These boots are made for walking: Sonoma County singer Jessica Star struts into the next century with a new look and a new attitude at a New Year’s Eve show at Third Street Aleworks in Santa Rosa.
2,000 ways to ring in the new year
By Yovanna Bieberich and Patrick Sullivan
AS WE SEE IT, you have two options. First choice: fearing a nasty nip from the Y2K computer bug or a sound thrashing from the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, you could spend New Year’s Eve huddled in your basement, clutching your bottled water and your dried apricots. Second choice: you could get out there and party like it’s 1999.
Heedless of the dire predictions, a whole lot of people in the North Bay are apparently ready to see what’s behind Door No. 2. At least, that’s the impression we get after discovering how quickly many local New Year’s Eve celebrations are selling out.
Don’t worry, though: if you call now for reservations, you still have time to get on board at most of the concerts, dinners, and comedy and theater events taking place on the big night. Below you’ll find our selective guide to these local celebrations. As you can see, there’s an endless variety of ways to say adios to the old year (and decade and century and so on) and “Howdy, pardner” to the new one. And let’s face it: all of them are more fun than your basement–even if it is bomb proof.
As you can see, there’s an endless variety of ways to say adios to the old year (and decade and century and so on) and “Howdy, pardner” to the new one. And let’s face it: all of them are more fun than your basement–even if it is bomb proof.
The Station House Cafe celebrates the end of the world as we know it–or at least the arrival of the new year–at an event featuring musical entertainment provided by the Artifacts, a Petaluma-based acoustic trio. This may be the band’s last show, since the new year will see the Artifacts going on an extended hiatus. The New Year’s bash/goodbye party runs from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. at 11180 State Route No. 1, Point Reyes. You’ll need reservations, so make sure you give them a call. $20. 415/663-1515.
Aires of Erin
Forget that nasty computer bug and celebrate the new year Irish style at the Rose with a special party featuring the Aires of Erin, the Healy Irish Dancers, and an excellent selection of Y2K-compliant beer. The fun begins at 9 p.m. at 2074 Armory Drive, Santa Rosa. $10. 546-7673.
Big Bang in Sausalito
Never imagine that the people of Sausalito don’t think big. On Dec. 31, they’re not content to merely ring out the millennium–instead, they’ll celebrate 12 billion years of history with a party modestly titled “The Big Bang.” This bayside bash features two stages with continuous live entertainment, including fire performers, stilt walkers, giant puppets, dancing to Calypso, salsa, and rock and roll, and more. A giant illuminated “Clock of All Time” floating on the bay will ring in the new year with an extravagant midnight light-and-water show. The party runs from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. on the shore of the bay in Sausalito. $125 (includes buffet and champagne at midnight). 415/332-9454.
Bluerock Country Boys
Who says there’s nothing to do on New Year’s Eve if you’re on a budget? At Tamale Malone’s Year 2000 Millennium Bash, you can get together with a date or a few friends at 245 Healdsburg Ave. in Healdsburg and dance from 9:30 p.m. till dawn to the music of the Bluerock Country Boys. No cover charge–and no dishes to clean after the guests leave. 431-1856.
Shake off the blues with these local faves when the band plays Party 2000 at the Forestville Club. The party starts at 9 p.m. at 6250 Front St. in Forestville. $10 (includes champagne, prizes, and party favors). 887-2594.
Why stay home on New Year’s when you can dance the night away at Club FAB? This party will be hosted by comedian Scott Capurro and will feature San Francisco DJ Steve Fabus. If you get tired of dancing, you can always eat your way into the new millennium at the dessert table. The evening begins at 8 p.m. at 16135 Main St., in Guerneville. $25 in advance; $30 at the door (includes champagne and party favors). 869-5706 or 869-5708.
A Case of the Willy’s
Why sit at home watching some giant ball drop when you can experience a New Year’s bash firsthand? Ring in the next millennium at the Tradewinds’ Happy New Year’s Party 2000, featuring the danceable blues-rock of A Case of the Willy’s. The party starts at 9 p.m. at 8210 Old Redwood Hwy., Cotati. $10 (includes party favors and champagne). 795-7878.
Cavalcade of Comedy
Laugh off your Y2K fears at this event featuring four past finalists from the San Francisco Comedy Competition. The fun–which includes performances by Mark Tita and Steve Kravitz (of Nash Bridges)–begins at 9 p.m. at the Marin Center, Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. $25 415/472-3500.
A homegrown tradition of alcohol-free fun hits its stride as the curtain comes down on the millennium. During the fifth annual First Night celebration, the streets of downtown Santa Rosa will be overflowing with musicians, poets, and dancers. Don’t forget to check out the Y2Kazoo band: 2,000 enthusiastic kazoo players will descend on the downtown area between 7 and 8 p.m. Crowd participation is encouraged in the kazoo-fest, so grab one at the corner of Fifth and Orchard at 5:30 p.m. Check out the Millennial Poetry Slam from 10 to 11:30 p.m. at the Cultural Arts Council, 606 Wilson St. Organizers are also planning a “Time Tunnel” on Fifth Street where people can “walk through each decade.” The New Year’s fireworks shows begin at 9 p.m. (for East Coast) and at midnight. First Night festivities begin at 4 p.m. in downtown Santa Rosa from City Hall to Fourth and Fifth streets, through Santa Rosa Plaza, and to Railroad Square. Entry badges (available at Copperfield’s bookstores) are $5 in advance and $10 on the night of the event. 579-ARTS.
The end of the millennium doesn’t mean an end to all things plaid–thank God! New Year’s Eve at the Cinnabar Theater will see the return of Forever Plaid, a comic celebration of the pop hits of the ’50s. The musical theater piece features Sean Bernardi, Stan Case, Greg Grabow, and Anthony Martinez as a frolicking foursome whose boyish antics and angelic harmonies persist even in the afterlife. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. at 3333 Petaluma Blvd., Petaluma. $50 (includes dinner, dessert, and champagne). 763-8920.
Get into the groove and bust a move to retrofunkygroovin’ sounds of Groove Juicy at Marty’s Top o’ the Hill New Year’s Eve party. The action starts at 9 p.m. at 8050 Bodega Ave., Sebastopol. $5 for general admission and $3 for students. 823-5987.
Are New Year’s Eve events a bit too pricey for your taste? Well, just because you don’t have $100 to blow on the festivities doesn’t mean you and your sweetie have to stay home huddled in front of a TV dinner. Enjoy a no-cover-charge show featuring local rock band Handelmann Quest at Jasper O’Farrell’s. The music starts at 9:30 p.m. at 6957 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol. Free. 823-1389.
Get your fill of holiday cheer before the millennium is over and life as we know it ends in Y2K chaos–or you have to back to work. Kick it with the country and western sounds of Hangtown starting at 9 p.m. at Twin Oaks Tavern, 5745 Old Redwood Hwy., Penngrove. Free. 795-5118.
Eric Lindell and the Reds
Sonoma County’s prodigal son returns for a show at the Inn of the Beginning. Dance till you drop, grab some party favors, then sip free champagne at midnight. If you’d just rather sit and eat all night, you can do that, too. The show starts at 9 p.m. at 8201 Old Redwood Hwy., Cotati. $25 for the show; $40 for the show and dinner buffet. 664-1100.
Eat, drink, and be merry Renaissance style as the Healdsburg Arts Council rings in the new century with “Masquerade 2000: A Renaissance Feast for the Senses.” The Malatovs’ New Millennium Minstrels will be present to dazzle and amaze guests with feats such as fire-eating and sword-swallowing. Costeaux French Bakery and Cafe will be providing a sumptuous array of hors d’oeuvres, with cocktails and champagne to be served throughout the evening. The event runs from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Villa Chanticleer, 1248 N. Fitch Mountain Road, Healdsburg. $75. 433-3064.
Blue note: Bonnie Rait headlines at Millennium Party 2000 in San Rafael.
Millennium Party 2000
If big is better, than you could do a lot worse than San Rafael’s Millennium Party 2000, one of the largest New Year’s parties in the North Bay. The city just wasn’t happy confining the event to one building, so it spread the fun out all over downtown San Rafael. The evening will feature musical performances by a slew of big names, including Grammy Award winner Bonnie Raitt, Elvin Bishop, Joe Louis Walker, and Huey Lewis & the News. The event begins with dinner at 8 p.m., continues with performances at 10 p.m., and concludes with a midnight countdown. $300 (includes dinner, dessert, coffee, and more). 415/457-2266.
Johnny Otis and Heather Marie
Forget about Y2K. Grab a date–or search through the personals for one–and head over to Domenic’s for its New Year’s Eve dinner and dance party. You’ll enjoy a hearty five-course dinner, music by the Poyntlyss Sistars, a bottle of champagne, and party favors. Partying starts at 5 p.m., and the Sistars take the stage at 9 p.m. at 3660 Stony Point Road, Santa Rosa. $99. 584-8803.
Get off the couch and head on down to the Flamingo Resort Hotel. It’s time to put on your dancing shoes and get down to the classic rock, R&B and funk of Power Factory. If dancing’s not your thing, then hang out for the free champagne and $500 to be dropped from the ballroom ceiling at midnight. The party starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 1 a.m. at Fourth St. and Farmers Lane, Santa Rosa. $20. 545-8530.
Banding together: Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings team up with Zigaboo Modeliste and the New Ahkestra at the Powerhouse Brewing Co. in Sebastopol.
Roy Rogers and Zigaboo Modeliste
New Year’s Eve brings a high-powered double bill at the Powerhouse Brewing Co. First, catch Grammy Award-winning master of the blues slide guitar Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings. Then, New Orleans’ funk king Zigaboo Modeliste and the New Ahkestra hit the stage. Both bands come together at midnight for an all-star jam. The gala package includes a gourmet four-course meal, a bottle of Iron Horse Blanc de Blanc, an appetizer buffet, a breakfast buffet, and lots of dancing in a heated revival tent. Dinner begins at 7:30 p.m. and the music starts at 10 p.m. at 268 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol. $150 gets you in to see the show; $250 gets you the complete package. 829-9171.
7th Day Rototiller
Maybe they’ll dress up like milkmen, or maybe they won’t. But whatever surprises 7th Day Rototiller have in store for their New Year’s Eve show at the Moonlight, you can be sure they’ll deliver their patented combination of eclectic alternative music and wildly unpredictable onstage behavior. The show starts at 8 p.m. at 515 Fourth St., Santa Rosa. $10 (includes champagne). 526-2662.
They’re back! This will be Solid Air’s sixth New Year’s Eve show at Murphy’s Irish Pub. The music starts at 9 p.m. and ends at 1 a.m. at 464 First St. E., Sonoma. $60. 935-0660.
Smooth jazz is the order of the evening at the Valley Ford Hotel and Restaurant. The evening features the band Sonoma and a nine-course dinner created by gourmet chef Berthold Seiffert (who has cooked for such notables as Princess Di and President Carter). Dinner seating is at 8:30 p.m. and the music starts at 9:30 p.m. at 14415 Hwy. 1, Valley Ford. $225 (includes dinner, show, party favors, and champagne). 876-3600.
Spancky’s New Year’s Eve Party
If you have a hard time justifying spending tons of money on a one-night party, then Spancky’s is for you. This is one New Year’s bash that lets you dance carefree into the year 2000 without thinking about how much you just spent, because there is no cover charge. The event begins at 9 p.m. and ends at 2 a.m. at 8201 Old Redwood Hwy., Cotati. 664-0169.
Jessica Starr and the Kind
Party till the cows come home with Jessica Starr at the Third Street Aleworks. The folk-rock guitarist is back with a new look and a new band. Other attractions include a huge buffet, cake, and plenty of party favors and champagne. The action begins at 8 p.m., and you can party on till 2 a.m., at 610 Third St., Santa Rosa. $40. 523-3060.
Angela Strehli Band and the Sundogs
Start the millennium far from the madding crowds at a special party at Marin County’s Rancho Nicasio featuring the inimitable Angela Strehli Band and the Sundogs. The evening includes a five-course meal, a champagne toast, and more. It all begins at 7 p.m. on the town square in Nicasio. $200 (includes meal, champagne, and entertainment). 415/897-7772.
Robin White and the Jazz Inmates
Here’s another New Year’s party that won’t cost your life savings. One of Sonoma County’s premier jazz venues, Main Street Station, is hosting a New Millennium Party featuring the musical talents of Robin White and the Jazz Inmates. The show starts at 7 p.m. at 16280 Main St., downtown Guerneville. Free. 869-0501.
Time to get down, kick up your heels, shake your bootay, and . . . well, you get the idea. Head over to Sweetwater for the club’s New Year’s Eve Mill(Valley)ennium party. The funk masters of Vinyl provide the music, there’ll be hors d’oeuvres and a champagne toast at midnight, and the party continues till 3 a.m. Festivities begin at 9:30 p.m. at 153 Throckmorton Ave., in Mill Valley. $65 (includes hors d’oeuvres, music, party favors, champagne toast, and more). 415/388-2820.
Looking for a reason to get dressed up to the nines? Ring in the millennium at Topolos at Russian River Vineyards. This elegant gala will feature a buffet, award-winning wines, and a giant heated tent with a dance floor where guests can groove to the tunes of local favorites Wiley’s Coyotes. The celebration begins at 9 p.m. and ends at 1:30 a.m. at 5700 Gravenstein Hwy. N., Forestville. $125 (includes food, drink tickets, and souvenirs). 887-1562.
Are you ready for a Y2Kodiak attack? The honky-tonk home of “Kodiak” the bull is having a New Year’s Eve bash guaranteed to make for a wild ride into the new millennium. If you don’t mind paying $40, you can enjoy an early sit-down dinner at 6 p.m. and reserved seating. If you’d rather pay $30, you can come at 8 p.m. for the late show. No matter what you decide, at midnight there’ll be complimentary champagne and a buffet. The evening will come to a close at 1:30 a.m. at 256 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. 765-5760.
Abe Battat Quartet
Dance to live music by the foursome and savor an eight-course feast at Brannan’s Grill. The party starts at 8:45 p.m. at 1374 Lincoln Ave., Calistoga. $200. 942-2233.
First lady: Connie Champagne swings into the Culinary Institute of America.
Connie Champagne and the Magnum Brutes
Why settle for merely sipping sparkling wine when you can swing into the new year with the inimitable Connie Champagne at “Greystone 2000: A Celestial Celebration”? The event includes a four-course dinner with seating at 6 p.m. and again at 9 p.m. at the Culinary Institute of America, 2555 Main St., St. Helena. $999 per couple. 967-1010.
Evening in the Wine Country
Trumpeters, a jazz trio, magicians, and a 12-piece band top the bill at this party at the Meadowood Resort. Also included: a festive meal with all five millennium cuvées produced by Napa Valley’s sparkling-wine houses. The fun starts at 5:30 p.m. at 900 Meadowood Lane, St. Helena. $550. 963-3646.
Some things are priceless. Others are just expensive. We leave it to you to decide which description fits Napa’s Embassy Suites Millennium Celebration, a three-night package that includes a New Year’s Eve dinner/dance featuring the blues-to-Motown sound of Little Sister. The party starts at 7 p.m. at 1075 California Blvd., Napa. $1,358 per couple (includes wine, champagne, breakfasts, cocktail parties nightly, and more). 253-9540.*
Napa Valley Wine Train
It’s the Wine Train! You too can spend an evening in elegance cruising the Napa Valley in stylish splendor. Sip champagne while you gaze out the window and laugh at all those folks stuck in their vehicles. This special New Year’s Eve excursion will include a sumptuous dinner and dancing. $250. 253-2111
From the December 23-29, 1999 issue of the Sonoma County Independent.
© Metro Publishing Inc.