In the Studio: Walmart and Olivewood, Mile of Cars, Garden Walk

Olivewood Terrace est.1913
Olivewood Terrace est.1913

Now on assignment in National City for Jazz88 we’ve been exploring this city of opposites. In the 1900’s the East-West railroad was supposed to end here and forward-looking settlers grabbed a kit from Sears Roebuck and built their fine Victorian homes (with indoor plumbing!) in the neighborhood known as Olivewood Terrace. At the former Oliver H. Noyes home, Olivewood Gardens, a learning center for National City children and families to reconnect with food, now thrives. Students in 4th 5th and 6th grade get to experience the entire life cycle of vegetables they’ve grown themselves, cooking, eating and returning kitchen scraps to the garden soil. It’s their science class!

The Walmart heiress who donated her hilltop home and garden has made this oasis possible, making it a bit of a Robin Hood story. The program of the International Community Foundation was created to address high diabetes and childhood obesity rates, linked to lower incomes and higher unemployment in this South Bay community.

While Sally pulls together the Olivewood segment this week, Jeff has been at Mayor Morrison’s office and out among the salespeople getting a feel for the Mile of Cars.

And to end the week in beauty, Tinkersmith has been invited to make music tucked into local garden for the annual Mission Hills Garden Walk, happening this Saturday, May 11 – Mother’s Day weekend.

In the Studio: Peter Sprague, Jazz88, more TJ Maxx

Camarada with Peter Sprague

Tonight in San Diego’s Little Italy, Camarada performs the original music of Peter Sprague in a concert titled Just Jazz Two.  This week has been all about promoting this show and prepping for Night Music, a classical journey with the delightful author Zoe Ghahremani reading Persian poetry.

Waiting in the wings is the SD Hospice story we’re crafting for City Stories on Jazz88 public radio.  The unwinding of this national leader in contemplative end-of-life care has been complex, interesting and somewhat heartbreaking to observe.  We’d like to share a bit about the people behind the scenes (staff and volunteers) to get a sense of the spirit of the organization and how it will spin bright sparks out into the community.

With the European project for TJ Maxx complete, we now develop a large system for their Canadian offices.  Oregonians Monique and Clara step into the virtual green room for French-Canadian and Spanish recordings.

Tomorrow afternoon Jeff and Sally, Ira, and Rosie (the Tinkersmith band) perform at Green Manor.  Rehearsal begins again in one hour!

Musically Inspired

New Dobro Resonator Guitar

Jeff wants to send a shout out to our Wattle friends for all their musical support and inspiration!  Sandy of American Crossroads was down for our music workshop with Jack Williams and Still on the Hill in Arkansas.   He shared his simultaneously bright and gritty sound on the resonator, and lo-and-behold one of these beauties appeared right after we got home!

LISTENNo Expectations – mp3

Saturday, November 10, Jeff will play folk and blues with his favorite drummer Ira – with four songs on his new Dobro and three originals on the set list.  Hear Jeff & Ira at 11:30 and stay for Teagan Taylor Trio at 1:00, all while browsing through original art, craft and fashion designs at the annual (indoor) Holiday Sale from the Mission Hills Artists collective.

It’s a Holiday Art Sale! (and Jeff is playing music)

Along with fine artists and craftspeople from the neighborhood, on November 10 we’ll be down at the church on Jackdaw for this lively annual gathering.  Our own Jeff and Ira will be making music.  The jazzy Teagan Taylor Trio will be on stage in the afternoon.  Harpist Dana Mosser will transport with the ethereal sounds of ALL THOSE STRINGS, and another special guest may be adding their Django-inspired sound… stay tuned for more and please visit Mission Hills Artists on Facebook for photos.


Song List for Saturday

Does this song list make you want to dance?

If you’re a Boomer, we’re hoping it does, because these are the ones we’ve been rehearsing for the wedding on Saturday. At the top of set two the bride is dedicating “Harvest Moon” to the groom, and his special song for her is “Stand By Me.” Sweet, right?

June Weddings

Jeff and Ira
Jeff and Ira

It’s June and that means summer wedding music!  Jeff and Ira are flexing their rock-and-roll muscles, working up a Beatles, Stones and Soul set list for dancing in the garden with a beautiful circle of baby boomers.  Why?  Because Mary’s getting married!

Also for late June, Jeff is polishing up some love songs with Neil and Judy from the James Taylor, Elton John collection for another wedding celebration.

Tinkersmith will be visiting the creative community in Ashland, Oregon for recharging, then Jeff and Sally return to the stage with the amazing voice of Mara Cooper (collaboration with Still on the Hill in the works) for more roots music in July.

Performance as storytelling

Tinkersmith [photo credit: Stephanie West]
 At Sweet Orange Studio we’re members of the Mission Hills Artists–  a collective of local artists dedicated to promoting the expression of creative talent. For the musicians, designers and many visual artists who belong, having organized events to share these gifts and make new friends is invaluable. As a voice actor, every other form of vocal expression (be it theater, film, television, song or spoken word) brings more authenticity to my delivery.

Our friends Neil and Judy opened their garden for the 14th annual Mission Hills Garden Walk this weekend, with music by Tinkersmith (that’s us) and Mara Cooper. Sharon Plache and Stephanie West have been great facilitators for this young organization, sharing their gifts for public relations, community building and inspired art-making.

Being on stage or on-camera ups the ante. It means I work harder, staying true to intentions of the writer while searching for meaning in the song or script that stirs my soul.  For every moment of real feeling on the stage there is a response, an invisible current of connection, streaming back to me. Stanislavski says an actor should “freshen up even a well-prepared role every time he creates it.” Constantin Stanislavski shared so much wisdom for actors that truly stands the test of time, like “Time is a splendid filter for our remembered feelings – besides it is a great artist. It not only purifies, it also transmutes even painfully realistic memories into poetry.” Professor Katie Rodda introduced us to Mr. Stanislavski and has encouraged us as performers in countless ways.

Relaxing into these new environments, singing and acting, and bringing in my 10,000 hours of practice at the microphone, I’m preparing myself for storytelling in whatever form is needed. Personal stories are key for transformation and I’m interested to see which stories I’m called upon to bring into the world next.