Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Show Must Go On: Left Edge Theatre Plans Streaming Events

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2020 at 9:41 AM

Left Edge Theatre's 2019 world premiere of 'Drumming With Anubis,' starring Richard Pallaziol, Nick Sholley, Chris Schloemp and Anthony Martinez, is one of several streaming shows in the works. - KATIE  KELLEY
  • Katie Kelley
  • Left Edge Theatre's 2019 world premiere of 'Drumming With Anubis,' starring Richard Pallaziol, Nick Sholley, Chris Schloemp and Anthony Martinez, is one of several streaming shows in the works.
Ever since William Shakespeare supposedly wrote several classic plays while in quarantine due to a bubonic-plague breakout in the early 1600s, live theater and pandemics have had a tempestuous relationship.

On one hand, live theater often acts as a critical community outlet for entertainment and social examination during times of difficulty. On the other hand, you have to be in the theater to experience the theater, which is impossible in times of social isolation such as the current coronavirus outbreak.

Now, Left Edge Theatre, Luther Burbank Center for the Arts’ award-winning resident theater company, is changing the way in which we experience local, live theater with its plan to stream events and productions online instead of onstage.

In the works are streaming presentations of past productions such as 2019’s world premiere of “Drumming With Anubis.” The hilarious supernatural crowd-pleaser, written by David Templeton and directed by David Yen, concerns a drum circle of friends who encounter an Egyptian God.

Left Edge will also soon stream a new version of their 2016 production of “A Steady Rain,” with actors Nick Sholley and Mike Schaeffer reprising their powerful performances from that original award-winning show.

In addition, Left Edge embraces the expression, “the show must go on,” with an online fundraising Season Showcase on May 16 and 17, in which Left Edge will present several scenes from shows they are considering for production and then ask the audience to vote for the shows they most want to see. That event will be held via Zoom online streaming; tickets are $30 and available here.

Other new productions and events in the works include a New Play Spotlight boasting local authors and professional actors in conversation, and a planned (if needed) streaming presentation of the new play “Small Mouth Sounds,” written by acclaimed playwright Bess Wohl and directed by Left Edge Theatre Artistic Director Argo Thompson, that was originally scheduled to run onstage in June. For more information on this and other planned streaming events, visit Left Edge Theatre’s website here.
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Monday, March 30, 2020

Santa Rosa Symphony Reschedules Spring Season, Pays Musicians Now

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 10:55 AM

Santa Rosa Symphony conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong leads the orchestra in a recent concert. - SUSAN AND NEIL SILVERMAN PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Susan and Neil Silverman Photography
  • Santa Rosa Symphony conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong leads the orchestra in a recent concert.

In a bittersweet bit of news, the Santa Rosa Symphony announced that they are rescheduling all of their planned Spring 2020 concert season both in response to county and state shelter-in-place orders, and “for the safety and health of its patrons, musicians and staff.”

With new summer dates already confirmed, the symphony also announced that its Board of Directors approved a plan to pay all hired musicians immediately in an effort to ease their financial burdens caused by cancelled gigs throughout the Bay Area.

The symphony’s new concert schedule currently includes “Showcasing Contemporary Women,” rescheduled from March 21–23 to June 6, 7 and 8; “Beethoven Lives Upstairs,” rescheduled from April 19 to June 14; “Visions of Hope,” rescheduled from May 2–4 to July 11–13 and the popular Symphony Pops Concert, “Remember When Rock Was Young: the Elton John Tribute,” rescheduled from April 26 to August 9.

Patrons of the symphony are encouraged to follow the news on their Facebook page and website for further updates as the shelter-in-place situation evolves.

In another bright bit of news, Santa Rosa Symphony notes that their mail has lately been filled with season subscription renewals, demonstrating the value of the arts in a time of crisis.
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Friday, March 27, 2020

See Local Bands Perform 'Onstage' in Phoenix Theater Podcast

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2020 at 11:54 AM

Jim Agius (Left) and Tom Gaffey host North Bay bands live at the Phoenix theater in their long-running podcast.
  • Jim Agius (Left) and Tom Gaffey host North Bay bands live at the Phoenix theater in their long-running podcast.

For more than five years, Petaluma power-duo Tom Gaffey and Jim Agius, manager and booker, respectively, at the historic Phoenix Theater, have hosted North Bay and Bay Area bands and artists in their video podcast series, “Onstage With Jim & Tom.”

The series is recorded, quite literally, on-stage at the Phoenix Theater, and episodes include in-depth and wide-ranging interviews and live performances by an eclectic lineup of local talent, with recent episodes featuring Santa Rosa singer-songwriter Schlee, Oakland synth-pop outfit Morning Hands and even goth comedian Oliver Graves.

Now is the perfect time to revisit the hundreds of episodes available online at onstagepodcast.com. Click the link below to get started binging the show now.

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Homebound Artists Are Creating Pet Portraits During Shelter-In-Place

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2020 at 9:41 AM

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While the North Bay continues to endure a sheltering-in-place order to stop the spread of coronavirus, many folks are hunkered down and self-isolating with their best friends; their dogs, cats and other pets.

Now, you can celebrate your furry friend with a pet portrait created by a local artist as part of a fundraising campaign by Sonoma Valley nonprofit animal shelter Pets Lifeline.

For a $20 donation, Pets Lifeline will commission a participating artist to turn a photo of your pet into a work of art. Pets Lifeline notes that it’s luck of the draw, with the array of artists ranging from accomplished painters who exhibit at SVMA to a third grader at Sassarini. You can commission more than one piece of art.

“I am wowed by the creativity and talent of the artists,” said Pets Lifeline Executive Director Nancy King. “I hope this project will bring some joy to both artist and pet owners during this challenging time.”

Go to petslifeline.org/pet-portraits to see already-completed portraits, and sign up for your own. Artists can also still sign up to participate in the project.
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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Napa County Gathers Gear for Healthcare Providers

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2020 at 10:23 AM

Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa
  • Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa
While most North Bay residents are sheltering in place, doctors, nurses and healthcare staff across the region are on the front lines of fighting the spread of coronavirus, and they are having to do it without the aid of basic supplies like surgical masks and disinfecting wipes.

In Napa County, a new coalition of volunteer organizations is gearing up to offer a helping hand to those on the front lines with a one-day Community Donations Drive on Saturday, March 28, of much needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) items and goodie-boxes for local hospitals, clinics and public healthcare providers.

Spearheaded by Napa-based Operation: With Love From Home, which sends care packages to US soldiers serving overseas, as well as local organizations such as Napa Valley CanDo, Teens Connect Napa and Alaina’s Voice, the March 28 donation drive is popping up at several locations in Napa County between 9am and 6pm, and the public is encouraged to drop off donations such as masks, sanitizers and other items.

This call to action is also directed at local businesses and organizations including paint stores, hardware stores, dentist/orthodontic offices, and non-healthcare businesses that may have the sought-after supplies.

In addition to medical gear, the donations drive is asking for the public's help in making caregiver packages with items like granola and protein energy bars, beef jerky, peanut butter cups, cans of caffeine-free beverages and handwritten thank you cards addressed to “Dear Caregiver.”

Find the full list of items and drop-off locations below:

Items needed are (ranked in order of importance):

Facemask N95, any size
Eye protection goggles
Eye protection safety glasses
Disposable latex gloves all sizes: x-small, small, medium, large, x-large
Non-latex disposable gloves all size: x-small, small, medium, large, x-large
Disinfectant wipes
Thermometers with covers
Hand sanitizer
Facemask, Shield & mask combo
Paper Gowns
Eye protection shield
Surgical Masks, Adults
Surgical Masks, Child

Locations for drop off are:

American Canyon Food Pantry, 4225 Broadway Ave., American Canyon.
CrossWalk Community Church, 2590 First St., Napa.
Yountville Community Center, 6516 Washington St., Yountville.
Grace Church,1314 Spring St., St. Helena.
Calistoga Elementary School, 1327 Berry St., Calistoga.

For more information visit the event page on Facebook.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Sonoma County Pride Cancels 2020 Festival & Parade

Posted By on Tue, Mar 24, 2020 at 10:12 AM

Sonoma County Pride 2019 - PHOTO COURTESY SONOMA COUNTY PRIDE FACEBOOK PAGE
  • photo courtesy Sonoma County Pride Facebook page
  • Sonoma County Pride 2019

Sonoma County has been ordered to shelter-in-place until at least April 7, meaning all concerts, festival, events, conferences and other social gatherings have been canceled. Though, event organizers throughout the North Bay are looking ahead and canceling events through May, and now into June, as the coronavirus continues to spread in the Bay Area.

Sonoma County Pride is the latest group to change it's summer plans, officially announcing the cancellation of the 2020 Pride Festival & Parade that was scheduled for June 6.

The decision came after a meeting on March 20, in which the Sonoma County Pride Board of Directors stated they would "focus our efforts on helping those in need as a result of this terrible pandemic."

Other summer events, such as the Pride Youth Picnic in July, are still on the books, though details are subject to change. Read the full statement below:

We have all been watching the rapidly deteriorating situation caused by the recent global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. We have been monitoring local, state and federal announcements and guidelines encouraging hand washing and social distancing.

No one knows how long this emergency will last, but it is certain there will be significant disruption and pain inflicted on many in our community. We also know the public, our sponsors, our vendors, and our parade participants depend upon us to produce a safe and healthy Pride for the whole community, including those in people in vulnerable risk categories.

We are saddened by the fact that our community is forced to endure yet another emergency and realize that many of our Sonoma County friends and neighbors are facing unemployment and many of our local businesses are temporarily forced to close and may never reopen.

With so many headwinds and unknowable factors before us, we have determined that the best for Sonoma County Pride and for our community is to align with public health policy and official health agency guidelines and take a proactive, responsible stance in support of those efforts.

The Sonoma County Pride Board of Directors met on March 20, 2020, and made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Pride Festival & Parade scheduled for June 6, 2020, and focus our efforts on helping those in need as a result of this terrible pandemic.

Despite our disappointment, LGBTQI+ Pride is not just a weekend party, it’s a state of being that never ends. Even now we are planning a new community event with hope for the future. Assuming the situation allows for events by early summer, join us as we all celebrate and renew our spirits together:

· July 26: Pride Youth Picnic and Pet Parade at Rincon Valley Community Park - Great food and drink, games, entertainment, pet contests, and adoption

· October 10: SCP Wine Festival in Old Courthouse Square - Food, music, silent auction and 100+ wineries pouring some of the best wines produced in Sonoma County

· October 11: National Coming Out Day Party & LGBTQI+ History Celebration in Old Courthouse Square AIDS Quilt display, SC LGBTQI history exhibit, music, food, entertainment, community speakers and more. 
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Friday, March 20, 2020

Surviving the 'Shelter-in-Place' Weekend

Posted By on Fri, Mar 20, 2020 at 1:55 PM

Locally-filmed comedy "Wine Country" is streaming on Netflix.
  • Locally-filmed comedy "Wine Country" is streaming on Netflix.

Sonoma, Marin and Napa County are all under 'Shelter-in-Place' orders due to the Coronavirus pandemic, keeping most of us at home for the first weekend in Spring. Here's a couple ways to spend the next two days from the comfort of your couch.

Access the Library from Home
All branches of the Sonoma County Library and Marin County Library are closed and programming at Napa County libraries is suspended due to health concerns.

If you can’t go to the library, you can bring the library to you. A quick trip to sonomalibrary.org, marinlibrary.org or countyofnapa.org will guide you to a collection of digital materials and online services that includes eBooks and audiobooks, digital magazines, streaming movies and TV, and online learning services that are all free with your library card.

Don’t have a library card yet? Apply for a card online and start using digital services immediately.

Streaming Movies Online
Now is not the best time to be out and about, though locals can see some of their favorite Sonoma and Napa County spots in several movies, some of which are available to watch online. For wine connoisseurs, two movies in particular are perfect to put on while pouring a glass of Cabernet.

On Netflix, the 2019 comedy Wine Country (pictured), starring "SNL" alums Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch and others, shows off Calistoga in style. On Amazon Prime, the 2008 feel-good true story of Napa Valley’s entry into the world of winemaking, Bottle Shock, features locations in both counties.

For fans of science fiction, action and horror, Marin is on the scene in two particularly great flicks. First, sign up for a free trial of horror movie streaming service Shudder to see John Carpenter’s The Fog, filmed entirely on location in Point Reyes and Inverness. Over on Amazon Prime, the surprisingly heartfelt 2018 Transformers spin-off Bumblebee rolls through locations such as the Marin Headlands.

Podcasts
If podcasts are still foreign to you, now is the perfect time to start listening to one of the millions of free online shows, and three North Bay podcasts demonstrate the breadth of content within the medium.

The Wine Country Women Podcast is an inspiring conversation show in which Michelle Mandro talks to ladies like winemaker Heidi Barrett and Charter Oak Winery proprietor Layla Fanucci.

Web series The Cult Show celebrates classic horror and sci-fi films with filmmaker guests and loads of fun at thecultshow.com.

Award-winning podcast Ear Hustle tells stories from inside San Quentin to reveal the nuanced life inside and the journey for those who must reintegrate to society once they are released.

Clean Your Room
There is much to learn about the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, but based on what is currently known, transmission occurs via respiratory droplets and coronavirus may remain on surfaces for hours or even days.

That means it’s time to not only wash your hands with soap, it’s time to start cleaning surfaces you may touch around the house. Don’t forget to use disinfectants on tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, remote controls, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks and anything that may come in contact with your hands.

For instructions on cleaning products and further preventative measures, visit cdc.gov/coronavirus.
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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Virtual Events Spread During North Bay Shelter-in-Place

Posted By on Thu, Mar 19, 2020 at 11:56 AM

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Public gatherings continue to be cancelled and postponed with the current Shelter-in-Place orders covering Sonoma, Marin and Napa County. In the face of ongoing social distancing, many venues, artists and organizations are starting to bring their events into your home with online gatherings.

The Alexander Valley Film Society is sheltering in place with movies, and welcomes the public to sit in on a special remote viewing party. First, AV Film Society encourages cinephiles to go to Amazon Prime and watch the 2015 dramedy "The Week," about a washed-up television host who spends seven days boozing and self-reflecting after his wife leaves him on the eve of their 10-year anniversary.

"The Week" was filmed at multiple locations in and throughout Sonoma County, including Cloverdale's historic Owl Cafe and Healdsburg's Passalacqua Winery. It also won the 2015 Sonoma International Film Festival Audience Award.

On Sunday, March 22, AV Film Society Executive Director Kathryn Hecht hosts an online Q&A with Rick Gomez, writer and star of "The Week,"  and Jenny Gomez, who produced the film. Watch the movie first and register for the online discussion here.

In Petaluma, the Rivertown Poets have long held a monthly "A-Muse-ing Mondays" poetry reading and open mic at Aqus Cafe. Now the poetry goes online with Rivertown's first ever Virtual Poetry Reading and Open Mic. Mark your calendars for Monday, March 23rd, at 6:15 pm. Those who wish to read their three-minute-or-less poem can do so over the stream, and others can sit back and enjoy from the comfort of their own home.

Live music venues were one of the first public spaces to close in the wake of coronavirus concerns, and it looks like live concerts won’t be coming back to the North Bay for a couple weeks. For music lovers who need to scratch that live experience itch, longtime Cotati institution Redwood Café, which live streams all of its concerts, is re-broadcasting "The Best of The Redwood Cafe Live" with special streaming events each evening. Visit the venue online to see the shows each night, or simply browse the video archive on Redwood Cafe's Facebook page.

The Museum of Sonoma County is currently closed to support the local efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. Yet, the museum boasts an online database of its permanent collection of historical objects and artwork that is searchable by subject and topic. There’s also a lot of YouTube videos on the museum’s website exploring recent exhibits like the “From Suffrage to #MeToo: Groundbreaking Women in Sonoma County.” Finally, the kids (and adults) will enjoy the museum’s “Color Me Sonoma” downloadable coloring book featuring iconic Sonoma County sites and fun local history.
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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

BottleRock Napa Valley Postponed to October

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2020 at 12:32 PM

Red Hot Chili Peppers headlining BottleRock in 2016.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers headlining BottleRock in 2016.
In a move that comes as little surprise given the North Bay "shelter-in-place" orders, the organizers of BottleRock Napa Valley have rescheduled the three-day music festival from May 22–24 to October 2–4, 2020.

The festival released a statement announcing the postponement in the interest of public safety and health in the face of a spreading coronavirus pandemic.

Fortunately for music fans, the festival also announced that all headlining acts, including Stevie Nicks, Dave Matthews Band, Red Hot Chili Peppers and others, are already confirmed for the new dates, and all passes to the sold-out fest will be honored in October. Read the full statement below:

BottleRock Napa Valley has been rescheduled for the weekend of October 2nd - 4th, 2020 at the Napa Valley Expo, after careful consideration and in coordination with our local and state authorities.

We made this decision with the safety and best interests of our fans, musicians, partners, employees, and community being paramount. We are committed to putting on the festival to not only share great music and the incredible Napa Valley hospitality, but because it’s vitally important to the livelihood of all those who make BottleRock Napa Valley the festival it is.

It is with great pleasure we can announce that all our headliners, including Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stevie Nicks, Dave Matthews Band, Miley Cyrus, Khalid, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Zedd and more are confirmed for the rescheduled dates. Additional lineup updates will be announced as soon as possible.

All passes will be valid for the new October 2nd - 4th, 2020 dates.

We will be emailing tickets holders within the next few weeks with more details about exchanges and returns.

Thank you for your patience and understanding, and we look forward to seeing you in early October.

With love from the entire BottleRock Napa Valley Family.
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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

‘Directions to the Dumpster’ Chronicles Homeless Journey

Posted By on Wed, Mar 11, 2020 at 11:05 AM

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Edward Campagnola has a story to tell. Currently living as an unsheltered resident in Sonoma County, he spent the last five years writing his story, and last year he released his debut novel, Directions to the Dumpster.

Now available on Amazon.com, the book traces Campagnola’s journey in homelessness and his attempts to get out of it. It is also a story that aims to dispel preconceptions about homelessness and end the stigma associated with it through a campaign of awareness and compassion.

“I’ve been in a cave really for five years,” Campagnola says. “You’re lucky if you have a phone, you know what day it is. I would lose days if I didn’t have a phone, but having it is a security risk.”

This glimpse into Campagnola’s daily experience is one of the book’s many details that dissolves the reader’s veil of ignorance and exposes them to the reality of what unsheltered residents go through day to day.

The title of the book, Directions to the Dumpster, is a phrase Campagnola uses literally and figuratively. He argues that in a capitalist society, the homeless are seen as worthless, while they also are often given directions to the dumpster when they do reach out and ask for help.

“I originally titled the book Going to California, a la the Zep tune,” Campagnola says.

Originally from New Jersey, Campagnola traveled to New Orleans, Houston and Las Vegas after the death of his wife.

“I was soul-searching at the time,” he says.

At one point in his travels he suffered a violent, random attack on a California-bound Greyhound bus that left him with PTSD. When he arrived in Sonoma County, words began to pour out of him.

“It was unbelievable, and I don’t know if it was from the attack, but phrases just started flowing out of me,” Campagnola says.

Collecting those phrases in notebooks, Campagnola wrote his manuscript on a Sonoma County Library computer. He wrote the novel as a form of therapy, as a way to reconnect with his adult children and to give society a better understanding of homelessness in America.

Campagnola describes his book as a documentary-style narrative, detailing events as they occurred and letting the reader make their own personal connection.

“I did not bother to express what my feelings were,” he says. “Except for the moment when I talk about a handwritten letter from my wife that I lost—I was more distraught than any point in my life.”

Though Campagnola secured a publishing contract, the book is an entirely DIY experience, with Campagnola editing and promoting the book on his own. The road to publishing was a long one, but he’s ready to do it again.

“The book’s a cliffhanger,” Campagnola says. “I’ve already started writing the sequel. I decided the title will be Directions Home.”

‘Directions to the Dumpster’ is available online.
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