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JEWISH H FILM FESTIVAL FESTI VAL A 2010 October Octob er 27 – Decembe Decemberr 7
SONOMA COUNT Y
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ALL PETALUMA SHOWS CANCELLED. PETALUMA TICKETS HONORED IN SANTA ROSA
SAVIORS IN THE NIGHT
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NORA’S WILL NEW DAY AND LOCATION IN SANTA ROSA!
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SANTA S ANTA RO ROSA SA S SCREENINGS: CREENINGS: Sixth Street Playhouse e 52 West West 6th St, Santa Rosa, in Historic Railroad Railroad Square Sq quare
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Free Lecture: Gourmet recipes that keep you and your family healthy over the holidays. Wed. Nov. 3 ~ 6:30-8:00 PM 10151 Main Street, Suite 128 Penngrove, CA 94951 No RSVP required Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts
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Quashing apathy toward a better world By Erik Morse
know, P. Diddy invented that phraseâ€” â€œVote or die!â€?â€”back in â€™04, and I know weâ€™re mostly Tupac fans out here, but the man has a point. Itâ€™s a crucial time in history right now, and yet again Iâ€™m hearing so many intelligent, educated people profess a lack of understanding of what our political system really is or how it works or, worst of all, whether itâ€™s even worth voting. This is your wake-up call! Itâ€™s so easy to fall into complacency; we live a life of unimaginable ease compared to so much of the world. But that world is there, itâ€™s real. Maybe instead of a beach somewhere in the tropics, take your next vacation to a country without a representative democracy, where people are beaten for expressing political views and tortured and murdered for speaking out against their government. There are probably a hundred of themâ€”take your pick. Bet you wonâ€™t skip an election after that. Time after time I hear that itâ€™s no use voting, that the parties are the same. Where does that idea come from? For starters, do the powers that be want you to vote? No! Thatâ€™s how they keep their power, instead of having to share it with you. So they saturate you with messages from their media outlets about the minor, titillating scandals of each party and portray a hopeless mess of government where itâ€™s all the same and you canâ€™t trust anybody so you might as well stay home. Is this supported by the facts? Do you like the solar panels and hybrid cars that you see more and more of every day? Thank a voter and a politician for passing the tax credits and funding to make them possible. Do you like the wide-open nature of our Sonoma and Marin coasts instead of shopping malls and hotels and gas stations? Thank a voter and a politician for passing laws to protect them. Would you like to see oil drilling rigs just off the shore? Donâ€™t vote, and theyâ€™ll appear. Do you like the Tea Partyâ€™s message? Donâ€™t vote, and theyâ€™ll get more representation in local and federal government, and youâ€™ll see laws that ref lect their ideology. I could spend hours arguing about the
accomplishments of the party of my choice, from increased education funding to more stringent protections of our food and air and water to decreased military spending to fairer systems of taxation to keeping jobs in our communities. The list goes on and on. But what I really want to stress even more is that, yes, there is a difference. Check out the legislative record of your senators at OpenCongress.org. Make up your own mind about who you want writing your laws and spending your money. Remember, these people donâ€™t just appear on your TV and talk and argue and hypothesize; when the cameras turn off, they actually pass laws that shape our world and spend billions of our dollars, be it on books, hospitals, bombs or oil wells. And they only get to do that because you and I and our friends and neighbors vote for them. Or . . . we donâ€™t. Am I satisfied with the way things are? Am I writing glowing endorsements of the performance of the people for whom I voted two years ago? No, but Iâ€™m not going to quit and take my ball and go home, pretending to not understand the incredible complexity of running a nation of 300 million people, a state of 40 million people and a county of 500,000 peopleâ€”simultaneously. Did I mention that many of those people disagree vehemently with each other? Democracy is not easy or perfect or pretty. Itâ€™s hard work. If you want to keep your allAmerican, sunny-California, wine country life, you have to work for that, too. And that means participating in this democracy, not only by votingâ€”a monkey can do thatâ€”but also by thinking, reading, investigating and really taking a stock of ownership in this society. Or donâ€™tâ€”your choice. Just remember, riots and tear gas and tanks in the streets can happen here, too.
Democracy is not easy or perfect or pretty.
Erik Morse taught social studies in Sonoma County for seven years. He currently works for the Harmony Festival. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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How long do the pole sweaters have to stay? Some of them are cute and all, but thereâ€™s something decadent and wasteful about them just sitting there waiting for the rain to make them soggy and useless. Iâ€™m sure the yarn folks got some kind of permission from somebody who said, sure, what the heck, go put some sweaters on our poles. But when it gets cold outside, itâ€™s not the poles that need sweaters. I guess they just seem like graffiti to me, flaunting prosperity when I canâ€™t walk out of the coffee shop without being asked for spare change.
I disagree with your support for Prop. 21. State parks are in pretty good shape, their budget has not been cut that drastically, and most of the partial closures proposed last year did not happen and didnâ€™t need to happen. Most of the information weâ€™re hearing about state parks is coming from state park officials, who have an obvious self-interest in swaying public opinion. If a few changes were made in how state parks were run, the current budget would more than suffice to run the parks without any noticeable difference in service. Also, Iâ€™m not sure itâ€™s fair to ask the people who never use state parks to pay the fees for those who use them all the time. Iâ€™m not opposed to the increase in vehicle license fees, but I think the money could be better spent. Helping those in need
or, as a believer in use taxes, fixing the roads. I worked at state parks for five years, and hope to work there again, so if you print this letter, Iâ€™d rather you not give my name.
=460C8E45443102:A0C8=6 Women in politics have come a very long way in a short period of time. This is good, unless the vetting system cannot detect the trophy wife. Who is a misguided trophy wife? Meg Whitman is, of courseâ€” sheâ€™s simply out for another trophy on the mantelpiece, not for the egalitarian notion of our nationâ€™s founding documents or equality under the law. Is she really capable? Is she forthright and ethical? Evidence says maybe not. Does she have a grip on being an American? She doesâ€”a wealthy American, who leverages the failure of our system to take to task Americans who have little to rely upon. Does she represent Americans who work for a living? Not even close. Meg is not running for governor as much as sheâ€™s running for herself. Remember that her needs are not the same as yours. She needs nothingâ€”she has it all, except for the governorship. A vote for Meg is, well, a vote for Meg. To her, sheâ€™s whatâ€™s important, not the state of California.
We had rhyme on the mind but were falling behind when the time came to prime the Best Of lists refined. San Anselmo, in kind, told us to redefine, and lest they remind, we are so inclined. What nonsense we signed that read San Anselmo Art and Design! The festival, we find, is San Anselmo Art and Wine.
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news for Sonoma, Marin & Napa Counties
â€œOfficial Newspaper of Jumping, Screaming, Crying Giants Fansâ€?
Our clip â€™nâ€™ go guide for state props By Bohemian Staff Proposition 19â€”Regulate and Tax Cannabis: YES Almost four decades after the first legalization efforts, marijuana is easier to find than ever, proving that criminalization does nothing to prevent its use. Meanwhile, drug crime has explodedâ€”our prisons are packed and our streets are less safe. These are the direct results of this archaic law. The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 will provide the state with significant tax revenue. It is estimated that a $50-per-ounce levy has the potential to raise $1.4 billion a year, money that now winds up in the hands of drug traffickers and illegal gun dealers. Itâ€™s time for this foolish prohibition to be abolished. Proposition 20â€”Congressional Redistricting: YES This is inside politics that matters. For years, the boundaries of Californiaâ€™s Assembly and Senate districts were drawn up every 10 years by the assembly members and senators themselves. That scheme had predictable results: elected officials created districts that were favorable to themselves and their parties. And so we get districts that are â€œsolidly Democraticâ€? or â€œsolidly Republican,â€? making political compromise unnecessary and gridlock inevitable. In 2008, voters approved the creation of an independent citizens commission to take over the drawing of legislative districts. Prop. 20 would allow the commission to draw U.S. congressional districts as well. Itâ€™s a good idea. Proposition 21â€”Vehicle Fee for Parks: YES When state parks faced closure, citizens asked what they could do. This is it, at the cost of only $18 annually per vehicle in DMV fees. The roughly $500 million that the initiative would raise would go toward maintaining the stateâ€™s 278 parks, which are plagued by slashed budgets. Most California drivers would get free
access to the parks, and $130 million would be directed to the cash-starved general fund. Keeping state parks open is a worthy move, not only to attract the millions of tourists who routinely visit the stateâ€™s parks, but also to allow all Californians to share in the stateâ€™s rich natural heritage. Proposition 22â€”Ban on State Borrowing from Local Governments: NO In the past year, the state, facing a horrendous deficit, has exercised its authority to take money from local redevelopment and transportation agencies in what is universally described as a â€œraidâ€? on local funds. On its surface, this proposition seems to make sense. But at a time when nearly every state in the nation is strained to the breaking point by the largest economic downturn in a century, it just doesnâ€™t make sense to pass a law that would prohibit even 1 cent of variation in shares of state and local revenue, even in the event of natural disasters. Proposition 23â€”Suspend AB 32, the Global Warming Act: NO Californiaâ€™s landmark antiâ€“global warming legislation, AB 32, was passed in 2006 with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. If passed, Prop. 23 would suspend most of the provisions of AB 32 until the state posts unemployment figures of 5.5 percent or lower for four straight quarters, something that has happened only three times since 1980. Curbing greenhouse gasses is a responsibility that runs deeper than the ebb and flow of unemployment figures. To keep California leading the way toward a greener and more sustainable future, vote no on Prop. 23. Proposition 24â€”Repeal of Corporate Tax Breaks: YES This proposition reverses three tax breaks negotiated during the last two yearsâ€™ statebudget showdowns which primarily benefit multinational businesses. They represent about $1.3 billion a year in lost revenue to the state. A yes vote will ensure that money stays in state coffers rather than going to a few well-lined pockets. The California Chamber of Commerce has labeled this prop a â€œjobs tax,â€? claiming that it will reduce new hiring. Itâ€™s the tired old trickle-down argument. Donâ€™t buy it.
Proposition 25â€”Majority Rules on Budget: YES In some ways, this is the only proposition that matters. Californiaâ€™s fractured system currently requires the approval of two-thirds of both legislative houses to pass a budget. The result are budgets that are almost always late, a fixed system of minority rule with a legacy of intense gerrymandering to maintain it, suspended services, wasted millions on needlessly high interest payments and a dismal credit rating. State law will continue to require a two-thirds vote in the legislature to raise taxes. Prop. 25 is a necessary first step to recovery. Proposition 26â€”Supermajority Rules: NO The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, which years ago crippled our state by slipping an exemption for commercial property transfers into Prop. 13, is sponsoring this initiative. If it passes, its funders, including Chevron, MillerCoors and AnhueserBusch, will get their way, as all levels of government, from city councils to the state legislature will have to achieve two-thirds vote thresholds to raise any fee for any activity or any levy for violating any law. That includes environmental law, which is where this prop got its nickname, the Polluter Protection Act. This proposition is corporate cynicism at its worst. Proposition 27â€”â€˜Incumbent Protection Actâ€™: NO A group of Democratic incumbents (many of whom we generally support) have sponsored this so-called Financial Accountability in Redistricting Act. Straight-faced, they claim its intent is to save money, because the state cannot afford to pay a small citizens commission to handle the chore of drawing legislative districts. Prop. 27 would do away with the independent redistricting commission and return that responsibility to the Legislature itself, where it would no doubt result in more gerrymandering and more gridlock.
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tâ€™s seldom a paid position, the positive rabble-rousing that creates social sustainability. The ones who take on the work can often be mildly surprised to find themselves standing up and making a difference by getting others to stand up and make a difference. Thereâ€™s really no official job description for this. Hilary Zunin was actually out of a job when she decided to energize her community and launch, with cofounder Grania Lindberg, the social change known locally as Napa Valley CanDo. CanDo is a handy acronym for â€œcommunity action network developing opportunities,â€? an effort to get people happily launched into community service. And itâ€™s working. The members of CanDo show up to work all over the Napa Valley, making a noticeable change in the spirit of the community and creating an excited, admiring buzz. Zunin and Lindberg do much of the organizing work to match community members with community needs and to keep enlistees informed of volunteer opportunities via email blasts. Zunin didnâ€™t expect to be an organizer. But she didnâ€™t expect to end her 20-year career as an English teacher, either. That came to a decided halt when No Child Let Behind crept into her classroom and began to dictate what and how she was allowed to teach. Zunin lamented that the law forced her to abandon books in favor of an anthology and recoiled at official suggestions that if she ran out of time for instruction on Romeo and Juliet she could simply teach the first few acts, since that was the only part of the play covered on the state test. â€œThis was not the teaching I committed myself to doing,â€? said Zunin. â€œSo I resigned, at 56. At my resignation dinner, I remember saying, tearfully, â€˜I donâ€™t know what Iâ€™m going to do next. I just want to do some good.â€™â€? That was almost three years ago, during the presidential election campaigns. While deciding what to do, Zunin signed up to work for Obamaâ€™s campaign. â€œI hadnâ€™t been an activist since Vietnam, and then I was a street medic during street demonstrations,â€? explained Zunin. â€œI hadnâ€™t worked on a
campaign since Kennedyâ€™s when I was 10 and I licked stamps!â€? But Zunin volunteered anyway, and through that experienceâ€”where a few of her key teachers were young people in their 20s and 30sâ€”Zunin saw for herself how to â€œempower people to do something they thought was impossible,â€? as Zunin recalls her amazement. â€œI said, â€˜My God, what weâ€™re doing works!â€™â€? A month after the election, Zunin and other campaign volunteers gathered and cooked up an idea to serve the community. They called it 10-10-10 and challenged each other to send an invitation out to 10 people, asking for $10 in cash or 10 food items for the Napa food bank. Those people would then in turn send it along to 10 more people, and so on down the line. â€œIn two weeks, we raised $10,000,â€? said Zunin. â€œWe were astonished.â€? The group decided they didnâ€™t want to waste what Zunin calls the â€œexcitement and energy to make meaningful change in the community.â€? The 15 volunteers who met in December 2008 became a force of 50 just three months later, and are now more than 600 members strong. The group has a number of leaders heading issue groups, and CanDo is busy in all sectors of the community. CanDo now includes opportunities for community service by kids, who have set out to collect 10,000 pairs of shoes for the nonprofit Soles for Souls by January 2011. An ambitious goal? These kids know they can do it. And because there are new leaders springing up all over the organization, Zunin knows that one day she can step aside, leaving her legacy in good hands. â€œWhat I do now more than anything is connect people,â€? explained Zunin, smiling with job satisfaction. Her unexpected, unpaid career these days does her community good, just as sheâ€™d hoped to do when she left teaching. â€œThis makes me think of my favorite quote,â€? Zunin says, brightening. The quote is from Herman Melville: â€œWe cannot live by ourselves, alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads.â€?
She saw how to empower people to do something they thought was impossible.
To volunteer for Napa Valley CanDo, email Hilary Zunin at NVCanDo@gmail.com or call 707.252.7743.
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A40;C0;: A full 91 percent of Wal-Martâ€™s produce will still come from distant factory farms.
1XV1^g1PRZhPaS Wal-Martâ€™s â€˜local foodâ€™ attempt too little, too late By Ari LeVaux
nce reviled as a seven-letter word representing the myriad evils of capitalism, Wal-Mart has, in recent years, gone a bit greenish. Hybrid 18-wheelers haul Wal-Mart goods around the worldâ€™s roads. Windmills and other renewable-energy sources supply power to many company stores, and now the worldâ€™s largest corporation is attempting to promote locally and sustainably produced food. An Oct. 14 company press release reads more like the mission statement of your local nonprofit food co-op than a memo from the worldâ€™s largest retailer: â€œWal-Mart today launched its new global commitment to sustainable agriculture that will help small and medium sized farmers expand their businesses, get more income for their products, and reduce the environmental impact of farming, while strengthening local economies and providing customers around the world with long-term access to affordable, high-quality, fresh food.â€? Wal-Martâ€™s definition of â€œlocalâ€? means food thatâ€™s produced in the same state in which it is sold, and the company aims to have at least
9 percent of the produce sold in its U.S. stores meet this criteria by 2015. By then, the retail behemoth aims to have sold $1 billion worth of food from small and medium-sized farmers while boosting those farmersâ€™ incomes by 10 to 15 percent. WalMart also intends to assist its farmers in crop selection, including working with Southern tobacco farmers to switch to growing blueberries. It may seem out of character for Wal-Mart to act as an agent for positive change, but remember: the only thing Wal-Mart could do that would truly be out of character would be to knowingly undermine its bottom line. Like everything else it does, the promotion of sustainable, local agriculture is a calculated move to increase profits. If the corporate brainstem were to determine that reconciling quantum mechanics with Newtonian physics would boost sales of cheap bath towels, it would probably do that as well. Compared to quantum mechanics, however, the economic advantages of local food are straightforward and easy to calculate. The market for this kind of food is booming, and of course the company wants to cash in. Should Wal-Mart encourage the cultivation of crops that history has shown grow well in certain regions, it would
build long-term efficiency into Wal-Martâ€™s supply chain, saving money on transport and packaging. Wal-Mart also hopes to increase the income of farmers by dealing directly with producers and eliminating middlemen. This seems innocuous enough at first, but it also sounds like one of the mechanisms behind Wal-Martâ€™s habit of killing Main Street businesses in countless towns that it has moved into. Cutting out the middleman while using its huge purchasing power as leverage is how Wal-Mart has been able to infamously starve out its competitionâ€”including your neighborhood food co-op. And while 9 percent certainly adds up to a lot of local food, that leaves 91 percent of Wal-Martâ€™s food purchased from distant factory farms. WalMart continues to buy tomatoes from farms in Immokalee, Fla., for example, where some of the nationâ€™s worst labor atrocities have been documented. In the most optimistic sense, Wal-Martâ€™s new local food initiatives may be driven purely by the realization that saving the world is a good thing because it will guarantee the survival of the global economy it wishes to dominate. If so, we should be hoping for Wal-Mart to decide that solving global warming is good for business as well. THE BOHEMIAN
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C>>C7 B0E4A ow much candy can one cajole out of little kids after Halloween? â€œThe very ďŹ rst year I got 14 pounds,â€? says Dr. Stephen Berger. Of course, itâ€™s easy if youâ€™re paying. Every year on Nov. 1, Berger, a pediatric dentist in Santa Rosa, offers a candy buyback program out of the parking lot of his ofďŹ ce in Santa Rosa. Paying a dollar for each pound of candy turned in, Berger estimates that he now collects over thirteen hundred pounds of candy every year, paying out of his own pocket.
Berger started the program in 1974 as a response to media coverage of Halloween treats laced with razor blades and other dangers. Inspired to make trick-ortreating safe again, he began the buyback program to eliminate fear of contaminates and, in an issue obviously close to his profession, to help eliminate tooth decay. Each year his program has a different theme. This Monday, a tooth fairy will be present along with a giant inďŹ‚atable slide and a free rafďŹ‚e for a chance to win a bicycle. Also on buyback day, brochures and pamphlets will be available. â€œWith all the childhood obesity and increase in diabetes, this goes beyond the teeth factor,â€? says Berger. â€œWeâ€™re hoping to educate the kids.â€? Though other dentists in the North Bay have adopted similar buyback programs, Berger notes his operation is the largest: â€œNobody I know does it on the scale I do,â€? he says. Since his oldest daughter is joining his practice, chances are the next 26 years of buying back candy will be successful. â€œSheâ€™s actually the third-generation Berger practicing pediatric dentistry,â€? says Berger. â€œIâ€™m extremely proud.â€? The burning question: What happens to that half-ton of candy Berger collects? He throws it all away. The Annual Halloween Candy Buyback takes place on Monday, Nov. 1, in the parking lot of Dr. Stephen Bergerâ€™s ofďŹ ce. 4655 Hoen Ave., Santa Rosa. 2â€“6pm. 707.546.5437.
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mention this ad for $1.00 off
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F8=3B>A E8=4H0A3B he last time we visited Windsor Vineyards, the fact that it was located neither in a vineyard nor in Windsor gave pause to our reviewer. This time, we ďŹ nd itâ€™s entirely off the mapâ€”the wine map. But this is no recent development. Below the creaking, wood tasting-room ďŹ‚oor, founder and North Bay wine titan Rodney Strong crafted his ďŹ rst batches here some 50 years ago while living upstairs with his family. His concept for mail-order wine sales grew into Windsor Vineyards, which holds the record as the largest such operation, and was once owned by Guinness. While it and the late vintnerâ€™s namesake winery have passed into new ownership, the one-time â€œTiburon Vintnersâ€? soldier on, a quaint outpost in a tiny township whose mainstays in the old days were railroading, shipyarding and naval coal-stoking.
These days, Tiburon is a natural springboard for Angel Island weekend adventures or San Francisco shopping jaunts via the Blue and Gold ferry line; a nexus of cycling shorts and German sedans that has quality dining and exploring options all its own. An especially nice ďŹ nd for tourists with no plans to venture farther north, Windsor Vineyards also inspires those in need of personalized labeling services, whether for wedding wines, business gifts or the perennially favorite vanity inscription that goes something like â€œFrom the cellar of Joe Bottlahooch.â€? The secret to the ďŹ rmâ€™s long run, however, is that these are no cookie-cutter California wines. Mainly from Sonoma County appellations, wines regularly rack up the state and county fair golds, which the staff are happy to list. A recent State Fair double gold winner, the 2009 California Pinot Grigio ($16) mustâ€™ve stood out for its atypically pungent aroma of sliced pear, or the way the full, round pear ďŹ‚avor lolls around the tongue. Bright with red cherry and raspberry fruit, spiced with vanilla, the supple 2008 Pinot Noir, Sonoma County Reserve ($22) holds its own and more for this style and price range. Cab lovers have two distinct choices: the 2008 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($28), with a bitter chocolate, black-cherry cordial character; and the Windsor Sonoma (a related brand) 2007 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($30), with brighter red fruit, toasted cashew accents, a warming ďŹ nish and ďŹ ne tannin. Tasting is free, the daily list is over a dozen selections long and clearance deals abound, so thereâ€™s really no reason not to leave with a bottle, say, of 2001 Late Disgorged North Coast Brut ($15). A riot of vigorous, ďŹ ne bubbles, high-toned, lemon meringue and apple zipâ€”Iâ€™m saving it for New Yearâ€™s. If it has that long a run. Windsor Vineyards, 72 Main St., Tiburon. Open Sundayâ€“ Thursday, 10am to 6pm; Fridayâ€“Saturday to 7pm. No fee. 415.435.3113.
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?A8E0C44@D8CH Richard Blum, husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, is at the heart of the UC Regentsâ€™ conflicts of interest.
8]eTbc^abÂž?PhSPh How UC regents spin public money into private profit By Peter Byrne Note: This is a report sponsored by communitybased journalism site Spot.us and funded in part by the â€˜Bohemian.â€™ For the full unedited report, see www.spot.us.
ast fall, amid an unprecedented state budget crisis, the University of California Board of Regents took extraordinary measures to cut costs and generate revenue. Lecturers were furloughed, classes eliminated. The regentsâ€”governing body for the vast public university systemâ€”also reduced admissions for in-state students while increasing the cost for out-of-state students. And to the consternation of tens of thousands of students, the regents raised undergraduate tuition by a whopping 32 percent, with more hikes to come. It now costs about $30,000 per year to attend the UC system as an undergraduate, including tuition and expenses. Even with student aid, itâ€™s a sum beyond the means of many students and their families. But while education is taking a beating, this investigation reveals that some members of the Board of Regents have benefited from the
placement of hundreds of millions of university dollars into investments, private deals and publicly held enterprises with significant ties to their own personal business activities. Conflicts of interest have arisen because some members of the regentsâ€™ investment committee, individuals who are also Wall Street heavy hitters, modified longstanding UC investment policies. Specifically, they steered away from investing in more traditional instruments, such as blue-chip stocks and bonds, toward largely unregulated and risky â€œalternativeâ€? investments, such as private equity and private real estate deals. The activities of two regents in particularâ€” Richard C. Blum, husband to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and fellow financier Paul Wachterâ€”are spotlighted. Blum, for example, benefited from UC investments of $748 million in public companies and private deals in which he held significant financial interests. Governor and regent Arnold Schwarzenegger and his longtime business partner Wachter benefited from $486 million in UC investments into firms and deals in which they held significant interests. Regent Sherry Lansing benefited from a UC investment of $397 million in a firm on whose board she sits. The UC has also invested $53 million into two for-profit
â€œdiploma millsâ€? largely owned by Blum Capital Partners; and Sen. Feinstein initiated federal legislation that benefited these two educational corporations. (Further details on these investments can be found at Spot.us.) State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, was asked to review the findings of this investigation prior to publication. â€œThese are amazing conflicts of interest,â€? he concluded. â€œThey happened after the UC Regentsâ€™ investment committee drastically changed policy away from investing in fixed-income securities and into risky private equity buyout funds, thus enriching several regents with ties to those funds.â€? Other ethics experts agreed. Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, the liberal goodgovernment advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., was also apprised of the findings of this investigation prior to publication. â€œA third-grader can see that what the regents on the investment committee are doing is unethical,â€? he said. â€œIt goes far beyond the â€˜appearanceâ€™ of a conflict of interest. These are core conflicts of interest.â€?
he regents areâ€”and always have beenâ€”a fabulously politicized body. On June 23, 1974, the Los Angeles '% THE BOHEMIAN
Despite disastrous performance, Blum has continued to advise investing in private real estate and private equity. In 1970, the California state auditor found that regent Edwin W. Pauley, owner of Pauley Petroleum, had personally profited when university officials steered $10.7 million into one of his companyâ€™s business deals. Following this and other revelations, the regents passed a conflict-of-interest policy prohibiting university officials from â€œmaking personal gain out of university transactions.â€? The regents were also increasingly bound by state laws enacted to monitor the ethical behavior of public officials. In 1972, voters passed a statewide proposition requiring open meetings of public bodies, which includes the Board of Regents. And two years later came the California Political Reform Act of 1974, which prohibits public officials from even the appearance of using their position to influence governmental decisions that might be personally beneficial. To increase transparency and accountability, each regent must now file an annual economic disclosure report listing his or her assets in California. Notwithstanding these safeguards, conflicts of interest continued to arise: â€˘ In 1978, the state auditor found that UC was improperly investing in a
rivate equity investing is attractive to sophisticated investors and large institutions because it has the potential for large returns. But unlike deals that take place on public stock exchangesâ€”where sales and purchases are public information and regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissionâ€”the realm of private equity is opaque, largely unregulated and extremely difficult to exit should a deal go bad. It was 2003 when regents Blum, Wachter and Parsky, who left the board in 2008, consolidated control of UCâ€™s investment strategy. Bypassing the university treasurerâ€™s in-house investment specialists, the regentsâ€™ investment committee hired private managers to handle many of these new kinds of transactions. This action increased management costs and limited transparency (since these external managers are not subject to public-record laws). Soon, the amount of money placed in private equity had more than tripled, and by March 2009, the universityâ€™s books carried a balance of $6.7 billion in 212 private equity partnerships, which consist primarily of leveraged buyout funds, more than 10 percent of the investment fund total of $63 billion. These have not proven to be prudent investments. UCâ€™s private equity returns, as of spring 2009, were running at a negative 20 percent since the inception of the investment, according to the treasurerâ€™s most recent annual report. According to operating reports made to the investment committee
Times published an investigation titled â€œUC Regents: An Elite Club That Runs a Vast University.â€? The story revealed that many of the regents were millionaires with little or no background in education policy. Most had plenty of experience leveraging political connections for pecuniary gain. This wealthy group of socialites, lawyers, oil men and industrialists was out of touch with students and the common people, the Times observed: â€œThey drive fine cars and own boats and airplanes. They belong to the best clubs and play tennis on their own private courts.â€? And in their dealings with each other, â€œthe camaraderie and gentility of a private club are maintained. . . . Most regents consider it bad form to discuss their finances.â€? In the past half-century, the financial pedigrees of many regents have created particular challenges for avoiding conflicts of interest. In 1965, free-speech activist Marvin Garson responded to a call by the California Federation of Teachers to â€œinvestigate the composition and operation of the Board of Regents.â€? He produced a well-documented study noting that, â€œtaken as a group, the Regents are representatives of only one thingâ€”corporate wealth.â€?
corporation that included a regent on its board of directors. â€˘ In the early 1990s, the state auditor reported that some regents were improperly availing themselves of lavish travel and entertainment allowances. This audit unleashed a storm of public outrage, since the regents had simultaneously raised tuition. â€˘ In the mid-2000s, a series of media exposĂŠs were published concerning a variety of problems at UC, including excessive salaries and benefits for UC administrators; the regentsâ€™ mismanagement of the nationâ€™s nuclear laboratories; and the hiring of an investment firm (Wilshire Associates) with business connections to thenregent Gerald Parsky, a financier. Today, UCâ€™s current operating budget is $20 billion. The various endowment and retirement funds totaled $63 billion at the end of 2009. With such an enormous amount of public funds in play, the regents are bound to meticulously adhere to state laws and university policies that prohibit selfdealing. It is incumbent upon those individuals who are charged with overseeing the UC pension and endowment funds to avoid influencing or voting on investment decisions that potentially, actually or even appear to affect their personal business affairs. Many members of the current crop of regents have failed to consistently hold themselves to these ethical standardsâ€” especially when it comes to private equity investments.
F8C7C7424<4=C>5CD8C8>= UC has invested in for-profit â€˜diploma millsâ€™ while cutting back on public education.
by the current UC treasurer, Marie Berggren, much of the loss to the portfolio was tied to the souring of leveraged buyouts during the recession. In a leveraged buyout, private equity firms act as a â€œgeneral partnerâ€? by arranging private investment opportunities to purchase companies or real estate. The general partner finds â€œlimited partnersâ€?â€”typically institutions, pension funds or wealthy individualsâ€”to invest in that fund. (The limited partners have little or no say in how the fund operates, since it is being managed by the general partner.) The capital provided by the limited partners is used as a down payment for the purchase, and a large bank loan covers the remainder of the sale price. Although leveraged buyouts can be lucrative for both the limited and general partners, the buyout can also take on a predatory quality. In this scenario, the limited partners have the most to lose. Hereâ€™s how the darker version of these deals goes down: Once a company has been acquired, the investors can offload the responsibility for paying back the large bank loan onto the company itself. At the same time, the new owners can strip the acquired company of cash and other valuable assets to pay dividends to the general partners. Looted companies often collapse from a lack of operating capital brought about by trying to pay off the combination of the unsustainable debt burden and the dividend payouts. Collapse can cause the limited partners to lose their entire investment. The private equity firmâ€™s general partners may survive because they can charge their investors management fees regardless of a dealâ€™s outcome. While less predatory leveragedbuyout acquisitions can certainly benefit both the acquired company and all of its investors, the companies involved in the UC deals discussed in this story, for the most part, do not fall into the beneficial category. In 2009, Berggren reported that the average annual â€œinternal rate of returnâ€?
for the retirement planâ€™s private equity portfolio since 1979 was a mere 1.8 percent. But fixed-income investments had generated an average annual rate of return of 6 percent over a similar period. The only sector of the portfolio that fared worse than private equity was private real estate. After the financiers took control of the investment committee, the universityâ€™s allocation to private real estate deals increased from nearly zero to $4.5 billion in less than a decade. By mid-2009, the private real estate portfolio had lost an astonishing 40 percent of its value. Nonetheless, this notable shift in strategy toward alternative investmentsâ€”leveraged buyouts, in particularâ€”has had clear benefits for individual regents. And goodgovernment experts question the ethics of these investments. â€œThe investment committeeâ€™s act of increasing UCâ€™s allocation to private equity was an extraordinary conflict of interest,â€? said Public Citizenâ€™s Weissman. â€œSome of these regents obviously had vested interests.â€?
he private equity losses should not have surprised the regents. In 2008, Berggren stated in her annual report to the investment committee that private equity and private real estate investments were â€œoverweightedâ€? relative to other financial vehicles during the boom years. She also noted that the regentsâ€™ preference for private investment was disproportionately impacting UC during the economic recession. Amazingly, in the face of the disastrous performance of private equity and private real estate, Wachter and Blum have continued to advise Berggren to increase UCâ€™s investments in these two ailing sectors. At the February 2009 meeting of the regentsâ€™ investment committee, Wachter, then the committee chair, observed that although private equity and real estate investments were already â€œoverweightedâ€?
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lum Capital, based in San Francisco, handles a $2 billion portfolio. Regent Blum is the chairman of the investment firm’s board. He is also a principal executive and an owner of Fort Worth’s $45 billion private equity firm, TPG Capital, which has a history of partnering with a New York–based private equity firm called Apollo Management. Wachter, meanwhile, has disclosed multimillion-dollar holdings in a range of Apollo Management funds. During Blum and Wachter’s sevenyear tenure together on the regents’ investment committee, UC has invested nearly $750 million in private equity deals involving Apollo Management, Blum Capital Partners and TPG Capital. Several of these deals received contributions from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the country’s largest public pension fund, for which Blum Capital Partners is a paid investment adviser. What follows are summaries of just a few cases in which UC had invested and where Blum had concurrent business interests; one of these deals (Harrah’s Entertainment) involved Wachter. These facts were ascertained from reviewing thousands of pages of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings, commercial databases, UC public records and press accounts. 1. Harrah’s Entertainment Las Vegas, Nevada
The company: Harrah’s Entertainment operates 52 casinos in seven countries. The deal: In 2008, investment firms TPG Capital, Apollo Management and the Blackstone Group partnered in a leveraged buyout of Harrah’s for $30.7 billion. The Blum connection: In 2008, Blum disclosed investments worth “over $1 million” in various TPG funds (including funds named TPG IV and TPG V). He was also a TPG Capital owner and executive. The Wachter connection: Since becoming a regent, Wachter has disclosed investments worth “up to $1 million” in two Apollo investment funds (Apollo VI and VII) that provided capital to the Harrah’s deal. UC’s investment: At the time of the Harrah’s transaction, UC had $75 million invested in the same two Apollo Management funds in which Wachter was invested and which were themselves invested in the Harrah’s deal. During that period, UC also held $4.1 million in two TPG Capital funds, including one that helped finance the Harrah’s deal (TPG V). The investments in the TPG funds were made by several UC campus endowment foundations overseen by the regents while Blum—a TPG Capital executive who was himself invested in the Harrah’s deal (via TPG V)—served on the regents’ investment committee. UC also had $120 million invested with a private equity fund run by the Blackstone Group (Blackstone Capital Partners V), which participated heavily in the Harrah’s buyout. In total, UC’s general endowment and retirement funds committed $200 million to four private equity funds that financed the Harrah’s buyout, a deal in which Blum and Wachter each had significant financial interests. The fallout: Since the buyout, Harrah’s has hemorrhaged capital due to the overall decline of the gambling industry amid the global recession. Its ability to generate enough cash to pay back limited partner investors such as UC has been hampered by the $12.4 billion acquisition debt that Apollo Management, TPG Capital and the Blackstone Group placed on the books of the casino empire after acquiring it. UC’s investment in the private equity funds that participated in the Harrah’s deal had lost up to 40 percent of their value as of March 2009. 2. Washington Mutual Seattle, Washington First American Corporation (now CoreLogic) Santa Ana, California The companies: Before its acquisition by New York’s JPMorgan Chase, Washington Mutual was one of the country’s largest banks. In the fall of 2007, it stunned investors by declaring a loss of several billion dollars in the sub-prime housing market. Simultaneously, the New York attorney general sued a title company, First American Corporation, for conspiring with WaMu to inflate real estate appraisals. The price of WaMu and First American stock fell through the floor. The deal: In June 2008, in a major miscalculation of risk factors, TPG Capital bought a $7 billion stake in WaMu, becoming its largest shareholder. The Blum connection: Blum ''
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in the portfolio, they should be “even more overweighted.” At an investment committee meeting three months later, Blum, who was then the chairman of the board of regents, urged his colleagues to continue on the same questionable course. According to the meeting minutes, “Chairman Blum expressed concern that the university might become too risk-adverse.” At the same meeting, Wachter suggested that UC buy bundles of distressed real estate and mortgage debt to profit off of the collapse of the housing market. (Though a matter of continued debate, experts say such investments are a risky undertaking, since another wave of home foreclosures is expected.) Recently, Wachter has championed increasing the volume of UC’s investments in risky timber and oil ventures. But the entire investment committee is not in lockstep with Wachter and Blum’s predilection for alternative investments. Regent George Marcus, a real estate executive who sits on the committee, has consistently opposed them. In a March 2010 meeting, he described this strategy of overemphasizing private equity as the equivalent to “gambling in Las Vegas.” Blum would not respond to repeated written requests for comment. In an emailed statement, Berggren’s spokeswoman Lynn Tierney said, “It’s misguided to assume that there’s a conflict of interest simply because there’s an overlap between personal investments by University of California Regents and investments made by the UC Treasurer’s Office. The real issue is whether Regents communicate with the Treasurer’s office about specific investments.”
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participated in the WaMu investment through an interlocking series of TPG Capital funds (including TPG V and a related fund named Olympic Investment Partners). Blum Capital Partners also invested heavily in First American shares when the price plummeted following the allegations of appraisal collusion. UCâ€™s investment: In 2008, the UC Berkeley campus endowment fund invested $4.1 million in two TPG Capital funds that financed the WaMu deal (TPG V and TPG VI). UC retirement-fund managers made a bad bet by increasing their stake in WaMu bonds sevenfold, from $31 million in 2006 to $215 million by the end of 2007. Through its external managers, UC also purchased First American stock when its share price fell, putting $7 million into the failing company by the end of 2009. The fallout: The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation seized WaMu in September 2008, selling its assets on the cheap to JPMorgan Chase. Stockholders were wiped out. TPG Capital is reported to have suffered a loss of $1.3 billion, which would likely negatively affect the fund that UC had invested in (TPG V), although this information is not public. By the end of 2008, the value of UCâ€™s investment in WaMu bonds had declined by $48 million. First American continues to struggle financially and in the courts. 3. Univision Communications New York, New York The company: Univision Communications is the dominant Spanish-language media company in the United States, operating 62 television stations and 69 radio stations. The deal: In March 2007, a consortium of five private equity investment companies led by a former UC regent named Haim Saban acquired Univision Communications in a $13.7 billion leveraged buyout. The private equity investors were Saban Capital Group, TPG Capital, Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners. The Blum connection: Blum participated in the Univision deal through his investments in two TPG Capital funds (TPG IV and TPG V). His spouse, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, disclosed Univision as an asset in 2007. Blum also maintained a financial interest in the deal by virtue of being a principal executive and owner of TPG Capital. UCâ€™s investment: A member of the UC investment committee, Saban resigned as a regent in 2004. Saban then put together the Univision deal. During the acquisition, UC campus endowment funds had invested $4.1 million in two relevant TPG Capital funds (TPG IV and TPG V). Additionally, UC had invested $150 million in the two Madison Dearborn funds that financed the Univision buyout (Madison Dearborn IV and Madison Dearborn V). The fallout: Following the buyout, Univisionâ€™s new ownersâ€”including TPG Capital and Apollo Managementâ€”placed the $10 billion debt from the buyout on the
companyâ€™s balance sheet, creating a financial burden. The value of UCâ€™s investment in one Madison Dearborn fund decreased by 17 percent as of the spring of 2009, while the other showed a gain of 18 percent. Apollo Management and TPG Capital collectively charged its investors, including UC, a $200 million transaction fee for managing the deal. 4. Glenborough Realty Trust San Mateo, California The deal: Glenborough Realty Trust was sold to Morgan Stanley Real Estate in a $1.8 billion leveraged buyout that took the company private in November 2006. UCâ€™s investment: UC invested $42 million in the Morgan Stanley private equity investment fund that bought Glenborough. The Blum connection: In addition to his executive position with the global real estate giant, CB Richard Ellis, Blumâ€™s business interests include the purchase and sale of real estate companies for his personal portfolio. At the time the Glenborough deal was approved by UC, Blum owned Glenborough stock worth about $2.5 million, and he sat on the companyâ€™s board of directors. The SEC disclosure statements filed by the real estate company prior to the sale show that as a member of its board of directors, Blum would see direct financial benefit if UC invested in the Morgan Stanley fund that financed the buyout. Details of the deal: Glenborough owned scores of high-end office buildings in a halfdozen major cities, including San Francisco. Private equity suitors regularly came calling on the Glenborough board of directors, hoping to buy the profitable company. Morgan Stanley won Glenboroughâ€™s hand with a $1.9 billion offer via one of its private equity investment funds (MSREF V). Public records show that before the sale, UC held $8 million in this Morgan Stanley fund. After the sale of Glenborough was announced, UC increased this amount by $34 million, for a total investment of $42 million. The Morgan Stanley fund put up a cash payment of $325 million to realize the Glenborough deal (UCâ€™s contribution, via the Morgan Stanley investment fund, was equivalent to 13 percent of the cash that was made as a down payment). The majority of the remaining $1.8 billion purchase price was leveraged by a loan from Deutsche Bank Securities. The original members of the Glenborough board of directors, including Blum, sold their stock at a premium price. The fallout: Glenborough was saddled with a tremendous debt load from the acquisition, and it struggled mightily to meet the loan obligation. The deal turned out to be a bad investment for UC. By the end of 2009, due to the collapse of the real estate market and the companyâ€™s debt burden, the value of UCâ€™s investment in the Morgan Stanley fund had plummeted to $3.5 million, recording an apparent loss of $38.5 million. Peter Byrne is an investigative reporter and science writer whose column â€˜The Byrne Reportâ€™ appeared in these pages from 2004 to 2007.
67>D;064 You too can experience the joys of simulated ocular laceration, just like Zeke Britton, shown here.
AT[Pg8cÂžb9dbc<PZTd_ How to pay good money to get poked in the eye with a stick By Suzanne Daly
enter the office-building conference room and survey the damage around me. Blood and bits of flesh are splattered across the tabletops. As I creep closer, I see a pretty teenage girl with a bullet wound in her bruised and bleeding forehead, a vampire bite in her neck and a jagged piece of glass protruding from the wide gash on her forearm. She turns to me, f lashes a big smile and asks, â€œHow do I look?â€? Thankfully, this is not the work of a mass murderer or a gun-wielding vampire, but that of a moulage artist, training volunteers for a Red Cross Halloween fundraiser. Moulage, from the French mouler, â€œto mold,â€? has been in use for medical training since the Renaissance. Originally referring to the casting of wax models, moulage is now better known as the art of simulating injuries for educational purposesâ€”realistic wounds created on â€œvictimsâ€? to train emergency-response teams, military and medical personnel, Boy Scouts and others for disaster drills. The two basic components for recreating wounds include fake skin, or â€œschkin,â€? and
simulated blood of varying thickness. Recipes for both can be created with simple ingredients like cornstarch, Vaseline, cocoa powder and food coloring. Watercolors, black nail polish, lipstick, clean dried chicken bones, sticks and â€œglassâ€? made from plastic containers are also used to create wounds. Colored oatmeal in a double-wrapped condom? VoilĂ â€”intestines. Cooked rice? Perfect for maggot-infested wounds. While a basic moulage kit is easily obtainable, the art of applying the makeup takes skill, and thatâ€™s where Sonoma County Red Cross volunteer Fran Condon comes in. A lifelong crafter, Condon once took first prize at the state fair for carving an entire nativity scene from bars of Ivory soap. Her interest in sculpture translated to training in moulage, and she now instructs others. Recently, Condon took part in staging a â€œdisasterâ€? at the Santa Rosa Airport, helping to create 150 casualties for response teams to triage. â€œMoulage teams help CERT [community emergency response team] members to graduate,â€? says Condon. â€œThe examiners usually donâ€™t tell the potential graduates that triage victims arenâ€™t really wounded, so itâ€™s a shocking
surprise when they come upon disaster scenes. The military also uses moulage for disaster drills in the field, and hospital workers use it to simulate surgeries.â€? This Halloween season, teens earning community service hours will be applying moulage skills at five stations inside the mall in Santa Rosa, providing piĂ¨ces de rĂŠsistance for Halloween costumesâ€”bullet wounds, lacerations, bruises, gashes and vampire-fang bites. Poked-out eyeballs can be ordered with or without protrusions, such as sticks or glass shards, and prices vary from $10 to $25 per faux injury. Moulage wounds wash off easily with soap and water, although if wounds remain untouched after application, with care they may last for six to eight hours. And thatâ€™s just long enough to scare the hell out of the neighbors on Halloween night. The Red Cross applies really gross, creepy, disgusting moulage wounds to enhance your Halloween costume on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 30 and 31, inside the Santa Rosa Plaza in downtown Santa Rosa. Saturday, 2â€“8pm; Sunday, 2â€“6pm. $10â€“$25 per wound. 707.373.7132.
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â€˜9 Circlesâ€™ addresses war crimes boldly, brilliantly By David Templeton
ell contains nine distinct circles, as anyone whoâ€™s ever read The Divine Comedy knows. In the knockout new play 9 Circles by Bill Cain, we watch as a young American soldier recently discharged from the military metaphorically passes through each and every one of those circles. This is not a play about war. Itâ€™s not a play about war crimes. Itâ€™s a play about the human soul. The Marin Theatre Companyâ€™s haunting, transcendent and almost unbearably intense production of 9 Circles, though hardly f lawless, stands as one of the best and boldest new plays of the year. Running through Nov. 7 in MTCâ€™s intimate Lieberman Theatre, 9 Circles, directed with taught focus of purpose by Kent Nicholson, follows the descent of Pvt. Daniel Reeves (an explosive and terrifying Craig Marker), beginning with his own personal first circle of hell as he is discharged from the service. A deeply troubled young man with a history of violence and personality disorder, the wise-cracking Reeves is infuriated by his â€œhonorable dischargeâ€? (â€œSounds like what your biology teacher says instead of saying â€˜cum,â€™â€? he snarls), wanting nothing more than to remain in Iraq, where he has seen his share of hell already. Back in the States, Reeves is arrested, and gradually comes to understand the severity of his situation. He has been charged with leading a troop of soldiers on an unauthorized killing spree while serving in Iraq, an episode that included the rape and murder of a 14year-old girl. Reeves claims he is being set up as a scapegoat, arguing his position to a series of visiting lawyers, ministers and psychiatrists, all played by the remarkable James Carpenter
and a slightly less impressive (though largely capable) Jennifer Erdmann. Each new scene is announced as another circle, counting up to nine as the tightly mounting tension builds to an inevitable conclusion. Through it all, Markerâ€”whose astonishing, full-bodied fierceness may cause the audience to feel physically threatened at timesâ€”shows us Reevesâ€™ unraveling psyche. Trained to kill, recruited because of his willingness to kill, Reeves is torn between feelings of betrayal, rage, ironic disbelief, distrust and, a little too late, remorse. As he says after his arrest in Texas, â€œEverything we did over there is a crime over here.â€? Playwright Cain, whose impish Equivocation turned him into an overnight sensation last year, was awarded the Marin Theater Companyâ€™s Sky Cooper new American play prize for the 9 Circles script. A practicing Jesuit priest with an extensive background in theater (he ran his own Shakespeare company for several years), Cain has been called one of the more remarkable and eloquent writers on the current American theater scene. 9 Circles proves why. The script feels as if it could use some tightening, especially the final speech, in which Cain finds a surprising but appropriately effective way to describe the ninth circle of hell. But Cain is not afraid to ask questions that have no answers, and though his writing in this world premiere occasionally strays into preachiness, itâ€™s some of the best-written preachiness youâ€™re likely to see onstage this year. â€˜9 Circlesâ€™ runs Tuesdayâ€“Sunday through Nov. 7 in the Lieberman Theatre at Marin Theatre Company. Showtimes vary. 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley. $32â€“$53. 415.388.5208.
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?0?4A102:FAHC4A Noomi Rapace returns as Lisbeth Salander from Steig Larssonâ€™s bestselling books.
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â€˜The Girl Who Kicked the Hornetâ€™s Nestâ€™ stays bedridden By Richard von Busack
he glowing harbor views and country scapes of The Girl Who Played with Fire have been replaced in its sequel, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornetâ€™s Nest, with a televisionistic series of close-ups of baleful Swedes frowning at each other over tables or sitting and fidgeting at press conferences. The girl of the title, of course, is Death BjĂśrk 2000, better known as punkette guerrilla Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace). While slowly, slowly healing from the multiple gunshot wounds she acquired at the end of the last movie, Salander becomes the object of lively interest from the police, who plan to charge her for the attempted murder of her father. Meanwhile, the ill-tempered survivors of the government cabal that secretly imported Salanderâ€™s evil Soviet father into Sweden plan to silence the troublesome girl. Our hero, Mikael (Michael Nyqvist), working for Millennium magazine, wants to elicit Lisbethâ€™s side of the story. But his co-editor, Erika (Lena Endre), is menaced by anonymous emails and a brick through the window. This makes Erika less inclined to take on an editorial crusade instead of stiffening her willpower, which is disappointing for two reasons. First, in the previous movies, she didnâ€™t look at all underequipped with willpower; second, there were only two emails. Any movie with a villain shouting, â€œFools! Idiots! I will destroy you!â€? has already made some kind of break with realism. So one wonders why the film pedantically insists on the realistic aftereffects of some gunshot wounds. Bad as these wounds would be in real life, they are perhaps a little overdone for the purposes of a thriller.
Furthermore, too much of the movie is spent showing Lisbeth in physical therapy, slowly starting to regain her zest for living under the supervision of a handsome, kindly physician. Itâ€™s not until the end of the movie that sheâ€™s back to her old self, a walking tacklebox of piercings, dressed like Cher during her brief Mohican era and wearing the ornery, put-upon expression that has brought worldwide fame. Just as deserving of a put-upon expression is Niklas Falk as the prime ministerâ€™s man in charge of the investigation. He looks so full of serious convictionâ€”a falcon version of that eagle Max von Sydowâ€”that one wants to see him take the movie over and shove the conspirators back in the old folksâ€™ home where they belong. Despite how wide-awake Falk looks, the investigations in the movie arenâ€™t masterpieces of deduction. There are obvious traps sprung. Villains attack at precisely the kind of place to get them arrested in public. Clearly, this is to make it look like somethingâ€™s happening between scenes of Scandinavians shuffling papers. The enervation of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornetâ€™s Nest is indescribable. It ends the trilogy not with a bang but with a thud. Its arc makes a long two-and-a-half hour journey from hospital bed to very unmoving last goodbye, when the two leads, punkette avenger and dog-faced journalist, practically turn to the camera and say, â€œWeâ€™re done here.â€? â€˜The Girl Who Kicked the Hornetâ€™s Nestâ€™ opens Friday, Oct. 29, at Third Street Cinemas (620 Third St., Santa Rosa; 707.528.8770) and the Smith Rafael Film Center (1118 Fourth St., San Rafael; 415.454.1222).
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Francesco Mistichelli pines for the mayorâ€™s daughter in â€˜Marcello Marcello,â€™ screening Oct. 30 at the Marin Centerâ€™s Italian Film Festival.
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N O R T H B AY M O V I E T I M E S www.sonomamovietimes.com www.marinmovietimes.com www.napamovietimes.com
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A New England
â€œThe voice of the people,â€? â€œthe heart of the working manâ€?â€”British songwriter Billy Bragg has had enough championing titles thrown at him to fill a dozen caskets of ale. No singer on the British isles combines issues of justice and love so f luently, and in every hue of Braggâ€™s distinct voice and electric-guitar strum lies the weight of human kindness. Who else but Bragg could release an album called Talking with the Taxman About Poetry? Who else could have collaborated so elegantly with Wilco on unrecorded Woody Guthrie songs for Mermaid Avenue? Sit with a devout following and donâ€™t miss the opener, Napa Valley native Sean Garvey, when Billy Bragg plays Friday, Oct. 29, at the Uptown Theatre. 1350 Third St., Napa. 8pm. $37â€“$47. 707.259.0123.
Sure, Pigeon John doesnâ€™t swear much, heâ€™s overly positive and heâ€™s said in interviews that he got his name when Jesus Christ appeared in his car. See him live, however, and itâ€™s evident that whatever motivates John in his personal life is working. In a constant pogo, Pigeon John delivers a steady stream of complex rhyme forms over never-stale beats, and always leaves a crowd wanting more. His latest album, Dragon Slayer, is a coup for indie label Quannum Projects, having been featured in a recent Volkswagen commercial, and his marriage to exâ€“porn star Harmony Dust canâ€™t be all that bad either. See him pop off with lightning-fast opener Busdriver on Friday, Oct. 29, at 19 Broadway Niteclub. 19 Broadway, Fairfax. 10pm. $10â€“$12. 415.459.1091.
You Can Do It! When I first noticed that Saturday Night Live alumnus Rob Schneider had scheduled a show for late October, I couldnâ€™t help but think: O ye of little faith! Schneider, a dedicated Giants fan often seen at the ball park, apparently could not have predicted his team would be in the World Series. Wouldnâ€™t it have been funny if his show in Santa Rosa fell at the same time as a game against the Rangers? As it is, Schneider got very, very lucky, and heâ€™ll be cracking jokes onstage during a travel day for the ballplayers. Youâ€™ve seen him in those ridiculous Deuce Bigalow movies and reciting a weirdly contagious line in The Waterboy; now see him live when Rob Schneider yuks it up on Friday, Oct. 29, at the Wells Fargo Center. 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. 8pm. $15â€“$30. 707.546.3600.
Bodices, sword swallowers, fishnets and fire eaters! Wax moustaches, burlesque dancers, top hats and musical saws! Hypnotists, banjos, parasols and washboards! Throw in a couple minor-key songs, and youâ€™ve got the recipe for two back-to-back events this Halloween weekend. Cirque du Sebastopol returns with Kraddy, Nit Grit, Brothers Horse, the Jug Dealers and all manner of stilt walkers and magicians on Saturday, Oct. 30, at Hopmonk Tavern (230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol; 9pm; $30; 707.829.7300). On Sunday, the Yard Dogs Road Show return with their highly theatrical set sure to amaze even the most jaded former trick-or-treater on Halloween night. Itâ€™s a night to remember when the Yard Dogs Road Show play on Sunday, Oct. 31, at the Mystic Theatre (21 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma; 8pm; $22â€“$25; 707.765.2121).
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Playing for Change Band brings its uplifting message worldwide n a testament to the power of the internet to make the awesome possible, the Playing for Change Band began when cofounder Mark Johnson ran into street performer Roger Ridley playing Ben E. Kingâ€™s â€œStand by Meâ€? on a Santa Monica sidewalk. Johnson was inspired to record Ridleyâ€™s version, combine it with the sounds of other artists playing music in communities around the world, and multitrack all of their interpretations of the classic song into one video and post it on YouTube. Nearly 25 million views later, the project has exploded into a band, an international tour and a foundation dedicated to keeping cultural traditions alive through music schools. â€œThe video got such a wide response because it didnâ€™t try to hide the truth of the musicians,â€? says Mohammed Aludi, one of the 10 international musicians in the band. â€œIt revealed the truth of the music to the world.â€? Alidu studied the talking drums of Northern Ghana from the age of three and carried those skills with him when he met Johnson, who was in Colorado producing Playing for Changeâ€™s ďŹ rst beneďŹ t concert in 2007. Upon learning of the bandâ€™s belief that music has the power to break down walls and shorten distances between people, Alidu didnâ€™t hesitate to add his talent to the multicultural swirl of uplifting cover songs. â€œItâ€™s a very great honor. When I was young, I would go to the market in Ghana and beg and play for food, so this is a life-changing dream come true,â€? he says. Back home, Aludiâ€™s family has donated a tract of land to the foundation to build a music school. The drummer hopes to share the bandâ€™s mission of â€œconnecting the world through musicâ€? with children in his hometown. â€œSo much of who I am has come from music,â€? he testiďŹ es. â€œAll the traveling around the worldâ€”my drum takes me there. I want that life for everyone in my community.â€? With that in mind, a dollar from each ticket sold goes directly to the foundation, in addition to a percentage of the bandâ€™s total proďŹ ts. The Playing for Change Band comes together on Friday, Oct. 9, at the Mystic Theatre. 23 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. 8pm. $30â€“$35. 707.765.2121. Sara Jane Pohlman
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BC82:8=6>DC Dafnis Prieto heads spoken-word jazz group the Proverb Trio at 142 Throckmorton Nov. 3. See Clubs, p29.
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0?6A60¶@ 05<602 Across the bridge
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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 PROMOTERS 707.545.5876 10/28
7:30 - 10:00 PM > TRIVIA
QUIZMANIAX! PUB QUIZ 10/29
9:00 PM SHOW > $20 > COMEDY
CRAIG GA SS
seen on "Sex and the city", "king of queens", "the roast of gene simmons"
8:00 PM SHOW > $20 > COMEDY
CRAIG GA SS encore performance 10/30
9:30 PM SHOW > $20 > ROCK
IT'S A HALLOWEEN BASH W/
AC/D S HE All-Girl tribute to AC/DC + ADD/C + PRIZES FOR THE 3 BEST COSTUMES
8:30 PM SHOW > $20 > ROCK
TRAPT + the disciples + simoom 11/5
9:30 PM SHOW > $10 > DANCE, HIP HOP
POP FICTION + DJ MATT MCKILLOP 11/6
9:00 PM SHOW > $30 > PUNK ROCK
+ JUICEHEAD + PITCHFORK REBELLION 11/7
7:30 PM SHOW > $12 > AMERICANA
roger clyne & the peacemakers + STOLL VAUGHN 11/13
8:30 PM SHOW > $10 > ROCK
SFARZO STRINGS & LAST DAY SALOON PRESENT
+ MILES SCHON BAND + DARKSIDE SHINE 11/15
8:30 PM SHOW > $18/20 > ROCK
NONPOINT + IN THIS MOMENT all shows are 21+ unless noted for reservations: 707.545.5876
707.545.2343 120 5th street @ davis street santa rosa, ca
For Terry Zwigoff, the same music that perchance caused death is just as good as any afterward.
AXc\^ST[^b<dTac^b What do you want played at your funeral?
By David Templeton
rom the dawn of civilizationâ€”and maybe even earlierâ€”every funeral has required a bit of well-chosen music. Whether itâ€™s a chamber orchestra playing a requiem mass or your cousinâ€™s boombox playing Israel Kamakawiwoâ€™oleâ€™s version of â€œOver the Rainbow,â€? no burial seems complete without a little tunage. In most cases, of course, it is our survivors who choose the music, and their choices are usually tasteful, respectful and appropriate. To hell with all that, suggests novelist Christopher Moore. When he dies, the cult-favorite author (Bloodsucking Fiends, Practical Demonkeeping, The Stupidest Angel and A Dirty Job) has already decided that his funeral will conclude with the playing of Tom Waitsâ€™ 1985 song â€œTango Till Theyâ€™re Sore.â€? â€œItâ€™s from the Rain Dogs album,â€? says Moore, anticipating his earthly farewell. â€œItâ€™s the perfect dirge,â€? he says, â€œa mixture of the joy of life and the melancholy of its inevitable end.â€? To be sure, most of us donâ€™t plan our own funerals, but if we didâ€”including choosing the music played during the more dramatic momentsâ€”those funerals might be a whole lot more interesting. I asked a number of North Bay musicians, authors, actors and standup comics what music theyâ€™d choose for the climax of their eventual grand interment, and their answers ran from the smart to the smart-ass, from the serious to the seriously messed up. Comedian Dan St. Paul, whoâ€™s always said he doesnâ€™t fear death nearly as much as he fears never seeing any more baseball games, wants â€œTake Me Out to the Ball Gameâ€? as his coffin is carried away. Fellow comic Arthur Gaus selects the Bugglesâ€™
â€œVideo Killed the Radio Star,â€? because, as he puts it, â€œIt doesnâ€™t make any sense to have that song at a funeralâ€”and I like that about it.â€? Fittingly enough, theater publicist Kim Taylor wants her funeral to include the Ray Noble version of the big-band song â€œDonâ€™t Say Goodbye.â€? â€œAnd thenâ€? she says, â€œwhen I go to heaven, I hope thereâ€™s a cocktail lounge, where I can smoke without anyone chastising meâ€”and I hope Ray Noble is there singing that song.â€? For actor-director Conrad Bishopâ€” whose current show Hands Up (Friday, Oct. 29, at the Occidental Arts Center) takes a surreal look at mortality and the end of lifeâ€”the song most tempting to have played at his funeral is Edith Piaf â€™s â€œMilord.â€? â€œDonâ€™t know if Iâ€™d actually ask that,â€? Bishop allows, â€œas nobody but Elizabeth would understand.â€? (Conradâ€™s wife and longtime performance partner is Elizabeth Fuller.) â€œBut that song was constantly playing on the jukebox at the scroungy little greasyspoon cafe that was the actorsâ€™ hangout near Northwestern U in 1960 though â€™61, when we were courting. And besides the intense nostalgia of that memory, the song sums upâ€”in the building momentum of its final chorusâ€”the spirit of joy thatâ€™s sustained us through these 50 years.â€? Of course, there are those who prefer not to think about it. Director Terry Zwigoff (Ghost World, Bad Santa, Crumb) points out that corpses canâ€™t hear, and prefers to leave such decisions to others. â€œWhat do I care what they play? Iâ€™ll be dead,â€? says Zwigoff. â€œThey can play Elton John for all I careâ€” and I hate Elton John.â€? David Templetonâ€™s full segment about death songs airs on the Oct. 27 edition of KRCBâ€™s ArtsID program. 91.1-FM, 7pm. www.artsid.org.
Outdoor Dining 7 Days a Week
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DI N N E R A N D
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Take a scenic drive for a unique dining experience Sat & Sun
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LAVAY SMITH AND HER Nov 6 RED HOT SKILLET LICKERS Sat
RAMBLINâ€™ JACK ELLIOT S FORBERT PETTY THEFT
The Ultimate Tom Petty Tribute 8:30pm Rock â€˜n Roll
JOHNNY ALLAIRâ€™S GRATITUDE DANCE PARTY
SPECIAL 5PM SHOW
TIM WEED AND FRIENDS Insrumental Virtuoso 5:00pm/In the Rancho Room 415.662.2219
On the Town Square, Nicasio www.ranchonicasio.com
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AND TEVE 7:30pm
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5:00pm/In the Bar
D 8:30pm S O L
LEE PRESSON AND THE NAILS
SFâ€™s Wildest Swing Band 8:30pm
T OUNG JESSIE COLIN O UY
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LUCKY DOG PLUS PINHEIRO STATION
7:45pm â€œDevilâ€™s Nightâ€?
Photographs from â€˜Know the Rulesâ€”Then Break Themâ€™ challenge convention at the di Rosa. See Openings, adjacent.
S H OW
WILL DURST PLUS DEB AND MIKE Postponed to 12/5 due to World Series. Go Giants!
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Rock, Blues and Country
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AO\bO@]aO %%#$&" THE BOHEMIAN
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SANTA ROSA WELLS FARGO FARGO CENTER CENTER FOR FOR THE THE ARTS ARTS WELLS 4(523$!9 ./6%-"%2 4( 0-
SAN RAFAEL RAFAEL SAN
MARIN CENTER CENTER MARIN 3!452$!9 ./6%-"%2 4( 0-
ticketing info Tickets available at Santa Rosa Ski and Sports, Tickets.com, and the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts (707.546.3600). $)3#/5.4%$ 4)#+%43
Buy 12 or more tickets and get $1 off every ticket plus Warren Miller DVDs and SWAG. The more tickets you buy, the more stuff you get.
Call 1.800.523.7117 to purchase.
ticket holders will receive
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