Wednesday, July 8, 2009

July 12: Ramblin' Jack Elliott at the Hopmonk Tavern

Posted By on Wed, Jul 8, 2009 at 2:51 PM

Last seen around these parts walking out of the theater halfway through the Merle Haggard/Kris Kristofferson show in Santa Rosa last month, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott lives up to both definitions of his nickname. Talkative as hell, he’s been known to spend more time telling stories than singing music on stage, and he’s rambled all around the mountains and tumbleweeds of this country—one time even making up a missed show by calling the club and performing via phone booth. A former cowhand and early Dylan acolyte, the 77-year-old Elliott has ascended to the title of national treasure; he appeared with Bruce Springsteen at Pete Seeger’s big birthday bash at Madison Square Garden earlier this year, and his latest album, A Stranger Here, is garnering rave reviews. He stops in for a special intimate show on Sunday, July 12, at the Hopmonk Tavern. 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol. 8:30pm. $15-$20. 707.829.7300.Gabe Meline
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July 11: This Charming Band at the Last Day Saloon

Posted By on Wed, Jul 8, 2009 at 2:21 PM

The Smiths are easily the most puzzling and improbable band to undertake for a tribute. How dare anyone place their own imprint on one of the most beloved and personal catalogues of recorded music form the last 30 years? Hundreds of Smiths cover songs have painfully and uselessly been foisted on the public with a 99 percent failure rate, and yet This Charming Band, a tribute to Morrissey, Marr, Rourke and Joyce, is a shocking triumph. This has much to do with the vocals of “Orlandissey,” who captures the most confounding aspect of the Smiths—Morrissey’s highly individual vocal inflection and tone—with jaw-dropping precision. They headline an appropriately gloomy lineup with Luv’n Rockets (a Love and Rockets tribute band) and Dead Souls (a Joy Division tribute band) on Saturday, July 11, at the Last Day Saloon. 120 Fifth St., Santa Rosa. 9:30pm. $7-$9. 707.545.2343.Gabe Meline
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July 11: Jason Kersten at Book Passage

Posted By on Wed, Jul 8, 2009 at 2:15 PM

Art Williams was a personal driver in Chicago who kept telling his client, a Hollywood producer, that he had a perfect story for a movie. The producer blew him off, hearing such pitches on a daily basis. But at the end of the week, he finally relented, and over lunch learned that Williams had been one of the country’s most successful counterfeiters in history, having faked over $10 million of currency with exacting attention to detail. Rolling Stone writer Jason Kersten was put on the case, and his resulting book, The Art of Making Money: The Story of a Master Counterfeiter, chronicles Williams’ materials and methodology as well as his eventual undoing. Added poignancy lies in the fact that the crackdown came not from Williams’ love of money but of family, in a search for his long-lost father. Kersten discusses this fascinating story on Saturday, July 11, at Book Passage. 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. 7pm. Free. 415.927.0960.Gabe Meline
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July 11: Mix at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art

Posted By on Wed, Jul 8, 2009 at 2:08 PM

Dive bars are great and all, but for the young art-conscious crowd, a Corona poster with cleavage and booty shorts ain’t exactly Basquiat. If you’ve been meaning to sneak in a flask from the corner store into the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art’s puzzle exhibit, sneak no more! The museum offers liquor, music, dancing and a room full of twentysomethings checking out art (and each other) with Mix, an ongoing series of essential get-togethers for those in the know. This week’s soiree features worldbeat grooves courtesy of DJ Michel Saga and a Northern Indian dance performance by Kathak dance expert Dmitra Smith, with hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and the elusive electricity present when social interaction is at its friskiest. The best part? Admission gets you a SVMA membership for an entire year, with one free drink and free admission to future Mix events. You can’t go wrong on Saturday, July 11, at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art. 551 Broadway, Sonoma. $25; free to members. 707.939.7862.Gabe Meline
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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

July 7: Surprise Me Mr. Davis at the Mystic Theatre

Posted By on Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 12:05 PM

Six years ago, Boston was a tough place to be if you were a single guy. On Valentine’s Day, the blizzard of 2003 struck, and those without a loved one to cuddle up to—like Nathan Moore, Brad Barr, Marc Friedman and Andrew Barr—had to make do with instruments. At the end of the week, the four had self-recorded a debut album under the strange name Surprise Me Mr. Davis. With direct comparisons made to the Band’s Music from Big Pink, the record took off on the Americana and jam-band scene; think Wilco vs. the Kinks, with classic songwriting like “I Hate Love” and “How Stupid I Am.” They appear with special guest Marco Benevento, a stellar avant-garde New York jazz pianist, on Tuesday, July 7, at the Mystic Theatre. 21 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. 8:30pm. $15. 707.765.2121.Gabe Meline
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July 7: Andy Raskin at Book Passage

Posted By on Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 11:57 AM

Well, you know, it happens. Men have affairs. Men like NPR commentator Andy Raskin have affairs, even when they don’t really know that they’re having affairs. What’s a guy to do? When Raskin entered therapy to straighten out his sexual urges and was recommended to find a “higher power,” Raskin decided his higher power was ramen noodles. In his memoir, The Ramen King and I: How the Inventor of Instant Noodles Fixed My Love Life, Raskin details his search for Momofuku Ando, the inventor of the instant noodle and the Nissin products founder. Along the way, the search for Raskin’s missing inner monogamist plays out in an offbeat but memorable story, involving revelations about Ando’s life that mirror his own. A funeral at a baseball stadium closes the journey, but ramen will live forever. Raskin appears to discuss the book on Tuesday, July 7, at Book Passage. 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. 7pm. Free. 415.927.0960.Gabe Meline
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July 5: Tiffany at RiverSpace

Posted By on Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 11:51 AM

As if the events of the last week haven’t brought up enough stories from the 1980s pop-music world, teen star and ’80s icon Tiffany makes a return appearance to the shores of the Russian River this weekend. Since dominating school dances over 20 years ago, Tiffany’s sung country music in Nashville, posed nude in Playboy and evolved into a gay icon, making the rounds of LGBT festivals coast to coast. But it’s because of her girlish charm and her hits—“I Think We’re Alone Now” and “I Saw Him Standing There,” both covers, as well as her tear-jerker anthem “Could’ve Been”—that we remember her most. She gets the neon jelly bracelet crowd hot and bothered on Sunday, July 5, at RiverSpace. 16135 Main St., Guerneville. 9pm. $15–$20. 707.869.0691.Gabe Meline
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July 2: Spencer Day at the Napa Valley Opera House

Posted By on Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 11:42 AM

Staring into his own reflection backstage in his dressing room at the Napa Valley Opera House, Spencer Day couldn’t believe his luck. He’d flown in from L.A. that morning after being asked to open for Rufus Wainwright, and he, with only a guitarist as accompaniment, walked out onto the stage—and completely captivated the crowd. Day’s vocal style is swinging and easy but technically precise, not unlike Harry Connick Jr., and his songs are such enjoyable vignettes that being taken in by his charm and tenderness is as easy as watching an old Grace Kelly movie—“The Last Train to New Jersey” is a good place to start. Wainwright was great that night in Napa, but Day was the real discovery. He makes a return appearance to charm his new fans with a special CD release concert for his new album, Vagabond, on Thursday, July 2, at the Napa Valley Opera House. 1030 Main St., Napa. 8pm. $30. 707.226.7372.Gabe Meline
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