For better or worse, here I am—trapped in paradise. As long as I continue to live in this vital, inimitable spot on the globe,

I will continue to seek out the unique…the delicious…the innovative products, services and traditions of San Luis Obispo County.

Stay posted for a few of my favorite things.

About Me...

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A wanderlust at heart... captivated by the California Central Coast. Join me on my culinary and vino-infused adventures as I explore and discover the regional novelties of San Luis Obispo County that make living here...easy to stay...and hard to leave.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

SLO Elixir

Ah, the joys of civic duty. Thursday I found myself on the road to Los Angeles (180 miles one-way from San Luis Obispo) because I was lucky enough to be randomly selected to potentially serve as a federal juror in the the U.S. District Court. I did as I was told per my call-in instructions, making the long haul so that I could report to jury duty at promptly 8:00 a.m. on Friday. At approximately 8:05 a.m. on Friday, I was relieved of any potential duties, because apparently the trial scheduled for that day had been cancelled.

Wow, 360 miles round-trip and a good use of my time. Thank heavens the governnment will reimburse me for my excursion and pay me for showing up. Tax payers' dollars hard at work! And...I might get called back again next week (although Friday afternoon I received conflicting automated messages from the court). Apparently the right hand isn't quite in synch with the left!

Needless to say, I returned to SLO exhausted; all those cars on the road really wore me out. So, this morning, there was only one thing to do: escape to the hills. This time, I needed a luminous challenge of my own accord, one where I could push myself to my own limits without the government telling me what to do. Bishop's Peak was calling my name.

Standing at about 1,546 feet at its highest point, this volcanic remnant is the tallest of the "Nine Sisters" in SLO (a chain of volcanic peaks stretching to Morro Bay). I chose the steep route (see picture below), accessible by parking on the gravel lot and ducking through a fence on Foothill Boulevard. Apparently the official entrance, the longer (and less steep) 2.2 mile route to the summit, begins on Patricia Drive. But I clamored for a vertical confrontation with the mountain.

And I got it. Even though I went up early, this brilliantly warm spring day heated up quickly. By the time I reached the summit after hoofing straight up, scrambling on rocks and feeling like I'd never get there...finally, I did. The cool breeze and grand views rewarded me, and I realized with every step I took, the hillside absorbed the big, and little, stresses of my week.

San Luis Mountain loomed across from its sister, covered in green velvet.

Rocky trails and stunning viewpoints provided a welcome respite.

Birds soared above, where these rocks jutted from the highest point on the mountain.

High on the peak, a new recipe sprang to mind, one that was inspired by the lime basil I picked up at the farmer's market that morning. This refreshing elixir further strengthened my body and spirit, offering a cooling, alkaline effect and invigorating, thirst-quenching end to a long, hot trek and an arduous week.

SLO Limeade Smoothie

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups ice
  • 1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 medium lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 medium limes, juiced
  • 10 small lime basil leaves—about 1 tablespoon, chopped (if you can't find this varietal, use any fresh basil leaves and add zest of 1 lime)
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey (I used Stoltey's mixed floral for its deep, rich taste)
  • Slightest pinch of salt

Directions couldn't be more simple.

In a blender, add all ingredients and pureé.

Serve, sip, relax.

Life is good.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

SLOIFF, Last Day!

Sunday morning I discovered a new cure for a mild hangover: Get up at 5:30 a.m.; throw on running gear; desperately try to hydrate; drive 40 minutes to race destination; run five kilometers in 38ºF freezing temperatures.

By the end of Paso Robles' Wine Country Run, 3.1 miles felt like 10, my feet ached from the icy weather (and from cramming my toes into high-heeled shoes for the previous evening's King Vidor Reception, where I sipped too much wine provided by the fabulous vintners Claiborne and Churchill, Pithy Little Wine Co., Baileyana/Tangent Winery, Adelaida Cellars, and Twin Poms Winery)—and even after a brisk 31-minute run, I still shivered. But my hangover? A thing of the past.

I'm still undecided if running this short race helped—or hurt—my 16th Annual San Luis Obispo Film Festival fatigue syndrome, but thankfully my hangover symptoms subsided. Regardless, I'm pleased with myself for not blowing off the race. How easy it would have been to stay in a warm bed while darkness and cold lingered, foregoing my commitment to the endurance training I put myself through these past few months. One small race, but a big triumph for me, considering the obvious.

That afternoon, I managed to drag my weary body to a screening of Miracle in a Box, the audience award-winner for best short film at the fest. This charming tale, created by documentarian John Korty and narrated by John Lithgow, affectionately expressed how a group of dedicated artisans in Oakland, California, were able to breathe life into an old classic 1927 Steinway piano. The painstaking intricacies these passionate artisans undertook to make this instrument new and beautiful again, and the passion they brought to this project—was an exquisite feat.

My aunt Pam, with some of the cast members and artisans of Miracle in a Box at the King Vidor Reception.

The 16th Annual San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. Triumphant.

Monday, March 22, 2010

SLOIFF, Day 9!

Over the weekend symptoms of the 16th Annual San Luis Obispo International Film Festival fatigue syndrome set in, but still I carried on. Saturday morning brought the opportunity to learn from a panel of 11 filmmakers, assembled in a workshop to impart the realities of pre- and-post production strategies of their independent films, as well as share some of their personal fervor for filmmaking, and why they do what they do.

My first impression was the young age of most of these participants—I would have guessed that only two of the filmmakers present didn't fall into the youngish 25 - 35 age bracket. But regardless of age, this collective group of creative masterminds allowed us to learn from their unique experiences.

Many were film school graduates, while others learned hands-on. Before producer/director Don Tayloe made The Last Elephants in Thailand, he was not a filmmaker. Passionate about a cause he believed in, he purchased a camera and made plans to visit Thailand to record the plight of the dwindling population of elephants. Shortly before his trip, a happy accident brought a recent film school graduate across his path, who agreed to accompany him on two excursions to Thailand. They filmed guerilla-style (without a government-issued permit, because ultimately the story they were after could be construed as speaking out against the government), shooting the film by laying their heads low, not knowing if they'd make it out of the country with their footage. They were ultimately successful in producing a moving documentary that continues to educate and inspire its audience.

Another inspirational short film, Beyond Limits, was filmed guerilla-style in Africa (they weren't able to obtain a permit and paid people off along the way as they captured footage of their trek up the tallest free-standing mountain in the world). Producer Mitchell McIntire (who graduated from film school), relayed some of this film's well-planned pre-production strategy, which included setting up a non-profit 501c3 organization to help finance the project. Later that day, in spite of a time-crunch, I attended a screening of this stimulating film, which chronicled the seemingly impossible journey of Bonner Paddock's attempt to scale Mount Kilimanjaro's 19,340 feet. Since Bonner was born with cerebral palsy and suffers from a weak lower body, spastic leg muscles, zero sense of balance and lack of climbing experience, his mission to reach the top and inspire children living with disabilities was quite a feat. He also founded the OM Foundation and plans to build centers for people with disabilities all over the world. Bonner was in attendance at the screening, and relayed that so far they've raised enough money for 80 centers.

When the afternoon screenings ended, I traipsed over to festival headquarters in my black dress and super-high heels (quite a feat in itself) for the annual King Vidor Awards reception. The wine flowed freely, the energy sparked, and the celebrities trickled in. Actors Robert Carradine and James Cromwell soon arrived, and later director Norman Jewison and King Vidor Award recipient, Alan Arkin, made their way amongst the jam-packed crowd. The mob was hoppin' and my festival fatigue vanished.

Later that evening, we assembled at the Fremont Theatre for the Independent Film Awards and King Vidor Award Presentation to Alan Arkin. Mr. Arkin's career highlights played on the big screen followed by a "roast" from several loved ones. After James Cromwell and Norman Jewison provided a lively question-and-answer with the King Vidor recipient, a screening of the 1966 comedy hit, The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming, followed, starring the guest of honor and directed by Norman Jewison.

But I admit...I was too tired to stay for the movie.

Alan Arkin and Norman Jewison chatting while I toasted them in the background

My aunt Pam and my mom, Joanne, and I enjoyed meeting Robert Carradine

My signature pose at festival events (James Cromwell pictured in the background this time)

Friday, March 19, 2010

SLOIFF, Day 8!

From the jungles of downtown San Luis the East End of London...myriad is the only word to describe Day 8 of the 16th Annual San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. During the early afternoon, I found myself back at the Palm Theatre for yet another moving documentary, The Last Elephants of Thailand.

A sacred animal in Thailand, yet often abused and used to promote tourism, elephants are fast disappearing. Today there are less than 5,000 of these giants in Thailand, while at the turn of the century there were more than 100,000. As I witnessed young elephants tortured and beaten into submission with hooks and restraints —in order to break their spirits so that they can be more easily manipulated and trained for capital gains such as elephant painting—my heart sank a bit.

This poignant film explored the plight of the abused and dwindling population of elephants in Thailand, and also documented the hard-working managers of the Bangkok Elephant Hospital and other conservationist efforts. The filmmaker in attendance, producer/director Don Tayloe, commented in his question-and-answer period that he's unsure if he'll be able to return to Thailand, as his arrest could be imminent. His passion to bring attention to these long-suffering animals is commendable.

Early evening of Day 8 took me to the Filmmaker/Sponsor Reception at Mo Tav in downtown San Luis Obispo. At this good-fun private party, I had the opportunity to speak with Joel Conroy (director of Waveriders), as well as some of the sponsors and board and advisory members of the film festival. Mo Tav provided the appetizers, martinis, and beer; winemaker John Anderson of St. Hilaire Winery allowed us to indulge in several of his rich, complex red wines.

A candid shot of director Joel Conroy, drinking a beer and conversing.

Another scene from the evening—winemaker John Anderson on the far left, and actor James Cromwell.

Later that evening, Day 8 of the festival transported me to the underworld of the East End of London, England in The End. As I watched this true-life exposé, told firsthand by cockney gangsters, I felt as if I was immersed in a world in which I didn't belong. The filmmaker, Nicola Collins, was in attendance (the daughter of one of the gangsters) as well as her twin sister. Growing up, Nicola and her sister never knew until the age of about 11 what their father did for a living; they thought he was a car dealer or jeweler and found out from others about his role as a criminal. Nicola had a hard time convincing her father to consent to making the film, but after much persuasion she was allowed to film and interview each "crew" member for two hours, ending up with several hours of footage.

Filmed in black and white, she captured a very sensitive subject in an unobtrusive yet visceral manner, even though she wasn't allowed to film them on a day-to-day basis in their daily "work" lives. These men spoke with brutal honesty and candor about the realities of living a life of crime, and had it not been for Nicola's ties to her father and the trust that the men featured in this documentary felt for her, this film never would have been made. All born into poverty and striving for a better life, these men found an unashamed life in crime and remain bound by a code of honor. The bloody history and confessions in this film were unsettling yet existent.

After the film, as we were leaving the theater, I spoke with a friend of Nicola's who assured me that no one had incurred repurcussions as a result of this film being made.

I have my own gangster story to tell about the stepson of a Japanese Yakuza—but I'll save that for a later day.

SLOIFF, Day 7!

Irish waves rocked the Fremont Theatre. The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival's annual Surf Nite in SLO brought Irish director, Joel Conroy, for a screening of his mind-blowing surf film, Waveriders. Shot in 35 millimeter film—effecting a raw, edgy, almost timeless feel to the movie—the stunning footage of big wave surfing along Ireland's cold, forbidding Atlantic coastline left the audience shammed.

Tracing Ireland's roots in modern day surfing and paying homage to George Freeth, the father of modern surfing with Hawaiian and Irish ancestry, this film followed the wave of surfing culture from west coast America to Ireland's stunning coastlines. The Fremont's giant screen played the perfect backdrop for Ireland's ferocious waves; the jaw-dropping footage of surfer Gabe Davies' wild ride after a fierce storm, conquering one of Ireland's largest waves ever surfed, stunned us all. Gabe and Lauren Davies (co-writer) were in attendance, and provided the audience with a question-and-answer session after this epic film, along with Joel and other VIP guests, including Kalani Rob.

The festivities began as the VIP guests arrived Woodie-style in front of the Fremont Theatre.

Joel Conroy on the "green" carpet.

A portion of the proceeds of this event was donated to AmpSurf, a non-profit organization made up of amputees, dedicated to the rehabilitation of those with disabilities, especially war veterans, through adaptive surfing and other fun safe outdoor activities that all can participate in. AmpSurf's founder, Dana Cummings, was in attendance at the event, where he screened a short video illustrating this important program.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

SLOIFF, Day 6!

You never know where life will take you. 19 years ago, on July 13, 1991, I snapped this picture in Cong, Ireland, where the Oscar winning movie The Quiet Man was filmed (back in the early 1950's). On the evening of March 17, 2010—I found myself celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Atascadero, California. What's the connection? The movie, of course.

The 16th Annual San Luis Obispo International Film Festival hosted a Hollywood & Vines Event at the Pavilion on the Lake in Atascadero, which included a lovely reception followed by a screening of the The Quiet Man. Guests milled about at this Irish-themed soirée, sampling local wines and food provided by Pacific Harvest Catering while listening to the lovely sounds of the young Celtic quartet. The tasty light supper included delicacies such as a rich lamb stew, festive corned beef pasties, and hearty corned beef and cabbage stew. Of course there was beer, and five local wineries poured some of their best creations.

I worked my way around the room and began my wine tasting adventure with Wildhorse Winery, sampling their excellent Verdehlo, Blaufrankisch, and Pinot Noir. (I apologize for not remembering vintages—I enjoyed myself too much eating, drinking, and mingling). Next up: Stacked Stone Cellars. I delighted in one of their Rhone blends, a Meritage, and their Zin Stone. Then I moved on to some familiar friends, Frolicking Frog—and once again enjoyed their smooth Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Sculpterra Winery's lovely Statuesque and Cabernet Sauvignon came next. Last but not least, I tried J & J Cellars Merlot and Tempranillo for the first time. There wasn't a single winery that didn't merit itself in taking part in this Hollywood-style extravaganza.

Then we settled down for the movie, introduced by Irish filmmaker, Joel Conroy (the director of WAVERIDERSscreening Thursday evening at Surf Nite). The Quiet Man, one of Joel's favorite films that was influential in his start as a filmmaker, stars John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. Set amidst the picturesque countryside in Ireland, this movie depicts the story of an American who swears off boxing after accidentally killing an opponent. Returning to the Irish town of his birth, John Wayne's character falls in love with the fiery red-head played by Maureen O'Hara and finds himself pitted against her brother, the town bully. Part of this delightful classic was filmed in the Pat Cohan bar (see picture above). When I traveled in Ireland, the building remained, but I didn't find a drop of alcohol, as this establishment only served up gasoline and candy.
Ah, the Irish.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

SLOIFF, Days 4 & 5!

I've now officially logged 637 minutes watching movies over the last five days at the 16th Annual San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. That doesn't include time spent waiting in line (I have a favorite seat at the Palm Theatre and like to line up early), listening to question-and-answer sessions with the filmmakers after their films, attending Sunday's workshop, or driving (ok, I admit I only have to drive a few miles).

But it's been time well spent, to say the least. How often does a major 10-day event span San Luis Obispo County bringing celebrities, filmmakers, VIP industry guests, local and out-of-town film lovers the occasion to immerse themselves in splendid short films, compelling dramas, gripping documentaries, and world cinema features that make us think...challenge the status-quo...and inspire us?

Monday evening I had the pleasure of immersing myself in Breath Made Visible. This documentary potrayed the extraordinary life and career of Anna Halprin, the avant-garde dancer and choreographer, now in her late 80's. Even from a young age, this American dance pioneer's approach to dance broke the social norms. Over the years she told her own story through dance, developing her own modern art form to teach, heal, and transform at all stages of her life. Her sensitive and intuitive immersion with nature allowed a connection with her natural surroundings through dance, and she remains an important cultural icon.

Tuesday evening brought a fearsome Nazi general and a condemned Jewish doctor, both faced with a moral dilemma in a concentration camp during World War II. One rainy night, a series of events transpire that bring basic humanity face-to-face in the gripping drama, The Desperate. The horrors and desperate realities faced by these two men from long ago are chillingly portrayed and based on true events; the story relayed to one of the filmmakers, years ago in Sweden.

Following this unsettling film, the documentary, Certain Adverse Events, exposed the dangerous side effects of fluoroquinolones, an over-prescribed synthetic antibiotic—originally developed to combat threats like anthrax—that has been destroying the lives of healthy people for years. After the screening, the filmmaker shared her story of falling victim to the debilitating side effects of a fluoroquinolone, which took about two years to recover from. Her film also exposes the eye opening, little known aspects of the American prescription drug trade, and why these harmful drugs are still prescribed.

These compelling stories all sent a unique message, influential in different ways.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

SLOIFF, Day 3!

I am a lover of many genres of films, but I'm no film expert. Therefore, when a renowned critic shows up in San Luis Obispo to impart some wisdom about what he knows best, I show up and listen. On Sunday, a group of about 20 San Luis Obispo International Film Festival attendees spent an hour-and-a-half at a festival workshop, learning from the San Francisco Chronicle's witty film critic, Mick LaSalle.

His topic, "The Beauty of the Real: Great Roles for Women," focused on the history of the declining number of great roles in film for American actresses since women entered the workplace in the 1960's, and the phenomenom of what is currently happening in French cinema. France has at least two dozen top-tier actresses starring in films about women's stories; some of these actresses are making two or three films a year. The United States hasn't seen since this kind of phenomenon since the 1930's, when all of the reigning box office stars were women. His new book, "The Beauty of the Real," due out in the fall of 2011, explores this marvelous explosion of vital roles for women in France and why American actresses' vehicles to great roles have been marginalized.

During this workshop we watched several clips from French movies, where Mick provided us with glimpses of some of these cream of the crop actresses; some of the clips we viewed were from films not available in the United States. Since many of the great foreign films never make their way to the U.S. (and theatres here only receive a random sampling of above-average foreign films each year), he suggested purchasing a region-free DVD player and ordering films from overseas to expose ourselves to some of these compelling women's stories, set in a different cultural milieu.

Little did I realize that this informative discussion would set the tone for a documentary I watched later that day, The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club. If you've never heard of the legendary female aviator, Pancho Barnes, now you have. I myself wasn't familiar with Pancho, or her vital role in American history. She was Hollywood's first female stunt pilot in the 1920's, eventually opening a ranch near Edwards Airforce base, "The Happy Bottom Riding Club," that became a notorious hangout for test pilots and movie stars. Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier there in 1947 (with three broken ribs, taped up by a veterinarian no less). Pancho married four times during her lifetime, saw a fortune lost, and remained a tough-talking, fearless pilot and cantankerous woman. One of the most important women in aviation, Pancho created her own vital roles throughout her life.

Day 3 highlights: clear blue skies; informative discussion by leading expert; discovering little-known legendary American woman; feeling empowered as a SLO female blogger

Saturday, March 13, 2010

SLOIFF, Day 2!

We all have stories, stemming from our own experiences. Saturday's cinematic events at the 16th Annual San Luis Obispo International Film Festival brought the language of film to convey stories of struggle and survival, lost beauty and cultural survival, corporate power and control. The following films spoke clearly to me, reminding me that even in the midst of great suffering or the erosion of basic fundamental rights, stories emerge that teach and inspire us.

As I watched Ngawang Choephel's story unfold in his documentary Tibet in Song, his brave journey captivated me with the gorgeous images and sounds of Tibet, and the struggles of cultural oppression caused by the Chinese occupation. Ngawang's return to his homeland, where he went in search of the survival of traditional Tibetan folk music, ultimately resulted in his imprisonment by the Chinese. Although half of his film footage was confiscated, the other half was safely rescued by a friend, and today Ngawang's story speaks triumphantly on screen. He now makes his home in New York City and his quest to preserve the voices and songs of traditional Tibetan folk music continues.

Closer to home, another voice spoke through film in the exposé, Broadcast Blues, written, produced and directed by investigative journalist, Sue Wilson. Sue attended the screening and provided a lively discussion after the movie. Her evocative documentary chronicles the power that corporate media in the United States yields, and how the American public has lost control and access to a vital piece of their democracy—the air waves. Not only does the story she tells expose the erosion of the media and the public's access to the facts, but proposes sweeping changes in the interest of the public to take the media back.

We all follow different paths, depending on the issues that are important to us personally. Through the language of film, we can learn from one another; these were just a few of the stories that spoke to me.

As day 3 of the festival begins, once again I look to the screen.

SLOIFF, Opening Night!

Something hung in the air last night in downtown San Luis Obispo—and it wasn't just the threat of rain. As a friend and I rounded a bend and descended the steps to the Downtown Cinemas, I felt the buzz...the excitement...the energy of Opening Night at the 16th Annual San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. With long lines already forming, media cameras glaring and film personalities milling about, I sensed the hype and anticipation that seized the festival attendees who were about to watch the world premiere of 10 Years Later.

The theatre quickly filled to capacity and the festive evening artfully commenced! First the audience was treated to the screening of an amusing 5-minute short, The Butterfly King, a delightful "life imitates art" tale about a the break-up of a young actor who shares the stage with his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend. Shot by a group of UCLA students, this movie won best film at UCLA's Campus MovieFest competition and the Western Regional Finals. Many of the students that participated in making this film attended the screening and provided us with quips and musings about their production in a question-and-answer session. Comprising various majors, the audience was surprised to learn that none of these students were actually in UCLA's film program (a few of them had been rejected, though). This fun short was made in only four short days and the entire cost of making the movie...only about $350. Bravo!

Then Academy Award winning editor, Neil Travis, announced the feature film. Written and directed by Aaron Metchik (who grew up in San Luis Obispo County), 10 Years Later was filmed entirely in SLO County. As "six old friends from high school find themselves forced to confront who they really are," this gripping dark comedy hooked the audience with its well-cast ensemble of actors, beautiful scenery, and underlying questions about the group's past. After these old friends reunite innocently enough for a high-school reunion, long-ago events soon find their way to the present during a trip to the store, and suddenly everything starts to spin out of control.

This film's dark plot artfully combined edge-of-your-seat tension interspersed with much-needed comical relief. The enthralled audience cheered and clapped, laughed hysterically, and sat in nervous apprehension throughout the 97-minute screening. After the film, the director received a well-deserved standing ovation and the audience delighted in a question-an-answer with Aaron, several of the starring actors, and the producer. As this film hits the film festival circuit during the next year, I hope you will have a chance to catch a screening.

This high energy evening set the tone for the entire 10-day festival; the excitement is still hanging in the air!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

SLO Export

Funny how much we appreciate the familiar, even in far-off places. Across the world in Rolle, Switzerland...nestled on a COOP grocery store shelf...several bottles of Paso Robles wine made their way to this stunning Swiss wine region. This picture, compliments of my brother who makes his home in Rolle, captured several bottles of EOS Estate Winery's 2005 Zinfandel ageing patiently next to other imported bottles, selling for the equivalent of about $18 U.S. dollars.

When my brother sent me the picture this morning, he asked if I'd ever heard of EOS. You bet! As the volunteer wine coordinator for the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, I've assumed the enjoyable responsibility of rallying numerous SLO County wineries to participate as sponsors in the festival. This year you will find EOS pouring at the festival headquarters during Magic Hour (that's filmspeak for Happy Hour) on Thursday, March 18, from 4:00 - 6:00pm. Stop by for a complimentary tasting of some of their reserve wines, hobnob with filmmakers, and get ready for Surf Nite later that evening!

You'll find other great SLO County wines at the festival in various parts of the county throughout the week. On Saturday, March 13, enjoy Windward Vineyard's estate-grown Pinot Noir during Magic Hour at festival headquarters from 4:00-6:00pm. That same evening, don your Western garb and consider attending An Evening at Santa Margarita Ranch, featuring the wines of Ancient Peaks Winery. The afternoon of Sunday, March 14 brings the wines of Arroyo Robles Winery and Kiamie Wine Cellars to the Hollywood & Vines event, A Tribute to David Carradine.

It doesn't stop there! Wednesday evening's St. Patrick's Day celebration will feature the wines of Frolicking Frog, J & J Cellars, Sculpterra Winery, Stacked Stone Cellars, and Wild Horse Winery. The after-party for Surf Nite on Thursday, March 18, will include drink specials from Pismo Beach Winery. Passholders will have the opportunity to attend the Meet the Filmmakers Reception on Friday, March 19, and taste the red wines of St. Hilaire Vineyards. Also taking place that evening is A Night at the Moulin Rouge at Vina Robles Winery.
And don't forget the King Vidor Reception on the closing night of the festival. Winery sponsors include Adelaida Cellars, Baileyana/Tangent Winery, Claiborne & Churchill Vintners, Pithy Little Wine Company, and Twin Poms Winery (the only out-of-county winery to participate; their pomegranate wine is made by twin brothers—both Cal Poly grads).

A special thanks to all of these participating wineries and to the others who contributed to the silent auction, swag bags for visiting celebrities and filmmakers, and to those participating in the complimentary tasting pass this year. Kudos to my brother for scouting this Paso Robles wine in Switzerland and taking the time to forward the photograph to me. How timely that EOS is one of our winery sponsors this year!

I hope to see some of you at the upcoming festival, as this exciting county-wide event provides local residents, as well as out-of-town and international guests, the opportunity to view films from around the world, meet visiting filmmakers and celebrities, and sample outstanding wines from around the county.
You don't have to visit the COOP to enjoy great SLO County wines!
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