Thursday, August 22, 2013

Taylor Maid Opening This Weekend

Posted By on Thu, Aug 22, 2013 at 12:28 PM

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There’s a buzz at the Barlow, and it’s not just from the press. Taylor Maid Farms Organic Coffee, one of the largest boutique roasters in the North Bay, is opening its flagship coffee bar at the new commercial complex Saturday, Aug. 24.

The roaster began in Sebastopol in 1993, when organic coffee was almost unheard of in a world where Starbucks was often the only roaster that could tell the origin of its beans. Now, it’s snobbishly hip to ask “where are your beans from?” Taylor Maid call tell you that as well as the climate, method and roasting style of their beans. And they’ll grind and brew cups to order.

The coffee bar and roaster hosts a celebration August 24, 2-5pm with munchables from Undercover Baking Agency, Cookle Take-A-Bite, East West Café and brews from Lagunitas and Revive Kombucha. There will be games, raffle prizes and a DJ spinning your favorite tunes from the 90s (here’s an early request for some Limp Bizkit, Mr. DJ). Nineties attire is encouraged. Pshh, yeah, whatever.

Taylor Maid Farms Coffee Bar & Roastery is located at 6790 McKinley Avenue, Suite 170. 707.824.9110.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review: 'The Tempest' at Ives Park

Posted By on Tue, Aug 20, 2013 at 4:20 PM

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Before the show even begins, audience members know something big is about to blow onto the stage at Ives Park, in Sebastopol. In the Sebastopol Shakespeare Festival’s massively entertaining production of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, director Sheri Lee Miller lays on the mood with some magically eerie pre-show music, layered beneath the unmistakable sounds of a steadily building thunderstorm. By the time the play actually starts, we’re already into it, as the tempest of the title unleashes on a foundering ship at sea, and the shape-shifting spirit Ariel pulls all the strings of the wind and weather.

It’s a clever, confident beginning to a show that just keeps getting stronger from there. Miller, tackling Shakespeare for her first time as a director, shows a knack for getting to point of each scene, and she’s edited the text to keep the action and character development flowing at a nice, emotionally involving pace.
The Tempest, Shakespeare’s final play, can be a little tricky, which is why scholars consider it one of the Bard’s problem plays. But with a first-rate cast and an able, inventive technical team, Miller and company have solved all the problems, getting straight to the heart of a play that is, after all, a fairly straightforward story: a mistreated father, stranded, on a mysterious island, struggles to create the best possible future for his daughter, and to use what powers he has to right the wrongs that have been done to him.

Actor John Craven plays the good-hearted sorcerer Prospero with a palpably wounded dignity, and a sense of deep conflict, his best intentions warring against his worst when chance brings the very people who once abandoned him within a short distance of his island. With the help of his spirit servant Ariel, played with gracefully fluid intensity by Danielle Cain, Propsero summons a storm to overturn the passing craft, shipwrecking its crew, including his power-hungry brother Antonio, played with amiable menace by Peter Downey.

Also washed ashore are King Alonso of Naples, his dangerous brother Sebastian, Alonso’s son Frederick, and an assortment of nobles and sassy servants, who all end up in different parts of the island, each with their own part to play as Prospero and Ariel alternately enchant and confound the unknowing castaways.
Adding some additional drama is the monster Caliban, The Tempest’s most fascinating character. Played brilliantly by Keith Baker with a fused sense of scariness and heartbreak, Caliban—who lived on the island before Prospero—hopes to use the newcomers in his plan to overthrow Prospero.
Prospero’s own revenge plot turns softer when his daughter Miranda, played with wide-eyed innocence by Rachel Quintana, ends up falling in love, at first sight, with King Alonso’s son Frederick, played with a kind of swashbuckling innocence of his own by Jimmy Gagarin.

The supporting cast is strong, with great comic turns by Eric Thompson and James Pelican as a pair of drunken servants who form an unlikely alliance with Caliban.

The set by David Lear is a stunner, and the sound design by Doug Faxon brings an additional element of magic and mystery to the tale.

In the interest of full disclosure, my son Andy Templeton appears in the show as well, as the young, wonderstruck nobleman Adrian, and of course, Sheri Lee Miller is a frequent and favorite collaborator. She will, in fact, be directing my next play.

Taking that as it may, this Tempest is without question a powerful, eye-popping, relentlessly entertaining show, a deeply satisfying journey to a magical world that, for all its spirits and sprites and monsters, is fully and open-heartedly human.

‘The Tempest’ runs Thursday-Sunday July 12-28 at Ives Park. 154 Jewell Ave., Sebastopol. Thurs.-Sat. at 7pm. $7-$20. 707.823.0177.

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Santa Rosa Councilwoman Shares Passion for Happiness Initiative

Posted By on Mon, Aug 19, 2013 at 5:05 PM

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After Julie Combs successfully campaigned for Santa Rosa City Council last year, she discovered that several issues central to her campaign were important to more than just Santa Rosa residents. In fact, several tied in directly with the nine elements that make up the Happiness Index. “Elements of it meshed so well with things that I ran on,” she says, despite learning of the GHI after she took office. It’s so important to her now that she has made it one of her priority issues.

It’s not that she is pushing for citywide implementation of the Happiness Initiative, which is a real thing, by the way. But so many of parts of the initiative can and should be implemented in revolving Santa Rosa’s issues. Take, for instance, the annexation of Roseland. “Looking at happiness,” she says, “[the initiative] makes some sense here.” Particularly the idea of participation in government and inclusion in culture. Roseland residents do not vote in citywide elections and do not have the benefit of city services, even though they live in a non-annexed island of county land that’s far more central to Santa Rosa than, say, Oakmont or Wikiup.

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: Cochon 555 Heritage Fire Napa

Posted By on Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 4:02 PM

Not an Ozzy album cover

I took an extra long shower this morning. It’s not so easy to get deep, penetrating smoky meat aroma out of one’s pores with just one scrub, and considering where I was yesterday, I might be taking another shower in the middle of the day.

Cochon 555’s Heritage Fire event at Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena celebrates chefs who specialize in cooking a whole animal, over open flame, with just the right amount of crazy-eye to make it look like they’re having too much fun. The carnal display of butchery drew groups of salivating, bloodthirsty human savages to the demonstration station, eyes glued to the knives carving up cuts of whole pig, goat and rabbit as if they were watching the Super Bowl. Abundant wine and hard cider didn’t hurt the desire to watch, either. There’s something alluring about raw meat, and I think that’s what the organizers of this event have figured out.

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We started off with a nice juicy pinot and the first food in our path was heirloom tomato salad from the Culinary Institute of America (which is located across the street from the winery). Then we had lovely toast with cheese and other toppings from Jacobsen Orchards. I was beginning to get worried that the meat wasn’t ready yet, or that we had misunderstood the idea of the event and it was somehow, for some ungodly reason, celebrating the absence of meat.

But the next table over had lobster salad, and next to that was a crispy fried beef tendon. Once the tendon flavor hit my taste buds, I could feel the transformation taking place. My placation of vegetables and their place in society jumped out the window, tumbled down a mountain and sunk to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. My eyes rolled back into my head and reemerged as white orbs with beady red pupils in the shape of a cleaver. I had a sudden urge to watch “American Psycho” and “Gangs of New York” simultaneously.

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Friday, August 9, 2013

Guerneville Offers Free Wifi

Posted By on Fri, Aug 9, 2013 at 1:25 PM

Free wifi is just about everywhere these days¬—including Guerneville. The Guerneville Chamber of Commerce announced today that it has taken the plunge and made wifi coverage available free throughout the riverside city all the way to Johnson’s Beach.

Though the idea is somewhat high tech, it’s not new. Santa Rosa has offered free, wifi downtown for years, though Petaluma hasn’t caught on. Come on, Petaluma, you’re the heart of what used to be called Telecom Valley and you can’t get free downtown wifi? Guerneville beat you to that? Really?

Remember when people paid for Internet by the minute? Crazy!

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Monday, August 5, 2013

210 arrested at Chevron's gates

Posted By on Mon, Aug 5, 2013 at 12:53 PM

On Saturday morning, a crowd of roughly 2,500 people marched through Richmond to the Chevron refinery, some of them to crowd the corporation's gates, sit down and be dragged away by police in riot gear.

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According to KTVU, 210 total were arrested during the sit-in following a march from the Richmond BART station. Protesters flooded West MacDonald, and wound under 580 to the oil giant's gates, where a Chevron flag waved beside the one with stars and stripes. Marchers carried signs protesting fracking and the proposed Keystone pipeline, along with more creative ones, like "Separate Oil and State."

The rally was organized by climate and labor groups, one of them Bill McKibben's 350.org. The non-profit calls for radical action and civil disobedience around climate issues, its joint premises being that 1. the amount of carbon in the atmosphere has already far exceeded a safe threshold (350 parts per million, hence the name) and 2. congress continues to deadlock on even the smallest cap-and-trade and taxing measures that might address this. 350.org relies on studies from NASA and MIT to paint a picture that is downright apocalyptic—and too well-documented to be untrue.

The march also engaged Richmond, because, in the words of the one organizer, Chevron has been a bad neighbor. The August 6, 2012 fire that sent a cloud of vaporized sludge into the air also sent 15,000 residents to nearby hospitals (a nurse who treated patients that day was among the first arrested). Richmond mayor Gayle McLaughlin spoke at the rally, announcing that the city planned to sue Chevron.

This morning, the refinery agreed to pay $2 million in fines, pleading no contest to a host of negligence charges.

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Marchers start out at the BART station.

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These guys were rapping down W MacDonald.

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Marchers pass under 580.

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Protestors prepare to walk into Chevron's driveway.

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They're met with a line of riot police as they sit down.

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A woman stands in front of the sit-in holding a sun flower.

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This protester was arrested along with his 90-year-old grandma.

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A woman is cuffed and smiling.

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This man rocks his IWW shirt.

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