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Beautiful Era 

Shane Koyczan plays the Thing at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 10.

Courtesy of the artist

Shane Koyczan plays the Thing at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 10.

I have probably mentioned here before that I like going for walks, often at odd hours to avoid other people. This isn't out of any misanthropic impulse, but to stay out of the way of traffic, which is the pedestrian's natural enemy. They aren't long walks, either, I just need a space and time where I can think without screens and distractions. Silence is golden in many ways. I'm not a diarist, I lack the desire, discipline and, perhaps most importantly, legible handwriting to ever take up the practice. So, whatever thinking I do ends up in shards elsewhere, in conversations, emails, social media posts and even in this column. Don't get the idea that it's even necessarily highbrow or politically charged stuff. One memory I have from a walk I took on the Upper East Side in New York almost 20 years ago consists of me delighting at the fact that on the sidewalk I had found, frozen and standing perfectly erect, a large dog turd that bore a passing likeness to the Chrysler Building. Camera-less, I couldn't wait to spread the news to my then-girlfriend, who shared none of my amusement whatsoever. You learn to pick your audience, I guess.

But back to diaries, this column is the closest thing I have, and it's nothing compared to the real stuff. Take the journal of French Belle Époque writer Jules Renard, a fun and lively work spanning over 20 years of the author's 46-year life. I was recently gifted a copy by a friend for my birthday, and it's full of entries that delighted me and are applicable to a wide audience. For instance, his entry from Nov, 27, 1895, reads, "Keep their interest! Keep their interest! Art is no excuse for boring people." Amen to that, Jules. A somewhat related thought crops up nearly seven years later, when he writes, "As soon as a truth is longer than five sentences, it becomes a novel. It is a fine thing, a good novel. By no means contemptible, but the unvarnished truth sends one into raptures." Have to let that one digest a bit, I think.

Anyway, to tell the truth, I have no desire to bore you, so I'm not going to engage in any longform lit-crit here, I just wanted to note that this is a very fun book from a time that seems like one of the last fun times for a while in continental European history. As far as "beautiful eras" go, I'm not going to comment on something best viewed and judged both lived in and looked back upon. Instead, let's take it one week at a time and remember we have some hand in the making of the times — good, bad and ugly. Or even beautiful. Ciao for now.


I don't know if Canada's Kootenay Mountains have any blue grass growing on their slopes like Kentucky, but there is certainly at least one notable band playing bluegrass music that hails from those parts. Moontricks plays a modern mix of folk, country and the aforementioned stuff to decent crowds and on the festival circuit. Tonight at 7 p.m. at the Arcata Theatre Lounge, you can catch these fellers, paired with Grass Valley and vibes-based EDM artist Equanimous. Call this show a festie's delight ($20, $18 advance, $15 early bird).


Speaking of Canada, there's another native son from that land coming through the Thing (833 H St.) in Arcata tonight at 7 p.m. Shane Koyczan is a spoken word poet who has done the (near) impossible and cracked open a touring career out of his poetry, built largely on the back of his breakthrough piece "To This Day," which is easy to check out on YouTube. If you aren't too keen on Arts Arcata or Downtown Ball over at Arcata Theatre Lounge, check this guy out ($25, $20 advance).

If you're in the mood for something noisier in the same zip code and lighter on the wallet, head over to the Miniplex by 9 p.m. for a metal show headlined by Portland sludge band Diositopes. Local support will be provided by Boat Cop, Malicious Algorithm and Mystery Meat ($8).


Tom Boylan, aka Holus Bolus is rolling through town again, where he will set up his one-man, looped acoustic guitar and percussion show at Redwood Curtain Brewery in Arcata at 6 p.m. for the beer drinkers to enjoy. This is a free gig but it's always nice to tip a traveling bard. Later on at 8 p.m. at the Arcata Playhouse, you can catch the final night of the Zero to Fierce Fest, with tonight's group Mariachi Lindas Mexicanas, an all-female mariachi band from Los Angeles, providing what I am certain will be a lively and delightful swan song performance after a week of diverse events showcasing the creative powers of women ($20).


The Bach On! ensemble throws its final concert of the season at Christ Episcopal Church in Eureka today at 4 p.m. This talented roster of musicians presents a free performance whose program includes Bach's Violin Concerto in A minor and Telemann's Viola Concerto in G major.


With St. Patrick's Day on Friday and spring coming in a week, I am cautiously optimistic about seeing an end to the frequent dead night or two that the winter brings to the local music scene. Another good sign is that tonight features an installment of Metal Mondays over at Savage Henry at 7 p.m. ($5). This evening's all-ages bash has Planet of Green, Mystery Meat, KMRO and Psyborg. Cool.


The Russian piano prodigy Alexander Malofeev comes to Fulkerson Hall for a 6 p.m. recital. Expect nothing short of virtuosity from this kid, who is a world-ranked musician of the finest caliber. I am unsure of what tonight's program will include but I can say with confidence that the pieces will be played with technical brilliance ($49, $15 CPH students).


Andy Frasco & the U.N. are a Los Angeles funk and blues powerhouse whose performances are deliberately chaotic and goofy. Sort of like a mix between Eric André, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, and some of the dumb/humorous elements of early Kid Rock that evaporated when reactionary politics replaced his self-awareness. It's a spectacle, folks, with Big Something, a bombastic rock band from Eugene kicking things off. Where? Arcata Theatre Lounge. When? At 7 p.m. And the "how much" is $21. You can fill the rest in for yourself.

Collin Yeo (he/him) also has a fond memory of being called a very bad word by a toddler on public transportation, but he isn't about to share that one here. He lives in Arcata.

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Collin Yeo

Collin Yeo

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