The HUM: A Frightmare, Dead tunes and goodbyes

We take a step sideways from the X-Holidaze for a little bit to see how death and darkness can creep in when you don’t really expect it. We’ll start with the happy-go-lucky world of Kinetics. 

“Tired of the holidays and crazed shopping for crap no one needs? Why not buy a ticket to the Haunted Kinetic Lab’s encore performance: Frightmare of Christmas!! One night only! Friday the 13th of December,” says an invite from the Lab. 

I ran into one of the K-Lab denizens the other day and he explained that the October black-out put a serious crimp in the plans for their major fundraiser of the year, The Haunted Kinetic Lab of Horrors, when the lights went out the Saturday before Halloween. The maze of craziness was one of many local businesses that took a hit. Their response was leave everything in place and plan for a make-up night.    

KEEP ON TRUCKIN’ Original Skull and Roses by Edward J Sullivan for the book, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, repurposed by Mouse and Kelley for a Fillmore poster and later the eponymous album, Grateful Dead.

Thus your opportunity to “reconnect with holiday spirits, ghosts, creeps, and ghouls on a guided tour of this freaky funhouse.” Proceeds “support adult daycare” at the Kinetic Sculpture Lab. Not recommended for the squeamish and those 12 and under. Open 6 to 11 p.m. at Eighth and N streets in the Creamery District. 

The Dead rise again the same Friday the Thirteenth at Humbrews as Dead To The Core 13 presents two sets by Rosewater: a Tribute to the Grateful Dead. “Formed in 2015 after the Dead’s 50th anniversary shows, Rosewater started as a weekly garage jam of five friends, with no intention to play shows.” That “no shows” period didn’t last long and they soon joined the ranks of the many local Dead tributes, this one a bit jazzier since members were studying jazz at HSU resulting in “progressive extended jams and unique transitions.”

They also note, “Rosewater has a fluid lineup in general,” in fact I think only keyboardist Alex Espe from Farmhouse Odyssey remains from that first band. The lineup at this point is guitarists Rich Tobin (from Dan & the Americans) and Barney Doyle (ex-Mickey Hart Band and from The Handshakers) and his longtime friend bassist Gary Davidson (also from Handshakers, plus Play Dead and too many local bands to list here) and on drums, Mike “Tofu” Schwartz (from Absynth Q, etc.). In the spirit of the ’60s, a light show and other visual stimulation is provided by Shawn Lei Lighting.

A related announcement came from ace drummer/retired p.r. man Paul DeMark about one of his soon-to-be ex-bands. “The Handshakers will perform its final show at The Basement in Arcata’s Jacoby Storehouse on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 8 to 10:30 p.m. No cover charge. Georgia Ruth and Aleister Paige, The Handshakers’ pedal steel guitarist and vocalist, will perform a duet set of their original songs from 8 to 8:30.” Georgia will also play a few songs with the band, which includes frontman, Georgia-born Mike Bynum on acoustic guitar along with Paul and the above-mentioned Gary Davidson and Barney Doyle. Of course there’s more to the Handshaker story, but as Trevor Noah says, “ain’t nobody got time for that.”

Shifting back into holidaze mode, and more makers, artisans etc. we have an Arcata High School Artisan Faire Friday, Dec. 13, 5 to 8 p.m. at the school, with “a variety of handmade, one-of-a-kind items for sale including evergreen holiday wreaths made by Future Farmers of America, laser-engraved items made in our Maker Space, and more” made by Arcata Arts Institute teens. 

Over the weekend we have the 20th Annual Holiday Craft Market at the Arcata Community Center run by Arcata Rec. with “unique handcrafted items from over 55 artisans,” also “live” music (unnamed musicians, but I guess no “Dead” bands), plus “local food and holiday cheer.” It runs Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 14 and 15, starting at 10 a.m. both days, ending at 5 p.m. Saturday and at 4 p.m. Sunday. (Remember those times and dates.) “Fun Fact! This event supports youth scholarships,” specifically the Youth Development Scholarship Fund.  

At exactly the same time Saturday and Sunday, at the Bayside Community Hall (formerly the Grange) there’s the slightly artsier Umpteenth Annual Holiday Handmade Makers Fair, “a fabulous art and craft show featuring beautiful items sold by the makers, tasty food and drink, marvelous live music all day” again by unnamed musicians. The “makers” allow you to support “local small businesses and local folks, just for a fun day out of the ordinary.” Admission is free with a non-perishable food donation for Food for People, otherwise, one buck. 

Out in Blue Lake, the sunny town’s Parks and Rec Department plays host for a Holiday Market and Fair in Prasch Hall on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Expect holiday arts and crafts, and Santa will be there to sit for those classic lap pics. 

Looking for something different for gift giving? The 10th Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair takes over the Manila Community Center Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with Humboldt Grassroots as your hosts. 

“Can you believe it’s the 10th one?!” they wonder. “We’re excited to celebrate our big anniversary with those of you who’ve shared in this tradition all these years, and with those of you who are joining in for the first time!” The Fair theme, “Anti-Authoritarianism,” brings a keynote speaker, Bruce Levine, to discus his book, Resisting Illegitimate Authority: A Thinking Person’s Guide to Being An Anti-Authoritarian. 

“We’re cooking up a Book Fair that you can really sink your teeth into, and we’re not just talking about the free food that our chefs will be serving up all day,” with speakers and workshops along with books “brought to you by anarchist publishers.” And you can “wrap up your holiday shopping, if you’re into that kind of thing, with a gift wrapping station using old Anarchist newspapers!” Details on workshops etc. at

Friday is an Arts Arcata night (details elsewhere) at the Sanctuary, concurrently with their “Winter Pop-up Shop” for A!A, they have a Zigtebra Collaborative Music Video, with Zigtebra, “an indie art pop duo, currently the Sanctuary Artists in Residence.” Joe Zeph will record crowd-sourced vocals for the song’s chorus, meanwhile, Emily Rose will teach people a simple dance move to a simple beat, while wearing items from the Sanctuary’s costume closet. Starts at 4 p.m. ending with a Q&A on “DIY audio production, writing, touring, music video production, or anything else community members have always wanted to know from a touring band.”

The next night (Saturday) at the Sanctuary, Professor Willikers Puppet Slam is a program of “contemporary short-form puppet and object theatre performances centered around themes of light, winter, gathering and connection,” with local acts, traveling acts, and music. The Professor is your host is manned by David Ferney, formerly of the Playhouse (where they have weekend two of Scouts Honor). Funding made possible in part by the Puppet Slam Network. Doors at the Sanctuary, 7:30 show at 8 p.m.

Also on Saturday, the return of Tourettes Without Regrets: Humboldt! moving the “best underground performance art show in America” to a new venue, the Arcata Theatre Lounge. Expect “circus performers, stand-up comedy, bizarre burlesque, absurd anthems, hard hitting lyricism, a dirty haiku bout, an open freestyle rap battle with a $100 prize, interactive mayhem, contests and MORE!” Showtime 8 p.m. Post-show they have a “vinyl classics dance party” featuring Skinny Pepperwood and friends.

Richards’ Goat is celebrating five years of “serving craft cocktails to all you beautiful people who appreciate the fine and the strange things in life,” plus showing arthouse movies, and hosting interesting bands and DJs, karaoke, etc. The “5 Year Anniversary” on Saturday starts at 3 p.m. They’re screening Matthew Barney’s Redoubt (2019) at 5:30 p.m. (Matthew is best known for his surreal epic The Cremaster Cycle.) Then later, at 9:30 p.m. they have “eclectic DJ (and sometimes Richards’ Goat bartender) Pandemonium Jones on the turntables.” Dance!

The gender fluid folks at Club Triangle announce, “It’s our final Club T at the Jam! We’ve been filling The Jam with wild queerness for 5 years, but we’re getting too big! Starting in January, Club Triangle starts our new residency at Humbrews.” Host Tucker Noir invites you to, “Come walk down memory lane as we bring back our favorite acts… celebrate 5 years of creativity, confetti, clowns, hamsters, tassels, witches, divas, death drops, mermaids, surprises, tears, screams, glitter & love, all dedicated to Therin Brooks, a being of pure magic that left us too soon.” 

Newsy side-note: The new owners of the Jambalaya are also the owners of the AA Bar & Grill in Eureka. 

“We will take ownership mid-January and the renovation will begin immediately, hoping to be open by Feb 1,” they told me. And yes, they will continue as a music venue. “We are already booking some great entertainment,” they said. The menu? “It will be way broader than pizzas,” they promise. I can’t wait.

Also Saturday, the Wild Otis boys rock and roll the Redwood Curtain Brewing Co. starting at 8 p.m. And that Saturday night at Central Station (in McKinleyville), Lone Star Junction offers a mix of outlaw country classics and their own original songs. Music at 9 p.m. (LSJ also plays at Blue Lake Casino Wednesday, Dec. 18, showtime 8 p.m.)

A slightly sad note came with info about the All Seasons Orchestra’s Winter Rhapsody Holiday Concert, on Sunday, Dec. 15, at the D Street Neighborhood Center (showtime 5 p.m.) The Center happens to be my neighborhood and they’ve been playing there for years, but, my neighbor Diane Anderson informed me, this is the last concert that the orchestra will present there. 

“Beginning next year their concerts will be held at the Eureka Women’s Club. Of course they will continue to offer occasional concerts in Fortuna and Trinidad, but this will be their final concert in Arcata, right here in our own backyard.” She adds, “The music will be holiday-ish and festive,” with classics by Liszt, Holst, Rimsky-Korsakov, J.S. Bach, “and more,” with selections from The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky, and last but not least, a singalong Hallelujah Chorus by Handel. 

Fare thee well. ’Til we meet again…



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