Tag Archive for Class of 1979

Behind the Beard: Cooper ’79 Captures Images, Stories of Professional Santa Clauses

santa book

Ron Cooper ’79 is the author and photographer of We Are Santa.

A couple years ago, Ron Cooper ’79, a retired corporate executive-turned-travel, documentary, and portrait photographer, was in New Mexico to photograph cowboys, Civil War re-enactors, gunslingers, and snake-handlers. After completing the shoot, one of the subjects asked if he could show Cooper a very different character that he also portrayed.

“I agreed and he went to change. He came back as Santa Claus in a terrific Western-style Santa suit, complete with bolo tie. As it turns out, he had a side gig during the holiday season as Santa Claus at a shopping mall in Albuquerque,” Cooper recalled. “Not long after that, I saw a news story about the Charles W. Howard Santa School, a venerable institution that’s been around since 1937 and has trained hundreds of professional Santas. Then I learned that Santa Claus is the most photographed character in the world. I’ve always been interested in meeting and photographing people who follow their passions, especially when those passions take them outside of, or beyond, the realm of their daily lives.”

Arkin ’82 Interviews Mastrogiovanni ’79 on “Creative Conversations” Series

arkin show

On Oct. 26, Matthew Arkin ’82 interviewed author Heidi Mastrogiovanni ’79 on his YouTube show “Creative Conversations.”

Mastrogiovanni is the author of the comedic novel Lala Pettibone’s Act Two (finalist for the Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Awards) and the sequel, Lala Pettibone: Standing Room Only. The prequel in the trilogy, Lala Pettibone: Curtain Up, will be released next year.

As a graduate of Wesleyan, Mastrogiovanni chose to have all of the protagonists in her novels be alumni of her alma mater.

With James Napoli (The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm), Mastrogiovanni is co-host of the “Movies Not Movies” comedy podcast. A dedicated animal welfare advocate, Mastrogiovanni lives in Los Angeles, Calif., with her husband and their rescued senior dogs.