Known in the North Bay as a co-host of Petaluma’s monthly Get Lit reading and open mic events, Napa-based writer Kara Vernor’s fiction and nonfiction works have been published in literary reviews and collections from Los Angeles to Stockholm, and she is renowned for her incisive prose and intriguing characters. Last month, Split Lip Press published Vernor’s new chapbook of 21 stories, Because I Wanted to Write You a Pop Song, and she reads from the book on Saturday, July 9, at Napa Bookmine, 964 Pearl St., Napa. 6pm. 707.733.3199.
With an emphasis on local and artisanal, the Petaluma Art & Garden Festival turns 15 years old this summer with a street party that brings in over 140 vendors offering their art, handmade crafts, garden decorations and more. Aside from the unique wares, live music keeps the crowds moving with performances by local favorites the Soul Section, Foxes in the Henhouse and Hot Grubb. For the kids, games and activities are on hand, and for the adults, tasting packages are available for anyone who wants to indulge in local brews and wine, while the area’s best restaurants serve up eclectic culinary options. The art and garden goods go on display Sunday, July 10, on Kentucky and Fourth streets in downtown Petaluma. 11am to 5pm. Free admission. 707.762.9348.
For its 75th anniversary, the Marin County Fair is adopting the theme “What a Ride!” to celebrate Marin’s history and the region’s forward-thinking culture. Striving to be a green and healthy event, the fair last year won an award–yes, fairs can win awards–for initiatives that included offering healthy food and drinks, water-refill stations, shuttle service and more. The entertainment this year is packed with chart-topping concerts by the Wallflowers, Sheila E, Foreigner, Plain White T’s and Kool & the Gang, and fireworks light up the sky every night. The fair runs Thursday, June 30, to Monday, July 4, at the Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. Admission, $15–$20; concerts, $50. marinfair.org.
Guitarist Jorge Santana is most often associated with his brother, Carlos. They played together for many years in the studio and on the road, and even released an album under the name the Santana Brothers. Yet Jorge’s greatest commercial and artistic successes have come from his San Francisco–based band Malo, which first scored a Top 20 hit with “Suavecito” in 1972. Malo cracked the U.S. Top 200 with four albums between ’72 and ’74 before a hiatus and off-again, on-again activity since. This week, Santana revisits those classic hits and offers up a solo Malo-centric concert of fan favorites on Friday, July 1, at McNear’s Mystic Theatre, 23 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. 8:30pm. $22. 707.765.2121.
Summer in California isn’t complete without surfing, though not everyone gets out on the waves. For the landlocked surf enthusiast, there’s a new exhibit, Surf Craft, that highlights the design and culture of the board at the Sonoma Valley Museum. The exhibit opens this week with Surf Film Night when the museum screens the 2012 movie Chasing Mavericks, about Santa Cruz surfers taking on big waves. On hand for the screening is surf legend Frosty Hesson, played in the film by Gerard Butler, and Santa Cruz Surfshop owner Bob Pearson, who made the boards used in the film. The event happens on Saturday, July 2, at Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, 551 Broadway, Sonoma. Reception at 6:30pm; film at 8pm. $20. 707.939.7862.
Hailing from the musical land of Minneapolis, the Last Revel describe themselves as “front-porch Americana.” Multi-instrumentalists and vocalists Ryan Acker, Lee Henke and Vincenzio Donatelle combine for stirring three-part harmonies and traditional folk melodies, and the band also moves into the realms of rockabilly and soul on their two full-length albums. Live, the trio can deliver arresting ballads and arousing ditties alike. Spending their summer touring the West Coast, the Last Revel roll into the North Bay for two shows, on Tuesday, July 5, at Bergamot Alley, 328 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, at 8pm (707.433.8720) and Wednesday, July 6, at the Big Easy, 128 American Alley, Petaluma, at 6:30pm (707.776.4631).
The Calistoga Concerts in the Park series is an easy way to get a full summer selection of great local music in a friendly outdoor atmosphere. The free events are presented by the Calistoga Beverage Company. Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets, chairs and picnic dinners. Alcohol is permitted for concertgoers 21 and over. For those who don’t want to pack food, boxed meals can be purchased from several surrounding restaurants, and different wineries will be on hand to pour. This week, the series kicks off with popular soul rock band Kingsborough, whose new single, “Percy,” is on iTunes now. The concerts take place every Thursday through August, and debuts June 23 at Pioneer Park, 1308 Cedar St., Calistoga. 6:30pm. Free admission. 707.942.2838.
It might seem strange to say that a novel dealing with end-of-life issues and assisted suicide could be funny, yet that’s what critics are saying of ‘The Flight of the Pickerings,’ the debut novel by Sonoma resident John Grayson Heide. The story revolves around Guy Pickering, who, in an attempt to fulfill a pact he made with his ailing wife to help end her suffering, encounters all those little life problems that keep getting in the way of death. This weekend, Heide reads and speaks during a book launch event that will include a Q&A and refreshments on Friday, June 24, at Occidental Center for the Arts, 3850 Doris Murphy Court, Occidental. 7pm. Free admission. 707.874.9392.
A favorite in the Marin music scene, San Geronimo are finally releasing their debut album, Better Days, and throwing a party for the occasion. Jeremy D’antonio, whose journey originally took him from Santa Fe to the Bay Area with the band Tiny Television, and Darren Nelson, a New England native who also plays in Honey Dust, front the band. Together with pedal-steel player Dave Zirbel and drummer Danny Luehring, the group has perfected a rip-roaring roots rock. San Geronimo will welcome old friend Phil Lesh to join them onstage, with El Radio Fantastique opening, on Saturday, June 25, at Terrapin Crossroads, 100 Yacht Club Drive, San Rafael. 8pm. $15. 415.524.2773.
As a veteran guitarist, engineer, producer and executive director of the Napa Musicians Performance Guild, Dalton Piercey is a master of all aspects of music, including recently taking on the role of talent booker at Napa’s Raeset Asian Bar & Craft Brew. A strong personality onstage, Piercey shares tips and tricks of the trade in a workshop this weekend, Performance Techniques for the Musicians Stage. Anyone interested in learning how to command a stage while playing music should look into the informative and hands-on afternoon, taking place on Sunday, June 26, at RaeSet, 3150-B Jefferson St., Napa. Noon. Free. Space is limited; RSVP required. 707.666.9028.