Fun

Monday, June 17, 2019

Photos from Oyster Fest 2019

Posted By on Mon, Jun 17, 2019 at 6:23 PM

Thousands gathered on the Arcata Plaza to stand in line to buy oysters, listen to music or have a picnic on the grass. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • Thousands gathered on the Arcata Plaza to stand in line to buy oysters, listen to music or have a picnic on the grass.

The 29th annual Arcata Bay Oyster Festival managed to pack the Arcata Plaza with thousands of attendees on Saturday, despite some unusual drama in the days before the event. First there was the local beer controversy and then the last-minute health crisis — oops, a math error, no crisis — regarding the safety of the 130,000+plus local oysters from Humboldt Bay to be eaten at the event, which is organized by Arcata Main Street as its primary fundraiser.

The early morning foggy overcast burned off in early afternoon for the usual event line up of live music, an oyster-calling contest for children and adults, and the Shuck & Swallow oyster-eating contest, as well as the food and beer venues. See more about winners of the Best Oyster contest here, and a slideshow of the day's highlights below.

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Monday, February 11, 2019

This is Going to Hurt a Little: Photos from the Inked Hearts Expo

Posted By on Mon, Feb 11, 2019 at 8:31 PM

Tattoo artist David Chavera, of Local Boy Tattoo in San Antonio, Texas, preps a "Much Love" design in Spanish on the neck of Roxanne Reche, of Willow Creek. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • Tattoo artist David Chavera, of Local Boy Tattoo in San Antonio, Texas, preps a "Much Love" design in Spanish on the neck of Roxanne Reche, of Willow Creek.

The 10th annual Inked Hearts Tattoo Expo at Blue Lake Casino hosted 35 tattoo artists and other vendors last Thursday through Sunday. Organizers Ted and Amy Marks brought in a familiar line up of tattoo artists, including Liz Cook, Lisa Hower, Tye Harris and Liz Venom, among others, as well as a good mix of new faces. See the slideshow below for highlights of the festivities.)

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Sunday, January 13, 2019

American Pickers Wants to See Your Junk

Posted By on Sun, Jan 13, 2019 at 3:41 PM

The cast of American Pickers coming to a garage near you. Maybe. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • The cast of American Pickers coming to a garage near you. Maybe.
How's that KonMari purge going? While you're folding your clothes into little squares, you may be wondering what to do with the road signs, vintage car parts and random advertising ephemera you've got stacked to the rafters in your garage.

If you've got the right kind of stash, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz from the History Channel show American Pickers might swing by for a look and a haggle in March. The show came to Blue Lake in 2016 but surely Humboldt has a few more collectors/aficionados/straight-up hoarders worth checking out?


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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Photos from the Beaver Sisters

Posted By on Wed, Dec 19, 2018 at 6:26 PM

The hard-drinking, fun-loving Beaver Sisters host their hot mess of a telethon. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • The hard-drinking, fun-loving Beaver Sisters host their hot mess of a telethon.

The Beaver sisters (played by local artists Sarah McKinney, Maggie Lally and Janessa Johnsrude) transformed Eureka’s Synapsis Nova on Friday into a setting for an angst-ridden fundraiser telethon with a major problem: No one calls in to donate money. The plot’s backstory for The Beaver Sisters Present: The Beaverettes is that the toxin-laden river is threatening to destroy their lodge unless they raise enough money to prevent it. See the slideshow below for the boozy highlights.

Due to the lack of callers throughout the telethon, Marge, Musty and Betty Beaver are frantic and at interpersonal odds with each other at times in coming up with individual fundraising ideas (allowing each of these talented performers a full range of funny moments). And a bonus throughout the comedy show: It turns out the Beaver sisters have fantastic singing voices.

The Beaver Sisters Present: The Beaverettes was created in residence at Dell'Arte International, where the artists are graduates in physical theater. The show next heads out a December tour to San Francisco and Los Angeles. Do not miss the next chance to catch them locally.

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Thursday, December 13, 2018

'Tis the Ugly Sweater Season: Photos from Sunday's Run

Posted By on Thu, Dec 13, 2018 at 4:30 PM

And they're off! The third annual Ugly Holiday Sweater Run. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • And they're off! The third annual Ugly Holiday Sweater Run.


The third annual Ugly Holiday Sweater Run on Sunday had runners and walkers in the1-mile and 5-km races wearing examples of taste-deficient knitted nightmares. The races began and ended on the Arcata Plaza. The family-friendly event is a fundraiser for Humboldt Educare, organized by Arcata Main Street.

Prizes were given out for age-bracket winners by gender in the races and for winners who stood out in the "ugly holiday sweater" theme across a mix of categories. Brace yourself for the garish slideshow below.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Photos from Ohana Comic Con

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2018 at 8:43 PM

A large crowd of attendees wandered through a mix of vendors and featured artists at Ohana Comic Con. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • A large crowd of attendees wandered through a mix of vendors and featured artists at Ohana Comic Con.
A surprisingly large crowd of costumed cartoon, movie and anime fans (estimated between 800 and 1,000) filled the Sapphire Palace at the Blue Lake Casino and Hotel on Saturday for its first ever Ohana Comic Con. Organizers of the event used the Hawaiian word “ohana,” meaning “family,” to attract families. The cheap tickets (in contrast with big comic con events) also helped bring in a crowd.

The two-day event hosted two costume contests, a wide mix of vendor tables, special guest artists and a few local artists. Event organizers were surprised and pleased at the attendance and hinted at a return event next year. Check out the scene in the slideshow below.


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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Photos from Old Town Trick-or-Treat

Posted By on Tue, Oct 30, 2018 at 7:34 PM

This young girl rocked maximum plumage with her beautiful peacock costume. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • This young girl rocked maximum plumage with her beautiful peacock costume.

Eureka's Old Town attracted a large costumed crowd of all ages at Saturday afternoon's annual Halloween event sponsored by Eureka Main Street. Children age 12 or younger accompanied by adults wandered among more than 80 participating stores, collecting bags of sugary goodies — or, in one case, a polished rock that also proved popular. Enjoy highlights from the fun in the slideshow below.

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Monday, October 29, 2018

This Thing On? Savage Henry Opens its Own Club

Posted By on Mon, Oct 29, 2018 at 11:45 AM

The spotlight ready to hit stage at the Savage Henry Comedy Club. - PHOTO BY JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Photo by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • The spotlight ready to hit stage at the Savage Henry Comedy Club.

Depending on how long you've been in Humboldt, you might remember when the space at 415 Fifth St. in Eureka was Live in Humboldt, the Empire Lounge or the Red Fox Tavern. And now it's reborn as the Savage Henry Comedy Club. While a couple of shows have already broken in the stage, a hodgepodge collection of chairs are lined up for a grand opening Friday night.

Savage Henry's Chris Durant, who co-founded Savage Henry Magazine in 2010 and started the sprawling annual comedy festival in 2011, says the club idea has "been on the back burner for about three years." Around May, it moved on to a serious to-do list that included a beer license application that's now only weeks and one form away from completion. Until that comes through, his hope is to have nonprofits pouring drinks at shows.


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Saturday, October 27, 2018

Zombies Shake/Drag a Leg

Posted By on Sat, Oct 27, 2018 at 12:29 PM

Jared Robinson and Anthony Quinn pose after the zombie flash mob invaded the Arcata Plaza on Oct. 25. - PHOTO BY MEGAN MARTIN
  • Photo by Megan Martin
  • Jared Robinson and Anthony Quinn pose after the zombie flash mob invaded the Arcata Plaza on Oct. 25.

A gray-faced, dead-eyed army of zombies from Sunny Brae Middle School sprang to after-life for some vintage choreography to Michael Jackson’s "Thriller" on Friday, Oct. 26 at Murphy’s Market in Sunny Brae. Then, while Vincent Price's cackle still echoed in the aisles, the undead dancers made their groaning way to the Arcata Plaza for an encore before slinking back to the cursed ground from which they rose. Enjoy Megan Martin's slideshow of their creepy moves below. Happy Halloween, everybody.


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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Off on a Tangent: An interview with Steven Wright

Posted By on Tue, Oct 16, 2018 at 1:50 PM

Standup stalwart Steven Wright. - PHOTO BY JORGE RIOS, COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
  • Photo by Jorge Rios, courtesy of the artist
  • Standup stalwart Steven Wright.

If you don’t know his name, you know his visage and presence. His cadence and playful monotony have made him a stalwart of the standup comedy scene for nearly four decades. If you’ve somehow missed all of the last 40 years of standup, you likely still know him from any one of his multiple major motion picture cameos. Steven Wright started standup in Boston in 1978 at the age of 23. Now, at the age of 62, he still has the market cornered on the avant strange. On Sunday, Oct. 21 at 8 p.m., Wright is bringing his must-see weirdness to the stage of The Arkley Center for the Performing Arts.

His style, though frequently emulated by newer comics like Demetri Martin, is unique in both its form and function. It’s not satire, not outright. And it’s not quite storytelling, either. His sets are almost like a series of absurd vignettes, loosely connected but flowing nevertheless. Like dreams but with the gift of extemporaneous reflection — Dali paintings with a punchline.

I had a brilliant list of insightful, well-researched questions to interview him, none of them canned, I swear. They were the perfect mix of casual professionalism, hilarity and my trademark remarkable modesty. This is something you’ll need to take my word for, as my over-prepared nerdery was no match for Wright’s curiosity.

As soon as I am done explaining just how far away Humboldt is from what non-locals refer to as “Northern California,” his voice filled with whimsy, “You live where the redwoods are!” Then, began an amazing slew of questions, not from me, but from Wright. Wright reacted to most of my answers with jocular laughs/giggles and exclamations of “Wow!” His tone was never condescending or elitist; he truly wanted to know everything he could about the odd life and history of Humboldt County. In particular, he was captivated by all aspects of the local ecology. “Nature is ... I love nature,” he says before he tells me about his own preference for a bucolic retreat: Block Island, off the coast of Rhode Island. His brother owns land on the island and it’s a place of tranquility and beauty for Wright. I described Humboldt’s massive swaths of redwood rain forest, the breathtaking wonder of growing up surrounded by something so seemingly prehistoric.
When the conversation drifted toward inquiries about industry and culture (Wright’s ability to initiate tangents pales only in comparison to his ability to bring a conversation back around to its original point), he gently interrupted to say, “They didn’t cut down the redwoods did they?” I’m not sure if he actually Googled Julia Butterfly but he was thrilled to have a name to fit the description. “That must not be her real name, right?” Humboldt County, I told him. “Maybe I should spend a couple of days there. No, really, I mean it.”
He was insistent that he knew the word Humboldt from somewhere else but couldn’t place it. I gave him the obvious answer everyone from here is used to giving: Mary Jane.

“Oh, I forgot about pot,” he said with a chuckle. “Wait a minute, do you smoke weed?”
“I do.”
“Are you high right now?”
“No. I sorta wanted to be clearheaded, you know, nerves and professionalism and all.”
“Could you call me back when you’re high?” Then his brain opened another tangential tributary, “We could do two different interviews. Wouldn’t that be fascinating!” Though Wright used the words “surreal,” “insane” and “weird” as self description, I really think he should add “fascinated” to the list.
It didn’t take long to realize that second to his love of nature, Wright is extremely literary. His love of the surreal extends to books, which is evident in his taste and his own writing.

When asked why he became a comic and not a writer, his answer is quick and concise. At 16 years old, he’d watch the comics on Carson every night, then watch them head over to the couch after their sets. From the ages of 16-18 he spent every Sunday night listening to a local Massachusetts radio show that would play two comedy albums back-to-back. “I just got it in my head that this what I was going to do.”

Technically, all of this did answer my first hard-hitting question, “Have you ever been to Humboldt County?” But nearly an hour went by before I got around to asking my gotcha-follow-up: How come you don’t Twitter anymore?

Wright says he stopped tweeting because “jokes are a live thing.” This is a fairly standard response from people who have left the anxious whirlwind that is social media. From Wright, though, there’s an earnest truthfulness in the statement. In the hour-plus that Wright and I spent talking, we covered everything from the fall of the major timber industry in Humboldt, the first time we both saw a surrealist painting, the etymology of our middle names and so much more random information. Human interaction and a larger understanding of everyone’s experiences were a driving force of our conversation. And those are rare qualities these days.

It’s reason enough to take a break from the mundane coldness of reality and dip your toes into the waking-dream world of Steven Wright.
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