A Press Democrat Blog


Dan Taylor on the fine arts scene.

Sonoma County Book Festival ends its 14-year run

After 14 years of presenting local and big-name authors, the annual Sonoma County Book Festival has ended. The Literary Art Guild, the festival’s sponsor, is disbanding due to lack of funds, said its president, Karen Petersen. “We had a fabulous run,” Petersen said. “Things come to an end. Support for arts organizations in general is waning.” The guild was founded to stage the first Sonoma County Book Festival in 2000. The festival was held yearly in Santa Rosa’s Old Courthouse… Read More »

Pianist Rudolf Budginas to perform at Santa Rosa Junior College

Lithuanian classical pianist Rudolf Budginas, currently a member of the Santa Rosa Junior College faculty, has attracted a following with his novel and eclectic musical style. His blend of music and comedy has sparked comparisons with famed pianist and humorist Victor Borge. Budginas’ popular YouTube video shows him dragging a conga drum and cymbal stand over to his grand piano before beginning Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. The pianist will play rock, jazz and fusion music Saturday, Oct. 19, with guitarist Kenny… Read More »

Summer Repertory Theatre adds new performances

Santa Rosa Junior College’s Summer Repertory Theatre has added three more performances of its sold-out production of “The Fox on The Fairway,” written by Ken Ludwig, author of “Lend Me a Tenor.” Extra performances of the play, a romantic farce set at a golf and country club, will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 30, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 31, at Newman Auditorium in Emeritus Hall, at the Elliot Avenue end of the Santa Rosa campus.… Read More »

Santa Rosa Junior College displays its permanent art collection

Santa Rosa Junior College is putting its permanent art collection, featuring almost 80 works created by 52 artists who have worked at the college over the past six decades, on display at its Doyle Library. The Doyle Collection, assembled over the past two years by college library technician Scott Lipanovich, will be shown on the third and fourth floors of the library. “The works — several quite large — are spread over about 1.5 acres of floor space” at the… Read More »

SRJC holds ‘Legally Blonde’ costumed Chihuahua contest

Fans of Reese Witherspoon’s 2001 hit movie “Legally Blonde,” and the subsequent Broadway musical version, know one thing for sure. Heroine Elle Woods, the fashion major and sorority queen who enrolls in Harvard Law School to get her boyfriend back, would never go anywhere without her pet Chihuahua, Bruiser Woods. And of course, they’d both be dressed in the latest fashions. To celebrate the opening of its production of “Legally Blonde: The Musical” on Friday, April 19, the Santa Rosa… Read More »

Art by painter, teacher Maury Lapp shown in Santa Rosa

“Local living treasure” is probably one of those  phrases that has lost much of its meaning through overuse, and should be retired. But before we ban that cliche, let’s use it just one more time to describe a man who really deserves it. Maurice Lapp, 87, known to everyone as Maury, started teaching art at Santa Rosa Junior College in 1956. He still teaches part-time there, and paints nearly every day at his Santa Rosa home studio. His painting career… Read More »

Santa Rosa inventor wins Game of the Year award

Perplexus, the three-dimensional, labyrinthine puzzle invented by Santa Rosa Junior College art teacher Michael McGinnis, was named Game of the Year on Saturday, Feb. 9, by the Toy Industry Association in New York. Worldwide balloting for the honor began last November, with association members, consumers, retailers and journalists voting online. “It is wonderful to be recognized with this award,” McGinnis said. “But this was never made to win awards. It was made to serve as a skill-building tool, and to… Read More »

Robert Chavez art exhibit comes to Santa Rosa

Los Angeles artist Roberto Chavez has worked for decades as both a painter and a teacher. Now, at age 80, he is recognized as a major force in California art. The Santa Rosa Junior College will display 60 of his paintings and drawings, including several very large pieces, Nov. 15 through Dec. 13 in the Agrella Art Gallery in the Doyle Library on campus, 1501 Mendocino Ave. The exhibit, “Roberto Chavez, Paintings and Drawings,” opens with a reception from 4… Read More »

Greg Sarris to speak at Santa Rosa Junior College

Greg Sarris, author and current chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, will speak at  2 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 7, at the Santa Rosa Junior College. Sarris’ appearance will be part of the college’s observance of November as Native American Heritage month. He’ll talk about his 1998 novel, “Watermelon Nights.” A native of Santa Rosa, Sarris holds the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria Endowed Chair in Native American Studies within the School of Arts and Humanities at Sonoma… Read More »

Filmmaker Tiffany Shlain comes to SRJC’s Petaluma campus

Santa Rosa Junior College will screen Marin County filmmaker Tiffany Shlain’s “Connected: An Autoblogography About Love, Death, & Technology” at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22. Shlain will participate in a question-and-answer session following the film, which will be shown in the Carole L. Ellis Auditorium on the college’s Petaluma campus at 680 Sonoma Mountain Parkway. The film explores society’s increasing reliance and interdependence on technology. Shlain’s last four films have premiered at Sundance Film Festival and her films have received… Read More »