JASNA Spring Gala fun!
Time to report on my fabulous weekend in southern CA – Pasadena to be exact – with a group of friends from the Fresno Area Regency England Fellowship that I formed with my pal Carrie Flores. There were 5 of us all together: Carrie and me, my daughter Emily, and Candy and Dolores. We had an absolute blast! Look at us smiling, and this was while still in Lemoore when stopping for lunch at Jack-in-the-Box!
The mega-multiregional Spring Gala was hosted by JASNA Southwest on May 14 & 15, 2011. The theme was Sense & Sensibility, keeping with the general JASNA theme since this year is the 200th anniversary of Austen’s debut novel’s publication. The five of us left on Friday to spend three days of fun in rainy, overcast Southern California. The whether did not deter us in any way! We picked up our rental minivan, piled it with our modern day and Regency Era garments, and by noon we were out of Fresno. We wasted no time after checking in to our rooms at the Howard Johnsons before setting out on the first adventure: shopping and food. A fabulous antique store stuffed with gorgeous items and shelf upon shelf of incredible books was our first, and as it turned out, only shopping expedition. Time was lost while there, let me tell you! But we each came away with wonderful treasures, me with a book on the Georgian Era and another enormous book on India art and culture. Guess why I wanted to last one? :Happy-Grin:
Dinner was delicious at El Cholo Cafe on Colorado Ave. Yum! Margaritas added to the dinner enjoyment, I will confess.
Saturday dawned early and we drove the short distance to the Huntington Museum and Botanical Gardens. Scones were for breakfast and then the lectures began. Joan Klingel Ray spoke eloquently and wittily on Sense and Sensibility as “Jane Austen’s Most Problematic Novel” followed by Peter Graham speaking with intrigue and obvious knowledge if a wee bit monotone on “Sense and Sensibility and Siblings.” Luncheon was on the terrace overlooking the stunning grounds. Then, after socializing and strolling a bit through the incredible foliage, we again gathered in the lecture hall of the Huntington Library to hear Mary Robertson, the Curator of the Huntington Museum, discuss “The Curator’s Dilemma: Displaying Jane Austen’s World at the Huntington.” Replete with photos that left our jaws hanging open and information on the artifacts that made our heart’s race, we were more than ready to head over to the Library Museum for the exhibition.
Hours were spent between the gift shop, the Library Exhibits, and the Huntington House art museum. Photos on this and all our fun activities can be seen in the slideshow below. Be sure to take the time to view it! It was absolutely amazing and our only regret was the passage of time which did not allow us to see as much as we would have liked.
After dinner at the Cheesecake Factory – double yum! – we went back to the hotel to ready our Regency personas for the big ball. This was held at the Westin Resort in Pasadena. Marvelous with a capitol M! You just have to see the photos! Highlight of the evening was a surprise introduction to a young man dressed in full Regency regalia who was from the Fresno area! Talk about coincidences and small worlds. My daughter actually recognized him earlier from her job as a cashier in Target, but we all figured she has to be mistaken. Not!
Day #2 was held at the Westin. It began with a delicious breakfast of eggs, French toast, rolls, and so on. Vendors were on hand selling wares and we all took advantage of that. Lectures included a discussion on cross-cultural adaptations of Austen novels in “Sense and Sensibility Masala: From Hollywood to Bollywood,” followed by Clarissa Esguerra, Curatorial Assistant of Costumes and Textiles for the LA Museum of Art presenting slides and insider info on “Sartorial Sense and Sensibility: Mens and Womens Fashions in the Era of Jane Austen,” and lastly an interactive “Dressing Mr. Darcy” with real male models donning a dandy’s duds. It was amazing!
Sadly that brought an end to the day. We were fortunate to meet many lovely people during our time there. Austen literary authors Syrie James and Laurie Viera Rigler and Diana Birchall were special treats, especially to me. It was the first time I had met longtime friend and fellow Austen Author Diana and my only regret is that we did not have more time to chat.