Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hit the Sand, Man

Posted By on Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 3:30 PM

You know what they say: Your home is your castle. Nevertheless, this Saturday, June 29, you need to ditch those snug moat-surrounds and get yourself down to Manila Beach Dunes Recreation Area to build yourself a new one — a new castle, that is. Out of sand. Consider it a character-building exercise — because there's nothing the Friends of the Dunes would like better than to build your character into that of a fun-loving, sand-eating — er, -enjoying — coastal ecosystem supporter. Dun-da-DUN: Yes! It's time for that nonprofit's 18th Annual Sand Sculpture Festival!

  • Friends of the Dunes

Now, if taking on more shifting real estate isn't your thing, you can build something else. Try a newt! Or an owl! Or a dreaming mermaid, shark-eating surfer, sinking ship, lily flower, sea turtle, cake, camel, Jabba the Hutt, groceries. Or — because those sand shapes have been done in past contests — make up some new kind of sandpacked monster/beauty/brain-noodler. Invite your friends, make it a genuine (sand)barn raising.

There will be cash prizes — for best of show, most life-like, humor, fantasy, ingenuity, "judge's wild card" and best youth sculpture (by kids 16 and younger).

There is a fee (raises money for Friends of the Dunes) — $7 per team of one to six people ($10 on the day of the festival); $12 for team of seven or more people ($15 on the day of the festival).

And there are tips – check out the Friends of the Dunes' website for the best ways to wrangle that sand (compaction is key, and digging deep and wet).

The festival opens at 8 a.m. with registration at the Manila Community Center, 1611 Peninsula Drive. You can save some bucks by registering before Saturday, online ( or at the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center, 220 Stamp Lane in Manila. Sculpting goes until 2 p.m., when the final judging takes place. And the festival ends at 3 p.m.

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Down with the Kids

Posted By on Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 10:32 AM

We're only a couple of weeks into summer vacation, but the kids are already bouncing off the walls. The fair last weekend has either set their entertainment expectations too high or left them in a post-cotton-candy stupor. Fourth of July festivities are just around the corner, but you've got to get through this weekend first ... and what if it rains? Don't worry — you've got this. There are plenty of free and cheap events to help you spend quality time like a boss.

  • Sean Powers

Summer Reading Camp starts at 10:30 a.m. on Friday at the Fortuna Library with puppeteer Sean Powers. There'll be a half hour of fun and games focused on reading — probably more focused than your book club, anyway — and the free weekly events run through Aug. 30. On Saturday, release them into the wild for the Sierra Club Parent and Child Fay Slough Wildlife Walk. Barring rain, meet up at the Fay Slough trailhead at 10 a.m. and head out for a free 1.5-mile hike followed by a carousel ride at Harper Motors. That should wear little tykes out for a while.

Cool down after your day in the wild with a showing of Despicable Me at the Eureka Theater on Saturday at 6 p.m. It's the one with Steve Carell as the supervillain who ends up with three little girls. You remember — he's got an Eastern-European accent and a horde of canary yellow minions. Your $5 tickets benefit the Boys and Girls Club of the Redwoods — win-win! Follow it up on Sunday at the Arcata Theater Lounge with a 5:30 p.m. screening of Lilo and Stitch, another cartoon tale of redemption, and it's like you're at a film festival — like Cannes with really short people. Tickets for that one are also $5. Look at you, the fun parent.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

You Are Going to The Fair

Posted By on Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 4:00 PM


If you're averse to dust, fast cars, barnyard droppings, clowns, bleating kids, baby animals, knowing-eyed weird birds, snakes, beverages, greasy fingers, dancing, smart-dog-and-cowboy-on-cow action, rabbits, chickens, pies, quilts, flowers, art —even fine art! — and carneys, then you'd better make a contingency plan for June 20-23 (Thursday-Sunday). That's when the 2013 Redwood Acres Fair "The Best of Humboldt" ensnares our fair region, and if you're still in the county you will be forced to attend.

Kidding. But we bet it'll be hard for you to stay away as sugar-crustted tentacles of air swirl into your home and wrap charmlike around you.

So ... a prescription for the fair faint-of-heart: After you pass through the gate to the fairgrounds, walk straight to Annie the Clown and have her paint on your I'm-having-a-blast mask; or, if you get there at 2 p.m. (or later), let the hypnotist fix you up. Next, load up on stuff for your belly. Then just have at it: Take a "Walk on the Wild Side" and sweettalk a baby maneater. Enter to win a free BMX bike and watch bike gymnasts twist through the air. Tell Nature Joe you like his snakes and stuff. Ride the sparkly twirly things. Bid on some 4-H animals. And holler loudest for the cute Exceptional Rodeo kids. There will bands playing your songs. A harpist to calm your quivering unmasked soul. Roller Derby queens to run away from/chase/moon over. A Ferndale Repertory play to critique. Irresistible fuzzwads to win at the booths. Stock car racers to swoon over. A heady seminar by Curt Pate on stockmanship. Before you know it, you'll be so loose you'll be down there in that beloved dust trying to compete with the four-hooved gals at cow bingo (we hope there will be cow bingo!).

The fairgrounds open at 8 a.m. daily and close at 11 p.m. every day except Sunday, when the fair ends at 5 p.m. (and you'll be cryin'!). Admission $11, $5 seniors and kids 6-12. Under 6, free. Thursday, admission is free until 3 p.m. Friday is Race Day (gates open at 5:30 p.m., races start at 7 p.m.). Saturday is Cattlemen's Day and Exceptional Rodeo. Sunday is the Livestock Auction. For more info on these and other fair events, check out the schedule on these pages, or go to

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Safe at Any Speed

Posted By on Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 11:59 AM


According to that studious set at Stanford, it takes just four minutes for single men and women meeting for the first time to decide whether or not they click. Huh? According to a Stanford study published May 2013, researchers scrutinized the interactions of 1,000 speed daters and determined that in four minutes, people have enough info about each other to know whether they'd like to spend more time together, or if they'd rather speed on.

Are you lookin', interested in meeting new peeps, or possibly a new partner? Well, on Friday, June 21, you'll have your chance to do some speed dating, maybe even a little research of your own. Safer Sex Humboldt presents Quickies! Speed Dating for All! for date seekers 18 and older, "for all relationship styles, sexualities and gender identities."

That Stanford study uncovered even more about four minute date-type interactions. Ready? Before racing off to speed date, consider these points: Both genders reported "clicking" or connecting when the conversation was mainly about the woman. So, hetero guys, focus on the lady, engage her, make her the center of your interaction. Get it? Also, whether man or woman, don't ask too many questions. Why? Women don't click when they have to ask questions, nor when men ask them question after question. Women reported feeling like they had to do all the work to keep the conversation going if they mostly asked questions. Women also felt that men who asked too many questions really had nothing to say. Huh.

So, how many questions are too many? Are these research findings similar for gay and lesbian speed daters? What can you learn in four minutes? Get out there, speed date, do your research and get back to us! Things get going at 7:30 p.m, at Old Town Coffee and Chocolates, 211 F St., Eureka. $5 to pre-register or $10 at the door. To register, email, or find the safe sex folks on Facebook at

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Centerarts 2013-2014 Lineup

Posted By on Sat, Jun 15, 2013 at 7:29 PM

Reggie Watts is the man.
  • Reggie Watts is the man.

Grab your calendar—the Centerarts schedule is here. Fans of country music have Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell as well as Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt to look forward to. Reggae devotees can worship at the well-traveled feet of Jimmy Cliff, and fans of heavy makeup can check out Blue Man Group's antics. From Wynton Marsalis to the Peking Acrobats, there are plenty of hot tickets. Read on for the full press release and schedule.

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Best in Shell

Posted By on Sat, Jun 15, 2013 at 5:46 PM

Oysters with lobster and saffron bisque. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Oysters with lobster and saffron bisque.

Much has been made of the Oyster Festival's fence, and how to get around it, but it hardly matters. You're not truly inside until you breathe the rarified air of the VIP lounge in the Plaza Grill, gazing down on the plebeians on the plaza. You also get to glimpse the blue tarp of secrecy behind which 12 judges, drunk with power, and only power, since they aren't allowed any wine until after the judging, sample entries for "Best of the Oyster Festival." This year's judges tried eight raw and nine cooked offerings, as well as a handful of non-oyster goodies.

Glamorous servers glided around the long table like ring girls at a fight, passing out dishes of bi-valves topped with everything from bacon and garlic to tobiko and mandarin slices. A platter of oysters with saffron bisque piled atop a whole lobster elicited oohs and ahhs from the crowd, followed by furious scribbling on ballots. The ballots bore descriptions of the dishes, but no information on the entrants.

Sweet chili and fish sauce topping impressed the panel both on the raw and cooked oysters. One deep-fried entry suffered a bit from cooling off, but mostly the competition was stiff. Asked to name his favorite so far, judge James Wilson rattled off five. Paris Lee of Pro Pacific Fresh has judged nearly every year since the festival's beginning, and even won it one year with a grilled oyster on polenta with marinara sauce. He feels that "the chefs have really stepped it up in the last few years."

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Ridin' Ropin' and Racin'

Posted By on Thu, Jun 13, 2013 at 10:00 AM

  • Photo courtesy of Garberville rodeo
  • Saddle bronc busts out

We all know you've been raring for a reason to show off your 10-gallon hat and shiny, new spurs, and on Friday, June 14, you'll finally have that opportunity. Saddle up your pony, grab your buckaroos and buckerettes, and head to the 56th Annual Garberville Rodeo.

The wildly western weekend kicks off at 4:30 p.m., Friday at the Greycliff Rodeo Grounds (just two miles south of Garberville) with the Open 4D Barrel Race, followed by the Bull-o-Rama at 7 p.m. The Bull-o-Rama challenges contestants to a one-handed, eight-second bull ride; if you like watching people fall, you won't want to miss it.

Saturday's events start early, with a pancake breakfast at 7 a.m., under the Garberville Town Clock (the big building with all the arrows and numbers). With your cowboy-sized hunger sated, you can meander over to Getti Up on Redwood Drive in Garberville for the crowning of the Rodeo Queen and Princess. That's right; rodeos are matriarchies. After the coronation, find yourself a comfy spot along Redwood Drive for the Rodeo Parade, starting at 11 a.m.

Rodeos, believe it or not, aren't just for grown-ups. The Junior Rodeo starts after the parade, at 1:30 p.m., with check-in from noon to 12:45 p.m. The competition includes riding, roping and barrel races. But it wouldn't be a kid's event without some raucous mayhem, so stick around for the Animal Scramble and Greased-pig Competition (which are exactly what they sound like: kids chasing hard-to-catch animals). For the smaller tykes, there will be a pony carousel and petting zoo. After the children's shenanigans, treat you and yours to a steak barbecue at 4:30 p.m. and then finish off the evening with some official bronco bucking at the California Cowboys Professional Rodeo Associations' Rodeo at 7 p.m.

The weekend draws to a close on Sunday with the California State Horsemen Association's Gymkhana competition, starting at 9 a.m. For more information on rodeo events or registration, head over to

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Oysters, Oysters, Oysters (Beer), Oysters

Posted By on Wed, Jun 12, 2013 at 3:33 PM

  • photo by bob doran
  • Oysters!

The $10 price tag may be strange and new, but Oyster Fest 2013 promises to make this year's event as bivalve-filled and beer-soaked as always (maybe even a little bit more). Center stage of the fest goes to the delicious, local Kumamoto oysters, of course, but the silver and slippery shellfish will have to share the glory with an impressive musical line-up and more than 30 food and beverage vendors offering their own summertime fare. Basically, on Saturday, June 15, the world is your oyster!

Oyster Fest overruns the Arcata Plaza from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with bands and contests alternating throughout the day. DJ Stirfry Willie starts the day, and lays down the jams at 10 a.m., followed by the Oyster Calling Contest at 10:30 a.m. How do you call an oyster, you ask? Loudly and originally, that's how. As the day gains momentum and people start to get in the true spirit of oyster festivities, Yogoman Burning Band will take the stage at 11:15 a.m. Whether you're a hippie who likes to dance freely or a hipster who just wants to tap your feet to the beat, the eclectic dance music of Yogoman is sure to please. It's a combination of jazz, soul and funk; but, mostly, just amazingly awesome.

The Shuck and Swallow contest is at 12:45 p.m., and it's always a crowd-pleaser; who doesn't love watching people shove as many oysters down their gullet as physically possible?! No one, that's who. After that, everyone could use a little funky hip-hop. Lyrics Born performs at 1:30 p.m., adding a little more value to that $10 ticket.

Winners for the best oysters will be announced at 3:30 p.m., and the last musical performance of the day starts at 3:30 p.m. with Motherlode. The group is described as "Greasy Soul Funk," and should fit in with the celebratory vibe just perfectly. Last call for beer is at 4:30 p.m., and the event winds down at 5:30 p.m. We all know the party usually carries itself over to the bars along the plaza, so plan on really making a day of it. For more information on performers, or information on where you can pick up tickets, head over to the Arcata Main Street's Oyster Fest 2013 website,

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Birds Overhead, Birds Underground

Posted By on Mon, Jun 10, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Techniques for Landing was riveting on Friday night, merging spoken word with an eclectic soundtrack, movement above our heads and on the floor, and a lighting design that included shadow play. Leslie Castellano’s aerial dance theater piece is based around a myth written and recited by the cast, about birds that built tunnels under the earth, looking for an underground sky. The narrative itself is loose and its imagery, poetic. There is a man from space, there is a woman in a war-torn city, there is love and working together, there is a desire for things, there are the birds who finally fly out of the earth into the sky. A pregnant woman, dancing solidly, and an exquisite performance by a 9-year-boy added an edge of vulnerability. Techniques for Landing is a searching into the heart of what makes us human, a hopeful prayer for finding what may save us.

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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Summer Arts and Music Festival

Posted By on Sun, Jun 2, 2013 at 6:52 PM

Indubious bassist/lyricist Spencer “Skip Wicked” Burton plays in the background at Summer Arts and Music Festival in Benbow. His newest, biggest, smallest fan approves. - ©TRAVIS TURNER
  • ©Travis Turner
  • Indubious bassist/lyricist Spencer “Skip Wicked” Burton plays in the background at Summer Arts and Music Festival in Benbow. His newest, biggest, smallest fan approves.

According to the Mateel Community Center, summertime officially begins during the Summer Arts and Music Festival in Benbow.

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