Hang on to your ideologies, people — Naomi Klein is coming. The bestselling author, anti-globalization activist and all-around international liberal powerhouse is guaranteed to take your coffeehouse and dinner table debates to the next level. If you've read her articles in The Nation or seen footage of her speaking to the masses at the Occupy Wall Street protests or getting cuffed at the White House, you have some idea of the impassioned speech you'll hear on Friday, Dec. 6, at the Van Duzer Theatre at 7 p.m. ($25, $5 HSU students).
Klein's 2000 book No Logo takes on global capitalism and dunks hard on companies like Nike for their trade and labor practices overseas. In Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism she posits theories about how governments and corporations take advantage of traumatized citizens in the wake of disasters (Katrina, the war in Iraq), installing self-serving policies and economic systems under the guise of emergency measures.
Klein has her dukes up over global warming and fossil fuels, too (hence the White House perp walk). The book she's typing away at these days goes into not only the damage wrought by right-wing denialists, but also by the failures and selling out of Big Green groups. And yet Klein is a kind of optimist, seeing climate change as a potential catalyst for revolution. Get a good seat — it should be radical.
Living among the redwoods, it's not often we're impressed by a "big" Christmas tree. (Yes, Rockefeller Center, your tree is very big. Yawn.) But a tree lighting is another thing altogether. If you've ever wrestled with a tangle of lights or risked electrical shock while struggling to fix a strand that just won't turn on, the instant gratification of flipping a switch and firing up the holiday glow is marvelous. It's also a chance to catch Santa, who's doing the whole circuit.
Thursday, Dec. 5, is kind of a big day for PG&E. At 4 p.m., McKinleyville's Safeway shopping center hosts a holiday craft fair with a tree that's all dressed up and ready to shine. There will be music and goodies to keep you warm and Santa will be riding in on a fire truck, so be on your best behavior.
Poor Santa. He'll have to get that belly full of jelly over to Eureka by 5 p.m. for the tree lighting at the gazebo in Old Town. Of course, he navigates the entire planet on Christmas Eve, so he's probably got the Safety Corridor handled.
A mittenful of cookies and a photo op later, the big man heads to Fortuna for the tree lighting and Holiday Open House at Strongs Creek Plaza. The tallest living Christmas tree is already lit up in Ferndale — maybe swing by and see it when Santa makes his Main Street debut on Saturday at 10:30 a.m.
As lovely as it sounds to wake up earlier than a special ops squad and be pressed to the glass doors of a big retailer, only to be hip-checked by some aggressive shopper, there are alternatives to Black Friday madness.
You could stay home and relax with a hot cup of coffee and a cold slice of leftover pumpkin pie. But if you really need to get that holiday shopping going, maybe try someplace a little mellower than a parking lot full of bargain hunters pawing the ground before the stampede. How about going handmade? The Folks Craft Fair is on at the Ferndale Veterans Memorial building on Friday at 10 a.m. (free), and Saturday brings the Holiday Indie Craft Show benefiting the Trinidad Library at Trinidad Hall at 10:30 a.m. ($2) and the Mad River Grange hosts the Christmas Art and Craft Fair from 11 a.m. (free).
Or you can take Small Business Saturday to the next level. Get your Arcata Plaza Passport stamped (pick one up in a shop on the plaza) and you'll have a chance to win an iPad Mini or one of six prize baskets with all kinds of local swag. Shop at one of Fortuna's 75 participating businesses for free passes to The Smurfs and Arthur's Christmas, showing on Dec. 7 and Dec. 21 at the Fortuna Theater. Oh, and the movies are chaperoned, so you can drop the kids off and get them later. See? Shopping doesn't have to hurt.
Are you done with your turkey? Good, because Saaaannntaaaaa!
A big guy in a red suit isn't that hard to find, but you do need to know where to look. Santa starts making the rounds in Humboldt this week, so charge your camera, knock back a mug of hot chocolate and go see a man about a rocking horse.
Early birds can visit St. Nick with fellow suspender enthusiasts when he kicks off the toy drive at the Bayshore Mall with an entourage of firefighters on Friday Nov. 29 at 10 a.m. Bring a donation for a needy child and keep yourself in the Nice column. Can't face the mall on the busiest day of the year? Santa feels you. Catch him later at the gazebo in Old Town from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. the same day.
And don't worry if you can't make it this week, because Santa is all over the place this season (check the Holiday Heads Up for his other scheduled stops). Seriously — you'd better not pout.
You know, there are other ways to celebrate Thanksgiving besides watching football and shotgunning gravy.
If you're vegetarian, vegan or vegetari-ish, whip up your best animal-product-free side dish and trot it over to the Humboldt Vegetarian Society's Thanksgiving potluck at the Humboldt Area Foundation on Sunday Nov. 24 at 2 p.m. (free). It's sure to give you some new ideas for your holiday table (you're better than that old nut loaf recipe — branch out). Take along your own service, too and spare the landfill the extra paper plates.
On Thanksgiving morning, get out of the house and breathe some fresh sea air at Trinidad Head during the blessing of the fleet (10 a.m., free). The local fishing boat crews will be in attendance to give thanks to the ocean and get some good seafood mojo going. It's tradition, and it beats fighting with Aunt Carol over mashing or slicing the canned cranberry sauce.
Thanksgiving is like the Olympics of eating, except it's every year, and it's not about competition so much as family and indulgence, and most Olympiads probably don't collapse on the couch holding their stuffing baby when it's all over. If you're planning some epic power eating, you might want to do something a little more physical to make room. How about a lap around the Arcata Marsh? Meet at the Wildlife Interpretive Center at 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving with your walking shoes on and get moving (free). Or be at the Old Town gazebo for the 5K Turkey Trot at 9 a.m. ($10 or $20 with a shirt, registration from 7:30 a.m.).
No feast to go to? Not true! You are a welcome guest at the Logger Bar's potluck at noon and at Arcata Community Center, where local chef Luke Patterson is dishing it out for free from noon until 3 p.m. And you can always call and arrange to give a hand at St. Vincent De Paul (445-9588) and the Rescue Mission (445-3787), where the staff and volunteers serve those in need year round.
The Humboldt Bay Mycological Society puts the fun in fungi. Its annual mushroom fair is on Sunday Nov. 24 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Redwood Acres Fairgrounds, where hundreds of species from the truffle-y to the trippy will be on display ($2, $1 children 10-16, free for kids under 10).
Foraging for wild produce is all the rage, but if everything you know about mushrooms is what you learned from Alice in Wonderland, a little expert guidance might be in order. Local spore czars will be on hand to teach you and the kids about toxicity, hunting, cooking and even growing your own mushrooms. In fact, before you sauté that little spotted thing you found in the yard, bring it in to be ID'd by one of the society's shroom Sherpas.
Yes, you Googled it, but do you want to put your life in the hands of the same Internet that keeps asking you to send money to Nigerian ex-generals?
Besides, a visit to the emergency room won't get you a cool mushroom T-shirt.
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