Artists’ Mini-Retreat & Salon

Are you an artist who could use some time set aside for your own artistic practice? Would you value the opportunity to build a community of creative folk around cocktails and conversation?

Then mark your calendar, call in sick to work, and dedicate a day to your artistic practice or project at our Artists’ Mini-Retreat and Salon. After an afternoon of independent creative time, we’ll gather together for an informal sharing session and discussion.

Past participants have: cross-stitched, collaged, edited novels, translated plays, read tarot, sketched, danced, practiced falling down stairs in slow motion… anything goes!

who

Writers – Actors – Dancers – Illustrators – Musicians – You & Others you Invite

what

You’re invited to spend a creative day at the Port Costa Schoolhouse — away from distractions like your phone, the internet, that pesky day-job, pets, family, laundry, etc. You can write, draw, paint, sing, move, dance, noodle… whatever. Come and go as you please throughout the day. We’ll have snacks and a ‘chatting room’ available; you can also hike or bike the lovely hills along the Carquinez Strait.

In the late afternoon, we’ll gather to share works-in-progress, challenges, delights, and questions. Then we’ll move down the street to the Bull Valley Roadhouse for their Wednesday night pop-up cocktail lounge, the Dram Shop, where we’ll continue our discussion over drinks and/or dinner (please bring extra dollars for the Dram Shop).

Port Costa is closer than you think — about a 40-minute drive from the Bay Bridge with average traffic — but far, far away from all the things you’re “supposed” to be doing.

All art forms are welcome. In order to create an environment with minimal distraction throughout, this retreat is best suited to art practices that don’t need a lot of set-up or make a lot of noise… but get creative! You could practice your monologue, scene, or acoustic instrument outdoors; bring headphones for your amp or electric piano; or take some extra time to set up a mini painting studio.

Where

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Port Costa School House, 1 Plaza Del Hambre, Port Costa, CA
(at the intersection of Reservoir Street & Canyon Lake Drive)
Interested in carpooling? Drop a line to idiotstring@gmail.com and we’ll hook you up.

when

Dates will be sent via email or Facebook invitation. For your invite, please email idiotstring@gmail.com or contact us on Facebook. Here’s what to expect on the day:

11:30am – 12noon: Arrival @ School House
We’ll set up kitchen area for snacking & chatting
Find your favorite spot to work
12noon – 4pm: Self-Directed Work / Studio Time
This is your time to be creative! You do you; use the time as you see fit to direct your own artistic endeavors; come and go as you need.
4pm (ish): Gathering & Sharing Session
Those who wish can share some of what they’ve been working on, challenges they’re facing, or pose questions to the group; we’ll also have some provocations / open-ended questions to spur discussion.
5:30pm (approximately): Salon @ Dram Shop at the Bull Valley Roadhouse
We’ll move to the Bull Valley Roadhouse in downtown Port Costa to continue the conversation over cocktails! (the Dram Shop goes ’til 9pm, but you can leave any time)

Please note that it is OK to come and go throughout the day, or to join partway through. If you are arriving after noon, be sure to RSVP in advance so that we can let you know how to find us.

why

Space – Time – Solitude – Community – Conversation – Cocktails

how much

$15 Suggested Donation to defray the cost of snacks, and to support Idiot String and the Port Costa Conservation Society; no one turned away for lack of funds.

about the space

Port Costa’s historic 1911 Schoolhouse is lovingly preserved and maintained by the Port Costa Conservation Society as a community space. The building has plenty of interesting nooks, passageways and rooms where you can set up yourself and your project. The main rooms are:

  • Two “studio” spaces with wood floors (one with a mirror; the other quite large)
  • Vintage classroom with many old-school school desks
  • Small library with a big table in it
  • Carpeted room (good for yoga or stretching)
  • Kitchen with fridge
  • Meeting room (carpeted) with tables

WE’LL PROVIDE:

  • Snacks, Coffee, Tea, and LaCroix
  • WiFi (please note that cell service is unreliable in the school building, however)
  • Folding chairs and tables
  • Some blankets for coziness
  • A spontaneous artistic community
  • Great conversation
  • Space to create

PLEASE BRING:

  • A bag lunch (there’s a fridge, but no nearby cafes)
  • Your art supplies, and anything you might need to prevent your making a mess with said supplies (drop cloths, etc)
  • LAYERS! It’s a drafty building.
  • Other stuff for your comfort: such as yoga mat, pillow, earplugs, etc.
  • Cash or credit cards for cocktails and/or food at the Dram Shop

RSVP

For details, more information, or to RSVP, please email idiotstring@gmail.com or contact Artistic Director Rebecca Longworth.

Workshop: Site-Specific Creation Lab – October 27

Come play with us — outside the box!

Peter Brook famously conceived of the theater as an “empty space,” but in site-specific performance, the space is anything but empty. In this workshop, we’ll explore the rewards and peculiarities of creating performances for non-traditional spaces, both public and private, indoors and out. We’ll offer prompts, provocations and structures for creating new work, and you’ll move, write, reflect, question, and share. Together we’ll build strategies for integrating the rich layers of a space to inform, inspire, and infuse our work.

This all-levels workshop is for performers, dancers, writers, and theater-makers aged 15+ with an interest in creatively exploring the world around us. Whether you’re a veteran of site-specific work or have never heard of such a thing, our explorations will challenge you to try something new.

THE BASICS:

What: Site-Specific Creation Lab
When: October 27, 2019, 12pm – 3pm
Where: Port Costa, California

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More details:

Cost is $40, which pays the workshop leader and supports both Idiot String and the Port Costa Conservation Society. Residents of Port Costa, Crockett, or Tormey pay just $10 thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Crockett Community Foundation.
PAYMENT & CANCELLATION POLICY: Payment is due 7 calendar days before your workshop. You may sign up within the 7-day window, as long as you make payment when you register. You may cancel your registration up to 48 hours before the workshop for a full refund; cancellations made within 48 hours cannot be refunded.

This workshop is part of Idiot String’s residency in Port Costa sponsored by the Port Costa Conservation Society.

After the workshop, explore the wonderful and tiny town of Port Costa, where you can hike the hills, relax with a book, or discover whimsical artwork and fabulous antiques — making the whole day an invigorating experience.

We are excited to play with you!

WHAT TO BRING:
  • Water bottle
  • Notebook or journal and pen(cil)
  • Snacks if you need them
  • Closed-toe shoes and clothes you can move in
  • Rain or sun protection (hat, sunscreen, etc) and anything else you’ll need to be comfortable outdoors — we won’t stay outside if rain is heavy, but may be outdoors in a light drizzle.

Rebecca Longworth (workshop leader) is co-founder and artistic director of Idiot String. As a theatre-maker, Rebecca is dedicated to creating original ensemble performances and rich audience experiences. She co-creates and directs each of the Samuel Peaches Peripatetic Players’s productions, and devises original performance with the Hatch Collective. Other directing credits include New Conservatory Theatre Center, Ragged Wing Ensemble, SF Theatre Pub, Boxcar Theatre, Theatre Q, Dragon Productions, El Gato Family Theatre and Jump! Theatre, where she served as artistic director for four years. Rebecca has performed with Ragged Wing Ensemble, We Players, and FoolsFURY, and has also designed motion graphics and projections for Jump! Theatre, Crowded Fire, Custom Made Theatre, and Shotgun Players. Rebecca teaches acting and theater-making to students of all ages throughout the Bay Area, including workshops and residencies with Berkeley Rep, TheatreWorks, and San Francisco Opera Guild. She holds an MA in Text & Performance Studies from King’s College/R.A.D.A. and is a member of the 2009 Lincoln Center Directors Lab.

Workshop: Expressive Movement & Drawing

Sept 29 2019 – Expand your capacity to express

Express yourself with movement and make your mark!  You’ll create unique expressive gestures in this visual arts and movement workshop led by guest artist Marybeth Tereszkiewicz.

THE BASICS:

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What: Expressive Movement & Drawing Workshop
When: Sunday, September 29 2019, 12pm – 3pm
Where: Port Costa, California

MORE DETAILS:

Rhythm, movement, gesture, intention, emphasis, space, character, originality, authenticity…
…these words describe elements in both visual and performing arts, and through this workshop, you’ll experience the ways in which developing one art form expands your ability to express in all others.

The focus of this workshop is on finding authentic movement and creating expressive gestures that are unique to you. We’ll begin with some fundamental dance/movement techniques to develop strength and centering, plus finding authentic expressive gestures and interacting with various rhythms and quality of movement. Then we will move into mark-making on large paper with oil pastels and charcoal. As we create, we will focus on process over product, as we aim to free up and expand the way you express yourself both in movement and visual arts.

You’ll come away with new tools for expressive art-making, and new connections to the vibrant community of Bay Area artists, and you’ll have a lot of fun.

After the workshop, explore the wonderful town of Port Costa, where you can hike the hills, relax with a book, or discover whimsical artwork and fabulous antiques — making the whole day a creatively rejuvenating experience. 

No prior visual art or dance experience is necessary — this workshop is open to visual and performing artists of ALL levels, aged 16 and up.

What to bring:

  • Water bottle
  • Snacks
  • Dress to move (loose or stretchy clothing, closed-toe shoes)

What’s PROVIDED:

  • All art materials
  • A creative and welcoming environment rooted in connection, support, and delight

Registration

Your investment is $50, which includes materials and supplies, pays workshop leaders, and supports the Port Costa Conservation Society. Residents of Port Costa, Crockett, and Tormey pay just $10 thanks to the sponsorship of the Crockett Community Foundation. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.


MARYBETH TERESZKIEWICZ is a modern renaissance woman; visual artist, dancer, actor, director, choreographer, filmmaker, and teacher of both Visual and Performing Arts. In whichever avenue of expression she is working, Marybeth focuses on the same four aspects: dynamic energy/movement, interesting characters, compelling stories, and vibrant composition. She performed as a professional dancer for over 20 years and Dance remains the core of her creations. The visceral experience of expressing emotions through the body is the fuel behind all her other work. Marybeth has a Masters of Education in the Arts and is passionate about the potential of art education to improve the lives of students, schools and communities. She served for 25 years in San Francisco as the Chairperson of ICA High School’s Visual and Performing Arts Department, and has also been the School/Community Liaison for the San Francisco International Arts Festival, and Program Creator / Director for the Tree of Life Arts Empowerment Camp in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa. Marybeth is currently Director of the School of Art Education at the Academy of Art University.

A gestural dance by Marybeth Tereszkiewicz

Arts In Review on KALX 90.7 FM

 

Last Thursday, June 13, Port Stories actor/creator Leigh Rondon-Davis and director Rebecca Longworth were interviewed by Greg Scharpen and Stephanie Kalem at KALX 90.7 Berkeley, on their fabulous show, “Arts In Review.” Listen below the pics…

They chatted all about the show — performing it, creating it, and interacting with audiences — and Port Costa, including the meaning of the local phrase “Port Acosted.”

Greg and Stephanie had come to see Port Stories the previous Sunday, when a herd of goats were grazing on the hills that surround Port Costa, as documented in Stephanie’s Instagram feed!

Don’t have your tickets yet? Get ’em here.

 

Listen to the interview in full right here… but watch out for light spoilers!

Port Costa plays through June 30 only — get your tickets here!

Where to eat and stay in Port Costa & Crockett

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Marlene Yarosh and Leigh Rondon-Davis rehearse a scene from PORT STORIES in downtown Port Costa

Hello friends! To help you enjoy your trip to Port Costa for Port Stories you have your tickets already, don’t you? — we’ve put together a little guide to our favorite places to nosh before and after the show. And if you want to make a mini-vacation out of it, nothing beats the Burlington Hotel for Victorian charm… with a special discount for Port Stories ticketholders.

Crockett

Crockett is the town you’ll pass through by taking the Pomona Street exit from 80. Be sure to leave at least 10 minutes to drive on to Port Costa from Crockett.

Sugartown Sweet Shoppe
This coffee shop / ice cream parlour / sandwich spot houses a yoga studio upstairs. They’re only open ’til 5pm, so best for a lunchtime stop or afternoon ice cream.

Club Tac
A dive bar that serves breakfast on the weekends.

Four Corners Pizza-N-Pasta
Pizza and pasta spot in Crockett that’s open ’til 10pm.

Port Costa

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A view from the golden hills above Port Costa

You’ve wound your way through more hills and dales than you thought could be folded into this corner of the Bay Area, and now you’re in Port Costa! First you’ll see the Port Costa School, where our play begins. Keep going past the school toward the water to find “downtown” Port Costa.

The Bull Valley Roadhouse
One of the SF Chronicle‘s Top 100 restaurants, specializing in exquisite pre-prohibition cocktails and exemplary farm-to-table cuisine served family style. A real treat! The BVR opens at 4pm on Saturdays for dinner; Sunday brunch is served from 10:30 to 2pm, and dinner on Sunday also starts at 4pm.

The Honey House Cafe
Coffee, tea, homemade baked goods, bacon… and jars of local honey. The Honey House in the Burlington Hotel is a great stop before the 1pm Saturday show. If you stay at the hotel, a drink and cornbread or biscuit for each guest comes with your room in the morning.

The Warehouse
Legendary for its bikers, beers, and bears (yes, there are two, if you look closely), the Warehouse cooks up brats and burgers — including turkey burgers — on the weekends.

Stay all night!

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A room at the Burlington Hotel

The Burlington Hotel
Our friends at the Burlington are offering $20 off room nights to Port Stories ticket holders; call 510.787.6795 or email peggy@thehotelburlington.com for details.

 

Our Own Silent Film Festival!

Idiot String performers visited the amazing, annual Port Costa Yard Sale this Saturday with a DIY Silent Film Booth. We provided the props, costumes, director, cinematographer, and extras… and made silent films starring YOU!

We made (super short) movies, we made friends, and we got to talk to lots of folks about the upcoming premiere of Port Stories, our interactive, site-specific play that will take audiences throughout the historic Port Costa School and downtown Port Costa.

Check out the films on Instagram or You Tube! (There are different movies on each platform).

 

Port Costa Residency

Idiot String’s artistic residency in Port Costa, sponsored by the Port Costa Conservation Society, is now underway! Our residency aims to grow Idiot String’s creative and outreach activities, and to continue to activate the Port Costa School with creative programming for the local community and artists from around the Bay Area.

Featured projects of the residency include:

Public Workshop Series

Idiot String offers a series of creative workshops open to the public at the Port Costa School. Each workshop focuses on a different set of performance skills or artistic techniques related to our work. They’re a great way for folks of all experience levels to try something new, or to dive deeper into an established practice. Click here for upcoming offerings.


EDUCATION PROGRAMS

Sponsored by funding from the Crockett Community Foundation, Idiot String offers in-school performing arts education workshops and master classes to the John Swett Unified School District. Workshops, master classes, and teaching residencies are available to other school districts and community groups as well; please visit our Creative Education page for more information.


Port STories (2019)

Idiot String’s site-specific, interactive production was created throughout late 2018 and early 2019 at the Port Costa School, and performed at the School and throughout downtown Port Costa in June. Port Stories was commissioned by the East Bay Fund for Artists at the East Bay Community Foundation, with additional support from the Edward J. Daly Foundation and Crockett Community Foundation.


Artists’ Mini-Retreats and Salons

Are you an artist who could use some time set aside for your own artistic practice? Would you value the opportunity to build a community of creative folk around cocktails and conversation? Contact us for an invitation to our Artists’ Mini-Retreats and Salons. Held approximately every other month on a Wednesday, each Mini-Retreat concludes with a visit to the Dram Shop at the Bull Valley Roadhouse with that day’s cohort of artists.


Community Outreach

We’re delighted to be able to offer residents of Port Costa, Crockett, and Tormey reduced-price tickets to Port Stories and public half-day workshops. Show tickets for residents are just $5, and day workshops are $10 for residents, also thanks to funding from the Crockett Community Foundation!

Read more about the Crockett Community Foundation’s support here.

Thank you, new funders!

It is with deep gratitude and excitement for the year ahead that we announce two new Idiot String supporters: the Crockett Community Foundation and the Edward J. Daly Foundation.

The Crockett Community Foundation will make it possible for us to offer both a public workshop series in Port Costa, and in-class programs for students in the John Swett Unified School District. The Foundation is also underwriting a reduced-cost ticket program for residents of Port Costa, Crockett and Tormey. If you’re a local, you can attend our workshops for $10 and shows for just $5!

The Crockett Community Foundation is dedicated to supporting local projects that foster volunteerism and strengthen the local community. If you’d like to volunteer with Idiot String at one of our events, please drop us a line at idiotstring@gmail.com.

Idiot String in Port Costa: at the Port Costa School setting up a Peripatetic Players summer tour performance, exploring the Theatre of Dreams during a sneak preview of Elixir of Life, and preparing a thirty-minute version of Romeo and Juliet in honor of the Bull Valley Roadhouse’s anniversary. 

The Edward Joseph Daly Foundation is sponsoring design elements for our new site-specific production in Port Costa that will premiere this June. As the audience discovers the play taking place all around them at the Port Costa School and throughout downtown Port Costa, they’ll get up close to the props and costumes made possible by the Daly Foundation.

Edward Joseph Daly, who was the owner of Oakland-based World Airways, and his wife June V. Daly, were lifelong philanthropists who quietly supported humanitarian causes, arts education, and social justice efforts. Less quietly, Mr. Daly is known for audaciously airlifting 57 orphans out of South Vietnam in 1975. Since his death in 1984, his family has been carrying on his legacy of giving through the Foundation that bears his name.

Some of the props and costumes featured in Elixir of Life. Photos by Serena Morelli.

Thank you to our new funders!

It’s the support of organizations like these — and individuals like you — who make it possible for us to create plays, workshops, and other events for you. Learn more about donating here.

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