It was a time – from the turn of the 20th Century through the 1960s – on California's Monterey Peninsula when writers, poets, artists, actors and photographers, even marine biologists, hung out together, crossing paths frequently. Do creative people still mix that way in this country? Maybe. Maybe not as much.
Photographer Edward Weston was friends with watercolorist Stanley Wood, whose etchings hung in poet Robinson Jeffers' Tor House.
John Steinbeck included artists James Fitzgerald and Judith Deim among his companions, and marine biologist Ed Ricketts was Steinbeck's mentor when it came to matters of conservation and stewardship of the sea.
Jack London and George Sterling acted in productions on the region's stages, as did, many years later, Dame Judith Anderson.
In Marie Wainscoat and Paul Bozkowski's film ``Longtimers Part One,'' made a decade and a half ago but just released on YouTube, the subject is Monterey Peninsula artists, some of whom had tie-ins with literary figures.
Bruce Ariss was a friend of Steinbeck and Ricketts and chronicled them in his art, samples of which can be seen today on Monterey's Cannery Row, as well as in a book. Sam Colburn knew Steinbeck as well as his first wife, Carol, who was a great editor of her husband's writing.
Jean Kellogg's story is an inspiration for anyone who has hit the creative wall. She had taken on the challenge of illustrating Jeffers' ``The Loving Shepherdess'' and found it beyond her until, one night, figuring she was defeated, she awakened having dreamed an image, and . . .
One of my favorite artists in the film is Eldon Dedini, who was really, as a cartoonist, both an artist and a writer. Dedini grew up on a California farm near King City, then went to junior college in Salinas where he met and fell under the guidance of the fine artist-teacher Leon Amyx.
Thus encouraged, and while still a student at Harnell Community College, Dedini sold a cartoon to Esquire. Soon his arch, sophisticated cartoons, spoofing New York affectations, were appearng in the New Yorker Magazine.
New Yorkers started looking over their shoulders, wondering if this Dedini might be behind them, recording their talk and mannerisms. No, he just had a great imagination and was back in the Salinas Valley or on the Monterey Peninsula.
Dedini, like those who had come before him in the region, was friends with writers, poets and artists – his wife Virginia Conroy, for one, was a fine painter. In it's obituary of Dedini, the New York Times concluded:
``His distinctively wry approach was suggested in one of his hundreds of New Yorker cartoons: two mice are conversing as they enter a crowded room. `Oh, Lord, not another wine-and-cheese party,` one groans.''
Causes Steve Hauk Supports
City of Pacific Grove Public Library, Pacific Grove, California; Animal Friends Rescue Project, Pacific Grove; Animal Welfare Information and Assistance,...