Quality of life: ’In Conversation’ series continues at The Center, spring edition | TheUnion.com

Quality of life: ’In Conversation’ series continues at The Center, spring edition

Hollie Grimaldi Flores
Special to Prospector
On April 4, a not-to-be-missed short film followed by a panel discussion around healing featuring Steve Giardina and his journey living with Stage 4 cancer.
Provided photo
Angie Tomey of Little Boy Flowers who will be talking about planting spring flowers on March 28.
Provided photo

The Center for the Arts continues to provide opportunities for the community, despite the untimely shut down of the performing arts venue a year ago. Their “In Conversation With” series has been running weekly since January, and continues now with new topics and speakers for spring.

LeeAnn Brook
Angie Tomey



WHAT: “In Conversation With“ Zoom Series

WHEN: Sundays at 4 p.m.

WHERE: Online via zoom

WEBSITE: http://www.thecenterforthearts.org

ADMISSION: $10, Members Free

MORE INFO: thecenterforthearts.org or call 530-274-8384

This is just one of the programs the staff at the Center is working hard to bring to those who have supported the organization and continue to do so, even though live shows have been impossible to host, said Center For The Arts Executive Director Amber Jo Manuel.

“The Center for the Arts recognizes that we have a lot of fabulous members that have made this new incredible space a reality for us and unfortunately the pandemic hit, and we were unable to follow through with providing them with a live arts and entertainment culture, like we had promised,” explained Manuel. She said the organization is committed to creating opportunities for their members and the public in whatever capacity possible, no matter what is happening in the world, and the speaker series is one of the ways they are doing that.

Hosted by Jacob Freydont-Attie, a writer and filmmaker who grew up in rural Nevada County, the weekly topics alternate between food, nature, art, and lifestyle with a different guest discussing their area of expertise. Past shows have included reflections around everything from chocolate to cannabis, winter hiking to choral music, and much more. Freydont-Attie said as moderator, he has been amazed at the depth of expertise by the speakers and said he has learned something new every week.

“It’s been very interesting,” said Freydont-Attie. “Every single one of the interviews has been surprisingly engaging and I have learned all sorts of things that I was not expecting.” He called out one on gut health and another on social media marketing as good use of your time and worthy of the price of membership.

The “In Conversation With” series is free to members of the Center who can also listen to past shows by going to http://www.thecenterforthearts.org and clicking on the “Member Library.” (Non-members pay $10 per session, which includes all fees but does not include access to the library.)

Upcoming guests include LeeAnn Brook speaking on creativity this Sunday, Angie Tomey who will be talking about planting spring flowers on March 28, and on April 4, a not-to-be-missed short film followed by a panel discussion around healing featuring Steve Giardina and his journey living with Stage 4 cancer.

Giardina was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017 and enjoyed several months in remission before the cancer returned and spread. His therapies have included surgery and chemotherapy and after being approached several times from locals offering the benefits of cannabis, alternative modalities. Directed by Rick Beaty, the 30-minute film, which will premiere at The Center for the Arts, introduces viewers to the “Hill Witches of Nevada County” who Giardina reports, “have been making cannabis-based medicine for decades.” The panel discussion will include Steve, renowned cannabis cultivator Wade Laughter, and Chair of Oncology for the Sutter Medical Group in Sacramento Dr. Stacy D’Andre.

Giardina, who along with his wife Cindy and children own Golden Era Lounge in Nevada City, said he decided to make the documentary to expose people to other, nontraditional treatments.

“When you are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, everything stops. I did chemo. I did surgeries. I would never ever not do that. It extended my life, but the side effects are pretty tough, so people kept bringing medicines to me at the bar and I became curious about where the medicine was coming from and why.”

He said what he learned is that people on the ridge (North San Juan) have been making these medicines for over 50 years, keeping it to themselves or only sharing it with people they know. “I found my way into cannabinoids to offset the effects of chemotherapy. You can have a better quality of life, but you have to take charge to find that.

“The documentary lets people know it’s out there and here are some places you can go look.”

He added he hopes the film with inspire people and motivate people. “People are lost and don’t know where to begin. I can say, unequivocally quality of life for me, extension of life for me, has been augmented by using medical cannabinoids.” While Giardina doesn’t believe the cannabis is curing his cancer, he does believe it’s mitigating a lot of the effects of other treatments.

Working with Dr. D’Andre who promotes integrative medicine, Giardina said “She’s been helping me with supplements, diet and helps guide me to make sure one medicine does not negate another.” He said he hopes to wake people up to some of the options that are out there and to help people overcome fear and stigma to seek out nontraditional therapies.

“I hope when they see this guy, they can see one yahoo who is doing something a little different that is helping. Give yourself the luxury of investigating for yourself. Don’t be reticent.”

Manuel said inspiring topics aside, this series is also a chance to connect,.

“I think for everyone who does join us on their Sunday afternoon, it’s providing them a connection, because a lot of people are not all going out and maybe they have not had five million Zoom meetings because they are retired, so for them, this is something to look forward to. It’s a way to connect with their neighbors. It’s a way to learn something about their community. And it’s a way we can all grow closer in Nevada County.”

Freydont-Attie echoed those sentiments and added, “I feel like we are in this time when traditional news sources are in a period of transition. The Zoom format points toward the future. This is an interactive interview show and that is not something we have had in other formats before where members of the audience can directly ask the interviewee questions. It is a way of interacting and has a lot of potential. I think it will be around long after the pandemic.”

The Center for the Arts is breathing a small sigh of relief after President Biden signed a relief bill recently that will allow the organization to apply for a “Shuttered Venue” grant and for another round of PPP. Manuel said, “This has made all the difference in our ability to make it through the Spring. Having that additional money to help us pay salaries is a huge relief and super cool.” She said she is looking forward to producing live shows again but in the interim, tune into live streamed shows throughout the month and “In Conversation With” Sundays at 4 p.m.

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire, as well as a podcaster at HollieGrams. You can hear her episodes at https://www.buzzsprout.com/1332253. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@ gmail.com.


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