Wednesday, December 15, 2010

December 21: David Benoit at Napa Valley Opera House

Posted By on Wed, Dec 15, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Few holiday standbys are as enduring as A Charlie Brown Christmas, and though the television special’s simple animation is decidedly of 1965 vintage, the music composed and originally performed by Vince Guaraldi has proven itself to be timeless. The syncopated theme “Linus and Lucy” has been covered by everyone from George Winston to Built to Spill, but it’s the gliding melody of “Christmastime Is Here” that most evokes cold nights, ice-skating rinks, spiced cider and light snow year after year. Ten years ago, David Benoit joined the ranks of pianists paying tribute to Guaraldi’s score with his album Here’s to You, Charlie Brown. Joined by the Napa Valley Children’s Chorus in the role of the “Peanuts” gang, Benoit brings his holiday show to town on Tuesday, Dec. 21, at the Napa Valley Opera House. 1030 Main St., Napa. 8pm. $30–$35. 707.226.7372.
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December 18: Julia Butterfly Hill at Arlene Francis Center

Posted By on Wed, Dec 15, 2010 at 12:49 PM

With climate change now an undeniable reality, its potentially disastrous consequences are, incredulously, still shielded by Republican grandstanding in the face of all scientific fact. While the “debate” rages with words, let’s not forget one environmentalist who fought with action. Julia Butterfly Hill’s incredible streak of living for 738 days in a 1,500-year-old redwood tree in Humboldt County remains one of the most inspiring successes in environmental activism. Her actions since—such as conscientiously redirecting her taxes to worthier causes than, say, blowing up civilians in the Middle East—point toward a broader future role for the 36-year-old. She appears in conversation with Peter Gabel, founder of New College of California (and son of Arlene Francis), on Saturday, Dec. 18, at the Arlene Francis Center. 99 Sixth St., Santa Rosa. 1pm. $5. 707.528.3009.
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December 16: Clint Black at Uptown Theatre

Posted By on Wed, Dec 15, 2010 at 12:48 PM

His was a classic country-music story: raised in Texas, worked construction, avid fisherman, just happened to have a good voice. But by the early ’90s, after two smash-hit albums, the Grammy-winning singer Clint Black had fallen victim to the corruption in the music industry. An ugly lawsuit with his manager, who also managed the mainstream rock band ZZ Top, showed just how far away from his roots he’d come. Black would go on to bounce back, ditch his strictly Stetson ’n’ Wranglers image and continue to pump out no-frills records like 2005’s Drinkin’ Songs and Other Logic. A semi-accomplished standup comedian, Black also has an annual yen for the Christmas song; he brings the seasonal classics on Thursday, Dec. 16, at the Uptown Theatre. 1350 Third St., Napa. 8pm. $85–$100. 707.259.0123.
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December 15: Allison Miller at Throckmorton Theatre

Posted By on Wed, Dec 15, 2010 at 12:42 PM


Known primarily as a jazz violinist, the New York–based Jenny Schienman released a self-titled album in 2008 that confounded record store clerks but dazzled critics: it couldn’t be filed in any specific genre yet wonderfully captured a strange, eerie American music, somewhere in the air between Manhattan and Tuscaloosa. Since, Schienman has played with LucindaWilliams, Bill Frisell and Sean Lennon, and this week sits in with the jazz drummer Allison Miller. A student of the great Lenny White, Miller is steeped in jazz roots while adapting in the mainstream to bands backing Natalie Merchant, Ani DiFranco and Brandi Carlile. On tour with Schienman, pianist Myra Melford and bassist Todd Sickafoose, Miller brings her excellent second album Boom Tic Boom to life on Wednesday, Dec. 15, at 142 Throckmorton Theatre. 142 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley. 8pm. $18–$21, 415.383.9600.

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Dec. 16-18: Across the Bridge

Posted By on Wed, Dec 15, 2010 at 12:36 PM

DrakeYoung Money superstar delivers more hits than Buster Posey.

Dec 16 at the HP Pavilion.Om

Get in a meditative metal state of mind; earplugs optional.

Dec 16 at the Independent.Killing JokeBritish post-punkers blazed the way for industrial music.

Dec 17 at the Regency Ballroom.Silian RailPummeling two-piece rips through songs from their latest, “Parhelion.”

Dec 17 at the Hemlock Tavern.HiroshimaParty like it’s 1985 with a glass of Chardonnay and smoth grooves.

Dec 17–19 at Yoshi’s SF.Monsters of AccordionJason Webley, Renee de la Prade and others wrangle the bellows.

Dec 18 at Slim’s.More San Francisco events at

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

December 15: Bela Fleck and the Flecktones at Wells Fargo Center

Posted By on Wed, Dec 8, 2010 at 2:31 PM

Exactly 20 years ago, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones first appeared at the then-Luther Burbank Center as the hottest new thing in mainstream jazz. If the music didn’t blow people’s minds, the group at least had an ace-in-the-hole with slap-happy bassist Victor Wooten, who midway through the show performed a backflip while playing. Of course, the group has returned to the same venue countless times since, won multiple Grammy awards, found success with multiple solo albums and recorded a holiday record, Jingle All the Way, which it’ll pull generously from on Wednesday, Dec. 15, at the Wells Fargo Center, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. $40–$55. 8pm. 707.546.3600.
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December 12: Chanticleer at Napa Valley Opera House

Posted By on Wed, Dec 8, 2010 at 2:25 PM

This is the time of year when every high school choir, church choir and community choir hold seasonal concerts and try, basically, to sound like Chanticleer. Probably the greatest living male chorus, the multiple Grammy-winning group has recorded and performed jazz, spirituals, Gregorian chants and more; their annual December holiday tour is a tradition that’s impossible to mock—unless you want to make the same old tired jokes about men who can sing really high having no testicles. They bring pure vocal beauty on Sunday, Dec. 12, at the Napa Valley Opera House. 1030 Main St., Napa. 5pm. $30–$52. 707.226.7372.
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December 11: Mickey Avalon at Chrome Lotus

Posted By on Wed, Dec 8, 2010 at 2:22 PM

As the very first artist to be signed to MySpace Records, a case could be made that Mickey Avalon is a “pioneer” of sorts; a case could also be made that building a career on bad tattoos and songs like “My Dick” isn’t very progressive at all. But after a tumultuous year which saw the Hollywood-nightclub rapper fall out with his closest friends and get booed off the stage (twice) opening for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, we should maybe try to be nice to the guy. Thrill to his tales of drugs and prostitutes on Saturday, Dec. 11, at Chrome Lotus. 501 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. 8:30pm. $30. No phone.
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December 9: Bart Hopkin at Coffee Catz

Posted By on Wed, Dec 8, 2010 at 2:21 PM

Pots, pans, brooms, barbed wire and fence boards might not seem to have much in common acoustically, but Bart Hopkin has built his entire career upon using everyday objects such as these as musical instruments. Hopkin published his first book, Gravikords, Whirlies & Pyrophones: Experimental Musical Instruments, in 1996 with a foreword by Tom Waits and a CD providing examples of what each instrument sounds like. The set fit nicely in any library between John Cage and Harry Partch; lucky for us, he calls the Bay Area home. He gives a lecture at the weekly Science Buzz Cafe on the scientific principles of acoustics on Thursday, Dec. 9, at Coffee Catz, 6761 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol. 6:30pm. $3 suggested donation. 707.829.6600.—Haley Sansom
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December 11: Sammy Hagar at Throckmorton Theatre

Posted By on Wed, Dec 8, 2010 at 2:20 PM

Sure, Sammy Hagar likes to party down, chug a load of tequila and not drive 55, but when you get right down to it, even the red rocker has a heart. In January of this year, he organized and played a benefit with all proceeds from the $150–$250 ticket going to a three-year-old recovering from a kidney transplant, and this Saturday, he premieres his new movie, Go There Once, Be There Twice, and turns in an acoustic set with his band the Wabos to benefit Homeward Bound dog rescue and Ritter Center homeless services. See him in a tiny venue on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 142 Throckmorton Theatre, 142 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley. 7pm. $100. 415.383.9600.
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