Article and Photos by Cathy Neiman
The crusade of
The Capra family is especially upset. They plan to stay in their homes until the bitter end, to not fight lying down. Pablo Capra, the eldest son of the Capra family, a published poet and an American Literature graduate of UCLA, has lived in
"One of my earliest memories of growing up here is running through tunnels of arundo," Capra said. "Arundo is the real name for bamboo and it is being uprooted just like we are."
Capra's co-collaborators are an eclectic group of people. Michele Capra is his 12-year-old published sister. Then there is Robert Campbell, a prolific poet who is losing his eyesight, a longtime friend and part-time housemate of the Capra's. He writes most of his poems in the Capra's backyard. There is James Mathers, the court jester of the group. He is a painter and screenwriter. Mathers drew all the illustrations for "Idlers." Daisy McCrackin, Mather's housemate, and the most recent resident of the "grove," is an actress, songwriter, painter and also a very imaginative writer. Dave Hayward, who has lived in
"I was blown away by Pablo's book,"
It turns out that
"We wanted to help,"
The poets and the creative directors decided on a multimedia/poetry reading, where the writers could read their works and reach even more people.
There will also be a performance painter, Norton Wisdom, who will be painting while the poets read their work. Wisdom is a former
"It's going to be quite an event!"
Being at the Rodeo Grounds is like being a part of a past era. A time when life was less complicated, less consumer-based, less taken over by technology and television. A time when "people got their daises and sunshine for free," Mathers said. A time when people had conversations as entertainment.
"A lot has come out of this place," Mathers stated, with a Cheshire cat smile. "This milieu, this community. We want to be able to give a voice, a document, a legacy of all that we have experienced here. This is the last piece of what Topanga used to be like in the 1960s and 1970s. We have all encouraged and helped each other throughout the years. We watched babies grow up and people get together, and get divorced. A landscape constructed from relationships and personal experiences. That is what constitutes a community. Without that, it is just dirt with buildings on it."
"Lost Lives" will perform at The Rose Alley Theater on Sunday, Dec.1, at Ticket information can be obtained by calling 323.650.3013. A copy of "Idlers of the Bamboo Grove" can be purchased at Dutton's Bookstore in