Monday, May 18, 2020

Healdsburg Jazz Festival Stays Connected with Online Listening Party

Posted By on Mon, May 18, 2020 at 2:50 PM

Grammy-nominated jazz pianist and composer Jovino Santos Neto joins Healdsburg Jazz Fest for the upcoming Jazz & Samba class and listening party. - RHONDA STEWART
  • Rhonda Stewart
  • Grammy-nominated jazz pianist and composer Jovino Santos Neto joins Healdsburg Jazz Fest for the upcoming Jazz & Samba class and listening party.

The board of directors of the Healdsburg Jazz Festival have decided not to hold the festival as scheduled this summer due to the Covid-19 outbreak, though they are looking for ways to keep jazz alive in the North Bay in 2020.

Those ideas are currently taking shape in a series of "Staying Connected" online events, starting with April’s jazz-history class on the legacy of Duke Ellington. This month, the lessons continue with a free history class and listening party celebrating Jazz & Samba music on Sunday, May 24, at 5pm via Zoom.

The class will specifically explore the beginnings of Bossa Nova in Brazil and chart its growth within the world’s jazz-music scene through a curated playlist of music and insight from several expert guests.

Dr Sherry Keith, an associate history professor at San Francisco State University, leads the online gathering. Dr Keith lived and taught in Brazil for many years, and she also teaches classes on social sciences, women's history in Latin America and more.

Professional percussionist and educator Ami Molinelli accompanies Dr Keith in leading the class. Molinelli specializes in Brazilian and Latin percussion and co-leads the Brazilian and Jazz ensemble Grupo Falso Baiano.

Joining Dr Keith and Molinelli in discussion will be special guest artists Jovino Santos Neto and Claudia Villela. Santos is a Latin Grammy-nominated pianist and composer, and Villela is a five-octave Brazilian Jazz vocalist.

All together, the artists and experts will  follow how Brazilian Jazz made its way to the West Coast Jazz scene in the late 1950s and early 1960s and the playlist will highlight artists like Chet Baker, Stan Getz, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn.

The Jazz & Samba class on May 24 is free and open to all ages, though registration is required to receive the Zoom Invite.

In addition to this ongoing jazz history series, Healdsburg Jazz Festival is staying connected to the community during the stay-at-home orders with several other online offerings.

For students–and their parents–grades K-5, Healdsburg Jazz created the Virtual Jazz Village Campus on its website. The virtual campus contains classes from musicians and educators like Molinelli, who offers a digital lesson for kids grade 2-5 on how to use cups around the house as instruments, with techniques and tips on keeping rhythm, using drumsticks and more.

Other virtual classes include a history of call-and-response music by multi-faceted musician Brian Dyer; a bilingual class on son jarocho–a music genre from Veracruz, Mexico–with award-winning artist and educator Maria De La Rosa; and more.

For jazz fans, the festival's website also boasts a series of videos featuring musicians performing their favorite tunes, such as Sonoma County native and tenor sax master Rob Sudduth playing Thelonius Monk’s “Ask Me Now” and New York City-based jazz pianist and Healdsburg Jazz Festival friend George Cables performing several songs from his living room.

The Healdsburg Jazz Festival "Staying Connected" campaign also offers audio playlists, and forums for fans and musicians alike to keep the discussion going. Click here to get connected now.
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Friday, May 15, 2020

Celebrate Wavy Gravy's Birthday with a Quarantine Concert

Posted By on Fri, May 15, 2020 at 12:06 PM

Poet, activist, cultural icon and lifelong clown Wavy Gravy always makes a big deal out of his birthday, often hosting massive concert events that raise money for his beloved SEVA Foundation.

Those popular concerts draw hundreds of friends and fans together at venues like the Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley and the SOMO Events Center in Rohnert Park. Obviously, those concerts are not going to be possible during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Instead, Wavy Gravy invites the public to help him celebrate his 84th birthday this weekend with a special online "Quarantine Concert." Featuring a collection of never-before-seen archival videos from the past 12 years of shows, the "Quarantine Concert" is viewable online now through Sunday, May 17, at

Folks who have attended Wavy's previous birthday parties can attest to the massive array of stars that are always on hand, and the performances collected in the video include David Crosby and Graham Nash's intimate acoustic rendition of the Crosby, Stills & Nash song "Guinnevere;" Dr. John and Buffy Sainte-Marie's spirited piano/tambourine duo that begins with "When the Saints Go Marching In," goes into Dr. John's hit song "Iko Iko" and ends with a "Happy Birthday" outro; and an extended jam with Chris Robinson, Bob Weir and others playing the Grateful Dead's song "Sugaree."

The two-hour concert video, introduced by Wavy Gravy, also includes appearances by Ani DiFranco, Blind Boys of Alabama, Bonnie Raitt, Hot Tuna, Jackson Browne, Jason Mraz, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Poor Man's Whiskey, Roy Rogers, Rising Appalachia, Ruthie Foster, Steve Kimock and Steve Earle.

Funds raised from donations will go to SEVA Foundation, which Wavy Gravy co-founded in 1978 with Dr. Larry Brilliant (a leader in the World Health Organization's smallpox-eradication efforts), spiritual philosopher Ram Dass and others. The foundation provides eye care to communities around the world with little to no access, partnering with doctors and hospitals to perform acts like cataract surgeries that restore sight for as little as $50.

Catch the "Quarantine Concert" this weekend at Happy birthday, Wavy!
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Thursday, May 14, 2020

2020 Sonoma County Israeli Film Festival Continues in Virtual Form

Posted By on Thu, May 14, 2020 at 1:17 PM

Israel's 2014 historical drama 'The Dove Flyer' streams as part of a new online film fest. - IMAGE COURTESY SONOMA COUNTY ISRAELI FILM FESTIVAL
  • Image courtesy Sonoma County Israeli Film Festival
  • Israel's 2014 historical drama 'The Dove Flyer' streams as part of a new online film fest.

For its fifth year, the Sonoma County Israeli Film Festival was meant to run through the month of March at the Rialto Cinemas in Sebastopol.

Featuring four films, this year's fest focused on a bevy of themes including gender identity, love and aging as well as the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict; except the festival only got through a single week before Sonoma County's shelter-in-place took effect to limit the outbreak of Covid-19.

Like many other events that could adapt to the internet, the festival–hosted by Jewish Community Center Sonoma County–recently transformed to a virtual streaming series, letting ticket holders to the canceled screenings still watch the festival's films from home.

This week, the Virtual Sonoma County Israeli Film Festival is offering a film not previously included in the 2020 lineup, 2014's The Dove Flyer, available for streaming between Sunday and Monday, May 18–19.

Next week, the festival concludes with a bonus streaming of another new-to-the-festival film, 2004's Turn Left at the End of the World, available May 25–26. This streaming is complimentary for any existing ticket holders to any of the festival's films.

Both The Dove Flyer and Turn Left at the End of the World deal with universal themes of immigration, clashing cultures and love, and both are critically acclaimed for their mixtures of drama and humor. Get tickets to the online screenings here.
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Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Left Edge Theatre Offers Online Twist of Annual Showcase

Posted By on Tue, May 12, 2020 at 4:30 PM


Left Edge Theatre always likes to involve the public in planning next season’s shows with their annual spring fundraising Season Showcase.

Usually, the theater company takes to the stage at their space in the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts and presents several scenes from plays in consideration for the forthcoming season, and the attending audience votes on those they most want to see fully produced.

This year is anything but normal, and the ongoing shelter-in-place has kept audiences away from local theater. Left Edge knows that the show must go on, and the group is moving the Season Showcase online for a virtual event happening over Zoom.

Tickets are limited and going fast for the two online showcases, happening Saturday, May 16, at 7pm and Sunday, May 17, at 2pm. $30. Visit Left Edge Theatre's website for tickets and watch the video below to get hyped for the showcase.

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North Bay Favorites to Play Heartfelt Virtual Variety Show

Posted By on Tue, May 12, 2020 at 1:30 PM

Bay Area bluegrass star Laurie Lewis is one of several artists participating in the 'Arts In Our Hearts Show' on May 16. - PHOTO BY JEFF FASANO
  • Photo by Jeff Fasano
  • Bay Area bluegrass star Laurie Lewis is one of several artists participating in the 'Arts In Our Hearts Show' on May 16.

West Sonoma County’s beloved Occidental Center for the Arts often hosts live music, readings, art exhibits and more, though the sheltering orders have shuttered the nonprofit venue and others like it.

This weekend, the OCA takes to the web to connect with the community with the Arts In Our Hearts Virtual Variety Show, featuring a cavalcade of performers. Hosted on Youtube, the free streaming show will feature popular North Bay artists like Stella Heath, Emily Lois, Kevin Russell, Laurie Lewis and a dozen others live from their homes.

This event is free to all and will be shown on YouTube. Tune in on Saturday, May 16, at 8pm, and get more details at Occidental Center for the Arts' website.
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HopMonk Holds "In the Meantime" Concert Series

Posted By on Tue, May 12, 2020 at 10:30 AM

SInger-songwriter Megan Slankard plays live on HopMonk Novato's Facebook page on Friday, May 15. - PHOTO BY MELISSA ALDERTON
  • Photo by Melissa Alderton
  • SInger-songwriter Megan Slankard plays live on HopMonk Novato's Facebook page on Friday, May 15.

With locations in Sebastopol, Sonoma and Novato, HopMonk Tavern is a North Bay institution that usually hosts weekly concerts featuring local and touring stars. Yet, the Covid-19 sheltering has kept the stages empty at all three locations since mid-March.

The folks at HopMonk Tavern know there is no substitute for live music, so they are offering the next best thing with their new online concert series, “In the Meantime.”

Between their Sebastopol and Novato locations’ social media sites, the series will host artists and acts performing live from their homes, and the schedule includes Alison Harris on May 14, Megan Slankard on May 15, Dirty Cello on May 16, Bob Hillman on May 20 and several other performances slated through the end of the month.

Visit the Facebook pages of the HopMonk Sebastopol and HopMonk Novato locations for a full schedule and details.
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Monday, May 4, 2020

Virtual Career Week Hopes to Help Students Find Work During Pandemic

Posted By on Mon, May 4, 2020 at 10:40 AM

The current shelter-in-place ordeal in Sonoma County and across the US has created massive unemployment, and students who just went through at-home graduation ceremonies may not be feeling especially great about their prospects in the job market.

To help meet the challenge of finding a job in the midst of a Covid-19 pandemic, Santa Rosa Junior College and Sonoma State University are partnering up for a Virtual Career Week happening Tuesday, May 5, through Thursday, May 7.

The three-day online event features employers who are currently hiring or who anticipate to be hiring within the next six months, and is open to all current students and alumni from both the SRJC and SSU. Each featured employer will have a specific date and time during which they will host a 75-minute virtual ‘booth’ with an associated Zoom link.

Employment categories include Summer, part-time and remote jobs; as well as work in Health, STEM, Wine, Beverage and Hospitality, Economics, Sales, Marketing, Social Services, Education, Government, Arts and Communications.

Visit the Virtual Career Week page and register for participation, here.
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Friday, May 1, 2020

Desserts Go Digital For LBC Fundraiser

Posted By on Fri, May 1, 2020 at 10:45 AM

  • Will Bucquoy; courtesy Luther Burbank Center for the Arts

Luther Burbank Center for the Arts’ long-running and super tasty benefit, The Art of Dessert, was originally scheduled for early last month, though the Covid-19 pandemic put the plan on hold, until now.

In the spirit of social distancing, the Art of Dessert Virtually takes the annual event online with an extravaganza featuring digital auctions for first-class wines, delectable and beautifully designed desserts and cakes, and one-of-a kind gifts and experiences to enjoy in the future.

Proceeds from the online auctions go towards LBC’s Education and Community Engagement programs, which currently provide virtual events and classes until the center’s campus re-opens.

Registration is open now to view auction items, bidding begins online, Sunday, May 3, at noon and runs until Saturday, May 9, at 9pm at
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Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Brothers Comatose Lead Fans in Quarantine Jam

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2020 at 10:50 AM


Like everyone else, Bay Area string band the Brothers Comatose are stuck inside and isolated from each other and their fans while the shelter-in-place order continues into May.

Yet, that won't stop the group from playing music, and recently the band asked fans to join them in their endeavor by sending in videos of their stay-at-home activities to create a music video for the band’s cover of the Kinks’ “Strangers.”

The song was recorded by Jay Pellici at New, Improved Recording in Oakland and the video was edited together by Francesco Echo.  Watch the video, here.

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Thursday, April 16, 2020

Batcave to the Rescue

Posted By on Thu, Apr 16, 2020 at 10:41 AM


Located in the basement of 100 Fourth St. in downtown Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square, the Batcave Comics & Toys shop is a haven for comic book and toy collectors and for nostalgic fans of vintage entertainment.

Currently brimming with retro comic-book issues, the shop is doing what it can for the community with a pledge to give 10,000 free comics to Santa Rosa and Sonoma County organizations serving children who are in need of activities during the shelter-in-place order.

The Batcave encourages any charity, hospital, school, group home, foster home or special-needs program or facility to contact them on Facebook or Instagram to arrange curbside pickup or contactless delivery.

Furthermore, the Batcave encourages anyone with an old stash of comics who wants to help the cause—or anyone who wants to donate to the effort in any way—to also get in touch. Read the shop’s full statement on their Facebook page.
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