Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Arias in the Area

Posted on Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 11:26 AM

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Schlepping to San Francisco for your opera fix isn't always practical, but missing out entirely would be courtesan-with-tuberculosis tragic. Take in an intimate evening with up-and-coming stars when the San Francisco Opera Center Singers fill the Calvary Lutheran Church with sweet, sweet music on Friday, Jan. 30 at 7:30 p.m. ($30, $12 and $5). Whether you're a life-long aficionado or if Bugs Bunny cartoons are the extent of your operatic knowledge, this is the perfect opportunity to deepen your appreciation.

Six singers and a pianist from the prestigious Adler Fellowship's two-year training program are making the annual trip to Humboldt for a one- to two-hour program of singing followed by a casual meet-and-greet reception as part of the Eureka Chamber Music Series. Some 900 hopefuls apply to the San Francisco Opera Center's summer program each year, and fewer than 30 singers and 5 pianists are accepted. It's this pool from which the Adler group draws, so expect the cream of the crop, Doc.

— Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Well, This is Awkward.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 21, 2015 at 11:37 AM

Recognize local Ken Malcomson in this gem? Looking good, kid.
  • Recognize local Ken Malcomson in this gem? Looking good, kid.

Awkward Family Photos — the dated hair, forced smiles, uncomfortable poses and embarrassing fashion choices you've been enjoying online since 2009 — comes to the Morris Graves Museum of Art from Jan. 21 through March 1 ($5, $2 seniors and students, free to kids and members). You needn't wait for the big opening reception during Eureka's Arts Alive! on Feb. 7 — get in there before the crowds for a more intimate (too intimate?) experience.

Feel the blush rise as you peruse walls of matching outfits (and don't sniff — we saw your holiday card with the pajamas last year), vintage mullets, inappropriate skin and people who just love their pets a wee bit too much. The Morris Graves is only the third museum to host the photos in their appropriately tacky frames, so take it all in.

At some point, we've all been that child in the lumpy sweater, the gangly, cross-armed adolescent, the painfully uncool teen and the strained adult desperate for a perfect portrait. Is that perfection even out there? Possibly in IKEA catalogs and cereal ads. Maybe for that maddeningly cheery family that keeps sending you an annual newsletter. But the rest of us are going to have immortalized awkward moments because we're all in varying stages of figuring out who we are alone and together, out in the world and in the strange and familiar bubble of our families. In posed family portraits, we face the world, but with our vulnerabilities on our polyester sleeves.

Share in the catharsis by bringing in your own vintage photo to hang in the Knight Gallery with an accompanying backstory and you might win a prize. Either way, it's a chance to embrace the awkward and own it.

— Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

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Sax Stories

Posted By on Wed, Jan 21, 2015 at 11:36 AM

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Like their namesake, the saxophonist and band leader Billy Tipton (only discovered to be biologically female after his death), there is more to The Tiptons than meets the eye. With four sax players and a drummer, the band zigzags across genres from jazz to bluegrass and gospel to Balkan.

So it's no surprise that The Tiptons' shows at the Arcata Playhouse on Jan. 23 and 24 at 8 p.m. won't be strictly musical ($18, $15 students and Playhouse/Redwood Jazz Alliance members). Mythunderstandings blends humorous and heartfelt stories from Coastal Salish storyteller Paul 'Che oke ten' Wagner, grandmothers, a hoarder, a bank employee and an adopted child. All of these tales grapple with the big stuff: love and death, personal and cultural mythology.

— Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

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On the Hook

Posted By on Wed, Jan 21, 2015 at 11:33 AM

COURTESY OF DELL'ARTE INTERNATIONAL
  • Courtesy of Dell'Arte International

Grab your tackle for Humboldt Steelhead Days starting with the kick-off party on Friday, Jan. 23 at 6 p.m. at the Mad River Brewing Company (free). But don't stay out too late — hooks hit the water at 7 a.m. the next day. In the taproom, mingle with fellow anglers, swap fish stories and register for the competition that goes until the festival and all its attending films, lectures and workshops end on Feb. 7.

On Saturday, Jan. 24 from 1 to 4 p.m., Mad River Family Fun Days takes over the Blue Lake Business Park with arts and crafts, story time and all-ages workshops on rigging your line for steelhead and catch-and-release fishing. Come back at 7 p.m. for Fish Tales 2, Dell'Arte's family-friendly cabaret night ($10, $5 kids). Performers will be casting around for laughs, telling stories and making music with the string-heavy Kingfoot.

— Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Typo or Fashion Insight?

Posted By on Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 3:31 PM

Don't get us started on the capitalization. - NEXTDOOR.COM
  • Nextdoor.com
  • Don't get us started on the capitalization.

According to the writing on the wall in Eureka, either Lucifer is poised to fill the world with darkness and chaos, or shiny silks are back for spring. Maybe both. Whether that's the worst inverted cross ever, a plus sign (for positivity?) or a cliffhanger of an unfinished thought also remains to be seen. 
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Friday, January 16, 2015

Bowled Over

Posted on Fri, Jan 16, 2015 at 11:20 AM

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What better way to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. than by sharing the original comfort food — bowl of rice and beans — with your friends and neighbors at the annual Bowl of Beans event Monday, Jan. 19 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Arcata Community Center ($6).

We could use a little cross-cultural, inter-faith harmony right now, yes? Yes. The Arcata Interfaith Gospel Choir will take the stage and lift you up with joyful songs and chill-inducing solos to make you say "hallelujah." Looking for more of an island vibe? There'll be downright inspirational reggae from Asha Nan, too.

Storyteller Baba Jamal Koram, with a drum between his knees and a world of stories in his head, spins folk tales from Africa and African-American history. Having some déjà Baba? Maybe that's because he's also at the Arcata Presbyterian Church on Saturday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. ($10, $5). When he waves his hand and says, "Y'all don't wanna hear this part," clap and yell, because you really do.

— Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Name Those Pandas

Posted By on Wed, Jan 14, 2015 at 5:09 PM

Hey, girl. What's your name? - SEQUOIA PARK ZOO
  • Sequoia Park Zoo
  • Hey, girl. What's your name?
UPDATE: With 202 of 645 votes, Cini and Masala (Nepalese for sugar and spice) edged out 10 other possible names for the red panda twins at the Sequoia Park Zoo. Now we just have to figure out which one is which. 


PREVIOUSLY: In July, our red panda family expanded again with a pair of twin girls born to Stella Luna and Sumo. That's a total of three cubs for our happy couple (Móhú moved out last year to seek her fortunes at a zoo in Des Moines, Iowa), who frankly could teach the giant pandas a little something about romance. 

Now that the young ladies are out in society, the zoo is asking for the public's help naming them. Before you start brainstorming, the zoo has set up a list of options (many inspired by the regions where red pandas dwell, so it's not like "Chai" would be a hipster/poseur thing) on its Facebook page. Panda fans and Red Panda Rangers (we see you) can cast their votes until Jan. 23 at 5 p.m. Choose carefully — you don't want people rolling their eyes when these girls introduce themselves at college years from now.


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Victory Lap

Posted on Wed, Jan 14, 2015 at 10:00 AM

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Kids today don't get it. They think the Giants bring home a new set of World Series rings every other year. But lifelong fans know better, having endured the years of lonely Octobers, hundred-loss seasons, the brutal winds of Candlestick and cruel sweeps punctuated by acts of God. No, kids, it wasn't all animal nicknames and parades.

Which is why fans need to savor the moment. Humboldt is once again on the San Francisco Giants World Championship trophy tour as it makes its way to the Adorni Center on Wednesday, Jan. 14 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., hosted by the Boys & Girls Club of the Redwoods and Eureka Parks and Recreation (free). Say "Willie" and have your photo taken with not one, not two, but three Giant's World Series trophies from 2010, 2012 and 2014. A surprise guest is promised, but smart money says it ain't the Panda. Go ahead and call it a dynasty — it's not like Joe Torre is going to show up and argue semantics. Just bask in the metallic glow of your team's victory, because who knows what the baseball fates have in store. (We see you twirling your mustaches, A's fans.)

— Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

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Saturday, January 10, 2015

It Takes Two

Posted on Sat, Jan 10, 2015 at 4:00 AM

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The word "tango" conjures up scenes from Hollywood films. What self-respecting spy gets to the end of a movie without at least one prowl across a swanky dance floor with a femme fatale in a glittering high-cut dress? But that's just a watered-down pantomime. The dance as we know it comes from Argentina's bars and brothels, a cocktail of influences from African slaves and European and Latin immigrants — the physical expressions of people in love, lust and despair a long way from home. Like a martini, there are countless versions. For a while it was male-only, a little like Shakespeare when women were banned from the stage, minus the drag. (Same-sex tango is making a comeback, too: Google "queer tango" and treat yourself to some videos.)

Get a primer on the art when Tango Buenos Aires comes pivoting and gliding onstage at the Van Duzer Theatre on Tuesday, Jan. 13 at 8 p.m. ($45, $10 HSU students). Some 20 dancers and musicians take the audience on a tour of the dance's roots and evolution over the last century. The troupe serves the purist's recipe — chest-to-chest, intense and expressive, feet sweeping just above the floor to bittersweet music. Sometimes slow and deliberate, sometimes at breakneck speed, the dancers' ankles and knees whip and kick around one another and bodies bend and slide at dramatic angles. It's a dance of skill and guts as much as sensuality.

— Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Hey, Ladieeees

Posted By on Sun, Jan 4, 2015 at 8:00 AM

On Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. in January, the Humboldt County Library brings back its film series The Affairs of Women (free). Expect a month of femme fatales, fast-talking dames, tragic heroines and struggling starlets.

First, Barbara Stanwyck plays a con artist charmed by snake nerd Henry Fonda in The Lady Eve (1941) on Jan. 5, hosted by Jan Ostrom. Stanwyck lures him not once, but twice, returning in disguise as an English lady in this romantic comedy.

Next up, on Jan. 12, Charity Grella introduces some noir into the mix with The Man I Love (1947). Ida Lupino plays a nightclub canary dodging the advances of a wolfish boss with underworld connections, and pining for a hangdog piano player.

On Jan. 19, Bob Doran presents what might be the first political makeover movie, Born Yesterday (1950). In it, a brassy broad (Judy Holiday) goes from arm candy to informed constituent while falling for the journalist tutor her backroom-dealing boyfriend hired to get her up to social snuff.

Finally, on Jan. 26, sneak backstage and watch the drama unfold between boarding house roomies and aspiring actresses played by Katherine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers and Lucille Ball in Stage Door (1937). Yours truly hosts this one, which actually passes the Bechdel test.

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