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Media Life: Epic Brazil journey for Placer High grad survives first leg

By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Media Life columnist
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Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com. Also hear Thomson most Fridays at 6 p.m. on Dave Rosenthal’s drive-time radio show on KAHI 950 AM. He’s also a regular guest on Capital Public Radio’s “Insight.” And you can catch up with Thomson on Twitter at AJ_Media_Life. 

 

AUBURN CA - A little bushier in the beard and a little thinner in the torso, Auburn’s Aaron Chervenak has been trekking and paddling his way for the past six weeks or so from Brazil’s extreme north and through the mountainous jungle.

The Placer High School Class of 1999 grad and England’s Gareth Jones are on energy-sapping, fear-defying, human-powered trek from the newly rediscovered northern edge of Brazil to the nation’s southerly boundary.

Along the way, they’re tweeting from @skeetolounge and updating the story of their adventurous journey at skeetolounge.com.

Reached via e-mail, the dynamic duo say they’re thankful that their first leg is over, including being left without food when their guide decided to pack it in and go home. With GPS as their trusty guide in areas that are unmapped, they were able to make their first 500-mile leg to Boa Vista and are now in for a 500-mile paddle to Manaus.

“From there, we will follow the mighty Amazon to the Atlantic at Belem,” Chervenak said. “We’re going to be living out of our canoe for the next couple of months and tweeting live from on the river via our satellite tracking device.”

Jones and Chervenak are eschewing any form of motorized transportation on the trek, including buses and boats. They’re due to complete the epic journey in about 13 months – traveling a total of 5,500 miles.

With the help of the latest Yellowbrick satellite tracking, Chervenak’s story can become a continuing saga for armchair travelers in his hometown of Auburn as well as others around the globe. He’s saving some of the best moments for the planned documentary but so far, so good.

 

Weird Auburn

Media Life has fielded some, shall we say, interesting nominations sparked by last week’s Top 10 Weird Auburn examples. We’ll reveal all in a future column. In the meantime, the Friends of the Auburn Library are welcoming Media Life to its Noon Program speaker series today (Nov. 16). The subject? What else? Weird Auburn. The free presentation starts at noon in the Auburn Library’s Beecher Room on Nevada Street.

 

Making magic

The Larry Ortiz magic is again at work, this time in Nevada County.

Ortiz has been a creative, organizational and inspirational presence in the Placer County art world for decades and his recent hiring as executive director was a coup by Nevada County Arts, the Grass Valley-based umbrella group for arts in our neighbor to the north.

An accomplished ceramic artist, Ortiz was the guiding light more than a quarter century ago as founding member and executive director for Artscetera, which morphed into The Arts Council of Placer County (and now called PlacerArts). He was the organizational guru behind the Autumn Studio Tour and Auburn Art Walk. His teaching and production studio – ClayArts in the lower level of the ARTS Building in Auburn – is a go-to place for creative clay types. And he’s also known in music circles as a bass player who can tell a few tales from the Classic Rock days of opening for bands like Santana.

And now the Auburn-born artist and arts advocate is making some more magic in Nevada County.

Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com. Also hear Thomson most Fridays at 6 p.m. on Dave Rosenthal’s drive-time radio show on KAHI 950 AM. He’s also a regular guest on Capital Public Radio’s “Insight.” And you can catch up with Thomson on Twitter at AJ_Media_Life.