Remember the talk of "happenngs" back in the 1950s? My own intro to the idea, (according to Wikipedia a concept "difficult to describe") was in the spring of my last semester in college, 1955.
My friend Sylvia Cary often had leading roles in Oberlin Drama Assocation presentations. She'd challenge me to try out for one. In our last semester, she reminded me again, told me something new had been selected by the less official, student-run group, Finney's Follies.* None of us knew anything about the very old idea, commedia del arte,** which was being re-discovered around the country. "Improvisation," I recal saying to her, "I can do that, have always been able to talk my way through stuff." I'd also been sent to drama classes in New York when a pre-teen, co-produced our junior high graduation show in St. Louis.
So brilliant was I in try-outs (seriously) that I was asked to direct the production. Sylvia was one of the judges. As a performer, I was assigned the stock role of the "worldly older sister." Masterful type-casting but halfway into rehearsals I had to morph into ingenue when that student performer dropped out. It was a challenge for all of us, and our trouple had a great time.
I have memories of practicing how to stay on my feet when given a push by the old woman character and struggling not to laugh when we did bits intended to provoke hilariity in the audience. The review in the student paper was mostly complimentary and a bit arch as written by a faculty member from the philosophy department. I had barely passed my sophomore year class with him.
Bread, what does this ramble have to do with the staff of life in California? The pictures on this page, mostly Ron's, were taken at Wild Flour Bread in Freestone, California. Our friends Toni and Al who live partly in Portland and Santa Rosa, CA., were our generous hosts in the latter. They responded to my interest in discovering artisan bakers. A bumpy ride took us near Sebastopol, sort of a 21st century style hippiedom (more affluence than the 20th) to Wild Flour.
Bakery as a happening. From the hand-carved sign at the entrance to the limited hours and days open for business. "We want to meet our customers," the message reads on their website. Friday through Monday, 8:30 to 6 but you better get there before noon because there is a very, very long line coming out of that door and into their pretty garden.
Cannot find my notes to name the delicious loaf we took back to Santa Rosa from this hardworking brick oven that produces about 900 loaves each day. There was the biscotti like none I've ever had, two kinds--one with hazelnuts, six inches long, $2.50 each and worth every nickel. Why do I remember something as inane as the price and forget to take a photo?
The art on the walls enhanced the bakery's Happening feel.Their poster looked as if it had been adapted from a production of "Angels in America." Alongside the bucolic paintings of cows and my personal favorites: chickens.
A woman who worked here told me there is a plan in the works to open another in Portland. Could it be...that would be wonderful.
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*Irreverently named for second president of the college and the chapel named for him, Charles Finney (1792-1785), evangelist of the Second Great Awakening.
**In searching Oberlin archives for the influence of commedia on other graduates I discoverd Elena Day,late 20th century graduate, who developed the college's "...first comedy improv group, was rebuked by the great Jacques Lecoq, and developed a real cute character for Cirque du Soleil." Perhaps our paths will cross.