It’s early October, the time of year where leaves turn fall colors and you can find Halloween costumes on the same aisle as early Xmas decorations in holiday-conscious stores. Since we’re in Humboldt County, the first weekend of this month means at least a couple of things.
First, it’s time for Pastels on the Plaza. New in town? Unfamiliar with it? As the organizers explain, “Since 1987, Northcoast Children’s Services has partnered with local businesses and artists to transform the sidewalks of the Arcata Plaza into a colorful art gallery on the first Saturday in October. Pastels on the Plaza is a benefit for Northcoast Children’s Services where businesses are invited to purchase a square of sidewalk to be transformed into a work of art by local artists.” Money raised helps fund preschool and family services all over Humboldt and Del Norte counties.
I actually stumbled across the colorful event by accident in 1987 while walking through town with my dearly departed friend Gregg “Vinny” DeVaney. We ran into the late Sue Williams and she asked if we would do a square. They needed more artists. “Why not?” said Vinny. We were both given a box of chalk, and became part of the new tradition. I’m not exactly an artist, but I did a square for decades, until my body told me I couldn’t any more. I still document the event when I can. Who could resist all those colors? And for such a good cause. The Arcata Farmers’ Market moves deeper in the street to coexist (and adds more Fall colors) and there’s music too, Blue Rhythm Review play soulful covers adding yet another color, blue.
The first Saturday in Oct. is also set aside for the mother of all rummage sales, the Humboldt Sponsors Rummage Sale at Redwood Acres, starting at 9 a.m. For years I scrambled to make it to both events, but frankly, at this point my stuff habit is out of hand, so I’m staying away. The volunteer Sponsors, typically dressed in gingham, raise a pile of money to help kids. When I was younger and my son was too, I somehow ended running a summer camp in McKinleyville. Every year I wrote a grant to fund the program. The Sponsors basically provided all the funding we needed. Good people. Another good cause.
Oct. 2, is the first Wednesday in the month, which means Blue Lake Casino has “Bluegrass and Brews” in the Wave Lounge. Blue Mountain Bluegrass is playing with a local opener, all somehow connected to Humboldt Bluegrass, the local chapter of the California Bluegrass Association. Since I’d never heard of either, I dropped Humboldt Bluegrass a line. Larisa Pilatti answered and explained that the Blue Mountain boys are from the Sacramento area, with “Humboldt locals from HogLeg Bluegrass” opening. A couple of days later I read that instead there was “a special opening act, Daring Coyotes.” Confused? I was. It seems HogLeg is bass player Larisa and her guitar pickin’ husband Mike “and friends.” Mandolinist Dave Clark, from Nevada had jumped on the bill with HogLeg and he calls the trio Daring Coyotes. I’m sure everyone concerned was glued to their tee-vees for Ken Burns’ Country Music series, where there was pickin’ galore. Think of this as a live version. BTW, Blue Mountain Quartet is hanging around to pick a few more at Redwood Curtain Brewing Co. Thursday, Oct. 3, a free all ages show that starts at 8 p.m.
The first Thursday of the month is here, which means there’s another Arcata Chamber of Commerce Mixer, which this time is in Blue Lake Oct. 3, at Dell’Arte (5:30 p.m. ’til whenever). It should be interest
ing to hear about what the folks at the “International School of Physical Theatre” are up to. No doubt something local since they’re all about “theatre of place,” as Artistic Director Michael Fields puts it.
Wednesday, Oct. 2, The Growlers are at the J. Van Duzer Theatre for an ASPresents show. Originally from Dana Point, the band is now straight outta L.A. playing a brand of rock they’ve dubbed “Beach Goth.” Lead singer Brooks Nielsen and guitarist/music director Matt Taylor drop a bunch of sounds in the blender with West African beats and electro-whatever showing up, but it’s mainly good ol’ rock’n’roll.
Across town that Wednesday, DisBeatCrasher and RampArt Skatepark present Clowns, an Ozzie hardcore/punk/psych outfit from Melbourne with local support from the fuzzy trio Wet Spot, KLOD (“cosmic crusters”) and Firstwife, a “Cruelty-Free” noise band (Cruelty-Free is their first noisy EP). Doors at 7:30 p.m. All ages as always at RampArt.
The Jam’s Whomp Whomp Wednesday has the “Past Lives Tour” plus “Ghetto Trippin Tour 2,” with Mad Zach from Berlin, Cloud-D from Denver, and locals SuDs and Astreya. Which is which? You decide.
Thursday, Oct. 3, A Reason to Listen Poetry Collective has another word jam, this time with theme, “Loving Your Body/Oneself” in honor of Love Your Body Day (on Oct. 16). Headliner is Beau Williams, an American slam poet now living in Dublin, and they’ll have tunes by DJ Goldylocks and “live art” by Dre Meza, but this is mainly an open mic, so come early (7 p.m.) to sign up, word spitting begins at 7:30.p.m.
This is the second Thursday, which means you’ll find Evan Morden, Michael Dayvid, Dominic Romano and Nate Zwerdling of Gatehouse at Gallagher’s Irish Pub from 6 p.m. on.
Friday, Oct. 4, Arcata Theatre Lounge (now under new management) has Benzi, a brand builder, radio host, label founder, remixer and EDM “genre chemist,” out of Michigan. Local producer/selector ESCH opens. Go. Dance.
Same Friday, The Hackensaw Boys return to Humbrews. The “Boys” have been led by guitarist David Sickmen from Shenandoah Valley (in Virginia) for a couple of decades, starting with his music roots and adding a Clash-esque punk edge. The result: tours with both Charlie Louvin and the Flaming Lips, and a sound akin to Casey Neill. Pick up their new EP, A Fireproof House of Sunshine on the merch table.
The Eureka Symphony begins a new season Oct. 4 and 5 with a program called “Immortal Masters” including Rossini’s “Thieving Magpie,” Dvorak’s “American Suite Op. 98a” and Beethoven’s “Violin Concerto in D Major Op. 61” featuring Liana Bérubé on violin (see story, above).
Saturday is Arts Alive night in Eureka, which means arty action all over town including The Absynth Quartet at the Morris Graves Museum (6 to 9 p.m.) followed by Kinetic Kouture: Fashion with a RE-Purpose Trashion Show, run this year by Robot Adams. There’s also the annual Zombie Invasion Arts Alive Takeover run by the undead, starting at the Courthouse at 5:30 p.m. Watch our for them stumbling about. Arcata import Daniel Nickerson will be picking out old-timey, blues, country etc. at Bandit. (Daniel is very much alive.)
Time to get medieval for the 17th Annual Medieval Festival of Courage, Oct. 5 and 6, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, at the Christie Ranch off State Route 299 on Glendale Drive near sunny Blue Lake. Remember ye ol’ Renaissance Fairs? This is the local version, with costumes and strummed lutes and the like, all benefiting Coastal Grove Charter School. There are too many performers to list here, go to medievalfestivalofcourage.org for full details.
Simultaneously in Fortuna, they have their 35th Annual Apple Harvest Festival, kind of the same sort of thing with different costumes, but with hayrides taking you all over the “Friendly City” from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday, and more 11-3 Sunday at Clendenen’s Cider Works.
This is the weekend for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, the huge multi-faceted free fest in Golden Gate Park, where this year you can see Emmylou Harris, Robert Plant, Judy Collins, Bettye Lavette many many more including semi-locals Poor Man’s Whiskey, Hot Buttered Rum and Moonalice, who play here often. The spill over from the fest often comes our way, like the show by Birmingham, Alabama-based soul big band St. Paul & The Broken Bones who have sets at Hardly Strictly Friday, Saturday (at noon) and Sunday, and somehow are jetting up to Arcata in the midst of the madness for an ASPresents show Saturday night at the Van Duzer. Sounds exhausting. Country bluesman Jeremie Albino has been touring with them, so he’s opening.
Downtown at Humbrews on Saturday, the Scott Pemberton Electric Power Trio plays on their way home to Portland, throwing down some jamband-style “timber rock,” after playing a Hardly Strictly AfterParty the night before at the Boom Boom Room in SF.
Over at the Jam, same Saturday, it’s reggae time with Rocker T, Arkaingelle and Mykal Somer “mashing up the night,” plus DJs from Noble Tobal Productions and Azad OneWise.
Something different Sunday evening at the Historic Eagle House: you’re invited to join Nepali mystical painter Romio Shrestha and electronica producer David Starfire in the Ballroom for an “art exhibit, storytelling session, inspirational discussion, and musical journey.” Doors at 6 p.m. Art talk with Romio from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. followed by a reception and music from David until 10. Be prepared for mind expansion. Be. There. Now. Ta ta…