Thursday, December 16, 1999
The newest offering from the much-plombed Weston family well is Laughing Eyes, a compilation of letters written between legendary photographer Edward and his son Cole from 1923 to 1946, edited into book form by Cole's wife, Paulette, and released this month by Carmel Publishing Company. "The letters start when Cole was four, and end when he's 25 and decides he wants to be a photographer like his father," says Barbara March of Carmel Publishing Co. "They include the years of the Depression, descriptions of the Japanese deportations--it's an important historical record."
The letters were buried for years in the Weston archives until Paulette unearthed them two years ago, scanned them into her computer along with unpublished family photographs, and gave it all to Cole for his 79th birthday. March came upon the document at a mutual friend's house last year and asked Paulette whether she'd consider publishing it. The letters span Cole's boyhood years, much of which he spent separated from his father. They range from the first, simple four-word entry--"Dear Daddy, Come Home,"--penned when Cole was just five, to more soul-searching epistles from a young ex-Navy man about to return to California to become his father's assistant.
Paulette and Cole will be on hand Friday for a book-signing at the P. G. Museum of Natural History, 165 Forest Ave. in Pacific Grove, from 6 to 8pm.
Lights, Camera, Action!
After a few false starts, and one would-be operator left in the dust, a six-screen cinema complex on Alvarado Street in Monterey opens this Friday. The Osio Plaza, owned by Resort Theaters of America, owners of the Crossroads, Galaxy 6 and Lighthouse cinemas, claims it will "specialize in art, independent and foreign films." Judging from this weekend's lineup, they've still got a ways to go. Sure, they're showing two foreign flicks: a World War I British period piece called My Life So Far, and Sundance Film Festival winner Train of Life, whose maker claims Roberto Benigni ripped off his idea for last year's Oscar-winning Life is Beautiful. But the rest of the schedule? Princess Mononoke, American Beauty, Being John Malkovich and Flawless, all admittedly great movies, but "art" and "independent?" Dream Theater, we're still gonna need you!
El Teatro Campesino's annual Christmas music-and-theater pageant, La Pastorela, closes Sunday in the San Juan Bautista Mission with a "pay what you wish" benefit show. If you've never made the trek to see an El Teatro production, and you're looking for alternative holiday fare, this would be a fine choice. "Shepherds' plays," or "pastorelas," originated in 17th-century Europe as religious dramas, and were brought to the New World by the early Spanish missionaries, where they were blended with Mexican legends and took their present form. They tell the story of the birth of Jesus from the viewpoint of a group of shepherds who travel to Bethlehem to see the babe, despite the attempts of Lucifer, or "Luzbel," and his band of demons to lead them astray.
El Teatro Campesino has been putting on its own adaption of La Pastorela for 25 years, bringing together professional actors and community members in a Spanish-English production. Daniel Valdez, who has directed the show for the past four years, says El Teatro's production differs from the other pastorelas both in being bilingual, and "because the characters are more American than Mexican."
Satan appears throughout the play in various guises, trying to thwart the pilgrimage, but the shepherds maintain their faith and the pageant ends with a fiery battle between the forces of good and evil, where San Miguel (the Archangel Michael) overpowers Luzbel's demonic hordes, and the shepherds continue on their way. "It's a story of temptation, trust and faith," Valdez explains.