Thursday, December 2, 2010

Frank Zgonc Exhibition of Photography in Downtown Artwalk at Bolt Barbers October 14, 2010!

A local photographer from Monrovia, California, Frank Zgonc, 
exhibits his work in the controversial Downtown LA Artwalk 
at Bolt Barbers on October 14th, 2010.
Photo by Ginger Van Hook©2010
Story and Photojournal by Ginger Van Hook

The Downtown Los Angeles ArtWalk is controversial because this monthly art trekking exercise through the city has already attracted crowds of well over 10,000 art lovers, patrons and lookieloos; but these numbers don't bother Frank Zgonc, the local photographer from Monrovia who exhibited his landscapes and unique scenes at a popular local hangout on Main Street in Downtown LA. As a matter of fact, most people on the street were quite comfortable perusing the galleries, shops, museums and  eateries that dot the sidewalks in a revitalized artist community where being creative is the key to this area's success. There was a complementary police presence in addition to the facepainters, bodypainters, glow-in-the dark art, and legitimate big name art stars reflecting the LA culture hanging in front gallery windows on every block. For all the hype, a controversy about who's going to pay for what, as in the clean-up from the afterparties, this crowd looked happy, enthusiastic, and hungry for more art, not to mention good food, and at Bolt Barbers, a nice haircut too! 

Artist Zareh exhibits drawings at the Downtown LA Artwalk. 
Photos by Ginger Van Hook©2010
Artists Zareh and Rouzanna Berberian, Downtown Los Angeles
Photo by Ginger Van Hook©2010

Fine Art Trekkin Downtown LA, Ginger Van Hook 
is pictured between artists Zareh and Rouzanna Berberian.

Rouzanna Berberian unlocks the door to the safe 
containing all the artwork in Los Angeles.
Photo by Ginger Van Hook©2010

There is no limit to the treasures of artwork that exist in Los Angeles
 the vault is open... 
come in and enjoy! 
Photo by Ginger Van Hook©2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

The World Premiere of Sick-Amour, The First Documentary Movie by Film-maker Joel Tauber took to the large screen on September 11, 2010!

Movie Review by Ginger Van Hook
The story of how a mortal fell in love with a Sycamore Tree is not your everyday love story, and yet, in an almost mythological occurrence this actually happened in the local parking lot of our Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. One day, Joel Tauber contemplated the life of a lonely tree that had been the brunt of many cars and SUV bumpers...Under several layers of black tar and asphalt, Dry and Wilting in the blazing sun, this Sycamore Tree was graced with the love and attention of an artist who had recently graduated from Art Center College of Design (also a lonely young man at the time).
And that was several years ago, mind you, so not only is this love story unique, it is additionally a story that resulted in the Sycamore Tree blessing his patron with love in return! In a very moving account of how Joel Tauber came to meet the Sycamore tree and how he became the self-proclaimed patron and lifelong caretaker of this tree's children, this documentary movie will inspire you to feel that miracles are still possible.

I interviewed Joel Tauber for a story in 2008 for Ginger's Art Journal:

At the time, the documentary movie was just beginning to build an audience. But as Tauber continued to support the latest treebabies with tree-planting events all over California and select places around the world, the children of the "Sick-Amour" tree, a new level of appreciation grew between the tree and Joel Tauber. In his latest version of the "Sick-Amour" movie, Joel Tauber includes the heartwarming authentic love story that will leave audiences with hope, joyful tears and reveal the most beautiful result: a romantic wedding, celebrated around the tree.

If you have a chance to see the movie, don't miss it! The story is timeless and romantic. The message promotes the love of trees, the love of our community and the love of our planet. An award winning movie, Joel Tauber has revealed his talents as a documentary film-maker and will delight audiences all over the world.  (Below are some of the places where "Sick-Amour" has screened recently and be sure to keep your eyes on this title, as it is likely to win numerous more awards in film-festivals world-wide. ...Could even be opening in a movie-theatre near you, sooner than you think!)

Announcing the world premiere for Joel Tauber's movie, Sick-Amour!

Sick-Amour premiered at the Downtown Film Festival-Los Angeles
( on Saturday September 11 at 2:30 pm.
After the screening of the 33-minute film, the artist and film-maker
Joel Tauber discussed the making of the project until about 4 pm.

Joel Tauber discusses the making of his latest movie
Photo by Ginger Van Hook©2010

The screening took place at the Downtown Independent Theater
which is located on 251 S. Main Street LA,
California 90012.

Here are some web links:
The trailer for Sick-Amour:
The IMDB page for Sick-Amour:
The Downtown Film Festival-Los Angeles:
The Downtown Independent Theater:

Sick-Amour is screening next at Blue
Planet Film Fest on October 8 @ 10 am, October 9 @ 10 am & October 10
@ 9:45 am at 1210-1211 4th Street Santa Monica, CA 90401. There will
be a tree baby planting after the October 8 screening and lunch after
each of the screenings. Please see the festival website for tickets &
more info:

The movie is then travelling to the San Francisco Documentary
Festival. It will screen at the Roxie Theater (3117 16th St San
Francisco, CA 94103) on October 17 at 5 pm and on October 20 at 7:15
pm in the collection of short films called "All Kinds of Love."
Tickets and other info are available at the festival website:

Press Release

Sick-Amour  A Film by Joel Tauber
Blue Planet Film Fest San Francisco Documentary Festival
1210-1211 4th Street Santa Monica, CA 90401 

Roxie Theater: 3117 16th St. SF CA 94103
10/8@10 am, 10/9@10 am & 10/10@9:45 am 10/17@5pm & 10/20@7:15 pm
Tickets & other info: Tickets & other info: 
Look for the collection of shorts: “All Kinds Of Love”
Sick-Amour, a 33-minute documentary film / love story, 
by Joel Tauber is screening at Blue Planet Film Fest on October 8 at 10 am, 
October 9 at 10 am, and 
October 10 at 9:45 am. A special “tree baby” planting will take place in Santa Monica after the screening on October 8.
The movie will then be shown at the San Francisco Documentary Festival 
at the Roxie Theater on October 17 at 5 pm and on October 20 at 7:15 pm.

Tauberʼs film, Sick-Amour, is an evocative portrait of something utterly ignored and neglected – a forlorn tree stuck in the middle of a giant parking lot. 
The tree is starved for water and oxygen, attacked by pathogens, weakened by pollutants, hit by cars, and deprived of any chance of reproduction.
Joel Tauber, a young and amorous man, is drawn to the tree. 
Outraged by the indignities that the tree is forced to endure, he devotes himself to improving the treeʼs life – watering it with giant water bags, installing tree guards to protect it from cars, building giant earrings to celebrate its beauty, lobbying to
remove the asphalt beneath its canopy and to protect it with a ring of boulders, and helping the tree reproduce…

Passionately narrated by Tauber and peppered with interviews by experts 
in a variety of disciplines (environmental philosophy, tree pathology, biology, ecology, urban forestry…), the film is a highly unusual documentary. It examines the tree in a personal and multi-faceted manner, offering it as a microcosm of the plight of urban trees and of forgotten individuals, in general.

At the same time, the film is a love story between Joel and the tree. A love story that leads to – among other things – the planting of one of the treeʼs offspring / tree babies in Santa Monica on October 8.


Joel Tauber received his MFA in art from Art Center College of Design and his BA in art history and sculpture from Yale University. Tauber has presented his work at numerous art galleries and museums, including Susanne Vielmetter LA Projects (LA, California), Galerie Adamski (Berlin & Aachen, Germany), the Orange County Museum of Art (Newport Beach, California), the De Appel Centre For Contemporary
Art (Amsterdam, Netherlands), and the California Museum of Photography 
(Riverside, California). 
Tauber won the 2007 Contemporary Collectors of Orange County Fellowship 
and the 2007-2008 CalArts / Alpert Ucross Residency Prize for Visual Arts.

Sick-Amour is Tauberʼs first documentary film; the movie
premiered at the Downtown Film Festival-Los Angeles on September 11.

Sick-Amour (the movie) is screening next at the Hartford
International Film Festival on Sunday November 7 at 2:30PM. Sick-Amour
will be presented in "Short Program #2" at the Wadsworth Atheneum
Museum of Art (600 Main Street Hartford CT 06103). Tickets and more

Movie website:
IMDB page: 18279/

A Film by Joel Tauber

Lived, directed, produced, filmed, & edited by Joel Tauber
Cinematography: Liz Rubin and Chris May
Additional Cinematography: Greg Shin, Jeff Schwartz, Germaine Chang, Paul Yoshida, & Jeff
Audio Recording: Liz Rubin and Mike Weinstein
Post-Finishing: Roush Media
Digital Colorist: Keith Roush
Sound Post-Production: Dino Herrmann
Music: Dino Herrmann
Guitars: Kevin Michael Gray and Byron Nemeth
The Tree
Grandma Lee Swerdlow
Joel Tauber
Scott Cameron Ph.D., Loyola Marymount University, environmental philosopher
Greg McPherson Ph.D., UC Davis, Urban Forestry Research
Jan Scow, arborist
Fred Roth, Ph.D., Cal Poly Pomona, Horticulture department, tree pathologist
Cheryl Swift Ph.D., Whittier College, biologist and sycamore expert
Glenn Fitzgerald Ph.D., US Water Conservation Lab, Phoenix, Arizona
John Gamon Ph.D., Professor of Biological Sciences, Cal State LA
Scott Wilson, Northeast Trees founder
Ken, sanitation worker
Ellen Mackey, Senior Ecologist, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
Tim Brick, Managing Director of the Arroyo Seco Foundation, Pasadena, CA
Steve Madison, Vice Mayor of the City of Pasadena
Sid Tyler, Councilmember of the City of Pasadena
Tree Baby Parents & Sites in the film:
Mark Snyder and Alma Cielo (violin), Altadena, CA
Grant Miller, Jimena Arenas, & Carmen, Redwood City, CA
Bill Wheelock and Anne Hars, LA, CA
Gary Kornblau and Scott Freeburg, LA, CA
Denise Bratton and Jessica Fleischmann, LA, CA
Tad Beck, Los Angeles, CA
Laurie Firstenberg, Peter Zellner, & Edie, LA, CA
Martin, David, and Jennie Marie Fockens, and Constance Somerfeld
Donna Stein and Sophie Korn, Pasadena, CA
Joel Tauber, LA, CA
Sam Freeman, Venice, CA
David, Cheryl, Charlie, and Olivia Smith, Pasadena, CA
Marty and Deena Singer, Beverly Hills, CA
Theodore Payne Foundation, Sun Valley, CA
Audubon Middle School
Walteria Elementary, Torrance, CA
Walden School, Pasadena, CA
University of Southern California, LA, CA
Washington Park, Pasadena, CA
Melanie Bono, NAK, Aachen, Germany
Aram Moshayedi, LA><ART, LA, CA
Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA
Central Arroyo Seco Valley, Pasadena, CA
Joel Tauber
Alison Joy Goldberg
Their families

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Inauguration of Chrysostomos L. Nikias as the 11th President of the University of Southern California

PhotoJournal Coverage by USC Alumni Ginger E. Van Hook

The Inauguration of Chrysostomos L. Nikias as the Eleventh President of the University of Southern California occurred on Friday, October 15th, 2010, however,  the enormous influence, force of academic excellence and bold, lofty aspirations of a humble Greek Scholar began many years ago in New York, where President Steven B. Sample and Max Nikias first met. C.L. Max Nikias told an audience of thousands gathered to celebrate his inauguration about his hopes and dreams for a great center of culture on the Pacific Rim of the United States right here at USC. This is where Max brought his family to California to create a new revolution and union of Music, Arts, Academics, Science, Medicine and Technology. The following photographs highlight some of the pageantry, the splendor and the grandeur that C.L. Nikias brings to our campus and our University. With an education cultivated in Athens, London, New York and now Los Angeles, Nikias ushers in a revolutionary new era in
  Academic Excellence for all Trojans!
Chrysostomos L. Max Nikias accepts the gold medal chain given to him by President Steven B. Sample as Sample passes the USC leadership torch to Nikias. Photo by Ginger Van Hook ©2010
 Ernest Wilson, Dean of USC's Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism. 
Photo by Ginger Van Hook ©2010

 President Nikias introduces Cogent Founder and USC Trustee, Ming Hsieh M.S.
 who is about give an important announcement for the Keck School of Medicine.
Photo by Ginger Van Hook © 2010.
Ming Hsieh announces a gift of $50 Million Dollars 
that he is donating to USC's Keck School of Medicine
 designated for Cancer Research. 
Photo by Ginger Van Hook © 2010

Dean Ernest Wilson looks on as the announcement is made that the USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism is also awarded a $50 Million Dollar Donation from 
Wallis Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation continuing the nearly 40-year partnership with USC. The donation is to be put toward the construction of a new state-of-the-art building 
on the University Campus.

C.L. Max Nikias pictured with his wife and USC First Lady, Niki C. Nikias. 
Photo by Ginger Van Hook © 2010

A parade of future Trojans. Photo by Ginger Van Hook ©2010

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa attends the Inauguration of C.L. Max Nikias at the
 University of Southern California on October 15, 2010. 
Photo by Ginger Van Hook©2010.


              Dean Ernest Wilson was gracious enough to give me a brief interview to discuss the goals of USC Annenberg’s School for Communications and Journalism.  He stated that we are in a global economy therefore to keep up one must become a global city. Wilson went on to explain that, it is important to have a truly networked university and converging all the media resources under one umbrella is one of the ways that USC has become a strong force on the world stage and is one of the few schools that does that. Dean Wilson is often fond of stating, “At the heart of journalism and communications is a public democratic society with freedom of the press! No free press, no democracy!”
Through the generous support of Ambassador Walter and Wallace Annenberg, starting in 1971 and continuing over the years, the USC School For Communications and Journalism has thrived and become a world leader in the field of networked communications reinventing itself with every new world trend.

"I have been a USC Alumni through the administrations of four University Presidents.
I was blessed as a freshman in 1977 to have met John Randolph Hubbard (President from 1970 - 1980), James Zumberge (President 1980-1991) in the 1980's, Steven B. Sample (President from 1991- 2010) and recently C.L. Max Nikias current USC President. As a USC Trojan, I am proud to call USC my  home and Alma Mater and I look forward to witnessing the wonderful opportunities that Nikias will bring to our University, our City of Los Angeles and our State of California." Ginger Van Hook.
The following photographs are shared for the Trojan community as I explored in these recent years, the campus, the programs, the scholarly academic goals and the physical changes occurring in a space I will continue to have fond memories of.

 Dean Ernest Wilson introduces Linda Johnson Rice at the Dean's Roundtable discussions in 2008. Photo by Ginger Van Hook © 2008.


Wallis Annenberg and Dean Ernest Wilson. 
Photo by Ginger Van Hook © 2009

USC's 10th President Steven B. Sample presides 
over the renaming of the Annenberg School.
Photo by Ginger Van Hook © 2009