Last chance for “Marisol”
I urge you to see Narrow Way Stage Company’s production of Jose Rivera’s “Marisol.” This weekend is your last chance. It plays in Andrews Hall at the Sonoma Community Center this Thursday through Sunday. Beulah Francisca Vega directs a cast that feels each step of this play, magically transforming the stage into the mean streets of the Bronx and Brooklyn. This play is not light entertainment that sends you home whistling. But it will get you thinking, looking at the world we live in, one that includes poverty, homelessness, want, fear and anger.
The set, designed by Narrow Way principals and founders, Tony and Chris Ginesi, is fabulous; a work of art worthy of its own show. Plus, the added edginess created by excellent lighting and sound brings a haunting reality to the play.
The play highlights an apocalyptic time when hungry children, raging war, lack of water and the disappearance of the moon create panic among the citizens. Written in 1993, the play feels prescient, foretelling a future that for many in this world is already present. God is old and senile and the angels are in rebellion. Marisol, the main character, wishes for a time, not long past, when she could “read all about the misery in the world and yet not lose a moment of my day.” She claims, “I thought I’d be immune; I thought I’d be safe.” Yet, no one is safe when the world is turned upside down and plunging toward chaos. The opening words of the play are shouted in alarm: “Wake up!”
Director Vega says this is a play that asks, “What does it mean to love and to be loved?” Members of the audience must answer that question themselves, while the characters in the play point the way.
I prefer the Narrow Way to Broadway
This latest offering from the Sonoma Theatre Alliance is the best show of the season, and not to be missed. It isn’t comfortable, easy entertainment, but it will get you thinking about the state of the world and our tenuous hold on peace and safety. Again, we applaud the Narrow Way Stage Company for stepping out on the edge and bringing real theater to Sonoma Valley. Huzzah!
Steampunks on stage at Maria Carrillo
This weekend you can also see Kyrie Dawson of Glen Ellen in a new play at Maria Carrillo High School. This past summer, she starred in several performances of Kate Kennedy’s Avalon Players excellent and memorable production of “Romeo and Juliet” at Buena Vista Winery. Kyrie was the most passionate and believable Juliet I’ve ever seen, giving the role a strong voice and a regal presence.
Her current role is in the comedy “Master of Two Servants” staged in a “plaza in Italy,” where the cast is presented steam punk style. Check out the high school’s website for more information. I’ll see you there celebrating our excellent and lovely young neighbor, Kyrie.
Honoring Dave Aguilar
It’s also time to buy your ticket for the City of Sonoma’s Culture and Fine Arts Commission reception honoring our own master musician and community volunteer, 2013 Sonoma Art Treasure, David Aguilar. The wine and hors d’oeuvres celebration for Dave will be held on Thursday, Nov. 21 at the Sonoma Community Center, but tickets must be purchased no later than 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13. That’s tomorrow, folks, so don’t hesitate to call the Sonoma City Clerk today at 933-2216.
We are proud of Dave and joyful that he is receiving this well-deserved honor in his home Valley.
Getting my peds cured at Roseann’s
In the continuing story of folks old and new, dear friends and recent acquaintances in our village, I drift up the hill to Roseann’s Haircutting place, next door to the Glen Ellen Laundromat.
For years, Roseann Fanucchi and her friends held court on Arnold Drive just across the street from the Glen Ellen Grocery. It was a place to stop by in the afternoon for a visit and a chat, whether it was time to get your hair trimmed or not. Roseann was always ready with a good story or two. That is where both of our boys got their first haircuts, and continued with frequent trims throughout their years at Dunbar School and beyond. Roseann is well-known in our town as a hard worker, benevolent patron and good cheer giver. Well-loved, and much appreciated, Roseann’s business has thrived because of her personality, equally comforting and encouraging.
Cleaning up for Friday date night
Early on, Sharon Burns joined the shop, another haircutter, another dear friend, mom to Nicole and Michael, sweetheart to tax man Brian Burns. And so the shop continued to thrive with good workers who could make a scruffy-headed pre-schooler look like a grown-up schoolboy, and a discombobulated mom look like a fine Friday night date. Just ask my sweetie if these two aren’t true.
One of Roseann’s clients recently wrote on Yelp, “Roseann is the BEST! Been going to her since I was a little girl. Right in the heart of downtown Glen Ellen, it is a quaint, little shop with only a couple of chairs. The prices are unbelievably low and you will find yourself sitting in there, just chit chatting the afternoon away,” which tells it all and rather succinctly, better than I could do.
Folks in our village love Roseann.
Recently Roseann added a new service in her shop. Ever since moving back to California in 2005 – Glen Ellen, specifically – Melanie Heffernan has been a client of Roseann’s. Just like the rest of us, she took her children, two boys and a girl, to Roseann’s. She also had her own hair cut there. As Melanie’s children became settled in school, she wanted to go out and work again. Roseann suggested she get training to be a manicurist and come to work there. Roseann said she would be happy to hire her.
Melanie said she was totally surprised by Roseann’s offer, and, after a little more urging and encouragement from Roseann, Melanie decided to enroll in beauty school and get her license. Melanie claims, “Roseann has a heart of gold,” and most folks in our village would readily second that. Along with Roseann’s encouragement, Melanie chuckles, “My family bullied me into it.”
While busy daily with their home, organic garden and a few chickens, Melanie admitted that she was seeking something more in her life. And frankly, she loved hanging out at Roseann’s shop, she loved helping people, and she loved creating a clean and peaceful environment.
Melanie says that manicure school was intensive, including a drive to Vacaville after the kids were carted off to school. When it finally came time for her state boards to be certified, she was as nervous as could be, “And the testers didn’t make it any easier. They were intimidating. They are very strict and they made us sit absolutely still for more than eight minutes before the testing even began.” Melanie passed with flying colors, but that wasn’t the case for all of her classmates that day. Of 17 women taking the test, only seven passed. Of course, Melanie was thrilled to be included in the latter group. Please note that I am no stranger to the blissful joys of a deluxe pedicure. I am used to getting my ugly toes groomed once a month by Denise Weatherwax, who for years had her shop, The Beauty Sanctuary, right here in downtown Glen Ellen. Later, Denise moved her shop down Arnold Drive to the Grist Mill complex. In the past few years, she’s relocated to a shop near the Sonoma Mission Inn, and is doing well there, though we do miss her in our town.
My friend, Barbara Flajnik gifted me with my first ever pedicure about 10 years ago. It was one or another significant birthday and Barbara felt I needed the lift a pedicure would provide.
Denise’s massage and pressure point work on my ugly feet transported me to some other realm: totally blissful relaxation would be a suitable description.
So, when I interviewed Melanie recently and she suggested I come in, I was a bit reluctant. I’m loyal to Denise, who has transformed my misshapen feet to something suitable for open-toed footwear. A near miracle, I have to admit.
But Melanie was persuasive. The experience would give me a better chance to know her for this article. Once I settled with Melanie that I would not accept a gratis manicure and pedicure, we made the appointment for a Saturday morning.
Arriving early, I visited briefly with Roseann who was working on making Fran Gemini look as young and beautiful as ever. It was good to share a brief hello with those two and to admire the selection of photographs from Roseann’s nephew, James Fanucchi, that she has displayed in the shop. They are an artistic clan; I’ve always admired her brother’s artwork. His Glen and Ellen T-shirt that he sold some decades back remains one of our family’s favorites, though at this point ours is old and tattered. Maybe time for a re-issue, Roseann?
Shortly after I arrived, Melanie poked her head around the curtain and ushered me into the back room of Roseann’s shop. It used to be a storage area, but with more than a little help from Kevin Heffernan, Melanie’s sweetie, and a few items from Ikea, the back room has turned into a little haven of peace and comfort. It even smells delightful in there, courtesy of Melanie’s mom who creates lovely foot rubs from organic lavender and citrus. While I sat in the brand new chair that Roseann had provided for Melanie, Melanie herself, who carries just the hint of a sweet Irish lilt softening her voice, greeted me. She and sweetie Kevin moved from California (where they met) back to Ireland (where Kevin is from), and lived there for several years. Their home was in a little village, Ballingary, not much larger than Glen Ellen. In time, they returned to California, which the whole family loves, particularly Glen Ellen.
About halfway through my treatment, we were treated to a visit from Melanie’s two boys and their dad. On the way to Oakland to pick up a set of shelves for Melanie’s workstation, they stopped by to say farewell. Melanie, embarrassed to have her family visiting, apologized. On the contrary, I let her know that it was an added delight to meet the whole family. So Melanie invited them into the shop and introduced me to the two polite boys she and Kevin have raised. Dara is a student at Sonoma Valley High School and his younger brother (born in Ireland), Oisin (pronounced O-sheen) is 7, attending Sonoma Charter School, along with his sister, 10-year-old Violet.
My entire experience with Melanie was pleasant, restful and restorative. We chatted and she shared stories of her childhood in Tomales. Home schooled as a girl, she roamed the forests and meadows of that beautiful area, surfing at the infamous Shark Pit on occasion. I highly recommend Melanie Heffernan and know that Roseann and Sharon will be happy to introduce her to you.
Next week I’ll share more news about your friends and neighbors in Glen Ellen who have recently opened new businesses. This week, I plan to check out the tri-tip and potato salad that Jerry Howlett is offering on the corner by Kevin Flores’ garage.
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Want to see your own name in the news? Share your stories with friends and neighbors in Glen Ellen. Call or write me at 996-5995 or P.O. Box 518, GE 95442. Or email me @?HYPERLINK “mailto:Creekbottom@earthlink.net” Creekbottom@earthlink.net. Glen Ellen chatter rarely requires timeliness; however, if your news does, please be sure to contact me at least two weeks prior to your desired publication date.