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.

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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)

campground

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…   

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“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.

Bonnie_Raitt_Color_headshot_credit_Marina_Chavez_1

The Hum Birthday Edition (mine)

Saturday is my birthday. Years ago on a Dec. 9, my mom gave birth to me. That occasion seems like as good a time as any for some Humming. 

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The season greetings above came from the Dorans as an Xmas card. It was a line drawing that my artistic dad drew. He actually did one every year, tracing the growth of our family. This one’s from the year I was born — I’m that squiggly line that looks like a new baby.

My dad kept up the tradition for decades, adding my little brother to the brood, eventually watching the kids move away and leave the folks to age, the way we all do, until he was gone. The tradition died with him and for awhile my mom mailed out other homemade cards instead to her remaining friends. Eventually almost no one sent out actual Christmas greetings aside from the occasional traditionalists. (The world’s gone digital.)

Okay, enough of Xmas stuff, here’s some things going on Saturday in the north part of Humboldt where I live. (One day seemed like enough work.)

We’ll start at the Van Duzer, where CenterArts presents Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, showtime, as usual, 8 p.m. The Postmodern Jukebox is “an ongoing musical project spearheaded by pianist and arranger Scott Bradlee,” described by C-Arts as a “genre-busting, rotating collective of musicians and vocalists,” and “a viral sensation with millions of views on YouTube,” like this cover of “Royals” sung by Puddles, a clown. (I’m not sure if he’s on this tour, but I love this song and so does Lyndsey, who once taught it to a bunch of young uke players.)

At the Old Steeple in Ferndale Saturday (at 7:30pm), some cowboy music and more from Sourdough Slim  and Robert Armstrong, an artist/cartoonist who used to play in Robert Crumb’s Cheap Suit Serenaders.

Sourdough Slim & Robert Armstrong have had the pleasure of sharing their lively roots music with audiences at Carnegie Hall and The Lincoln Center to concert halls, festivals and fairs around the country. With a repertoire of western classics, country blues, vintage jazz and string band favorites from the 1920’s and 30’s, they share a passion for America’s rich musical heritage and they know how to communicate that feeling to an audience. You’ll hear raucous and often heartfelt singing accompanied by a dizzying array of acoustic instruments including accordion, guitar, banjo, ukulele, jug, national steel, musical saw and harmonica. All dished up with a hearty dose of vaudevillian stagecraft making for a delightfully entertaining experience.

And here’s a strange inexplicable cartoon by Mr. Armstrong:

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Charlie Parr is back in town. I saw his last time he came through on a road trip from Minnesota. He’s a amazing picker on guitar and banjo and delivers his rough hewn tunes with soulful passion. He’s at Humboldt Brews on a western tour with a new album, Dog, and another songwriter from Minnesota, John Mark Nelson, who has a new album of his own, Four Days Away.  He was “writer, arranger, producer, engineer, performer” for the record.

Charlie’s sings about, well, dogs, among other things. “I have a dog, her name is Ruby but I call her Ruben, and we go for these long, crazy, chaotic walks,” he says regarding the inspiration for the song. “I decided a long time ago that I get along really well with this dog, and I was taking her for walks, and she wanted to go this way, and I wanted to go that way. And then I thought, why are we going to go this way and not that way? Maybe I should be the one getting walked. Maybe I’ll learn something. So I follow the dog.”


(Note, the second one is not a song from “Dog.”)

Here’s a piece from a PBS station about John Mark Nelson…

David Powell-Schubert

This afternoon while I was working on this post, I was listening to the KHSU Magazine when an item came on about an unusual classical recital Saturday. You can listen here. The NPR news,  Ted-X and the calendar comes first then (at 18:05 or so) it’s an interview with tenor David Powell and puppeteer James Hildebrant.

James has done shadow plays and other puppetry (think giant puppets). He’s worked for Dell’Arte and the Arcata Playhouse (and more). You might know David from his work at Dell’Arte, where he sings this and that and acts.  

-David began his operatic training at Humboldt State University. He then continued to the Boston Conservatory and studied privately in New York with Julliard faculty. He has had the opportunity to perform across the U.S, but the beauty of Humboldt County continues to lure him back. He is currently completing his Master’s degree in Physical Theater, preparing for a study trip to Bali, and working with local theater companies.

The show is a collaboration based a song cycle in German illustrated with a shadow play about a love story. It’s at 8 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church, 625 15th St. Eureka. David says the sound there is quite good, and the show sounds fascinating if you’re in a classical/operatic mood. 

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Or there’s the annual Arcata Interfaith Gospel Choir Holiday Concert! It starts at 7 p.m. at the Arcata Presbyterian Church, 11th and G Streets. This will be the first concert performed there since the devastating arson fire of September 16. “We are doing the Hallelujah Chorus, gospel style too!” says Janine their publicist.

All Seasons Orchestra Holiday Concerts 2017 Poster

Keeping in a classical concerts at churches theme, we have the All Seasons Orchestra playing the first of three holiday shows at the Later-day Saints (Mormons) Church in Mickeyville. I’m planning on seeing the orchestra when they play closer to home (a block away from where I sit right now), so I’ll wait for next weekend.

Out in Blue Lake that day, my buddies, The Detours play honky tonk style at Mad River Brewery Tasting Room from 6-10 p.m. Saturday in what they call the “beer garden,” (shown below).

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There’s no actual garden, I think that just means the bands play outside, but they have space heaters and if you’re sitting in the right place it’s warm enough, but dress accordingly. BTW, the band’s guitarist/graphic artist, Rick Levin, usually posts something on my FB page right before the show or when ever he gets around to it. He finally got around to it the day of, with a holiday theme.

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You heard about ugly holiday sweaters right? Well, this is ugly holiday cowboy boots. I honestly doubt that Rick owns these, but you never know.

If you want to hang around until The Detours are done and turn your night in Blue Lake into a twofer, you can head down the road to The Logger for yet another birthday party, this one with Wild Otis and a “special guest.”

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I know all the band members, Norman Bradford and Rick DeVol on guitars and vocals, Dan Davis on bass and  (usually) Jimmy Moore on drums. Jimmy won’t be there Saturday, thus the guest and the birthday angle. They explain,

Please join us for a night of rock and roll with special guest drummer Jay Forbes.
To make this evening of music extra special IT IS JAY’S BIRTHDAY! Come share your love of Jay Forbes, your love of Wild Otis, or both!

They rock and will undoubtedly have a great party. I’ve been offered a drink if I show. We’ll see.

At The Siren’s Song Tavern on my birthday, the heavy metal heads of Angry Hammer Productions presents a party for someone else having a b-day with a THRASHORAMA!!!!!! “A special celebration of the escape from fetus jail of Liberty Williams with some Killer California Metal of variatas styles.”

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with: Hazzard’s Cure – Oakland Metal Crust
https://hazzardscure.bandcamp.com/album/hazzards-cure
Trecelence – Santa Rosa Thrash
https://trecelence.bandcamp.com/
Wrath – San Francisco Death/Thrash
https://wrth.bandcamp.com/releases
Death Mode Trippers – local metal (who haven’t put together a B
andcamp page yet).“In Honor of Liberty’s birthday, on this night you will mosh in a circle pit. None of that ping pong stuff. The mosh pit is not a wrestling ring or a karate dojo, y’all know who you are. Liberty wants one thing from you and that is circle pits. Action figures will also be accepted. But if I catch you doing any of that other shit I will refund you and kick you out.”Saturday, Dec. 9th ~ $8 ~ All ages ~ 7:00pm ~ Siren’s Song Tavern ~ 325 2nd St. Eureka
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Back in Arcata…

Don on that gay apparel and get ready to have your bells jingled at Club Triangle’s annual HoliGAY Show. Featuring Club Triangle veteran, turned Las Vegas Showboi, King of Glitter and Fantasy Maker, the one and only… Tucker Noir

Hosted by Humboldt’s Queen of Magic & Mystery: Mantrikka Ho.
Featuring Performances by:Fuscia Rae, Aiden Pleazure, Amber Lust, Hugh Johnson
Aaron SpaceMuseum, Mr. Mustacchio, Tabitha Diva, Amethyst Lovelace, Nora Pinephrine, Corvi Dae, Oliver Klosov, Miss Trish, Muscles McKnucles, Coyote Free Pile and the Night Sweats
Beats by Club T’s Resident DJs: DJ Joe-E and DJ Anya
Visuals by: 
Marmalade sky

Live Stream and Videography by: Juan M Carrillo. Lights & Sound by: Lost Coast Light & Sound.Tucker Noir Graphic Image by: James C Coffelt. 

$15 | 21+ | Doors at 9pm | Show at 10pm |

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From Francois comes an invitation via email: Looking for some “past-future electronic sex beats”? It’s Zordon  @ The Alibi Saturday, December 9th ~ 21+ / 11pm music / $2 cover… Not sure what this means, but it sounds a little too kinky for this clean old man.

Okay, I was going to steer clean of Xmas, but it’s time once again for SantaCon.

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The first I heard of SantaCon was on a trip to see Portland to see my son. My wife and I are thrift store fanatics and had stopped somewhere along to way to shop. I came away with a copy of a travel book titled, Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon by Chuck Palahniuk, who you may know for his novel Fight Club, which made into a movie starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton.

Along with a guide book that included the Velvet Painting Museum and various sex clubs in a town full of stripper bars, A Walk in PDX gave some personal history Chuck-style including an account of an Xmas event held by the Cacophony Society (he was a member) that was basically a drunk/stoned gang of folks wearing cheap Santa suits and going on a makeshift club crawl. “Rudeness and intoxication” were welcome. (It was also known as the “Santa Rampage.”)

SantaCon hit the country like the plague. Humboldt caught up a couple of years ago (maybe more). The local FB page says, “It’s that time of the year! Santas, Elves, Helpers, and Hanger-on-ers, dust off those suits for the annual bar crawl. We’ll be collecting cash donations for Food For People… we’re pretty awesome in that way.” (They actually took over $700 bucks last year so they must have been “good.”)

It starts at the Shanty, not certain what time, but at this point they’re saying 12:15 p.m.

Here’s the guidelines, for those willing the stay between the lines:

1. Santa does not make children cry. Really, if you see kids, don’t do anything to freak them out. Give them a nice smile and possibly a gift of some kind (toys, candy etc). Parents and tourists are a different matter altogether – adjust your behavior based on their attitude.

2. Santa dresses for all occasions. It’s December. Smart santas wear multiple costume layers. Dress to maximize merriment whether singing Christmas carols in the snow, or swinging from a stripper pole in a hot nightclub.

3. Santa doesn’t whine! We will be outside a lot and commuting mainly on foot – bring enough “snacks” to keep your pie-hole filled until we get indoors.

4. Bring gifts: NAUGHTY gifts to give grown ups; NICE stuff to give kids. Throwing coal at people is discouraged no matter who they are. YES THAT INCLUDES POLITICIANS. But giving out coal might actually be appreciated.

5. Watching santa get drunk and rowdy is fun. Babysitting santa while he vomits in an alley is not. Don’t be that santa.

6. Make sure you always pay for your beer and tip the bar staff. We want to be able to do this again so be polite and cultivate the goodwill of the local community.

7. Please pay for your drinks as soon as you get them. Santas get tired of waiting on other santas to clear their tab before being able to move on. This entire adventure should be cash only.

8. “No santa’s left behind!” Don’t think only of yourself – Santa is not inconsiderate of his fellow santas like that. Pick a few people you know and keep an eye out for them when it’s time to move to the next location. If you don’t see them, speak up so other santas know to wait a moment. Every santa should have at least 2-3 other santas they look out for and 2-3 that look out for them in turn.

9. Stay with the group. It’s not just a case of “the more, the merrier” – Santa is safer with large numbers of fellow santas and what one santa can’t achieve (or get away with) is a possibility for 50 or more!

10. Dress up! You don’t have to dress exactly like Santa. In fact, unusual interpretations of Santa-ness are much appreciated, both by those we bring joy to – as well as your fellow santas: elves, reindeer themes etc. are fine as well!

11. Please remember that this is all about having fun. Most santas like to take their fun with a little alcohol which is fine. What is not fine, however, is getting completely sh#t-faced to the point that santas end up being abusive or violent. Remember that there is no “bail fund” for incarcerated santas and if you cross the line you’ll be on your own.

12. Santa doesn’t drink & drive and neither should you. If you’re going to drink you must make sure that you can get safely home without driving yourself. Check public transport, carpool with a designated sober driver, make arrangements to sleep over at someone’s place etc. Organizers sometimes try to coordinate transportation to get santas safely home. Check the message boards and groups for your local SantaCon to find out if this is being done in your area.

13. You MUST address everyone as “Santa.”

14. You SHOULD “ho-ho-ho” like Santa.

15. You OUGHT to give out gifts like Santa.

16. You MIGHT want to drink like Santa

17………………………Read these guidelines one more time.

18. If you have reached this rule, it means you didn’t get locked into a loop reading the guidelines over and over again as per the previous rule. You are therefore intelligent enough to take part in SantaCon!

19. Have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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And don’t forget we’re celebrating more that Xmas.


have a good day…

The Village?

There’s a meeting of the Arcata Planning Committee tonight and it should be interesting. There are two hot items on the agenda, “A” and “B.”
First they’re dealing with marijuana, which will henceforth be known as “cannabis,” and some business with cannabidniz: mostly legalize around the “Commercial Cannabis Activity Permit” and the coming “Cannabis Innovation Zone,” where people will process pot one innovative way or another. It may come as a surprise, but there will probably be little discussion and not much controversy.
The controversy will come with item “B,” officially considering the “Draft Environmental Impact Report and a Recommendation to the City Council for Approval of the Required Permits and Development Agreement Terms for the Village Student Housing Project at 2715-2920 St. Louis Rd.; File No. 156-179-GPA-ZA-PM-DR-PD-DA-GPC.

If you have some time, you can read the agenda packet by clicking on the link and reading tons of material, including the letters submitted pro and con. I have to admit, I have not read the whole packet and probably won’t. It’s 569 pages long, and I have more interesting books to read. Nevertheless, I’ll share some of my so-called thoughts. This topic has generated a lot of discussion on Facebook (click here) and via Nextdoor, with lots of questions raised by concerned citizens.

The organized opposition on (Facebook anyway) is an anonymous group, “The Village: Changing our Neighborhood – Arcata.”

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I learned about it via my friend Greg King, a politically active type, who began a post (with a link to the opposition’s page) with a brief salvo describing the project as “A terrible proposal in a city that appears increasingly willing to accept them.”  The discussion that followed brought up a lot of issues and got me interested since the proposed “Village” is basically in my neighborhood. I own a house close the HSU, on the other side of the campus.

For those completely new to this whole thing I’ll offer a quick overview. The Village is a housing project proposed for some land off St. Louis Rd. a ramshackle place known as the Craftsmans Mall.

CraftsmanMall-MAP

The company behind the proposal is known as AMCAL (I don’t know what the acronym stands for). They are in the business of building big housing projects, because, as they explain, “College enrollments are growing rapidly but student housing has not kept pace. Recognizing that it could translate its multi-family skills to developing topflight student housing and give schools a competitive advantage, AMCAL entered this market in 2012 and is already a preferred provider among California universities.”

amcal

The student housing problem was covered well by some HSU students who wrote a cover story for the North Coast Journal (read it here) called “Homeless State University.” The lede: “HSU’s enrollment push collides with Humboldt’s housing crunch, leaving students in the lurch.”

Forgive me if I gank part of their description, but they summed it up well. “In May, [AMCAL] submitted plans to the city’s planning commission for The Village — four buildings to house 800 students in 240 units at a cost of around $55 million. It would take between 18 and 24 months to construct. But the project will require the approval of the city of Arcata and cooperation from HSU and, at least for now, none of the parties seems to be talking to each other.” That was months ago. The “talking” comes tonight.

Kevin Hoover at the Mad River Union has been following this for awhile. I learned a lot from his piece  ‘The Village’ student community – last call for Craftsman’s Mall?

Now the student housing problem is not new, not at all. In fact I wrote a cover story for the Journal in 2004 that detailed my involvement in what I called, “The Battle for Bayview.

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Our admittedly NIMBY battle sounded a bit like the resistance happening now. We pushed back a housing project ironically also called “The Village.” That project was eventually built somewhere else, on the other side of 14th Street on land owned by HSU. When you look behind what are affectionately known as The Gates, you’ll see a soccer field and a collection of apartments, known as the College Creek Complex. Under the original (thwarted) plan, my house was to be demolished and replaced by a soccer field.

At that time, the University asked us to come up with a better place to build the housing project. One of the suggestions made by my neighbor Mark Wheetley (who later became a city councilman) was to build it on some other underused property, for example, off St. Louis Road, where the new version of The Village is proposed.

Now there are a lot of issues in play here and I don’t mean to oversimplify things, but I think it’s time to be happy someone wants to help Arcata with a problem that isn’t going away. We need more more housing, and not just for students. I don’t think we need to go overboard and roll out some red carpet for some corporation coming to our town — we need negotiate mitigations — but we don’t want to slam the door in their face. Think about the future and keep an open mind.

BTW, if you do some research and/or read some of the material posted about the issues, you’ll find that “The Promontory” in Monterey was eventually sold by AMCAL to Cal State University Monterey Bay. (Food for thought.)

The other day a group of students had a protest/sleep-in related to student housing. I’ll let this guy explain…

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Here’s another more sketch, someone’s plans…

Color-footprint

 

Iris Dement ~ sold out Sunday (but you might be able to go)

The Old Steeple website says the Iris Dement show Sunday is “SOLD OUT” (in all caps). I’ll assume you know a little about the songwriter, but in case you don’t, we’ll start the way her website begins, with a quote from some unnamed NPR writer:

“Iris DeMent makes music that celebrates humanity’s efforts toward salvation, while acknowledging that most of our time on Earth is spent reconciling with the fact that we don’t feel so redeemed. Grounded in hymns, early country songs, gospel and folk, DeMent’s work is treasured by those who know it for its insight and unabashed beauty.” NPR

Earlier this year the Americana Music Association awarded Iris a lifetime achievement award, specifically the Americana Trailblazer Award, for work spanning 25 years beginning  with her debut album “Infamous Angel.” I think I first heard her when a song from that record, “Our Town,” was used on the TV show Northern Exposure.

She played at the Americana trade organization’s annual event with her old friend John Prine delivering Mr. Prine’s classic “In Spite Of Ourselves.”

What else has she been up to? Writing protest songs and doing her part for one cause after another.

I suspect it’s going to be one of those shows people will be talking about for awhile. Call 707-786-7030 if you want to get on the Old Steeple’s waiting list for Sunday’s show, or get ahold of me, since I have an extra ticket waiting for me at call waiting. (It’s not a freebie. I’m paying my way and I expect you to do the same.) 

If you’re too late, you can always hear Iris’ husband, Greg Brown, on February 28th when he plays at the Old Steeple. That will be another sold out show so plan ahead. I may get a ticket tomorrow night. He’s been writing protest songs too… 

Post show addendum: Someone wrote, “Everybody is wondering what or where that ticket came from?”

Well, the “ticket” was just a place on the waiting list. Last time I went a show at the Old Steeple, Paul, the owner, mentioned that there were some tickets left to Iris’ show. During intermission, I was in the Ferndale Music part of the building, where I talked briefly with the artist who was playing. When I asked the Steeple folks about the tickets, I found they’d sold them when I was talking, minutes earlier.

The woman asked if I wanted to get on the waiting list. I said sure. I was first on the list. They called me when the tix came available due to someone cancelling, then called again to remind me that the tickets would be at the door waiting.

As it turned out, I did not go to the show. My date didn’t want to go for reasons I won’t go into here, and I used this column to find someone who offered to drive us down to Ferndale. We talked that afternoon just after there was a flurry of heavy wind and rain and decided to bail on our reservations. It’s a long dark drive down there.

I called the venue and they said there were plenty of people who wanted the tix and thanked me for warning them that I wouldn’t need them. That’s probably more than you expected in answer to your question, but there you are. I missed out and stayed home and watched Mudbound on Netflix…

Some things I found at the Sanctuary

You may know the Sanctuary as a music/arts venue or an art workshop “committed to creative growth through the arts and engendering a spirit of community,” some sort of “grassroots experiment in sharing.” (All at 1301 J Street in Arcata.)

Duke adds, “Taco Tuesday Potluck and weekly Open Labs 🙂 Amazing Place, Venue, Arts, and Folks…”

Did you know they also have a record label? Sounds of the Sanctuary has three albums out, all three connected to Daniel Nickerson in some way. He recorded all of the projects, one as a player another “dreamed up, written, & recorded by Daniel at the Sanctuary for the inaugural Summer CSA. 

More on that later…

The space once looked like below, apparently last time a Google car came by in 2012, it was still the Arcata Church of Christ.

1301 J Street in Arcata

It looks way different now.