It’s golden. Last weekend it was the 50th anniversary of the Kinetic Sculpture Race and there was much gold to be found. (Somehow this was the second Golden Anniversary Race, and K-Universe explained that, but I didn’t buy it.)
Kinetic time is over for this year, but there’s plenty of other stuff going on this weekend, stuff I’ll miss since I’m heading to my hometown, Walnut Creek, to party with other members of the Las Lomas High School Class of ’69. Yes, it’s our golden anniversary class reunion.
Friday, May 31, while I’m off having dinner and taking pics of my old classmates, there’s a Humboldt Folklife Society Barn Dance at the Arcata Vet’s Hall with the usual suspects involved — The Striped Pig String Band and caller Lyndsey Battle — with a very special guest caller Nigella Baur, who happens to be graduating from high school. Supervisor Mike Wilson’s daughter Nigella (who I know as Ella) has been calling squares for awhile (she also plays in a rock band, Petty Education). The Folklifers invite you to “come celebrate spring and the end of school,” (and Ella’s acceptance at UC Berkeley). Doors at 6:30 p.m. with instructed dancing from 7-10 p.m. “No experience or partner needed, and all ages welcome.”
Friday is also Art Night Kick-off day for the 21st annual North Coast Open Studios. The semi-countywide event was started in 1999 by local artists Sasha Pepper and Susan Fox “to create an opportunity for visitors to view art, talk with the artists, explore the creative process, and expand their art collections.”
The main OS tour days are this Saturday and Sunday and next (10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 1 & 2 and 8 & 9), but a bunch of eager artists are open an extra evening from 6-9 p.m. A schedule of Friday night-specific artists is available in the info packed NCOS guidebook (with maps), also online at www.northcoastopenstudios.com.
With Humboldt’s rep for colliding events, is should also be noted that NCOS Art Night overlaps with Trinidad Art Nights, also running from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, June 1, with galleries open, the Circus of the Elements fire show…
music by Jesse Jonathan’s kids’ Blue Dragon Steel Band and others, and only a couple of NCOS artists.
Check TrinidadArtNights.com for a full schedule.
When you look at that map of artists, you may wonder why there’s no one from SoHum listed. Years ago, when they expanded to two weekends, I warned them that all the artists from South County set aside the first weekend in June for the annual Summer Arts & Music Festival put on by the Mateel Community Center. It’s in the 43rd year this year June 1-2 at Benbow State Recreation Area along the “majestic” Eel River, south of Garberville.
The fest features more than 150 craft, food and non-profit booths, with over 70 performances on four stages with the focus on local bands, dance troupes, DJs and kids stuff. The non-local headliner on Saturday is reggae/world beat chanter/activist Nattali Rize on her Ever Rising Tour. Sunday it’s three SoCal Sublime-influenced bands touring together: Tomorrows Bad Seeds, The Aggrolites and Long Beach Dub Allstars, a band that’s about as Sublime as you can get, while no longer including any members of the original trio.
Looking for your Dead fix? Sunday at 1:15 p.m. it’s “a SAMF exclusive,” US Blues with “an all star cast of Humboldt County musicians” paying tribute to the “Pigpen era” of Grateful history. That’s Andy B from Cold Blue Water and Piet Dalmolen from Money, Full Moon Fever, etc. on guitars and vocals (FMF plays Friday, 5/31 at the Wave). There’s Norman Bradford from Wild Otis on bass, Object Heavy’s B Swizlo on keys, and Alex Litzinger from Miracle Show on drums.
I wish I was there to reminisce about that time the Dead played at Las Lomas High (with Pigpen), but my old radio buddy Gregg McVicar is putting together a ‘60s mix for the party, something he does daily for “UnderCurrents,” a nationally syndicated public radio feed. It used to be broadcast on KHSU right after Gus Mozart’s “Music Box,” but I’m not sure if it’s still on or what the deal is now (or what the future holds for our beloved station).
Speaking of tribute bands, Night Moves: Tribute to Bob Seger & Creedence Clearwater Revival plays at Wave Lounge (@ Blue Lake Casino) on Saturday, June 1. The 6-piece band is basically a twofer adding CCR tunes to The Silver Bullet Band songbook. Of course Credence was a local fave when I graduated from Las Lomas, coming from elsewhere in Contra Costa County (El Cerrito) and peaking in 1969 with their big hit, “Proud Mary.”
Thursday, May 30, at Siren’s Song, sort of along the same lines (but without covers), The Blank Tapes, which is the nom de band of L.A.-based multi-instrumentalist, Matt Adams, who “has produced over a dozen albums of ‘60s inspired folk-rock-surf-psych-soul-pop” for various labels, including the latest, Candy. Also on the bill, TERMINATor “total babes” from Seattle with a new EP, Visual, and for local support, Mojave Green described as “Eureka Spaghetti Western Americana Rock-N-Rollers who always put on a great show!!” (I concur.)
Arcata’s Mazzotti’s has started doing shows, mostly reggae, like Jesse Royal who plays Monday, June 3. He’s a Jamaican up-and-coming singjay, whose debut album, Lily Of Da Valley, came out on the New York-based label Easy Star Records, best known for Dub Side of the Moon (reggaefied P-Floyd covers).
More reggae Wednesday, June 5, at Humbrews when “legends will be in the building,” specifically The Mykal Rose + Sly & Robbie Summer Groove Tour with an emphasis on the Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner era of Black Uhuru. Who is coming over? Natty Dreadlocks. “Oh I can see you brought some herb for me, Natty Dreadlocks.” Locals Stevie Culture and DJ Tanasa Ras open the show.
Before we leave reggae, let’s talk Reggae on the River for a minute. Several headliners were announced last week and instantly caused a stir. Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley is at the top of the bill, not surprising since he and his partners bought a controlling share in High Times, who started putting on RotR last year.
“It is now an honor to be a part of the High Times legacy that I’ve been a fan of for so many years,” said Jr. Gong in an official statement.
Toots and the Maytals are naturals having played RotR many times. (Toots was one of the first to use that word on a song, “Do the Reggay,” a single that was a hit in 1968 (when I was a junior).
Then there was Sizzla, who can’t seem to shake his history of homophobia. Protests were lodged immediately (his scheduled Mateel show was cancelled last year) and just as quickly he was kicked off the Reggae bill. High Times apologized saying, “We were not aware of his history (candidly I don’t know the artist) but as soon as we were alerted to his unfortunate past we immediately pulled the plug. Sorry…” Never mind.
Tourettes Without Regrets: Humboldt! Is coming Saturday, June 8 to the Arcata Playhouse offering, “A night of dirty haikus, rap battles, wild aerialists, burlesque, comedy and much more,” according to SF Weekly. Main man slam poet Jamie DeWolf is a former local (“born and raised in Humboldt”) who brings a troupe up from the Bay Area for multifaceted fun including an Open Freestyle Rap Battle with a $100 cash prize and an Open Poetry Slam with another cash prize. Expect circus acts, kinky mayhem, “and MORE!”
It’s a busy weekend at the Playhouse with another show Sunday, June 9, featuring San Francisco-based Supermule, a collective of disparate players exploring traditional American music on banjo, guitar and fiddle, plus and keyboards, with former local Mike Emerson tickling the keys.