If you received an e-mail newsletter recently titled "Looking at Lodi," you have seen the work of Rick Buchler.
The Lodi arts commissioner is not only the new chairman of marketing and public relations for the arts group (a position that was in hibernation for many years now), but he is the creator of this e-mail newsletter, which lets people know about upcoming Lodi area arts-related events.
An avid ballroom dancer, he joined the Lodi Arts Commission last June and is currently serving a three-year term.
Buchler, 33, lives in Lodi with his wife Karen.
Q: What inspired you to join the Lodi Arts Commission?
A: I've only been in Lodi for three years and I wanted to find a way to get involved in the community. I saw an ad in the paper and decided to join.
Q: What is missing from the Lodi arts scene?
A: There are a lot of artistic people in the community and there's a lot of enthusiasm. People just need to know more about what is happening in the community, like Art on the Square. That's what prompted me to get the newsletter going. So far, I send it out to 150 people, but if anyone wants to be added to the e-mail list, they can send an e-mail to email@example.com. The newsletter is sent every month or more often as there are more arts events. It's a way for the arts commission to advertise for itself in an inexpensive manner.
Q: What's your arts background?
A: Ballroom dance has been a big part of my life since college. I got into it when my girlfriend dragged me kicking and screaming to a class and I've been dancing ever since.
Q: Was it initially easy to learn?
A: No, I was horrible, but I still enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun. After my undergrad, I was living in Portland, Ore. and was out dancing and was approached by someone from the Arthur Miller Dance Studio who wanted to bring me on as a teacher. I laughed but I thought about it and then went to work for Fred Astaire Dance Studio instead. I competed professionally for three years and taught dance - initially beginners and then more advanced students.
Q: Do you still dance?
A: Lately not as much as we'd like to, but my wife and I take West Coast Swing classes in Sacramento.
Q: What is your favorite dance?
A: The fox trot and the waltz because you move around the floor.
Q: Who are your favorite dancers?
A: I can't say that I have any but anyone with the nerve to get out there and dance.
Q: Why do you think more men don't get involved in dance?
A: Criticism from their wives or significant others. I've seen that when teaching couples. If women would just be more quiet, there would be a lot more dancing in the world. Dancing is more natural for women. Men are more analytical and it takes them longer to pick it up. It helps if the female doesn't offer advice and lets the man go at his own speed. Positive reinforcement is always good.
Q: Do you have any favorite dancing movies or television shows?
A: Anything by Baz Luhrmann. He did "Moulin Rouge" and "Strictly Ballroom," which is hysterical. His movies are always a lot of fun and he does a good job of matching the mood of the music with the dance.
Q: What are your goals as an arts commissioner?
A: By the time my term is up, I hope there is more community involvement. That people not only know what is going on, but that they get more involved or just support more of the arts events.
Q: Do you have a favorite Lodi event that you like to attend as a spectator?
A: Anything involving Lodi wine tasting.