Fun

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Arcata Bubble

Posted By on Wed, Jul 5, 2017 at 3:15 PM

4thofjuly2017_arcata_ml_0105.jpg

A Pied Piper of bubbles led off the red, white and blue Fourth of July Bubbles Parade around the Arcata Plaza in the morning, followed by live music, a family-friendly Kids Zone, aerial silk dancers, a nonprofit fundraiser dunk tank and lots of food and drink options.

Vicky Joyce, owner of the store Bubbles, donated the usual mix of bubble-making options for the Bubbles Parade, but a "professional" by the name of "Bubbles" from San Francisco and his assistant Savanna Vocke, of Farmington, New Mexico, created a bubble storm before, during and after the parade.

The Arcata Chamber of Commerce, which helped sponsor the event, expanded the Kids Zone this year with RampArt Skatepark by turning one corner of the plaza into a miniature skate park. Also new this year and contributing to the "zero waste" goal for the event was the Community Cupboard's reusable cup supply.

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

This Show Sucks

Posted By on Sat, Jul 1, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Decades of Humboldt punk flyers at Gallery 424. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Decades of Humboldt punk flyers at Gallery 424.

While you're out at Arts Alive! looking at ceramics and skateboards tonight, you may want to follow the sound of fuzzy, crunchy guitar to Studio 424 (424 Third St., Eureka) for the Ultra Super Last Minute DIY Punk as F#ck Flyer Show. The small gallery hosts a "haphazard trip down memory lane" for local punk rock aficionados, according to owner and Journal contributing photographer Mark McKenna. Amy May, who secretly hoarded the ephemeral DIY posters over 20 years, kept her collection secret because preserving them was deeply uncool. But lucky for us she got over the shame so we can peruse the walls, trying to remember the shows we saw and, as McKenna remarks, "the ones you're still bummed you missed."

Watch the time-lapse video of 20 years of flyers going up on the walls.






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Monday, June 19, 2017

Bivalve Bacchanal

Posted By on Mon, Jun 19, 2017 at 9:56 AM

Tens of thousands of locally produced oysters met their fate at the 27th annual Oyster Festival. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • Tens of thousands of locally produced oysters met their fate at the 27th annual Oyster Festival.

You could get just about any creative approach to raw or barbecued oysters on Saturday at the 27th annual Oyster Festival in Arcata – except oyster-flavored ice cream. Staff from Humboldt Creamery, who were passing out free ice cream in the Family Fun Zone, said they might work on that for next year.

The Arcata Plaza was a packed house for the annual celebration of all things related to oysters, including an Oyster-Calling contest, a Shuck-n-Swallow contest, live music and many other food and beer options. In addition to the family-oriented fun, side streets off the plaza held an art market, a “green” zone (electric vehicles and environmental information booths), as well as the usual Farmers’ Market.
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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Best of the Oyster Fest

Posted By on Sat, Jun 17, 2017 at 5:19 PM

Savory Grill and Cafe's winning oysters. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Savory Grill and Cafe's winning oysters.
Upsets and new blood (brine?) marked this year' Arcata Bay Oyster Festival. As crowds swarmed the plaza, lining up for paper trays of oysters, judges (myself among them) sampled entrants in the Best Raw, Best Cooked, Best Non-oyster and, for the first time this year, Best in Show. The new Best in Show category, according to head Oystress Rachel Marella, keeps high-scoring entrants — sometimes a mere half point behind the winner — across categories.

While previous years have have left many wondering whether the Sushi Spot juggernaut could be stopped from another sweep, some new entrants nabbed top honors. The coveted Best Raw went to newcomer Savory Grill and Cafe for its oysters served in a molcajete cauldron and topped with carmelized onions, pineapple, red wine vinegar, cilantro, lemon juice, shallots, garlic, olive oil, cherry tomatoes and chives. And there's your recipe for Fourth of July, folks.

Sushi Spot keeps the cooked crown for this creamy-spicy entry. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Sushi Spot keeps the cooked crown for this creamy-spicy entry.
Sushi Spot stayed in the game for Best Cooked, serving up a showstopper of a barbecued Goose Point with a creamy, spicy-sweet topping of garlic-jalapeño aioli, honey sriracha, crunchy toasted  garlic and green onions.
A luxe lobster and Oyster dish from Five Eleven. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • A luxe lobster and Oyster dish from Five Eleven.
Five Eleven won Best in Show with a grilled Humboldt Bay oyster served with lobster sauce and roasted corn salsa, and a raw Humboldt Bay oyster with honeydew melon and cucumber gazpacho and golden trout caviar. (Its cooked oyster score was a mere .1 points behind Sushi Spot and the raw was .5 behind Savory's entry.)  
Cucumber gazpacho on an Oyster from Five Eleven. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Cucumber gazpacho on an Oyster from Five Eleven.
Salt Fish House, in its first year at the festival, took Best Non-oyster with a skewer of grilled octopus, cherry tomatoes and olives, with lemon vinaigrette and mint.

Skewered octopus won Salt Fish House its first prize. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Skewered octopus won Salt Fish House its first prize.



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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Time Travel Via Witchcraft

Posted By on Thu, Jun 15, 2017 at 11:00 AM

The crew of the Witchcraft, a B-24 Liberator, prepares for takeoff. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • The crew of the Witchcraft, a B-24 Liberator, prepares for takeoff.

As its four engines rev up, the Nino O Nine, a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, blows a plume of black smoke across the tarmac at Buchanan Field Airport in Concord. During World War II, hardy B-17s — stories abound of the planes landing with blown out engines and destroyed stabilizers — were heavily deployed but this one never saw action, coming off the factory line as the war came to a close. Still, before the Collings Foundation bought and restored the plane, renaming it in honor of the original Nine O Nine and her crew, this vintage flyer did her bit in military transport and rescue operations (not to mention as a nuclear fallout test subject), as well as some forest fire fighting. These days, she's more of a showpiece.


With a handful of donors and volunteers strapped in, the Army bomber was the first to depart for Humboldt on Monday. The Collings Foundation and the North Coast Aviation Vintage Aviation Association partnered to bring the planes to Humboldt County through Wednesday as part of its annual Wings of Freedom Tour, during which visitors can view, explore and, for a pretty penny ($400-$3,200), take a spin in the historic war planes. Also making the journey north were a gleaming two-seat P-51 Mustang and a B-25 Mitchell named the Tondelayo, which is painted with a grass-skirted pin-up girl. Then there is The Witchcraft, a B-24 Liberator that saw plenty of combat and is the last of its kind to fly. This was the plane the Journal, along with photographer Mark McKenna, boarded for the flight to McKinleyville.

Toulouse Nuts, the P-51 Mustang. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • Toulouse Nuts, the P-51 Mustang.

At one point during the war, a Liberator rolled out of the factory every 100 minutes, according to the Smithsonian's Air and Space. While their long-range flying capability and heavy payloads were essential in taking out Germany's fuel stores in Romania, crippling its ground forces, there was little use for them after the war. This particular B-24 flew with Britain's Royal Air Force, after which it wound up in India and back again in England before the Collings Foundation got hold of it. Its restoration was a mammoth five-year project, after which it was renamed in honor of the original Witchcraft, its riveted patchwork skin tattooed with 130 yellow bombs on its side — one for each mission completed without a man injured. The names of donors are inscribed on the plane, too, and the bomb bay doors are marked with the names of Honor Crew members — veterans and their children — and the planes they crewed: Paper Doll, Flak Magnet, Satan's Little Sister, Never Mrs., Hell's Belle, Ramp Rats, Pistol Packin' Mama, Strawberry Bitch.

Donors, Honor Crew members and the war planes they flew are inscribed on the Witchcraft. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • Donors, Honor Crew members and the war planes they flew are inscribed on the Witchcraft.
Chef "Grizzly" Adams runs the ground crew and caters for the crew. A professional caterer and Navy vet, he says he volunteers with the Collings Foundation as a way to continue his service and honor veterans. He also loves the planes. Asked why some of the names of planes don't seem to be attached to a crew member, Adams says some people don't want to put their own names out there, instead opting to commemorate their crews, "the people you work with every day." Not everyone wants glory, he says. "There's something we call just doing the job, you know?"

Chef "Grizzly" Adams stands by the 130 bombs painted on the side of the Witchcraft — one for every successful mission. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • Chef "Grizzly" Adams stands by the 130 bombs painted on the side of the Witchcraft — one for every successful mission.

Boarding means climbing up from the open belly of the plane, past dummy bombs and onto the narrow plank that runs through its middle. You can see daylight through the seams of the forward bomb bay doors on either side, where a pair of small signs read, "No Step." Flight engineer Gary Dunn warns us that they aren't designed to hold weight and we'll fall straight through if we step down from the roughly 10-inch-wide plank. Dunn tells us not to "touch anything red," and that bells will alert us to takeoff and landing, adding, "If you see the ground getting farther and farther away, that probably means we're in the air."

The top turret, a glass bubble with protruding guns, is overhead as we climb up behind the cockpit where chief pilot Rob "Pinky" Pinksten and co-pilot Roxanne Parker are readying for takeoff. Dunn grabs a small wooden step stool and wedges himself behind and between them to monitor the instruments for the duration of the flight. The crew looks young against all the chipped paint, faded dials and fraying nylon lines, and it's bracing to remember most U.S. and British pilots were in their early 20s in the 1940s. The Liberator has a reputation for being tricky to fly. "It's unstable," Dunn says. "You can feel when somebody moves from the front to the back." Since it lacks some of the self-correction other planes have, a pilot has to hold on and steady it manually. We buckle into canvas seats on the floor and the engines kick on with a roar you feel in your chest and your teeth.

The bombardier's view. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • The bombardier's view.
Once we reach altitude, we can move around the rabbit warren of compartments, holding onto whatever isn't painted red. Getting to the bombardier's seat under the cockpit means crawling on hands and knees across a wooden plank and scooting into a narrow seat for a view of the the ground below. It's not for the faint of heart and the thin, bent wiper blade on the main window doesn't inspire confidence for visibility in rough weather. Crawling back out and crossing the catwalk takes you to the waist guns at the middle of the aircraft. Air rushes through a pair of open hatches for the long, swivel-mounted machine guns. Look past them and it's beautiful: a wide view of the Pacific on one side and rolling hills on the other, with no glass in the way. Scan back to the guns, the fat, yellow oxygen tanks mounted overhead and the ammunition boxes fastened to the wall, and you realize how exposed you are.

View from the Witchcraft's waist guns. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • View from the Witchcraft's waist guns.
There's another turret on the tail (marked "Cookie" outside), and if you're small enough and can hoist yourself up and into the shoulder-wide space, you can slip your fingers on the dual triggers for the two rear guns, thumbs hooked into brass rings. To one side there is a plug for the gunner's electric suit, and no wonder — nothing is sealed or insulated and it must have been brutally cold in a European winter. If you reach to the side of the turret, you can put your hand right outside the plane on the other side of the glass. Hanging off the back of the plane in what amounts to a metal-mounted snow globe some 30,000 feet in the air, that safety record of 130 successful missions seems impossible.

The tail gunner's turret. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • The tail gunner's turret.
As we fly over San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge recedes and passes through the gun sights. The plane feels totally incongruous with the landscape, an instrument of war against a postcard backdrop. And it's strange to come to it like a tourist, this hulking, windblown metal box in which very young men hunkered, scanned charts, dropped bombs, shot at other planes and were afraid. When we land, the wheels squeal heavily. Since there's no view from where we're sitting, it's not until we scramble back down through the bay doors that we realize there's a crowd. All four planes are parked showroom style, with families and veterans in commemorative hats and jackets strolling between them. And from the outside, with the sun on them, the planes look like new.


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Monday, May 29, 2017

Splashdown: Kinetic Day 2

Posted By on Mon, May 29, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Tempus Fugitorium in the splash zone. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Tempus Fugitorium in the splash zone.
They survived the sand and dared Deadman's Drop. On Sunday, Kinetic Grand Championship competitors got amphibious, using foam, floats, kayaks and paddles to navigate the waters of Humboldt Bay. Making waves (and making it back to shore) is no joke — listing craft, log jams and busted cabooses were just a few of the challenges. A slightly damp Mark McKenna returned from the second leg of the sculpture race with the slideshow below. Enjoy it from the dry comfort of your home.

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All Downhill: Kinetic Day One

Posted By on Mon, May 29, 2017 at 10:31 AM

The majestic Kinetic Kootie rides again with the Carson Mansion as backdrop. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • The majestic Kinetic Kootie rides again with the Carson Mansion as backdrop.
After parading around the Arcata Plaza, teams competing for glory (or just trying to stay upright) took off on the 2017 Grand Kinetic Championship. As the crowd cheered on Saturday, the human-powered contraptions made their way to the Manila Dunes to face Deadman's Drop, the steep, sandy, downhill challenge that's toppled many a team. Photographer Mark McKenna was there amid the gears and gritted teeth, catching the action. Check out the slideshow below and stay tuned for more updates this weekend.
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Friday, May 5, 2017

Spam-tastic

Posted By on Fri, May 5, 2017 at 5:46 PM

Spam hot wings because, sure, why not? - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • Spam hot wings because, sure, why not?
Wondering what to make for dinner? Kind of over clean eating? Draw some inspiration from the chefs who competed in last Sunday's Spamley Cup at Redwood Fields in Cutten. On April 30, the annual canned pork product cook-off drew crowds eager to try the pink stuff in every imaginable form. The event raised $500 for Redwood Empire Little League and $8,025 for CASA of Humboldt. Enjoy highlights of the salty goodness in the slideshow below from photographer and processed meat enthusiast Mark McKenna.

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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Bigfootin'

Posted By on Thu, May 4, 2017 at 4:00 PM

The crowds lined up to meet the Bigfoot hunters at the fest. - CHRISTIAN PENNINGTON
  • Christian Pennington
  • The crowds lined up to meet the Bigfoot hunters at the fest.

Did you see something up in Willow Creek on Saturday? Bigfoot's stomping grounds were the site of a tribute to our hirsute local hero in Veteran's Park. The cast of Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot, including homegrown hunter James "Bobo" Fay, showed up to sign autographs, swap stories and film the festivities.
Elvis of the Bigfoot world Bob Gimlin, who shot the famous 1967 Patterson-Gimlin footage of an unidentified and very furry subject in our neck of the woods, was also on hand.

Continue reading »

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Monday, May 1, 2017

Coming Up Rhodies

Posted By on Mon, May 1, 2017 at 4:05 PM

A flower festooned Ford rolls through town. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • A flower festooned Ford rolls through town.

The sun was shining and the rhododendrons were blowing in the breeze on Saturday for the annual Rhododendron Parade through Eureka. Pageant queens waved serenely from cars crammed with blossoms, marching bands strutted down the streets and the Shriners zipped around in their tiny cars while judges handed out trophies and crowds lined the sidewalks to view the proceedings. Once it all wound down, Carson Park welcomed folks for hot dogs, bouncy houses and relaxing in the grass. Photographer Mark McKenna was there snapping photos of the flowers and the faces. Enjoy his slideshow of the day below.

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