By The Bakersfield Californian
Audiences will be greeted by several new faces in "The Real Housewives of Oildale," now playing at Gaslight Melodrama and Music Hall.
"Jessica and Chris Burzlaff are making their Melodrama debut with this show," said Michael Prince, artistic director. "All of our new people have been an absolute blast to work with."
'The Real Wives of Oildale'
7 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday
Gaslight Melodrama Theatre and Music Hall, 12748 Jomani Drive
Admission: $23, $21 seniors, $12 students and children 12 and under
Opening: 5 to 9 p.m. Friday
The Foundry, 1602 20th St.
5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 3
CrossRoads Gallery, 101 E. Tehachapi Boulevard, Tehachapi
GO & DO
In addition, Jennifer Resolme, who has performed in two of Warren Dobson's vaudeville revues, as well as at other venues in town, is making her first main stage appearance at the melodrama.
Prince, the writer and director, said the present production is Gaslight's version of what might happen in a budding TV reality show. He provided this synopsis, which has been slightly edited for length.
Rich and famous Hollywood television producer Ryan Seachest, played by Shawn Rader, is sick and tired of making horrible reality shows about Hollywood. While pondering his next move, he stumbles upon Oildale and makes it the setting of his next hit show.
The producer recruits a bewildered group of friends and their families, and sets out to give them everything they ever wanted: fame, fortune and the pursuit of being fabulous.
But fame, said Prince, is an ugly monster that turns even the nicest people into the nastiest creatures the world has ever seen. With ratings skyrocketing, he'll stop at nothing to see his new stars stay at the top, or die trying. It's up to the local hair stylist and the husbands of Oildale to band together to stop this evil producer and get these housewives back to the "real" reality.
Other members of the cast are Jennifer Prince, Elisa Robinson, Matt Thompson and Jay Stodder.
Dobson's revue, "Remember the Gaslight," follows the play. A fantasy, it takes the audience 40 years into the future to see what has become of the melodrama.
'Two Faced' exhibit
One of the mysteries of creativity is the vastly different ways artists interpret a given theme. Such is the case with Jessica McEuen and Jason Stewart, whose exhibit, "Two Faced," opens Friday at The Foundry.
"We wanted to do portraits that make people look," said Stewart. And in that respect he and his colleague have succeeded. Yet each has a distinctly individual style.
Stewart's squiggly pen and ink images -- with a few touches of red acrylic paint -- on watercolor paper become more fascinating as you examine them more closely.
For example, one he calls "Muertos" appears clown-like at first glance.
But a closer examination reveals the deadly scythe the figure is carrying over her shoulder. Another unusual aspect of this particular painting is the brownish-yellow speckles on part of the paper.
"I spilled some tea and I just grabbed a piece of paper to blot it up," Stewart said. "It gave it that cool, crinkly pattern, so I just went with it."
McEuen's pop art portraits are notable for their boldness and dense color. Hers are much less subtle than Stewart's, with a literal foot extending from the mouth of one subject and the substitution of teeth for eyelashes in another.
The two artists became acquainted this spring when both were members of the Art Club at Bakersfield College. Except for brainstorming the theme with Foundry director Christina Sweet, however, they worked independently. Each artist submitted 15 paintings for the show, which can be seen by appointment after Friday's opening.
CrossRoads to close
For me, and I'm sure others as well, it's disappointing to learn a business is closing, especially when it's related to the arts. This time it's a gallery in Tehachapi that opened in November 2005.
"CrossRoads Gallery will be closing its doors at the end of August, which means that First Friday on Aug. 3 will be a huge last-blast and farewell for the gallery," said Marilda "Mel" White, the owner, a freelance writer and photographer.
"I've been losing money for too long and can't afford to keep it open any longer," she said in an email message. "Most of the CrossRoads artists paid rent for their wall space and traded work days for rent, which is the only reason I could keep it open as long as I did."
Although the artists enjoyed having a place to show their work, sales were disappointing.
"The support from the consuming public just wasn't there," White said. "It's been a struggle for all of us, while at the same time it was definitely a labor of love."
Even so, the closing doesn't mean the end of her involvement in the mountain community. As the saying goes, "When one door closes, another door opens."
White and three of the artists from CrossRoads are forming a partnership and plan to open a store in September in the town at a location where White previously operated another business.
"We will have a bigger place and a great showroom for gifts and art, and more space for classes and community events," she said. "Right now we just have to say farewell to CrossRoads, which is sad, yes, but it's time to let it go and do something that has a better chance of being a business that at the very least covers basic expenses for itself or even -- gasp -- makes a profit."
Meanwhile, White's getting ready for CrossRoads final First Friday event, which will have a western theme and feature music by Perfect Loneliness, artwork by Dorine Lunceford, Mary Ann Moore, Ardean Rudolph and Sandi Thoman, along with champagne, wine and cheese.