Sweet Anise


Nov. 24, 1969 to Jan. 1, 2019

Anise Mouette Stevens, 49, of Pasadena, a noted critic and essayist focused on the Los Angeles art community, gently passed from this life on Jan. 1, 2019, after a long and ferocious battle with recurring cancer. Ms. Stevens’ lifelong passion for the visual arts was evident in her frequent contributions on emerging Los Angeles artists for publications such as Artillery and Aeqai, and the lifestyle website, Life in L.A. She was recognized for her support and recognition of artists from underserved communities. As an emerging visual artist herself, Ms. Stevens’ paintings were recently featured in several gallery collections.

Previously, Ms. Stevens had been a professor in the Los Angeles Community College system from 2002 to 2016, with a particular commitment to serving students transitioning from marginal schools to continuing education.Ms. Stevens short play, “Trust Me,” was premiered in New York in 1999 at the American Theater of Actors, and was performed the following year in Los Angeles at The Brand New Theater. That work was included in the anthology, “Best New Short Plays of 1999.” Her academic writings have appeared in numerous journals and peer reviews.A 1998 graduate of Loyola Marymount with a BA degree in English Literature, Ms. Stevens then earned her MFA in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California in 2000. In 2003 she was awarded a full fellowship at the National Writing Project at California State University/Los Angeles.She is survived by a son, Cyan Sanders; her husband, Harold Sanders of Pasadena; mother, Martha Stevens of Studio City; her father, Edmond Stevens of Pasadena; step-father, George Shea, also of Studio City; step-mother, Bernadette Murphy of Pasadena, and numerous step-brothers and sisters, and cousins. A celebration of life is pending and the family requests donations in her memory be made to the Cancer Support Community of Pasadena.


My own memories:

Anise and I go back 25 years- we met in a French class at LACC - two hipster punk girls trying to go back to school and better ourselves. I met her at a time when I had hit rock bottom and friends seemed to be falling by the wayside. Her friendship got me through those times- I swear I don’t know what would have happened to me if I had not met her when I did. She had a way of being there without trying to fix you, minimizing your problems, judging you, or expecting any­thing back from you. She just was there. We would go in and out of each other's life as we got busy in other directions- (I dropped out of school, but she continued and got her Masters degree, and became a professor of creative writing and an award winning playwright and art critic) - but more than ANY other single person I have known in my life- inevitably, we'd be back on the same path, in each other’s life. So many years of being hipster art scene girls- then getting married in our late 30’s, then having our beautiful children.I remember crying so much about 3 years ago when her cancer came back aggressively- But she fought SO damn hard. I knew she wasn't going to win- but she was doing a damn good job of stalling it. I got used to this new Anise- that was a little scattered and emotional, always tired- ( so opposite of old Anise!) but was beating the odds! She lost her battle yesterday morning, as her stepmom put it, as a parade of flowers started outside her window. (She lived across the street from the Tournament of Roses house. So perfect). Damn it, she texted that she was a little tired but we would go for coffee and get the kids together over Christmas break. It’s been such a long battle but still so hard to accept.My heart goes out to her parents, her extended family and friends that I never got to meet - and especially her lovely son and her husband who will be raising him without her. I hope Violet and Cyan (yes, we both named our beautiful Leos colors!), will continue to be friends forever...

Edit to add a link about her service:
From her uncle’s blog (Jim Friedrich) who presided over her service.

And a link to her website, that includes her writings as an art critic.

Spring in Mammoth Lakes

Yes, it's true, I kind of abandoned this blog for awhile.  Yes, I have taken photos, but I have not posted them here.  Life got a little hectic, and photography was just not a priority.  Although, like I mentioned, I was taking photos - sometimes life just gets a little haphazard, family issues arise, and focusing on family comes first.

Now the dust is beginning to settle, and I realize how much I miss my camera. Yes, I shot a few family photos for Christmas cards - and done some headshots, but I miss doing photography for the fun of doing photography!  I originally explored photography as a fine artist, and ultimately, that is where my heart is.  I miss it!

Anyway, I realized I hadn't taken photos of my daughter since she turned 9 - and she is already on the verge of turning 10!  Thought that would be a good excuse just to get out my camera and loosen up a bit.  My daughter is always a wonderful muse, and she is growing up too quickly!  So, it is good to get photos before she has completely grown.

We've been going up to Mammoth Lakes a lot lately, and my daughter snowboards. So, I thought I'd do a photo session with her in her snowboard gear!  Nothing fancy, she is wearing a jacket from K-Mart - but this is her style!  Many times when she was younger, I'd want to style her and pick her clothes, buy a fancy dress, etc.  This time, I just wanted to photograph her as is.  Even though I wanted to venture back into my photography, this time my core inspiration, was thinking as a mother - not a past art school student!  I know many years from now, this will be how I want to remember her.  Not in a fancy dress she never wore any other time.

We also stopped at Convict Lake on the way up.  We had never been before!  The scenery was stunning!  Well, my daughter snuck on some of my lipstick when I wasn't paying attention - and even though I wiped it off, it left a bit of a stain!  Other than that, I just wanted to photograph her as is.  Okay, I admit it, I have a good looking kid, and between that and the scenery, I had fun doing photos again...