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A year of arts and lifestyle

How many book series did you fall in love with in 2010? Did you find yourself asking the server to put the dressing on the side? And did you ever think about what it might mean if you like Picassos compared to handicrafts? Find out what trends local experts in art, entertainment and lifestyle embraced in 2010.­­

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Posted: Friday, December 17, 2010 10:56 am

Nobody wants to give up the perks of a good lifestyle, even if they are facing tough economic times. There are still books to splurge on, art that can’t hang anywhere but in your home and food cravings you can’t resist. Local foodies, artists, writers and musicians agree that while people are being careful and cutting back, some are willing to splurge while others find alternatives. Smart spending was a big trend in 2010, but local experts have noticed some other trends in their fields over the year.

The Dining Scene

Diners aren’t afraid to put their health first

Ten years ago, you might have ordered a dish just the way the chef created it. Now, however, restaurateurs are aware that you want options.

“One thing that we have noticed is people are making better choices in what they’re eating,” said Ruben Larrazolo, owner of Alebrijes Mexican Bistro.

Larrazolo has always prided himself on using fresh ingredients and offering variety, but now he is doing it more than he ever has. He is concentrating on cutting back on fats and things the body doesn’t need as much of. He is instead putting a larger effort on vegetable dishes, better quality meat and variety.

White rice used to be standard, now brown rice is requested  just as often. And though pinto beans are standard in Mexican cuisine, Larrazolo says more people are opting for the more nutritious black bean.

Larrazolo is pleased his customers are being health- conscious. He says he can still provide the quality that his customers have come to love.

“We don’t comprimise the cuisine ... . We still bring the flavor to the table,” he said.

Picasso or Handicraft?

2010 created over-the-top art buyers and frugal ones who fell in love with handmade

The way people bought art changed in 2010. People want extravagant and classic. But they also want original and handmade.

As Lodi sculptor Samuel Bassett sees it, the wealthy went over the top, whether they were buying larger-than-ever yachts, traveling by jet or commanding record prices of art and jewelry. At the same time, however, Americans who he describes as having zero net worth sought smaller, more efficient living spaces, clothing designed with value in mind and cars that are less expensive to buy and maintain. For that group, art and travel, when they are considered at all, Bassett said, they are sought at a bargain.

“The trends in art and design seem to be moving in two opposite directions because of the growing disparity between the very rich and the economic stress of the majority of Americans,” Bassett said.

Because of this, he noticed this year that designers — from jewelry to homes — are designing for the very rich.

“That’s where the money is,” he said.

Robin Knowlton, owner of Knowlton Gallery, has also seen a shift in the way people are buying art. 

“People are purchasing less but looking for quality — not so much bling, but more of a classic look,” Knowlton said.

Artist and Lodi Art Center member Caroline Henry says in 2010, while coming out of a bad economy, people are valuing personal and unique pieces of art — most of which happen to be affordable.

“I’m seeing a trend toward people valueing original art, in a way of valueing hand-crafted items,” said Henry, who has seen examples of this in her travels and art blogs.

And while there is a deep seperation between what most people can afford and the high-priced items designers are creating, Bassett says that out of 2010 a big boom is coming for new spaces in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and even Sacramento. 

“The gallery renovation of the Haggin Museum in Stockton and the important shows being staged there is an exponential improvement for local audiences ... . Robin Knowlton’s monthly exhibits are invariably exquisite,” he said.

The Lodi Community Art Center has also succeeded in presenting fresh monthly shows featuring many media and styles. 

“Local artists are meeting the economic challenge with more imagination and affordable work than ever,” Bassett said.

A Love of Lit

A year to fall deeper in love with characters

When it comes to books in 2010, it’s simple: there were vampires and there was a girl with a dragon tattoo, who also happen to play with fire and kick a hornet’s nest.

What do they have in common? It’s the same thing that Lodi romance writer Susan Crosby says she’s noticed in the literary genre: books written in a series are fun to read and easy to sell.

Crosby follows this trend even when writing her own books.

“For several years now I’ve been linking three books into a series, because I’ve found that readers love connected stories,” Crosby said. “As a writer, I like the fact I don’t have to give up my beloved characters at the end of a book, but get to keep them around and intertwine them into a couple other stories.”

While she writes romance, a hugely popular genre, she knows what is working in the publishing world. She says vampires are still big, Amish romances have taken off and crossover young adult/adult books have gone wild.

Lodi Music

Radio killed the jazz musician

For Lodi jazz musician Travis Vega, 2010 offered bad with the good in terms of music. 

Effecting him the most is the fact that radio stations have stopped playing smooth jazz. 

“Radio stations have pulled the plug,” Vega said.

In popular music, however, he’s noticed a new kind of fusion.

“I’ve noticed this blend of hip-hop/R&B/indie pop rock have merged and created a new off shoot of music,” he said.

However, he is considered about the music of today because he says it lacks longevity.

“In this era of download and forget, it becomes harder for something that has staying power rather than something that is a hot fad for the second,” he said. “No one will have t   his music and remember these artists in the coming months and years.”

Contact Lodi Living editor Lauren Nelson at



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