Thursday, January 21, 2010

Local plastic surgeon Dr. John Lang dies and the Museum of Art looks for art donations


* ... MARRIAGE LAWSUIT: It turns out that Kristin Perry, one of the lead plaintiffs in the marriage lawsuit being played out in federal court, is the state director of First 5 California. If you remember, Perry and her partner are among those trying to overturn Proposition 8, which affirmed that  marriage in California is defined as a union between a man and a woman. (read one account of her testimony here) The local angle is that Perry grew up in Bakersfield and testified on growing up gay in the conservative Central Valley. She now lives with her partner, Sandra Stier, in Berkeley. First 5 was a voter initiative to improve the lives of young children in California via funding from a tax on tobacco.

 * ... LOCAL SURGEON DIES: I was saddened to hear that Dr. John Lang, a well-known plastic surgeon, died of a heart attack in Hawaii a few days ago. I didn't know Dr. Lang but friends tell me he was a skilled surgeon and a wonderful person. Debbie Hanson, his longtime office manager, said Dr. Lang and his wife Dione were in Hawaii for a niece's wedding and enjoyed "just a super, fabulous week" with family and friends. He died last Monday, January 18th,  the day the couple was to return home. They have one daughter, Kristyn, who is 30. Dr. Lang was 64. A mutual friend told me Dr. Lang  was originally from Pittsburgh and was an enthusiastic Steelers fan. According to his website biography, he earned his undergraduate degree from Iona College and a medical degree from Georgetown University. He later did his residency in plastic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh. His office was on 21st Street in Westchester. Keep his family in your thoughts and I will share details of his services when they are made public.

* ... ONE VOTE FOR B-TOWN: Edna Clark Hunton wrote me that she was born and raised in Wasco but routinely refers to Bakersfield as 'B-town.' "On the weekends when someone would ask what you were doing, the normal answer would be 'going to B-town.' Even now when I am in Bakersfield and filling out a form and they ask where you live (city) I always put B-town and then my zip. It is a lot quicker and everyone knows what B-town stands for. Love your column." Thanks for the feedback and the nice note, Edna.

 * ... BAKO OR BAKERSFIELD: One of my colleagues here at The Californian is Steve Swenson, a longtime court reporter who is well known for sharing his opinions with anyone who cares to listen. Swenson has lived in Bakersfield for years and he simply hates the idea of using the term "Bako" as shorthand for Bakersfield. He told me it's "disrespectful, smacks of outsiders trying to nickname Bakersfield and is the equivalent of calling San Francisco 'Frisco,' which residents of San Francisco universally hate." What do you really think Steve?



 * ... ART A GO-GO: You have to admire the folks over at the Bakersfield Museum of Art. Not only do they know how to bring quality art shows here, but they also are shrewd marketers. Their latest pitch is something called Art a Go-Go in which they are asking people to donate "no longer wanted" art pieces for a sale in March. Beth Pandol, museum marketing director, said it can be "anything from really nice paintings, sculpture to prints and posters. Just no junk." I suppose that rules out all those velvet Elvis and dogs playing poker pictures in my garage. The art is strictly a donation - no consignment. But the donors do get a tax deduction. The general public sale will be on March 20 and a pre-sale gala cocktail party will be held March 18 at $50 a person or $60 at the door. Knowing the small but influential art community in this town,  my guess is this will a big success.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hooray for Steve Swenson!
--David Lyman

Anonymous said...

Dear Richard:

Thanks for keeping me informed and in a way, connected to my hometown. I worked as a sportswriter at The Californian many years ago and now live just north of Atlanta. Cumming, GA is my home, but Bakersfield will always be my hometown. Thanks for the entertaining reads.

Mike Tasos

Joe said...

Not fair Mr.Beene, I've searched long and hard for an Elvis on velvet, I still havn't found the right one. While it may not be everyones cup-of-decor, it's something I've been searching for. Now... those dam clown and matador paintings are a different story.

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