Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, February 4, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page B:2



Mountain Views-News Saturday, February 4, 2017 

Jeff’s Book Pics By Jeff Brown

On the Marquee: 

Notes from the Sierra MadrePlayhouse

The Deepest Acceptance: 
Radical Awakening in Ordinary 
Life by Jeff Foster 

How can we bring an effortless yes 
to this moment? How do we stop 
running from “the mess of life”—our 
predicaments, our frustrations, even 
our search for liberation—and start 
flowing with all of it?In small venues 
throughout the UK and Europe, a 
young teacher named Jeff Foster is 
quietly awakening a new generation 
of spiritual inquirers to the experience 
of abiding presence and peace in our 
ever-shifting world. His informal 
gatherings, blogs, and kitchen-table 
video posts have created a rising tide 
of interest in his teachings.With The 
Deepest Acceptance, Jeff Foster invites 
us to discover the ocean of who we are: 
an awareness that has already allowed 
every wave of emotion and experience 
to arrive.While Jeff delightfully admits 
the irony of writing a book to convey 
something that is beyond words to 
teach, here he confirms his ability to 
guide us in unexpected new ways to a 
space of absolute acceptance and joy, no 
matter what’s happening in our lives.
Candid, thoughtful, humorous—and 
deeply compassionate toward those 
searching for a way out of suffering—
this refreshing new luminary inspires 
us to stop trying to “do” acceptance … 
and start falling in love with “what has 
already been allowed.”

Conclave: A novel by Robert 

The best-selling author of Enigma and 
Fatherland turns to today’s Vatican 
in a ripped-from-the-headlines novel, 
and gives us his most ambitious, page-
turning thriller yet--where the power of 
God is nearly equaled by the ambition 
of men. The pope is dead. Behind the 
locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, one 
hundred and eighteen cardinals from 
all over the globe will cast their votes 
in the world’s most secretive election. They are holy 
men. But they have ambition. And they have rivals. 
Over the next seventy-two hours one of them will 
become the most powerful spiritual figure on Earth.

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A 
Memoir by Bill Bryson

From one of the world’s most beloved writers and New 
York Times bestselling author of One Summer, a vivid, 
nostalgic, and utterly hilarious memoir 
of growing up in the 1950s.Bryson was 
born in the middle of the American 
century—1951—in the middle of the 
United States—Des Moines, Iowa—in 
the middle of the largest generation in 
American history—the baby boomers. 
As one of the best and funniest writers 
alive, he is perfectly positioned to mine 
his memories of a totally all-American 
childhood for 24-carat memoir gold. 
Like millions of his generational peers, 
Bryson grew up with a rich fantasy life as 
a superhero. In his case, he ran around 
his house and neighborhood with an 
old football jersey with a thunderbolt 
on it and a towel about his neck that 
served as his cape, leaping tall buildings 
in a single bound and vanquishing 
awful evildoers (and morons)—in 
his head—as “The Thunderbolt Kid.” 
Using this persona as a springboard, 
Bill Bryson re-creates the life of his 
family and his native city in the 1950s 
in all its transcendent normality—a 
life at once completely familiar to us 
all and as far away and unreachable 
as another galaxy. It was, he reminds 
us, a happy time, when automobiles 
and televisions and appliances (not to 
mention nuclear weapons) grew larger 
and more numerous with each passing 
year, and DDT, cigarettes, and the 
fallout from atmospheric testing were 
considered harmless or even good for 
you. He brings us into the life of his 
loving but eccentric family, including 
affectionate portraits of his father, a 
gifted sportswriter for the local paper 
and dedicated practitioner of isometric 
exercises, and OF his mother, whose 
job as the home furnishing editor for 
the same paper left her little time for 
practicing the domestic arts at home. 
The many readers of Bryson’s earlier 
classic, A Walk in the Woods, will 
greet the reappearance in these pages 
of the immortal Stephen Katz, seen 
hijacking literally boxcar loads of 
beer. He is joined in the Bryson gallery of immortal 
characters by the demonically clever Willoughby 
brothers, who apply their scientific skills and can-
do attitude to gleefully destructive ends. Warm and 
laugh-out-loud funny, and full of his inimitable, 
pitch-perfect observations, The Life and Times 
of the Thunderbolt Kid is as wondrous a book as 
Bryson has ever written. It will enchant anyone who 
has ever been young.


By Artistic Director, Christian Lebano

 I haven’t written in the last few weeks – and I’ve missed 
speaking with you through this column. So much happens 
so quickly at the Playhouse that some of this will seem like 
old news. 

 We went to the Ovation Awards on January 17th with 
five nominations for 3 plays – and went home with our 
first TWO wins EVER! Stanton Kane Morales won Best 
Featured Actor in a Musical for his performance as Barfee’ 
in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and the 
set for my production of Deathtrap won Best Set Design 
(Intimate) for our very own Sierra Madre resident, John 
Vertrees and his assistant. Again, I’m struck by the irony 
of Stanton winning for a show that sold so badly – either 
because of bad marketing on our part or because of Summer 
conflicts. The Ovation voters named his performance the 
best supporting one of the year for ALL musicals in large or 
small theaters – and we had him on our stage and very few 
saw it. Ah well…..

 The evening was wonderfully fun, but I have to admit that 
the BEST part was hearing from so many in the theatrical 
community how impressed they are at the growth of SMP. 
Loyal readers know how much work the small team of us 
put into the Playhouse – acknowledgement from our peers 
goes a long way.

 I’m back on stage in Bee-luther-hatchee – I have a lot 
to say about acting again, but will save that for next week 
– and the show is going well. We’ve gotten some really 
wonderful reviews, but the show is not selling as well as 
I’d hoped, I’m so grateful that we got the Sheri and Les 
Biller Family Foundation grant or we’d face losing money 
on this one. The talkbacks after the shows (we have them 
every performance for this show) have been remarkable 
discussions about ethics and race. We have heard from 
many patrons that this is one of their favorite experiences 
at the Playhouse. I do hope you will come – we play until 
February 18.

 For Bee-luther-hatchee we have created many outreach 
events and these have proved very popular and has 
gotten SMP out into the community – we’ve had events 
at Pasadena City College, Alatadena Community Center, 
Vroman’s, Monrovia History Museum, 2nd Baptist in 
Monrovia, and will soon be at the Jackie Robinson Center 
and the SM Public Library. We’ve made many new fans and 
spread the word about what we are doing to new audiences 
who weren’t familiar with us. This work was spearheaded 
by our own Diane Siegel and I’m so grateful to her.

 Our free reading series continues in an expanded 
form in support of Bee-luther-hatchee with two plays that 
continue to explore some of its themes on the next two 
Mondays: A Lesson from Aloes by the South African, Athol 
Fugard and a new play Hubcap by local playwright David 
Lee Ray. Please come. We start at 7pm and these readings 
have proved to be very popular with our audiences.

 And finally, we are now in rehearsal for A Wrinkle in 
Time the beloved classic by Madeleine L’Engel adapted by 
John Glore. I am having a blast directing this show and 
I can’t wait for you to see the surprises we have in store 
for you. We are using the Playhouse in ways it has never 
been used before. This show opens March 10 & 11 (we 
have two casts) and I hope you will bring your kids and 
grandkids to see it. We are already booked for 18 school 
day performances!

 As always we do all of this for you – our faithful patrons. 
I look forward to seeing you from the stage and in your 
favorite seats, this time from a new vantage! For tickets 
please call Mary in the box office at 626.355.4318. Hope to 
see you soon! 

All Things By Jeff Brown


Ask yourself what has never been, and could never 
be, parted from you, and remain with that, as that.
The knowing of our being—or rather, awareness’s 
knowing of its own being in us—is our primary 
experience, our most fundamental and intimate 
experience. It is in this experience that all the peace, 
happiness, and love we have ever longed for reside. 
The happiness we have sought for so long outside of 
ourselves, in situations, objects, and relationships, 
turns out to be always present, always available, in 
the simple knowing of our own being as it is.The 
knowing of our own being shines in each one of us 
as the experience “I am” or “I am aware,” or simply 
as the thought “I.” Because this simplest, most 
obvious, most familiar, and intimate experience is 
to the mind not a thing, or nothing, it is overlooked 
or forgotten by the vast majority of humanity. The 
overlooking of our own being is the root cause of 
all unhappiness and, therefore, the root cause of our 
search for happiness.Rupert Spira



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Call: 626-355-4572




They say nothing is certain but death and taxes. Well 
now, with President Trump in office, the estate tax – 
commonly known as the “death tax” – may soon be a 
thing of the past.

 One of Trump’s campaign pledges was to repeal the 
estate tax. So far, he seems to be doing exactly what 
he said he was going to do, which means it won’t be a 
surprise if he does indeed try to eliminate the estate tax. 
And with a Republican majority in the house and senate, 
there’s a possibility, if not a probability, he’ll succeed.

 So what would a repeal of the estate tax mean for you, 
and in particular, your estate plan? First, let’s look at a few 
of the most likely scenarios:

1. An immediate, permanent repeal of the gift, estate, 
and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax.
2. A phased repeal of the gift, estate, and GST tax which 
would gradually roll-back and eventually eliminate these 
taxes over a period of years.
3. A complete restructuring of all transfer taxes to 
include not only the estate, gift, and GST taxes but also 
capital gains taxes as well. 

 While it is impossible to know exactly what’s going 
to happen, we can make some educated guesses. The 
first scenario seems more likely than the second. For 
starters, Trump doesn’t seem to be taking half-measures 
on anything. So if he keeps with form, I expect him to 
be bold and go all the way as quickly as possible. The 
danger, if he only phases out estate tax over say 10-years, 
is that the next administration, be that in four or eight 
years, may easily stop and then reverse Trump’s phase out 
before completion.

 But I think number 3 is the most likely scenario to 
unfold. Trump and congress all seem to want to get rid 
of the estate, gift, and GST tax, but there has been talk of 
introducing new capital gains taxes as an offset.

 That would mean that while death wouldn’t trigger an 
estate tax, there might instead be a tax, assessed at death, 
on the appreciated value of one’s property accumulated 
during life. 

So, what does this mean for you, specifically? Should you 
put your estate planning on hold if you don’t yet already 
have a finished plan? Should you make changes to your 
plan if you do already have one?

 First, you should most definitely NOT put your 
planning on hold - unless you can guarantee you won’t 
die or become incapacitated between now and when 
new legislation is enacted, whenever that may be. Nor 
should you necessarily rush right out to change a plan 
you already have in place. 

 While the tax planning structure of estate plans is 
a bit up in the air right now, the other big reasons to 
plan - probate avoidance, asset protection, and legacy 
building - remain solidly in place. Only a tiny number of 
Americans pay any estate tax, anyway (less than 0.2% of 
the population), so the impact for most people will likely 
be minimal if anything at all. 

The bottom line is, we’ll have to wait and see how things 
shake out. So if you haven’t started your planning 
yet, there’s no reason to wait. And if you have started 
planning, there’s no reason to stop. Finally, if you already 
have a plan in place, just sit tight. Hopefully you have an 
ongoing relationship with your family trust lawyer and 
he or she will reach out to you when the dust settles to 
make sure your plan still provides maximum protection.

 Dedicated to empowering your family, building your 
wealth and delivering your legacy,

A local attorney, father, and CASA volunteer (Court 
Appointed Special Advocate for Children), Marc Garlett 
is on a mission to help parents protect what they love 
most. His office is located at 49 S. Baldwin Ave., Ste. G, 
Sierra Madre, CA 91024. Schedule an appointment to 
sit down and talk about ensuring a legacy of love and 
financial security for your family by calling 626.355.4000 
or visit for more information.

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: