Monday, March 7, 2016

Wrapping Up the Silver Scream Festival

Posted By on Mon, Mar 7, 2016 at 11:02 AM


Presented by Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine and the Santa Rosa Entertainment Group, the Silver Scream Film & Comic Festival debuted this last weekend with a horde of special Hollywood guests, independent films and filmmakers and some of the most talented artists working in comics and graphic novels. Kicking off with a ribbon cutting courtesy of Nightmare on Elm Street star Robert Englund, better known as the scarred, finger-knife wielding Freddy Krueger; the three day horror extravaganza treated fans to engaging and unique opportunities to meet their heroes and discover new talent.

Friday night, I attended the Wes Craven tribute screening of the original Nightmare on Elm Street, followed by a panel with Englund, actress Heather Langenkamp and longtime Craven producer Marianne Maddalena, all of whom lovingly swapped stories about Craven, who passed away last August. Craven was remembered by these close friends as both a meticulous  storyteller and a practical joker, and fans got to ask Englund to give them one last Freddy laugh, which he happily offered. 

art by Rob Prior
  • art by Rob Prior

I spent most of Saturday watching a few of the documentaries that Silver Scream presented, one on classic movie makeup pioneer Jack Pierce, The Maker of Monsters. Pierce created all of the iconic Universal Studio monsters of the 1930s and 1940s, including the famed Frankenstein monster portrayed by Boris Karloff and the Wolfman as played by Lon Chaney, Jr. Also showing was the documentary on Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine founder and rabid Hollywood collector Forrest J Ackerman, Uncle Forry's Ackermansions, which showed Ackerman's extensive collection of memorabilia and chronicled the rise of science fiction and genre films throughout the 20th century.

Saturday night boasted the biggest screening of the weekend, as people packed the large theater 12 at the Roxy to watch An American Werewolf in London, with director John Landis, makeup effects artist Rick Baker and actor David Naughton all on hand to recall the film, celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. Landis told the crowd how he had written the script a full decade before making the picture and how Naughton's infamous transformation scene encompassed five grueling days of torture for the actor, though the results are obviously well worth it, as the scene where David becomes the werewolf is still one of the most amazing moments of cinema special effects ever achieved without the use of a computer.

An American Werewolf selfie in Santa Rosa.
  • An American Werewolf selfie in Santa Rosa.
Sunday was no slouch either, as I caught the excellent indie horror film Mania, directed by Jessica Cameron, as well as a screening of the newly restored 1980s suspense thriller, Venom, presented by director William Lustig and available from his company Blue Underground, in which actors Klaus Kinski and Oliver Reed play would-be kidnappers who are terrorized by a black mamba snake.

Throughout the fest, the Roxy's upstairs lobby was filled with activity, from live paintings by Rob Prior to makeup effects demonstrations, signings, vendors and everything else in between. 

The Silver Scream Festival really was a blast of a weekend, and Famous Monsters owner Philip Kim told me they're already planning for next year. Thanks to all involved.


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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Bear Republic to Expand with New Rohnert Park Location

Posted By on Tue, Mar 1, 2016 at 3:02 PM


Coinciding with their 20th anniversary celebration last night, Feb 29, in Healdsburg, Bear Republic Brewing Company has announced they will be opening a new brewpub in Rohnert Park within a year. 

After reaching a deal with city officials, the new Bear Republic spot will be housed in the former Latitude Island Grill & Nightclub, which has been closed for several years. Bear Republic has also said they plan on opening locations in San Diego and Cloverdale, where their main brewing facility is. Stay tuned for more details.
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Thursday, February 18, 2016

BottleRock Napa Valley Announces 2016 Food & Wine Lineup

Posted By on Thu, Feb 18, 2016 at 3:54 PM


Over on the Bohemian's music blog, City Sound Inertia, we've been following the musical lineup for BottleRock Napa Valley's upcoming festival in May. But, the bands aren't the only stars of the show. Today, BottleRock laid out the extensive list of food and wine vendors who'll be setting up shop for the three-day experience.

Food vendors will include savory Napa Valley favorites like La Toque, Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin' BBQMorimoto Napa, Goose & GanderGerard’s Paella, Eight Noodle Shop and many others.

There will also be sweet offerings from locals like Kollar Chocolates, Kara's Cupcakes, Pinup Girl Pastries & Coffee Company, Sweetie Pies and more.

For the wine enthusiast, JaM Cellars is once again acting as presenting sponsor, so you'll see them around plenty. And you'll also find pourings from the likes of Miner Family Winery, Silver Oak Cellars, Del Dotto Vineyards and more than 20 other wineries.

That's in addition to the beer, which is coming from Bay Area breweries like Lagunitas Brewing Company, Anchor Brewing, Napa Smith and more.

For the full list of food and drink vendors to wet your appetite, click here. BottleRock takes place May 27-29, 2016 at the Napa Expo, 575 3rd Street, Napa. Get tickets here.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Marin Theatre Company Hires New Dramaturg & Literary Manager

Posted By on Tue, Feb 16, 2016 at 3:31 PM


I know what you're thinking, what is a dramaturg? For those not in the know, a dramaturg is person in the live theater scene who researches and develops new works for the stage. And, as dramaturgs go, Lydia Garcia is the tops; having worked as the resident dramaturg for the world-famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon. 

Now, Garcia has been tapped as the new resident dramaturg and literary manager at the Marin Theatre Company, bringing her imaginative and progressive work to the North Bay to help emerging playwrights, actors, directors and others at the company to bring new and exciting works to the stage.

In a statement, Garcia says, "joining the team at Marin Theatre Company—a company dedicated to nurturing plays destined to become new American classics—is an extraordinary opportunity to be at the forefront of the most exciting developments in the American theatre today."

On their part, MTC artistic director Jasson Minadakis states, "Ms. Garcia is one of the true leaders in forwarding new play dramaturgy and in mentoring the field's next generation of dramaturgs. She is also one of the field's leading experts and facilitators in the new arena of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and I am thrilled that she is bringing her expertise to MTC as well as the greater Bay Area. She will be a valuable local resource for our community.”

Marin Theatre Company’s next production, the world premiere of "Swimmers," by Rachel Bonds, begins performances on Thursday, March 3 and runs through Sunday, March 27 at 397 Miller Avenue in Mill Valley.
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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Napa County Library Turns 100

Posted By on Tue, Feb 9, 2016 at 11:02 AM


A century ago today, the Napa County Board of Supervisors’ unanimously approved the formation the Napa County Library System. Now, the county runs libraries in Napa, Yountville, American Canyon and Calistoga, and they celebrate a special centennial birthday at the first and oldest location in downtown Napa today, Feb 9, with games, entertainment and more.

First housed in the Goodman building, which currently houses the Napa County Historical Society, the Napa Main Library is now located at 580 Coombs St., where the festivities take place today. Things kick off with a proclamation and reading by Beclee Wilson, Napa County Poet Laureate. Then, barbershop quartet Napa Valley Harmonizers will lead the birthday song before games and sweet treats fill the building. 

For more information call 707.253.4235 or visit their website at

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Jack London Book Club Announces 2016 Dates & Titles

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 3:45 PM


Literary critic Alfred Kazin once said, "the greatest story Jack London ever wrote was the story he lived." Throughout 2016, Jack London State Park is heeding those words for their year-long celebration of the author and adventurer who called Sonoma County home with their "Discover Your Call of the Wild" event series that boasts musical performances, tours, lectures and more happening in accordance with the centennial anniversary of London's death. 

The event series also includes the Jack London Book Club, who will meet four times over the next 12 months and discuss four of London's most enduring novels. Led by two Jack London scholars, professor Susan Nuernberg, Ph.D. and Sonoma County poet laureate Iris Jamahl Dunkle, Ph.D., the group aims to celebrate London's life and legacy by reading his popular works of fiction.

On March 5, the group commences with a discussion of London's signature novel, Call of the WIld. On June 4, The Sea-Wolf is examined. In the fall, on October 7, the group talks through White Fang. And finally, on December 3, London's The Valley of the Moon is given an in-depth look. 

Admission to these book club meetings is free, but space is limited to 20 participants, so sign up early to reserve your spot. For more information and to register, visit
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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Bowie Hits the Big Screen at Rialto Cinemas

Posted By on Tue, Jan 12, 2016 at 4:02 PM


With the news of David Bowie's passing still sending shockwaves throughout the musical community, filmgoers are also looking for comfort in his varied and versatile film career. In that vein, Sebastopol's Rialto Cinemas will be screening the surreal 1976 British sci-fi film starring Bowie, The Man Who Fell to Earth, beginning Friday, Jan 15.

Rightfully hailed as a cult classic, this stunning film stars a red-haired, pale-skinned David Bowie as an alien who crash lands on our planet while looking for help saving his own. Using his advanced technology, the "Man" infiltrates American industry and business with a goal of building a way back home, though the wealth and decadence of society pulls him in the opposite moral direction.

Directed by Nicolas Roeg, who also helmed '70s cult favorites Walkabout and Don't Look Now, this film is a uniquely profound and meditative work, and Bowie is perfect in his major film debut as the literal Starman. This upcoming big screen showing is a rare treat, as the film is largely unavailable in good condition; even it's Criterion Collection release long out-of-print.

The Man Who Fell to Earth screens from Friday, Jan 15 to Thursday, Jan 21, at Rialto Cinemas, 6868 McKinley St, Sebastopol. 707.525.4840. Check their site for showtimes. 

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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Pliny the Younger Release Dates Announced

Posted By on Thu, Jan 7, 2016 at 3:19 PM


Russian River Brewing Company is bringing back their most sought-after release, Pliny the Younger, for its 12th annual run at their downtown Santa Rosa brew pub. Beginning Friday February 5, and lasting until February 18, crowds of beer enthusiasts from near and far will be lining up around the block in the cold and rain to get a taste of the most famous triple IPA in the world. 

If you've spent any time standing in the long lines in years past, you know the wait can be long, really long; reportedly up to eight hours on the weekends last year. In an attempt to cut those wait times down in 2016, the Russian River is imposing a three beer / three hour limit for patrons. This will also help ensure everyone who shows up has a chance to get their hands on that Pliny. The good news is that Russian River only offers the beer on draft, no bottles and no growlers. Just remember, they only have a certain allotment of Pliny the Younger on hand for each day, so get there early. 

Considering this is an El Nino year and February is expected to be super soaked outside, here's a couple of tips for surviving the line and enjoying your Pliny. First, no tents or stand up structures will be allowed in line, as they tend to blow away in the wind and usually end up blocking sidewalks and other business entrances, and that's a no no. Instead, bring layers, umbrellas and a hot thermos of coffee for your stay on the streets of Santa Rosa.

Second, people in lines HATE it when you show up late and join your friends in front of them, so if you want to get in line early make sure your whole party comes together. Yes, it's a pain to wait, but the folks behind you won't mind you slipping off to use the restroom or getting a bite to eat at La Bufa if they know you've been there from the start.

Once you get inside, you gotta get your own drink. Even if you don't want a Pliny, don't be the guy (or gal) who is just hanging out with your friend; and keeping the people behind you out in the rain while you take up space. Order something, anything, there will be 20 different beers on tap to choose from.

2016's Pliny the Younger is expected to be one of the best releases yet, predicted to clock in at about 10.25% and boasting an assortment of top quality hops. The Russian River Brewing Company is located at 725 Fourth St, Santa Rosa. 11am to Midnight. 707.545.BEER.
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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

HopMonk Owner Buys Twin Oaks Tavern in Penngrove

Posted By on Wed, Dec 9, 2015 at 12:48 PM

  • Marc Shur

HopMonk Tavern owner  and proprietor Dean Biersch announced today that he has purchased the popular Penngrove roadhouse Twin Oaks Tavern from Sheila Groves Tracy and her partners. The longstanding spot on Old Redwood Highway between Cotati and Petaluma has been in business for 91 years, transforming from prohibition-era grocery store and gas station to tavern and popular music venue, and it's now a staple of the small town.

With three North Bay locations operating under the HopMonk name, Biersch made it clear that Twin Oaks Tavern will keep its own iconic name and neon signs, though he says that several classic elements will be enhanced with new entertainment ideas, a new draft system that will feature 16 craft beer selections and an overhauled kitchen that will serve new takes on old favorites.

Also sticking around at Twin Oaks will be Sheila Groves Tracy as the music booker. Her packed schedule of shows always boasts top-tier rock, folk, country and blues music playing six to seven days a week, with special afternoon BBQ concerts and a recently remodeled outdoor beer garden.

Twin Oaks Tavern will be temporarily closed starting in mid-January for the planned improvements. Details on the re-opening are TBA. 

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Made Local Marketplace Cuts the Ribbon on New Location

Posted By on Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 11:59 AM


Made Local Marketplace, the locally-minded store that boasts items and goods from hundreds of North Bay makers and manufacturers, recently expanded from their longtime location on 5th St in downtown Santa Rosa to a new storefront one block over, at 529 4th St, the former location of Cokas Dikus, between Mendocino Ave and the Santa Rosa Mall.

The larger space allows the marketplace, which is celebrating five years in Santa Rosa this month, to offer even more goods and gifts just in time for the holiday shopping season. The store will also soon house a reuse center run by the Foundry Creative group that will be a valued resource for teachers, artists and creative shoppers. There are also plans for art classes and a small coffee post run by the popular Criminal Bakery.

The Made Local Marketplace celebrates their new space and their five-year anniversary today, Dec 8, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that's open to the public and features food, wine and a hands-on Makers Lab. 529 4th St, Santa Rosa. 5pm. The marketplace's regular hours are Mon-Fri, 10-6; Sat, 10-5 and Sun 11 to 5. 707.583.7667.
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