The year in arts was about new beginnings, or at least a renewed push to support them. Mammoth (and Bishop) turned to the Arts to keep its sanity during the recession.
If they had to do it again, the only scene that movie lovers and festival promoters Meng King and Andreas Wettstein would probably want to reshoot would probably be their approach to marketing the Mammoth Film Festival. Which they didn’t this year, leading to somewhat diminished attendance. But for their fourth year, the duo added new categories to the lineup of screenings,and for $25, attendees got two full days of films, and the ubiquitous after-parties.
The Mono Lake Committee’s slideshow of the Mono Lake area is ancient history. With Blue-ray DVDs and high definition, the Committee has been diligently working on a new video to represent the efforts and the history at Mono Lake. The Committee hopes to show off the finished project in the first part of 2011. The film is expected to build upon the original slideshow that was put together by the late David Gaines, the founder of the Mono Lake Committee.
Speaking of movies … The Lone Pine Film Festival turned 21 on Oct. 8-10. This year, celebrations included movie locations in the Eastern Sierra, specifically Lone Pine, where many great westerns were filmed. In addition, the festival also honored Republic Pictures, which created the cowboy phenomenon and celebrated its 75th anniversary on Sept. 25.
The Sheet, always interested in artistic diversity, channeled the Viking gods in Wolf’s profile the blackest most heavy/brutal metal band of the Eastern Sierra: Valdur. The band of Mammoth locals, Thor Ryen a Norwegian transplant who plays guitar and growls, Matt Sxuperion on drums and Bill Ganley on bass (or as he calls it, “the chainsaw”), hopes to stage a first-ever Eastern Sierra metal-themed festival.
The Jazz Jubilee just about made its money back and will probably scale back somewhat next year, but is already in the planning stages. Bluesapalooza continued its growth streak and will soon outgrow its current digs at Sam’s Woodsite. Blue Sky bettered its attendance in its second year.
Meanwhile, the Mammoth Festival was a hit with this year’s headliner, Train.
The June Lake Music and Millpond festivals proved that smaller indie shows can pull crowds and top artists, and only the weather hampered attendance at the bigger, better and blow-your-socks-off Mammoth Rocks Festival.
Conductor Bogidar Avramov and the Eastern Sierra Symphony Orchestra had a massive sell-out with “Beethoven: Mammoth,” the theme for this year’s 33rd Sierra Summer Festival. And Chamber Music Unbound turned loose some of the world’s best chamber music players, including the Felici Trio, during the Mammoth Lakes Music Festival, which ran the gamut from Beethoven to the Beatles.
Sierra Classic Theatre celebrated its 10-year anniversary by presenting Shakespeare in the round and outdoors (and for free) at Sam’s Woodsite, with the local debut of the comedy “Merry Wives of Windsor,” directed by Allison McDonell Page. At that same time, Mammoth Lakes Repertory Theatre was back with its second Black Box Theatre Festival. The trio of shows included comedies, “The Bible: The Complete Word of God – abridged” and “Nunsense,” and the drama, “Agnes of God.”
Bishop’s Playhouse 395 added to its hot streak with another sold-out run of its spring musical series, this year taking audiences to the “South Pacific.” Mammoth thespian Chuck Scatolini made his PH395 debut in the March production, which also starred Jessica Burchette and featured a 26-piece orchestra.
Later in the year, Playhouse 395 Youth Theatre’s November production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast Jr.” was continued the string of hits for the troupe, according to Sheet reviewer Rebecca St. Marie.
And closing the year, “A Christmas Carol,” proved a fitting selection for Mammoth Lakes Repertory Theatre’s first show in its new home, the Edison Theatre in the Mammoth Ski Museum, where it played 5 shows per week from early through mid-December.
The cast included veterans such as Bob Struckman, Shanda Duro as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Scatolini as Jacob Marley and Rick Phelps as the Ghost of Christmas Present, Tim Casey as Fred, along with Indigo Winston Paine making his stage debut as Tiny Tim. Sheryl Saari and Robin Morning joined Lori Ciccarelli as Mrs. Fezziwig, as well as professional snowboarder Desiree Melancon, as the ominous Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come.
The intricate musical was in rehearsals for many weeks, and found its play dates up against many community and holiday fundraising events, but managed to at least break even, according to MLRT Artistic Director Shira Dubrovner.