June 2020 Bonsai newsletter

I am sorry to report that the Westlake Village Community Center is still closed, which means we cannot hold our June Conejo Valley Bonsai Society meeting.

That’s bad news, and it gets worse. Virtually the entire 2020 California bonsai exhibition calendar has been canceled (see page 8). This provisionally includes our own fall exhibition, originally scheduled for October 3 – 4 at Gardens of the World in Thousand Oaks. We are certainly living in some very trying times.

Indeed, 2020 has seen the bonsai community turned upside down. There have been no spring shows, and as of press time, there were none planned for the autumn (again, see page 8 for de-tails). And the Golden State Bonsai Federation Convention in October has been postponed until next year.

We at CVBS are up against similar circumstances. Although October is months away, Gardens of the World has canceled all their activities for July and August and are uncertain when they will reopen. So, for the moment, we have provisionally canceled our annual exhibition as a live, in-person event.

Now some good news: The California bonsai community is resilient. GSBF continues to publish its quarterly magazine. “Golden Statements … online live is doing very well; viewed by over 30 countries, almost 400 active subscribers, and over 1,000 views per issue. And, it’s free,” reports Editor George Haas in an email. “The summer issue of Golden Statements [online] is currently undergoing proof reading and will be posted within a couple of weeks.”

In addition, local clubs have been innovative in keeping their members active and informed. Our friends at the Descanso Bonsai Society, for example, have replaced their monthly meetings with online demonstrations. And they are making their 50th annual June show “an online presentation on our website (descanso-bonsai.com) and on our Face-book page,” Descanso Presi-dent Cesáreo Pérez says in their current newsletter.

Back here at CVBS, Editor David Whiteside is continuing with our monthly newsletter; Ken Martin is viewing and critiquing various bonsai websites; Mike Blumenberg is providing a CVBS Book Mobile and also reviewing our library collection in the newsletter; and the niche display is continuing in virtual form with club members photographing their display trees and sending the pictures to our newsletter editor. Club members working on projects have submitted articles for our newsletter. These activities will continue.

Moreover, our fall exhibition will happen in some format. If there is no resurgence of Covid-19 infections in the late summer or early fall, the Gardens may reopen and at the last minute we can have our show, live and in person.
Failing that, we are making plans to have a virtual exhibition. At the least, we hope to have members set up show-tree displays and photograph them at home. These photographs will be published in the newsletter, on our Face-book page, and/or on our website.

We’re also exploring more ambitious ideas. If we can identify a tech-savvy member, perhaps we can create a dynamic virtual exhibition or put virtual demonstrations online via YouTube or a similar platform. If you are such a tech-savvy club member and able to help with either a virtual exhibition or video demonstrations, please let me know.

So, I urge everyone to keep an eye on potential exhibition trees and get them into show-ready condition by autumn. We’ll need them for an exhibit in some format.

Stay safe.

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