Our people: Taking center stage

Courtesy photo Mendoza and her aunt Rachel Cassillas do everything together, Mendoza said.

Name: Christy Mendoza

Birthday: Nov. 28, 1949

Hometown: Clovis

Profession: Film and theater instructor and director, Clovis Community College Cultural Arts Series director

Family: My mom Mary Mendoza and my aunt Rachel Cassillas

Christy Mendoza was born in Los Angeles. She moved to Clovis when she was 10 years old. She splits her time between work at Clovis Community College and taking care of her aunt Rachel, who has Down Syndrome.

Tell us about your pets: My dog Rudy just died after 18 years. He was healthy except for old age. He’s been in plays with me. He was in a movie as Vampiki, a killing vampire dog.

What do you think about Clovis? I like Clovis. Clovis is extremely warm and open and inviting and easy to live in. After living in big cities, Clovis is a wonderful place to be for simple reasons. As a teenager, I hated it but now I find it ideal. I guess you could say I have a crush on Clovis. I believe you need to see beyond things to enjoy things. If you get into the little things, you’ll enjoy wherever you are.

Who is your favorite entertainer? It depends on my mood. Earlier today I was in a Yo-Yo Ma mood. Then I was in a D.W. Griffith mood. It changes as to what I’m doing. I love playwrights like Sam Shepherd. I’ve loved him since college. And Judy Garland. I’ve always been a fan of hers. I enjoy her work as both an actor and singer.

Tell us a story about your childhood: Growing up in L.A., I was the only child for a long time. I would sit and play for hours with building blocks and I had a big bag of farm and circus animals. I would build cities and roads and create marriages and have a mayor of my city. This was before Sim City. And the marriages would be mixed marriages. There would be a chicken and a pig who had a cow baby. But then there were whole chicken families. I would act out scenarios. I was probably ready to start directing right then.

If money were no object, what would you do to make the world a better place? I would probably look through education and try to come up with programs so we could understand more of the world we live in. Programs to help people understand media and how it affects them. Media and film can be manipulative and I think people need to know that. That area and critical thinking and more art programs in schools. Arts education is important. I’m a big believer in that.

Tell us about your greatest individual accomplishment: It’s very important to me to be back in Clovis doing the Cultural Arts Series and directing plays. Clovis had never had this before. I really feel the Cultural Arts Series is important to the growth of Clovis. It’s important to bring this back to Clovis and our theater program to bring people an outlet. There was a time in Clovis when if you wanted to do something creative you had to move. It’s important that there are possibilities here now.

What is your favorite smell? I love the smell of cedar burning in a fire place. And pinion wood burning too. I love the smells of New Mexico. It reminds me of the warmth of home.

What’s your favorite part about your job? I like it all. As the Cultural Arts Series director, I like to watch the audience. I love to that. I love to see their reaction. I also enjoy teaching the Internet television classes where I am teaching students who are everywhere. I love introducing them to films they’ve never seen and they love them. I enjoy seeing things anew through their eyes.

Who would you invite to a fantasy dinner party and why? Leonardo Da Vinci because I am fascinated by his creative mind. Cole Porter because every party needs someone who can play piano. Oscar Wilde because every party needs a little wit. Marco PolIo because I want him to tell ma all about The Silk Road. My Great-great-great Grandfather on my mother’s side. I’d like to know more about my family. Steve McQueen … because he’s Steve McQueen. And my friend Dr. Kathy (Gunnels) Willingham because she is the perfect hostess.