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Monday, August 10, 2020

Marin Sanctuary Marks 75 Years of Arts and Gardens

Posted By on Mon, Aug 10, 2020 at 3:30 PM

LOVE BLOOMS The Marin Art & Garden Center’s floral backdrops make it a destination for weddings as well as conservation. - PHOTO COURTESY MARIN ART & GARDEN CENTER
  • photo courtesy Marin Art & Garden Center
  • LOVE BLOOMS The Marin Art & Garden Center’s floral backdrops make it a destination for weddings as well as conservation.
Even in picturesque Marin County, the Marin Art & Garden Center stands out.

The 11-acre property in the town of Ross is an oasis of floral beauty and historic buildings, and the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the center hosts year-round events and programs on the grounds, including performances from resident theater company the Ross Valley Players.

This summer, as the country stays shut down due to Covid-19, the Marin Art & Garden Center remains open to visitors on foot or on bicycle who are welcomed to safely enjoy the spacious gardens for some much-needed respite. This month, the center celebrates its 75th anniversary, and Marin Art & Garden Center Executive Director Antonia Adezio hopes the grounds remain a fixture of Marin for many years to come.

“We’ve been here for 75 years and the world is a very different place, of course,” Adezio says.

The gardens were originally formed at the end of World War II by the women members of the Marin Conservation League, who also helped save Angel Island and Tomales Bay, among other Marin locales.

“(The Marin Conservation League) were very committed to the natural environment and the environment for people in the North Bay,” Adezio says. “We have that legacy, and there’s also the legacy of the groups that have come together to present programming and arts at the center, and that tradition is alive and well today.”

Working with the center for five years, Adezio is the nonprofit’s first professional executive director for many years, and she is helping raise the center’s profile along with expert horticulturist and garden manager Steven Schwager.

“He’s really taken hold of the gardens,” Adezio says. “People who come and see it now say, ‘I’ve been visiting here for 30 years and it’s never looked like this.’ And they’re right.”

Still, the massive property runs on a tight budget, and Adezio describes the nonprofit running the grounds as a small organization that does a lot with a little.

“We’re working to build our team and keep developing the garden for people to come and enjoy it but also to learn from it,” she says.

In light of the 75-year anniversary, Adezio invites Marin residents to look at the Marin Art & Garden Center with new eyes and to revisit the distinctive and charming gardens and buildings that were designed by mid-century master architects such as Thomas Church.

As the gardens remain open for foot traffic, the organization is also bolstering its presence online with its virtual art exhibition, “Rooted in Wonder,” featuring a video tour of works by painter Frances McCormack and interdisciplinary artist Miya Hannan.

“We have seen that during the pandemic it’s become more important to have a place like the gardens, and people are appreciating that they’ve been able to stay open and let people spend some time in nature,” Adezio says. “We want people to know that we are still here for them, they can visit and we hope to be able to gather again before long.”

Marin Art & Garden Center is located at 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Ross. oOpen daily, foot traffic allowed sunrise to sunset, parking lot is available 10am to 4pm. Free admission and parking. maringarden.org.
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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Join This Weekend’s Socially Distant Cleanup on the Petaluma River

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2020 at 12:41 PM

  • Scott Hess; ScottHessPhoto.com

Each spring, the Petaluma River usually gets a revitalizing and refreshing environmental facelift courtesy of the stewardship and educational community organization Friends of the Petaluma River, who annually host a major river cleanup project on the first Saturday in May.

Yet, the trash and debris is piling up in the Petaluma River this summer after concerns over the Covid-19 pandemic cancelled the planned 2020 iteration of the Spring Petaluma River Cleanup scheduled for two months ago.

Now, organizers at Friends of the Petaluma River are ready to roll up their sleeves and get back to work, and the organization welcomes the public back to the river for a socially distant river cleanup event taking place on Saturday, July 25. Volunteers are invited to sign up online and choose one of several creek locations where small groups will meet to pick up trash from 8am to noon.

“While we can’t have our big gathering and BBQ, we can still work together to protect the Petaluma River,” Friends of the Petaluma River executive director Stephanie Bastianon says in a statement. “People are eager for a way to do good in our community and our annual river cleanup is a safe way people can come together outside, from a distance, and support our local waterways.”

The cleanup event, dubbed “Protect Our River from Six Feet Apart,” is meant to be a day of environmental volunteerism that will also keep participants as safe as possible during the pandemic. Organizers urge volunteers to bring their own water bottle and gloves and to wear sturdy shoes. Trash pickers will be provided, along with buckets, bags, sanitation wipes and gloves as needed. Registration and safety waivers are online now, and it is requested that volunteers sign up in advance to receive their preferred creek assignment.

The annual Spring Petaluma River Cleanup normally removes approximately 3,000–5,000 pounds of trash from the river and surrounding watershed each year. While this socially-distant event is expected to be smaller than the annual spring cleanup, which often includes many student and civic groups participating, the Friends of the Petaluma River still anticipates the removal of hundreds of pounds of trash from the river.

“The trash in our river impairs water quality and pollutes sensitive habitat,” Bastianon says. “It will also ultimately contribute to the astounding amount of trash that ends up in our oceans. With researchers predicting the plastic in our oceans to outweigh fish by 2050, we really need to act now to stop trash from reaching out oceans.”

In partnership with the City of Petaluma, Friends of the Petaluma River was formed in 2005 to celebrate and conserve the Petaluma River Watershed through education and stewardship activities.

The group manages Steamer Landing Park and the David Yearsley River Heritage Center where it hosts educational programs. Throughout the North Bay, the group's educational reach includes a watershed classroom that travels to local schools as well as youth nature camps like the award-winning Green Heron Nature Camp; an 'Adopt A Creek' initiative; the twice annual river cleanups; weekly 'Boating at the Barn' outings and the new after-school nature program, Friends’ Flickers.

In addition to the canceled spring cleanup, the Friends of the Petaluma River have also had to cancel several other community events and fundraising festivals, including the immensely popular Rivertown Revival this month. That event, which takes place at the David Yearsley River Heritage Center each July, was instead presented as a virtual variety show series on Facebook. Other planned events that have been canceled or postponed include the Transhumance Festival and the Wine & Whiskey for the Wetlands benefit event. As the Friends of the Petaluma River work to reschedule these events, the organization also invites the public to support the river through an online Clean Water Pledge.

The Socially-Distant Petaluma River Cleanup takes place Saturday, July 25, throughout Petaluma’s watershed area. 8am to Noon. Registration and additional information can be found at FriendsofthePetalumaRiver.org.
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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

LGBTQ Connection Seeks Nominees for Youth Leadership Teams

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2020 at 4:14 PM

One of LGBTQ Connection's youth leadership teams participates in a recent Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Conference. - VIA LGBTQ CONNECTION
  • via LGBTQ Connection
  • One of LGBTQ Connection's youth leadership teams participates in a recent Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Conference.
Since forming in the spring of 2011, LGBTQ Connection has grown from a small support group into a comprehensive, multi-county initiative fostering healthy, diverse and inclusive communities in the North Bay.

From the beginning, young emerging leaders have driven the organization, which annually engages 3,500 LGBTQ people, their families and their community and trains providers from local organizations across Northern California to increase the safety, visibility and wellbeing of LGBTQ residents.

This fall, LGBTQ Connection invites the public to nominate individuals age 14 to 24 to join the organization’s youth leadership teams and continue the community-wide work to create positive change in Sonoma and Napa counties.

Each semester, LGBTQ Connection recruits interested and motivated youth to work with the youth leadership teams in five- or six-month cycles in Napa, Santa Rosa, Calistoga or Sonoma.

This upcoming semester, these teams will be meeting virtually to maintain social-distancing practices in the wake of Covid-19. Without any transportation barrier, LGBTQ Connection plans to connect these once-separate cross-county teams into one virtual ensemble.

This past spring and summer, LGBTQ Connection was forced to cancel all in-person events when the shelter-in-place orders went into effect in Napa and Sonoma counties last March. In place of those events, the organization has transitioned into online programming via video or telephone services.

This programming includes weekly online meet-ups for youth and young adults, twice-monthly video check-in meetings for older adults, free online counseling appointments with LGBTQ-friendly therapists, wellness calls for youth and seniors, LGBTQ information and referrals for all ages and much more. All of these services are offered in English and Spanish, serving the entire community.

Together, this fall's youth leadership teams are responsible for creating more virtual events and internet-based initiatives that advocate for increased awareness, visibility and wellness of North Bay LGBTQ youth.

In partnership with LGBTQ Connection, these teams give young people the opportunity to learn how to be a part of a team and to be community leaders. Each team meets once a week for five intensive months.

“That intensity is what we’ve found that it takes to come together as a team and organize impactful projects and events for our community,” LGBTQ Connection organizers write in a statement. “These projects bring people together across generations and cultures to build a stronger, more vibrant, and more inclusive LGBTQ community.”

This fall, the youth leaders chosen to participate in LGBTQ Connection’s cross-county teams will work on one of two initiatives. First, a community connection team will work on a project centered around community building and creating inclusive spaces; in addition, a community change team will work on a project centered around advocacy and systems change. In response to current events regarding police protests and the Black Lives Matter movement, both team’s projects will include racial justice as a primary focus.

“The modern LGBTQ movement erupted through uprisings against police brutality led by Black and Brown transgender women. We will work to remain connected to their legacy … throughout the many months ahead,” LGBTQ Connection organizers wrote in a statement last month. “LGBTQ Connection was founded with the goal of listening to and lifting up underrepresented LGBTQ voices, changing unjust systems, and investing in community leadership—especially with our youth, people of color, elders, transgender people, and people from rural areas. Today, we recommit ourselves to those values, to continue to be in relationship with our communities, and to let our actions speak as loud as our words.”

LGBTQ Connection is a program of On The Move, a nonprofit that partners with communities and mobilizes emerging leaders to take action in pursuit of social equity. Those interested in learning about becoming a Fall 2020 youth leadership team member can attend an information meeting hosted by LGBTQ Connection via Zoom on Tuesday, Aug. 4, at 3pm. If you know a youth that would benefit from being on this team, nominate them. If you’re a youth, apply now.

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Friday, July 17, 2020

Art Heads Outdoors in Sonoma

Posted By on Fri, Jul 17, 2020 at 9:53 AM


Soon after shelter-in-place orders went into effect in March due to Covid-19, several arts groups in the Sonoma region joined forces to form the Sonoma Valley Arts Task Force, a Justice League for the arts that aims to support artists and connect the community while large group gatherings remain impossible.

In May, the task force initially set about creating at-home art projects the community could easily participate in. Soon after, the group installed its first public art offering, 22 large-scale artist-designed hearts in front of Sonoma City Hall.

Now, the task force is unveiling its largest project yet; a community-wide self-guided art tour, the Summer Arts Stroll, beginning on July 25.

Sponsored by the City of Sonoma and Sonoma Plein Air Foundation, the Summer Arts Stroll will feature art on display in storefront windows, in public areas or outdoor areas, and at residences and studios, where the art will be visible from the sidewalk.

“We took inspiration from the Sonoma Art Walk’s First Thursday series where artists are paired with businesses, and with the help of our community partners, adapted the concept to meet Covid-19 health and safety requirements,” Kala Stein, director of ceramics & arts at Sonoma Community Center, says in a statement. “This self-guided experience will bring art to the public eye throughout the Valley while connecting businesses with local artists and creative youth. We truly believe that art and art making are essential to the quality of life, especially now.”

Beyond the role that art plays in maintaining the community’s quality of life, it is also the source of income for many of the North Bay’s working artists. The pandemic and resulting shelter-in-place orders have had a notable impact on artists. With many venues closed or operating with limited capacity and the cancellation of summer art fairs and events, it is estimated that 95 percent of artists have lost income.

“It’s no secret that artists, like businesses, have faced unprecedented challenges and loss of revenue due to the pandemic and shelter-in-place orders,” Mark Bodenhamer, executive director of the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce, says in a statement. “The Summer Arts Stroll is a win-win for artists and businesses; artists get new venues to show and potentially sell their work, and businesses get increased visibility and foot traffic.”

When the self-guided Summer Arts Stroll opens on July 25, patrons will find an interactive virtual map on the City of Sonoma’s website, complete with emblems identifying exhibits of interest. All are invited to take part in the Summer Arts Stroll, though patrons are advised to maintain the required six feet of physical distance from others and wear a facial covering when physical distance cannot be maintained.

The Summer Arts Stroll, as well as the hearts installation and the at-home art prompts are all part of the task force’s Sonoma Valley–wide “Heart of Sonoma” community art project, which the task force launched to help connect those sheltering-at-home during the pandemic and to provide opportunities for meaningful creative expression for the Sonoma Valley community.

The City of Sonoma and the Sonoma Community Center, Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, Art Escape and the Chamber of Commerce developed the Sonoma Valley Arts Task Force, which quickly grew to over 24 nonprofits throughout Sonoma Valley. While it was primarily formed to support the community during shelter-in-place orders, the Task Force continues to evolve and respond to the needs of the Sonoma Valley community during the pandemic.

Co-chairs of the task force, Connie Schlelein and Kala Stein, write in a statement that they, “are hopeful that everyone in the community will be inspired to get involved in heartfelt displays of creativity. Whether it is an expression of appreciation for the work of first responders or essential workers, or just an expression of joy or change, positive messages will provide strength for our community as we continue to navigate these trying times.”

The Summer Arts Stroll begins Saturday, July 25 and will be on display throughout Sonoma until August 31. Maps and details will be available soon at Sonomacity.org.
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Thursday, July 2, 2020

Derby Weekend in Petaluma Raises Funds for Redwood Empire Food Bank

Posted By on Thu, Jul 2, 2020 at 9:15 AM

  • Alden Corrigan Media

Located on 15 acres in East Petaluma, Sonoma Valley Stables is the North Bay’s top spot for horses and their humans to train for the sport of Hunter/Jumper, also known as show jumping. Owner Ned Glynn and a world-class team of trainers teach a full range of riding and jumping programs that are customized for the horse and its rider.

In addition to training young riders in the North Bay, Sonoma Valley Stables has a history of giving back to the community with its annual Derby Weekend. Despite this year’s Covid-19 pandemic, the Stables was able to host its third annual Derby Weekend last Friday, June 26, to Sunday, June 28.

The event, which safely hosted 60 rider participants and their families over the course of three days, raised over $25,000 to support the Redwood Empire Food Bank’s “Every Child/Every Day Initiative” to end hunger in the community.

In the past three years, Sonoma Valley Stables has raised over $70,000 for Redwood Empire Food Bank by hosting the Derby Weekend event and receiving donations from sponsors.

“We are at a critical moment in time as we continue to innovate, adapt and expand our services,” Redwood Empire Food Bank CEO David Goodman said in a a statement. “The ongoing and generous support of our partners, like that of Sonoma Valley Stables, is imperative for us to keep up with the food demand this pandemic has brought on.”

Redwood Empire Food Bank's "Every Child/Every Day Initiative" is currently providing hot and healthy meals through the summer to the nearly 1,000 Sonoma County children who risk experiencing hunger over the summer months. The initiative will serve more than 41,000 hot and healthy meals this summer through August.

While planning for this year’s Derby Weekend, Sonoma Valley Stables was initially concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic would cancel the outdoor event, but Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt informed Glynn and the staff that the county would allow equestrian activities like Derby Weekend to take place.

“After careful consideration, we decided to move forward with hosting Derby Weekend this year,” Glynn said in a statement. “We believed this event would be beneficial for many during this challenging time, especially since our local food bank is working extra hard to meet the needs of our community right now. We took every effort to make sure the riders, attendees, and staff felt safe and comfortable throughout the entire event.”

To follow safety guidelines, Sonoma Valley Stables regularly disinfected the facility, placed hay bales eight-feet apart to ensure physical distancing, used a non-contact thermometer to check temperatures, and cancelled their Saturday evening party. ShadyLady Sun Protection, one of this year’s sponsors, also donated face coverings for participants to wear.

Derby Weekend started a few days early for most of the riders, as the Stables hosted a clinic with equestrian coach and event judge Cynthia Hankins. This clinic was an opportunity for the young participants to learn what judges look for during riding and jumping competitions to gain an edge in the Derby.

The official event kicked off on Friday, June 26, with morning Hunter classes, and the Hunter competitions continued through Saturday. Hunters-over-fences champions were Nico Alario and Chaparral's Hawkeye for the pony class, Aliana Ashburn and Educated Guess for the 2’0”, Aimee Lafayette and Gucci St. Anne for the 2’3”-2’6”, Amy Brubaker and Frascati for the Jr/Am 2’9”-3’0”, Kylee Arbuckle and Brown Sugar for the professional 2’9”-3’0”, Avery Glynn and Nostalgic for the Jr/Am 3’0”-3’3”, and Arbuckle and Opulence for the professional 3’0”-3’3”. MacLean Sennhenn and Franktown’s Heaven’s Sake took first for the Cross Rail Hunters. Francesca Mortensen and Well Said won the Walk-Trot over Poles competition.

On Sunday, June 28, four different derbies took place. Elsa Warnelius-Miller and Illumination won the 2’0” derby, Nico Alario and Chaparral’s Hawkeye was crowned champion of the pony derby, Lafayette and Gucci St. Anne came in first for the 2’6” derby, and to wrap up the weekend, Margaret Pogue and Edesa’s Iggy Pop took the victory for the 3’0” derby. Finally, Estaban La Paz was crowned this year’s Best Horse.

Sonoma Valley Stables plans to host Derby Weekend again next year. For more information on the facilities’ horses and trainings, visit Sonomavalleystables.com.
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Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Salvador Dalí Exhibit Debuts in Sonoma

Posted By on Tue, Jun 23, 2020 at 1:09 PM

“Flordali I” by Salvador Dalí. Credit to editor W.U.C.U.A. Jean P. Schneider.
  • “Flordali I” by Salvador Dalí. Credit to editor W.U.C.U.A. Jean P. Schneider.

Salvador Dalí is best known for painting surrealist works featuring melting clocks and long-legged elephants, though the multi-faceted and famously mustachioed artist was also a sculptor, filmmaker and wine connoisseur among other talents.

Dalí even wrote a book on the subject of wine, 1977’s The Wines of Gala, an eccentric guide that features California wine as one of the “Ten Divine Wines” of the world. Throughout his life, Dalí connected wine with art and other emotional experiences, and is credited with saying, “A real connoisseur does not drink wine but tastes of its secrets.”

Now, wine and Dalí come together once again as Wine Country becomes the setting for a new exhibit of the iconic artist’s prints and sculptures, presented in collaboration with The Dalí Universe­—one of the largest private collections of Dalí artworks in the world—and SBHG Gallery at Cornerstone Sonoma.

“The Dalí Universe­” exhibit opens Friday, June 26, and runs through August at the Cornerstone Sonoma outdoor marketplace. The showings run 11am to 5pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and curator Bertrand Epaud will be in town through the first week of the exhibit to offer expert insight into the artworks. Individual pieces are also available for private viewings that can be scheduled by appointment Mondays through Thursdays.

“We are honored to house this stunning collection from the undisputed master of Surrealism, Salvador Dalí,” said Karin Rogers, director of business development at the collective Sonoma’s Best Hospitality Group, which runs Cornerstone’s SBHG Gallery. “Dalí’s thought-provoking works feel rather suited to the surreal times in which we are living, and we look forward to sharing these pieces with the Bay Area and our local community.”

The exhibit will display eight of Dalí’s surrealist prints and will include a collection of nine of his bronze sculptures, which are a previously unknown aspect of Dalí’s work. In addition to painting and writing, Dalí was fascinated by the medium of sculpture, and he created original models and designs that were made into surreal objects based on the subjects in his paintings, such as the melting clocks of his painting “The Persistence of Memory,” and the recurring elephants that appear in works such as the painting “Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening.”
“Triumphant Elephant” Copyright ©IAR Art Resources.
  • “Triumphant Elephant” Copyright ©IAR Art Resources.

For more than 40 years, Beniamino Levi, an Italian art dealer and collector who worked with Dalí during the 1960s, has headed The Dalí Universe collection of art. Fascinated by Dalí’s ability to use different mediums, Levi began collecting Dalí art and sculpture when he opened Galleria Levi in Milan in 1955. The Dalí Universe’s flagship exhibition space is located in Paris, France, though the company tours and loans Dalí artworks to over one hundred prestigious museums and locations worldwide.

Cornerstone Sonoma’s expansive outdoor marketplace includes many independently owned retail shops and wineries, a distillery and a restaurant. The Cornerstone property also includes art-inspired gardens, event venues and the Sunset Gardens & Outdoor Test Kitchen, where gourmet food and wine pairings will be available for purchase and served by Sonoma-based Ramekins Culinary School while the exhibit displays Fridays through Sundays.

Cornerstone Sonoma and the SBHG Gallery will observe strict hygiene and social distancing guidelines in conjunction with Sonoma County’s most current Covid-19 safety measures. Additionally, many of the marketplace's tenant vendors have updated their services and hours during the COVID-19 outbreak and are taking extra precautions to insure the safety of the community.

‘The Dalí Universe’ is on display Fridays–Sundays, Jun 26–August 30, at Cornerstone Sonoma, 23570 Arnold Dr. in Sonoma. 11am to 5pm. Free admission. For more information, visit cornerstonesonoma.com.
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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Safely Shop & Dine at These North Bay Markets

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2020 at 10:47 AM

Stay socially distant while enjoying shops and dining at the Barlow in Sebastopol.
  • Stay socially distant while enjoying shops and dining at the Barlow in Sebastopol.

As stay-at-home and social distancing restrictions are slightly relaxing in parts of the North Bay, many are looking forward to returning to the shops and restaurants they love. Yet, a recent surge in Sonoma County cases of coronavirus has shown local leaders that we are not quite ready for a full re-opening just at this moment, meaning take-out and curbside shopping is still the norm going into this weekend.

If you’re itching to get out, the best way to do so and support local businesses is to visit the shops and eateries at local outdoor markets like the Barlow in Sebastopol, Oxbow Market in Napa and Marin Country Mart in Larkspur.

The Barlow
Situated on a 12-and-a-half acre district in downtown Sebastopol, The Barlow open-air "maker's marketplace" features dozens of retail and dining spots with Sonoma County chefs, vintners and other artisans creating local products and experiences.

Since the March shelter-in-place orders closed the physical locations for these artisans, many have transitioned to online ordering with options for curbside pick-up and take-out. Recently, the Barlow announced that the marketplace’s restaurants and eateries are now open for outdoor dining.

Food and drink options in the Barlow currently includes Acre Pizza, Barrio Cocina Mexicana, Community Market, Crooked Goat Brewing, Fern Bar, Golden State Cider Pax Wines, Seismic Brewing, Spirit Works Distillery, Sushi Kosho, Taylor Lane Coffee, The Farmer’s Wife, The Nectary, Two Dog Night Creamery, WM Cofield Cheesemakers and Woodfour Brewing.

Shops in the Barlow include Barge North apparel and home goods store, California Sister floral arrangements, Elsie Green décor and gifts shop, JG Switzer textile and bedding shop, the Lori Austin Gallery, Rust Clothing Boutique and Scout West County gift and home accessories store.

Oxbow Public Market
In Napa County, where dine-in restaurants and retail are both seeing restrictions lifted in terms of social distancing, the Oxbow Public Market is reopening its spacious and recently remodeled outdoor Oxbow River Deck, which now includes retractable shade structures and lighting.

Beginning Saturday, May 30, open-air, socially distanced communal tables and seats will be available for visitors on the deck, and Oxbow merchants will continue to offer online and over-the-phone ordering and pickup options for guests. The market is soon creating a designated curbside delivery area in the parking lot east of the main market hall as a drive-thru option for those who want to dine at home.

For guests who want to shop at the Oxbow Public Market, the new deck is part of the market’s new set of health and safety protocols made in accordance with all state and Napa County health requirements. The market will continue to also track and regulate the number of customers on hand to comply with social distancing regulations.

Oxbow Public Market merchants that are open for dine-in, takeout and retail include Anette’s Chocolates, C Casa, Fatted Calf, Fieldwork Brewing Company, Five Dot Ranch, Gott’s Roadside, Hog Island Oyster Company, Hudson Greens & Goods, Kara’s Cupcakes, Kitchen Door, Live Fire Pizza, Model Bakery (re-opening May 30), Olive Press, Oxbow Cheese & Wine Merchant, Ritual Roasters and Whole Spice. Additional merchant re-openings will be announced soon.

Marin Country Mart
Located adjacent to the Ferry Terminal in Larkspur, Marin Country Mart’s assortment of organic eateries, boutique shops and other services are coming back online after closing down in March. The village-style shopping center’s new model, which it’s calling Dutch Door Shopping, allows for curbside and social distant services like online classes in lieu of in-person events.

Shops and services that are open for pick-up, take-out or local delivery at Marin Country Mart include Poppy Store children’s boutique, Clic women’s clothing store, Toy Crazy, George pet store, Hudson Grace décor shop, Sarah Shepard Gallery, Flora & Henri artisanal home and gift shop, Jenni Kayne wardrobe and home goods store, Hero Shop luxury women’s store and Copperfield’s Books.

To-go dining options at Marin Country Mart include Farmshop’s nightly dinner specials, Hog Island Oyster Company, Johnny Doughnuts, Pressed Juicery, Rustic Bakery, Shake Shack, Sushi Ko, the Siam and El Huarache Loco.

Visit each of these markets online first for full details.
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Friday, May 22, 2020

Five Ways to Stay Connected in the North Bay This Weekend

Posted By on Fri, May 22, 2020 at 10:41 AM

Vocalist Eliott Peck leads an online cook-along dinner and show from her living room tonight, May 22. - JAY BLAKESBERG
  • Jay Blakesberg
  • Vocalist Eliott Peck leads an online cook-along dinner and show from her living room tonight, May 22.

Though Memorial Day weekend is customarily a time for gatherings, Covid-19 has put a halt to all the parties and festivals that usually take place in the North Bay over the three-day weekend.

Even with some North Bay parks opening back up, most folks may still want to stay at home—but that doesn’t mean they have to be bored. Many arts groups have ramped up their online offerings in recent weeks as venues and artists alike adapt to the new era of social distancing get-togethers.

San Rafael’s Terrapin Crossroads is one such venue, having expanded their digital offerings since closing down in March. Terrapin co-founder and Grateful Dead–icon Phil Lesh leads the way on the new Terrapin TV, performing with his son Grahame Lesh and friends from their respective living rooms to raise funds for the venue’s 100-plus staff members who are feeling the financial strain since the stay-at-home orders shuttered the space.

This evening, May 22, Terrapin Crossroads hosts a special cook-along dinner and show from vocalist Elliott Peck and guitarist Jesse Barwell, live from their kitchen and living room at 5pm. First, join the pair in making “Something like a Stroganoff” before enjoying some comforting music.

Deadheads can also enjoy live and recorded concerts streaming on Deadheadland. The long-running, Marin-based Grateful Dead fan site is hosting over 10 different streaming sessions this weekend, including performances by Marin musicians Scott Guberman and Stu Allen, as well as classic sets from Mark Karan and friends. Visit Deadheadland.com for a full schedule.

Napa’s Blue Note Jazz Club, another venue renowned for hosting nightly concerts, has also been dark for two months. In the meantime, it is participating in “Blue Note at Home,” a daily streaming showcase hosted by the original Blue Note in New York City. The live-streaming series showcases artists in their homes, and this weekend’s schedule includes a set from influential jazz-guitarist Marcus Miller, who will be talking about Miles Davis and playing bass on May 23 at 5pm. The next day, on May 24, Soul Rebels’ trombonist Paul Robertson streams at 1pm, followed by a set from harpist Brandee Younger and double-bassist Dezron Douglas at 3pm.

Up the road from Napa, St. Helena’s Cameo Cinema is one of several local theaters streaming on-demand films. In addition to offering streaming movie rentals, Cameo takes the online concept to new heights with its upcoming Zoomfari, in cooperation with Santa Rosa’s Safari West wildlife preserve.

The live virtual experience will feature a meet-and-greet with Safari West’s resident giraffes, and Safari West’s expert rangers will be on hand to answer questions. This Zoomfari pairs with Cameo’s streaming of the documentary The Woman Who Loves Giraffes, which follows 23-year-old biologist, Anne Innis Dagg, on her unprecedented 1956 solo journey to South Africa to study giraffes in the wild. The documentary is available to stream now, and the Zoomfari, presented as part of the theater’s “Science on Screen” series, happens on Saturday, May 23, at 10am on Zoom; RSVP links available on cameocinema.com.

In addition to this family-friendly event, kids will also get a kick out of a pair of online readings being offered this weekend through the new virtual version of the Bay Area Book Festival.

First, bestselling children’s author Colin Meloy—who’s other talent is leading the rock band The Decemberists—and illustrator Shawn Harris appear on YouTube together to discuss their newest collaboration, Everyone’s Awake. The read-aloud book for families is a fun new bedtime-routine for kids who have trouble getting to sleep. That program happens on May 23 at 10am, and is immediately followed by another kid-centric event, as the Bay Area Book Festival hosts author Brian Weisfeld on May 23 at 11am for a lemonade-making session aimed at inspiring kids to get that lemonade stand ready for summer.

Both of these events are part of a massive online pivot for the Bay Area Book Festival, which presents its #UNBOUND series of engaging conversations and readings through June at baybookfest.org.
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Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Posted By on Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 3:19 PM

When new, thats a $150 lambswool sweater
  • When new, that's a $150 lambswool sweater

Thrifting can be a glorious endeavor, but it's not a sport for the impulsive. Garages full of useless shit that "might be worth something" have led me to much unhappiness. It's best to keep purchases to things you can actually use, like clothes and shoes that fit (not clothes you'd like to fit into someday) and things you can and will use tomorrow.

Usually the latter fits into a category of things that have been needed recently but weren't available, or something that will make an everyday task simpler. This must be something not already in the house. An adorable peeing boy corkscrew is not useful, and will immediately be regarded in the household as useless clutter. Stay away from knick-knacks in general, and remember that electronics are always a crapshoot. Anything in the glass case at the counter is going to be junk, so don't even bother looking unless you have something already in mind.

Also, don't buy a project. Big, fancy speakers will probably sound great, but chances are there's something wrong with them and you probably already have speakers hooked up to a stereo. This violates two rules of thifting already. There's another very, very important rule that may not apply to everyone, but when it does, it's the most important. Will the person with whom you share a house be pleased with this purchase? There's varying degrees of "pleased," ranging from acceptance (a minor eyeroll) to anger (loud, vulgar and ceaseless questioning). That velvet painting of a topless, soulful woman from the 70s may be your idea of high-art, but your housemate (let's be real, I'm talking about a spouse or partner, here) will probably have a different opinion.

Clothes, on the other hand, are personal. They're cheap and will be on display on your body, and if South Park has taught us anything, "It's MY body and I can do what I want with it." So If I want to wear orange plaid pants and penny loafers, that's my business. And If I want to pick out a classy outfit that I may wear just once it will be affordable and memorable. But the other rules of thifting still apply: No projects and it must be usable/wearable immediately.

This would be a $60 merino wool sweater in a department store
  • This would be a $60 merino wool sweater in a department store

Clothes can have minor defects, too, so check them over thoroughly. They might be forgivable, like a tiny hole in the cuff of a sweater, or a scratch on a shoe that will likely buff out. Stains are a sin, as are rips, large tears and extreme ill-fitting. Remember, this stuff is cheap and often discounted after the sticker price. It's OK to make it back and donate it one you find out it won't work or if you just don't like it. This is a much better solution than comply keeping a closet full of clothes that just didn't make the cut. Be honest with yourself and don't be afraid to re-donate. For constant thifters, it might be a good idea to keep a bag of clothes in the car ready to drop off.

The idea of buying something second-hand makes me feel like I'm helping the planet. That sweater didn't need any more energy put into it's creation, and that money went to charity while I still look like a million bucks (or at least $200). It's best not to get political, here. There are thrift stores that donate to charities which might not be fully aligned with one's internal beliefs. Salvation Army, for instance, has donated large sums of money to political campaigns against gay rights. But remember, it's not really about helping the cause, it's about buying cheap stuff.

Doesnt matter who you are, chances are this will come in handy one day
  • Doesn't matter who you are, chances are this will come in handy one day

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Solfest Cancels!

Posted By on Tue, May 19, 2009 at 4:00 AM

Just as our summer guide listings went to the printer, we received this sad news:

Dear Friends,

We are at an exciting and pivotal moment in our history.  The Obama administration’s focus on renewable energy coupled with the need to create jobs for the legions of newly unemployed has created an unprecedented increase in demand for the educational services that the Solar Living Institute provides.

We have seen a surge in interest over the past several months in both our renewable energy courses and our green career workshops and conferences. The recently passed stimulus package includes potential funding for the type of green jobs training that SLI has been providing for almost two decades.  With the huge amount of opportunity we have before us we feel it is of paramount importance to step up and focus our attention on continuing to provide as much quality education as possible.

For this reason, we have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s SolFest so that our staff can focus entirely on our educational mission.

We have many exciting projects and events in the works this year.  We are working with an internationally renowned e-learning company towards swiftly expanding our renewable energy course offerings to include on-line distance education. We are executing our grant from a private foundation, and partnering with Solar Richmond to offer solar installation training to low-income folks in the Bay Area.  And we are very excited to be working with the City of Ukiah to develop a green jobs training center in Ukiah.  These projects and more to come will be demanding our best and we are very excited to be putting our efforts toward them.

We are tremendously energized about the opportunities we have before us and we hope you will join in our excitement about this momentous time for our organization, our country and our future.

We hope to have a party and fundraiser around SolFest time to celebrate our victories and gather the SLI tribe. We will revisit having SolFest in 2010. Stay tuned…

For the Earth,

The Solar Living Institute Staff

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