A Press Democrat Blog


Dan Taylor on the fine arts scene.

Sonoma County Dance Guild plans fund-raiser, scholarship auditions

Since 1959, the Sonoma County Dance Guild has awarded annual scholarships to dance students, with more than 80 of the recipients going on to professional careers as dancers, choreographers and dance teachers. To raise funds keep the program going, the guild plans a Mardi Gras-themed fund-raiser from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at the Lomitas School House, 2421 Lomitas Ave., Santa Rosa. The evening will include a costume contest, dance performances, a raffle, a New Orleans-style dinner and… Read More »

Santa Rosa High School actress wins $10,000 ‘Beach Blanket Babylon’ scholarship

Madeline Rouverol, 18, a senior at Santa Rosa High School, won a $10,000 scholarship Monday from the Steve Silver Foundation and “Beach Blanket Babylon” in San Francisco. She was one of nine Bay Area contestants, competing in three separate categories, who performed for judges Monday night at Club Fugazi, home of the long-running musical comedy review created by the late Steve Silver, “I was very anxious beforehand, but when I went out to perform I felt lifted by the audience’s… Read More »

Local live theater win awards from online voters

Santa Rosa’s 6th Street Playhouse has won 2012 “Theatre of the Year” and four other awards from voters on the BroadwayWorld.com San Francisco web site. 6th Street’s production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” won in the best local play category, and the show’s director, Michael Fontaine, 6th Street’s managing director, won for best direction. Craig Miller, 6th Street’s artistic director, won the best sound design award for his work on “The Great American Trailer Park Musical.” Miller also… Read More »

Tom Waits gets Grammy nomination for ‘Bad As Me’

Tom Waits, rock hall-of-famer and longtime Sonoma County resident, popped up on the Grammy Awards nominations list last week. Waits was nominated in the best alternative album category for “Bad As Me,” a collection of reinvented roots and rock, and his first studio album of all new music in seven years. Other nominees in the alternative album category are M83 for “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming,” Björk for “Biophilia,” Gotye for “Making Mirrors,” and Fiona Apple for “The Idler Wheel Is… Read More »

Arts Council Sonoma County honors emerging artists

The Arts Council of Sonoma County has announced the winners of the 2012 Sonoma County Artist Awards for Emerging Visual Artists. The winners are multi-media artists Mike Koftinow of Rohnert Park and Ryan Butler of Healdsburg, and painter Kai Samuels-Davis of Jenner. Each of them will each receive a $2,500 cash award in recognition of their development as artists. Koftinow, Samuels-Davis and Butler were among 44 artists nominated for the awards by Sonoma County artists and arts organizations. Information: www.sonomaarts.com.

SSU teacher critiques Oscar nominations

Christina Baker, an assistant professor in the American Multi-cultural Studies department at Sonoma State University, found a teachable moment in this year’s Academy Award nominations. In 1940, Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to win an Oscar, as best supporting actress as the mammy in “Gone With the Wind.” And this year, Viola Davis is nominated for best actress, and Octavia Spencer for best supporting actress, both in “The Help,” in which they play maids who take care of… Read More »

Petaluma stage director gets award

Local playgoers may not recognize the name of director John Brebner of Petaluma.  But down in Marin County, he’s a legend. The Ross Valley Players recently presented its first-ever “Life Time Contribution Award” to Brebner, 88, for his five decades of service. Brebner first directed “Anniversary Waltz” at the theater in 1953 and last directed “The Importance of Being Earnest,” in 2004, the opening play of the theater’s 75th season. Brebner also has  worked as an actor on the Ross… Read More »

John Lasseter gets star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

John Lasseter has been a star since he made his directorial debut with “Toy Story,” the first feature-length, computer-animated film, in 1995. But now the Hollywood Walk of Fame is going to make it official at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday with a ceremony awarding Lasseter his own star on Hollywood Boulevard in front of the El Capitan Theatre. Expected guests include Don Rickles and Owen Wilson. Lasseter, 54, who lives in Glen Ellen and helps run Lasseter Family Winery, has been… Read More »

Charlie Musselwhite wins blues awards

Charlie Musselwhite, legendary blues musician and a longtime Sonoma County neighbor, did very well last night (Thursday, May 5) at the Blues Music Awards in Memphis. Musselwhite won Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year, and also was named best instrumentalist in the  harmonica category. He also was nominated for song the year for “Sad and Beautiful World,” and for both album of the year and traditional blues album of the year, for “The Well.”

Sculptor Mark di Suvero honored

For art lovers with a long memory of Sonoma County’s brightest stars, one name leaps out from the list of 2010 National Medal of Arts recipients announced this week in Washington, D.C. Born in Shanghai, China, and now based in New York, sculptor Mark di Suvero lived near Petaluma  from 1975 to 1988. He was among the circle of Sonoma Mountain area sculptors that also includes David Best and Robert Ellison. Just to demonstrate the caliber of artist that wins… Read More »