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Rambles on Brambles p13

Kinky Friedman’s Lone Star State of Mind p21

River Theatre Returns! p32

Tech Pet Tussle Are InterPets as good as the real thing? p19

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THE BOHEMIAN

THE BOHEMIAN

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How the University of California is helping to blow up the world By Norman Solomon

>

n my way to the Los Alamos National Laboratory a few years ago, I found it listed in a New Mexico phone bookâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; under â&#x20AC;&#x153;University of California.â&#x20AC;? Since the early 1940s, UC has managed the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s top laboratories for designing nuclear bombs. Today, Californiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s public university system is still immersed in the nuclear weapons business. Sixty-five years after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Aug. 6 and 9, 1945, the University of California imprimatur is an air freshener for the stench of preparations for global annihilation. Nuclear war planners have been pleased to exploit UCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vast technical expertise and its image of high-minded academic purpose. During most of WWII, scientists labored in strict secrecy at the isolated Los Alamos lab in the New Mexico desert, making possible the first nuclear weaponry. After the atomic bombings of Japan, UC continued to manage Los Alamos. And in 1952, when the government opened a second nuclear bomb generator, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory east of San Francisco, UC won the prize to manage operations there, too. A few years into the 21st century, security scandals caused a shakeup. UC lost its exclusive management slots at Los Alamos and Livermore, but retained major roles at both laboratories. In mid-2006, the Los Alamos lab went under a new management structure, widened to also include Bechtel and a couple of other private firms. A year later, a similar team, likewise including UC and Bechtel, won a deal to jointly manage Livermore. At Los Alamos, I learned that the new management team was, legally speaking, an LLC, a limited liability corporation. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m still trying to wrap my mind around the concept of â&#x20AC;&#x153;limited liabilityâ&#x20AC;? for managers of a laboratory that designs nuclear weapons. Weird, huh? But not any stranger than having the state of Californiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s top system of higher education devoted to R&D for designing better ways to blow up the planet. Yes, those laboratories do some nifty ecological research and other laudable things. But nuclear weapons remain central to the labsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; mission. And, lofty rhetoric aside, the federal government is pouring billions more dollars into the continuous high-tech pursuit of nuclear weapons â&#x20AC;&#x153;modernization.â&#x20AC;?

Last spring, the White House announced plans for this decade that include investing $80 billion â&#x20AC;&#x153;to sustain and modernize the nuclear weapons complexâ&#x20AC;?â&#x20AC;&#x201D;in addition to â&#x20AC;&#x153;well over $100 billion in nuclear delivery systems to sustain existing capabilities and modernize some strategic systems.â&#x20AC;? In fact, the U.S. government is now on a jag to boost spending for its nuclear arsenal. As the Livermore-based organization Tri-Valley CAREs noted weeks ago, â&#x20AC;&#x153;the 2011 budget request for nuclear weapons is the largest in our nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s history; bigger than under George W. Bush and a whopping 40 percent higher than the amount spent for nuclear weapons activities on average during the Cold War.â&#x20AC;? Credit where due: the UC-managed laboratories for nuclear bombs have been on the cutting edge of digital advancement. Their record recalls a comment from Martin Luther King Jr., who noted the proliferation of â&#x20AC;&#x153;guided missiles and misguided men.â&#x20AC;? When I interviewed Los Alamos press officer Kevin Roark, he explained that â&#x20AC;&#x153;this laboratory has been at the forefront of computing research and developmentâ&#x20AC;? from the Manhattan Project days of slide rules and punch cards to the labâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s present-day computers, with one able to do upwards of 100 trillion calculations per second. An official website of the University of California boasts that â&#x20AC;&#x153;UC has been involved in the management of these laboratories since their inceptionâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a relationship spanning seven decadesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;as a public service to the nation.â&#x20AC;? With a lab on the UC Berkeley campus included in the mix, â&#x20AC;&#x153;the three laboratories have a combined workforce of more than 21,000 and operate on federally financed budgets totaling more than $4 billion.â&#x20AC;? For sure, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s plenty of money sloshing around to reward the mastersâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and academic servantsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;of the nuclear weapons industry. But should the University of California be managing laboratories that design the latest technologies for nuclear holocaust?

The U.S. government is now on a jag to boost spending for its nuclear arsenal.

Norman Solomon is national co-chair of the Healthcare Not Warfare campaign and the author of many books, including â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; He lives in Marin County. Open Mic is a weekly feature in the Bohemian. We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 700 words considered for publication, write openmic@bohemian.com.

THE BOHEMIAN

08.04.10-08.10.10

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I want to thank you for Charles Churchillâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s article â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Michelangelo Projectâ&#x20AC;? (Open Mic, July 28). It stated some new ideas: that we constantly make decisions while creating and see our thoughts take shape, for instance. Too few people understand what is learned and experienced through the art process, and discount its significance. I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t use to believe it myself, but now after observing the personal expression, the shifts and the healing that can occur, I am a firm believer and have used art in therapy, as well as just a fun activity. We can express ourselves, learn and work things out through the art process without explaining it to anyone. And art is a regular activity at Grandmaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s house.

Germans were castigated for following orders, keeping silent and denying responsibility during the Nazi era and World War II. Julian Assange of WikiLeaks and, apparently, a young soldier named Bradley Manning have broken the silence and borne witness as whistleblowers to the criminal and brutal actions of the United States in Afghanistan. Like Daniel Ellsberg, they have taken tremendous risks and are now in grave danger. I applaud Assange and Manning for their courage and integrity. What happens to them happens to all of us.

Stop sending U.S. tax dollars to the Palestinian Authority, which, since its founding in the 1960s by an Egyptian-born organizer, has incited hatred and violence against Israel through what it persists in calling a religious war, glorifying terrorism and terrorists. With usurpation of Jerusalem, the historical capital of the Jewish people, and all of Israel as its goal, the Palestinian Authority describes talks and negotiations as temporary tactical measures. Before a â&#x20AC;&#x153;Two State Solution,â&#x20AC;? let alone a â&#x20AC;&#x153;One State Solutionâ&#x20AC;? (Open Mic, July 7), can be implemented, the Arab Muslims of Palestine must recognize Israel and its 3,000-year-plus presence and rights in the region, educate their people for peace and raise their children to have jobs, not Jihad.

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;Official Newspaper of Amie Breezeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Insane DeďŹ nition of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Localâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;?

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B<>:4>=C74F0C4A Oil burns near Isle Grande Terre in this June 18 shot taken as part of the Oil Spill Crisis Map team.

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Gulf residents help map the oiled Gulf Coast from their phones and kites By Alex Woodward

>

ver the past few months, as oil from the Gulf of Mexico has poured into the coast, more than 1,300 text and Twitter messages, emails, phone calls and iPhone apps have alerted the Louisiana Bucket Brigade (LABB) to facilitate one of the largest publicly available, citizen-driven, oil-response efforts: a map. In May, the LABB launched its Oil Spill Crisis Map project, which collects data from residents along the Gulf Coast, whether theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re reporting oil on shores, suspicious odors, soiled wildlife, threatened livelihoods or health problems. The reports are added to a map, giving the LABB an idea where complaints are coming from

relative to where monitors are set up by the Environmental Protection Agency. â&#x20AC;&#x153;What weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re finding is that people have health complaints and they have exposure complaints, but the EPA monitors arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t there,â&#x20AC;? says LABB director Anne Rolfes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;So the map is doing exactly what itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s supposed to do, which is inform responseâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;inform the federal agencies where something more should be happening.â&#x20AC;? In a July 20 review of the EPAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s airmonitoring reports from the Gulf, the LABB compares notes with EPA data collected from the beginning of the disaster to July 10. The review says the EPA isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t catching the reports that appear on the LABB map. According to the review, the EPAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s monitors arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t positioned at the best spots for monitoring public health concerns

such as elevated levels of the carcinogens benzene and hydrogen sulfide, which the EPA found are high throughout the region. The LABBâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s review recommends the EPA set up more stationary and mobile monitors and train locals, particularly out-of-work fishermen, to take samples so the EPA can get a more accurate picture of public health in more populated areas. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The EPA is doing sampling; the citizen reports are saying, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s smelly hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; or â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;We donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t feel well.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re really different from each other, but the great thing is one can inform the other,â&#x20AC;? Rolfes says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Policymakers will look at it and say, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;We need to drive our response here.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Certainly weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re hoping the EPA will use the information to refine its sampling.â&#x20AC;? Tulane University students Nancy Mock and Nathan Morrow helped develop the map, which utilizes an open-source & %

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Ushahidi platform, software first used by Kenyan bloggers to map reports of violence following that countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 2007 presidential election. The platform also has been used to aid disaster- and emergency-response efforts following the earthquake in Haiti and blizzards in Washington, D.C., and Atlanta.

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a temptation to pretend â&#x20AC;&#x153;The spillâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s over,â&#x20AC;? when of course itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just begun.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;

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Rolfes says the map will remain active, even as BP slows the gusher at the Deepwater Horizon well. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going to be a huge temptation, now that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s controlled a little bit, to pretend like, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Oh, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s done. The spillâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s over,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; when of course itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just begun,â&#x20AC;? she says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think this map will illustrate that. [It will] continue to be out in the fields, out in the communities, encouraging reporting. Documenting the problems is the only way weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to solve the problems.â&#x20AC;? The LABB also is helping map from a different point of viewâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;1,500 feet off the ground. Bucket Brigade volunteers are assisting Jeff Warren, whose Grassroots Mapping project sends up kites and heliumfilled balloons equipped with special cameras that photograph the coast from high in the sky. With Gulf accessibility an issue for the public and the media, Warren set out to create high-resolution images of oil impacting the coast and make them available in the public domain. Fundraising for the endeavor began through Kickstarter.com, a website that helps project coordinators gather financial backing through pledges. The campaign sought pledges to help pay for kites and cameras as well as protective gear and gas. (It met its fundraising goal on June 21.) To develop the images, Warren partnered with Stewart Long of Gonzo Earth, a photo-mapping company, and Oliver Yeh of 1337arts, a Massachusetts Institute of Technologyâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;based art and science project that takes photos from the sky and also sends out webcam-equipped and internetcontrolled cars to collect video. The first images were collected in May and sent to MIT, where they were stitched together, pixel by pixel. Project organizers hope to continue mapping through January 2011 and enlist local fishing boats and crews to send out volunteers to document oil off the coast. Images and digitally stitched maps are available for download at www.grassrootsmapping.org/ gulf-oil-spill.

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or the convenience of my readers, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m providing today a condensed version of something shrewd by Paul Krugman, a journalist who writes for the New York Times. Full disclosure? OK. I have a major case of hero worship for Krugman, who boldly tackles issues with such robust courage, intelligence, wit and clarity that I must honor by passing along, to PK fans and neophytes alike, his gem on global warming politics. Here are the key points of Krugmanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dead-on zinger published July 25, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Who Cooked the Planet?â&#x20AC;? To start, let me translate from Krugmanese that he is merely being ironic when he attributes to sadistic Olympian gods the hot weather the East Coast has had so far in 2010. He does not really expect us to laugh here. In fact, the columnist explains that this stretch weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in, the â&#x20AC;&#x153;hottest such stretch on record,â&#x20AC;? is actually a result of a failure to act, aided by a shameful attribute. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll get to that in a minute. First, we all share in the failure made public to the world by a Senate vote. The country with the greatest misinformation and energy consumption in the world failed to pass climate-change legislation. It stopped dead in the Senate. Why? Krugman explains that fingers have been routinely pointed in the wrong directions. The misinformation officers have blamed the science, the scientists and the economy. None is to blame. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t fail to act because of legitimate doubts about the science,â&#x20AC;? Krugman writes, affirming the evidence of rising global temperatures. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Nor is this evidence tainted by scientific misbehavior. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve probably heard about the accusations leveled against climate researchersâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;allegations of fabricated data, the supposedly damning e-mail messages of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Climategate,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; and so on. What you may not have heard, because it has received much less publicity, is that every one of these supposed scandals was eventually unmasked as a fraud concocted by opponents of climate action, then bought into by many in the news media. You donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t believe such things can happen? Think Shirley Sherrod.â&#x20AC;? Having dismissed allegations against the

science and the scientists, Krugman moves on to his specialty, the economics, explaining, I suspect not for the first time, that the economy would not collapse, would still grow, if we enforced limits on greenhouse gas emissions. So what happened then? Why didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t we pass desperately needed legislation? What will history record (until such records are fried or submerged in seawater) about this failure to act? Krugman invites us to follow the money behind the misinformation campaigns. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Look at the scientists who question the consensus on climate change; look at the organizations pushing fake scandals; look at the think tanks claiming that any effort to limit emissions would cripple the economy. Again and again, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll find that theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re on the receiving end of a pipeline of funding that starts with big energy companies.â&#x20AC;? He cites Exxon Mobilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s multimillion dollar misinformation campaign, Koch Industriesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; two-decade sponsorship of anti-environmental organizations and the industry money paid to politicians who consistently oppose climateprotection measures. Avarice, of course, is partly to blame. â&#x20AC;&#x153;By itself,â&#x20AC;? Krugman writes, â&#x20AC;&#x153;greed wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have triumphed. It needed the aid of cowardiceâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; above all, the cowardice of politicians who know how big a threat global warming poses, who supported action in the past, but who deserted their posts at the crucial moment.â&#x20AC;? Krugman names Sen. John McCain, who promised support for a cap-and-trade system if he were to become president. But someone else became president, and now McCain (sore loser?) suddenly doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t stand for greenhouse gas reductions. Krugman argues, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hard to see his switch as anything other than the act of a man willing to sacrifice his principles, and humanityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s future, for the sake of a few years added to his political career. Alas, Mr. McCain wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t alone; and there will be no climate bill. Greed, aided by cowardice, has triumphed. And the whole world will pay the price.â&#x20AC;? As much as I admire Krugman, I have to end this on a hopeful note. We canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t give up. There must be a climate bill, or all hail ignorance and oil-industry whores in the Senate.

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;By itself, greed wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have triumphed. It needed the aid of cowardice.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;

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30??;4 Luther Burbank introduced the Himalayan in 1885. And so it grows.

1dX[SX]VP1TccTa1Taah A short thorny history of the contentious blackberry By Alastair Bland

;

ife is full of its bitter curses and sweet blessings, but whether the hand that dealt us the blackberry had a mind toward good or evil remains a great unknown. To many property owners, the blackberry, a plant of multiple species in the genus Rubus, is a pestilent weed. To fanciers of pies and jams, the blackberry is a phenomenal free bounty. For fruit breeders, the thorny vine provides a challenging case for endless improvement. For Gloria Vigil, the blackberry is just business. Vigil assists the family-run Sebastopol Berry Farm, where seven cultivars of blackberries grow in a varietal scheme that spreads the harvest across nearly half the year. The first to ripen is the olallieberry, which turns sweet in early June most years, although this seasonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s crop came two weeks late after a long, cool spring. Currently, the Cherokees are hanging black and heavy. This month the Triple Crown arrives, a late-summer berry praised for its f lavor, high yield and vigorous

vines, and thereafter the Chester, favored for its huge per-acre yieldâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;up to 15 tons, twice that of most other cultivars. The Vigils sometimes harvest berriesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;including blueberries and raspberriesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;as late as November. The berries are sold by variety, a side-by-side tasting opportunity that affords consumers a glance at subtle nuances of smell, flavor and texture. The most popular, says Vigil, is the Marion blackberry, named for the county of its origin in Oregon, where berry breeder George Waldo combined the pollen and seeds that gave birth to this breed in 1945. Today the Marion is one of the most favored blackberries in the world. But better berries are always possible, and at the USDAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s experimental farm in Corvallis, Ore., breeders are busy creating them. Here, government geneticist and berry breeder Chad Finn spends his summer days studying the fruits and shoots of scores of varieties. Finn evaluates each when grown under varying conditions, and he is watching in particular for thornless, high-quality breeds. Thornlessness, a recessive trait that took some time to isolate, was finally introduced to the public in 1989 with the release

of the Waldo blackberry, Finn says. In the same year, the University of Arkansas introduced its first thornless innovation, the Navaho. Since then, dozens of other thornless blackberries have been propagated. Thorns may be merely annoying for smallscale farmers who harvest by hand, but for big producers who employ machines to strip the vines of fruit, thorns are a serious liability. At least two berry producers in the 1990s were knocked out of business, Finn says, by consumer lawsuits that stemmed from instances of thorns foundâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; and presumably chomped onâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;in frozen berries. Size matters, too, especially in the fresh market, and bigger isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t always better. The Black Butte blackberry produces huge orbs as long as two inches. Breeder John Clark once helped create a 30-gram blackberry 2.5 inches long and more than an inch wide at the University of Arkansas, home of an accomplished breeding program. That brutish berry, which still serves as an occasional gene contributor to breeding projects and a sure crowd pleaser during harvesttime tours, was itself not a berry worth releasing to the public, Clark says. &) THE BOHEMIAN

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1;02:14AA84B

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d need a knife and fork to eat it,â&#x20AC;? he says by cell phone while driving to a research station in the Ozarks. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our goal isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t to break the record for the biggest berry. We want to improve flavor and make people smile.â&#x20AC;? The industry of cultivated breeds is growing quickly. As of 2005, 50,000 acres grew around the world, with 17,000 in Mexico and the United States. Oregon today is among the global hotspots of berry production, with California not far behind, but Mexicoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s industry has exploded to meet demand for off-season blackberries, from 560 acres in 1995 to more than 8,000 today. Finn says that naming new cultivars â&#x20AC;&#x153;is a horrible process,â&#x20AC;? a tedious task that sparks disagreements between breeders and which ultimately sends most commercial berries to the seed catalogues with tame, innocuous, market-friendly names like Black Pearl, Black Diamond and Obsidian. At the University of Arkansas, Clark says, naming has followed a Native American theme. The university has produced, among others, the Cherokee, Comanche, Cheyenne, Navaho and Kiowa blackberries. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Because,â&#x20AC;? Clark says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;blackberries are native Americans, too.â&#x20AC;? Some are, anyway. The familiar Himalayan blackberry is a virulent invader. Actually a native of Eastern Europe, R. armeniacus came to the New World as an innocent purchase from an Indian seed catalogue. The mailing address on the package was that of Santa Rosaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own Luther Burbank, 19th-century pioneer of American fruit breeding and the man who would make Sonoma County ground zero in the attack of the Himalayan blackberry. It was 1885, and as Burbankâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vines surged into life over the next two years, the scientist praised this exciting new berry for its large, sweet fruits and tenacious vigor. The species quickly spread in the West as a popular backyard crop and selfassembling livestock barrier. But it got loose, first here, then there, and eventually virtually everywhere between California and southeast Alaska. It is still spreading, sources say, even pushing into Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Africa. Today, R. armeniacus is widely recognized as one of the most economically ruinous invasive plants ever to take root in American soil. It carries Pierceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s disease, dreaded by winemakers, and organized efforts to beat it back almost invariably fail. Indeed, hardly a highway in Northern California would look quite right without those hellish tangles. In tamer arenas, modern breeders lead the push toward better berriesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;berries without thorns and vines that stand on their own. But the Himalayans remain free for those who battle the bramblesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and we all know the allure, we know the pain and we love the prize. Yet, for each skirmish with a wild blackberry patch, a picker limps away, torn and bloody and still undecided on that old mystery of whether this tempting little fruit is a gift of the gods or just an artifice of hell.

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C4=žB=> 2A>F3 h, the tribulations of wining in the country! Miles of vineyards stretch between each winery, befuddling GPS systems and trusty internet devices. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know much about wine? Vineyard visitations also dig deeply into the pocket, especially when that Chard really didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t taste much different from that Sauvignon.

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Eighth Street Wineries strips the thorns off the stem. The business collaborative features 10 local wineries whose cellars cluster around Eighth Street in Sonoma, an area ďŹ lled with industrial-strength architecture. This unusual choice for a winetasting hot spot is where Enkidu Wine, Ty Caton Vineyards, MacRostie Vineyards, Three Sticks Durell Vineyards, Kamen Estate Wines, Talisman Wine, Parmelee-Hill Wines and Vineyards, Stone Edge Farm, Anaba Wines and Tin Barn Vineyards exchange skills and tools of the trade as well as share their craft with the community. Twice every year, Eighth Street Wineries hosts an open house, where devoted locals and serious wine drinkers gather to sip and nibble their way down the grape-lined avenue. Sure, the aesthetics may seem a little stark, but Eighth Street is strictly about wine. While the collective is geared toward everyone, the open house targets newbies. Tin Barnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Amy Tsaykel says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s completely unpretentious. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all about what goes into the bottle, and we really love people to come and not know anything about wine.â&#x20AC;? Interaction between the winemakers and the customers is the linchpin to the eventâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s success, which just last year attracted over 750 enthusiasts. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important that people see where we actually make the wine, to establish some connection between the wine and the fact that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s actually handmade,â&#x20AC;? Tsaykel says. Conveniently enough, Eight Streetâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Open House not only brings the people to the winemakers, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an easy one-stop. Visitors park once and enjoy food, wine and a chance to win one of three six-packs. Local specialists put the â&#x20AC;&#x153;artâ&#x20AC;? in artisan during their Open House on Saturday, Aug. 7, at Eighth Street Wineries. 21481 Eighth St. E., Sonoma. 11am to 4pm. $30. 707.996.4480. Anna Schuessler

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Dinner 2 for 1

Simply Vietnam

Traditional Vietnamese Restaurant

Best Vietnamese Restaurant

Choose any entree on the regular menu and get a second entree of equal or lesser value, free. All discounts include tax

Thank you

Dinner up to $11 OFF (no purchase of beverage necessary)

Dinner up to $18 OFF (with purchase of beverage)

HAPPY HOUR 3-6:30pm, 7 days

20% OFF FOOD TO GO

The local preference for authentic Vietnamese

dine in & take out

707.566.8910

MON - FRI LUNCH â&#x20AC;˘ DINNER 7 DAYS

3901 Montgomery Dr.Santa Rosa 528-7755 â&#x20AC;˘ www.thevillarestaurant.com

fresh ingredients large dining room friendly staff always affordable

966 North Dutton Ave~Santa Rosa Monâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;Sat 10â&#x20AC;&#x201C;9m Sunday 11â&#x20AC;&#x201C;8

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4HANKYOU3ONOMA#OUNTY Best Mexican Restaurant

Real Mexican Food

MI PUEBLO

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707.769.9066 108 Kentucky St, Petaluma ~ 707.762.8192 800 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma ~ 415.878.0122 905 Grant Ave, Novato ~ 415.460.1027 208 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, San Anselmo

www.realmexmipueblo.com

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THE BOHEMIAN

08.04.10-08.10.10

17

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08.04.10-08.10.10

THE BOHEMIAN



C74F8=4 60A064 he economy being what it is around here, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got a lot of over-the-hill workers. Take it easy, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not talking about those unfortunates whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve postponed the gold watch until said watch is damned near impossible to wind up with our gnarled, shaking hands. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m talking about our wine economy, which sends nascent cellar rats and sommeliers alike from job to job or day to day over the mountains betwixt Sonoma and Napa.

T

Sure is nice to look forward to a glass of good dead grape at the end of that long and winding road. But as Todd and Joy Miller discovered when they moved into the area, many local winemakers cannot afford even their own product. So they opened a wine shop in a defunct ďŹ lling station, with the maxim: No wines over $25. In the sweet spot between $13 and $25, the selection is not huge, but well chosen from the Napa Valley and beyond. Spying a RhĂ´ne blend from Sonomaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Westwood and a Carneros Pinot from Lutea (both $16.99) tells me theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got an eye for good deals on great, smallproduction wines. Besides grab-and-go sales, their wine club affords the thirsty an opportunity to refuel with our ďŹ ne local product at ďŹ ne, below-suggested retail prices. A newsletter, in the anecdote-laden, folksy and meandering tradition, keeps customers informed of new stock. But thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not all. In the back of the shop a tasting bar features up to 10 samples of Wine Garageâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s house hooch. Fill â&#x20AC;&#x2122;er up! Spigots designed like gas-station nozzles dispense half-gallon jug wines for $29.99, a light and lively Bordeaux Blend and a RhĂ´ne Blend in the style of a hearty California jug wine, with Syrah, Zinfandel and more lending saturated black cherry fruit to a big and smoky, heavy-toasted jug bomb with cocoa powder accents. On the lighter side, Joy Ride white blend ($19.99) has crisp white peach, kiwi and ďŹ&#x201A;oral aromas with a hint of new box of crayons. (Their limited refrigeration capacity is not generally advertised, so donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t say I told you they might have a cold one in the back if you ask.) The 2007 Shade Tree North Coast blend ($30), with 5 percent Charbono, has a seductive scent of wild grape bloom, ďŹ ne dusty tannins and a silky ďŹ nish. Forgoing the rules, Wine Garageâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hillside Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon costs $45, but its Pinot-like brown baking spice and juicy, silky body is ready to go. Currently, all of the Wine Garageâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s house-brand 750ml bottles are for sale at a 20 percent discount. Now thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what I call full-service.

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18

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The Wine Garage, 1020-C Foothill Blvd., Calistoga. Mondayâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;Saturday 11am to 6:30pm; Sunday to 4:30pm. Tasting fees, $5â&#x20AC;&#x201C;$10. 707.942.5332. James Knight

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32.AB?2

F7>01>H Virtual pets and their expensive, nontangible accessories have become a multibillion dollar industry.

?7>C>B1H2DAC8B20AC84A

D]R^]SXcX^]P[;^eT! In choosing between virtual pets and real ones, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s humans who may stand to lose the most By Curtis Cartier

8

t has to be vomit. Nothing else could explain that wet, meaty stench wafting from the back seat. Pulling the car to a stop, I look back at my dazed sevenmonth-old golden retriever, Dublin, then down at what is indeed a small but pungent pile of partially digested kibble that a 90-minute car trip has sent rocketing up from her motion-sensitive stomach and onto the carâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s upholstery. To make matters worse, the egg-shaped â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tamagotchiâ&#x20AC;? toy in my pocket lets out a familiar â&#x20AC;&#x153;beep-bop-beepâ&#x20AC;? to announce that that â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mametchi,â&#x20AC;? the smiling bearlike character on the screen of the handheld device, has taken a digital dump on its virtual carpet. At this point, I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even want to check on my FooPet and my iPuppy because I know they both need virtual walks, virtual baths and virtual vet appointments.

It seems that between my very real pet and the three computerized ones I recently â&#x20AC;&#x153;adopted,â&#x20AC;? my job as dookie-cleaner-in-chief has multiplied exactly threefold. Scrubbing up Dublinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s puke takes several paper towels, some all-purpose cleaner and a dab of elbow grease. Mametchiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s steamer requires nothing more than the touch of a button. As I finish, however, my now perky real dog decides Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve done an exemplary job and manically licks my face in what I can only imagine is gratitude. Mametchi doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t lick my face. Instead it declares: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Bleep bleep!â&#x20AC;? Translation: â&#x20AC;&#x153;All this pooping has now made me hungry.â&#x20AC;? Pressing Mametchiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s food button and giving Dublin a pat on the head, I climb back into the driverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s seat and continue pondering the question Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve set out to answer: Which is betterâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a living, breathing, puking, licking pet or a beeping, battery-powered, wirelessly enhanced virtual pet?

The answer, I think, will take some advice from smarter folks than me.

Of Mutt & Mouse The world of virtual pets today is a multibillion dollar industry with millions of users in scores of countries. The pets are generated by software and hardware-based programs that empower users to create their perfect pet, care for it as much as they want and neglect it whenever it becomes inconvenient. A virtual pet doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t chew up your socks or eat your homework. It doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t cost a fortune in vet bills when it swallows a bottle of antacids and, in most cases, it will never die. Not everyone, however, thinks that owning a digital pet is pleasurable or even healthy. And in one case, a top scientist who has studied the subject extensively says virtual pets pose a real threat to society. '% THE BOHEMIAN

08.04.10-08.10.10

19

&.

E8ACD0;?4CB

So where did it all start? By most accounts it was in 1986, with a little game for the Macintosh called Puppy Love. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We thought Puppy Love would be an educational game that could be a model for teaching [computer] programming,â&#x20AC;? says Tom Snyder, the creator of Puppy Love, a mind-bogglingly simply game that features a Stephen Hawkingâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;esque narrative voice and involves trying to teach a grayscale puppy tricks using keystrokes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;What we got instead was really just a delightful game that kids and parents could play together. I have a lot of doubts about games for kids these days. I think to do a simulation of something that doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need to be simulated and to market it as something with moral value is wrong. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s entertainment, pure and simple.â&#x20AC;? The virtual pet games of today are exponentially more sophisticated than in Snyderâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s day. The Tamagotchi I have (usually referred to as just a â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tamaâ&#x20AC;?) has removable cartridges that can load new characters and programs. It also has an online community called TamaTown where users can log on, introduce their Tamas to other Tamas, play games and talk with fans from around the world. The iPuppy application for my iPhone brings up an adorable husky puppy that scampers about, barking and playing in a 3-D world that goes wherever I do. And my FooPet account features countless breeds of realistic dogs, each capable of tracking how happy it is through the amount of online attention I give it. In addition there are intricate games like Render Ranch that use breeding and genetics as a basis for play, allowing users to create entire farms using complex breeding schemes and businessbased approaches. Fred Bairn, a computer programmer in Snowflake, Ariz., and the creator of Render Ranch, disagrees with Snyder that virtual pet games canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be educational. He says his game is exactly that. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have normal everyday people on the site as well as real ranchers and breeders,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We try to provide an educational game. Something thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fun, but something they can learn skills that they can use in real life.â&#x20AC;?

Pay to Play Besides the subscription fees that some sites charge people to adopt virtual creatures, users also spend millions of dollars on virtual goods to pamper their pets. The virtualgoods industry not only includes virtual pet products, but also â&#x20AC;&#x153;giftsâ&#x20AC;? on Facebook like â&#x20AC;&#x153;Pink Cadillacsâ&#x20AC;? and accessories for World of Warcraftâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;style role-playing games like Celestial Steed. All told, the virtual-goods industry brought in just over $1 billion in the United States in 2009 and $7 billion in Asia according to market research firms Inside Network and Inside Virtual Goods; and fake pet products, no doubt, made up a large portion of that total. Danny Nguyen, a 22-year-old student,

20

08.04.10-08.10.10

THE BOHEMIAN



says he spends about $10 to $20 per month on things like â&#x20AC;&#x153;morph potionsâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;magic robesâ&#x20AC;? for his bunny character for the site Neopets, one of the most popular virtual pet sites around, boasting some 25 million users. He doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t view the money spent as any kind of waste. In fact, he says that if he had more income heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d spend even more. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not like you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get something for your money,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like buying action figures or something else that I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t really need but really want.â&#x20AC;? Others like Kim May, a 51-year-old former dog breeder from Munson, Penn., says she tries to avoid spending real money on her Render Ranch farm and her Horse Island and PonyIsland virtual horses, but that sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll spend up to $50 per month in a pinch. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t usually mind spending the money,â&#x20AC;? she says over the sound of real birds chirping in the background. â&#x20AC;&#x153;For me, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pleasurable to come home and take care of animals that you can turn off and go to bed when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re done with.â&#x20AC;? In each of the three virtual pets Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve created, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been able to avoid paying a single dime, though the creaturesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; standing among its digital peers has certainly suffered as a consequence. Compare this to the $600 I paid for my real golden retriever puppy (a steal by most standards), the $50 per month in top-of-the-line dog food she eats, the $100 for spaying, vaccinating and implanting an ID microchip in her skin and the $50 per month or so spent on treats, toys and accessories like fluffy beds. The cost advantage clearly lies with the digital dog. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Dogs are expensive,â&#x20AC;? my mother warned me before I purchased Dublin. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You sure you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t just want a fish or something?â&#x20AC;?

Love Stinks Sherry Turkle is a professor of the social studies of science and technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the author of the forthcoming book Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s spent the better part of her career studying the relationships formed when people interact with virtual creatures, computer programs and robots. Turkle says that while virtual pets like Tamagotchis and Neopets can be a harmless distraction when used in moderation, they have the potential to replace the much more valuable relationships people form with real animals and real people. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The hook that virtual pets have is that they ask for care,â&#x20AC;? she tells me. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If something asks for care, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re programmed biologically to care for it. When we care for it, we experience it like weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve contributed to its consciousness. We are even willing to feel that it cares for us back. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an expectation of reciprocity thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very deep in our consciousness. [Virtual pets] are socializing us to think that the inanimate is something that is appropriate to attach to, and it raises the question of what kind of relationships we should have with inanimate things.â&#x20AC;? Turkle goes on to assure that sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;not an alarmistâ&#x20AC;? and that a child who plays

5443<4 Tamagotchis are bleeping pocket pets.

with a virtual pet is not necessarily doomed to a life of social ineptitude. She also says, however, that the changes brought on by a society increasingly connected to virtual realities have already taken hold, and that the only way to remedy it is to develop stronger relationships with real living things. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A real pet has a biology, it knows pain, it attaches to its young, it knows if itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s warm or cold, it has a life cycle,â&#x20AC;? Turkle continues. â&#x20AC;&#x153;With a real pet, a child learns responsibility; a child learns to care for another creature. With robots and virtual pets, you turn it off and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gone. One of my most fascinating findings is that you can make a robot or a virtual pet thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s made to measure. For example, you can keep your Aibo [Japanese robot dog] always a puppy. It doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to grow up. â&#x20AC;&#x153;So what about this notion that we can create companionship thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s made to measure? Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not preparing us for life. In a certain sense, the fact that your pet has idiosyncrasiesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s weird in its own ways, the fact that it gets sick, that you have to take care of itâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;all these things prepare us for life in the real world, for life with people. A virtual pet does not.â&#x20AC;? When it comes to idiosyncrasies, my dog Dublin is all stocked up. She pees a little when other dogs scare her, her entire rear end wriggles when sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s happy, and she kicks both legs uncontrollably when I scratch her belly. My Tama, iPuppy and FooPet all do cute things too, like retrieve virtual tennis balls and beg for food. But while I admittedly havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t explored the complete programming capabilities of each of my fake pets, I have to doubt that any of their traits, no matter how cute, are unique. Dublin may puke on the back seat and, since summer started, attract a seemingly incurable amount of fleas. But in a lineup full of a hundred other adorable golden retrievers, I like to think I could find her in an instant. And I know she could find me.

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BC>684 Kinky Friedman makes his first West Coast appearance in 20 years this week.

;^]TBcPa Kinky Friedman knows something about everything By Caroline Osborn

:

inky Friedman feels good about feeling bad. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m a folk hero, not a celebrity,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You fail at something long enough, you become a legend.â&#x20AC;? Friedman delves into a wide variety of projects and makes his mark on every one, but heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s still quick to poke fun at himself. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is the curse of being multitalented,â&#x20AC;? he says over the phone from his San Antonio home. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If I wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t multitalented, if I just did one thing, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d probably be pretty good at it.â&#x20AC;? But the fans he has accumulated through his music, mystery novels, bids for public office, Texas Monthly column and animal-rescue organization would argue that his versatility is exactly what makes him so compelling. With a black cowboy hat shoved atop his head and a cigar forever resting between his fingers, Friedman dropped onto the public radar in the â&#x20AC;&#x2122;70s as an incisive, satirical and politically incorrect voice in country music. He and his band, collectively known as Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys, toured with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson, and performed on the first season of Saturday Night Live.

A taped interview with Friedman on Austin City Limits became the first recording of the show to be banned from broadcast due to content, but has since been released on DVD. The songs he plays may hail from decades past, but Friedman assures that their message remains as relevant as ever. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t written a song in 25 years probably, so these songs are going to be older than a good bit of the audience,â&#x20AC;? he admits. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But that seems to work. We just did a tour of Europe last year and that was a sold-out tour. The people in the audiences were very young. They knew every lyric and theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d read every book.â&#x20AC;? This summer, for the first time in 20 years, Friedman hits the West Coast in his â&#x20AC;&#x153;Go West, Young Kinkyâ&#x20AC;? tour. He plays Aug. 5 at Studio E in Sebastopol. Despite the age of his songs, he expects his audience to cross generation boundaries. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is not nostalgia,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not just a bunch of old farts coming to hear something thatâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;well, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m sure some of them will be thereâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;but mostly itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be an eclectic group.â&#x20AC;? Friedman, a Texas native, grew up enamored with the sounds of country music, especially artists like Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It can take language and distill

honesty like moonshine,â&#x20AC;? he says of the country genre, â&#x20AC;&#x153;at least at its best. Today, I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think the state of country music is very good. You see these publishing brothels in Nashville, these big buildings where two or three â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;writersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; meet every morning at 8:50, sit in a room and write a song. The results are pretty weak. The great songs are written accidentally, I would say. Great artists produce accidentally. Or by people who are trying to pay the rent.â&#x20AC;? When asked whether he feels his best songs have been accidents, he replies with an unequivocal affirmative. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The person who sets out to write the great American novel or to paint his masterpiece never does.â&#x20AC;? After the release of his most recent album, in 1983, Friedman penned his first mystery novel, Greenwich Killing Time. The switch from lyrics to prose was triggered by a classic defender-of-justice moment in which Friedman saved a woman from being robbed at an ATM. Fittingly, the majority of Friedmanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s works star a fictionalized version of himself as the detective protagonist. When asked whether the real Kinky Friedman would make a good detective, Friedman takes a rare pause before '' THE BOHEMIAN

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responding. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think I would,â&#x20AC;? he says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;because I know a lot about fictional detectives, like Miss Jane Marple and Sherlock Holmes. Between the two of them, if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve read them thoroughly, you can learn a lot. Most of it is little things, little details, people that remind you of other people.â&#x20AC;? Friedman discusses his literary and songwriting forays with alternating selfdeprecation and evidence that he cares deeply about what he does. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 29 books Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve churned outâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;I mean, carefully crafted,â&#x20AC;? he jokes. But two minutes later, when talking about his favorite mystery writer, Raymond Chandler, he gets philosophical. â&#x20AC;&#x153;[Chandler] believed that art is anything that burns with its own heat. I think thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a great definition of art,â&#x20AC;? he says. Friedman keeps these words in mind when live shows offer him a glimpse of his musicâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s continued potency. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When we do a show and the songs are so old and they work and you see people really relating to them and understanding them and maybe getting inspired perhaps by something that is really indefinable, then youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got a winner.â&#x20AC;? In his newest book, Heroes of a Texas Childhood, Friedman pays homage to the people who inspired him most during his formative years. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think what they have in common is the failures and tragedies in their lives and how they dealt with it,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;None of these people were lucky or in the right place at the right time. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not like politicians today.â&#x20AC;? Friedman makes no secret of his dissatisfaction with the current state of American politics. â&#x20AC;&#x153;â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Polyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; means more than one; â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ticksâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; are blood-sucking parasites,â&#x20AC;? he deadpans. Unafraid to blaze trails in music, he follows the same DIY edict in his participation in the democratic system. In 2006, Friedman ran for governor of Texas on the Independent ticket, a party affiliation (or lack thereof ) that he credits partially with his loss. But why join the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ticksâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;I thought somebody should do something,â&#x20AC;? he says. He tried again this year, running as a Democratic candidate for state agricultural commissioner. He didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t win, but he came closer. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We came within two points of winning, even though my slogan was â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;No Cow Left Behind.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m disappointed in the Democrats. I never expected much from the Republicans. The Democrats have surprised me with their self-interest. They donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t really care about the state or the future. They seem to only care about their party. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve kind of become the vain guy admiring himself in the mirror.â&#x20AC;? Friedman firmly believes that disrupting the two party system is the only way to affect real change. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The two major political parties have really fulfilled George Washingtonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s worst nightmare,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is a government completely void of common sense.â&#x20AC;? Friedman marketed his serious campaigns with irreverent taglines like â&#x20AC;&#x153;How hard could it be?â&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Why the

hell not?â&#x20AC;? He cites a long line of public figures who have played with the unlikely pairing of humor and politics: Winston Churchill, Ann Richards, Will Rogers, Mark Twain. â&#x20AC;&#x153;[Humor] has a lot to do with truth, and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a way of conveying it to people,â&#x20AC;? Friedman explains. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Humor is my wooden leg. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m stuck with it. I asked people which they prefer: a governor who could tell a joke or a governor who is a joke.â&#x20AC;?

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;You fail at something long enough, you become a legend.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; But the Kinkster is leaving politics, at least for the moment, in favor of a return to his musical roots. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just a better thing to be a musician than to be a politician,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I campaigned on the idea that musicians could better run our country than politicians. We wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get a helluva lot done in the mornings, but weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d work late and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be honest.â&#x20AC;? In the meantime, Friedman is keeping busy helping Billy Bob Thornton compose his memoir. Although Friedmanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s admiration of Thorntonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work is obvious, heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not wearing a vial of Thorntonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s blood around his neck. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But I might be by the end of this book,â&#x20AC;? he laughs. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Anythingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s possible.â&#x20AC;? A literary collaboration with Willie Nelson is also in the pipes. Longtime friends, Friedman and Nelson (whom Friedman refers to as â&#x20AC;&#x153;the hillbilly Dalai Lamaâ&#x20AC;?) are often in each otherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s company, but Friedman hasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t seen Nelson since he chopped off his signature long white braids. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not prepared for it,â&#x20AC;? Friedman laughs. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Big mistake, I think, but considering itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about 190 degrees down here, maybe that had something to do with it.â&#x20AC;? As if songwriting, novel writing, social commentary and campaigning werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t enough, Friedman has also founded Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch, an organization that has adopted thousands of stray and abused dogs during the 12 years it has been in operation. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Money may buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail,â&#x20AC;? Friedman smiles. Despite all his funny business, Friedman produces witty social commentary that challenges his audience to both laugh with him and take him seriously. He puts real consideration into his work. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re happy and successful, it distances you from your art,â&#x20AC;? Friedman observes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The more famous you become, the harder it is to write. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got to fight happiness at every turn. Everything great was produced by somebody who felt bad.â&#x20AC;? Kinky Friedman plays at Studio E on Thursday, Aug. 5 at 7:30pm. Zoe Muth opens. $40. 707.542.7143. www.northbaylive.com.

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;D114AB Darren Bridgett is Petruchio and Cat Thompson is Kate in â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Taming of the Shrew.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;

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Pirates pack a punch, but Shakespeareâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s text marooned in untamed â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Shrewâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; By David Templeton

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irates love bootyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;both kinds!â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Not the rum! We need you sober!â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Ow! That was my favorite hand!â&#x20AC;? If you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t recognize those lines from the text of William Shakespeareâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Taming of the Shrew, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s because he never wrote them. Still, there they are, alongside a whole notebook full of added-on lines, quips, quotes, comic expositions and alternate terminology that stick out all over in Marin Shakespeare Companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rollicking new pirate-themed adaptation of Shrew. Now, I am no purist. I have routinely defended outrageous interpretations of classical texts, finding charm and innovation in numerous off-the-wall stagings of Shakespeare, including a psychedelic Winterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Tale spiced up by a visit from Albert Einstein in a moon lander. What I find clever about such shenanigans, when they work, is the way they inject new playfulness and creativity while remaining faithful to the original text. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not easy to do, but if it were easy, it wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be so impressive. Over the last 21 years, under the spirited direction of Bob and Leslie Currier, Marin Shakespeare has built a reputation for staging approachable, populist Shakespeare that polevaults the walls many people build around the Bard. This is a good thing, as it gives a port of entry to young people and anyone else with a fear of Shakespearean language. Usually, these playsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;whether staged as Wild West shootouts, Las Vegas lounge acts or â&#x20AC;&#x2122;70s hot tub partiesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;show a reasonable sense of fealty to the text. In this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Pirates of the Caribbean take on Taming of the Shrew, however, director Currier has crossed a line, slashing the text to

ribbons (the part of the shrew herself is cut to nearly half of what Shakespeare wrote) while inserting so many silly ad-libs and additional gag lines into the script that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hard to believe it was created by people who actually like Shakespeare. This resembles the work of someone who doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t trust Shakespeareâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;or perhaps doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t trust the audience. Putting Shakespeareâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s text into entertainingly fresh settings and making each line make sense in that new context takes work and craft. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve seen Currier accomplish this many times. But here, by tossing in so much extraneous verbiage (even if it does frequently draw a laugh), Currier is at risk of making himself look lazy. This is not to say that his Shrew isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t fun. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s loads of fun, and the audience at last Sundayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s evening performance ate up every bit of nautical nonsense. The key performers are a hoot, especially Darren Bridgett as a comically violent, Jack Sparrowâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;ish Petruchio and Cat Thompson as Kate. Gary Grossman, delivering a piratical prologue that springs entirely from the pen of Robert Currier, is an absolute stitch, as is Mark Robinson as Tranio, a calculating goof ball of a servant. To be sure, there is much eye candy and swashbuckling to be enjoyed, but in strenuously serving the pirate concept to such a strong degree, Marin Shakespeare has done a disservice to the playwright whose name the company bears. Marin Shakespeare Companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s production of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The Taming of the Shrewâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; runs through Sept. 26 at the Forest Meadow Amphitheatre. Dominican University, 1475 Grand Ave., San Rafael. $20â&#x20AC;&#x201C; $35. 415.499.4488.

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A>0<8=6 Kelly Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Neill and Shane Curry co-star as kids who flee their families for the big Irish city.

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A pair of children seek freedom in â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Kissesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; By Richard von Busack

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he quiet moments that make up the indie film Kisses, directed by Irelandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Lance Daly, might be sold on the same shelf as Once, but this tale of young runaways in Dublin is much better and sharper in music, sentiment, tempo, landscaping, use of space and, most importantly, humor. Any story of squalid surroundings and lost kids needs humor among the sadness and disgust, and this comes from the filmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s opening shot, a tight close-up of an upside-down goldfish wearing that particularly reproachful look that only a dead goldfish can have. Later, Christmas lights flash the words â&#x20AC;&#x153;Ho Ho Hoâ&#x20AC;? on the side of a truly unhappy house. The humor here, to say the least, is the dry kind. Dylan (Shane Curry) and Kylie (Kelly Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Neill) are next-door neighbors in a part of Ireland one would prefer to drive through at 65mph, and fortunately thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a highway so folks can get out fast. A vast, cold and smellylooking fen faces the two childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s houses. A trickle of little bastards, mini-bike riders and pram-pushers harass the kids every time they go outside in the concrete front yard. But getting outside is a good idea, even in the raw December weather. From the way Kylie tries to avoid the man, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s clear that her Uncle Maurice (Sean McDonagh) makes her do things. Dylan, even at age 11, has developed a face like a fist, as well as a fine case of stress-induced asthma caused by living with his volcanic dad. (The man is first seen threatening to punch some sense into a broken toaster.) After a fight breaks out between the two, he and Kylie make a break for it. Kylie has some pound notes stashed in her shoe, and she and Dylan hitch a ride to

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Dublin on a barge that dredges the shopping carts out of the local canals. In the city, they spend all their money on new clothes and candy, and end up at night without food or shelter. Dylanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s brother vanished into Dublinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s skid row two years before, and Dylan has half an idea to track the longmissing brother down. Daly makes this adventure impressionistic, with a focus on the kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; faces and the city they discover. During their trek, the two runaways are guided by a suite of songs by Bob Dylan; â&#x20AC;&#x153;Shelter from the Stormâ&#x20AC;? gets the most screen time. The only problem is that Kisses starts to look a bit aimless in the center. Until the arrival of an involved action sequence involving a runaway car full of perverts and LED-lit, wheeled sneakers, the film spins its wheels Additionally, Daly uses the Jim Sheridan trope of always having the nicest people in the film be immigrants, such as the friendly foreign barge operator or the West Indian lady who gives the film its title. This tends to make immigrants look leprechaunish, an unfortunate return to stereotypes of the Irish in American films. Yet Curry looks right and has all the menace and weakness of a mistreated kid. As an actor, his voice isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t completely there, and the conviction in the lines heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s saying sometimes wavers. The young Kelly Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Neill, by contrast, leaves nothing to be desired in the part; she has the adroitness and softness that Christina Ricci had when she first became a child actor. All told, Kisses is a winner, a smart, sweet film with gentleness that never devolves into mere softness. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Kissesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; opens on Friday, Aug. 6, at the Rialto Cinemas Lakeside, 551 Summerfield Road, Santa Rosa. 707.525.4840.

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6XPPHUILHOG5RDGÂ&#x2021;6DQWD5RVDÂ&#x2021; Bargain Tuesday - $7.50 All Shows Schedule for Fri, August 6th â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Thu, August 12th Bargain Tuesday - $7.50 All Shows

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THEGood MOST DANGEROUS â&#x20AC;&#x153;A Ripping Thriller!â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Hollywood Reporter MOVIES IN MORNING MAN INTHE AMERICA The Second Installment Of The Millennium Trilogy

SICKO

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Starts Fri, June 29th! Fri, Sat, Sun &PENTAGON Mon WITHPAPERS DANIEL ELLSBERG AND THENow THE GIRL WHO PLAYED FIRE Advance Tickets On Sale at Box OfďŹ ce! 9:50 AM (12:10) 4:30 6:50 NR No7:30 6:50 Tue or Thu FROZEN RIVER (1:30) 4:15 7:10 9:40Show R (12:00) 2:30 5:00 10:00 10:15 VICKY Their CRISTINA BARCELONA First Joint Venture In 25 Years! AM 10:20 AM CHANGELING â&#x20AC;&#x153;Suspenseful, Surprising AndCHONGâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S Subtle!â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; NYClose Times Venessa Redgrave Meryl Streep Glenn CHEECH AND 10:40 AM RACHEL GETTING MARRIED WINTERâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S BONE HEYSHORTS WATCH THIS 2009 LIVE ACTION (Fri/Mon Only)) 10:45 AM EVENING 9:50 R Apr 20th 10:45 Sat, Apr17th at(2:50) 11pm & Tue, 8pmAM 2009 ANIMATED SHORTS Only) Starts Fri,(Sun June 29th!

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08.04.10-08.10.10

25

741A4F70<<4A Al Rosen appears with Sandy Koufax, Yogi Berra and others in â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Jews and Baseball: An American Love Storyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; at the S.F. Jewish Film Festival. See listing, p25.

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26

08.04.10-08.10.10

THE BOHEMIAN



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Film capsules by Richard von Busack, Caroline Osborn and Anna Schuessler.

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N.A.P.A.! â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve done everything in our town before at least a thousand times / If you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t like wine, you will get bored and lost amongst the vines.â&#x20AC;? Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s right, folksâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the best song about how thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nothing to do for kids in Napa is â&#x20AC;&#x153;N.A.P.A.â&#x20AC;? by Defying Truth. But does that make them the handsdown best band in Napa? Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s for the Napa Valley Battle of the Bands to decide. Sponsored by Wandering Rose, the event sold out last year in a stunning, unprecedented support for a local music scene. Last yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s champs Body or Brain play a victory-lap set while contenders Alta Frights, Serf & James, Ove the Garden, In the Know, the Subtones and Defying Truth duke it out for top honors on Saturday, Aug. 7, at the Napa Valley Opera House. 1030 Main St., Napa. 7pm. $10â&#x20AC;&#x201C;$12. 707.226.7372.

E:I6AJB6

Vallejo Calling The Vallejo rapper Dubee is best known as one of the few Bay Area MCs to benefit from the glory days of major-label signings gone amok in the 1990s. (Dubee a.k.a. Sugawolf, his debut album on Atlantic Records, is still his best-selling.) A lesser-known fact is that on Nov. 1, 2004, a date Bay Area hip-hop heads have memorized as the night Mac Dre was murdered on a freeway outside Kansas City, it was Dubee who was driving his cuddie in the van. He performs this weekend with Mac Mall, another major-label player and close friend of Mac Dre whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s managed to balance religious messages with THC jokesterism like 2006â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Thizziana Stoned and the Temple of Shrooms. 11/5, City P and R.O.D. open on Thursday, Aug. 5, at the Phoenix Theater. 201 E. Washington St., Petaluma. 8pm. $25. 707.762.3565.

H6CI6GDH6

Sparkyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Party

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Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hard to believe that the Schulz Museum has been entertaining visitors for eight years now. Like the characters in â&#x20AC;&#x153;Peanuts,â&#x20AC;? we never expect these things to grow up. This Thursday, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the Schulz Museumâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s eighth birthday, and if you know some eight-year-olds yourself, take them down for an Eighth Anniversary Celebration featuring free admission and free ice cream cake from Cold Stone Creamery. (Aziz Ansariâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s way vulgar comedy routine about Cold Stone not included.) For parents, on current display are exhibits about Schulzâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s love and inclusion in â&#x20AC;&#x153;Peanutsâ&#x20AC;? of both golf and pop culture. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve lived for the last eight years without checking the place out, well, why not? Your free chance arrives on Thursday, Aug. 5, at the Charles M. Schulz Museum. 2301 Hardies Lane, Santa Rosa. 5â&#x20AC;&#x201C;8pm. Free. 707.579.4452.

H:76HIDEDA

B > AA K6 AA : N

Kenya Kenya

Dewy for Huey

Having already traveled to Sri Lanka, Norway and Thailand, the nine-piece Kenyan group Kenge Kenge finally come to America this weekend. Specializing in a native style called benga, Kenge Kenge play self-made instruments with names like the nyatiti lyre, the bul drums and the oporo horn. But the foundations of benga music are the vocal arrangements, which Kenge Kenge deliver with contagious jubilance, especially in their YouTube hit of 2008, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Obama for Change,â&#x20AC;? which advocated for the then-senatorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s election from the other side of the world. Kenge Kenge (meaning â&#x20AC;&#x153;fusion of small, exhilarating instrumentsâ&#x20AC;?) play Friday, Aug. 6, at the Sebastopol Community Center. 390 Morris St., Sebastopol. $20â&#x20AC;&#x201C;$25. Traditional African dinner (separate from door admission) at 7pm; show 9pm. 707.823.1511.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;So, Huey, you worked with Robert Altman.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Yes, Joan, I did.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;In your work with him, for the film Short Cuts, you appeared in rather rare form for a particular scene onscreen, did you not?â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re referring to the fishing scene where I unzip my jeans and go full-frontal, then yes, I did.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Now, Huey . . .â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Before you ask any further, Joan, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll clear the airâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;it was a prosthetic.â&#x20AC;? Yes folks, this exchange could very well be the highlight of Huey Lewis in conversation with Joan Ryan this weekend. Presumably, Lewis will also discuss his dominance of the baby-boomer set in the â&#x20AC;&#x2122;80s with rock anthems like â&#x20AC;&#x153;Stuck with You,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hip to be Square,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Heart of Rock â&#x20AC;&#x2122;nâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Rollâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;I Want a New Drugâ&#x20AC;? at Throckmortonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;A-Listâ&#x20AC;? series on Monday, Aug. 9, at 142 Throckmorton Theatre. 142 Throckmorton, Mill Valley. 7:30pm. $12â&#x20AC;&#x201C;$15. 415.383.9600.

6PQT<T[X]T

THE BOHEMIAN

08.04.10-08.10.10

27

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28

08.04.10-08.10.10

THE BOHEMIAN



8=C745;4B7 Be reminded of just how many damn good Blondie songs there are on Aug. 5 at the Wells Fargo Center. See Concerts, adjacent.

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the last day saloon nightclub & restaurant OPEN AT 4 PM tHURS. - sATURDAY AND ANY DAY A SHOW IS SCHEDULED AVAILABLE FOR PRIVATE PARTIES, BANQUETS, FUNDRAISERS AND OUTSIDE PROMOTORS 707.545.5876

8/5 7:30 - 10:00 PM > TRIVIA

QUIZMANIAX! PUB QUIZ 8/7 9:00 PM SHOW > $17/20 > GUITAR ROCK

GARY HOEY

+ POINTS NORTH

8/13 8:30 PM SHOW > $25/30 > ROCK BATTLE OF THE AXES TOUR

MICHAEl SCHENKER GROUP W/CARMINE APPICE on drums

+lYNCH MOB +ANVIL CHORUS + SISTER SIN 8/14 9:30 PM SHOW > $10/12 > HIP HOP

RAPPIN 4-TAY

+ SKEE-LO + AT ALL COSTS

8/17 8:30 PM SHOW > $10 > PUNK ROCK

GREEN JELLY + THE FABULOUS MISS WENDY

8/20 9:30 PM SHOW > $10/12 > ROCK

CARNY BRAT

'S AMAZING SHOW SPECTACULAR W/

WRONG + ASTROSLIDE + Giamaica Day "The Incredible Bendable Girl"

8/25 8:30 PM SHOW > $12/15 > ROCK

FRAMING HANLEY + IT'S ALIVE + TRANSMIT NOW 8/28 9:00 PM SHOW > $15 > 80'S DANCE HITS

TAINTED LOVE HAPPY HOUR! THUR S DAY-SATURDAY

4-7PM

$1.50 PBR $2 DOMESTIC BEER $3 IMPORT/MICROBREW $3 WELL DRINKS & HOUSE WINE $3 APPETIZER MENU all shows are 21+ unless noted for reservations: 707.545.5876

707.545.2343 120 5th street @ davis street santa rosa, ca

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lastdaysaloon.com THE BOHEMIAN

08.04.10-08.10.10

29

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'- A NON-PROFIT EVENT BENEFITTING LOCAL YOUTH GROUPS

0?6A60Âś@ 05<602

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(707)

664-0444 www.cotatifest.com  6 6  

30

08.04.10-08.10.10

THE BOHEMIAN



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Trombone Shorty blows â&#x20AC;&#x2122;em away wenty-four year old Troy Andrews, aka Trombone Shorty, is one of a rare breed of musicians who can artfully combine style and substance and still emerge as the crowd favorite at any festival at which he appears. This weekend, the Louisiana multi-insrumentalist headlines the Petaluma Music Festival, and minds are most assuredly to be blown. Andrews is only 24 years old, but already heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s held his own against the greats (a YouTube cutting session called â&#x20AC;&#x153;Trombone Shorty vs. Wynton Marsalisâ&#x20AC;? is eight minutes of unadulterated joy), appeared on Late Night with David Letterman, backed U2, recorded with Harry Connick Jr., toured with Lenny Kravitz and guest-starred on the HBO series Treme, named for his childhood neighborhood in New Orleans. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s quite a rĂŠsumĂŠ for a kid who in the early â&#x20AC;&#x2122;90s was walking along with brass bands in New Orleans parades, his ďŹ ve-year-oldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s arms too short to even reach the end of the slide on his trombone. What Andrews has assimilated along the way is a melting pot of genres; heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s versed in jazz, a master of Dixieland, knows his blues and feels the funk. Onstage Andrews most resembles a hip-hop star, working the crowd with body-language bravado, call-and-response chants and an incessant milking for adulation which hiphop stars often donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t deserve. Andrews does. His latest album, Backatown, explores a more funk-rock direction, but New Orleans tradition burns hot beneath the surface. Whether on trombone or trumpet, whether singing or playing, Andrews is a master of his craft. Catch Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue headlining the Petaluma Music Festival, with ALO, Poor Manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Whiskey, Steve Lucky, Sol Horizon and more on Saturday, Aug. 7, at the SonomaMarin Fairgrounds. 175 Fairgrounds Drive, Petaluma. 11amâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;8pm. $25â&#x20AC;&#x201C;$30. www.petalumamusicfestival.org.

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08.04.10-08.10.10

31

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08.04.10-08.10.10

By Gabe Meline

9

erry Knight has a reason to live, and it may well be the clunky old Altman spotlight at the top of the back wall of the River Theatre in Guerneville. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Can you believe this shit?â&#x20AC;? he asks up in the nosebleeds. â&#x20AC;&#x153;How old do you think this is? Fifties? Sixties? Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s see if it actually works.â&#x20AC;? He fiddles with some knobs; the unit comes to life with light. Directing the spotlight around the large stage below, like an excited child, Knight beams. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a hard-fought smile. One morning last year, the 64-year-old Vietnam War veteran woke up in his Forest Knolls home, went downstairs for coffee, called up to his wife of 33 years, Susan, and got no answer. He ran upstairs to find her motionless in bed. He was unable to revive her. When paramedics arrived, they confirmed that his wife had died of a heart attack in the night. Leading a tour of the River Theatre with musicians Deborah Yates and Jon Mulvey last week, Knight says he could have given up. Instead, he bought this theater, honoring a long-held dream he and Susan shared to one day own a nightclub. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was either buy the theater and put my time into this,â&#x20AC;? he says, plainly, â&#x20AC;&#x153;or die on the roads or go off the bridge from drinking too much. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a completely honest statement. I was completely devastated. Still am.â&#x20AC;? He gives it a moment. In a quick, barely noticeable split second, he surveys with

THE BOHEMIAN



his contractorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s eye the theaterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s freshly painted ceiling, the newly installed floor, the upgraded sound system. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But you know what?â&#x20AC;? he says, righting himself. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I got 33 good years. You gotta move on in life.â&#x20AC;? Or, as it happened, move north. A longtime fixture in the Marin music scene who swears liberally but when in the presence of women asks them to pardon his language, Knight bought the run-down River Theatre in February for $600,000; heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s since put $400,000 into refurbishing the venue from its â&#x20AC;&#x153;piss-poorâ&#x20AC;? condition. The water heaters were broken, the ceiling in code violation, the floors were covered in a foot and a half of mud. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It smelled so bad in here,â&#x20AC;? he says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;like an asshole, pardon my language. The mud, the dirt, the dampnessâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;it was overwhelming. Your eyes would actually burn in here â&#x20AC;&#x2122;cause it was so bad.â&#x20AC;? For a month and a half, Knight spent every day doing nothing but crawling beneath the building, removing mud buildup from f looding. He fixed and painted the ceiling. He tore up and replaced the f loors. He re-did all the electrical and plumbing. To celebrate, he hauled everything out of the atticâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;large foam angel wings, Egyptian pharaohs, Medieval armor, giant playing cards, framed sheet music, a crescent moonâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and scattered it among the theaterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s four tiered levels in a cluttered, scrabbled dĂŠcor. Knight is a strong-set man with short brown hair, today wearing a long-sleeved

blue shirt and stained jeans. He rarely answers his cell phone, still has what he calls â&#x20AC;&#x153;marijuana momentsâ&#x20AC;? and enjoys telling visitors about his Ferrari. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s worked as a recording engineer, a live soundman, a lacquer mastering engineer, a studio contractor, a band manager, a nonprofit director, a studio owner. He appreciates a challenge, such as taking over a theater that the community feels like they own. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Well, it is their theater,â&#x20AC;? Knight says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s everybodyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s club. [Musician] Martin Fierro used to always tell me, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re just a caretaker. Get off this shit that you own the goddamn land!â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Pardon my language.â&#x20AC;? Knight plans to host events every weekend, booking some himself (Elvin Bishop, Sept. 12); some with Yates and Mulvey (Vortex Tribe, Aug. 7); some with friend Nancy Lewis (Montrose, Aug. 6), whose gold records for the Grateful Dead and Billy Idol hang on the walls. Knight throws around other possible headliners like Huey Lewis, Boz Scaggs, Mickey Hart, Billy Idol and Mick Fleetwood. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also talking with the recently displaced Pegasus Theater Co. about producing live plays, and working with former owner Ed Martinez on upcoming gay dance nights (Sundance weekend, Aug. 14â&#x20AC;&#x201C;15). And while a pair of ancient carbon-arc lamphouses in the theaterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s old projection booth appear to be on their last legs, Knight mentions friends like Ben Stiller and Woody Harrelson, and declares heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll host a film festival at the theater in Novemberâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a return to the venueâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s roots. Built in 1947, the River Theatre originally showed movies under the longtime ownership of Dave Williams. In 1973, it was bought by Tony Mata, and in the late â&#x20AC;&#x2122;70s impresario Morty Wiggins began booking it as a live music venue, bringing in the likes of the Jerry Garcia Band, Emmylou Harris, David Bromberg and others, twice a month. In 1981, Mark Russo took over, and local heavy metal bands played often, with the Dead Kennedys appearing in 1984. In 1985, it was bought by Bill and Diane Offill with Wayne Stam, who called it the Russian River Theatre Center and offered community events and theater classes. Starting in 1987, Laurel Pine began booking punk shows there with nonprofit collective Xcntrcx, bringing in Green Day, Primus, Operation Ivy, NOFX, Faith No More, Gwar and others. By 1992, it became Ziggurat, a dance club with an over-the-top Cleopatra-meets-BusbyBerkeley theme owned by Hans Grahlmann and Chris Coulores. Grahlmann was tragically murdered in 1998; locals Ed Martinez and Gregg Seiler bought it in 1999 and christened it Club Fab, hosting gay dance nights, â&#x20AC;&#x153;foamâ&#x20AC;? parties and weekly DJs. A New Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s flood forced Club Fab to close for good in 2005, and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s only sporadically hosted music since, such as last yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s show with â&#x20AC;&#x2122;80s pop icon Tiffany. But this weekend, the River Theatre rises again, and Knightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vision for the building will be that much closer to complete. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But you know,â&#x20AC;? he cautions, â&#x20AC;&#x153;it has to be right. I got a ton of people that want to bring bands in, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gotta be the right bands. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to load it up with shit, you know? Pardon my language.â&#x20AC;? Montrose plays a grand opening party for the River Theatre on Friday, Aug. 6 (8pm; $25â&#x20AC;&#x201C;$30); Vortex Tribe plays Saturday, Aug. 7 (8pm; $20). 16135 Main St., Guerneville. 707.869.8022.

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08.04.10-08.10.10

33

Bfrom rews the world &Tasty Paround ub Grub

Hand-Crafted

Wed, Aug 4 @ 6:30pm

Hop-Dub with Philly & the Cheesesteaks Reggae-ISH

Fri, Aug 6 @ 7:00pm

Kyle Martin Rock/ Folk/ World myspace.com/kylemcsmile

8=:BC08=43ÂźFA4C27½ â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Bohoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; stage reviewer David Templeton brings his one-man show to Solofest. See Theater, p36.

Sat, Aug 7

TBA Sun, Aug 1 @ 6 pm

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Take a scenic drive for a unique dining experience

Dinner and a Show Reservations advised

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DI N NE R

A ND A

S H OW

Fri

KEVIN RUSSELL Aug 6 Guitar Genius Sat

Aug 7

LEE PRESSON AND THE SFâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Wildest Swing Big Band

Fri

The Amazing

NAILS

Aug 13 CAROLYN WONDERLAND Original Texas Blues

BB QS

ON THE

L AW N 2 0 1 0

Gates Open at 3pm, Music at 4pm Sun

Aug 8 the subdudes

THE TOMMY CASTRO BAND Aug 15 PLUS SPECIAL GUESTS THE STONE RIVER BOYS Sun THE DAVID GRISMAN Aug 22 BLUEGRASS EXPERIENCE Sun Aug 29 ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL

@.2

((

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L A B O R DAY WE E K E N D   

ROY ROGERS Sept 5 & THE DELTA RHYTHM KINGS

Sun

LUAU WITH WILLIE K BAND

Sept 19

415.662.2219

On the Town Square, Nicasio www.ranchonicasio.com

34

08.04.10-08.10.10

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PETTY THEFT Sept 6 VOLKER STRIFLER BAND MARCIA BALL

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Fri, Aug 6 8:45â&#x20AC;&#x201C;9:45am Jazzercise 10:30â&#x20AC;&#x201C;11:30am ZUMBA GOLD 7:15â&#x20AC;&#x201C;11pm DJ Steve Luther presents A WEST COAST SWING PARTY

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Sat, Aug 7 8:00â&#x20AC;&#x201C;9:00am; 9:15â&#x20AC;&#x201C;10:15am Jazzercise 10:30â&#x20AC;&#x201C;11:45am Dance Workout with DJ Steve Luther 7â&#x20AC;&#x201C;11pm Circle â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;n Squares Hoedown DJ Steve Luther

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Sun, Aug 8 8:30â&#x20AC;&#x201C;9:30am Jazzercise 10:30â&#x20AC;&#x201C;11:30am ZUMBA FITNESS with Anna 5â&#x20AC;&#x201C;9:30pm DJ Steve Luther COUNTRY-WESTERN LESSONS & DANCING

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Best Music Venue Best Place for Singles to Meet THUR ! AUG 5 ! 8PM ! FREE

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FEATURING KARAMO SUSSO FRI ! AUG 6 ! 9PM ! FREE B4 10/$10 AFTER

1st FRIDAYS REGGAE PARTY WITH

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SAT ! AUG 7 ! 9PM ! $15

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SUN ! AUG 8 ! FREE ! 5PM 2ND SUNDAYS DANCE PARTY WITH

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! 9PM BUDDY

NEXT WEEK

Mon, Aug 9 8:45â&#x20AC;&#x201C;9:45am; 5:45â&#x20AC;&#x201C;6:45 pm Jazzercise 7pm-10pm Scottish Dance

THUR ! AUG 12 ! 9PM ! FREE ANDRE NICKATINA PRESENTS: SMOOV-E IN THE BISCUITS EXPERIENCE FRI ! AUG 13 ! 9PM ! $15 ADV

Tues, Aug 10 8:45â&#x20AC;&#x201C;9:45am; 5:45â&#x20AC;&#x201C;6:40 pm Jazzercise 7:30pm AFRICAN AND WORLD MUSIC DANCE

SAT ! AUG 14 ! 9PM ! $15 ADV

Wed, Aug 11 8:45â&#x20AC;&#x201C;9:45am; 5:45â&#x20AC;&#x201C;6:40pm Jazzercise 10amâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;12:15pm Scottish Dance Youth and Family 7:10â&#x20AC;&#x201C;10pm Singles & Pairs Square Dance Club

Santa Rosaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Social Hall since 1922

THE MOTHER TRUCKERS SOULS OF MISCHIEF HOT UPCOMING ACTS

8/20: LUTAN FYAH 8/27: PRIDE & JOY 8/28: ZION 1

9/4: RICHIE SPICE 9/17: SUSTANE

1400 W. College Avenue â&#x20AC;˘ Santa Rosa, CA 707.539.5507 â&#x20AC;˘ www.monroe-hall.com

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THE BOHEMIAN

08.04.10-08.10.10

35

C. Donatiello Winery

Summer Music Series Live from the Middle Reach

July

September

7-18 Pat Jordan Band 7-25 Samantha Lane

August

8-1 The Speedbumps 8-8 Chris Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Brien 8-15 Fred odell 8-22 sol Horizon 8-29 Damato

9-5 Hotel Cafe tour Buddy & Friends* 9-12 Troubaduo 9-19 Brian Bergeron 9-26 Lelia Broussard & Chris Pierce

October

10-3 Audra Connolly 10-10 John Gold

All Shows Sundays 1-4pm *9-5 will take place from 3-6pm

C. Donatiello Winery 4035 Westside Road Healdsburg, CA 707.431.4442

www.cdonatiello.com

@.2

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08.04.10-08.10.10

THE BOHEMIAN



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HEALTH&WELL-BEING g Healing & Bodywork

Great Massage, Goddess Touch

PUSH Therapy

In pain and tired of relying on PAIN/STRESS RELIEF Swedish, Deep Tissue. Afford- others to fix you? Learn self treatment with PUSH Therapy! Professional male massage; able. Free parking Downtown Great for everything from strong, deep healing bodySanta Rosa. CMT Mary neck pain to plantar fasciitis. work. 1 hr/$50, 1 1/2 hr $65. 707-228-3275 Call (707) 665-9020 707-536-1516 www.CompleteBodyBalance.com MASSAGE FOR GUYS MAGIC HANDS You’ll melt on the table as Swedish and Deep Tissue RELAX! your entire body is squeezed, Massage with light stretching Relaxing massage and kneaded, pampered & for men/women Flexible M-F bodywork by male massage stretched by skillful bodyschedule; Incalls only therapist with 11 yrs experiwork. Call 707-824-8700, or 60min/$60 | 90min/$75 ence. 707-542-6856 visit www.JamesDickson.net Please call Leo 707-623-6096 (pics & schedule).

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SPIRITUAL CONNECTIONS Finding inspiration and connecting with your community World-Renowned Theologian

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38

08.04.10-08.10.10

THE BOHEMIAN

Resources for your spiritual journey (ancient prayer/meditation practices, workshops/retreats, spiritual direction, art gallery, reading room, bodywork). 1601 Fourth Street, Santa Rosa, www.journeycenter.org 707.578.2121

Ananda Seva's Dharmachakra 5:30-7pm Sundays. Join our small weekly gathering for collectively sung devotional music and 30min group meditation! www.anandaseva.org/yoga/santa-rosa-ca (707) 575-0886

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Growing Together Workshop For new and “seasoned” couples. Assess strengths and growth areas in your relationship, work on communication and conflict-resolution skills. Fri, Aug 20 (7-9p) & Sat, Aug 21 (10a-4p). Journey Center, Santa Rosa, 707-578-2121, [ http://www.journeycenter.org ]www.journeycenter.org.

Rocks and Clouds Zendo Zazenkai Ond Day Mediation Retreat. Sun Sept 26. 6:00am-4:00pm. Email us with questions: daterra@sonic.net or call 707-824-5647

Women’s Codependents Anonymous 12 Step Group meets every Friday from 7:00-8:15pm, for reading, writing and meditation. 1000 Gravenstein Hwy., Rm #5, Sebastopol. Contact 707-535-9725 or visit www.CODA.org for more info.

Certification in Ayurveda & Aromatherapy with DeAnna Batdorff Practical & Clinical Experience. Pulse/Assessment, therapeutic bodywork, nutrition, traditional medicine & more. In Sebastopol- Starts Sept. 2010. Curriculum online dhyanacenter.com 707-823-8818

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THE BOHEMIAN

08.04.10-08.10.10

39

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