Saturday, June 25, 2011

Social Network Saves Animals

Photo by Eric Hall


The Fantom Penguin announces a new feature currently being integrated into its online magazine format.  Joe’s Cat Ranch is the brainchild of Fantom Penguin publisher and writer, this reporter, yours truly, Joe McGarity.  As odd as it may seem to interview oneself, the Fantom Penguin will now do precisely that.

“It started because there was a stray cat in the trailer park here, the neighborhood, a gold cat.  I called her Goldcat, Goldcat Bobthwait.  And essentially she was either going to have kittens outside and they would live a hard life or I was going to take care of them and ended up being basically as simple as that.”

“The kittens were born on June, 26 of last year so this Sunday June, 26 they will be one year old.  The kittens were all placed into . . . not only just into homes, but  into home where I could actually keep track of them and even go visit them and still be a part of their lives and I’m very thankful for that.  And so in honor of their first birthday the Cat Ranch is back in operation on Facebook and at this point it’s a place for people to exchange photographs and information so that these kittens can find homes and I truly believe that it is possible to save them all.”

While the new Joe’s Cat Ranch cannot currently function as a no-kill shelter, it does provide a way for its members to connect stray animals with stray humans.

“The new Cat Ranch has been in operation for approximately one day at the time of this publication on Facebook.  In that time the first litter on nine kittens in need of homes, and they need to be placed right away because the person who has them has asthma, I believe, and at any rate they have to find a new home right away within the next day or two so we’re hoping that individuals will step up and provide loving homes for these very special individuals and also one adult.  In fact there were two different people sent me at least notes about this particular tomcat.  One person said there was a cat and then went on the site and said, ‘Oh, he’s already there and his name is Shamrock.’  And he’s cat number ten, currently the only adult.  And he’s a really good guy and somebody just moved away and left him, so he needs just one person to step up and be a friend for him.”



Saturday, June 18, 2011

Masquerade Workshops a Thin Disguise for Fun

Photo by Joe McGarity


Classes start this Monday for the Westside Performing Arts Company’s Summer Theatre Academy, but you can still enroll on the first night.  Trish Harris, the company’s artistic director, told the Fantom Penguin more about it.

“The program is six weeks and it’s a Broadway review style performance at the end of the academy.   Basically it’s a theater education program, so the first week of the program is workshops.  We have singing, acting, dancing and ‘How to Audition’ workshops for professional theater-goers who want to sharpen up their chops a little bit.  They can come in; go through the audition process.  We bring in professionals local and from out-of –town to run these workshops.  At the end of the workshop series we host the formal auditions, cast our show and we have five weeks to put on a fully staged -- two fully-staged and fully costumed Broadway review shows.”

Although it’s getting late, interested persons can still participate.

“Well, we’ve already done our pre-registration and we have over thirty people that have pre-registered in the academy, but they are welcome to come on the first day of camp, which is June 20 on Monday, this upcoming Monday to register.  The registration is from 5:00 - 9:00 and it’s at Dreamweaver Dance Studio here in Redding, which is in the Downtown Mall on the California Street side.  So, people are welcome to come to registration on the first day, sign up and we can get them started.  We do have a youth scholarship program as well.  So if somebody is interested in getting a scholarship to participate, they can do that that day as well.”

“We review five different Broadway shows within each academy and this year the title of the academy is ‘Masquerade’ because we’re doing excerpts from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, so if they’re interested in that musical, they will love this.  It’s one of my personal favorites.  We’re also reviewing a new musical called Memphis, which won a bunch of Tonys in 2009.  It’s a newer musical.  It’s a lot of R & B Gospel music and it’s very fun.  We’re gonna have a 10-piece live band on stage for that one, so I’m looking forward to that.  We’re also reviewing Little Shop of Horrors, which is a cult classic, Bye Bye Birdie and for the kids we’re going to be doing (well, and some of the adults) we’re doing Jim Henson’s Muppets Medley, which is going to be a lot of fun.   And we’re going to have the two old guys that sit up in the balcony and  . . .”

Statler and Waldorf.

“ . . . They will be there!  They will be there, so it’s a lot of fun.  There’s a lot of really fun material that goes on in the show.  The rehearsal process is a really good time, so I hope people can join us.”


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Organization Cares a Lot; Does a Lot

Photo by Joe McGarity


Adults with developmental disabilities in the Northstate can receive classes and training in self-reliance and self-advocacy.  Brandi Seaters of the We Care a Lot Foundation discussed it with the Fantom Penguin.

“We are a self-advocacy organization for adults with developmental disabilities and we cover nine counties in Northern California.  We do a lot of presentations and training about self-advocacy, abuse prevention; we have a training on bullying and all of our classes and trainings are taught by individuals with disabilities for individuals with disabilities.  We have a Healthy Relationships and Sexuality class.  We have a program called Path Finders which helps individuals develop what’s called a Life Plan and that is a plan about their life; what’s working, what’s not working, what’s important to them and for them, what they want to do with their future.  It’s kind of a plan to help them follow for their hopes and dreams.  And then we have Clean Hands, which is actually a hand-washing program to teach people proper hand washing to prevent a lot of disease and colds and flus and that kind of stuff.  We are working on a new project, which is actually a voting project to train people on why it’s important to vote, how to get registered to vote.  We will actually be helping people register to vote to get people out there and really to vote because a lot of people, they’re afraid to vote.  They don’t understand.  They don’t even know how to get registered to vote.  So that’s our newest project and that’s very exciting.  Along with the Clean Hands programs we also have a Clean Teeth program, which is about tooth-brushing and flossing.  And then we also support some small business owners here in the area to run their own small businesses.”

Marie Blair now owns her own business.

“I do.  It started with a Life Plan and then it went into Adventures in Business.”

“It’s what your goals are gonna be, let’s say, next year and then it goes from there.  Well, I didn’t know there was anything about Adventures in Business and when I found out, I wanted to find out how I get into it and now I have an art business.”

“It was doing pretty good until the economy became pretty bad.  And it’s really what they say is a recession is actually an early depression.”

“It’s slow, but I’m still painting.”

Brandi Seaters again, “Another part of our program, which is really where we got started, is with People First and People First is a community-based organization.  It’s ran by and for adults with disabilities.   It’s ran a lot like the Lions Club or Soroptimists where they have their officers.  They have monthly meetings.  They do a lot of giving back to the community.  They do fund-raising.  They’ve actually donated like hams and turkeys to the mission.  Right now they’re working on a conference.  We have a conference every two years in this area and so that’s our big project right now is we’re working on that.  But we actually have several chapters in the nine counties of Northern California that we’re working with.”