February 2013

Financial executive to pastry chef to community volunteer may not be the usual path to photography but it’s the one that Menlo Park resident Irene Searles has taken. It began with two classes at Stanford and then some one-on-one mentoring with photographer Neal Menschel. It’s paid off in an exhibit at the new Freewheel Brewery, which plans to host ongoing art exhibits to enjoy with a pint of ale.

Irene took the photos while the Brewery, which is co-owned by her husband Malcolm McGinnis and three partners, was under construction. She explains: “It was my mentor project with Neal. I shot in color but converted to black and white because the subject matter lent itself to black and white. I saw details that I hadn’t noticed when I was taking the shots.”

Irene took about 2,000 photographs over the course of construction, and Neal reviewed about 1,000 of them. “We had weekly meetings so that he could give me feedback about different perspectives, shooting from different angles,” she says. “Our goal was to balance construction details along with portraits.”

Freewheel Brewery under construction by Irene Searles

The resulting show was 33 photographs, which Irene’s mentor group helped narrow down from 200 to the top 50. Neal and Irene make the final selection, without consulting Malcolm or his business partners.

“My real interest is taking portraits [which she does frequently for InMenlo] and using photography for social good,” she says. “I’m going on a trip this month to Myanmar led by photographer Mark Tuschman. We’re going early to visit two NGOs doing work there. Using the camera to show people’s circumstances — that’s what I hope to do when I grow up — or rather when my kids grow up!”

Photo of Irene Searles by Scott R. Kline (c) 2013

Photo of Brewery builder Vincent Johnson by Irene Searles

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Author Claire Mack is featured speaker celebrating Women’s History Month on March 2

Former San Mateo mayor Claire Mack, a long-time community advocate and broadcasting professional, will discuss her life and new book — Sister Samms and Sister Johnson, The Neighborhood on Saturday — on March 2 from 11:00 am to noon at the Menlo Park Council Chambers, 701 Laurel Street. The book is the story of two women who […]

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Stuart Weiss works to re-introduce the Bay Checkerspot Butterfly to Edgewood Park

Conservation biologist Stuart Weiss (pictured above) first roamed the hills of what is now Edgewood Park when he was an undergrad at Stanford, producing his honor thesis on the area. Later he became involved in saving the land from becoming a golf course. Now, in activities that help celebrate the Park’s 20th anniversary, he’s working […]

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Violinist Stephen Waarts plays Prokofiev on March 2

Violinist Stephen Waarts, who is just 16, will play Violin Concerto No. 1 by Serge Prokofiev on March 2 starting at 7:30 pm at Trinity Church in Menlo Park. The program also includes Debussy: Petite Suite, Mendelssohn:  Reformation Symphony, Wieniawski: Polonaise Brilliante No. 1, Op. 4 In D Major and Tchaikovsky: Valse-Scherzo In C Major For Violin and Orchestra, Op.34. […]

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Hillview School performs HONK! – a fun musical for the whole family

We stopped by Hillview School over the President’s Day weekend where a hearty band of about 40 kids were ignoring the four days off to prepare for the school’s spring musical, HONK!, under the guidance of new drama teacher Bill Hairston (pictured above) who joined the faculty last fall. Bill, a classically trained actor who […]

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Guy Kawasaki is speaking at e-reading event at Menlo Park Library on March 2

The Menlo Park Library will be showcasing what’s new in e-books for adults and kids on March 2 from noon to 3:00 pm. Get one-on-one demos and learn how to download and read thousands of e-books from the library onto your mobile device or laptop. Learn about lots of other great sources for e-books and […]

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Spotted: Poster for “lost fat cat” in the Willows

Photographer Laura Hamilton send this photo to InMenlo with the following note: “These are posted all over the Willows neighborhood. Thought it was humorous!” We’re hoping the bit of whimsy is helpful in finding Tiger.

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Trish Mitchell helps men make fashion sense of their wardrobe

Menlo Park resident Trish Mitchell has had a lifelong interest in “doing little businesses” — she even started a beading business with a classmate when she was a student at Hillview School. Today, one of her businesses is selling the J Hilburn line of men’s clothing, which she has been doing for the past two and […]

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Library book sale scheduled for March 2

The Friends of the Menlo Park Library will be hosting a book sale on Saturday, March 2 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Exceptional quality books for the entire family will be featured in two rooms at the Arrillaga Family Recreation Center, located across the library parking lot and next to the gym. Art & […]

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Here are tonight’s Oscar picks, courtesy of M-A student journalist Ryan Wentz

Tonight, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will host the 85th Academy Awards  – officially rebranded this year as The Oscars. Though only a handful of films have been selected to represent the year’s best, 2012 was an extraordinary year in Hollywood. Blockbusters like The Dark Knight Rises and The Hunger Games attracted flocks […]

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Is “The Impossible” possible? – USGS public lecture on Feb. 28

The movie The Impossible graphically depicts destruction caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami which resulted in catastrophic loss of life and property. USGS geographer Nathan Wood will explore whether The Impossible is possible in the Pacific Northwest at a USGS public lecture on Thursday, Feb. 28 at 7:00 pm where you can learn about which […]

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