Friday, November 28, 2014

Anvil Chorus

Posted on Fri, Nov 28, 2014 at 4:00 AM

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Tired of the cacophany of the modern world? On Friday, Nov. 28 and Saturday, Nov. 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., head to the Blue Ox Historic Park for the 19th annual Craftsman's Days Living History and Artisan Faire ($10, $9 with food donation, free to kids under 12).

Listen to the ping of the blacksmith's hammer as you watch demonstrations of centuries-old techniques for crafting iron, glass, wood and leather. Weavers and spinners will be twisting wool into yarn and thread into cloth on old-fashioned looms, while potters form their wares on the wheel. You might even want give it a go yourself, and you can! Slip into the ceramic studio to whip up a tile or work your fingers spinning a little yarn in the textile studio.

Hear that lonesome whistle? Folks from the Clarke Historical Museum and will be on hand to learn you about history, and the Timber Heritage Association is hauling out the Steam Donkey and whistles that the kids can tug for a toot. Or adults. Oh, like you don't want to.

The Tumbleweeds, Joe Garceau, Jeff Kelley, Papa Paul, Sarah Torres, the Mad River Ramblers and other musicians provide the live soundtrack, since DJs just wouldn't be period appropriate. Warm up with a hot, spiced cider or a bowl of chili and peruse the craft booths. And don't forget to turn off your phone.

— Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mad Men

Posted on Tue, Nov 25, 2014 at 11:04 AM

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What better way to follow up Thanksgiving than a play about a patriarch who loses his mind as war rages between the children among whom he's unwisely divided his kingdom? Too much like family dinner? Don't worry — it's better with costumes.

Shakespeare's family tragedy King Lear rages onstage at the Van Duzer Theatre on Sunday, Nov. 30 at 8 p.m. courtesy of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre of London ($65, $10 HSU students). On film alone, Lear has been re-envisioned with every possible setting from an Iowa farm to feudal Japan. But there's no cheeky updating or modern interpretation here — the Globe company does things old-school, recreating the plays as they were done in Elizabethan times on a small stage like the one the Bard himself would have used. The company has skipped across the pond with eight actors to play all the parts and bring the broken familial bonds, battles, madness and pageantry to life without high-tech tricks and fancy set pieces. (Take that, Baz Luhrmann.) Instead, the actors take us into the drama and the humor with their bodies, their voices and the words.

— Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

No Place Like Home

Posted on Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 11:02 AM

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There are two kinds of families: the kind that hunkers down in front of the game on Thanksgiving, and the kind that hunkers down in front of The Wizard of Oz.

If you've skipped the 1939 classic in favor of football, or if you've only ever seen it on the small screen, throw on your sparkliest shoes and treat yourself to the showing at the Arcata Theatre Lounge on Sunday, Nov. 23 at 6 p.m. $5. Television simply can't convey the cannonball dive out of the dreary, black and white of the farm and into the eye-popping colors of Oz and its bizarre denizens. One song in and you'll understand why Judy Garland, as the dreamy and willful heroine Dorothy, became the face that launched a thousand drag queens. This movie, for all its cornball sentiment, kooky sets and naps in the poppy fields, holds up.

But you're nervous about the flying monkeys. Well, of course you are. They creep everybody out. Just casually sneak out to the restroom, order another round for the table or pretend you've gotten an emergency text and avert your eyes. That's handling it like a grown-up.

— Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

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The Score on Spores

Posted on Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 11:01 AM

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There you are, out in the wilds of your yard, and poking through the grass is a suede-y little specimen that's both fairy-level magical and farm-to-table fragrant. Before you sauté your way to your insurance deductible, you might want to get that mystery fungus checked out by experts. Because a wild mushroom omelet shouldn't echo colors.

The friendly mycologists at the Mushroom Fair will be happy to ID your discoveries on Sunday, Nov. 23 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds ($3, $1 kids 12-16, free to kids under 12). While you're there, get to know local edibles and toxic varieties and nerd out on the hundreds of species on display. Find out how you can grow your own and get an up-close look at exotics that recall the trippy Disney films of yesteryear. Kids can get in on the educational activities and learn about weird and wonderful fungal biology from experts.

Just don't eat that sketchy yard shroom before Sunday.

— Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dude, Where's My Fest?

Posted on Wed, Nov 12, 2014 at 12:05 PM

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The leaves have turned, the air is crisp and the animals are stocking up. That's right, it's time once again for Hemp Fest. The 24th annual celebration of the wild and the weedy runs Friday, Nov. 14 through Sunday, Nov. 16 at the Mateel Community Center. Has it been 24 years? Well, how's your memory?

On Friday, enter laughing with an evening of comedy starting at 8:30 p.m. with pot-centric funny man Ngaio Bealum, as well as Cory Robinson and D. J. Mervin ($15). Come back Saturday at noon for food, vendors and a fat musical lineup ($20). SambaDá, Magic Bronson, Yogoman Burning Band, PapaFish, Berel Alexander, Little Kidd Lost, 454, Seed 707 and Round Valley Dancers all light it up on stage until midnight.

The forum on Sunday begins at 2 p.m. and features panels covering cannabis ordinances and more from those in the know, like representatives California Cannabis Voice, the Emerald Growers Association, the Mendocino Cannabis Policy Council and the California Cannabis Industry Association (free). The event closes with more entertainment at 8 p.m. from the Pure Schmint Players, Resin from the Dead and the SoHum Girls ($15). Try to remember where you parked.

— Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Here's a riddle:

Posted on Mon, Nov 10, 2014 at 11:13 AM

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What's both a barnyard fungus and a dance troupe so brimming with kinetic energy that it makes audience members feel like they themselves are in motion? Answer: Pilobolus. The 30-year-old company's website says it takes its name from the fungus that "propels its spores with extraordinary speed, accuracy and strength." When the curtain comes up on Thursday, Nov. 13 at the Van Duzer Theatre at 8 p.m., it'll all make sense ($45, $25 kids, $10 HSU students).

See the troupe run through moves from tango to circus acrobatics and choreography that goes from fevered drama to cool optical illusions. One number features a prism's worth of Technicolor costumes, while another piece has the dancers in spare, minimalist greys. Dancers stretch, leap and tumble, using props like enormous hoops and simple wooden chairs to transform the stage and their own movements with inventive choreography that will change the way you look at a dining set. The human towers and sculptural shapes they build together make Cirque du Soleil look, well, a little Vegas.

At the show's end, when you're done applauding and you rise creakily from your seat, be kind to your far less flexible self. These people are professionals.

— Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

SF-based Film Fest Wants Humboldt to "Think It, Shoot It, Share It" (Like, Now.)

Posted By on Thu, Nov 6, 2014 at 2:11 PM

Humboldt Film Commissioner Cassandra Hesseltine, PAH-fest Co-Director Lasha Zambakhidze and Tech AD Bailey Coppola - PHOTO BY JENNIFER SAVAGE
  • Photo by Jennifer Savage
  • Humboldt Film Commissioner Cassandra Hesseltine, PAH-fest Co-Director Lasha Zambakhidze and Tech AD Bailey Coppola

People! We are in the midst of a film festival competition right here in Humboldt! Did you know this? Co-Director Lasha Zambakhidze and Tech AD Bailey Coppola have been touring around town, alerting students and potential participants about PAH-Fest, a one-week film festival taking place in San Francisco, Oakland, Marin and our collective backyard. 

Students, high school and college, have contests geared specifically to them.

Non-enrolled filmmakers, accomplished and aspiring, see your creative options below.

(Note: The Ink People Center for the Arts is your Humboldt hub and editing station.) 

Create a two-minute HD video portrait of yourself or another person. You can B.Y.O.G. (Bring Your Own Gear) or PAH-FEST will supply you with HD pocket camcorders and a complete editing system for you to edit and finish your piece. Everyone is welcome to show up at PAH-FEST and create a Digiportrait. Your submission will be featured in the PAH NATION theater to be rated by the online public, and a cash prize is awarded to the winning piece! This contest is open to California residents only.

The Tone Poem is a poetic dance between music and film based on a specific theme. The music and the film cannot exist before hand. Everything is created during the festival. One need not be a professional musician. Music can be many things including simple humming or drumming. You can B.Y.O.G (Bring Your Own Gear) or use a PAH HD pocket camcorder and PAH editing station to cut and finish your 2 minute Tone Poem. This contest is open to California residents only.

Use a video-enabled cellphone or your personal camcorder to film an all in camera, continuous 60-second or less shot with no editing or pausing on the specific assigned theme of "Something Sacred." Upload your work to the PAH website.

Children 12 and under are invited to "participate in a visual treasure hunt and win a prize" in the Humboldt Circus Vision Contest. Using a pocket camcorder, children will meet at a specific location to interpret and shoot these seven universal circus symbols: Rings, Colors, Funny, Flying, Balance, Animals and Opposites. Full details here.

Zambakhidze anticipates submissions from Eureka High School, the Arcata Arts Institute and College of the Redwoods, but the public field is wide open, he said.

Students, of course, are also welcome to participate in the public portion of the contest. All entries will be screened online with the awards ceremony taking place on Sunday, Nov. 9 at 5 p.m. at the San Francisco Art Institute and streaming live on the website and at the Eureka High School auditorium.

If this is your first alert to PAH-fest, its various contests and cash prizes, you're welcome – now hop to it! The clock is ticking. 

Bonus question: If you could turn the entire world one color, what color would it be?
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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Honoring Elders

Posted on Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 11:15 AM

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Last year the crowds at the Intertribal Elder Gathering hit 4,500 according to the organizers' count. This year is the 33rd annual event, and Native Americans from all over the Northwest are coming together at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds on Saturday, Nov. 8 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (free).

Over 55? Pull up a chair and join the feast free of charge. A dinner of roast turkey and local salmon baked in an open pit awaits elders of all ethnicities. How nice is that? Beats a discount on bus fare. Everyone else can purchase a meal and join in on the community celebration ($8, $4 kids, free to kids under 12).

The gathering is also a chance to see traditional Brush, Pow Wow, Aztec, Shake Head, Hoop and Tolowa Honoring dances, as well as hear native singing and drumming. You can also peruse scads and scads of arts and crafts all day long. It's a lesson in living culture and an extended family reunion all in one.

Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

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