Steve Wilson
Steve Wilson

If I were to offer up a descriptive sentence regarding the city’s newly upgraded main thoroughfare, it would be peppered with adjectives leading to superlatives and culminating with comparatives; i.e. “Like the revitalization seen in Old Town in Salinas, the City of King is near completion of a downtown project, which makes for a safe and serene main corridor of business, and may be safer and more serene that other Valley towns; in fact, I would go as far as to say it is the safest and most peaceful of all downtown areas in Monterey County.” That sentence encompasses all three types of descriptive modes, and it speaks the truth.

I do not know if the city will hold any type of grand opening, ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the final completion of this phase of downtown revitalization, as there is more to come with a roundabout set to replace King City’s only streetlight and with the Downtown Plaza across Vanderhurst Street from the library well underway, but it would be nice for residents to gather somewhere when that project is complete.

I suggest this because closing Broadway from Russ Street to Second Street and let folks just walk the whole area and take in the color coordination of buildings and awnings (an unsightly cacophony of palates a decade ago) and the spacious intersections, brightly marked crosswalks, landscaped patches next to benches, trash and recycle receptacles. And for more convenience there are four-seat tables for outdoor dining near some eateries.

Also adding a touch of agricultural heritage are the new wind art pieces. The whole scene offers a nice downtown shopping and dining experience for residents and visitors; with much more come in the coming years. Stay tuned.

Before moving on to the above-mentioned ballet, I want to cite something of interest to a couple of us here in KC. What is the legal name of our main thoroughfare? In the oldest reference I have seen, supplied to me by Karen Jernigan, is a Minot map dated in the late 1800s, which uses Broadway and Broadway only, without the added Street. I have always maintained that a broad way is contracted to Broadway so adding the word street is redundant.

So, when, and who, added the word street? Was it a legal move made by a past city council, or a cartographer who added it to another map, or maybe just a reporter’s use in an article? Someone somewhere along the way is responsible for our present use of Broadway Street and some of us would like to know the answer to this question.


“Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Peter Pan” are storying most audiences know, with “The Nutcracker Ballet” the best known, and all have been performed locally by the Monterey County Dance Theatre (MCDT) along with ballets designed specifically for the troupe. But few of us know the story of “Giselle,” which comes to the Robert Stanton Stage this coming weekend.

This ballet is a look at the darker side of life, a departure from normal light ballets we know, and is considered one of the most challenging ballets to dance. For a quick look at the story, I offer this precis: Act I opens with a grape harvest in the Middle Ages in Rhineland where Duke Albrecht of Silesia, disguised as a humble villager name Loys, has fallen in love with a shy, beautiful peasant girl named Giselle, even though he is engaged to Bathilde, the daughter of a duke. Giselle loves to dance, but because she has a weak heart, is discouraged against it by her mother. Taking advantage of his hidden persona, Loys woos the innocent Giselle and captures her heart while a gamekeeper named Hilarion, who is also in love with Giselle, watches with suspicion.

A group of noblemen, Bathilde among them, looking for refreshment after a hunt enter the village, which causes Loys to flee the scene lest he be recognized. While the villagers dance for the nobleman group, Hilarion finds the disguised prince’s hidden sword and horn, which he blows calling the hunting party back to the village where Loys is revealed as a prince betrothed to Bathilde. The love-struck Giselle realizes her love for Albrecht is in vain and goes into a frenzied dance, which ends in her death. Giselle is buried in the forest.

In Act II we meet the Wilis and their merciless queen Myrtha. The Wilis are spirits of women who have been rejected in love and at night come out to harass any man who steps into their forest realm and upon waking her soul, Giselle is inducted into their clan. On this night Hilarion and Albrecht separately come to Giselle’s grave where both become subjects of the Wilis’ ire. They chase Hilarion away from the grave, make him dance until near death, and then drown him in a nearby lake.

When Albrecht arrives with flowers to mourn over Giselle’s death, he also becomes a target of the Wilis but is saved by Giselle whose love for him did not die with her body and he is saved. At peace knowing she has saved the man she loved, Giselle returns to her grave in eternal peace.

All the above is information one can find on various sources online; that is how I was able to offer the above synopsis. But I have an edge. My ninth appearance in nine years in a MCDT production was in last year’s “The Nutcracker Ballet,” many of the little elementary aged girls of my first performance are now in high school, some about to graduate and move on. And in the past couple years some very talented boys and men have added much to performances. I know what this troupe can do. This weekend I will join the audience and watch them bring “Giselle” to life. If you have never attended a ballet, this is the one to start with.

Take care. Peace.

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King City and Greenfield columnist Steve Wilson may be reached at [email protected].


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