On Legacy: What do people leave behind?

The heart of El Granada is the post office. Would you believe me if I told you that it’s fun to go to the post office? It is in El Granada. Not only are the folks who work there great, but on Saturday mornings Burt and I run into the most fascinating locals picking up their mail.

On this bright, sunny and mild Saturday morning, I met  the videographer David Hodge. He lives in Miramar which is rapidly turning into  a close-knit community of artists, musicians and painters.

[I’ve blogged about photographer/adventurer Michael Powers, painter Linda Montalto Patterson,  her husband Richard, a well known classical guitarist and impressario Pete Douglas, but there are many more artists living there that I need to discover.]

David Hodge told me the video he’s working on right now is called “Legacy.”

“What people leave behind,” David explained.

Then I had to leave but not before David invited me to his website. I’ve been there, and it’s excellent….to visit, please click here

Here’s the background on Legacy, the video David Hodge is currently working on:

Legacy, a video installation now in design, will explore this universal question: what does one leave behind? Legacy will employ cinematic portraiture techniques not seen before, to draw the viewer deep into questions of life, lifestyle, and one’s bequest to the future. Avoiding high-level abstractions or political theories, and focusing instead on individual examples and stories, Legacy will lead viewers through captivating examples, while still allowing them room for their own interpretations of what they have seen. The installation will present a suite of stories that harmonize with each other, yet also reveal contrasts, conflicts and challenges. As viewers walk from one screen to another, they will also “walk” through the landscape of selected lives, dreams, actions, regrets, and passions, Legacy will leave its audience with a heightened awareness of how the future affects and informs the present, as the human heart seeks guidance from its imperfect foresight.

Cacti & Succulents heat up El Granada

Artist/landscaper Leon Kunke leon10 had a lot to do with introducing me to the creative and unusual world of cacti and succulents. No problem growing them in El Granada’s “banana belt.”


The succulent in the pot is a Haworthia coarctata v. adelaidensis

Last time I looked, Half Moon Bay Nursery on Highway 92 had a great selection of succulents. We also love visiting Flora Grubb in San Francisco. Succulents and cacti are one of their specialties. Both HMB Nursery and Flora Grubb Gardens make a good little outing. If you haven’t been to Flora Grubb, you are in for a big surprise.

Back in the 1960s, 70s, many artists came from San Francisco to Half Moon Bay to purchase flowers and plants. Sometimes they traded their paintings or handmade furniture for plants. One of the more fanciful artists was Tony Duquette, who just loved to interior decorate and went to great extremes in that endeavor.  A couple of years ago Wendy Goodman and Hutton Wilkinson wrote a beautifully illustrated book about Tony Duquette.


La Peninsula: How Maverick’s Works by Montara resident Bruce Jenkins

& The Many Sides of Pigeon Point by JoAnne Semones

Review by John Vonderlin

Email John ([email protected])


Hi June,
I was just reading the Winter issue of “La Peninsula,” the Journal of the San Mateo Historical Association. The cover and first twelve pages are devoted to an excellent article about Maverick’s by Bruce Jenkins, a Montara resident. Bruce, the advisor to the History Museum’s interactive Maverick’s exhibit and author of several big wave surfing books, knows his subject really well and so do we after reading the article. He’s got good inside stuff, covers the history well, and also delves into the spirit of the unusual group of surfers who risk their lives challenging the monsters that can build, collapse and explode at our local, world famous surf spot. With sponsorship secured, invitees picked, all we need now is for Mother Nature to co-operate, and we’ll once again be exposed to one of the most daring sporting events anywhere.

With the great low tides over the next few days, if I can arrange it, I might try to make a circum-Pillar trip and get some pictures of Maverick’s, Mushroom Rock, etc. from the foot of the Point, something impossible during the event.

The other article completing the issue is “The Storied Waters of Pigeon Point,” by JoAnne Semones.” JoAnne, the author of “Shipwrecks, Scalawags, and Scavengers,”  an excellent chronicling of a century of the tragedy-filled Maritime history of the treacherous waters the Pigeon Point Lighthouse was built to neuter, has added new material from rare oral histories and personal interviews with the keepers’ families and local residents. She has included historic smuggler stories that should be great background for some of the tales I’m hoping Rob Tillitz will share about his experiences in these waters. Enjoy. John


Brush up your Shakespeare. Feb is Academy Awards Month

I’ve been enjoying “Have you Seen. . .?” by San Francisco author David Thomson.


There are many reasons to like this book. What I like most: each movie description fits on one page. Just enough time to learn about films I’ve never had time to see but I want to learn something about. And the author, David Thomson, is so good at what he does that I can’t wait to read the next review.

I used to look forward to reading the long film essays by Pauline Kael in the New Yorker. Remember Miss Kael? She was born in Petaluma, once famous, and maybe still famous for its fresh eggs. Petaluma is in Marin County; when I was a kid, Petaluma was the real countryside.

Back when I was reading Pauline Kael in the New Yorker, the classy magazine was home to authors and journalists who could easily write fifty interesting pages about buttons, and, in fact, I remember a story that appeared in the magazine about the last “zipper man” on earth. He made zippers, all kinds of zippers, you can’t begin to imagine the intricacies of the zipper until you find and read this remarkable piece.  The Zipper Man story went on and on and I never tired of him. I’m still talking about it now!

Times have changed dramatically since Pauline Kael was writing for the New Yorker. We need information constantly, preferably in small gulps. Seems to me that there are so many distractions today, that it is a real pleasure to be able to read an entire review of a recent movie, or one from decades ago, absorb the magic and take off to do something else.


I have heard that actors and actresses live on the Coastside. Have any won Academy Award nominations? In the 1920s, actors were seen enjoying themselves at the Moss Beach Distillery. It was fashionable to smoke, and pretty abalone shells served as ashtrays.

As you can imagine, all the Coastside roadhouses had a unique personality reflecting the likes and dislikes of the owners. . Frank Torres, owner of the Distillery (called “Frank’s” in the late 1920s)  loved to hobnob with the rich and famous.

At the San Mateo County History Museum, I learned about Peninsula Studios, a kind of  “Hollywood-North”,  located in Burlingame. There were free-lance movie-makers, too, and films were shot on the Coastside, but I’ve never seen any of them, and these historic films are assumed lost.


If you’d like to visit the Academy Awards website, please click here

On Swan Songs: A Night to Remember at Cetrella: Story by Tom Andersen

Story by Tom Andersen

Email Tom: [[email protected]]

Swan’s Songs

The seven -year three- month run of excellent jazz & blues performances at Cetrella in Half Moon Bay came to a rousing close on Friday January 2nd, 2009. Blues vocalist Margie Baker did a superb job as the evening’s featured musician—“No one more appropriate for what may be the final performance here,” Cetrella’s Music Director Michael O’Neill said.

And what a performance it was!

Backed by the piano genius Shota Osabe, and the fine bassist Ruth Davies, Margie Baker delivered on a tour de force doing what she does best, that is, putting her nuanced, informed and soulful mark on everything she sang. We danced to her signature opening song: “Let the Good Times Roll” (enjoying the smile of acknowledgement as we took to the floor.)

It turned into an evening of “Friends of Michael O’Neill.” Kenny Washington returned from vacationing in Big Sur to do several numbers; Nicholas Bearde did a great rendition of “Down Home Blues” after a couple of funny stories of past performance experiences at Cetrella.

They were honored by a packed room, no-bodies leaving, “Everybody” was there for the “swan songs.” Classical pianist  Lisa Spector paid homage to her musical peers, “Eileen and friends from El Granada” had their usual reserved table at the pole position; MCTV’s Connie Malach & friends were having their usual too much fun.

The band played their hearts out! They played overtime, and did a much clamored for encore of “When the Saints Go Marching In”, which had us up and dancing right off, followed by a spontaneous samba line that involved most of the people in the room, amid much whoops, cheers, and applause.

At the break I went to wash my hands, leaving the packed and energized room to travel through the dining area, which was empty.

All in all, it was the musical equivalent of the perpetual re-emerging Persian rug dealer with yet another “going out of business sale”. The cultural and community treasure of Michael’s jazz venue at Cetrella should have one of these every week from now on.


Afternote from Music Director Michael O’Neill

Hi folks,

Wow! What a fantastic send off last Friday!

I thank everybody that came in body and/or in spirit for the final night at Cetrella – it was truly a
night I will always remember.

This coming Thursday – January 8 – I will be playing at the Crab Landing in the Princeton Harbor area.
The music will start at 6:00 and go until 9:00.

Please come and support my opening performance there. Maybe – given time – it could turn into another
Cetrella type venue. It can happen with enough support!

Crab Landing
260 Capistrano Road
Half Moon Bay