Sonoma County Christmas Concerts and Winter Festivals Make Music Online

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As social distancing remains the order of the day in Sonoma County, several planned holiday concerts and other musical celebrations are taking to the Internet for virtual programs that feature seasonal cheer and performances by local and international artists.

On Friday, Dec. 11, Santa Rosa Junior College music students bridge the gap when SRJC Choirs, Symphonic Band and String Quartet perform virtually in “Music Across the Distance.” Under the direction of Jody Benecke, SRJC Choirs director, and Dr. Jerome Fleg, SRJC Director of Bands, SRJC musicians celebrate the musical connections among people of different cultures from around the globe with a program that includes music from North America, Europe and Africa, with composers ranging from Mozart to Pete Seeger. The recorded video performances were mixed and edited by Nancy Hayashibara, SRJC Choirs accompanist, and Dr. Jerome Fleg; and will include special small ensembles of students who have worked on their own in collaboration to prepare, perform, and record some extra special features. Watch for free at Music.santarosa.edu/events.

Also in Santa Rosa, the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts annually hosts a full season of holiday concerts featuring both cultural performers and modern pop artists. This year’s season is all happening virtually, though the schedule is no less packed with cheer. On Friday, Dec. 11, Northern California-based Mexican folk and contemporary dance company Calidanza performs the virtual Posada Navideña, a holiday tradition in Mexico that features Latin dance and song traditions. The next day, Dec. 12, the center hosts two holiday-themed concerts, as saxophonist Dave Koz & Friends present “The Greatest Hits of Christmas!” live-streaming concert at 5pm, and Pink Martini pianist Thomas Lauderdale and vocalist China Forbes appear for a holiday concert as part of the LBC’s ongoing “Muse Hour” virtual series at 7:30pm. Later this month, the center also hosts the Blind Boys of Alabama in their annual Christmas show, live-streaming on Dec. 23 at 6pm. Get tickets to all of these shows at Lutherburbankcenter.org/events.

In Cotati, an annual summer tradition is making a new seasonal debut when the Cotati Accordion Winter Virtual Festival commences on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 19 and 20. The second virtual offering–coming after this summer’s successful online accordion affair–will once again feature a lineup of internationally-acclaimed virtuosos from eight different countries such as Cory Pesaturo, Jenny Conlee-Drizos, Matthias Matzke, Pietro Adragna and Erica Mancini. These global stars will be performing live throughout the weekend festival, which will also be streaming chats, interviews, The Lady-of-Spain-a-Ring, The Grand Finale, raffles and more. Get all the details at Cotatifest.com.

In Petaluma, the Phoenix Theater is decking its stage out once again for a virtual holiday concert boasting several North Bay rock bands. “A Very Phoenix Theater Christmas” streams for free on Dec. 24 and features holiday hits performed by Trebuchet, Royal Jelly Jive, Schlee, Matt Jaffe, John Courage, One Armed Joey, Gio Benedetti, Bad Thoughts, Down Dirty Shake, Ismay, The Happys and others. Tune in on Christmas Eve at Phoenixchristmas.com.

Foodie Gifts and Giveaways Abound in the North Bay

One of the best parts of the holidays is the food. From sweet treats to sumptuous dinners, this season can’t be beat. Yet, in a pandemic, finding those foods that make the holidays special can seems like a daunting task. Here’s a few places to start your search for seasonal culinary favorites.

For the bread guy or gal in your life, there is The Model Bakery, an artisan mainstay in St. Helena since 1908. The Model Bakery will be spending its holidays preparing traditional favorites and special treats both for gift-giving and to help the home chef enjoy more time with family.

Now with locations in both Napa and St. Helena, as well as a curbside spot in Yountville, the Model Bakery is offering everything from breakfast to dessert, beginning with it’s famous morning pastries and English Muffins that keep ending up on “Oprah’s Favorite Things” List. There’s also the bakery’s signature Pain au Levain Boule and Walnut Sage Levain Batard. Then, there are the pies; Pumpkin and Pecan Pies, plus Apple Pie with Streusel topping.

“The holidays are absolutely our favorite time of year,” says proprietor Sarah Mitchell Hansen in a statement. “As bakers, it’s the one time of year that we love to show off what we can do. 2020 has been such a challenging year, here’s hoping some freshly baked artisan treats will add some comfort for family and friends.”

All of these items can be ordered online for curbside pickup, and the freshly baked goods pair well with The Model Bakery Cookbook, also available online at themodelbakery.com.

Beyond the bread, the best way to find culinary delights in Napa Valley the Holidays in Yountville virtual and in-person offerings, taking place through Jan. 1.

Due to the pandemic, this year’s iteration of the annual Holidays in Yountville offers more than 50 online events, including foodie events such as virtual wine tastings, cooking classes, wine pairings and chocolate seminars and more.

Online visitors can also find the Yountville Holiday Gift Guide, which lists 25 gift packages featuring Napa Valley wine, food, accessories and experiences. There is also the Yountville Community Cook Book, featuring 40 pages of recipes from the town’s wineries, restaurants and residents.

In addition to all the virtual offerings, the Town of Yountville is open and invites visitors and locals alike to safely see the town’s thousands of holiday lights that adorn local shops, tasting rooms, restaurants and hotels.

“2020 has been a challenging year, so the magic of Holidays in Yountville is even more needed to lift our spirits,” says Yountville Chamber President and CEO Whitney Diver McEvoy in a statement. “Whether you are able to spend a few days with us in person, or enjoy the Town of Yountville virtually from afar, we hope Holidays in Yountville brings much joy for family and friends this time of year.” See the full Holidays in Yountville listing at yountville.com.

For the vegan in your life, there’s no better place to begin looking for gifts than North Bay-based Miyoko’s Creamery, and the vegan cheesemakers are partnering with the organization In Defense of Animals to give away a year’s supply ($500) of vegan cheese.

Since launching in 2014, Miyoko’s Creamery has earned its founder, Miyoko Schinner, the title of “Queen of Vegan Cheese.” The creamery, which currently operates out of a 30,000 square-foot state-of-the-art facility in Sonoma, is transforming local and national opinion about vegan cheese, and Miyoko’s products can be found in 1,000’s of stores across the country.

These products include artisanal cheese wheels and shredded and sliced cheeses, spreads, mozzarella, butter and cream cheese that are made entirely from plants, with no fillers, additives, artificial ingredients.

For Miyoko Schinner and other vegans, using these plant-based alternatives supports a compassionate and sustainable food system.

“Miyoko’s Creamery is thrilled to team up with In Defense of Animals to make the holiday season merry and bright for animal advocates and cheese-lovers alike,” says Schinner in a statement.

The giveaway is open to US residents over the age of 18. Interested individuals can enter to win on In Defense of Animals’ Instagram. All entries must be received by December 14 at 12:00 p.m. PT. The winner will be announced on December 15.

California to Impose Regional Stay-Home Orders to Ease Coronavirus Hospitalizations

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new stay-at-home order Thursday that
will be targeted at regions of the state with diminished intensive care
unit capacity as the state attempts to slow its surge of new Covid-19 cases.


Counties with less than 15 percent of their ICU beds open and
available will be subject to the order, according to Newsom, requiring
the closure of nearly all nonessential businesses for at least three
weeks.

Retail stores in areas affected by the order will be allowed to
remain open at 20 percent of their maximum indoor capacity while most
other nonessential businesses like hair and nail salons, restaurants,
wineries and fitness centers would be required to close both indoor and
outdoor operations.

Schools that have already reopened in-person classes will be allowed
to continue and such decisions will be left to county officials, Newsom
said.

“We do not anticipate having to do this again, but we really all need
to step up, we need to meet this moment head-on and we need to do
everything we can to stem the tide, to bend the curve and give us the
time necessary … to get those vaccines in the hands of all
Californians,” Newsom said Thursday in a briefing announcing the new
order.

The stay-at-home order will be enforced at a regional level rather
than by county, as the state’s pandemic-related health restrictions have
been enforced for much of the year.

The regions include the Bay Area, greater Sacramento, Northern
California, Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley. The counties
in each region will be placed in the appropriate tier of the state’s
pandemic reopening system, based on their case and test data, once they
have reduced their ICU patient populations.

Four of the five regions are likely to pass the 15 percent threshold
in the coming days, Newsom said, while the Bay Area is on pace to have
less than 15 percent of its intensive care unit beds available by
mid-December.

The formal details of the order come just days after Newsom and state
Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said California’s
hospital and ICU systems were on track to be overwhelmed, and in some
cases entirely full, by Christmas.

Ghaly said Thursday that the state’s rate of transmission has
increased four-fold over the last six weeks and limiting movement and
social mixing and interaction throughout the state will be key to
curbing the current surge.

“It isn’t about single sector-by-sector and where is that spread
happening,” Ghaly said when asked why some businesses that may not be
responsible for spreading the virus will still be subject to closure
under the order.

“We know that by reducing our overall movement and mixing for a short
period of time, we can get the gains that we need to bend this curve,”
he said.

Newsom framed the order as part of the “final surge” of new
coronavirus cases as the statebegins to receive hundreds of thousands of
vaccine doses in the coming weeks.

The state is expected to receive its first shipment of roughly
327,000 vaccine doses from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer between
Dec. 12 and 15 with more doses of vaccines made by pharmaceutical and
biotechnology companies like Moderna and AstraZenica expected in the
first quarter of 2021, Newsom said.

Given that the state’s first tranche of vaccine doses amounts to
enough for less than 1 percent of California’s population, Newsom said
the state’s working group overseeing vaccine safety and distribution has
separated the first vaccine recipients into three tiers based on risk
of contracting the virus.

Hospital workers, nursing and assisted living facility workers,
paramedics and other emergency service personnel and dialysis center
employees will be in the first tier to receive the vaccine’s two doses,
according to Newsom.

The other two tiers include in-home health care workers, primary care
clinic workers, laboratory workers, dental health clinic employees and
pharmacy staff not working in higher-tier settings. Newsom said the
state will also make a concerted effort to ensure the vaccine is
available to every resident of the state, not just those with means.

“Help is on the way,” he said. “There is a light at the end of this tunnel.”

Museum of Sonoma County Debuts Dual Virtual Exhibits Featuring Local Art

While the Museum of Sonoma County has closed its gallery space in downtown Santa Rosa to the public due to Covid-19, the museum–a longtime Sonoma County cultural cornerstone–is continuing to engage to community with virtual exhibits and programs.

This month, with the holidays on the horizon, the Museum of Sonoma County unveils two virtual exhibitions displaying local talent; “35: Thirty-Five Artists for Thirty-Five Years” and “Artistry in Wood.”

Originally scheduled to open in-person on December 12, both exhibitions will open to museum members in an exclusive virtual art reception on Wednesday, Dec. 9. Following that, both exhibits will be available for the public to view on the museum’s website beginning Dec. 22.

As the title implies, “35: Thirty-Five Artists for Thirty-Five Years” is a retrospective exhibit celebrating the Museum of Sonoma County’s 35-year anniversary in 2020 with a selection of artworks from the museum’s permanent collection. Founded in 1985, the museum has collected art and historical items with a focus on Sonoma County and the North Bay.

Now the largest comprehensive overview of the history, art, and culture of the region, the museum’s collection features works on paper, photographs, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, and crafts that span from the 19th to the 21st Century. With this in mind, the artworks selected for “35” explore a broad range of media and styles and the exhibit showcases art that depicts the local landscape and the environment, as well as art that offers social commentary and other recurring local interests.

“Museum of Sonoma County’s collection has grown because of the support of collectors, artists, and donors, and we are grateful for their generosity,” says Jeff Nathanson, Executive Director and art curator for the museum. “We are proud of the art we have accessioned to date, and are pleased to share this sampling with the public. We hope these excellent works provoke inspiration, conversation, and creativity.”

Nathanson and the museum also acknowledge that the museum’s permanent collection is in need of broader community representation, and Nathanson is refocusing the collection’s priorities with a keen eye on works by artists of all genders and artists of color to ensure that all members of the community will see themselves reflected in the collection.

For more than 30 of the museum’s 35 years of operation, the Sonoma County Woodworkers Association (SCWA) has collaborated with the museum to present an annual, juried showcase of fine regional woodwork in the “Artistry in Wood” exhibition.

“Artistry in Wood” annually pushes the boundaries of what wood can do as an artistic medium. Additionally, the exhibition educates the public on historical and regional woodworking influences, such as the distinctive woodworking program at The Krenov School at Mendocino College in Fort Bragg.

This year’s virtual version of the exhibit continues the woodworking traditions of the long running show, featuring new and previously completed works crafted by fine regional woodworkers who are affiliated with the Sonoma County Woodworkers Association.

The virtual members-only art reception for “35: Thirty-Five Artists for Thirty-Five Years” and “Artistry in Wood” happens Wednesday, Dec. 9, at 7pm. Both shows open to the public virtually on Dec. 22. Other virtual programs will be added shortly. Museumsc.org.

Culture Crush: North Bay Groups Open December with Several Virtual Events

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to make in-person gatherings a tricky endeavor in the North Bay, several local events boasting music, art, literature and other delights are happening online this week. Here’s a round up of what’s worth looking forward to.

Virtual Celebration
On the southern edge of the Point Reyes National Seashore, a community of care givers and conservationists have come together to create Commonweal, an organization dedicated to health, art, education, the environment and justice. Each winter, the community comes together for a festive celebration, though this year’s annual gathering will be “Joining Hands Virtually” with an online event featuring a short video featuring images of the local land, keynote speakers, music and optional small group conversations. “Joining Hands Virtually: Our Commonweal Winter Celebration” takes place on Thursday, Dec. 3, at 5:30pm. Festive dress encouraged. Free, donations welcome. Commonweal.org.

Virtual Concert
Festival Napa Valley, the world-class summertime food and wine festival, has been producing online content and at-home experiences since canceling its in-person events this year. Over 1 million households in more than 50 countries around the globe viewed Festival Napa Valley’s inaugural virtual concert, “One Night, Many Voices,” last month. Now, Festival Napa Valley presents “Songs of Gratitude,” a virtual concert featuring performances by the likes of award-winning mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor, the Friction String Quartet and a vocal ensemble featuring Napa County high school students; all recorded at iconic Napa Valley venues. The virtual event streams on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 6pm. Free. Festivalnapavalley.org.

Virtual Recital
For 20 years, Marin’s volunteer Mill Valley Philharmonic has produced professional-quality orchestral programs and performed for people of all ages and means in their own communities. This year, the orchestra decided to postpone live concerts until further notice due to Covid-19, though the group has taken to virtual performances, lectures and more. Next up for the Mill Valley Philharmonic is a live-streaming “Saturday Salon” virtual recital featuring a classical program that ranges from Johann Sebastian Bach to John Williams. The musicians perform as solos and duos live from their own homes when the recital happens on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 8pm. Free. RSVP at Millvalleyphilharmonic.org.

Virtual Auction
The Sebastopol Center for the Arts has supported local artists and the community through exhibitions and educational programs for three decades. With the world in lockdown, the center’s staff knows that people need access to the arts more than ever before, and center is asking for support in offering these programs with its inaugural virtual “SebARTS Auction: Give. Believe. Inspire.” The silent and live auctions will help to fund Sebastopol Center for the Arts’ ongoing offerings, as well as the center’s new distance learning program for local school children that began in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Bid online now in the silent auction and tune in to see local celebrity Ziggly Eschliman lead a live virtual auction on Sunday, Dec. 6, at 5pm. Register at Sebarts.org.

Virtual Class
There’s no better way to appreciate the Laguna de Santa Rosa than to embark on a kayak adventure through the watershed. However, due to the Laguna’s unpredictable nature, it can be difficult to plan a successful trip. Not only does the water level of the Laguna drastically change, its many routes can make it a maze for the uninitiated. That’s why Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation’s Community Education Manager Allison Titus is hosting a “Kayaking the Laguna” webinar, sharing resources, tips and tricks for exploring the Laguna by boat on Wednesday, Dec. 9, at 2pm. Free, registration required. Lagunafoundation.org.

Virtual Reading
Native Californian Obi Kaufmann is an avid explorer and writer whose books examine the state’s most precious resources. His first two books, The California Field Atlas (2017) and The State of Water (2019) presented Kaufmann’s visions of ecological preservation and restoration. Now, Kaufmann offers another bold look into California’s natural wonder in his new book, The Forests of California. The book interlaces accessible writings with Kaufmann’s watercolor maps and trail paintings to bring the state’s forests to life in the readers’ imagination. Kaufmann reads from the new book and discusses his visions in a virtual event with the Marin Art & Garden Center on Wednesday, Dec. 9, at 5pm. Free, registration required. Maringarden.org.

Essential Kitchen Gear: Chefs Recommend Tools of the Trade

Sometime in the early part of the last decade, I had the pleasure of interviewing the late great Anthony Bourdain. I asked the Kitchen Confidential author and TV host if I should step out of the purview of my own palate and try something new.

“I think if I’m an advocate for anything, that would be it,” Bourdain told me. “I mean, everybody else in the world has been cooking longer than us and chances are they’ve been cooking better than us. And what’s the downside, what can you lose in the end, how bad could it be?”

Well, Tony—bad—like, really bad. Especially if I cooked it. That is, prior to my tenure apprenticing with my gourmand father. He taught me how to cook when I came to him in my mid-30s, the prodigal son returned, finally ready to learn his ways. It’s been more than a decade since and now I’m a credible gourmand myself. My pop’s first piece of kitchen gear advice was “Get a good knife, keep it sharp and learn how to actually use it,” which I stand by. I also agree with Julia Child, who famously said, “I think every woman should have a blowtorch.” Actually, I think everyone should have a blowtorch, and perhaps someday we all will.

When it comes to less-flammable kitchen essentials, Joseph Zobel, chef and owner of Fern Bar at The Barlow in Sebastopol, makes a case for mixing it up—literally.

“My favorite kitchen gadget would be the Vitamix,” Zobel says. “It’s a versatile blender that can be used to purée, emulsify and grind. It can be used for a multitude of applications and is invaluable in our kitchen.”

Matt D’Ambrosi, Chef at Blue Ridge Kitchen, also at The Barlow, echoes the sentiment.

“Vitamix is basically a commercial-grade blender,” D’Ambrosi says. “I love the Vitamix because I love making sauces and purées. The Vitamix blends everything so smooth and silky, leaving you with a wonderful texture.”

Blake Dan from GrillSimply.com, a site dedicated to “providing real and genuine advice and guides around cooking, grilling and barbecue” strongly advocates acquiring an instant-read thermometer as part of your kitchen gear tool kit.

“There are so many different ways to test the doneness of meats, some more creative than others,” Dan says. “You might use the finger-touch test to determine steak doneness, for example. However, there is no better, easier or safer way to do it than by using an instant-read thermometer. These are so affordable for the difference they make in the kitchen when it comes to determining the doneness and internal temperature of your food.”

As Dan points out, food cooked at the appropriate temperature will result in a more moist and succulent outcome, which is naturally more delicious than over or undercooked meat.

“Plus, when it comes to food safety, you can always be sure to eat it when it’s above the food safety advised minimum temperature,” Dan says. “Although you might get pretty good using other methods to test meat doneness and temperature, using an instant-read thermometer is always accurate and by far the easiest. Definitely an underrated tool in the culinary world.”

Beyond the tools, there are the tips—Blue Ridge Kitchen’s D’Ambrosi thinks you should spice it up this time of year.

“As for a holiday cooking tip, I would have to say break out your holiday spice such as clove, cardamom cinnamon or star anise,” he says. “Add them to a good braised dish like a short rib or lamb shank. Cooking with any of these spices always reminds me of the holidays.”

And, if you really want to optimize your holiday cooking experience, Fern Bar’s Zobel suggests not stalling when it comes to doing the dishes.

“As far as kitchen tips, keep it simple and clean as you go,” Zobel says. “Don’t let the dishes pile until the end of the meal. You’ll thank yourself when all is said and done!”

Blue Ridge Kitchen offers takeout from 11:30am to 8pm, seven days a week. Visit brkitchen.com. Fern Bar offers takeout for the holidays. Visit FernBar.com.

Open Mic: Some Poems Are Bad

“Some Poems Are Bad” by Saundra Rae Davies

This poem is bad
It’s not sad
Cause I’m mad
Madly madly mad

Been had
By many
Not just poems

Had a lover once
Twice or more
Truth be told
I wasn’t nice

I was seductive
Fake
Like a snake
Writhing toward my victims

Biting a ration of a body
Tastes bitter
No compassion
Just passion

Some poems are bad
They make me tell the truth
Sometimes I’m bad

Saundra Rae Davies lives in San Anselmo.

Letters to the Editor: The Right Line

Shame on you Jonah; a hip cat like yourself should know better than to keep pawning off the myth that B. Dylan wrote the lyrics: “To live outside the law you must be honest.” (“Funny Figures,” Rolling Papers, Nov. 25)

Even a fool like myself knows they were said by Robert Keith (Brian’s pappy) in the 1958 film, The Lineup, directed by Don Segal.

The story goes, after watching the movie and listening to Robert Keith utter the line: “When you live outside the law you have to eliminate dishonesty,” Bob got a big one and after cleaning it up a bit, used it in “Absolutely Sweet Marie.”

But as Paul McCartney once said, “Everybody pinches something from someone.”
I say everybody is right.

David Dale
Sonoma Valley, Sonoma

State Extends Tax Deadlines, Announces Grants for Small Businesses

The state of California extended income tax deadlines for some small businesses and will issue some $500 million in relief grants to help small businesses stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday.

The state will extend the income tax deadline by three months for small businesses that are filing less than $1 million in sales tax, according to Newsom.

Companies filing up to $5 million will have access to existing interest and penalty-free payment agreements while larger businesses can access interest-free payment options.

According to Newsom, the deadline extension and penalty-free payment options will save small businesses billions during the pandemic.

“We have to lead with health to reopen our economy safely and sustainably while doing all we can to keep our small businesses afloat,” Newsom said.

Small business owners will also have access to grants of up to $25,000 to help prevent them from closing, according to Newsom. The COVID Relief Grant program, totaling $500 million, will distribute funds to eligible small businesses by early next year.

Some 4.1 million small businesses operate in California, employing 7.2 million workers, nearly half of the state’s workforce, according to Newsom.

“By providing potentially billions in immediate relief and support, our small businesses can weather the next month as we continue partnering with the legislature to secure additional funding and investments in small businesses in the new year,” he said.

‘Winter Lights’ Shines On in Santa Rosa

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Each winter season, downtown Santa Rosa makes the most of its Courthouse Square with a massive tree-lighting ceremony and party dubbed Winter Lights.

This year, the lights are still on, but Santa Rosa’s signature holiday event is a very different experience, one that has adapted to the new Covid-19 reality to keep the merriment socially distant and safe.

“The Winter Lights event, for a number of years, has been centered on lighting up the big tree in Courthouse Square and it brings everyone together to kick off the holiday season,” says Cadance Hinkle Allinson, executive director of the Santa Rosa Downtown District. “As we all know, 2020 has been a difficult year for our community, for every community really. We knew we couldn’t bring people together safely in the same way, but we wanted to still provide that fun, festive atmosphere for everyone.”

For 2020, Winter Lights is a five-week long celebration encompassing the entire downtown Santa Rosa corridor along Fourth Street and surrounding Courthouse Square.

Running now through Jan. 1, Winter Lights features holiday experiences and sights such as festive art installations. To add to the ambiance of the event, there are street buskers and a small local maker market on the Square each weekend.

“It looks different but it’s still a great way for people to come downtown,” Allinson says. “They can dine outside, they can go shopping if they’re comfortable with that, but if not, they can just walk around the area and explore.”

The Winter Lights art installations that are on display now include “Stars of Hope,” created by Santa Rosa artist Jane Ingram Allen, which can be seen at 620 Fourth Street. The lighted artwork features stars hanging in a storefront window, and the piece encourages viewers to reflect on the past year and express hope for the new one.

One block down, at 720 Fourth Street, is Santa Rosa artist Anne Baumgartner’s “Looking for the Light,” which uses light to appear totally different at daytime and at nighttime. Other spots to check out include Jeju Way, next to Russian River Brewing Company, which has been transformed into a Winter Wonderland with lights and art. There is also “Ethereal Strength”(pictured), by Santa Rosa artist Lacy Anderson, that sits between two redwoods in Courthouse Square, and there’s an artsy scavenger hunt in which families search downtown businesses to spot the holiday gremlins created by Sonoma County artist and musician Gio Benedetti.

Downtown Santa Rosa is also offering a full holiday dining and shopping directory online, listing local businesses that are offering Winter Lights–related sales and other seasonal promotions.

“This has been a tough year for our retailers and restaurants, and one of the great things we can do with Winter Lights is try to bring more people downtown so they can experience the local shops we have there,” Allinson says. “From my perspective, watching our business owners, their resolve and resilience has been amazing and I think they have that because of the community that supports them.”

Winter Lights runs through Jan. 1 in downtown Santa Rosa. For details and the downtown holiday directory, visit Downtownsantarosa.org.

Sonoma County Christmas Concerts and Winter Festivals Make Music Online

Virtual shows feature local and international lineups.

Foodie Gifts and Giveaways Abound in the North Bay

Locally-made products, cookbooks and more make for tasty holiday experiences.

California to Impose Regional Stay-Home Orders to Ease Coronavirus Hospitalizations

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new stay-at-home order Thursday that will be targeted at regions of the state with diminished intensive care unit capacity as the state attempts to slow its surge of new Covid-19 cases. Counties with less than 15 percent of their ICU beds open and...

Museum of Sonoma County Debuts Dual Virtual Exhibits Featuring Local Art

Retrospective art show and annual wood art exhibit open to members on Dec. 9.

Culture Crush: North Bay Groups Open December with Several Virtual Events

Local music, art, literature and other delights can be found online this week.

Essential Kitchen Gear: Chefs Recommend Tools of the Trade

Sometime in the early part of the last decade, I had the pleasure of interviewing the late great Anthony Bourdain. I asked the Kitchen Confidential author and TV host if I should step out of the purview of my own palate and try something new. “I think if I’m an advocate for anything, that would be it,” Bourdain told me....

Open Mic: Some Poems Are Bad

"Some Poems Are Bad" by Saundra Rae Davies This poem is bad It’s not sad Cause I’m mad Madly madly mad Been had By many Not just poems Had a lover once Twice or more Truth be told I wasn’t nice I was seductive Fake Like a snake Writhing toward my victims ...

Letters to the Editor: The Right Line

Shame on you Jonah; a hip cat like yourself should know better than to keep pawning off the myth that B. Dylan wrote the lyrics: “To live outside the law you must be honest.” (“Funny Figures,” Rolling Papers, Nov. 25) Even a fool like myself knows they were said by Robert Keith (Brian’s pappy) in...

State Extends Tax Deadlines, Announces Grants for Small Businesses

The state of California extended income tax deadlines for some small businesses and will issue some $500 million in relief grants to help small businesses stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday. ...

‘Winter Lights’ Shines On in Santa Rosa

Annual holiday event is a very different experience in 2020.
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