Fall Arts Events
Creative types go into overdrive as summer ends
WEIRD WEATHER cut our summer short, but there's no need to fear the fall. A potent cocktail of events is brewing in the world of arts and entertainment that will erase that bratty El Niño kid from memory and leave you basking in the warm glow of local creativity. Below you'll find our selective guide to the fall arts, compiled by Greg Cahill, Shelley Lawrence, Patrick Sullivan, and Marina Wolf.
The SoFo2 Gallery kicks off its fall season with an unusual display of Tibetan religious scrolls. The exhibit--which opens Sept. 4 and runs through Sept. 30--features an array of the vividly colorful scrolls (called "thankas") painted on silk or cloth. On opening night, Edward Kunga Van Tassel of the Golden Ridge Sangha will deliver a lecture on "The Sacred Image in Tibetan Art." 602 Wilson St., Santa Rosa. Free. 579-2787.
Sebastopol Center for the Arts
Two shows about the art of eating fill the center's Upfront Gallery: "Let's Do Lunch: A Fresh Look at Food" is an exhibit of paintings and prints by Rod Emilio and photographs by Rod Nidecker; "Food, Glorious Food" is an all-media exhibit juried by acclaimed chef and art collector John Ash. Both shows are now open and run through Sept. 27. Receptions will be held Sept. 3 at 5 and 7 p.m. "Shrine/Icons/Mystical Places" opens Oct. 1. 6821 Laguna Park Way, Sebastopol. Free. 829-4797.
Far from the glitter of San Francisco opera, the Sonoma County chapter of the San Francisco Opera Guild still manages to capture the soul of the art with passionate preview lectures. Another great season begins Tuesday, Sept. 8, with a 10 a.m. presentation on Arabella. But it ain't just hangin' with other opera amoreuses: all proceeds benefit Opera à la Carte, bringing opera--this year, Madame Butterfly--to schoolchildren throughout the county. Other lectures topics: Sept. 18 at 2 p.m., A Streetcar Named Desire; Oct. 7 at 6 p.m., Manon; Oct 22 at 10:30 a.m., Don Carlo; Nov. 2 at 10:30 a.m., Peter Grimes. Locations vary. Meals are often packaged with the lectures, with suggested donations ranging from $15 to $25. 546-4379.
University Art Shows
The Santa Rosa Junior College Art Gallery presents two shows this fall: Sept. 10 through Oct. 15, "Adjunct Faculty: New Work," and Nov. 5 through Dec. 11, "Peter Broome Memorial Show" (1501 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa; 527-4298). The SRJC Petaluma campus will display "Maurice Lapp: Paintings and Watercolors" throughout October and "Endangered Species: Portraits from Papua New Guinea," a collection of photographs of tribal peoples taken by Healdsburg physician Philip Rasori, Nov. 9 to Dec. 18 (Herold Mahoney Library, 680 Sonoma Mountain Parkway; 778-2410)... . The University Art Gallery at Sonoma State University presents an exhibit Sept. 10 through Oct. 18 of faculty work, including prints by Kurt Kemp and photography from Marsha Red Adams (1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park; 664-2295).
For both artistic excellence and pure entertainment, you can't beat the dramatic spectacle of what may well be the world's most colorful dance company. Ballet Folklórico de Mexico draws on the richly diverse heritage of Mexico, including historical events and Mayan and Aztec rituals, to create breathtaking displays of energy in motion, complete with fantastic costumes. This year's tour--which arrives Sept. 11 at 8 p.m. at the Marin Center in San Rafael--includes the U.S. premiere of Dance of Quetzales, a new creation of Latin American choreographer Amalia Hernandez. $22, $28, and $35. 415/472-3500.
Art for Life
Talent and compassion don't always go together, but the two seem inseparable companions at the Art for Life Exhibit and Auction. Each year, some 200 of the region's finest artists donate works to the event, now in its 11th year, which raises much needed cash for essential AIDS services in Sonoma County. The free exhibit opens Sept. 16. The auction on Sept. 19 at 3:30 p.m. features fine food, wine, and live jazz from the Ben Hill Quartet. Friedman Center, 873 Second St., Santa Rosa. $39. 544-1581.
Brew swillers, ale sippers, hops lovers and fans of malt, take heed. The 13th annual Something's Brewing beer tasting is once again fermenting, sudsing up on Sept. 18 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Santa Rosa Veterans Building. With unlimited beer tasting from more than 40 of the finest specialty breweries in Northern California, the bash--which is presented by the Sonoma County Museum--also features food from local delis, restaurants, and grocers. Brookwood and Maple avenues (across from the fairgrounds), Santa Rosa. $18. 579-1500.
Devotees of this oft-overlooked genre will attest that an intimate room and manageable acoustics lend any small-scale arrangement a certain piquant joy. Catch a delightful earful at these and other assemblages popping up here and there throughout the season: The Redwood Arts Council's 19th season starts Sept. 19 with Ad Vielle Que Pourra, a transcendent folk troupe from old France. The Oct. 17 program blends the capers of the Carter Family Marionettes with the boisterously operatic stylings of Magnificat. Classical guitarist Paul Galbraith presents RAC's final fall show Nov. 14. $17/general, $16/senior, and $10/students. 874-1124... . As if the regular season isn't enough for them, Jeffrey Kahane and other members of the Santa Rosa Symphony are kicking off a new chamber music series this fall at the Spreckels Performing Arts Center (5409 Snyder Lane in Rohnert Park) Oct. 9 and Nov. 6. 546-8742... . The Sunday Chamber Music Series at SSU is one way to relax after a grinding week of homework or work work. Drop by Oct. 11 at 4 for an afternoon of music by Schumann, Ravel, and Turina, presented by members of the San Francisco Symphony with SSU instructor Marilyn Thompson. $10/general, $8/SSU faculty, staff, and alums, $6/students. 664-2353... . The Russian River Chamber Music Society offers an evening of strings with a decidedly young attitude at a performance by the Cypress String Quartet on Oct. 24. Call for showtimes and ticket prices. 524-8700.
Petaluma Poetry Walk
Trail poets like a bloodhound through seven locations in historic downtown Petaluma at the third annual Petaluma Poetry Walk on Sept. 20. Hear some of the Bay Area's finest poets, such as Diane DiPrima, Ron Salisbury, and Patti Trimble, read at different locations from noon to 8 p.m. Take a load off and be inspired by their artistic wisdom at the Deaf Dog Cafe, have a futuristic snack at the 21st Century Bakery, and finish the day off at Andresens' Tavern. The Petaluma Poetry Walk, brainchild of Geri Digiorno, is sponsored by Poets and Writers Inc. 763-4271.
Watch folks in kilts throw big tree trunks across a field, drink from animal horns, and dance while remaining motionless from the waist up. Yep, the fourth annual Sebastopol Celtic Festival is arriving once again in Sonoma County. On Sept. 25-26, visitors will be enchanted by wandering musicians and storytellers, and enticed by vendors and food. And, of course, lots of music, headlined by seminal Celtic rocker John Renbourn, the legendary guitarist who co-founded Pentangle. Other acts include Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, Liam O'Flynn and Arty McGlynn, and traditional Dublin music from Susan McKeown. Locations vary. $50/general full festival pass, $60/reserved full festival pass, $15/Friday night or Saturday afternoon, $22/Saturday night. Passes can be purchased in Sebastopol at Copperfield's Music and at the Community Center. 829-7067.
Ciao, bella, it's time for the eigth annual Festa Italiana, celebrating the cultural contributions of Italian Americans. Come wet your whistle on Italian ices and espresso, while leaving the bambinos at the children's center, or take them to see the Coro Allegro singers and the Balliamo dancers. Play bocce ball and ooh-aah at the fine collection of Italian autos on display while you hope to win an Italian treat through the raffle. Sept. 27, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Veterans Building, at Brookwood and Maple avenues (across from the fairgrounds), in Santa Rosa. $4/advance donation, $5/at door, free for children under 10. 522-9448.
Performing Arts at SSU
Sonoma State University starts off the fall season on Sept. 29 with critic and playwright Eric Bentley sharing his critical and personal perspective on the work of German dramatist Bertolt Brecht. Geoffrey Chaucer and Co. arrives Oct. 9 with a performance of stories from The Canterbury Tales. On Oct. 10, dancer and humorist Claire Porter delivers deft physical comedy in a series of vignettes. And on Oct. 16, SSU presents Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Skin of Our Teeth. Person Theatre or Warren Auditorium, 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. Prices and times vary. 664-2353.
Big names often come with big price tags at the Luther Burbank Center, but its fall lineup of family-oriented shows is an unrivaled theatrical bargain. The Fred Garbo Inflatable Theater Company sets gigantic props drifting across the stage on Oct. 1; then, on Oct. 10, kids' singer/songwriter John McCutcheon sits in for a special set. Jackie Torrence, "the Story Lady," spins a mysterious web of words on Oct. 21 (just in time for Halloween). Two distinctly different cultures of dance and sound--Cambodia and the Emerald Isle--meet on Nov. 3. Finally, the California Theatre Center presents The Princess and the Pea on Nov. 19. All shows start at 6:30 p.m. Reserved seats for the series are $35/children and $45/adults; individual ticket prices vary. Tickets are available for limited-income families through the ArtReach program. 546-3600.
Santa Rosa Symphony
In the face of market fluctuations and the pre-holiday financial crunch, a year's subscription to Sonoma County's largest symphonic ensemble may be the best return available on a couple hundred dollars. The culture-to-kopecks ratio is high, and you're guaranteed a seat at some of the hottest classical happenings this fall. On Oct. 10-12, youthful cellist Alisa Weilerstein stars in a concert of orchestral rhapsodies by Bloch, Enesco, and Ravel. Then on Nov. 7-9 Canadian pianist Jon Kimura Parker joins music director Jeffrey Kahane for a juxtaposition of Bartók and Gershwin. Hel-lo! It oughta be good. But if you just don't get it, don't worry: All concerts are preceded by one-hour "Tune-Up" lectures. Non-subscription performances include Kahane in a benefit piano recital on Sept. 18 (at the Santa Rosa High School Auditorium, 1235 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa), featuring Bach's Goldberg Variations. The Santa Rosa Symphony takes the civic-minded thing even further with a Saturday afternoon Discovery Series, the first two shows on Oct. 10 and Nov. 7, and features post-concert Q&As with The Man Kahane himself. All shows except the piano benefit are held at the Luther Burbank Center, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. Depending on your seating preferences, the seven-concert series can be had for between $110 and $210, with substantial discounts for seniors and students; individual shows are $17-$35, or $12-$17 for seniors and students. The Discovery series is $42 ($30 for youth under 21), with individual tickets going for $7.50/general and $5.50/youth. 564-8742.
Go slumming on the seamy side of opera with Verdi's deliciously scandalous tale of illicit passion, performed Oct. 13 by San Francisco's Western Opera Theater at the Luther Burbank Center. The evening also features a buffet supper. 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. $32.50/dinner and opera, $22/show only. 546-3600.
Santa Rosa Community Concerts
Catch the golden anniversary season of this community-based music series. The 1998-99 concerts range from season opener Chanticleer on Oct. 14 to Quartetto Gelato in April. Luther Burbank Center, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. $17.50/concert, $45/all six (but Aug. 31 is the deadline to buy season tickets). 542-2032 or 528-2731.
California Small Works Show
Small is beautiful--or provocative, or deeply mysterious--in this annual display of Lilliputian creativity at the California Museum of Art. The name says it all: Big is out, and no piece may be more than 12"x12"x12". The 10th year of this event features works by more than 100 artists, exhibited Oct. 14 through Dec. 20, opening with a reception on Oct. 16. (Artists: Ship your own entry by Sept. 23 or hand-deliver it Sept. 26-27; call for prospectus.) 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. 527-0297.
Musicians and activists come together Oct. 16 for a benefit concert to raise money for the beleaguered indigenous people of Chiapas, Mexico. The event features legendary folk singer Utah Phillips, Irish balladeer Andy Irvine, and the traditional music and dance of the Los Cenzontles Youth Touring Company. Proceeds will fund humanitarian relief and human rights monitoring efforts in Chiapas, where Mexican army troops and right-wing paramilitary groups are waging a campaign of terror against Mayan Indian communities. Sebastopol Community Center, 390 Morris St., Sebastopol. $15. 874-1611.
Ready, Steady, Go!
Race down the ARTrails of Sonoma County, the 13th annual open-studio tour of Sonoma County. This trek through the local arts takes place Oct. 17-18 and Oct. 24-25, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Gain inspiration by ogling over 120 artists in their own habitats. Painters, sculptors, photographers, printmakers, and craft artists of all kinds will be available to enlighten visitors. The Sonoma County Museum gets an early start with ARTrails, hosting a preview of the program starting Oct. 9 with a meet-the-artist reception from 6 to 8 p.m. 579-ARTS.
Small and supple, Orchestra Sonoma plays with some of the big boys of classical music this fall, with a weekend salute to "Beethoven and Friends" on Oct. 24 and 25. Director Nan Washburn leads the orchestra through Beethoven's Symphony No. 8 and works by Glinka, Shostakovich, and Roberto Sierra. Principal cellist Julian Hersh will support Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1, while the SSU Chorus lends its voices to Roberto Sierra's tropical piece. Spreckels Performing Arts Center, 5409 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park. $18/general, $14/youth and seniors. 584-1700.
Festival of Harps
Few musical instruments can match the magical appeal of the harp. From the majestic concert version to the 11-string African adungu, all these angelic instruments have a unique power to thrill and enchant. It's a lucky thing, then, that the ninth annual Festival of Harps will touch down at Spreckels Performing Arts Center Nov. 7 to offer a smorgasbord of sound from the wide world of harp music. This year's festival features both international performers (including Latin harp virtuoso Carlos Reyes) and musicians from the Bay Area. 5409 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park. $18/adults, $14/youth.
Tune in to tales of the weird at the awards evening for the Sonoma County Independent's fourth annual jive writing contest. This year, we've asked contributors to deliver the jive on "Coincidences and Strange Encounters." With that kind of mandate, no rational seer would even try to predict what sort of brushes with the bizarre will fill the room when the winners read their work aloud. Food, drink, and jaw-dropping prizes round out the fun. Oct. 21 at A'Roma Roasters and Coffeehouse, 95 Fifth St., Railroad Square, Santa Rosa. 576-7765.
With such attractions as the Championship Grape Stomp, an ongoing three-day contest in which funkily costumed teams of two compete in wild hopes of being named the "world's fastest grape stomp team," who could resist the annual Sonoma County Harvest Fair? And that's only a teensy sample of the fun to be had here; other attractions include an art show, continuous wine and food tasting, a 10K and 3K run, and ongoing kids' activities. The fair runs October 2-4. $5/adults, $2/children ages 7-12, and $2/seniors on Oct. 2. 545-4203.
FORGET THE LILITH FAIR June and Jean Millington of the Slammin' Babes know a thing or two about women in popular music. June, who now serves as artistic director of the Bodega-based Institute for the Musical Arts, honed her chops in 1970 as a member of Fanny, the first all-female hard-rock group. These days, she's helping steer the IMA, a non-profit organization that supports women in the music business. And the IMA is hosting the Diva Fest, which is raising funds to purchase and renovate the Old Creamery in Bodega for new IMA digs. Performing at the event are the cream of women's music: Ferron (shown above), Rhiannon, Barbara Higbie and Teresa Trull, Gwen Avery, Amy Simpson, Lynn Vidal, Copper Wimmin, and the Slammin' Babes. Sept. 27 at 11 a.m. Caswell Vineyards, 13207 DuPont Road, Sebastopol. $22/adults, $10/youths ages 13-20, free for children 12 and under. 876-3028.
Laughing the Night Away
SONOMA COUNTY comedy audiences flock to the Luther Burbank Center to catch the semi-final rounds of the annual San Francisco International Comedy Competition (held this year on Oct. 2 at 8 p.m. at the LBC; tickets are $19.50 to $22.50; 543-3600), which in its 23 years has helped launch the careers of Robin Williams, Dana Carvey, Ellen DeGeneres, Marsha Warfield, and many others. But die-hard comedy fans know that some of the best talent is to be found at the preliminary rounds, where raw talent often shines in the spotlight. (Unfortunately, such competition-savvy buffoons as Sinbad often grab the eyes of judges and step into the winner's circle.) This year, Sonoma State University for the first time will host a preliminary round, featuring 15 hopeful entrants and lots of laughs. Johnny Steele (above), a 1992 competition winner and former Live 105 morning show host, will emcee. Friday, Sept. 18, at 8 p.m. SSU's Evert B. Person Theater, 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. Tickets are $6/students advance; $10/general advance; $12 at the door. For info, call 664-2382.
Poetry in Motion
FALL OFFERS an action-packed, star-studded schedule for dance enthusiasts. First, the internationally renowned Ballet Stars of Moscow hit the Luther Burbank Center Oct. 30. Composed of principal dancers from Moscow's leading companies, including the Bolshoi Ballet, these 10 dancers present selections from the classical Russian repertoire as well as contemporary ballets ($22/adults; $20/seniors; $17/seniors). Then, the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble arrives at the LBC for a show Nov. 12. This may be Alvin Ailey's second company, but they still deliver first-rate performances that pull audiences to their feet ($22/adults; $20/seniors; $17/students). LBC shows take place at 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa; 546-3600. Finally, Spreckels Performing Arts Center hosts the popular and critically acclaimed Smuin Ballets/SF (shown above) for two shows--Sueños Latinos on Nov. 21 and Carmina Burana on Nov. 22 ($25 or $22/youth and senior; $44 both shows). Spreckels is located at 5409 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park; 584-1700.
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From the August 27-September 2, 1998 issue of the Sonoma County Independent.
© Metro Publishing Inc.