News & Features » Features

Fall Arts 2018



Joan Baez, who graces our cover this week, is touring this year on what she's calling the Fare Thee Well Tour, but we editorial scribes at the Bohemian sure hope the legendary folk musician and heroine of '60s counterculture doesn't retire just yet—well, at least not until she's taken a righteous spin through our annual and epic fall arts preview produced by stalwart arts editor Charlie Swanson! Joan blows through the North Bay for a show at the Green Music Center in November—which reminds us to highlight our gratitude for autumn in the North Bay.

It's an absolutely stunningly beautiful time of year (horrific wildfires notwithstanding), and to recall a lyric from Baez's wonderful cover of the classic and haunting "Autumn Leaves": "Only when the high winds blow," she sings, "that I wish my hair was long / Sailing through the autumn leaves / Singing an ancient song." So sing along with Joan, and sail your ancient souls through our annual preview of all the great culture offerings on deck this season.—Tom Gogola



Taste of Sonoma Sonoma Country Weekend's annual tasting event has all the looks and flavors needed to celebrate the region throughout Labor Day weekend. Taste of Sonoma once again takes over the lawn at Sonoma State University's Green Music Center, with thousands of glasses of wine on hand and chefs from around the county preparing delectable bites. Live music, chef demos, seminars and more round out the premier event on Saturday, Sept. 1, at the Green Music Center, 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. Noon to 4pm. $180.

FLAVORS OF HOME It’s all smiles and tasty goodness at Taste of Sonoma. - CINDY STEPHAN
  • Cindy Stephan
  • FLAVORS OF HOME It’s all smiles and tasty goodness at Taste of Sonoma.

Fishstock There will be fun and food—and of course, fish—at Fishstock, the annual fundraiser for the Jenner Community Club. Enjoy chowder tasting, barbecued salmon, offerings from local wineries and breweries, live music by Dgiin and others, an ice cream parlor, a raffle and lots more in a Summer of Love–themed day by the sea. Sept. 2. 10398 Hwy. 1, Jenner. 11am–5pm. $5; kids free.

Broadway Under the Stars Gala Celebration Transcendence Theatre Company closes out its 2018 season of shows in the winery ruins at Jack London Park with their biggest party of the year, featuring an all-star cast of singers and dancers who will delight audiences of all ages with fresh takes on classic Broadway hits. Sept. 7–9. Jack London State Park, 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen. Pre-show picnic, 5pm; showtime, 7:30pm.

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Rooted in ranching and farming traditions, this touring event intersects the cowboy life with music and entertainment. Performers include Gail Steiger, Stephanie Davis, Amy Auker and Rodney Nelson, all of whom embody the history and modern relevance of cowboy culture. Yee-haw! Sept. 8. Lincoln Theater, 100 California Drive, Yountville. 7pm. $20.

National Heirloom Exposition Dubbed the "World's Pure Food Fair," this massive expo of food providers and enthusiasts brings together chef demonstrations, pure-food displays, live music, a giant-pumpkin contest, antique tractors and plenty of tasty tidbits, all to benefit school gardening programs. Sept. 11–13. Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. $15–$30; kids free.

Chautauqua Revue The revue is back and still finds ways to include new twists with musicians, dancers, storytellers, performers and clowns to keep audiences on their toes while honoring the traditions of the original Chautauqua events from a hundred years ago. This event always sells out, so act fast. Sept. 12–15. Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, 15290 Coleman Valley Road, Occidental. Wednesday–Saturday, 7:30pm; children's matinee, Saturday, 2pm. Evenings, $25 and up; matinee, $10 and up. 707.874.1557.

Sonoma Film Institute The oldest film repertory in the North Bay hosts another season of screenings featuring classics of contemporary cinema. The Academy Award–nominated German film In the Fade, screens on Sept. 14 and 16. Renowned documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman appears in person to screen his classic doc High School on Sept 28. Several experimental-animation films show in the "Music for the Eyes" program on Oct. 5 and 7, and other films on the fall schedule include 1953's Tokyo Story, 1997's Eve's Bayou and the 1944 musical Meet Me in St. Louis. See you there. Sonoma State University, 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. Fridays, 7pm; Sundays, 4pm. Free admission; $5 donations welcomed.

Petaluma River Craft Beer Festival As its namesake implies, this event is all about the beer— the crafty stuff from our parts. A short list of North Bay brewer participants includes HenHouse, Lagunitas, 101 North, Fieldwork, Headlands, Heretic, Plow, Fogbelt and Bear Republic. Quaff a pint, eat some food and listen to the live music. Then go jump in the river—this event is guaranteed to be hot and full of hops. Sept. 15, Water Street, Petaluma (21 and over only). 1–5pm. $40; $20 for designated drivers.

Art for Life 2018 Support the Face-to-Face/Sonoma County AIDS Network in their mission to end HIV in the North Bay, and get some fine art from hundreds of generous donors at this annual auction and party. Sept. 15. Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 282 S. High St., Sebastopol. 2–6pm. $50 and up. 707.544.1581.

Old Grove Festival It's hard to find better acoustics in the heart of the Armstrong Woods than the 1930s-era, open-air Redwood Forest Theater, home of the annual Old Grove Festival. New Monsoon headlines the event, with the Kathy Kallick Band opening the night. Do you need still more music? Well, this year, San Francisco's Noise Pop is bringing veteran indie rockers Built to Spill to the redwoods for a concert—with surprise guests also on tap. Bring flashlights, seat cushions and warm clothes. Sept. 15–16. Redwood Forest Theater, 17000 Armstrong Woods Road, Guerneville. 5pm. $35–$80. 707.869.9177.

Napa Valley Aloha Festival The Manaleo Hawaiian Cultural Foundation hosts this 11th annual event, which covers two days and includes live music and dance from the Hawaiian and Polynesian communities, Hawaiian food, and arts and crafts. Added bonus: no flaming chunks of lava. Sept. 15–16. Napa Valley Expo, 575 Third St., Napa. Saturday, 10am–6pm; Sunday, 10am–4pm. Free (bring a canned food for donation).

Petaluma Poetry Walk The popular bipedal-powered literary event is back for its 23rd year. More than 20 regional poets and authors offer readings throughout downtown Petaluma, all within easy walking distance of each other. The day kicks off at Hotel Petaluma's Ballroom and wraps up at Aqus Cafe. Sept. 16. 11am–8pm. Free. Check website for full list of venues and schedule.

LOS MARIACHIS Hey, that’s Ernesto Olivares at the Fiesta de Independencia!
  • LOS MARIACHIS Hey, that’s Ernesto Olivares at the Fiesta de Independencia!

Fiesta de Independencia Celebrate Mexico's independence and Latino Heritage Month with a daylong fiesta with all the campañas y silbatos: authentic food, music, games and activities for the entire family. Dance to live mariachi bands and swing at piñatas—and do not miss out on the salsa contest! Sept. 16. Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, 50 Mark Springs Road, Santa Rosa. 1pm–7pm. Free. 707.546.3600.

Santa Rosa Toy Con Nerd-tastic convention offers three buildings stuffed with comics, toys, games and collectibles from over 200 vendors. Special guests include original Star Trek: The Next Generation and Reading Rainbow star LeVar Burton, cult actor Lou Diamond Phillips, Breaking Bad star RJ Mitte, former Creature Features host John Stanley—and dozens of award-winning comic book writers and artists. There's also the annual cosplay competition, the Lego exhibition and more in store. Sept. 22. Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. Early-bird opening at 9am. $25; regular opening, 10am. $15.

Open Studios Napa Valley Art studios from all stretches of the Napa Valley are open for this 31st annual event, taking place over the last two weekends in September. Self-guided tours feature encounters with dozens of diverse artists working in several media. The event is juried, and unlike other open studio tours in the North Bay, the artists run the entire affair. Many of the artists also show their work at Jessel Gallery, 1019 Atlas Peak Road, Napa. The tours run Sept. 22–23 and 29–30. 10am–5pm. Maps and info at

Sonoma County Philharmonic Community-based nonprofit organization revels in its 20th season of orchestral performances—and has a full season of fun and fanfare in store. First, conductor Norman Gamboa leads the symphony in the "Celebration!" program, with mezzo-soprano vocalist Sonia Gariaeff on Sept. 22–23. Next, special guest oboist Jesse Barrett joins the philharmonic for "A Hero's Life" on Nov. 17–18. Santa Rosa High School Performing Arts Auditorium, 1235 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. Saturday, 7:30pm; Sunday, 2pm. $10–$15; students, free.


Add a comment