It may seem like there’s no rhyme or reason to this column, but there is in fact a method. It starts with gathering information. In the not too distant past, when the Hum was conceived as a grab bag of cultural events, there was no Facebook, no real internet, few people used email, instead they used mail and fax machines, and occasionally hand-delivered announcements.
As time passed, fax machines faded away almost completely (except in the healthcare industry where they cling to the 20th century technology) and email took precedence. Then Facebook came along. It’s a brilliant tool for spreading the word, sort of person to person, but it has it’s detractors and face it, it only works if everyone uses it, and uses it properly. Some refuse to get onboard, some kick it AA-style. Using it is easy, yet not exactly user friendly. All that said, that’s where I start the Hum process every week. I check F-Book for invites, events people think I might find interesting.
First up: the Whomp Wednesday electronicathon Sound Culture 035 at the Jam "The only good system is a sound system,” declares the Whomp folks noting, “May 17th we celebrate the birthdays of [DJ] Jesse Rhizae and [soundman] Alex BassCraft by welcoming one of Deep Medi Musik's finest, Compa! for his first Arcata show. [Deep Medi is a record label.] Compa will be bringing out a bag of dubplates worthy of worship by bass music and sound system music enthusiasts.
He will be joined by Bay Area legend and co-founder of ritual dubstep SF, Johnny5," as well as Rhizae, who spins for his own party. Without digging into dub/bass worship/history, we’ll say it will rumble your gut and blow your mind.
I received a couple of invites for Thursday: Nancy of the Arcata Main Street Oyster Festival told me about the 3rd-annual Oyster Fest Kick-Off Party (6 to 8 p.m.) in Jacoby’s Storehouse Plaza View Room. There are details elsewhere in this paper so we’ll move along.
A citizen I know, S Craig Tucker, invited me to a public forum Thursday on the McKinleyville Town Center (5:30 p.m. @ Grace GoodShepard Church) organized by the McKinleyville Organizing Coalition. “Did you know there has been a McKinleyville Community Plan since 2002?” Maybe not, unless you read the news section of the Union weekly. “Did you know that citizen participation is assured in planning our Town Center?” Maybe, although McK’s random growth continues unabated without any discernible center. They implore you, “Get involved! Join in designing the future of McKinleyville.” Do it, especially if you live there and care about the future.
Bells and Rebelion
Speaking of Grace Good Shepherd, Friday evening the North Coast Handbell Choir hosts their “Spring Concert.” There’s a reception prior to the concert at 6 p.m. where you can learn about bell ringing in a choir (without singing). Bell music at 7.
Friday night at 8 p.m. Breakfast All Day Collective presents the animated film Persepolis at the Arcata Theatre Lounge, part of the “ATL Nights for Non-Profits,” where one night a month, they donate their space rent free to qualified non-profit organizations “to give back to the local community and raise awareness for local charities and non-profits in Humboldt County.” Breakfast All Day Collective is a qualified a 501(c)3 nonprofit, a DreamMaker of the Ink People Center for the Arts, with a volunteer-run arts center, Outer Space, “focused on community building, youth empowerment, & promotion of understanding societies varying forms of oppression through education and creative expression.” The film fits right into that, an autobiographic tale about growing up in pre- and post-revolutionary Iran as a rebellious, punk-loving teenager. #Resist!
The invite for a Saturday afternoon “Humboldt Creative Alliance Launch Party” shows an artist holding a sign reading, “I am an artist. This does not mean I will work for free, I have bills to pay same as you. Thank you for understanding.” You mean we artists aren’t supposed to figure out some way to get by without money? I can relate. The “party’ is an “opportunity to mingle, network, share ideas, and to hear more about the mission and goals of the HCA.” It’s at the D Street Neighborhood Center starting at 1:30 p.m. Bandemonium warms thing up (probably playing for free) and HCA promises snacks and art supplies to put to use, perhaps making more signs as you, “Please join in raising our collective voices.”
“The Humboldt Creative Alliance is a collective of Humboldt County artists and arts administrators, formed with the intent of promoting visibility of the arts and their impact in Humboldt County.”
The invite came from Jackie Dandeneau of Playhouse Arts, so of course the Arcata Playhouse is in the lead. Others listsed as “participating” include the Ink People (of course), theatre folks like Dell’Arte, Ferndale Rep, North Coast Rep and Redwood Curtain Theatre, the ad agency, Persimmon Graphics, and consulting firms such as Greenway Partners, Equinoss Consulting and Envision Prosperity. Personally, I’d like to see a much broader cross-section of Humboldt's vibrant, underpaid arts community show up to talk about mutual needs and how we can meet them. It’s a start anyway.
I did not get a FB invite from the Playhouse for their show Saturday night, they always send an email to everyone in the press insuring coverage, in this case for a fine Boston-based “Celtic” fiddler Hanneke Cassel and her band presented by the Playhouse and Humboldt Folklife in support of her new latest CD Trip to Walden Pond. Hanneke is an all-American folk violinist, raised in Oregon, went off to Berklee College of Music (thus now “Boston-based”) who focused on Scottish styles, particularly tunes from Cape Breton Island (in Canada) and the Isle of Skye (in Scotland, the not-so-united part of UK). I’d say she fits into the Berklee New Acoustic School, but “Celtic” works. Let’s forget the categories and say she’s good.
Quick aside, the Playhouse p.r. blitz also included a couple of upcoming shows: Jonathan Richman (7/29) and Red Molly (10/7). Both will probably sell out. Plan ahead.
There are other ways I hear about shows. I was at Richard’s Goat the other night (a great psyche show by Leonne, White Manna and Heron Oblivion) and the doorman told me an old friend of his, Toby Barrass, in coming to town to play at the Miniplex.
He wrote the basics on a post-it note: date, location, “Face Book,” and his phone number in case Google and Facebook failed me. Toby promises, “Native Records live in Humboldt County with a full band..funky punky brother from the Big Island of Hawaii live May 20...it's a Saturday..so get ready to party at the mini plex.. don't miss Richard Abbott’s amazing photos..too.” The doorman figured I’d be interested in what’s described as “a slideshow of old Mexico, psychedelia, the big band era, etc. photographs from the 1950s to present of culture, people and places.” That does sound like something right up my alley. Toby’s music is groovy too.
The night before the Miniplex plays host to totally different rock show, I'll leave it to the promoters to explain:
"Shovels are part post-punk, experimental and white noise-psych, as you listen more and more to this group, you realize that the members of Shovels, Michael Beach (guitar and vocals), Adam Camilleri (bass), and Peter Warden (drums) are alchemists, melding guttural voices and sonic blasts with tribal beats and galloping bass lines that nimbly shift gears into high and slow paces that leave your heart stuttering or racing in densely textured sound-scapes you want to visit again and again.
"The main dude behind the mello jams of Colossal Yes is Utrillo Kushner. Utrillo is a Bay Area musician who has been playing and making music for over 20 years. Drawing inspiration from DIY song-writers, folk rock troubadours, movie soundtracks, and the soft sounds of the 70's mainstream Utrillo has forged his own style of homespun piano based music.
"Eureka locals The Tweeners, as described by their drummer, are "Forever changing primitive goo from Eureka's sewers with two birds named Erin who will never back down from a knife fight and three Catholic J's holding down the Cameroonian Stomp." Watch out.
Shades of Black
A few more FB invites demonstrate the range in Humboldt culture out there on Saturday. The Eureka NAACP 47th Annual Charles Washington Soul Food Dinner at 4 p.m. at the Eureka Women’s Club, working “to further the efforts of the oldest civil rights organization in the country, here in our community.” The invite came from my friend Lorna Bryant, aka DJ L Boogie of KHSU, who will spin appropriate tunes will you talk about the issues of the day. Yes, #JusticeForJosiah will come up in conversation. Get details at contact@EurekaNAACP.org.
A little later Saturday (6 p.m.) at the Humboldt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Bayside, there’s an African Dinner Fundraiser for Maisie's Trip to Uganda. Maisie is going to Africa this summer, staying with her cousins, the Radoviches, who run a nonprofit bringing clean water to communities. (Go to http://globalbeliefproject.org/ for more.) I’m guessing the “African-themed dinner” will be different from the soul food dinner, but who knows? There’s a silent auction for African sculpture and other stuff. The hope: “This fundraiser will help offset the costs of Maisie’s travels. We are also seeking volunteers to help decorate, cook and clean up.” Do your little part changing the world for the better.
Body v Mind
Or, switching from mind to body on the mind/body equation there are a couple more things I was invited to on Saturday: Inner Freedom Yoga offers “Delighting in the Senses: A Tantric Evening of Discovery,” which I might describe as kinky yoga based on what I know about “tantric” things. Robyn of Inner Freedom (in Arcata) is enrolled in a “SkyDancing® Tantra teacher training,” and wants to share what she’s learning on this “unique pathway to spiritual awareness that teaches that lasting pleasure comes not from physical objects and attachments, but from within… a door to enlightenment,”according to Margot Anand, founder of SkyDancing Tantra. Bring a partner.
About the time that ends, it’s “Fetish Night’ at Siren’s Song in Eureka, with this episode subtitled “Wild Thing.” The focus of the fetish folks is BDSM culture, which is quite different from SkyDancing®. DJ Wrye and/or his friends provide a dark electro soundtrack to the kinky fun.
Eons ago a couple computer geeks/musicians, Mike Craghead and the late Eldin Green put together a website/calendar called humboldtmusic.com. Amazingly, the calendar has been plugging along seemingly on its own for years. Not a lot of people use it but it’s a good tool, since they included an option to automatically send me a email to me when you post a show by a band or whatever.
Through one of those emails I learned about this: “What: Fiesta Del Sol - When: May 20, 2017, 6:30 PM - Where: Eagle House, 139 2nd St , Eureka - Description: Summer is coming and so is the fun!! Join us for Fiesta Del Sol! A Latin feast and musical celebration featuring Jah Sun, Lion D, Bizzari Sound and DJ Zera! All proceeds go to the Laurel Tree Charter School high school students in their fundraising campaign to study language and culture in Mexico this June!”
For the uniformed, this a reggae show, one of the first to use the Inn at 2nd & C, the brand new, very groovy venue in the old Eagle House. I look forward to great things in the future for this place.
Also from Humboldtmusic,com, a similar email re: The Jim Lahman Band offering “live music at the Redwood Curtain Brewery.” It has a presumably erroneous start-time: “8:00 AM,” but maybe it is a Saturday morning blues thing. Why not?
After we went to press, I received a couple of emails from Francois, the music booker for the Alibi and the primary fundraiser for Humboldt Free Radio, a pirate station broadcasting from an undisclosed location. the message: "Humboldt Free Radio presents Garage Au-Go-Go, all vinyl garage rock DJs with Adam and DJ Red @The Alibi Saturday, May 20th 21+ / music at 11pm / $2 cover."
The final sold-out "Soul Night" show this last Saturday left many wondering: what's next? Adam, of Matt'n'Adam fame is spinning one more time before moving to Wisconsin in the land of cheese. DJ Red will not replace Matt, but we'll get a taste of the long term plan for keeping the soul music dance crowd satisfied with a renamed "Soul Party" featuring Red and #Jaymorg and as-yet-unnamed DJs. The first test of whether they can draws the same sort of crowd when they launch the party June 24 at Humboldt Brews. The college crowd won't be there, will there be enough dancers to achieve the all important critical mass of a full dance-floor required? We'll see.
An email informs me Sunday Bill Allison and Friends perform for Wine & Jazz, an “afternoon of be-bop and progressive jazz classics at the Morris Graves Museum of Art” (starting at 3 p.m.). Bill plays trumpet and is also a local master of vocalese, with voice taking the role a musical instrument, for example, Ella Fitzgerald or Cab Calloway scatting, or the true masters of the form, King Pleasure and Eddie Jefferson (who I heard once years ago at the Jambalaya).
Bill notes, “I have penned lyrics to some 40 jazz standards, all of which have added new range for vocalizations.” He won’t sing all of them, but he’ll do some with a combo including Tim Randles, Mike LaBolle, and Lee Philips. After a set, they invite you to join the fun. ”Bring along your instrument, as audience members will be invited to jam with the band following the show.”
Later Sunday at Humboldt Brews, they have a band called Fortunate Youth, “a collaboration of South Bay reggae stand-outs,” which is to say they all played in different bands once upon a time, but now they get irie together.
An advance notice: Next Wednesday, May 24, it’s time for the 7th Annual Bob Dylan's Birthday Bash at Mad River Brewery, again assembled by Chris Parreira, this time featuring The Detours, performing the album Nashville Skyline, among others. More later, the theory of relativity is calling me…