A Press Democrat Blog


Dan Taylor on the fine arts scene.

Sonoma County seeks its next poet laureate

Petaluma native Bill Vartnaw, a lifelong writer and one-time San Francisco cab driver, is finishing his two-year term as Sonoma County’s seventh poet laureate. The time has come to pick a successor, and nominations are open now. The job description is simple enough: Promote poetry in general and local poets in particular. Each poet laureate sets his or her own specific agenda. The deadline for nominations is Oct. 31, 2013 and the new poet laureate will be announced in December.… Read More »

Sci-Fi show at Imaginists

Science fiction doesn’t necessarily require a big movie screen and expensive, computer-generated special effects. Sometimes, a small studio theater troupe is powerful enough to take you to worlds you never imagined. The Imaginists Theatre Collective’s Project 104 ensemble will present “Sci Fi Theatre: We from Afar,” an evening of four short science fiction tales. All are based on the short stories of Nebula Award-nominated writer Eliot Fintushel, a member of the Imaginists company. The production opens at 8 p.m. Friday,… Read More »

Yiddish culture fest comes to Santa Rosa

Looking for something a little different this weekend? How about “A Taste of Yiddish Culture”? Celebrate the Jewish Community Center Sonoma County’s ‘Simcha Sunday,’ with Klez Calfornia presenting live klezmer music and cultural workshops, ending with a dance party, noon-5:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27. at Veterans Memorial Building, 1351 Maple Ave., Santa Rosa. The lineup includes klezmer band Veretski Pass, Jewish song maven and cantor Sharon Bernstein, Yiddish dance leader Bruce Bierman, Yiddish expert Harvey Varga and educator and author… Read More »

ArtsSonoma Festival wraps up this weekend

This year’s second annual ArtsSonoma Festival, which began Aug. 28, wraps up this weekend, with arts events popping up at various venues around Sonoma County. Jennifer Sloan, executive director of the Arts Council of Sonoma County, offers a few highlights from the remainder of the festival’s very busy schedule: Today, Sept. 10: – Carnival of Chaos presents its “Night of Extreme Vaudeville” at 7 p.m.  at the North Bay Film and Arts Collective (formerly the New College) on Sixth Street… Read More »

Poet Gary Soto at Mendo College

Well, let’s see. Recently we’ve covered cinema, live theater, outdoor sculpture, gallery exhibits and nightclub acts. It must be time for some poetry. Gary Soto, poet and author of more than 50 books, will read selections including excerpts from his new poetry collection, “Partly Cloudy: Poems of Love and Longing,” at Mendocino College in Ukiah on Thursday, March 25. The free program starts at 7 p.m. in the Little Theater on campus, at 1000 Hensley Creek Road. Soto, a Fresno… Read More »

Sonoma County’s new poet laureate

Some of you who live in Sonoma County may not even know you have a poet laureate, but you do. You’ve had a half a dozen of ‘em so far, in fact. The sixth and newest Sonoma County Poet Laureate is Gwynn O’Gara of Sebastopol, known in Northern California both as a writer and as a writing teacher. She has been active in the California Poets in the Schools program for the past 20 years, and recently taught classes in… Read More »

‘Twisted Christmas’ in Santa Rosa

Tired of the same old  holiday fare year after year? Maybe you’re ready something a little bit … twisted. North Bay writer and actor David Templeton (above) hosts his seventh annual staged reading and variety show, “Twisted Christmas,” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5,  at Glaser Center in  Santa Rosa. A few samples of what you’ll see: * Satirist Will Durst reads “Crumbs at Midnight.” * Actor Tim Kniffin performs “Mr. Spock’s First Christmas.” * KRSO Radio’s Steve Jaxon reads… Read More »

Of mice, men and Wells Fargo Center

For a beleaguered high school literature student, there are few reading assignments quite as welcome as John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.” It’s easy to read, tells a powerful story and (compared to many of the great novels) it’s blessedly short. But even for those motivated partly by short attention span, this tale of two men on the road in search of work makes a lasting impression. And if you’re not in a reading mood at the moment, you still… Read More »

“All the Great Books” opens Vol. II in Napa

Last spring, Jennifer King directed a production of “All the Great Books (Abridged)” at Sebastopol’s Sonoma County Repertory Theater that had audiences howling with laughter. If you missed it, don’t worry. You’re getting a second chance. Long a mainstay at the Rep, King is also artistic director at Napa Valley College, and she’s bringing back the show for a reprise on campus, with the same cast. The premise is a variation on a nightmare familiar to most of us: you’re… Read More »