A Press Democrat Blog


Dan Taylor on the fine arts scene.

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 »

Sonoma County playwright’s SF premiere

“The Final Scene,” a comedy written by Sonoma County playwright Gene Abravaya, makes its San Francisco debut this week. The play, which deals with the fictional cast of a soap opera called “The Promising Dawn,” opens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10, at the Thick House, 1695 18th St. The production runs through Sept. 4. Perhaps best-known as manager of the Spreckels Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park, the author brings considerable experience and authenticity to his play’s topic —… Read More »

Napa recycled art show stars locals

Two Sonoma County artists who make art out of cast-off odds and ends — Chris Blum of Healdsburg and Monty Monty of Santa Rosa — are featured in a new exhibit at the Napa Valley Museum. “It’s Not What It Use to Be: Fresh Art from Found Elements” opens Saturday, Feb. 12, and runs through April 30. The show also features work by Daniel Hale and Burges Smith of St. Helena and Susan Leibovitz Steinman of Oakland. There will be… Read More »

‘Sketch Crawl Sonoma County’ convenes

Now here’s event that even an antisocial anarchist could love: There are no rules, no fees and no registration. Anyone can just show up and take part Saturday (Jan. 22) in the Sonoma County edition of the worldwide drawing marathon, Sketch Crawl. The instigator of the local part of the event, artist Donna DeLaBriandais, will meet participants at 1 p.m. at the the railroad station at Railroad Square, Fourth and Wilson Streets, Santa Rosa. She says to tell you she… Read More »

Stuppin painting at Hudson River Museum

Painter Jack Stuppin has made his home in west Sonoma County for more than two decades now, but his name and his work continue to travel afar. One of his landscape paintings, “Olana Forest,” will be included in the new exhibit, “Paintbox Leaves: Autumnal Inspiration from Cole to Wyeth,” opening Saturday, Sept. 25, at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, N.Y. The museum is famous for its collection of work by the Hudson River School of mid-19th century American landscape… Read More »

Artists care about chairs. Don’t you?

Fund-raising events have become part of everyday life, but this one is different. Every year, Artstart — a program that employs young apprentice artists in Sonoma County to create benches, murals and other public art — holds its Party for Art to raise money for the stipends the apprentices get. For the event, a dozen artists create elaborately decorated chairs for the party’s auction. “We get professional artists to do chairs and donate them, and we also have our Artstart… Read More »

Art of the People: Day 3

I don’t know if this qualifies as folk art, but we asked the folk to send us their art, and they did. This one comes from Tim Hayes, longtime Sonoma County actor and purveyor of odd humor, with a very succinct note: “Here is a painting, ‘Alien Baby,’ done by my daughter, Dore, a few years ago. I believe it is acrylic on wallboard.” Email jpgs to me at dan.taylor@pressdemocrat.com, and I will continue to post these previously overlooked treasures… Read More »

Occidental Community Choir hits the road

This weekend, the Occidental Community Choir launches its spring concert series, provocatively titled “Naked With Chocolate: Songs of Love and Earthly Delight.” The schedule: – 8 p.m. Friday, May 14, and 3 p.m. Sunday, May 23,  at the Occidental Center for the Arts. – 8 p.m. Saturday, May 15;  Friday, May 21; Saturday, May 22, at the St. Philip Parish Hall in Occidental. – 3 p.m. Sunday, May 16, at the Glaser Center, 547 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. Tickets cost… Read More »

‘Wine and Roses’ at Cellars of Sonoma

Sonoma County singer-songwriter Natasha James has been your neighbor since 1986, and you may or may not know her, but she’s making a name for herself. She was nominated for country artist of the year for the 20th annual Los Angles Music Awards,  an international competition open to independent artists and their recordings, scheduled for Nov. 18 this  year. At last year’s L.A. Music Awards, she won best country album for her third and most recent CD, “Tequila Time.” But… Read More »

Where’s Woodstock? Only Lucy knows

The popular “Peanuts on Parade” project returns to Santa Rosa this summer, with 30 four-foot-tall, polyurethane statues of that fabulous fussbudget, Lucy van Pelt, to be decorated by local artists and distributed around town. But this time there will be a little hidden bonus. Woodstock, the fluffy little yellow bird character, already has his own series of statues,  introduced back in 2006, but he’s sneaking back into the act this year. “We’re going to incorporate a ‘Where’s Woodstock’ theme, where… Read More »