Moreno Valley, CA is a "little town" in the Inland Empire on the eastern periphery of Los Angeles. You'll find a beautiful, quite spectacular landscape with a number of geological sites of interest. Like most of Southern California (rural or urban) you could get the feeling you're standing on the Moon, or Mars respectively, which of course is one of the reasons the film industry took root here in the first place. Don't get carried away like I did because in between and around unusual rock formations and Mountain Lion habitats you'll still find the (sub)urban sprawl LA is famous for. I saw some quaint corners in this town but much of it seems to get choked by the relentless grip of housing development around it (pardon my drama). I digress.
I wrote earlier about the aquaintances I made on a few visits to the SYCRCC, who by now have been paroled and temporarily housed in a home with three other youth in transition. With the help and support of their supervisor, Tony and Will both found temporary part-time jobs and seem to be re-adjusting fine so far. This was my second trip to MV and like the first time, two weeks ago, this was about getting to know each other a little better. I picked them up at their friend Marco's house and we had lunch at a Hawaiian BBQ restaurant. First time I drove out there we took a short spin through Perris Lake State Park but it was too late to explore any of the trails. But this time we wouldn't be stopped.
After some initial reluctance was overcome and we finally found an actual trail, we embarked on a little hike through the rocks. There was one hilltop we wanted to conquer; steep enough, rocky enough for our ambitions, but only a few minutes after we left the car the trail already seemed to end. We kept walking through some mild shrubbery and some bigger rocks until, about half way to the top, sun about to set, we reminded ourselves of the large sign at the parking lot, which warned of aforementioned Mountain Lions in the dusk. And dusk it was and we were alone up there, on the high mountain. Long story short, we took an alternate route, not quite as challenging as The Peak itself but a good prep, scouting the terrain. We then found what we thought was the official trail to the top but this trail, my friends, we saved for next time. We'll get there. (You can check out a couple more photos here.)
I also had a great meeting this week with Caroline, a former fellow student of mine at CalArts. She's an excellent writer who often blends fact with fiction on the search for spirituality in a technology driven society, while passages of poetry create a heightened reality that can be quite illuminating. So while the writing team for the Citizen project is taking shape I'm working to get some contracts written up so Tony and Will can come on board to consult on this production. Both have read the treatment and I think generally like it, in fact I got the impression that they just want to get started already. We'll get together again in the coming weeks to discuss the story by means of the treatment and once a solid draft of the screenplay is ready, we can actually get down to business.
More reporting soon friends! We have some exciting, crucial months ahead of us.