.Culture Crush: Art openings, conversations with biologists, and a return to in-person theatre



Pakistani-American artist Aatika Rehman is saying goodbye to Northern California after 13 years spent here painting, growing and raising her four daughters together with her husband Sami. Deeply in love with natural beauty and vibrant communities, Aatika and her family are ready for the next chapter and will be relocating to Colorado. Aatika’s show, “Saying Goodbye,” features her signature style work; splashy, vibrant, vital abstracts that dance color across the canvas and through your senses. This collection is an homage to her life and journey in Northern California, and is on view—and for sale—at local and woman-owned cafe Retrograde Roasters in Sebastopol, and will be viewable until the end of September. Stop in for a latte and a look at Aatika’s vital nod to Northern California. Retrograde Roasters is located on 130 S. Main St. #103, Sebastopol, and cafe hours are Monday–Friday, 11am to 5pm, and Saturday–Sunday, 11am to 4pm. “Saying Goodbye” is on display through Sept. 30. For more information about the artist visit aatikarehman.com.

San Rafael 

Forest Meadows

The Box, by Playwright Sarah Shourd and her team—with support from the Art for Justice Fund, the Pulitzer Center and individual donors—is a piece of transformational theater that asks us to re-examine long-held notions of punishment. In the wake of acute isolation in 2020, the American mindset has drastically changed, and we are now called to re-examine the severe effects of solitary confinement on the human psyche, and whether or not using isolation as a form of punishment is effective or even humane. The Box is based on true stories of resistance to solitary confinement, including Sarah Shourd’s own experience as a political hostage in Iran’s Evin Prison, where she endured solitary confinement for 410 days. The Bay Area Premiere is 7pm, Friday, Sept. 10 at Forest Meadows Amphitheatre, 890 Belle Ave., San Rafael. Doors will open at 7pm, and performances will be followed by an engagement circle that ends at 9:30pm. Tickets are $40 each. Visit https://tinyurl.com/2v7ykxhn to buy tickets. If you are formerly incarcerated, directly impacted by incarceration and/or need a free ticket, please email [email protected].

Santa Rosa

Left Edge Theatre 

Left Edge Theatre, a resident company of Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, returns to in-person theater for its seventh season, which opens with two spectacular one-acts: I and You and Beautiful Monsters. I and You, written by Laura Gunderson is a love story between high-school students Caroline and Anthony, built around a poetry assignment on Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, which leads the two towards a much deeper mystery which binds them, and addresses the strange and labyrinthian quality of human connection. Beautiful Monsters, featuring Taylor Diffenderfer, John Browning, Zach Hasbany, Grace Kent and Jackie Threlfal, is an interpretive and experimental piece, using dance, music and language to emphasize what 2020 took from us, and what it gave. Structured around the obituary of two lovers who never touched, this piece is connection without connection—the union of two forever separated. The show runs from Sept. 4–19, with shows Friday and Saturday at 7pm and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are available online at Leftedgetheatre.com.


Occidental Center for the Arts 

“Where Literature Meets Science” is a conversation between novelist Susan M. Gaines and poet Maya Khosla, moderated by Ray Holley. “Where Literature Meets Science” promises to be a lively, informative and inspiring conversation between two women deeply versed in biology, ornithology and the ethos of nature. Susan M. Gaines’ books include the novels Accidentals and Carbon Dreams, and the science book Echoes of Life. Maya Khosla is a wildlife biologist and writer, currently working on a film about being fire-wise. Her books include All the Fires of Wind and Light, poetry from Sixteen Rivers Press. This is a free, outdoor event, Sunday Sept. 12, from 4–6pm, with refreshments and signed books available for purchase. OCA recommends bringing a cushion or lawn chair. This event is brought to you by OCA’s Literary Committee. Occidental Center for the Arts, 3850 Doris Murphy Court, Occidental. 707.874.9392. occidentalcenterforthearts.org

Jane Vickhttp://janevick.com
Jane Vick is a journalist, artist and writer who has spent time in Europe, New York and New Mexico. She is currently based in Sonoma County. View her work at janevick.com.
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