RIP Jim Moore

I heard from an old friend, Wesley Chesbo, the other day. He wondered if perhaps I remembered a friend of his, Jim Moore, who passed away on New Year’s Day. I had to admit, my memory of Jim is fleeting at best, he moved away from Arcata years ago and eventually became something of a mover and shaker in politics on a state level, particularly regarding reading polls. Like Wesley, he spent a lot of time in Sacramento.
For those who don’t know Wesley, well, he was someone I knew from years ago when I worked in the Humboldt State cafeteria. His brother, Walt, was the head dishwasher one fateful summer, but that’s a story for another day, this is about Jim.
I’ve been running into Wes a lot more since he retired from politics. We were both at the memorial service from our mutual friend Kay Chaffey.  Wes gave a eulogy that quoted from an obituary I wrote.
More recently, Wes called when he was planning on localizing an obit for his longtime friend. He sent me his first draft, then we met yesterday and talked about what he wrote. I suggested adding some more personal details, and he did. I also told him I’d like to be among those who published his tribute. I’ll drink one more toast to his memory. I suspect he would like that.


On January 1, Jim Moore died at his home in the El Dorado County town of Camino. He was 66. Even though he had been in declining health for several years, he was still working and his death was unexpected.

Moore was a major influence on the history and politics of Arcata and Humboldt County before he took his considerable skills to Sacramento, working with Governor Jerry Brown, former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, former Senate President and Democratic Party Chair John Burton and others.

During the 1970s while still living in Arcata, Jim Moore was instrumental in the successful ballot fight to stop the construction of the proposed Butler Valley Dam at Maple Creek on the Mad River. Jim played a key role in numerous Arcata City Council races in the 1970s including the election and reelection of long time Councilmember and Mayor Alex Stillman.

In those days when Moore wasn’t immersed in a local controversy or political campaigns he could be spotted sitting up all night at Don’s Donut Bar in Arcata drinking coffee and reading books on physics, math and psychology. Among his favorites were Buckminster Fuller and Wilhelm Reich. What his friends didn’t realize at the time was that Jim was formulating his own theory of human psychology and political behavior that led him to later become one of California’s top political pollsters.

Moore helped to manage all of Wesley Chesbro’s campaigns for City Council, County Supervisor, State Senate and State Assembly. In fact Chesbro’s decision to enter politics in 1974 at the age of 22 was made in consultation with Jim Moore while the two were sitting on a curb at 2:00 AM after a night of listening to Freddy and the Starliners at the Jambalaya Club.

Jim Moore also played  significant role in the election and reelection of numerous Northcoast legislators including former Congressman Doug Bosco, former Senator Barry Keene, and former Asemblymembers Dan Hauser and Patty Berg.

He drafted and successfully led a ballot campaign to establish an ecologically sustainable forest management plan for the city owned Arcata Community and Jacoby Creek forests, directing harvesting revenues to acquisition and development of city park and recreation facilities, including the Arcata Community Center.

Jim Moore will also be remembered by softball players in the 1970s and 1980s Arcata Beer Leagues as a standout hitter and pitcher for the Northbay Grease in their epic Sunday afternoon battles with the Snail Darters and the Golden Rockets.

Friends and associates in Humboldt County knew Jim Moore was a bright and talented political activist, but few if any locally knew what he was capable of on a larger stage.

In 1983 Jim Moore founded the J. Moore Methods polling firm in Sacramento and served as a leading Democratic pollster for Governors, Senate and Assembly leaders, numerous individual legislators and state ballot measure campaigns.

Jim was born in Arcata on March 28, 1951. He was the Son of Dr Herb Moore, an Arcata physician and Mary Moore. He was the nephew of long time Humboldt County Clerk and Former Eureka Mayor Fred Moore.

Jim Moore will be remembered as a highly competitive softball player in his younger years and a vineyard owner and grape grower in his later years.

Above all he will be remembered as a dear, ferociously loyal friend to those who knew and loved him.

Jim Moore leaves behind his loving partner Jan Mathews of Camino California.

A local gathering of Jim Moore’s friends to celebrate his life will be held on January 26th at 5:30 PM at 1166 H Street Arcata. Please enter from the side entrance as the front porch is under construction

Those attending are encouraged to bring a beverage of their choice to toast the life, friendship and many accomplishments of Jim Moore.

Please RSVP at (707) 798-6211 if you are planning to attend.


Kris Kristofferson has nothin’ left to lose…

“Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose…”

Kris Kristofferson is playing at the Van Duzer tonight, he will undoubtedly play this song. Tickets were out of my price range, so I’ll miss him, unless I run into him wandering around town. There’s actually a few seats left if you don’t mind sitting in the last row. Click here if you’re interested. (Let me know if you liked the show.)
Watching that vid he made with Rita (once his wife), I learned an interesting factoid: Kris wrote the song when he was working on an oil rig off the coast of Louisiana.

I first heard “Bobby McGee” via Janis Joplin, I’m pretty sure it was her biggest hit.

They say the first time Kris heard her recording of it was the day after she died. Sadly, Pearl, the album that included the song, was posthumous.

Janis sang it like she had nothin’ left to lose…

Bill Frisell, A Portrait + Jenny Scheinman live coming soon…

It’s what they call a “save the date” message, this one from my friends in the Redwood Jazz Alliance, the hip crew that put on cutting edge jazz shows here and there. If you have even a passing interest in jazz, you’ll want to see Bill Frisell, A Portrait, plus there’s that extra bonus, a movie with an opening act, and oh what an opening act, Jenny Scheinman, a local treasure who’s played with Bill (who, unfortunately, will only be there on the big screen). Click here for tix, then let me turn things over to the RJA folks to explain…

Bill Frisell, A Portrait – Trailer from Emma Franz on Vimeo.

We’re excited to be partnering with Arcata’s historic Minor Theatre for an exclusive North Coast screening of Australian filmmaker Emma Franz’s new documentary about the uncategorizable guitar virtuoso Bill Frisell, Monday, February 5th at 7:30 p.m. Violinist Jenny Scheinman, who has played with Frisell in several different bands over the past decade and a half, will start the evening with a selection of his tunes, in a duo with keyboardist John Wood.



When Bill Frisell: A Portrait opened in New York last month, the New York Times designated it a Critic’s Pick, noting that it “upends the myth that the great artist needs to be full of anger, or to behave badly, to be inspired.” Rolling Stone added that “a documentary on this major avant-jazz player [was] long overdue,” while All About Jazz called it “one of the most compelling, entertaining, and informative films made about a living music legend.”A character portrait of the anti-archetype guitar hero, this nuanced film traces the ideas and processes that shape Frisell’s music, providing rare insight into the mind and personality of one of the significant musicians of recent decades.

Full of live music, revealing stories, and intimate access to the normally reclusive Frisell, it follows various collaborations from development to fruition, including the last ever performance of the Paul Motian Trio with Frisell and Joe Lovano. Also featured are Bonnie Raitt, Hal Willner, Paul Simon, Nels Cline, Joey Baron, Jim Hall, Jason Moran, Mike Gibbs, John Zorn, Jack DeJohnette, Ron Carter and John Abercrombie.

If you haven’t yet checked out the newly renovated Minor, you’re in for a treat: in our humble opinion, it has the best sound and projection systems, the most comfortable seats, and the most appetizing food and drink of any theater in the county. Admission to this special event is $15 (sorry: we can’t offer our usual discount for students & seniors), and seating is limited to 100, so buy your tickets early!

I bought tix already since I don’t want to miss this show and I’m thinking it may sell out. I love the idea of combining a film with some live music, and Jenny never disappoints.


If you’re near New York, you might want to hear her playing quite different music on her Mischief & Mayhem tour with Nels Cline, Jim Black, and Todd Sickafoose. (Jan. 18-21 at the Jazz Standard)…

Wanna hear Jenny play with Bill?

By the way, Redwood Jazz Alliance has a show coming up at The Sanctuary, Arcata with Ben Allison & Think Free on another Monday, February 19, (8 pm).
That’s Ben Allison, bass; Kirk Knuffke, cornet; Steve Cardenas, guitar; Allan Mednard, drums (not the drummer in this vid)…

And here’s a little more from Mr. Frisell as one more teaser, in this case playing songs by John Lennon…

Will I see you the Minor? What else do you have planned that Monday?

HSU Third Street Gallery closing?

The message from the Third Street Gallery’s director Jack Bentley was an announcement of his pending retirement — not a complete surprise — but it went on to inform all of us that HSU is planning the concurrent closure of the gallery, a shock to many — even to Jack. His letter is a call to arms for those who would like to save this important cultural resource. I’ll let Jack take from there…


Dear Friends,

On next July 30th, after 20 years of managing the programs at the HSU Third Street Gallery, formerly the HSU First Street Gallery, I will leave my employment at Humboldt State University. During my time at the gallery, I have been privileged to participate in a multifaceted and creative collaboration with a wide range of community members, students, faculty, university staff and administration, as well as with all of the wonderful student, regional and visiting artists whose work we have been so lucky to exhibit. I’m very grateful to all of these people who worked with us to help establish community and student accessibility to a wide range of art forms and types of expression. Thank you to all of you for helping us to cement the reputation and the professional standing of the gallery!

When the gallery was founded in 1998, it was established as a community outreach program with the mission to provide a fine arts venue and an exhibition program, readily accessible to our North Coast community, while simultaneously providing a hands-on site for HSU students to learn and implement museum and gallery practices. The gallery was established as an independent department within the university, with its own budget.


jackinside3rdst 2.jpg

[Jack showed me the Third Street Gallery when it was under construction a little more than a year ago.]

Currently, with its location in Eureka and with over 26,000 visitors annually, Third Street Gallery is by far HSU’s most visited, most popular fine arts gallery. In readers’ polls published by the North Coast Journal, HSU Third Street Gallery was selected as the North Coast’s Best Art Gallery in 2011 and 2016. Thanks to the work of our students and to the support of our community and university colleagues, the gallery has garnered a reputation that stretches way beyond our region and draws visitors and artists from far and wide.

When I formally notified the university administration of my plan to leave the university, I made a series of recommendations to ensure the gallery’s smooth transition to successor management in order to continue the gallery’s service to students and to the community.

Not long after notifying my supervisor of my intention to leave, I learned that a proposal to shut down HSU Third Street Gallery had been submitted to the (HSU) President’s Cabinet and had been subsequently passed along to HSU’s University Resources Planning Committee (URPC) for further study.

Couched in the language of budget reductions, the proposal is a thinly disguised resource grab by another university department in which the gallery would be shut down and its budget and assets would be absorbed by other on-campus programs.

In this proposed scenario Third Street Gallery, in its Eureka location, would be shuttered in 2019, its budget would be slashed by a one-third and the remaining two-thirds of its budget would be directed to on-campus exhibition programs. Effectively turning its back on making exhibitions accessible to the broader North Coast community, the proposal calls for the remaining two thirds of Third Street’s former budget to pay for an ill-defined, untested future program in the university’s two galleries located on campus, the Reese Bullen Gallery and the Goudi’ ni Gallery, both of which have very low accessibility and visitation rates. In other words, the proposal would shut down a successful cultural outreach program on the gamble that they could do a better job on campus. This idea is the opposite of creative—it’s destructive.



[This was the gallery, again under construction last year, this time showing the fine new floor being added the building. The university made a considerable investment preparing the new space. What were they thinking? Are they thinking at all?]

To date, the committee that is charged with studying this proposal has made no effort to contact me or to consult with stakeholders in the gallery, or with the community, and that is probably by design. The less feedback that they receive, the easier it will be to shut Third Street Gallery down.

And this is why I’m writing to you. You are the stakeholders whose voices need to be heard. Shutting down Third Street Gallery is not a foregone conclusion. This is still a proposal. However, its outcome is dependent on the input and opinions shared with the committee and decision makers. You can help keep the gallery open by making your opinion known and taking a stand as a stakeholder in the gallery.

If you want to help, this is what you can do: You can write an email letter of support for the continuation of the gallery and its programs. You can write any type of email:

A simple short note that addresses your general support of the gallery.

Or you can be more elaborate, touching on some important subjects to address:


The best strategy in this type of letter writing is to copy your email to everybody of concern. That way nobody can deny your contribution to the discussion.

Please address you letters to the two Co-Chairs of the HSU University Resource Planning Committee:

Mark Rizzardi, Professor of Mathematics, Co-Chair, URPC and Alex Enyedi, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Co-Chair, URPC.

Please use the long email string of addresses below to assure that all of the parties involved in this issue will be apprised of your sentiments.
Email to:

To my friends and acquaintances, I’m leaving the university voluntarily, because it’s time to make a change in my career and my life. So please focus your comments on the gallery rather than on me. This is still in the proposal stage to close the gallery by 2019. Your timely comments can determine the future.

Please feel free to share this email with anyone who you think could help.

Thank you for your attention to this issue.


Jack Bentley

Director, HSU Third Street Gallery


Ending note from Bob: Jack gathers found photos and shows them to his friends. This one seemed appropriate to me. The whole thing doesn’t make sense and shows that the driver messed up leaving a problem that will be difficult to undo. Let’s see if HSU can change direction before making this decision.

A change of plans, from Jane and Campground to a midwife tale…

Sometimes things don’t follow straight paths. Take this evening for example, it didn’t go according to plan at all. We’d planned an evening at Richard’s Goat and the Miniplex. A documentary called “Jane” was playing.


Director Brett Morgen mined the National Geographic archives to tell the story of Jane Goodall, whose research on chimpanzees changed they way we relate to our fellow primates. Morgan, called the “mad scientist” of documentaries by the New York Times (see “Crossfire Hurricane,” “The Kid Stays in the Picture,” “Chicago 10,” etc.) He drew on footage of young Jane by Dutch nature photographer Hugo van Lawick shot in the ’60s and thought lost(Hugo eventually married Jane.) With a soundtrack by Philip Glass, it seemed to be just the thing for a Monday night.

A couple of those cheesy mac ‘n’ cheeses from the Goat and we’d call it dinner and a movie. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. They were out of mac ‘n’ cheese and were down to the last of their tater tots too. And, the barkeep wondered if I’d bought my ticket online because “Jane” was sold out in advance. I’d actually visited the website earlier looking for the showtime and thought of buying advance tickets, but figured Monday night there wouldn’t be that big of a crowd. I should have paid the $1.25 service charge. Live and learn.  Maybe we’ll try again Saturday when it shows again (or Wednesday, Dec. 27, of the following Saturday).

It was good that the Miniplex is doing well, but it threw a wrench in our plans. On to Plan B. Mondays are often off nights for restaurants, but we’d find something. I’ve been hearing about a new place, Campground, that’s due open in the new building a block from the Plaza where the NEC was years ago (until a fire that began in the classic bar Marino’s took out the whole block).

The folks at Salt have been working on the brand new space for months and I’ve asked them when it might be done more than once. I’d heard through the grapevine it was finally done and they were supposed to have a “soft opening” on Sunday followed by a “hard” opening later. Not sure if that happened.

We cruised by and saw that there was action inside. We found a place to park by the Co-op and went to check it out. The place looked warm and inviting, but the hostess informed us we had to have a reservation. I pointed out there were plenty of empty seats, but she insisted that it was “invitation only.”

Could I take home a menu so I could see what on it? No, not until Wednesday, when the have an official “grand opening.” Whatever. I should have snapped a pic of the menu, but I figured I’d find it online. I didn’t. Maybe I wasn’t googling it right, but I found nothing about the place except Jack Durham’s item in the Mad River Union from summertime, until today… (thanx Georgia)


Sounds good. Anyway, it was for Plan C. Since we were getting hungrier, we decided on savory pie for dinner at Bittersweet, a Slice of Humboldt Pie to be exact. In my case a Chilean Potato empanada and a Pulled Pork & Green Chili empanada, washed down with a blood orange cider. Good stuff.

The place was full of what seemed to be the college crowd. The industrial open beam look makes if kind of on the loud side, but people seem to like that — it makes it seem like there’s something happening. However, it’s not a place for intimate conversation. We headed out out when we’d finished our pie.

Last stop: a visit to La Dolce Video in search of entertainment. We settled on a new French film called “The Midwife” with Catherine Deneuve and Catherine Frot, two marvelous actors.

Claire (Ms.Frot) is honesty incarnate. A midwife, she has devoted her life to others. At a moment when she is preoccupied by the imminent closure of the maternity clinic where she works, her life is further turned upside down when Béatrice (Ms.Deneuve), her father’s former mistress, turns up on the scene. Béatrice is a capricious and selfish woman, Claire’s exact opposite…

Sparks fly, while in the background babies are born. All of the reviews seem to mention the fact that it’s the kind of story you don’t see in American films with real characters like the people you know, not superheroes or spies or… well, you get the picture. It was a fine way to spend an evening relaxing on the couch. We’ll save “Jane,” mac’n’cheese and Campground for another day…

Dig Deep for Bonnie Raitt tix

You’ve probably heard by now that Bonnie Raitt is coming to town. The concert isn’t until next year — Sunday, March 18 to be exact — but tickets are already going like hot cakes, even though they are not available to the general public.

And people are already complaining about the ticket prices.

“Unaffordable for the common person, no doubt,” as my friend Michael Welch put it when I mentioned the show on Facebook.

I pointed out, “She’s an uncommon talent,” and Michael agreed. “Truly. Great voice, and fantastic slide guitar player. And a wonderful anti-nuke and environmental activist. I’ve seen her several times, including sharing dinner with her and Holly Near. Both are heroes of mine. Still, can’t justify the price of most CenterArts shows.”

Another friend, Harriet Watson, noted, Don’t think the acts are making out really well, nor are the venues, and prices are high for the fans. Not sure how all of it works.”

Harriet volunteers as an usher at some shows, since many shows are outside her budget, and she’s feels in some cases, the experience of hearing someone you really like is worth it.

I won’t pretend that I know how it all works either, but as someone who’s watched the concert business over the years, I’d have to say the local prices are not really out of line if you take in account the size of our venues. Our top halls, the Van Duzer and the Arkley Center for the Performing Arts, both seat under 800. Compare that with much larger venues in big cities and you’ll see that Centerarts is usually not out of line.

With the music biz gone over to streaming, where artists today rarely get a fair shake, everyone relies on money from touring, so it’s hard to blame anyone for wanting their fair share.

This morning (Thursday) I call the CenterArts box office to see about perhaps buying tickets for my wife as an Xmas gift. The surprise factor is gone and there are twists in my plans so I’ll tell it’ll cost us $89 each, and I can’t buy one yet since I’ve never been a season ticket holder. Also, I was told it’s likely that only balcony seats will be available by the time those are available to the general public tomorrow.

It seemed surprising that season ticket holder would snap up that many seats in a day so I asked what’s the deal. It turns out half of the main floor is set aside for what was described as “fan club members” who signed up on Bonnie’s website. A quick check online painted a different picture. You don’t have to join a club, you just pay premium prices for premium seats and avoid scalpers. As they explain it…   


“We want to first give a huge THANK YOU to the fans for being supportive of our efforts to deter scalping of tickets to Bonnie’s concerts. Our goal is to stop scalpers in their tracks by hand-selecting a certain number of THE BEST seats for each concert and making them available for box office pick-up only on the night of the show. This will prevent scalpers from buying these prime seats in advance and reselling them to fans at inflated prices.  And while we know this means you may have to plan a little extra time at the box office the night of the show, we’ve made arrangements for extra designated staff (as needed) to accommodate this relatively small number of tickets, and you can feel good about paying face value for some of the best seats in the house. We’ve worked to keep prices reasonable and are grateful for your patience and support as we explore this solution. If you want to pay more for great seats, then we have an option for that too — and the amount above face value will be donated to CHARITY!”

Those all-caps letters mean more for those super premium tix, yes, $203.50 each. “At nearly every concert, Bonnie works with The Guacamole Fund to offer terrific, hand-selected seats to benefit local non-profit organizations working on issues of safe and sustainable energy, environmental protection, peace with justice and beyond.”

So, if I want a pair of tickets with a side of organic guacamole it’ll run me $407, plus whatever for tacos somewhere. That may be a little too rich for my blood.     

Did I mention there’s an opening act? Jon Cleary is a Brit now living in New Orleans who has playing with Bonnie’s band. He sounds pretty good with more than a hint of Professor Longhair in the mix.

Well, what do you think? Are you going to snap up those tickets before they’re gone? Good luck. Say hi to Bonnie for me.