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Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Chris Hillman headed to Bonita

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BY NANCY STETSON

Chris Hillman with Herb Pedersen and John Jorgenson

When: 8 p.m. Friday, April 28

Where: Centers for the Performing Arts Bonita Springs

Cost: $35-$45

Info: 495-8989 or www.artcenterbonita.org

 

OVER THE COURSE OF HIS musical career, Chris Hillman has enjoyed enough success to satisfy several lifetimes.

At 19, he became an original member of The Byrds, whose lineup included David Crosby and Roger McGuinn. They savored international fame, hitting the charts with songs such as “Eight Miles High,” “Turn! Turn! Turn,” “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star,” which Mr. Hillman co-wrote with Mr. McGuinn. The Byrds were pioneers in folk rock and country rock.

Four year later, Mr. Hillman joined what became The Flying Burrito Brothers, writing songs including “Sin City” with Gram Parsons.

Then he became part of Stephen Stills’ band, Manassas, co-writing “It Doesn’t Matter” with Mr. Stills, among other songs. With John David Souther and Richie Furay he formed Souther Hillman Furay, releasing two albums in 1974 and ’75. Then he joined forces with two fellow bandmates from The Byrds, Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark, to form the trio McGuinn, Clark and Hillman. They released three albums and had two Top 10 singles.

 

From 1987-1993, he performed as lead guitarist, singer and mandolin player for The Desert Rose Band. They had 16 Top 10 country chart hits.

“I’ve been very blessed, lucky, any way you want to term it,” Mr. Hillman says. “I really enjoyed music, loved music. It was a passion as a young man, but it was a different world in the ’60s.”

He kept thinking he’d do music for a year, and then go to college to major in English literature and history. “But something would always happen,” he says. “Every year, a door would open and I’d go through it and something would happen musically.”

In hindsight, he adds, he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. “I was in these great groups. I was not seeking to be a rock star. I liked to play. I was more of a team player.”

He views the years from 1963-1985 as his apprentice years. By 1985, however, “I was running the band, writing the songs and playing lead. I have no regrets. If it stopped tomorrow, I had a great life.”

Now 72 years old, Mr. Hillman is still making music. Mr. Pedersen and Mr. Jorgenson join him in concert Friday evening, April 28, at the Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs.

“We have a very close bond,” Mr. Hillman says about the three musicians, noting that they’ve been making music together for more than 25 years.

Mr. Hillman and Mr. Pedersen put out an album titled “At Edwards Barn,” which includes “Eight Miles High” and “Have You Seen Her Face.” On it, Mr. Hillman, playing mandolin, celebrates his bluegrass roots.

As a teen before joining The Byrds, he played coffeehouses with The Scottsville Squirrel Barkers.

“I had to bluff my way into that job (with The Byrds),” he recalls. “‘Can you play the bass?’ ‘Sure, sure.’ I had never touched one.”

The chemistry with the band was “really, really good for a few years” — but not like the bond he has with Mr. Pedersen and Mr. Jorgenson.

“That’s part of a successful musical band,” he says, “the respect for each other. It’s not always perfect, but you have to strive for that, and the music will come right alongside it.”

He and Mr. McGuinn co-wrote “So You Want to be a Rock and Roll Star,” inspired by The Monkees, a group created by TV producers for a sit-com. The song, he says, was a comment about how contrived the whole process was of bringing together four strangers and trying to pretend they were a band like The Beatles. “They trivialized the whole thing with music.”

“Here we are, jaded old men in our 20s, ‘And with your hair swung right/and your pants too tight,’” he quotes from “So You Want to be a Rock and Roll Star.”

The Byrds, inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991 by Don Henley, made music that still holds up today. Part of that is due to the good advice they received.

“Our first manager gave us such wisdom,” Mr. Hillman says. “He said, ‘You guys go for substance and depth, make records you’re going to be proud of in 40 years. Don’t go for the easy hit record, the easy dollar. Do something you’ll be proud of.’”

Mr. Crosby and Mr. McGuinn were about three years older, and “pretty world-wise in a sense. Roger had been all over as an accompanist — he worked with The Limeliters, the Chad Mitchell Trio, Judy Collins. He had written in the Brill Building, he’d written for Bobby Darin,” he says. “And David, too, had been all over the country as a folk singer.

“Their intellects were quite advanced for their age. We were listening to John Coltrane and Miles Davis and Ravi Shankar before anybody knew about Ravi.”

What unlocked his own songwriting was working with South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela. When he came home from that session, he recalls, he just started writing songs.

“It somehow unlocked the door,” he says. “I wrote a song a few days later, ‘Have You Seen Her Face.’”

The Byrds came along just as the bohemian age was closing down, he says. “It was a different time creatively, musically, with books, film, all of the above.

“We would get these interesting people coming to see us. Lenny Bruce came to see us in the studio, and his gang of people. We looked up and saw him behind the mixing board. It was ’64. We had one foot in that time period of the beatnik, bohemians.”

Beat poet Allen Gingsberg loved The Byrds, he says, recalling meeting him at a Greenwich Village party.

He remembers playing a private party for Jane Fonda when she was married to French film director Roger Vadim.

“We’re in Malibu and I’m playing, and I feel someone pulling on my pants leg,” he says. “It’s Henry Fonda, and he says, ‘Can you turn that thing down?’ ‘Yes sir, yes sir.’

“Of course we didn’t.”

Mr. Hillman’s mother bought him his first guitar for $10.

“But when I was 14 or 15, I heard the mandolin, bluegrass, old-timey music,” he says. “I loved it. I don’t know what it was, but I got into it, and been struggling with it for 55 years … In the old days, you didn’t have DVDs that taught you to play, or YouTube. All the guys my age would slow down records (to learn songs note-by-note.) But I didn’t have the patience.”

He’d learn 80-90 percent of the notes and then make up the rest.

When he teaches the mandolin, he tells students, “Play it your own way.”

He doesn’t remember the first bluegrass song he ever heard, but guesses it was likely something by the New Lost City Ramblers with Mike Seeger on mandolin.

“He was a solo god,” Mr. Hillman says about Mr. Seeger. “I love the mandolin. It’s so adaptable to any kind of music. You can play jazz on it.”

He owns “at least five or six” of them, one, “a beautiful old Gibson” so valuable he won’t take it on the road.

As a teen, he played “hillbilly bars,” playing bluegrass with three guys who were 10 years older than him. He had a fake ID. “I was 18 and had an ID that said I was 21. No one believed that.”

But yet, they let him play in their clubs.

“I remember playing the night John Kennedy was killed,” he says. “There were four people in the bar that night.”

As an older musician with decades of experience behind him, he finds himself playing differently these days.

“Every young guy, any guitar player, instrumentalist, soloist, when you’re young you’re playing everything in the world, thousands of notes per measure.

“And when you get older — I guess this applies to life too — you understate things and deal with more subtleties … I approach my playing differently: I play it simply and put more into each note, rather than 40 notes in the same time frame. It applies to any creative part of life; you change your approach. You approach life differently.”

He’s writing a memoir, with pencil and legal pad, though he modestly wonders, “Does the world really want another aging ex-rock star memoir?”

But, he says, he “wrote down the whole journey through the music, the passion I had for it, the people I worked for.”

He’s calling it “Time Between,” after one of the first songs he wrote with the The Byrds.

He recently recorded another album, “Bidin’ My Time,” set for release Sept. 22 and co-produced by Tom Petty and Mr. Pedersen, who play on some of the songs.

“It just fell into my lap,” he says. “I’m not chasing a career. I wanted to make a really good record. I wanted one last hurrah.

“It’s still a lot of fun to get up and play. If people buy your ticket and if you can still sing and play at a certain level of musicianship, then why the heck not?” ¦

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Audition Notice: Stage It! 10-Minute Play Competition

On February 18 & 19, 2017 CFABS will be staging performances of 12 of the winning plays from our first ever, Stage It! 10-Minute Play Competition and… WE NEED ACTORS! Robert De Niro once said, “One of the things about acting is it allows you to live other people’s lives without having to pay the price.”

We would like to invite you to take a chance at “living another person’s life without paying the price” by coming to audition for a role (or roles) in these fantastic short plays. Open auditions for the Stage it! 10 Minute Play Competition are being held at our Center for Performing Arts at 10150 Bonita Beach Rd. on Sunday, January 8, 2017 starting at 4:00pm. (Rehearsal schedules will depend upon the role, and cast member availability).  Performances will be held February 18 and 19 at the Center for Performing Arts.

We are looking to fill 36 roles, (18 men, 17 women and 1 child). The characters range in age from 10 – 70.  The audition is open, and all types are welcome.

The twelve outstanding plays being staged were each carefully selected by a jury consisting of 26 judges from across the nation. A brief description of the plays and the roles being cast is below:audition-notice

Counting On Love

by Rod McFadden

A discussion after a first date.

A smart romantic comedy.

VINCENT, 29 years old, magazine writer

SOPHIA, 27 years old NYU post-grad.

(math)

The Dating Game

by Rod McFadden

One single, one married, talking about

the current dating scene. Situational

comedy

MARGE, about 65 – 75

NETTIE, similar age as MARGE

Everyone’s Child

by Delvyn Case, Jr.

Kos, Greece, an island near where

refugees land. Dramatic.

PETER, young Greek male, age 14

KILIKINA, Greek woman,

mother of PETER

The Last Holdout

by Judd Lear Silverman

A menu change at a local senior center

finds the last holdout in final

negotiations with the only staff member

who can get the job done.

IVAN, a senior at the senior center

DOROTHY, at least 20 years Ivan’s junior,

administrator

Life Jacket

by Delvyn Case, Jr.

On a beach near Bodrum, Turkey and a

beach on the Greek Island of Kos, two

refugees cross dangerous waters.

GALIA, a Syrian woman refugee, age 20

AYLAN, a Syrian male refugee, age 20

AHMAD, a Turkish seller of life jackets to

refugees, age 28

The Nude

by William Newkirk

The opening of a new show at an art

gallery. Artist and her new model

meet accidental patron and the

snotty art critique.

CLAIRE, in her 50’s-ish

LISA, in her 50’s-ish

BRIAN, in his 50’s-ish

JEFFREY, in his 50’s-ish

Ode On A Donut Shop

by Ethan Warren

An existential, absurdist comedy

in a donut shop at 1:24 AM.

JUDD – in his 20s, a sweet and

somewhat vacant boy

SEAN – in his 20s, a sweet and

somewhat vacant boy

DWAYNE – in his 50s, friendly and

paternal but with a temper

MAN IN THE JACKET – in his 30s,

ominous and powerful

An Ordinary Woman

by Sean Patrick Nill

Ordinary Suzy Ponelle confesses a

series of vengeful crimes to the police.

SUZY PONELLE, female, late 20’s

to early 30’s

DETECTIVE MORROW, adult female, 30-40

DETECTIVE FEINSTEIN, adult female,

30-40

CAPTAIN MASTERSON, male, 40-50

 

The Professor And The Flea

by Denise Hinson

An odd farce based on a fable.

Presentational characters in an oddball,

artistic comedy.

THE PROFESSOR, 30-70s

CAPTAIN, 30-70s

GOVERNOR, 40s to 60s

WIFE OF GOVERNORE, 40s to 60s

PRINCESS, teens to 20s

The Promise

by Mary Lescoe-Long

A woman confronts her own demon,

literally. An emotional drama.

WOMAN, any age, preferably

late 40’s or early 50’s

BANSHEE, same age as WOMAN

Toil and Trouble

by Trevor Suthers

A retelling of Macbeth. A literal and

intellectual comedy, but still broad.

MAMMY, the grandmother witch

GRANNY, the mother witch

FANNY, the youngest of the witches

MACMETH, drug kingpin on some

crappy streets

Violating Uncle Piggy

by Judd Lear Silverman

Parental betrayal traded for loose change

must be explained in this interrogation

—Uncle Piggy was found violated.

MOMMY, 30ish

DADDY, 30s

INVESTIGATOR, a child

 

IF YOU COME TO AUDITION:

WHO: The Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs

WHAT:  Stage IT! 10-minute play competition

WHEN:  Auditions: 4:00pm, Sunday, January 8, 2017

Performances: Evening of February 18th & 19th, 2017

WHERE: The Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs, 10150 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs 34135

PRICE:  No fee to audition.

Films for Film Lovers Open for the Holidays

By Mickey Lacroix

As you are probably well aware, Christmas and New Years are right around the corner. Both holidays fall on a Sunday this year, so many locations are closed on the following Mondays.  As such, it might be easy to think that our Film for Film Lovers series would pack up its popcorn maker, and roll up the red carpet for these two weeks.  This, however, is not the case.  Not only will The Robert and Karin Moe Auditorium and Film Center be open on these two Mondays, but the movies selected for these weeks are timely choices reflective of the season.

For Monday, December 26th, the film committee has selected a powerful tale from Hong Kong, entitled “A Simple Life.”  In a nutshell, the movie is about an older woman who has worked as a servant (an amah) who, upon having a stroke, decides she wants to move into a nursing home, so as not to become a burden on the family she has been caring for for over sixty years, and her relationship with the youngest son of the family.  The film is ultimately a somber exploration of love, selflessness and finding contentment.  The films message might just be particularly poignant right after the bustle of the Christmas holiday.

Whether or not you end up suffering a bit from toasting “auld lang syne” with one too many “good-will draughts” – CFABS will be presenting the 2004 French film “Changing Times” on Monday, January 2nd.  In this film, two of Frances greatest modern actors, Gerard Depardeau and Catherine Deneuve team up to bring us a story about how a love from days gone by, (which is what “auld lang syne” means) never truly dies.   In addition to being a fine love story, the movie might provide a little motivation to those of us who make New Year’s resolutions, but might need a little extra push to fight for those changes we want to make going forward.

We hope you’ll join us at one or both of these exceptional films. We’ll have the popcorn ready, a selection of beverages to help wash them down, and even if the carpets in our film center aren’t red, our staff and volunteers will be ready to give you the red carpet treatment when you arrive.  Even if we don’t see you, all of us at the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs hope you have a Festive Holiday Season and a Happy New Year.

Some Holiday Ideas

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Raku pieces during the firing process at a Raku and You! One-Night Event.

By Mickey Lacroix

Prior to working for the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs, I always struggled during the holiday season to come up with fun and meaningful gifts to share with my loved ones. Last year, I ended up being able to give a number of my family members tickets to see the folk musician Jonathan Edwards, who performed at the Center for Performing Arts last spring.  My sisters and I had not seen him in concert prior to that event, though we had grown up listening to his songs.  My mom and stepdad, who also attended, had seen him perform, but not for many years.  Altogether, it ended up being a wonderful evening that we each look back upon fondly.

There are probably a good many people on your holiday “shopping” list who would also be more touched by a great experience than a cleverly selected item. As such, there are many interesting services, classes and performances held at the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs that might make a great holiday gift, especially as a group gift to an event or class that you can attend together.

One night events and mini workshops often make great group gifts, because they take place in a relaxed environment and allow people to make a work of art over the span of just a few hours. These events are especially fun if you get a group of people together to attend, as there is something magically intimate about sharing in the creative process. Then, at the end of the session, you each get to bring home the art you made, which will serve as a continuing reminder of the shared experience.

CFABS also offers a full series of top-notch performances, varying from improvisational theater, to concerts in a variety of musical genres, foreign films, one man theater productions, and traditional theater. If you might be interested in giving a gift of this nature to someone you know, but are not sure of their schedule, the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs has gift certificates available at any denomination.

One of the other interesting gift possibilities is a ticket to the annual OFF THE WALLS! fundraiser. Everyone is a winner in this amazing ‘lottery’ event and each person selected gets to choose from any number of artworks and collectibles donated for the event.   A fabulous buffet, soft drinks, beer and wine are all included in the $150 ticket price.  Each prize item is valued at a minimum of $275.  Proceeds from this fundraiser are used to give scholarships for youth programming at CFABS.  This year’s off the walls will be on Friday, January 20, 2017 and doors will open at 6:00pm.

Information about any of the programs available through the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs is available online at www.artcenterbonita.org, or by phone at 239-495-8989. You are also cordially invited to drop in to either center, where you may pick up literature, buy tickets, sign up for classes, view the exhibitions in the galleries, and get more information in general.  The Center for Visual Arts is located at 26100 Old 41 Rd. and the Center for Performing Arts is located at 10150 Bonita Beach Rd.  Please consider coming out to see or contacting us to give someone you love the opportunity to enrich their lives through the arts.

Be SuperHero, Volunteer!


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There is no secret that today’s super heroes are seen on TV as characters with super strength, laser vision, that can fly and even leap tall buildings with a single bound, but we never see a super hero with the best super power… The power of Volunteering!!!

Yes, volunteering is in fact a super power and here at the Centesr for the Arts we have a league of super heroes using their super powers every day.

They use it to help our staff with daily tasks that have to be done in a flash, they help with stage and lighting production with amazing strength and precision. They help our instructors with super hearing and anticipating all the little summer camper’s wants and needs.

Yes, being a volunteer for the Centers for the Arts is a SUPER and POWerful way to dedicate your time. Volunteering promotes positive leadership skills for our teen volunteers, offering everyone the opportunity to learn amazing new skills, and get the chance to make a difference in our community and in doing so, inspire others to also volunteer.

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So, if you want to be seen as a community super hero, consider volunteering at the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs.

For more information on becoming a volunteer and other CFABS community events, please visit www.artcenterbonita.org.

Who: Local Community
What: Volunteering
Where: Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs
Visual Arts Center – 26100 Old 41 Rd.
Performing Arts Center – 10150 Bonita Beach Rd. SE
When: All Year Around

 

A REFRESHING OPTION TO THE SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER The Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs’ Summer Film Schedule

Guests Enjoy Performance_Grand Opening Moe Auditorium & Film Center

It’s summer blockbuster season and movie theaters are packed with droves of fans willing to brave long lines to watch the latest large budget, star packed film extravaganza. I will be the first to admit that I have been waiting 13 years to see this summer’s blockbuster “Finding Dory,” the follow up to Pixar’s 2003 release “Finding Nemo.” However, once I’ve seen Dory film offerings become limited, as summer blockbusters stay longer in theaters so movie studios can recoup their $100,000,000 plus investments.

Some of the greatest films of all time would never have made the summer blockbuster cut including “Citizen Kane (1941)” or “It’s A Wonderful Life (1946),” which barely made bank when they were released. The Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs has put together a line up of films for their summer Monday night “Films for Film Lovers Series,” that may have missed the box office blockbuster cut, but should be on every film fans must see list.

Summer films include selections of the best of foreign and independent films, shown Monday nights at 7:00pm at the newly renovated Moe Auditorium & Film Center at the Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs. The 200-seat auditorium includes a giant screen; a state of the art projection system and the all-important refreshments that include freshly popped popcorn, snacks, beer, wine and mixed drinks that you can enjoy in the theater as you watch a great film.

CFABS’ Summer Film Series includes:

June 2016

June 27, 2016; 7:00pm                         Kings of Pastry (Netherlands)

July 2016

July 4, 2016; 7:00pm                                    Broken Embraces (Spain)
July 11, 2016; 7:00pm                        Nicky’s Family (Czech Republic)
July 18, 2016; 7:00pm                        Therese (France)
July 25, 2016; 7:00pm                        Amelie (France)

August 2016

August 1, 2016; 7:00pm                         Young & Beautiful (France)
August 8, 2016; 7:00pm                         We Have a Pope (Italy)
August 15, 2016; 7:00pm                         The Attack (Lebanon)
August 22, 2016; 7:00pm                         A Room with a View (UK)
August 29, 2016; 7:00pm                         The Flat (Germany)

September 2016

September 5, 2016; 7:00pm                        Intimate Strangers (France)
September 12, 2016; 7:00pm                        Dark Passage (USA)
September 19, 2016; 7:00pm                        More than Honey (Germany)
September 26, 2016; 7:00pm                        Belle De Jour (France)

Be sure to join the lively film discussion after each film, led by a Film Society Chairman or Member. Film lovers can become a member of the Centers for the Art’s Film Society by purchasing ticket packages. These members enjoy advance notice of film events, screenings and schedule. Tickets for CFABS’ Films for Film Lovers Monday night film series are $10 with money saving ticket packages available.

Those who join the Centers for the Arts for the first time as an individual member receive a free 4-, 5-, or 6- week class, and those who join for the first time as a family member receive a free 4-, 5-, or 6- week class and two free tickets to a Live! performance. The Centers for the Arts offers this benefit for first time members and it is for a limited time only. The class and performance must be used before December 31, 2016.

Tickets for all of the events listed can be purchased by calling the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs at 239-495-8989 and on line at www.artcenterbonita.org.

IF YOU GO:

WHO: The Centers for the Arts of Bonita Springs
WHAT: Films for Film Lovers
WHEN: Monday Evenings, 7:00pm (Doors open 6:30pm)
WHERE: The Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs, 10150 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs 34135
PRICE: $10 (money saving ticket packages are available)