Cardinal Chronicle / weekly campus column

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Barbara Palmer

"I'M BLOWN AWAY," SAID MARIA A. SANCHEZ, an administrative associate at the Hoover Institution, as admirers crowded around a table displaying her brilliantly colored Latin American-inspired artwork at the Multicultural Springfest last Thursday. Sanchez has been painting privately -- "in hiding" -- for 15 years and just recently began to show her work publicly. Born in El Salvador, Sanchez works with oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastels and gouache, and most of her works, like Chispa Carrier, tell a story. In that mixed-media work, Sanchez painted artist Frida Kahlo carrying on her head a basket of starry shapes representing chispas, or sparks. "My sparks are my ideas," said Sanchez. "I don't want to forget them." Sanchez, married and the mother of three children, has worked as a self-taught artist but currently is taking online art classes, she said. Sanchez hosts a website, www.sandiafria.com, where she displays and sells prints, hand-painted pots and other works. (You also can send Sanchez's work as a free e-greeting card from the website.)

DUSTY BOOKS -- OR RATHER R.T. CAARR III -- has done it again. Carr, a library associate, has published The Seal Man: An Autobiographical Diary and Scholarly Research Project, a sequel to his 2002 e-book, Dusty Books, Frontier Librarian. Both books are available at Carr's website, www.stanford.edu/~rtcarr. Like his first book, The Seal Man felicitously blends historical fact and Carr's imagination -- Carr based his narrative on a scrap of a story about a "seal man" discovered barking near the Cliff House in San Francisco in 1865. (The real "Seal Man" was a carnival performer, Carr said.) The two books are part of a planned trilogy, but each can be read separately, the author said. Although the life of Dusty Books is a bit more dramatic and intense than his own, "I suppose there is a lot of Dusty Books that is in me," Carr said. "Many of his beliefs I share wholeheartedly, as well as the love of a good story."

TICKETS NOW ARE ON SALE FOR WHAT has become an annual tradition for many faculty and staff: a pre-Independence Day celebration of fireworks, picnicking and New Orleans-style jazz with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band at Frost Amphitheater. More reason to celebrate: discounted tickets for the Friday, July 2, concert are available to university faculty and staff for $15 for adults, $6 for youths aged 15 and under, and $12 for students. (Regular ticket price is $36 for adults, $18 for youths.) Faculty and staff may buy up to two adult tickets and up to two youth or student tickets per household; tickets must be purchased in person at the Ticket Office in Tresidder Memorial Union. (Be sure to bring your faculty/staff ID card.) Gates open for picnicking at 5:30 p.m. and the concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. More information is available at http://livelyarts.stanford.edu . The discount does not apply to Stanford Hospital employees.

Write to Barbara Palmer at barbara.palmer@stanford.edu or mail code 2245.