso Christopher Parkening with extraordinary baritone Jubilant Sykes, the thrilling Rastrelli Cello Quartet and many others, the festival has something for every musical taste.

In the hands of renowned conductor and Ventura Music Festival Artistic Director Nuvi Mehta, the 2019 musical lineup consists of:

7/12: Festival headliners and acclaimed vocal groups are The Summit: The Manhattan Transfer meets Take 6 as the renowned groups join forces to wow audiences at the Oxnard PACC

7/13: Celebrated guitarist Christopher Parkening joins renowned baritone Jubilant Sykes in a recital ranging from classical and jazz to American spirituals at the Ventura College Performing Arts Center

7/14: Calidore String Quartet brings “synergistic brilliance and ferocious commitment” to the Ventura College Performing Arts Center

7/19: Youth jazz pianist star-on-the-rise and “brightest light” Joey Alexander at the Ventura College Performing Arts center

7/20: Ranky Tanky brings Gullah culture and “soulful honey for the ears” through a prism of African, gospel and R&B music at the Ventura College Performing Arts Center

7/21: Rastrelli Cello Quartet’s “simply infectious” musical sizzle at the Ventura College Performing Arts Center

Additionally, the festival will host a “Tea & Trumpets” at the Ventura Pierpont Inn, where guests will enjoy a four-course English tea with the Festival Brass Quintet’s hallmark wit, humor and fanfare on 7/11, as well as a free public concert with high octane Latin guitar ensemble Incendio at Mission Park in Ventura on 7/18. For times, updates and more details in the coming months, follow the festival on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The 25th annual Ventura Music Festival will take place on July 11-14 and July 18-21, 2019 at the Ventura College Performing Arts Center, located at 4700 Loma Vista Road, Ventura unless otherwise noted above. Tickets will range in price from $25-$50 (special student rates excepted) and will be available for purchase in April.

For more information please visit www.venturamusicfestival.org or call (805) 648-3146.

For those who can’t wait until July, VMF’s silver anniversary celebration is starting sooner than ever: lauded piano duo Anderson & Roe played at the Ventura College Performing Arts Center on February 9th. On May 10th, Lithuanian “rock stars of chamber music” NICO (New Ideas Chamber Orchestra) will be lighting up the VCPAC’s stage. Tickets for both events are on-sale now.

Since 1994, the mission of the Ventura Music Festival has been to bring world-class music to the community, foster audience-artist relationships, and enhance the joy of music through diverse programs for all ages. VMF seeks to create an inclusive, welcoming environment in which people both see and hear themselves reflected in the music.

AV Wall - The Mobile Vietnam Memorial Wall at Rancho Tapo Community Park in Simi Valley May 24 through 28


The AV Wall - The Mobile Vietnam Memorial Wall - is coming to Rancho Tapo Community Park, 3700 Avenida Simi, Simi Valley on Memorial Weekend 2019. The wall is a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C.

The structure will be installed for an opening ceremony at 4pm on May 24th. Public viewing will be 24 hours a day until 8am on May 28th. There will be a Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday, May 27th at 4pm.

Local veterans will be on hand to meet with visitors and answer questions for many of the hours the wall is open for viewing.

Taps will be played nightly at 10pm.

Learn more about the wall at AVWall.org.

Chalk Festival for April Fools Event at Cal Lutheran Thousand Oaks on April 1, 2

Artists to transform Cal Lutheran concrete

Chalk Festival draws top talent from throughout state

Artist: Sharyn Chan

Artist: Sharyn Chan

Some of California’s most talented sidewalk artists will transform flat concrete pathways across California Lutheran University into colorful masterpieces on April 1 and 2.

Professional artists participating in the Chalk Festival for April Fools will focus their creations on the theme of imagination, the same idea being explored during The Representational Art Conference that Cal Lutheran is presenting from March 31 through April 4 in Ventura.

Artists Lori Escalera of Vista and Dawn Morrison Wagner of Thousand Oaks will teach chalk drawing to Cal Lutheran art students March 18 through 21. The students will then create their own works for the festival.

Escalera, one of the festival’s headlining pavement artists, has made a 25-year career out of street painting and teaching others to produce chalk art. She has won awards for her street paintings throughout California, in multiple states and in Mexico and Canada. She coordinated a street-painting venue in Xi’an, China, before the 2008 Olympics. Escalera creates works in multiple styles including Madonnari classical artwork reproduction, which dates to 16th-century Italy, as well as trompe l’oeil and 3D anamorphosis, which make works seem to jump off the pavement.

Wagner, who minored in art while earning degrees in physics and engineering, began street painting in 1988 at the I Madonnari festival in Santa Barbara and has since traveled the country winning awards and leading workshops. Her chalk art has also been used in commercial and promotional work. Wagner’s street art has evolved from reproductions of classic works to contemporary perspective pieces.

In addition to Escalera, the headlining pavement artists are Ever Galvez, Lorelle Miller and Julie Kirk Purcell. Other participating artists are Ruth Villa of Simi Valley, Lori Antoinette, Sharyn Chan, Naomi Duben, Ann Hefferman, Gus Moran, Lynn Okimura, Lesley Perdomo and Anthony Rico.

The chalk art will cover sidewalks outside the Kwan Fong Gallery of Art and Culture, William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art and Ullman Commons and at the bottom of the stairs on Memorial Parkway. The public is welcome to watch the artists and view their creations.

Cal Lutheran’s Artists and Speakers Committee is presenting the free public event. For more information, contact Michael Pearce at 805-444-7716.

Ventura County Library Opens New Location on Hill Road in Ventura on December 3rd

On December 3, 2017, a new branch of the Ventura County Library is opening on Hill Road across from the Ventura County Government Center. The 5,100 square foot facility is ideally suited for library services on the east side of Ventura. Hill Road Library is within walking distance of several schools and residential areas, is conveniently located on a bus route, and will provide a well-lit parking lot.

Hill Road Library will feature traditional library hours and services such as adult literacy tutoring, early childhood literacy classes, training classes, and a collection of print materials. The Hill Road Library will also make use of technology to expand services, including laptop computers available for check-out for use in the library and high speed internet access. Makerspace equipment like a 3D printer and desktop CNC carver machine will also be featured.

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors approved ongoing funds in the amount of $250,000 to operate the new library, while the City of Ventura approved $50,000 annually that will allow for an additional 16 open hours per week.  The City also provided $25,000 for one-time capital expenditures.  The Ventura Friends of the Library raised and contributed $200,000, much of which came from used book sales to local residents. 

Come see the new library for yourself at the grand opening event: Sunday, December 3rd from 12 noon to 2pm.  Don’t miss the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at 12:30pm!  Enjoy BBQ compliments of the Ventura Downtown Lions Club and music from Rubicon Harmonix.

The Hill Road Library is located at 1050 Hill Road in Ventura. Beginning December 3, 2017, hours of service are Monday through Wednesdays, 10am to 6pm; Thursdays, 2pm to 6pm; Fridays through Sundays, 10am to 2pm.

The Ventura County Library is available 24/7 at www.vencolibrary.org.

Nominations for Thousand Oaks Excellence in Arts Award Due July 28, 2017

The Excellence in the Arts Awards are designed to honor and celebrate persons and organizations that contribute to the vibrancy of the arts and culture and increase access to arts experiences in Thousand Oaks.

2017 Award Categories
The arts are defined as visual and performing arts, including but not limited to music, dance, theater, painting, sculpture, photography and traditional/folk art.  For these specific awards, the arts do not include literary arts. All winners may be asked to participate in city events, either by serving as an Arts Ambassador or through performance or exhibition opportunities. Philanthropy, while important, is not considered to be a factor in the criteria for any award.

  1. Community Impact
    The Community Impact Award is presented to a person or organization who has inspired and encouraged the arts and culture in Thousand Oaks in a creative or innovative way. The winner will be notable in the community memory for years to come because of an emphasis on some or all of the following: a) bringing together organizations or people in the arts, b) elevating the arts and culture through visionary leadership, creativity, advocacy and volunteerism, and c) inspiring and encouraging artists and arts groups in the areas of innovation, outreach, inclusiveness and access.
  2. Emerging Arts Leadership
    The Emerging Arts Leadership Award is presented to a person or organization demonstrating the potential to influence and elevate the arts and culture through outstanding vision, leadership and creativity.  Age is not a factor in this award.
  3. Exceptional Arts Education
    The Exceptional Arts Education Award is presented to an individual or organization for excellent work in and significant contributions to arts education, either a) through enhancing the education curriculum within the school system, or b) through creating educational opportunities in the arts outside the school setting. 
  4. Artist of the Year
    The Artist of the Year Award recognizes a dedicated individual’s excellence and accomplishments in an arts discipline.  This award is for unique vision, high artistic quality, creativity and innovation.
  5. The Mayor’s Award
    The Mayor’s Award is granted each year to a recipient chosen by the Mayor of Thousand Oaks. There are not parameters or restrictions for this award, which is up to the sole discretion of the current mayor.

The award determination is based on the award criteria listed below and the category definitions detailed on the award nomination form. Nomination deadline is Friday, July 28th (extended - originally was the 20th) at 4pm. Learn more at www.toaks.org/departments/cultural-affairs/arts-awards.

2017 Aloha Beach Festival in Ventura Has Been "Put on Hold" by Organizers

The Aloha Beach Festival took place in Promenade Park/Surfer's Point in Ventura on Labor Day Weekend the last 12 years. The event featured surfing, outrigger canoe and surfing competitions live music, arts and crafts, food vendors and more.

This year, event organizers have indicated the festival has been put on hold as they "assess the enormous rate hikes the City of Ventura" has indicated. They will "take time off, and reflect on why we do the Aloha Beach Festival based on pure love." 

That's a bummer.

For updates, visit www.alohabeachfestival.us.

Oil Painting Exhibit at Santa Monica Mountains Visitor Center in Calabasas 5/1-6/8

Summer Days are Here Again (Marnie Smart Piuze) 12x24

Summer Days are Here Again (Marnie Smart Piuze) 12x24

Flowing out of over three decades of exploring and enjoying the coastal shores, bluffs, and mountains, Marnie Smart Piuze’s plein air oil paintings are a grateful expression of the peace and wonder they impart.

“I feel like I’m having a vacation every time I’m painting,” says Piuze, who has lived in Malibu since 1971, always taking advantage of the trails and scenery. “I love nature. That’s why I’ve always hiked and raised my kids to value natural resources.”

Piuze has been painting for 15 years and is a member of the Allied Artists of the Santa Monica Mountains and Seashore. Her work will be on display May 1 through June 8 at the Santa Monica Mountains Interagency Visitor Center. An opening reception will be held there on Sunday, May 1 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

The visitor center is located at King Gillette Ranch, 26876 Mulholland Highway, Calabasas. For more information, call 805-370-2301

2015 Fit 4 The Cause Miracle of Movement Gala on September 19th Was a Smashing Success

Fit 4 The Cause, a local non-profit that combines social media-fueled flash mobs with fitness education and philanthropic giving, received its 501(c)(3) status a year ago just 90 days after filing with the IRS. 

Founded by PR expert and ACE certified Fitness Pro Cindy Rakowitz, Fit 4 The Cause continued pushing the limits over the last 12 months, culminating in a packed house at the its inaugural Miracle of Movement Gala at the Sheraton Agoura Hills.

Cindy Rakowitz along with "The Duo" - Honoree Sourena Vasseghi and Chris Stevenson

Cindy Rakowitz along with "The Duo" - Honoree Sourena Vasseghi and Chris Stevenson

What a great event!  Led by Fox Sport Radio talk show host Tomm Looney, this gala was entertaining and inspirational.

The theme of the night was "Smashing Obstacles." Honorees celebrated for smashing personal obstacles were Lisa Roub, who received the 2015 Advocacy Award and Sourena Vasseghi, recipient of the 2015 Inspiration Award.

Roub learned in April 2014 that she had breast cancer at the age of 40. After much research she opted to have a bilateral mastectomy. After the surgery, she was told that the cancer spread to her lymph nodes and would necessitate four rounds of chemotherapy. The thought of losing her hair was now a concern. But she discovered a new treatment, Penguin Cold Caps, that prevents hair loss by freezing the scalp to 40 degrees below zero on chemo days, protecting the follicles and minimizing hair loss. Roub has been cancer-free for nearly a year. She was honored for sharing her experiences with others in need of support and advice. 

Miracle of Movement Gala Honorees, Sourena Vasseghi and Lisa Roub

Miracle of Movement Gala Honorees, Sourena Vasseghi and Lisa Roub

Vasseghi is an award-winning author and inspirational speaker who suffers from severe cerebral palsy. Although he has limited motor skills and a significant speech impediment, he is an award-winning author and inspirational speaker. But since he can't really speak to an audience, he has partnered with "interpreter" Chris Stevenson of Stevenson Fitness in Oak Park. The duo had us both laughing and crying as they took us through some of the challenges Vasseghi faces in life and how we all can learn from them. Vasseghi is an Agoura Hills resident and is married with two kids. You have to meet this guy. Learn more at sourenav.com.

We also enjoyed a conversation with NFL linebacker Brady Poppinga at the Gala. Poppinga shared thoughts on commitment and returning from injury over the course of his career. After playing at BYU, he was drafted in 2005 by the Green Bay Packers, where he played six years, then the St. Louis Rams and Dallas Cowboys. 

Two thumbs up to all of the great sponsors for this event that made it happen, with a shout-out to Champion Level sponsors Edison International, Humana/Brian Sullivan and the Law Offices of Friedman & Bartoumian.

The team from Champion Level sponsor, Law Offices of Friedman & Bartoumian 

The team from Champion Level sponsor, Law Offices of Friedman & Bartoumian