Friday, June 19, 2015

Down to Shuck

Posted By on Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Seems like only yesterday locals were rending their garments over the Oyster Festival. But with no fence and no fees, what's to get worked up over anymore? Oh, you'll have to take a stroll to get around the bar row barrier, but that just ensures you'll be drinking with the truly dedicated.

Out on the plaza, beer from five local breweries will flow into fancy steel commemorative cups (last call is at 4 p.m., so plan accordingly), and more than 50 vendors will be hawking oyster stew, oyster po' boy BLTs, oyster shooters and oyster pizza, not to mention landlocked goodies like bulgogi burgers, barbecue and chili-cheese waffle fries. (Curse your limited digestive capacity.) If you want to save room for the best of the best, the results of the cloistered best oyster contest conclave will be revealed at 1:45 p.m.


This year organizers are going family friendly with a tricked-out kids' zone featuring balloon animals, face painting, a scavenger hunt, oyster dunking and cookies and milk. Olio Music and Dance Collective performs at 11 a.m. over by the art market and will parade around the plaza to Brazilian, Latin and Congolese beats, tossing beads to little revelers. Listen up for Oyster calling at noon, and cheer on the brave bi-valve busters during the Shuck and Swallow competition at 2 p.m. (You might want to eat before watching that one.)

All this fun in the sun comes with a steady soundtrack of local musical talent including DJ Stir Fry Willie, Kingfoot, David and Jenny and the Sweet Soul Band, Vanishing Pints, Object Heavy and The Hip Joint.

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Mad World

Posted By on Thu, Jun 18, 2015 at 11:20 AM

Humboldt County is blessed with an abundance of creative enterprises. Those who say there's nothing to do here and that you need to hit the city for any (ahem) high art haven't yet discovered our thriving arts and theater scene. Humboldt offers world-class performance and expression, much of it inspired by and featuring the area's rural beauty and lifestyle. One such company cultivating the good stuff is the Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre, which has been entertaining audiences far and wide for 40 years. So save your plane fare, seat yourself under the stars in Blue Lake and take in Dell'Arte's annual Mad River Festival from June 18 through July 19 ($250 Mad Club pass, events priced separately).


Now in its 25th year, the festival has grown from a small showcase of local, community-made plays to a full spectacle. This year's lineup features the wildly popular Mary Jane: The Musical III (right in line with Dell'Arte co-founder Jane Hill's vision of a "festival of original melodramas based on regional history"), the Big Top Family Series, the Red Light in Blue Lake adult cabaret, a Mad Lab featuring works-in-progress by DAI alumni, staff and faculty, the Humboldt Folklife Festival, Terra Incognita's international cast of acrobats and circus artists, and Around the World Week's celebration of talent from Japan to San Francisco.

Get out and enjoy the fruits of locally produced madness and merriment — the happenings from and in your own Humboldt backyard. For a schedule of events, visit Tickets are available online, by phone at 668-5663 or in person at 131 H St., Blue Lake

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Center Yourselves ... the 2015-2016 Center Arts Lineup is Here

Posted By on Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 10:22 AM

click image He ain't heavy. Ok, wait, maybe both of them are ... - SUBMITTED
  • submitted
  • He ain't heavy. Ok, wait, maybe both of them are ...
All right, kids. The wait is over.

Center Arts just announced its 2015-2016 lineup and the offerings are good and plenty. From the Waifs to Weird Al to the Chieftains to Cooder (Ry), the good folks at Humboldt State University have done it again. There are Martinis of the Pink persuasion and Kids on Milk Cartons to whet your musical whistles. And if you haven't recovered from jazz legend Cassandra Wilson's last minute cancellation last season, pull yourself together because she's back. 

Some of this season's highlights include: Eddie Izzard, StarTalk Live! with Bill Nye the Science Guy, Melissa Etheridge, The Blue Man Group and John Prine. Take a second to let that soak in. Feels good, right? Feels "Everybody Wants to Feel Like You" good, doesn't it? Yeah. It's like that. 

To view the full lineup, check out their snazzy website at, or check your mailboxes for the glossy goodness of the catalog. Prices vary per event and students get a sweet discount. For more info call CenterArts at 707-826-3928.

Nicely done, Center Arts. Nicely done.

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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Tonight's Setlist #2: In Which We Honor the Freeing of Arcata Feet

Posted By on Sat, Jun 13, 2015 at 4:48 PM

  • Jennifer Savage/Courtesy of the artist
  • Strix Vega: circa 2006, now

Gather 'round, children and transplants, and let us tell you of the dark days of yesteryear, 2001 to 2003 to be precise, when the fair city of Arcata was under siege by a police chief who dreamed of creating his very own Bomont — a town where dancing was outlawed and live music was a thing wrought from demon hands. The citizens of Arcata despaired of ever knowing the catharsis of being in a dark bar delivering themselves to the gods of rock 'n' roll.

And then, lo! The heavy-handed police chief resigned and Alibi owner Justin Ladd hied to City Hall to acquire a live music permit — and it was good. Thus, Ian Hiler began booking bands — and it was also good.

'Twas Thursday, June 12, 2003, that the Alibi hosted its first night of live music, with mountain-metal masters The Hitch and garage kings The Letdown.

Exactly one year later, Dragged by Horses opened for the Japanese psych-blues band DMBQ. Now Roshawn Beere and Steve Bohner, former members of The Hitch, and Pablo Midence, former front-man for Dragged by Horses, comprise three-quarters of Lord Ellis (with Andy Sorter filling out the band on electric piano).

And it is this very Lord Ellis that opens the 12-year anniversary celebration at the Alibi on Saturday at 11 p.m., $5, 21-and-over.

But these aristocrats of heavy sound are not the only historical artifacts, nay! The past continues to spin into the present. It was on March 18, 2004, that MooM — featuring Colin Begell on guitar and vocals, Andy "Boom Boom" Powell on bass, Ryan Brodie on lap steel and Brian Godwin on drums — debuted at The Alibi. And MooM begat Rasper begat Strix Vega, who descended into the Alibi on June 25, 2005, and it was most wonderfully good. In 2007, Jay Forbes, he of the perpetual smile, replaced Godwin and the band continues to bless the faithful and uninitiated alike with spacy instrumentals and heartwrenching alt-folk. And it is this very Strix Vega that will shepherd the anniversary celebration into the wee hours, the magic hours, the hours at which we can only imagine that bitter old police chief tossing in his bed, nightmares of people having fun undoing him. And thus we give thanks unto Hiler for serving as the tireless conduit to so much fantastic, heavy, wild, beautiful, rockin' bands all these years.

(Your full Setlist here.)

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Tonight's Setlist #1: Brisa Roché, Paris Darling, Arcata

Posted By on Sat, Jun 13, 2015 at 4:47 PM

Expect emotional and startling jazz standards from the 1930s to 1950s interpreted by singer Brisa Roché with Steve Smith on piano and Baron Wolfe on bass.

Roché was born in Arcata and raised by an artist mother and adventurer father. She left home with her guitar at 16 to bask in the glory days of Seattle grunge, traded her acoustic for an electric and began broadening her repetoire. 

After the death of her father, Roché moved to Paris and plunged into the masculine jazz world as a bandleader and frontwoman, cutting her teeth five nights a week in the stone "caves" of St. Germain, where she was discovered by Blue Note and signed to EMI in 2004. Her career rocketed skyward – she's  collaborated with Nick Zinner (the Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Rosemary Standley (Moriarty), Toby Dammit (Iggy Pop) and the renowned King Khan, but returned to her hometown a while back.  

Show at 8 p.m., doors at 7:30 p.m. at the Arcata Playhouse Tickets at $15 general, $13 members and students, and are available at Wildberries or online at

Whet your appetite below. Full Setlist here.

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Friday, June 12, 2015

Tonight's Setlist: Rose Armin-Hoiland, Coming Home to Fly Away

Posted By on Fri, Jun 12, 2015 at 9:31 AM


Rose Armin-Hoiland
presents "Gotta Have a Song" — her first show in Arcata since relocating to Oakland in 2012 — at the Arcata Playhouse.

Born and raised in Arcata, Armin-Hoiland sang before she talked and began performing in choirs and musical theatre shortly thereafter. As a teenager, she formed a jazz trio with high school friends and, at age 15, started a four-year run as a headliner at Arcata's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration.

At age 18, Armin-Hoiland began collaborating with local musicians, including Darius Brotman and Aber Miller, to play clubs, weddings, theatres and benefits. During all this, Armin-Hoiland longed to join the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir — a goal she achieved three years ago. The choir leaves for a three-country European tour this July and the Playhouse event is the main fundraiser for her trip. "Gotta Have a Song," mixes soul, jazz and funk, and features musicians from both Humboldt County and the Bay Area, including Miller, Drew Mohr, Miles Lathan and Joel Armin-Hoiland.

Tickets are $21 general, $16 members, and the show is all ages. Advance tickets on sale at Wildberries.

Enjoy a sampling of what to expect below. Full Setlist here.

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The Art of Wine

Posted on Fri, Jun 12, 2015 at 4:00 AM


When the world seems to shine like you've had too much wine, that's Fortuna.

The Rotary Club of Fortuna has been pairing wine and art lovers with some of the best on the vine and canvas for more than two decades. The popular Art & Wine in the Park, a fundraiser for the club's community projects, has been crushing it for 26 years and this year is no exception. The event offers a taste of more than 20 wines — both local and other California varieties — to please the palate. Whether you like it dry or doux, there's a pour for you.

Head out to Rohner Park on Sunday, June 14 from noon to 4 p.m. to sip wine, listen to live music and browse the vibrant art market featuring more than 50 local crafters and artists. After you've perused the wares in the silent auction tent, spread out your picnic blanket, unfold a couple of lawn chairs and tip your glass as Twango Macallan serenades you. When it's time to sop up the syrah, there are pulled pork sandwiches for nibbling, oysters for slurping (keep it classy, this is a swanky affair) and other culinary delights. Entry to the event is free and $25 gets you a tasting glass.

Let the good times flow.

— Kali Cozyris

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Magic Shoes

Posted on Thu, Jun 11, 2015 at 4:00 AM

Adora Stebbins as Aurora - PHOTO BY MARINA SONN
  • Photo by Marina Sonn
  • Adora Stebbins as Aurora

Take a break from Anna and Elsa at the Arkley Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, June 13 at 3:30 p.m. when Trinity Ballet Academy performs Sleeping Beauty ($18, $12 kids 11 and under). Adora Stebbins and Jonathan Wisan dance the parts of the happy couple under Greta Leverett's direction. Emily Denny saves the day as the Lilac Fairy Queen, and Sarah Traywick goes dark side in the role of wicked fairy Carabosse. Expect brain-melting cuteness from kids as young as 4 tottering in their tutus in the first act and upper-level dancers performing the ballet's original choreography by Marius Petipa in the second act. That's when we get the big wedding and lively solos from attendees such as Cinderella, Red Riding Hood — with the Wolf as her plus one — and Puss in Boots.

Need more magic? Trillium Dance Studios is up at the Van Duzer Theatre on Saturday, June 13 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. and Sunday, June 14 at 2 p.m. with Olympus, a parade of characters from Greek mythology danced by students ages 4 to adult ($13, $8, reserved $15, $10). Prepare for original choreography by Erin McKeever and studio instructors for ballet, contemporary dance, Latin and tap in wild costumes depicting assorted gods and goddesses, the Cyclops (Latin dance, naturally), forest nymphs, rainbows and Pegasus. That's right, rainbows and Pegasus. Dress accordingly.

— Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Funny in Fortuna

Posted on Wed, Jun 10, 2015 at 11:48 AM

  • Courtesy of Redwood Comedy Festival
  • Comic Ash Fisher.

Hey, wanna hear something funny? Then hurry up and get a ticket. The Redwood Comedy Festival is splitting sides again in Fortuna on Friday, June 12 and Saturday, June 13 ($5 door Friday, $25 door Saturday, $30 two-day pass, $175 two-day VIP table for four with wine). Some 48 comedians from around the country are in the lineup, so somebody is bound to tickle your funny bone.

On Friday night, catch grown-up class clowns all over town with shows starting at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. at Funky Monkey, L's Kitchen, Springville Steak, the Playroom and Time Out Sports Pub, and at 10:30 p.m. at Eel River Brewery. Just pick a venue, grab a seat and watch strangers turn their family dysfunction, failed relationships and wry observations into a fun evening out.

On Saturday night, work on your core by belly-laughing at the River Lodge. Over a dozen comedians hit the main stage at 6:30 p.m. for the game show. Then it's a marathon of stand-up comedy with nearly three dozen performers on the mic from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Don't heckle (everybody hates it — everybody) and don't blink, because you never know who'll turn out to be the next big thing.

— Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

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Friday, June 5, 2015

Tonight's Setlist: 'Young Girls,' Monster Women, Island Queens

Posted By on Fri, Jun 5, 2015 at 9:42 AM

Mad Catchy at the Logger Bar

Let's start north and work our way down. At the Logger Bar, Let it Fever, led by the talented and prolific Ellis Wallace – dig the latest track, "Young Girls," below and don't be surprised when you're singing it all day –  along with The Monster Women and the Lost Luvs, a "reverbilicious grrl group" starring members of Automatic Pink and the aforementioned Monster Women. Spacy rock 'n' roll! Music at 9 p.m., free, 21-and-over.

Pop Star & Reggae Royalty at the ATL

The Queens of the Islands Tour
arrives at the Arcata Theatre Lounge with Hawaiian pop-folk-songwriter star Anuhea and Jamaican reggae songstress Etana. Anuhea is a major presence on the islands with multiple hit songs in heavy rotation, favorable critical comparison to fellow islanders Jack Johnson and Bruno Mars, and the distinction of being specifically requested to perform for his Holiness, the Dalai Lama.

Her tour partner, Etana, has faced challenges as a woman in the reggae world that her male counterparts do not. In a press release, she explains, "It seemed like females were never dealt with fairly. They were still paid less than men, disregarded as not being important on the flyer." Etana and her management set out to teach people in reggae "how to treat a female artist."
  • Etana

She succeeded, becoming the first female to achieve a Reggae Billboard #1 album in 17 years with I Rise, produced by Jamaican luminary Clive Hunt (Peter Tosh, Rolling Stones, The Wailers, Chaka Khan, Grace Jones, Jimmy Cliff). The album reflects the singer's ongoing maturity while maintaining the R&B-inflected take on reggae that she's known for. "Over the years I've learned a lot and in the learning process came a lot of pain and struggle," Etana says. "And to see the growth and see hard work pay off felt really, really good."

Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets are $20 advance at Wildberries, People's Records and The Works, $25 general. The show is 21 and over.

Indie Darlings at Siren's Song

Let's go with the promo descriptions here, because I find them endearing:

"Floating out of the dusty tombs of Eureka, Coffin Moth. Creeping from the grey skies of Arcata, Smooth Weirdos. Lurking from the muddy banks of Humboldt Bay, Dead Drift. Growing from the misty redwoods, The Mother Vines."

Yes, it's a local good time at the Siren's Song Tavern, $3, all ages, 8 p.m.

And here's Dead Drift doing the Stones, vintage punk style – 

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