* ... ONE COMES HOME TO TEACH: I also heard from Jenell Mahoney who told me proudly about her daughter, Amanda (Mahoney) Isaac, who graduated from Centennial High in 1998, went on to Chico State and is now teaching elementary and middle school vocal music for the Norris School District. Her other daughter Megan is now married and living in Perth, Australia, but is hoping to move to back to Bakersfield with husband Ben next year. As Jenell says, "then we'll have another bird back in the nest!"
* ... HOW FAT ARE WE? Read with interest the Californian story this week showing just how out of shape Kern County school children are compared to state averages. Only 24 percent of fifth graders and 31 percent of seventh graders passed all six areas of a state physical fitness test that is less than demanding. This is our collective shame as we pump our children full of fast food and set them up for a lifetime of disabilities, obesity and Type 2 diabetes. The obesity epidemic is alive and well locally, thanks in part to fast food that is priced more cheaply than nutritious foods and parents who don't do enough to instill good eating habits in their children. Surely we can all do better than this.
* ... ANOTHER FIRST FRIDAY: It's time for another "First Friday" in the downtown arts district. Don Martin, owner of Metro Galleries and one of the guiding forces behind the revival of the arts downtown, told me this Friday will kick off a "Concert in the Alley." Each month a different band or solo performer will stage a concert in the Wall Street Alley. This Friday, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., will feature Joel Jacobs and his band. (Bakotopia magazine is one of the concert sponsors) In addition, Metro Galleries will be kicking off Abstract Impressions, contemporary paintings by New Orleans artist Karoon, local artist Johnny Ramos and modern pottery by Dan Slayton. There will be live music, hors d'oeuvres and a no host wine bar by the new Enso Japanese Restaurant. Of course Metro Galleries is just part of the downtown scene. There will also be live music at Dagny's, a wine tasting and appetizers at Little White Dress, art on the streets and horse drawn carriage rides.
* ... HOBOS TO STREET PEOPLE: Given the economic funk and record unemployment we are all living with, could there be a better time for an art exhibit on homelessness, loss and isolation? That's the theme of a show coming to the Bakersfield Museum of Art that appears - at least in my view - as one of the most promising exhibits ever at the museum. It's called "Hobos to Street People" (click here for the full lineup) and it features photographs by Felix Adamo, paintings by Pat Berger, sculptures by Joe Brubaker and art by James C. McMillan. This is really powerful stuff and I urge you all to consider taking in all five of these exhibits. The show will run from Dec. 10 to Feb. 21, 2010, and will feature the works of 30 artists "working over the last 75 years to document the tragedy of homelessness."