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.
The last time I saw the A Reason To Listen Poetry Collective, poet Therese FitzMaurice was cooing about the dying of the sun, her hand on her big pregnant belly. The same voice mesmerizes during a rehearsal of "Wind," a piece in the collective's new show, Spoken Synergy: A Collaboration of Spoken Word, Music and Movement, on Saturday Nov. 23 at 7p.m. at Jambalaya ($10 sliding scale at the door). In "Wind," the words spoken by FitzMaurice and poet Laurie Birdsall mingle with Mary Thorton's flute and Ginny Ryde's English horn. Dancer Lacey Pipher enters like a visitor, both lulled and sent skittering. "The wind/ Rustled and turned/ Kissed the nape of my neck and replied," FitzMaurice whispers into the mic, "Here my darling."
The series of performance pieces combining spoken word, live instrumental music, singing and movement are all collaborative. The different elements actually make the poetry strikingly accessible to more than just the poetry savvy. Co-host Niko Sol, who contributed a 10-minute, three-act comedy play in which Jane sings a cappella to Tarzan, explains why there are no solos in the show. "We wanted to incorporate breaking boundaries as a group," he says, "... to pull in more of a community feeling." In the choral piece, "Structure of Learning," lines of poetry are spoken in harmony while on either side of the stage, dancers Melanie Quillen and Hanakekua Joao stand sentry, using their magenta hoops to create currents of shape and movement, creating a tableau of sound and emotion. Spoken word artists David Holper and Jerimiah Anderson, musicians Tommy FitzMaurice, Tim Lane and Lee Ryder and hoop dancer Joelle Jorissen complete the cast. The evening's music runs the gamut from English Horn to beat-boxed melodies. Join the cast on the dance floor with local band Likwefi and continue the party into the night with live art by Matt Beard. This isn't your junior year falling asleep in the back of English lit class while your teacher drones on about dead poets. If you already love poetry, you will be captivated. If you're not sure yet, take a chance — you'll be captivated, too.
You know that TED Talk you watched and live-tweeted and re-posted and how you wished we could do something like that here? Well, you might have magical powers, because on Sunday Nov. 17 at noon, 22 speakers are taking the stage at the Arcata Theatre Lounge for TEDxYouth@HumboldtBay ($50, $10 for people under 25).
It's a locally organized TED-esque event with that same brainy grassroots approach to getting people thinking and talking. This one, titled "Imagine > Ignite," is geared toward the under-25 set, and speakers include local luminaries and some very bright young things. You'll get schooled by a handful of high school students, cool science teacher David Haller, digital marketer Jeff Pimentel, Samba drum lord Jesse Jonathon Franzen, author Ray Raphael, artist Katie Texas, breakdancing teacher "Reckless" Rex Atienza and our own advice mistress, Jessicurl founder Jessica McGuinty (hey, girl). Can't make it to the show? Watch it streaming live at tedxyouthhumboldtbay.com.
Now see what you can do about wishing up a Korean barbecue place.
When somebody puts on a Mr. Humboldt pageant, you go. Beauty pageants are passé (does anybody even protest those things anymore?), but consider the possibilities. Dreads? Flannel? Tattoos? Indie musician or burly lumberjack? Hipster or hip waders? Mountain biker or mountain man? Trim beard or trim job? Go ahead and peruse the candidates, who range in age from still-getting-carded to riding-the-bus-for-free, on the Mr. Humboldt Facebook page. Better yet, let some of their names give you an image: Mr. Trees of Mystery, Mr. Bicycle Pimp, Mr. Redwood, The Rabbit Ranger and Mr. Short Shorts.
Then there are their talents, like eating stacks of pancakes, yo-yo tricks and puppetry. Hot. But really, you'll have to see all that Humboldt grass-fed beefcake in the flesh on Saturday Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Arcata Theatre Lounge. The whole farce will raise funds for Women's Crisis Shelter in Southern Humboldt, the Humboldt Literacy Project and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Coast. It's ironic and it's for charity, which means it is totally OK to ogle, objectify, rank, rate and have impure, sexist, un-PC, non-recyclable and non-fair-trade thoughts about the contestants. Have at it, folks.
Yeah but, unless she changes her last name to "Arkley" or abandons a dog litter…