The Hum ~ 3/8 ~ What’s New?

Criswell from Plan 9 from Outer Space

What’s new? I woke up this morning thinking about that word: new, and the news. This column isn’t generally “news” oriented, focusing instead on things that are supposed to happen in the future. “We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives,” as Criswell from Plan 9 from Outer Space explained. “And remember, my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future. You are interested in the unknown, the mysterious, the unexplainable. That is why you are here.” Now?

Leslie Quinn & Jan Bramlett sing out

So, what is new? The local women’s festival Zero to Fierce (aka O2F) is already old news, well underway, with a myriad of “fun, exciting, and provocative activities” mainly for women, somewhere around the Creamery. Wednesday, March 8 is also the 117th International Women’s Day and the Humboldt Branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom is celebrating with an O2F event at the Arcata Playhouse. They promise a keynote speech by President of NAACP Liz Smith, tabling by groups supporting women and girls, a silent auction, “delicious appetizers” and a sing-along with stirring songs led by my friends Jan Bramlett and Leslie Quinn. Special bonus: a rare performance by the politically conscious Raging Grannies, a band that just happens to include my mother (although she's battling a bug of some sort and won't be singing this time).

Women's Peace Party 1915

O2F continues with too many events to list here including a multifaceted Cabaret Saturday, and on Friday, the provocatively titled Live Girls Show, a game show that suggests “maybe playing by the rules won’t win you any points, and what is a fact anyway?” Hmm. (Click here: for a complete schedule.)

Also on Wednesday at the new all ages “safer” space known as Outer Space, they have Chastity Belt, a feminist punk rock band, and bedroom pop-punk one-woman-band Lisa Prank, both from Seattle, plus Preening, a sax punk trio from Oakland and Venus Milk, a dream pop combo from Arcata.

Same night (Wednesday) at Siren's Song Tavern, hear the local folky-jazzy-bluesy trio No Pardon with Chris Parreira on guitar Amber Grimes on double-bass and on fiddle, Rosalind Parducci. They’re opening for Nick and Luke (aka Nicholas Horner and Lucas Chohany) a duo from the East Coast.

Rosalind dropped me a line the other day to tell how she met up with the guys in New York while on the road under her other nom de band, Stringtown Ambassadors. “The winds sent us in their direction when I was wandering through Manhattan on foot with my bandmate and we were informed by a vagrant that we simply had to go and join this folk jam happening down the street at a bar. We went in and [found] a bluegrass jam, one mic and a line of 10 or so players stacked behind it, everyone taking turns soloing. Surreal, energetic, loud... not totally our ideal jam situation. We went to the back where there was a pool room and that's where we encountered Nick and Luke, playing lovely, artful music — like a breath of fresh air in that noisy bar. Luke plays guitar and mandolin like a beast, Nick is a very professional singer, and plays guitar and banjo.” The YouTubeage she supplied convinced me. They’re good.

A reminder (if you missed the paper when I took a week off) Endangered Blood is at the Graves that Wednesday, a Redwood Jazz Alliance show that spins today’s “jazz” into the future with roots in the past. Here's what RJA sent me about the show: "EUREKA NATIVE TREVOR DUNN RETURNS WITH THE “MAD-SCIENTIST CONCOCTION” OF “ENDANGERED BLOOD

 The Redwood Jazz Alliance “spring” season continues Wednesday, March 8th at 8 p.m. at the Morris Graves Museum of Art in Eureka with Endangered Blood, a New York-based double-sax quartet featuring Eureka native Trevor Dunn on bass.

Endangered Blood cuts a wide swath through the diverse field of modern creative music. When the band played NPR’s famed “Tiny Desk Concert” a few years back, their compositions were described as combining “post-bop, 20th-century chromaticism, traditional New Orleans funeral marches, avant-garde jazz and post-punk to create a sort of mad-scientist concoction.”  “You were wondering where a rock aesthetic has improved jazz rather than compromising it?” Ben Ratliff once asked his readers, in a New York Times review of an EndangeredBlood performance. “Here.” 

The band’s members may not be household names, but among their peers they’re known as giants of their generation and improvisers of the first rank. Jim Black, widely admired for what Seattle Weekly calls his “controlled-detonation” drumming, leads his own trio as well as the post-rock/jazz band AlasNoAxis.  A veteran of the influential ensemble Human Feel (with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel), he has also played with Wilco guitarist Nels Cline, Polish trumpet legend Tomasz Stanko, and performance artist Laurie Anderson, among others. Trevor Dunn, forever associated with the groundbreaking group Mr. Bungle, entered the Guinness Book of World Records by playing fifty gigs in fifty states in fifty days as a member of the Melvins Lite. Multi-instrumentalist-composer-bandleader Oscar Noriega is a core member of Tim Berne’s acclaimed Snakeoil quartet and co-leader of the Mexico-inspired Banda de los Muertos. And saxophonist/clarinetist Chris Speed divides his time between several bands of his own and sideman gigs with a half-dozen others, including John Hollenbeck’s Claudia Quintet (with whom Speed visited the Arcata Playhouse in 2013).  Like Black, Speed is known for introducing the odd time signatures and intricate melodies of Balkan music into the jazz world, and he spent almost a decade in the “BalkanSoul/GypsyFunk” ensemble Slavic Soul Party.

“We’re a neighborhood band,” says Speed (the members all live within three blocks of one another in Brooklyn); “and [we] have a great time making fun of each other.” But Speed and Black have been making fun together since their high school days in Seattle.  For decades now, first in Boston, then New York, they’ve made the rounds separately and together, and in 2008 they formed a one-off quartet to play a benefit concert for an old friend and fellow musician who was dangerously ill. (It wasn’t a blood disease.) The friend recovered, but the band kept performing and recording—and dazzling critics and fans with what All About Jazz calls their seamless mix of “bebop, Mariachi, free jazz and post-bop.”

Endangered Blood will also present an educational workshop, free and open to the public, on the morning of Thursday, March 9th in HSU’s Studio Theater (Theatre Arts Building 115).  For additional details and up-to-date information, please visit

The RJA’s 2016-17 season concludes in April with pianist David Berkman, who returns after a nine-year absence with a new band featuring rising-star saxophonist Dayna Stephens and bass phenomenon Linda Oh. More information about all the artists and concerts in the current season can be found at

Here or there

Thursday out at Mad River Brewing catch Holus Bolus, which means “all at once.” Coming down from Crescent City, Tom Boylan (aka HoBo) describes himself as a “one-man-psychedelic-acousti-loop” artist. “It’s like a philosopher-juggler,” says Tom. “You throw up one ball at a time until you get a good thing going, then vocalize about life, love, aliens and existence — all at once.” Like now? (HoBo loops back to Humboldt for a future show at Redwood Curtain Tuesday, March 21.)

The Darlingtonias

Wanna get an early jump-start on St. Patrick’s Day? (It’s March 17.) The self-described “hardest working Irish pub band in Del Norte County,” The Darlingtonias, play Irish tunes at Humboldt Brews pub on Thursday. “We sing, we drink, we make you dance,” notes the band named for a carnivorous plant.

Irish Company Dancers photo by Tina's Photography

And/or, on Sunday (March 12), the Irish Company Dancers kick up their heels at the Morris Graves Museum of Art, step dancing to jigs, reels and the like as part of the museum’s Afternoon of Dance series. (It starts at 2 p.m. but show up early if you want a seat.)


Friday at Humboldt Brews, it’s the return of The California Honeydrops. I was intrigued when I first heard about the Honeydrops —  front man/trumpeter/guitarist Lech Wierzynkski, originally from Poland, got his start in the Bay Area busking in BART stations with drummer Ben Malament, drew in a few other like-minded players and it grew from there. First time I saw them Lech was blowing his trumpet leading a New Orleans-style second-line parade around the Plaza luring party people in to the Jam. Those who heard them that night told their friends, again, it grew from there. Now they’re spending summers on the festival circuit and off-season filling nightclubs with dancers. They know how to keep the party going.

The “sponsored” FB post from the No Good Redwood Ramblers said, “March 10th at the #loggerbar?? What?? Yup.. We gonna tear that bad mutha up. Best bring them dancing shoes and sin juice monies..” I was curious, but not about NGRR’s post-bluegrass stringiness (they’re not bad at all), rather about FB’s sponsorship deal. How much did it cost to bend the algorithms and make sure I saw the post again and again, until 121 people “liked” it and 16 “shared” it? “$15 to massage the algorithms, Bob,” I was told. Like almost all Logger shows, there’s no cover, but there’s a large tip jar. Make sure there’s some foldin’ money in it before the night becomes morning.

Now or later

Betty Chinn and President Obama

Saturday at the Sequoia Conference Center (in Myrtletown), there’s a benefit dinner party to help with the work of Betty Chinn who deserves a medal for what she’s done and is doing for the poor and downtrodden of our community. Yes, she already got a medal, in 2010 she was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Obama. That was then. She deserves a few more: one each for Faith, Hope, Love, Charity, the basis for her all of her hard work. Saturday’s dinner comes from Rita’s. Heartfelt music supplied by the Arcata Interfaith Gospel Choir and Home Cookin’.

Anita and Nova - photo by Bob Doran

Same Saturday at the Jam, Club Triangle presents Queer Prom, which means fancy retro gowns and tuxes worn for a cross-dressers’ dance party and drag show “featuring your favorite Club Triangle performers” and dancing later to “beats” by DJ Joe-E, DJ Anya and Mr. 415, visuals by Marmalade Sky. They promise a "PG-13" Drag Show at 7 p.m. with another 21+ show starting at 10 p.m.


Across town at Humboldt Brews, Fraktal Productions and Deep Groove Society present futuristic electronica by J.Phlip (aka Jessica Phillippe) offering “acid booty-tech bass and beyond” from Dirtybird Records. (Beyond = Future.)
Since the e-music scene is mostly male-dominated, Butter Music DJ Marjo Lak is excited to be part of the local contingent along with Baggadonuts, The Middle Agent and Mr. 415.

Sundaze at the Jam (on Sunday) more futuristic-electro musing from a duo with Alix Perez and EPROM debuting Shades, a new EP, plus London-based Ivy Lab with more drum’n’bass and the triumphant return of former local OnHell aka Angel Rubio-Hale, young musical force with possible futures on his mind.

As I was finishing this column I heard from my son, Spencer, who has a new release with his duo, Visible Cloaks. He was boarding a PDX>SFO flight to play futuristic music somewhere. In an interview about the record with the magazine, Resident Advisor, the relationship between the past and the future came up. “Projected futures help to reflect the problems of our present,” he noted, “but more often than not, they are not a viable solution to them (which is an important distinction to make).”

I’m still untangling that deep thought, but IMHO Criswell was wrong. You and I are not going to spend the rest of our lives in the future — we all exist in the eternal now. At least I think we do. Ask me about it tomorrow.