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July 7, 2005
Behind the Stage Door

From the Lost Coast to the Edge


"It's been an incredibly busy four days at the Ferndale Rep," said technical director Daniel Lawrence. And he wasn't kidding.

Saturday night, Lost Coast Live, sponsored by DC3 Entertainment, KHUM and Paste Magazine, brought two incredible young performers to the old Hart Theater -- redecorated with floor-to-ceiling drapes, thousands of dollars of sound and lights, flickering candles and a rear-projection screen. Ferndale Repertory Theatre staff, the Ferndale Rotary Club and an army of uniformed volunteers stood ready to serve drinks and sell piles of event merchandise and the artists' CDs.Photo from Edgefest Cabaret 2005

After a brief biographical film, Tommy Sims, a singer-songwriter originally from Chicago, launched into a review of his work. Some songs, like the Grammy Award winning "Streets of Philadelphia," were recorded by famous artists. Others were tender ballads from his heart to the ears of the Almighty. The delightful refrains of "100" and "The Ballad of Sophie" captured the Ferndale audience. They were charmed, engaged and entranced -- clapping and begging for more when the lights came up at intermission.

Humboldt Shadows for Edgefest Cabaret 2005,
Tues., July 12, in Blue Lake.

Next up was the phenomenal guitar and creative lyrics of Willy Porter, who has opened for several top names. Porter's lyrics are less spiritual, more folksy and it took him a song or two to get the crowd in his pocket. They were still deep in their hearts and didn't shift over to the faster beat and younger focus of his work until he wrote a song just for them -- about sex on a fire truck while the cows take note -- and was presented with a Ferndale Volunteer Fire Department sweater in appreciation. I hope KHUM plays Porter's "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" and Sims' "100," "The Ballad of Sophie" and "It Don't Matter to the Sun" until all of Humboldt knows the words by heart.

Both men came out for an encore demanded by nonstop clapping, stomping and whistling as the audience voiced their appreciation for two incredible performances.

"All the proceeds of Lost Coast Live will go to our local Community Chest, Rotary, the Theatre and other causes," said Ron Cohn, a KHUM radio personality. He added that the next Lost Coast Live will be in September and will probably sell out just like this one did. Keep visiting their web site for advance notice:

Next up was the Rep's annual Fourth of July Parade, where fiberglass cows, Shriners, old cars, modern fire trucks, Miss Liberty, a stilt-walking Uncle Sam and dozens of local groups and individuals added to the ambience. As part of its fundraising weekend, the Rep served an old-fashioned barbecue on the town green and then everyone with tickets returned to the theater for an unabashedly patriotic celebration, Celebrate America! The Scotia Band and the Chameleon Singers traded tunes, interspersed with historic and humorous readings and presentations by Bob Clark, Vikki Young and Marilyn McCormick. Balloons fell as part of the grand finale and happy theatergoers streamed out, toes still tapping and minds still singing along with the band.

If you're in Ferndale next Fourth of July, call ahead to 786-LIVE and reserve a ticket. This was the first time I saw "Celebrate America!" but it won't be the last.

Next week the excitement switches back to Blue Lake, as Dell'Arte presents Edgefest 2005, a non-stop kaleidoscope of events at their Carlo Theater. Performances include the fast-paced puppetry of Humboldt Shadows (Tuesday, July 12, 8:00 p.m.), the quirky physical comedy of Ms. Hilary Chaplain (Wednesday, July 13, 8:00 p.m.), an incredible two-person show from the Under the Table Theatre Ensemble (Thursday, July 14, 8:00 p.m.) and two presentations by the Dell'Arte Master of Fine Arts Ensemble, The Whisper and Swimming in Orange Peels (Friday, July 15 at 10:00 p.m. and Saturday, July 16 at noon). Edgefest ends, as it does every year, with the Annie and Mary Pageant -- fiddlers, samba dancers, puppets, masks, musicians and costumes of times long gone playing and parading through the streets of Blue Lake. A great time is had by all -- if you've never seen a thing by Dell'Arte, don't miss this all-day family event. Have lunch, watch the fiddle festival (10:30 a.m.) and wave and dance with the parade to its amazing crescendo in front of Dell'Arte (4:00 p.m.). Stick around for the 6:00 p.m. Edgefest Cabaret, where all sorts of performers will take the stage for what is billed as a "completely unpredictable evening."

For tickets and more information, visit or call 668-5663.



Wonder of the World continues at 8 p.m. at Redwood Curtain, Eureka Mall, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through July 16 and Sunday, July 10 at 2 p.m. Visit or call 443-7688 for more information and tickets.



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