Monday, July 25, 2016

Stairwell Video Revives Lost VHS Rental Experience in Petaluma

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 2:01 PM

Kids may find this hard to believe, but before the days of online streaming services like Netflix, people who wanted to watch a movie in their home had to drive to what they called a "Video Rental Store." These stores contained hundreds of movies, held on giant black bricks called VHS tapes. Once a VHS was selected, the movie was brought home and watched on a colossal machine known as the VCR.

Crazy, right? Yet, we all did it, night after night. It was an American institution. We loved browsing the outrageous box art, turning the case over in our hand to read the information on the back and taking our selections to the front counter to rent the VHS of our choice for two-to-five days at a time.

Today, there are still a few movie rental shops like Video Droid and Joe Video in business, but they deal in Blu-ray and DVD formats. In fact, the last VHS movie release, "A History of Violence," is ten years old and the last VCR-producing company in the world is set to shut its VCR-machine division down this month, meaning the format will officially become obsolete; a relic of a brief, yet glorious, time in film history.

This week, in honor of the end of the VCR, local conceptual artists Daedalus Howell and Karen Hell are hosting the nostalgic interactive art installation Stairwell Video, on Friday, July 29, in downtown Petaluma.

Located inside the stairwell of a century-old Victorian house, Stairwell Video faithfully recreates the '80s VHS rental experience for one night only. Participants will get a store membership card, select a video and rent their movie. Limited edition "Stairwell Video" t-shirts and a popcorn and Champagne reception are also part of the night, never to be recreated again.

To reserve free tickets and receive location information, click here.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Gallery Route One Pays Tribute to Betty Woolfolk

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2016 at 10:50 AM

An Inverness-based artist acclaimed for her "Museum of Curious Thought" installations and the executive director of Gallery Route One, Betty Woolfolk was known for her endless imagination and tireless dedication to the arts.

Woolfolk passed away on June 29, at the age of 69, after a long illness. This weekend, Gallery Route One, the Point Reyes Station alternative art gallery she co-founded in 1983, pays tribute to Woolfolk and her lifetime of community contributions with a memorial gathering on Sunday, July 24 at 5 pm. Donations in Woolfolk’s name can be made to Gallery Route One.

In August, Gallery Route One will dedicate its annual fundraising art exhibition, "The Box Show," to the memory of Woolfolk, who created the show with her husband Nick seventeen years ago.
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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Sonoma-Marin Fair Celebrates Local Community

Posted By on Tue, Jun 21, 2016 at 2:17 PM

The World's Ugliest Dog Contest is just one of the many highlights of the Sonoma-Marin Fair, happening this week, June 22-26, at the Petaluma Fairgrounds.

A tradition 75 years in the making, this year's fair "Goes Local" and highlights the community members and businesses who make the North Bay a uniquely vibrant region.

Aside from the many standard fair festivities like livestock, carnival rides, art exhibits and kids activities, the fair also boasts a lively concert schedule that includes Tower of Power on June 22 and LeAnn Rimes on June 25 among other headlining acts. These concerts are free with fair admission.

The fair is also introducing a new sporting event this year, the Swoop Motorcycle Race, on June 26. Audiences can watch skilled motorcyclists riding through a technical balancing course of cars, tires and obstacles on extremely lightweight, seatless bikes. The challenge of the race comes in navigating the course without touching the ground with your feet, a difficult proposition considering the crazy course.

Last, but not least, the fair's culinary pavilion is an oasis of award-winning chefs offering up delicious demos and tastings with wines from the North of the Gate Wine Competition on hand for sipping. 

For more info and tickets, you can visit the fair's website, here.
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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Wanda Sykes Postpones Santa Rosa Show

Posted By on Thu, Jun 16, 2016 at 3:53 PM

Popular standup comedian and television star Wanda Sykes is a very busy woman, announcing today that "due to a schedule conflict" she is pushing back her June 24 appearance at Luther Burbank Center for the Arts to September 10. The announcement doesn't say exactly what the conflict is, though Sykes is currently filming "Mother/Daughter," a forthcoming comedy from 20th Century Fox also starring Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn.

The Santa Rosa venue also announced that any tickets already purchased for June 24 will be honored on the new date, and no action is required on the part of ticket holders who wish to attend the rescheduled performance. If you can't make Sept 10, refunds for the performance can be made at the original point of purchase. Call the LBC box office at 707.546.3600 for more details.
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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Jewish Community Free Clinic Hosts Annual Spirit of Hippocrates Dinner & Auction

Posted By on Wed, Jun 1, 2016 at 1:33 PM


Drawing on the traditions of charity and care first practiced by ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, the Jewish Community Free Clinic in Santa Rosa has been providing free medical care to those in need, regardless of denomination or other discriminating factors, since 2001. 

This weekend, the clinic holds its fifth annual Spirit of Hippocrates Dinner and Auction fundraiser on Sunday, June 5, at Congregation Shomrei Torah, where guests can dine on delicious food, sip on local wines and beverages that reflect our county’s wondrous bounty, and celebrate the artistic contributions made to the clinic by local artists Leslie Gattmann and Marsha Connell.

Gattmann and Connell have recently completed a "Giving Tree" art project in the clinic that bears the names of donors and supporters in colorful leaves, flowers and other artistic representations, which will be shown in a slideshow at the event. 

With a family-style feast and silent auction, the upcoming evening will help the clinic continue to offer services to the community and celebrate those involved in its ceaseless efforts. The event takes place on June 5 at Congregation Shomrei Torah, 2600 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. 5pm. $54 per person or $360 for table of 8. RSVP is recommended as space is limited.
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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sonoma Stompers Chronicled in New Book

Posted By on Thu, May 19, 2016 at 11:43 AM


Fans of baseball across the country know the story of "Moneyball," in which Oakland A’s manager Billy Beane used analytics to cheaply assemble an unlikely crew of professional ballplayers. Yet an even more unlikely success story took place last year in Sonoma County, when independent Minor League baseball team the Sonoma Stompers employed a similar tactic, except with zero money.

In the new book "The Only Rule Is It Has to Work," analysts and authors Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller share their experience of working with the Stompers and a massive stack of statistics last summer to build an experimental and, ultimately, historic baseball team. Not only does the book cover the many colorful characters who made up the Stompers roster last year—including the nation’s first openly gay professional baseball player, pitcher Sean Conroy—the story also thrillingly follows the team as they chased the Pacific Division championship in dramatic fashion.

This week, Lindbergh and Miller are joined by Conroy, outfielder Mark Hurley, first baseman Daniel Baptista and Stompers mascot Rawhide for a reading on Friday, May 20, at the Petaluma Copperfield’s Books, 140 Kentucky St., Petaluma. 7pm. Free admission (RSVP recommended). 707.762.0563.
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Friday, May 13, 2016

New Netflix Series Holds Casting Call in San Rafael

Posted By on Fri, May 13, 2016 at 11:30 AM

A new original Netflix miniseries, "Thirteen Reasons Why," is set to film in and around several North bay locations, and this Saturday, May 14, Glorioso Casting is holding an open casting call for extras and stand-in's for the series.

All ages and ethnicities are being sought to play background characters like high school students, parents, teachers and coffee shop patrons. Those who wish to attend this casting call, taking place at San Rafael's Four Points Sheraton, are encouraged to dress casually and come as they usually look. Photos will be taken, though you may also bring a (non-returnable) photo with you. If you can't attend tomorrow, you can still register at

"Thirteen Reason Why" is based on the award-winning young adult novel written by Jay Asher. The miniseries will tackle heavy themes like teenage suicide and unrequited love and will film over the summer around San Rafael, Sebastopol and Vallejo areas.

The casting call takes place on Saturday May 14, at Four Points Sheraton, 1010 Northgate Dr, San Rafael. 11am to 5pm. 

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Create a Bee-Friendly Garden at Healdsburg's Shed

Posted By on Fri, Apr 15, 2016 at 2:40 PM

Of all the ecological challenges facing our planet these days, the mass disappearance of honey bees is one of the most confounding and worrying occurrences to face agricultural industries in North America. Since many crops and flowers rely on bees to act as pollinators, the recent rise of Colony Collapse disorder affects everyone from food producers to gardeners. 

This weekend, author, consultant and gardener Kate Frey leads a workshop at Healdsburg Shed to help those in the North Bay do their part to help keep local honey bees thriving and healthy through their own garden ventures. The author has worked around the world and specializes in bio-diversity and attracting and nurturing our pollinating friends. 

Her book, The Bee Friendly Garden, co-written with professor Gretchen LeBuhn, will be available at the event, and Frey will share resources necessary for bees and give many vibrant examples of how to create gardens that support them. All workshop participants will receive a 10% off coupon for purchases in the shed's retail store the day of the event, perfect for stocking up on garden supplies.

Create a Bee-Friendly Garden on Saturday, Apr 16, at Healdsburg Shed, 25 North St, Healdsburg. 1pm. $20. 707.431.7433. 

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Catch the Bodega Bay Fisherman's Festival This Weekend

Posted By on Thu, Apr 7, 2016 at 12:09 PM


A tradition that's 43 years in the making, the Bodega Bay Fisherman's Festival returns to Westside Park in Bodega Bay this weekend, April 9 and 10, to celebrate and benefit local families and community members who make their living on the seas. This year's theme is "Give Fish a Chance," and with the fishing community in the North Bay recently devastated by a poor 2015 salmon season and a four-month delay in this year's crab season, the festival's fundraising efforts are needed now more than ever. 

This weekend promises to be a fun-filled event despite recent hardships. “This is an amazing event that brings together the entire Bodega Bay community,” states Brooks Rooney, 2016 Chairperson. “Our volunteers put in endless hours to create a fun festival for the public that in turn raises money for worthy local causes.”

A great event for families and kids, the festival boasts live music and entertainment, wooden boat races, crafts and artisans from around the region. There will also be no shortage of food and drinks on hand as local fish and chips, oysters, chowders and everything in between will be served up alongside Sonoma County wines and craft beers. 

Ticket information and daily event schedules are available online at General admission is $12, seniors over 65 are $10, kids 12 and under are free. Two-day passes are available for $20. Festival hours are 10:00am-5:00pm daily. There is free parking and handicap accessibility. 
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Monday, April 4, 2016

Sonoma International Film Festival Announces Audience Award Winners

Posted By on Mon, Apr 4, 2016 at 3:28 PM


Determined by ballots given out to festival attendees, the Sonoma International Film Festival today announced the winners of their Audience Awards in three categories; Best Documentary, Best American Independent Feature and Best World Feature.

The Audience Award for Best Documentary went to Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story, the previously untold story of Hollywood veterans Harold and Lillian Michelson and their secret romance.

The Audience Award for Best American Independent Feature went to The Great and The Small, the new film from director Dusty Bias which follows a petty criminal attempting to navigate his complex life while dealing with his former criminal boss, a mysterious detective and a spurned ex-girlfriend. Director Marianna Palka's quirky Always Worthy took second place.

The Audience Award for Best World Feature went to both Australian film Oddball and Colombian film Between Sea and Land. Oddball is a family adventure where an eccentric farmer, his granddaughter and their troublemaking sheepdog face off against a pack of penguin-stealing foxes. Between Sea and Land is a touching story of Alberto, who is afflicted with a neurological disorder that confines him to his bed, his mother Rosa lovingly protects and takes care of him.

Concluding yesterday, Apr 3, the 19th annual festival screened dozens of films and hosted special guests like actress and director Meg Ryan, recipient of the Sonoma Salute Award.
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