Category: Braveheart

Lost in Space

One of my favorite TV shows as a child growing up in the 60’s was Lost in Space–the  adventures of  an astronaut (space pioneer )family named Robinson whose mission was to colonize different planets in outer space.  However,  their spaceship got off course and they traversed around the universe discovering strange, new, and sometimes hostile territories.

Though I enjoyed all the characters, my favorite was the robot who I remember as a constant companion to the youngest Robinson, Will, who was about 12 years old. Whenever something was amiss, that robot would start waving his arms, flashing his lights, and shouting something like  “Warning! Warning!”  And my favorite  “Danger! Will Robinson, Danger! ”

We could have used that Robot on our latest journey.

We were on a road trip  to the Old Woman Mountains wilderness area do some hiking and filming for a project I’m working on, and the area we were in was quite/very desolate. Saw nary a soul and the only signs of wildlife I saw was a lizard and a big green bug scurrying across the dirt road. I was surprised to see NO ONE. No campers, no hikers, NOBODY.

And as it generally is in these remote areas… there is NO cell phone service.

About 20 miles into the wilderness (i.e. 20 miles away from a real road that would take us away from there) the unthinkable happened.. we had a flat tire!

Bah!

Hiss!

Booooo!

And there we were… lost in space.

Fortunately we were able to get that taken care of which made for a happy ending. However,I realized there were a few other things we could have done/had that would have made us better equipped. We’re going to be making a short info-film giving some safety tips for road travel, and will also cover the things we didn’t think about before that would have made us better prepared. Coming soon, in a future Silver Sage episode!

We bid adieu to Marta Becket

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Collage of images of Marta Beckett displayed on a table top in the Amaragosa Cafe.

An artist stranded in Death Valley stayed
To paint and dance her way on starry skies
And brought new life peaks through her art and dance
By sharing wellsprings deep within her soul

We were saddened to hear of the recent passing of Marta Becket, the woman who created a wellspring in the desert of Death Valley Junction and called it the Amaragosa Opera House.

Marta’s story is an inspirational one– As a traveling dancer from New York, in 1967  she and her husband were camping in Death Valley National Park when their trailer got  a flat tire.  To get it repaired, they were directed to Death Valley Junction, a tiny desert community  just outside the park.  The town was once a Borax mining station and though not considered a ghost town, it was sparsely populated. While waiting for the tire to get fixed, Marta explored the old adobe buildings there and discovered an old abandoned theater.

“Peering through the tiny hole, I had the distinct feeling that I was looking at the other half of myself. The building seemed to be saying…..Take me…..do something with me…I offer you life”  To Dance on Sands: The Life and Art of Death Valley’s Marta Becket

She and her husband stayed and restored the building to hold her performances there. She painted an  audience on the walls inside the  theater, and other beautiful artwork on the ceiling. The opera house became famous and people from all over the world came to see the opera house and her performances.

We recently visited there! — the eve of this past New Year’s Eve– to film inside the opera house and around Death Valley Junction.   We’re producing a piece on the Amaragosa Opera House for our Finding Beauty in Dry Places segment– coming soon!   We’ll be sharing beautiful imagery and an amazing story encompassing the history of this remote, desert area!

(Inside the Amaragosa Opera House)

Leap of Faith

Roxy PPJMany boomers know all to well about childhood passions of pursing artistic-type careers being discouraged by well-meaning elders for more stable  professions or ‘real’ jobs.  And hey, can’t blame our parents for wanting us to have stability and not live the ‘starving artist’ life.

At 18,  Roxy Gantes did get accepted to  the Art Center of Pasadena–but her dad said ‘no’,–  and she went on to study for, and have, a fulfilling career as a psycho-therapist.

But when three of her cousins died in one month, Roxy decided it was time for her take that leap of faith and pursue her ingrained passion of being an artist. So she left her 25-year career as a psycho-therapist and began painting a new canvas for her life.

Join us for the personal interview in her studio, and we also take you to one of her popular paint parties where you can witness the magic that happens as she encourages and instructs her students– and they discover a deeper dimension to themselves as they bring out their own artists within.

In the midst of Gorillas in the Mist

A trip to the nearest zoo just wasn’t enough!
Christine Pence just had to fulfill the passion burning within to photograph gorillas in the wild–in Uganda.   And when she couldn’t find any one to go with her, she decided to just do it alone. So what that she’s 66!

In our interview, she gives fascinating details of what it takes to spend an hour with a gorilla family in the jungles of Uganda.  They are in the wild, but are used to humans being around. Caution is never tossed to the wind because these are still wild beasts.  She was, however, able to get within 4 feet of one of the creatures– and the little ones would run around and get even closer, unhindered and unmoved by the humans in their midst.

©Christine Pence

©Christine Pence

 

Her travel tale includes additional adventures she experience–using her international entrepreneur skills and experiences:  she was able to give business know-how assistance to the ‘aunties’ of a children’s orphanage, a bird guide who could greatly benefit from being able to produce a photographic book of birds, and a cultural tribe of basket weavers.

 

©Christine Pence

 

©Christine Pence

©Christine Pence

 

 

In the closing of the episode, we’re  treated to beautiful imagery of  photographs she took  while there.

Authors at the Antique Mall

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i had the pleasure of interviewing two women I know personally, who became first-time authors after the age of 50.

We filmed this episode at the  Antique Mall in Hesperia which was a great backdrop for this segment.  Nesherrill Foster published a work of fiction, while Diane Gardner published her memoirs. Both are currently working on new books.

They shared their challenges and gave good advice and inspiration for others who aspire to write…mainly showing that it’s never too late!

And if you’re a vintage lover like me, the  Antique Mall is a great place to check out!

New York, New York!

  Just returned from New York City, where I went to interview Mary Jones, the founder of Just Do It Crew.  Mary started this group 3 years ago to serve as an avenue to help people pursue and achieve their dreams   The interview was very informative and I was there to attend one of their meetings and get testimonials from the participants, telling how being a part of Just Do It Crew has helped them moved forward with their goals and dreams.   interview with Mary Jones   Talking with Mary Jones