Saturday, March 19, 2011

Announcing Our Animal Collective Cover Song Contest

Posted By on Sat, Mar 19, 2011 at 10:37 AM

We know, we know

. You tried to buy tickets. But floor seats were gone in three minutes

. Balcony seats not long after. Don’t even look on Craigslist–you’ll just get depressed.

Here’s the good news: the Bohemian has two general-admission floor tickets to see Animal Collective at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma on April 10

. We’re giving them away. They’re yours. No strings. You just have to enter our contest, and win.What contest is that, you ask? Why, it’s the Animal Collective Cover Song Contest

!The rules are easy:1. You record a cover of an Animal Collective song.2. You send the mp3 to us.3. We listen to it, discuss among ourselves and select some finalists.3. If you’re picked as the best entry, you win two tickets to the show

!Entries must be received by Sunday, April 3

. One entry per person. Winner will be announced in the April 6 issue of the Bohemian and on our Facebook page. We reserve the right to post your mp3 online. One need not have a band to submit an entry, and in fact, we’d probably be charmed if you sing while playing on a typewriter and ketchup bottle or something. Entries will be judged not on how accurately the song is represented but by how much it tickles our fancy, so be creative

.Send your mp3 to Leilani Clark at lclark [at]

.Get recording, and best of luck!

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Victims Family at the Arlene Francis Center

Posted By on Mon, Mar 7, 2011 at 11:54 AM

The last time I saw Victims Family was in 1993 at the Phoenix Theater. I’m pretty sure that I called in sick to my job at Bradley Video to go to the show, although my memory of the actual specifics grows fuzzier with each passing year. My best friend and I went to the show together. She did a zine called “I Heart Victims Family.

" We lived outside of Forestville, in a trailer attached to an old fire house. We had moved up from Los Angeles a few months before, and wasted no time becoming obsessed with Bay Area music—Green Day, Blatz, Mr. T Experience, Nuisance, Spitboy, and Victims Family. By this time, VF had put out a few albums. They played a hybrid of punk, funk, and metal that we loved—remember, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were good back then too.Victims Family played at the Arlene Francis Center this past weekend—their first show in Santa Rosa in nearly 20 years. I made to the Sunday matinee show, but supposedly the Saturday night show turned into an epic, drunken, humid, mosh-fest. Sunday’s show was decidedly more mellow, but still had the contingent of old drunk Natty Light-drinking skater dudes in the front row. Sometimes these reunion shows are the closest thing we will experience to a high school reunion.All members of the band were in fine form. Ralph Spight can still yelp, and growl, and wail on the guitar with as much intensity as ever. Larry Boothroyd still dominates on the bass—playing it with the smoothness and confidence of someone who has been digging into the strings for thirty years. Tim Solyan still plays like a fantastical drum beast. In an April 2010 interview with the Bohemian, Spight said, "It's always been a kind of challenge to stay in touch with how passionate we feel about the music that we play and all the things that you get into a band for. It's nice to get back to a point of remembering why we got into it and what we love about it." And this attitude was reflected in the energy and power of the show. It was also rad just to see the crowd reaction—the pure delight of long-time fans seeing the band back in action.Of course, I had to engage in a bit of navel-gazing, and about halfway through their long set I started thinking about whether I really still truly loved the music of Victims Family, or whether my enjoyment was purely nostalgic. And in the end, I had to admit that I probably wouldn’t even listen to Victims Family now, if I came across them without all the historical baggage. This is just one of the realities of aging—music doesn’t retain the same potency for everyone. I think my love of Victims Family was tied up with discovering punk rock, and learning how to play guitar, and being high on politics, and moving to a new place.

I mean, I still feel high on life most times—but I have a different soundtrack. Which is fine. And seeing Victims Family, grey-hairs and all, still ruled.

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Album Review: R.E.M. "Collapse Into Now"; The Decemberists "The King Is Dead"

Posted By on Sat, Mar 5, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Photo by Anton Corbijn

The King’s Speech

On their new album, R.

E.M. drops the ball, but the Decemberists pick it up and go country on The King Is Dead

By David Sason
Like R.E.M.'s 2008 comeback album Accelerate, Collapse Into Now starts out strong with potent back-to-back rockers “Discoverer” and “All the Best”, both featuring superb rawk riffage from Rickenbacker hero Peter Buck. But after the kinetic, acoustic-based “Uberlin”, their most interesting mid-tempo pop ditty in ages, the momentum stops with the bland, embarrassingly earnest “Oh My Heart”, a sequel of sorts to 2008’s Katrina narrative “Houston”. The W-era couplet “If the storm doesn’t kill me, the government will” has become the misguided “The storm didn’t kill me, the government changed”, a surprisingly naive assertion about the current administration for these onetime political-rock icons.
In fact, Michael Stipe’s lyrics are the only problem with this otherwise enjoyable rock hodgepodge of beloved R.E.M. styles, reminiscent of 1996’s underrated New Adventures In Hi-Fi. While the music of Buck and Mike Mills buoy the album (with vibrant splashes of mandolin, organ, brass and even accordion throughout), the lyrics  - always one of the group's strong points - appear uninspired and mediocre. “It Happened Today” opens with: “This is not a parable, this is a terrible; this is a terrible…thing”. Worst is the confusing “Every Day Is Yours to Win”, which spoils a sweet Velvet Underground-esque guitar slink on lyrics too elementary to reprint. The slow-burning closer “Blue” could’ve been R.E.M.’s next “Country Feedback”, this time with pounding piano and gorgeous Patti Smith vocals. Yet it’s sullied by Stipe’s poetic recitation of a personal letter - just like their first Patti Smith collaboration “E-Bow the Letter” off New Adventures– the closest to blatant repetition the group has ever come.This dilemma naturally makes simple rockers (where lyrics are less noticeable) the record’s highlights, especially the joyous “Alligator Aviator Autopilot Antimatter”, where Stipe and guest vocalist Peaches try out their best Iggy Pop impressions. Stipe’s lyrics don’t need to be esoteric or oblique to work (Automatic for the People is pretty straightforward, lyrically speaking), just more imaginative than this. Once again, R.E.M.’s renewed spirit is welcome, but its singer needs to hold up his end of the bargain – and fast.
Oddly, the most solid “R.E.M.” songs this year come from another band, Portland quintet The Decemberists, who have long been compared to R.E.M. for Colin Meloy’s voice, their penchant for obscure historical subject matter, and general nerd-rock demeanor. They channel their heroes on The King Is Dead, the latest “indie” release to top Billboard’s album chart. Meloy and co. have put the concept albums on hold for a beautiful country-rock record that delves further into every Americana flourish of R.E.M. circa ’83 to ’92, with tinges of Springsteen and Neil Young also popping up. Peter Buck himself guests on three tracks, including the single “Down By The Water”, which boasts a folky, organ-heavy sound.
The album’s highlight is “The Calamity Song” which sounds like a Murmur outtake, replete with the propulsive acoustic riff (think “Talk About the Passion”) and taut, restrained drumming. Lyrically, Meloy delivers with vaguely rustic non-sequiturs. “On the road, it’s well advised that you follow your own bag,” he croons, “in the year of the chewable Ambien tab.” If you’re stuck on vintage R.E.M., buy The King Is Dead.
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Friday, March 4, 2011

Susan Sarandon is Coming to Sonoma

Posted By on Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 1:22 PM

Maybe those people running the Sonoma International Film Festival weren't kidding around.

At this year's festival, on April 8, 2011, they're presenting a Lifetime Achievement Award to Susan Sarandon

. Yes, that Susan Sarandon. Meaning that Susan Sarandon is going to be in Sonoma. At the Sebastiani Theatre. In person.

Be still our beating hearts.

Festival Director Kevin McNeely says in press-release-ese, "We look forward to welcoming Ms. Sarandon and having her enjoy our unique Festival where we celebrate the very best in film, food & wine.

"We say: It's SUSAN SARANDON!And also, holy cow.

And furthermore, why isn't her incredible "Church of Baseball" speech from Bull Durham on YouTube? Instead, enjoy this Lionel Richie-assisted montage:

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Summerfield Cinemas' Opening Party

Posted By on Wed, Nov 24, 2010 at 4:00 AM


As I walked in to Summerfield Cinemas’ grand opening party last night, a friend—on his way out—stopped me. “It’s like the Sonoma County glitterati in there,” he said. “Even Sal Rosano is here. I almost touched his hair to finally see if it was real.”

He was right. In the packed lobby, after new owner Dan Tocchini’s speech, county supervisor Shirlee Zane got up and talked about the films that have inspired her, including My Dog Skip and Gosford Park. Former Supervisor Tim Smith—standing among friends who made fun of Zane while she spoke—kept his cool while exchanging glances with Supervisor Paul Kelley. Councilman Ernesto Olivares, poised to be the next mayor of Santa Rosa, characteristically said a few encouraging words and not much more.

SR Entertainment Group partner and developer Richard Coombs raised a toast to all those who’ve made the Summerfield Cinemas happen, including fellow partner Larry Wasem and property owner Lynn Duggan. Local boy-made-good Rider Strong got up and introduced his new movie, and walking around the perimeter of the crowd was former Santa Rosa Mayor Mike Martini, who ten years ago successfully pushed for the Roxy Stadium 14’s monopoly on movie theaters in downtown Santa Rosa.

Jan Klingelhofer, the film buyer from the Rafael Film Center who’s been hired as booker for the Summerfield, spoke about the importance of independent films, yet in the entire evening’s speeches, not a word was mentioned of the Rialto Cinemas or of Ky Boyd, who pioneered the format in Sonoma County. One conspicuous employee of the building’s former tenant was present, however: former Rialto manager Mary Ann Wade, in the lobby she once reported to every day, scoping the packed house and no doubt feeling completely bewildered at the crazy scene.

Movies at Summerfield Cinemas start today—and in a move that no one can find any reason to be upset about, movies at Tocchini's Third Street Cinemas are now just $3.00, day or night, all the time, starting now, making it the first true second-run theater in Sonoma County with discounted prices since Empire Cinemas in Rohnert Park closed over ten years ago.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mal Sharpe, 'Man on the Street,' in Santa Rosa

Posted By on Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 4:00 AM


Today, while walking to pick up a sandwich, I was thrilled to see a man in a fedora with a microphone and cassette deck around his shoulder, interviewing people on Fourth Street. I approached. "Are you a Man on the Street?!" I asked. "Sure," he said. "I'm talking about validation. Do you have any thoughts on being validated by others? Have you thought about that much?""Not really at all!" I replied."Well, this'll be good, then," he said.

The next thing I knew, the tape was rolling, and the man began asking me about my upbringing, and about being validated—by my parents, peers and friends."Do you think you could be validated by an inanimate object, like this flower pot?" he asked."I can honestly say I have never considered the possibility before," I replied. Validated by a flower pot?

And then in all seriousness, the man said, "Why haven't you?"

Right then and there I figured the guy to be a total crank, and started wondering how I'd ever get out of his loopy clutches. But then he started talking about local businesses, and downtown parking, and it all became clear: he was conducting interviews about Santa Rosa's downtown parking validation program.

Things opened up from there. I told him what I knew about downtown parking, and we bantered, and then I said I had to get back to work. "You've been fired," he told me.

I saw a nametag on his microphone. "Wait, what'd you say your name was again?" I asked."Mal," he said. "Mal Sharpe."

I couldn't believe it. The Mal Sharpe. Of course. The surreal wit, the post-beatnik banter, the zany humor. Mal Sharpe, the definitive Man on the Street. Mal Sharpe, who with Jim Coyle revolutionized the art with a series of albums on Warner Bros. records in the early 1960s. What in the world was Mal Sharpe doing in Santa Rosa?"City hired me," he said.

I don't know how much longer Mal's going to be on Fourth Street talking to people, but I do know this: you should get down there and be interviewed by him while you can. It's a validating feeling, I tell you.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Street-Eatz Food Truck to Serve at Wells Fargo Center

Posted By on Wed, Nov 17, 2010 at 4:00 AM


Good News for Street Food: Beginning Nov. 22, the Wells Fargo Center will join the rising trend of mobile food purveyors by hosting the Street-Eatz food truck outside the venue at concerts and events.“I’m delighted with the opportunity,” Street-Eatz owner Jilly Dorman says.

The partnership aims to alleviate stress for event-goers by providing food on the grounds. “A lot of people come straight from work or other places and haven’t had an opportunity to grab food,” explains WFC's Kristi Buffo. “People need something before the show other than cookies and juice, and they want something healthy. In general, the idea is to provide something convenient that is healthy as well.”

As one of the most popular mobile food trucks in the area, Street-Eatz operates on a rotating-location basis on weekdays and sets up in Courthouse Square in Santa Rosa on weekend nights after 9pm.

While Street-Eatz will offer their trademark dishes before shows–pulled pork sandwiches, coconut curry vegetables, chicken flautas, vegetarian fried tofu and more— it won't serve beverages. “We have a strong beverage service here,” Buffo explains. It's undetermined whether or not Street-Eatz will serve food during intermissions.

The Street-Eatz truck will be found near the fountain structure on the west side of the building, adjacent to the lobby. “We’ll put out chairs and tables and make it enjoyable for guests,” Buffo says.

Street-Eatz makes its debut at the Wells Fargo Center on Monday, Nov. 22, at the Daniel Tosh comedy show. (And speaking of comedy, they've also got Kathy Griffin coming back on Jan. 29.)—Haley Sansom

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Photos and Live Review: GORILLAZ - Oracle Arena, Oct. 30, 2010

Posted By on Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 4:00 AM

Review by David Sason

Photos by John Joh and David Sason


I’m not sure if there’s a fancy plural form for “legend”, but there should be, just to accurately describe Gorillaz’s Escape to Plastic Beach Tour, which dazzled Oakland on Saturday. While not filled to capacity, the costumed crowd was enthralled from start to finish not only by Jamie Hewlett’s inventive animation (projected on a giant screen behind the performers) , but also musical pioneers as diverse as Bobby Womack, De La Soul and The Clash’s Mick Jones and Paul Simonon (whose sailor outfits inspired clones throughout the arena). The spectacle’s ringleader, of course, was Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn, who engaged the crown nonstop, seemingly relishing the stateside arena-size audience that his Blur could never draw.

While Lou Reed didn’t  show up like he did at the preceding L.A. show, it was incredibly exhilarating and surreal - yet oddly appropriate ­- to see De La Soul flanked by The effing Clash, who bopped along during a euphoric “Feel Good, Inc.”. In fact, while not as earth-shattering with its output, Albarn’s Gorillaz best symbolize The Clash’s mission for unbridled musical amalgamation, evident from the orchestral “White Flag” (which featured a septet of local Arab-American musicians) to the sci-fi gospel of epic closer “Demon Days”.


What’s most impressive is how the show delivered despite only a handful of hits, including modern-classic stomper “Clint Eastwood”, which suffered greatly without local luminary Del tha Funkee Homosapien’s incredible verses (Bashy and Kano filled in with their own lyrics). Despite the huge production and orgy of visuals and musical styles, Gorillaz are quite potent conceptually and song-wise. Seven years after the dissolution of Blur, Damon Albarn really does have sunshine in a bag.---David Sason

More photos and setlist below.





Setlist (from

Welcome to

the World of the Plastic Beach (with Hypnotic Brass Ensemble)

Last Living


19/2000 (with

Rosie Wilson)


Melancholy Hill

Stylo (with Bobby

Womack and Bootie Brown)




Jellyfish (with De La Soul)


Comes Today

Empire Ants

(with Yukimi Nagano)

Broken (Extended)

Dirty Harry

(with Bootie Brown)El MañanaWhite Flag (with

Bashy and Kano)

To Binge (with

Yukimi Nagano)

DARE (with Rosie







Cloud of

Unknowing (with Bobby Womack)Feel Good

Inc. (with De La Soul)


Eastwood (with Bashy and Kano)

Don't Get

Lost In Heaven

Demon Days (with

Bobby Womack)

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Friday, October 8, 2010

2012 Tour of California to Start in Santa Rosa

Posted By on Fri, Oct 8, 2010 at 4:00 AM


As announced at last night's Festa del Fondo fundraiser at St. Francis Winery, race organizers at AEG are planning to make Santa Rosa the starting city for the 2012 Tour of California.

This comes directly on the heels of yesterday's announcement of the 2011 ToC route, which bypasses Santa Rosa entirely. Concurrently, local cycling star Levi Leipheimer immediately took to Twitter to promise Santa Rosa that the ToC was "planning big" for 2012.

At last night's function, an AEG representative gave an equally vague promise, leaving the crowd hanging, sources say. Goaded on by Leipheimer to finally break the news, the AEG rep confirmed Santa Rosa as 2012's start city.

Though his comments were intended as "off the record" to the large crowd, bike blogger and Leipheimer nemesis Fat Cyclist immediately went online with the news before receiving a good-natured noogie from Levi himself.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Remembering Rene

Posted By on Wed, Oct 6, 2010 at 4:00 AM


By Cheryl Laube
What a tremendous loss of our dearly beloved Rene di Rosa recently, what a vanguard he was. I knew him for 30 years, and he will be sorely missed, and if you ever met him or knew him and his amazing ways, you already know that.

This photograph of Rene  was taken by local fine art photographer, Bruce Temuchin Brown. Rene loved Bruce's photographic work on copper and was the first to buy from him in early 2006 after I introduced the two at a gallery where Bruce's work was showing.

Enamored with Bruce's style and process, I asked Rene if he would pose for Bruce, to which he said "yes," as long as he didn't have to "completely disrobe." Bruce's work is figurative and has to do with the human condition in all of its glorious forms, thus Rene's query about being full-on nude when posing.  I was present the day the photos were taken at the Preserve, and Rene was a dream to work with, seemingly titillated to be a part of something he admired.  When he saw the finished traditional photographic treatment of his image on copper, he fell in love with it and wanted to buy it for his home at the Meadows, where it is still hanging there, no doubt.

I share this  because not only is it a stellar capture of one amazing art-loving human being, but also due to the sheer beauty in how Rene is depicted in art, as he was art, which is riddled with irony.  This same image, though a bit different in treatment on the copper, was also collected by the Crocker Art Museum for its permanent collection.  The Crocker Museum also loves the painterly quality that the piece have, and they, too, collected another of Bruce's images, which ironically is the same one that Rene purchased as a first sale for Bruce.  Great minds?

Rene supported a lot of Bay Area artists and contributed to their success due to his visions and forward thinking.  I loved going along with Rene when he went "shopping" or looking for art because of his keen eye and sense of folly, as he somehow knew to trust that there was a brilliance he was sure no one else might see. He did pride himself on being a first buyer of an emerging artist and for paying small amounts that would later pay off in what has proven to be bucket loads of success for many artists.

Knowing Rene as well as I did and for so long, and in the spirit of wishing to promote a local extremely talented emerging artist that Rene admired, it feels prudent to pass this along to share what I see as brilliance times two.California art collector Rene di Rosa died on Sunday, Oct. 3, at age 91. To learn more about his art of collecting, go to

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