Back in my restaurant days, I had to be prepared for Mother’s Day. Moms get the day off, at least theoretically, and everyone goes out to Sunday brunch and/or dinner. It’s good for business—in fact, typically the busiest day of the year.
Another big day is when kids graduate from college and parents come to watch them walk that walk, taking those first baby steps into the “real” world. It’s another big day in restaurants with families and friends in town for the big day. Again, it’s good for business.
Somewhere along the line, some geniuses at HSU and CR thought it would be good to combine these and merge grad weekend with M-Day. Do you think it was a business grad? What am planning for my mom? I’ll offer her some choices that don’t involve restaurants.
In years past, I’ve taken her to to the Kinetic Classic, a made-for-mom affair on Sunday (May 14) that comes as the annual madness ramps up leading to the big Kinetic Sculpture Race (or whatever their calling it now) on Memorial Day weekend after the Rutabaga Ball (May 20). I don’t have time or space to get into the arcane storylines/rules/history now (blame the theory of relativity), but I’ll pass along the K-Queens invite to “join the Rutabaga Royal Family on Mother's Day for the Kick Off Parade, and stick around for all the kinetic action,” starting at 1 p.m. at the Sacco Amphitheater (near the Adorni Center). They have plans for a Rutababy Buggy Bounce, a Rutabaga Rally and a Push Kart Kinetic Dash, all with kids of all ages in krazy kostumes, with face painting, prizes, food, “special treats for Mom,” the “cutest Kinetinauts in Humboldt,” and fun, fun, fun (“’til Daddy takes the T-bird away”).
Want to mix adult beverages with Kinetics? Check in at the Kinetic Brew Bash on Friday (4-8 p.m.) a benefit for the Kinetic Museum, a Pints 4 Nonprofits event hosted by Lost Coast Brewery (not the one downtown, the one near the graveyard). They promise dancing and “live music” (what band? dunno) plus “outdoor fun” on the lawn and an opportunity to “meet the folks who participate in Humboldt County’s greatest Race,” including “special guest” PoiSin CanDie, Rutabaga Queen for 2016. “Designated drivers encouraged.”
Another option for M-Day: the monthly Afternoon of Dance at the Morris Graves Museum of Art has Tribal Oasis Bellydance with a “colorful celebration of folkloric Middle and Near Eastern dance and music.” (Showtime 2 p.m.) “Tribal” is one style of what we call bellydance, an ancient tradition modernized and improvised.
They envision, “Imagine a roaring fire at the center of a desert caravan's encampment. A lone flute begins to play and a dancer rises, undulating to the melody. One by one, drums join in, and more and more dancers surround the fire, moving as one body, flowing with the ever-changing music in a rich tapestry of movement, grace, strength, and beauty.” Beautiful indeed.
The gospel truth
My friend Halimah the Dreamah dropped me a line asking if I might “please add this to the Hum,” with details on the Arcata Interfaith Gospel Choir’s Community Prayer Breakfast and Concert on Mother's Day (with s-guests A Company of Voices and the AIGC Youth Choir). I’m told this is also elsewhere in the Scene, so I’ll leave it with the start time: 9:30 a.m. at the Arcata CommUnity Center. I’ll add, Halimah is also a KHSU deejay, taking you on Ethnic Excursions (Thursdays 3-4 p.m.)
KHSU has its own M-Day big event presenting Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! on her "The Media Is Not The Enemy Tour” at the Sequoia Conference Center (in Myrtletown) starting at noon. They say, “The unprecedented resistance to President Donald Trump’s rise to power did not materialize overnight. Grassroots movements have been challenging the establishment for years,” as detailed in Amy’s latest book, Democracy Now! Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America. Northtown Books will be at the event, where you can pick up a copy. You can listen to DN! at 9 a.m. M-F on KHSU and/or at noon on KMUD.
Queens, Kings and wild cards
While we’re talking family-friendly fun, the Humboldt County Beekeepers Association declares, "Long Live the Queen" at BeeFest 2017 on Saturday (10 a.m. - 5 p.m.) at the Adorni, with info about our precious pollinators, live bees, live music (who knows who?), art contests for kids and adults, a seed exchange and the Native Plant Society with seeds and native plants to promote pollinator friendly gardens. (“Make seed bombs!”) There’s a "Honeybee Marketplace" with artisanal this ’n’ that and plenty of sweetness in general along with screenings of the acclaimed bee film "Queen of the Sun" at 2 and 4 p.m. Viva la bees.
The Kings of Humboldt vinyl soul, the Missing Links, Matt’n’Adam, are finally down to “Last Call Soul Night #67” at Humboldt Brews. They ask us, “Who would've ever thought we'd make it this far? After sixty-seven months of sweaty glory, your local Laurel & Hardy are hanging up the championship belts and holding [our] farewell performance Saturday. If this Soul Night was an album, it'd be a collection of the biggest hits and the rarest not-yet-heard cuts—like that Nirvana box set from 2004,” or a flashback to 2011, when the city’s traffic calming/sidewalk widening project on H put a major dent in foot traffic requiring a rent party to make up the difference. A “Missing Link’s Got Soul” dance party paid some bills.
With Jonathan Toubin’s “New York Night Train Soul Clap” as a model, the boys dug deep in their crates and got people dancing again and again and created an Arcata institution. This year they’ve been counting down toward the end, as Adam prepares to get back to his midwestern roots, while Matt has already moved to the Bay Area (and will likely continue commuting).
So, yes, it’s over. That’s the bad news. The good news is the dancing will never stop. This last show also includes the stalwart #Jaymorg and DJ Red, who has been filling dance floors for as long as I can remember. Soul something or other will rise from the ashes of Soul Night with a new name (TBA). But say goodbye one more time and, as Donna put it, “Let's dance this last dance tonight.”
Slightly earlier (showtime 8 p.m. same Saturday), across town at the Arcata Playhouse, Scuber Mountain is dropping their second album, Finally, a Band You Can Trust! like a well-placed punt.
They tell us, as always with tongues in cheeks as they probe tonsils in sloppy kisses, “While you may be accustomed to Scuber Mountain's antics and gimmicks, we decided it's time to give you a completely ordinary show with no jokes or costumes or surprises of any sort. Yes sir, just a plain old white bread show for you. We anticipate an evening of predictable normalcy—an uneventful, simple, smooth-sailing sorta night. We sure would hate for something to come disrupt such an otherwise unremarkable event. But don't worry—nothing could possibly go wrong.” What, me worry?
Still earlier (starting at 6 p.m.) at Mad River Brewing Co. Home Cookin' has their “only Spring gig,” with Fred and Joyce and Tim and Gary playing slow-cooked, organic, no preservatives added, good-for-you music for your dancing and/or listening pleasure. Good stuff. Good for you too.
Ready to “Rock the Redwoods”? The fundraiser for Redwood Parks Conservancy on Friday (7:30-11p.m.) at the Arcata Theatre Lounge pairs a silent auction with music by a couple of fine local bands: Object Heavy and Ghost Train.
If you follow the Hum at all, you know about these bands. In their own words, O-Heavy explores “the parameters of soul, rock, funk, blues, R&B and hip hop,” while G-Train offers, “an eclectic mix of R&B, funk and soul with a hint of rock ’n’ roll.” Believe me, they sound nothing alike.
The mission of the conservancy is to “support important projects and programs throughout our redwood parks,” which are owned by the government, but would like to do some new things, for example their “Save the Titans” project. Thanks to modern tech, a once-secret grove of ancient giants hidden deep within the park is no longer a secret and now some of our biggest trees are threatened by those who are compelled to see them. The plan: “build a boardwalk and viewing platform that would protect the Titans from any further damage.” Sounds like a good idea, and a good reason to go dancing.
Friday is also Arts Arcata night. You know the drill: art, music, etc. around town. Up at the Sanctuary, it’s not exactly a graduation thing, but a bunch of artists from HSU and CR have a group show of sculptural works they’re calling Subjective Realities. Ben Funke is showing some of his pieces, along the lines of the work he had at the Graves recently, metal work painted in bold, solid colors. He teaches at both schools and serves as the advisor for some sort of campus Sculpture Club. He invited his students and others to offers to share their individual realities. The show is up for a couple of months, with a grand opening Friday with Pandemonium Jones supplying an arty, ambient soundtrack.
A good day
Tuesday (the 16th) at the Miniplex, catch a trippy Oakland band called Sugar Candy Mountain. The band’s bio supposes, “If Brian Wilson had dropped acid on the beach in Brazil and decided to record an album with Os Mutantes and The Flaming Lips, it would sound like this—all psychedelic pop Wall-of Sound and beach balladry.” Ash Reiter is the main singer, she’s really good and, I’d add, industrious. She’s running the Hickey Fest for the fourth time in June (16-19) in NoMendo at the Peg House across 101 from Standish-Hickey State Park with a mess of cool indie bands (including SCM of course).
The Miniplex/Goat show also includes the Opossum Sun Trail, a local “American primitive/spaghetti western” outfit that I really like. By chance, as I was finishing this up I got an invite from Chris Parreira about a second show OST planned for Wednesday, May 10, at Siren’s Song sharing the bill with Chris’ band No Pardon. Chris is another talented and industrious type; this show also served as his birthday party. Unfortunately, life got in the way and I didn't post this in time for you to go. Maybe you were there anyway. Hope you had a good day, Chris. Thanks for all the music. Cheers.