The HUM: The Rabbi, the Bowling Alley ‘and more’

Writing this column is often more or less a matter of editing. People send me things or post their events somewhere and I tinker with the text a bit then repost it. Sounds easy, right? It is sometimes, but it depends on the week. 

Not long ago I ran into my old friend Roz, she had an event, actually several related events that she thought I would be interested in. She was right, in particular since it all revolved around klezmer music, which I’ve loved for years, and it’s in celebration of a mutual friend. The only trouble, there’s not enough ink available to print everything I’d like to about it.  

The Silver Anniversary Concert honoring Rabbi Naomi Steinberg takes place Wednesday, Feb. 19, at the Arcata Playhouse featuring two touring bands: Sam Reider and the Human Hands from Brooklyn, and Beyond the Pale from Toronto. 

At this point I could go off on a tangent about knowing the Rabbi for perhaps 25 years, through her endless good work, and through her husband, the activist, Sal, and her son Berel Alexander, who I once knew as Bernie Steinberg, a musician who started out singing for Music for Little when he was little, and evolved into a fine neo-soul singer in L.A., who Twitter tells me, “Just dropped a new video” for his song, Before You Go. (@berelmusic)

I could also get distracted talking about Naomi’s life story, how she became a rabbi at Temple Beth El, and played in local combos like Noah’s Dove and the Jewish Wedding Band, led by the amazing Joseph Byrd, who I once worked with in the news biz. (For more on the Rabbi, read Heather Shelton’s piece in the Times-Standard.) 

This show will be a celebration of her life and career, but it’s also one stop on a West Coast tour by The Human Hands, an acoustic ensemble led by accordionist/pianist/composer Sam Reider. His band was dubbed a “mash-up of the Klezmatics, Quintette du Hot Club de France and the Punch Brothers,” by Songlines Magazine, a trusted source. 

Beyond the Pale is a like-minded outfit who say they play, “Pale Eurofolk fusion,” whatever that means, “inspired by Klezmer and Balkan styles, but influenced by everything from jazz and classical music to bluegrass, newgrass and reggae.” You get the picture, both sound delightful. This is a seated show, doors at 7:30 p.m. Advance tix advised (if there are any left).

Part two is the Humboldt Yiddish Music Festival Saturday and Sunday Feb. 22 and 23 at Temple Beth El in Eureka, including workshops, a dance class and a concert on Sunday at 2 p.m. featuring Lorin Sklamberg (from Klezmatics), Craig Judelman and Sasha Lurje. “Come listen, sing, dance, learn and eat at these Jewish music events featuring traditional Klezmer music, Balkan, Jazz, Classical, 

Bluegrass and Folk!” For full details on the workshops I’m just going to steer you to 

If you speak a little bit of French, you may know that Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday, which is the day before Ash Wednesday, when you swear off meat and other allegedly evil things and thus have a big party to use everything up. (Or something like that.) But it’s also stretched out like many holidays, and thus we have the Ten Pin Building Mardi Gras Party, on a Saturday, Feb. 22, an Arcata Playhouse fundraiser with the Paula Jones Band. Haley the Playhouse P.R. person asks, “Remember how awesome the  Latin Peppers Dance Party in January was in the Ten Pin? Well, luckily you can celebrate on the dance floor lined by parked Kinetic Sculptures one more time! And if you don’t remember, this is a rare chance to boogie in the Ten Pin. This Playhouse event raises funds for Playhouse programs that enrich the lives of all ages in our community through the support of arts for all.” 

A reminder, Paula Jones is a soulful singer who also sings in the Arcata Interfaith Gospel Choir, and once had one of her original songs in the movie Rumble Fish. Her band is a variation of RLA with Tim Randles on piano, the perennial “special guest” Mike LaBolle on drums, and Allison Muenchon on sax and flute. So, let the good times roll, or as my high school French teacher Miss Johnson would say, “Laissez les bons temps rouler.” Wear purple, green and gold for New Orleans. Doors at 7:30 p.m. Music at 8 p.m. “There will be an open dance floor and limited seating.” 

The Basement (downstairs in Jacoby’s Storehouse), tries something new this Wednesday, Feb. 19, “Darkness: A Comedy Night,” presumably with dark humor featuring Josh Barnes, Jessica Grant and Trevor Lockwood, hosted by David Eubanks. Doors at 7 p.m. no cover, so come early for good seats. 

Over at the Miniplex that same Wednesday, they have Anna Tivel, a “NW-based internationally touring songwriter who is forever drawn to the quiet stories of ordinary life,” plus Jeffrey Martin, another wandering troubadour who writes “raw, honest, stripped-down songs about death, and lost love, and all sorts of other things.” Doors at 7:30 p.m. Seated show, again advance tix advised.

At HumBrews, yet another Wednesday show, with Willy Tea Taylor (inspired by Greg Brown) plus The Sam Chase from S.F. (aka just plain Sam Chase). Apparently I missed these guys when they played at the Playhouse a year ago (to good reviews). Now they’re back with more rough and ragged songs. 

Thursday, Feb. 20, at the Depot in HSU’s University Center (formerly known as the Rathskeller) ASB presents a free dance party with local DJs from the Arcata Soul Party Crew, #Jaymorg and Funky T-Rex. It’s really early, 6 to 7:30 p.m. 

Down in the Basement that Thursday, 7-ish, it’s what they describe as “an amazing three hour set from our friends The Low Notes,” a cool jazz band that includes some of my friends. I imagine they might need a break at some point. 

At Westhaven Center for the Arts it’s Third Friday Blues Feb. 21 (7 p.m.) with Jenni and David and the Sweet Soul Band: Jenni Simpson on lead vocals and bari sax, David Childers on guitar, Julie Froblom, tenor sax/flute, Robert “Swamp Thing” Franklin on guitar, Justin “Hobart” Brown on bass and on drums, Paul “The Other Twin” DeMark. “Dancing recommended!” 

Outer Space is still looking for a home, in the meantime they have an all ages show at the Arcata Playhouse Friday, Feb. 21, starting at 7:30 p.m. with A Deer A Horse, a female fronted “doom post-rock sludge” trio from Brookyn, plus Silence in the Snow, a slightly more ethereal duo from Oakland, and local openers, Sue and the Namies, “surfing that big sound wave from the great Pacific garbage patch.” (Watch out for sneaker waves.)

Same Friday at Blondies, 8 p.m.-midnight, psychedelic folk-rockers LodeStar will be asking for donations to Food for People in lieu of a cover charge. 

At HumBrews that Friday night, Zach Deputy demonstrates his ingenuity in looping with just his guitar and a mess of FX-pedals, as a one-man-band deluxe. Showtime 9:30 p.m.

Can you count on the nine-fingers on Jerry’s hand as the number of Dead-type tributes continues to grow? Humboldt’s latest is JJB, short for Jerry Jam Band playing what else but Jerry Garcia Band covers. They debut Friday, Feb. 21, 7:30 to 10 p.m. at Fieldbrook Market and Eatery. Then the band plays the following night at Redwood Curtain Brewing starting at 8 p.m. Will it be a totally different setlist? We’ll see. 

Saturday evening (start time 6 p.m.) Shutups, a duo from Oakland with Mia on drums and Hadley on guitar, play what they call, “indie punk.” Local support comes from The Sturgeons, and the above-mentioned Sue and the Namies. 

Saturday night, you’re invited to go “Rollin into 2020 with the 2nd installment of Roll Da Bass,” with DJs BC Rydah, a jungle DJ/producer/remixer from Long Beach, and local support from Rhizae, Grasshoppa (it’s his b-day), Norman, DJ Scribz, Shmule, and the indomitable DJ Red. Sound by BASSCRAFT. Live art by Christopher Dmise, Ralph Kraftsman “and more,” plus vendors galore. Starts around 8 p.m.

Down the way at the Miniplex, starting at 9:30 p.m. Irie Mae and The Bayside Players have another “Peach Mimosa Party” with their friends Rhea de Light, Kharmafiend, Icarus and Suns and Banda da Alegria. No cover. Irie Mae has a groovy Peach Mimosa EP she’s promoting and this is part of it. 

Sunday at Fulkerson Hall, CenterArts brings you another International Guitar Night with a truly international line-up of acoustic players, Mike Dawes from UK, Cenk Erdogan from Turkey, Olli Soikkeli from Finland, and Hawaiian slack key master Jim Kimo West. Expect solo guitars, duets, and quartets — virtuosity galore. Showtime 7 p.m. 

Speaking of the Fulkerson family, the primo performance space is named for Charles, a notable local classical music teacher and musician. His daughter Julie plays too, and she sends out listings of “Humboldt Bay Classical Events” via an email list (or online at 

This week her list includes a Redwood Jazz Alliance show (since jazz is the other classical music). RJA has Rudy Royston’s Flatbed Buggy at Morris Graves Museum Thursday, Feb. 20, at 8 p.m. Details on the Texas drummer and his quintet elsewhere in the Union.

Also on Julie’s list, a couple of unusual piano shows, first with Ryan McGaughey who plays in Fulkerson Recital Hall, Friday, Feb. 21, at 7:30 p.m. Ryan, an HSU grad, has a background in the classics, but this time he’s playing piano arrangements of the “Final Fantasy VII Collections” based on the 1997 PlayStation 1 game Final Fantasy VII. Trippy, huh? They’ll also have vid projections to go with the music.

The next night, Saturday, Feb. 22, at 7:30 p.m. again in Fulkerson Hall, they have Piano Illusions with Igor Lipinski. “Originally from Poland, Lipinski first started working on the program of music and magic as an undergraduate piano performance major,” and he’s been touring his show internationally ever since. I must admit, I have no idea how you do magic with a piano, but it sounds intriguing.

OK, that’s all the words I’m allowed. Later… 





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