Some San Francisco soul in French Camp

Gayle Sutherland, a San Francisco-based singer-songwriter, performs Saturday at the annual Pete & Pat’s picnic.
Sutherland, who sings a style of ’60s rock-soul music influenced by Janis Joplin, is backed by her Sweet Talk band. There’ll also be a DJ.
The event includes a car show, raffle, “silent” auction, food, drinks and “people’s choice awards.”
Ths even begins at 3 p.m., with no admission after 5 p.m., at the Paulsen Ranch in French Camp. $15.
Information: petepaulsen.com.

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Delta College drama department plans four productions

Following two intriguing summer productions, instructors in San Joaquin Delta College’s theater department have scheduled four plays for the 2016-17 school year.
During June and July, unorthodox dramas ¬ with wisps of wit and whimsy ¬ by Caryl Churchill (“Love & Information”) and “Almost, Maine,” by John Cariani have examined communication and relationships using inventive theatrical devices.
“Almost, Maine,” during which 12 students play multiple roles in seven scenes and a prologue, continues tonight, Saturday afternoon and night and Sunday afternoon at the Alfred H. Muller Studio Theatre.
The 2016-17 season includes:
“SubUrbia,” Oct. 14-16; 21-23
“A Christmas Carol”: Dec. 1-4
“Eurydice”: March 9-12
“Avenue Q”: May 5-7; 12-14
Information:.deltacollege.edu/div/finearts; (209) 954-5110

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Stockton Civic Theatre’s new season

Stockton Civic Theatre’s 65th season ranges from the fantasy of “Mary Poppins” to the sophistication of Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music.
The 2016-17 schedule:
“Sister Act”: Aug. 31-Sept. 25
“Mary Poppins”: Nov. 16-Dec. 11
“Unnecessary Force”: Jan. 11-29
“Calendar Girls”: April 26-May13
“A Little Night Music” June 14-July 9
Information: sctlivetheatre.com; (209) 473-2424

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Kevin Hart tickets on sale same day Aug, 2 Stockton Arena show announced

Kevin Hart, a comedian who’s been scoring roles in major box-office movies, does his stand-up routine Aug. 2 at Stockton Arena.
Tickets already are on sale. They’re priced at $45, $65, $85 and $125 (before surcharges).
This is a LiveNation show ¬ a rarity in Stockton ¬ and a fairly big deal. Simultaneously announcing shows/ticket sales is a tactic used by artists such as the late Prince to helps shut down scalpers. First time it’s been necessary here.
The arena configuration will be at concert maximum. Usually not fully determined until “end” stage is “in place” at the 10,000-seat, SMG-managed facility.
Hart, a 37-year-old native of Philadelphia, is embarked on a national “What Now?” tour.
Perhaps that’s a slightly sardonic term. It’s the name of a one-man film that’s being released this year.
That follows “Ride Along 2,” a sequel to 2014’s “Ride Along”; “Central Intelligence”; and a voicing role in “The Secret Life of Pets” (as “Snowball”).
In 2015, he appeared in “The Wedding Ringer” and teamed with Will Ferrell in “Get Hard.” They’ve generated $230 million in ticket sales.
Since 2002, Hart’s amped-up his career with 39 films. He got started on television that same year and has had roles in 26 shows, three of which were stand-up specials, including “Laugh at My Pain” (2011).
He’s been a part of the “Scary Movie” series and gained attention in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” (2005), “Little Fockers” (2010) and “The Five-Year Engagement” (2012).
Hart helped create BET’s “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” acting as himself, and has hosted NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” twice.
“Captain Underpants” is due in 2017 (he’ll be “George Bard’s voice). He’s also released two albums.
Hart’s developed a distinctive comic voice during a 15-year career. He was a shoe salesman in Brockton, Massachusetts, before deciding to be funny for a living.
An admirer of Chris Rock, Hart found his comedic footing by digging into his own insecurities: “It has to be an open book,” he has said. “That is a book that’s being written.”
He’s won nine awards, including three NAACP Image Awards in 2012, when he was entertainer of the year.
For information: Ticketmaster.com; Stockton Arena box office; (800) 745-300.

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Stagg High grad goes for it in 24-hour U.S. musical ‘history’

Taylor Mac (Boyer) is going through with it:
“A 24-Decade History of Popular Music” that the New York Times refers to as a “magnum opus.”
Boyer, a graduate of Stockton’s Stagg High School, has said his 24-hour performance ¬ encompassing U.S. history in music ¬ will be staged Sept. 15 through Aug. 8 at New York City’s St. Ann’s Warehouse.
A respected cauldron of creativity ¬ Taylor Mac is an intensely and intently avant-garde performance artist, actor and playwright in New York and San Francisco ¬ his latest production also is labeled, by the Times, an “idiosyncratic history of the United States told through song.”
Boyer, 42 and a native of Laguna Beach, stages his marathon audience-participation epic during a series of three-hour concerts encompassing 30 years each. The 24-hour playoff begins at no on Oct. 8.
Known artistically as “judy” ¬ an intentionally gender-less name ¬ he’s warmed up with some performances in New York pubs, bars and clubs. He wrote and acted in “HIR” during 2014 at San Francisco’s Magic Theatre .
Taylor Mac’s ultimate creation includes 240 songs and 24 “brazen and sparkling” costumes (by Machine Dazzle”).
He starts with a 24-piece orchestra, progressively eliminating instruments ¬ one per decade of songs ¬ until he’s performing solo.
Near the end of July, he plays the first 12 decades during noon-to-midnight shows at the Powerhouse Theatre in out-of-the-way Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Interesting. Growing up wasn’t a ton of fun in 1980s Stockton, where mom Joy owned the Aldrich School of Art.
“I was a queer kid, “ Mac, told The Record in February 2014. “Especially in the ’80s, Stockton was not a pleasant place growing up being queer. I had teachers who’d say (William) ‘Shakespeare was a fag.’ It wasn’t the most progressive place. If you’re not part of the status quo, you have to wind up thinking differently. See the world for the way it is.”
Hear it that way ¬ in song ¬ too.

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Stockton priced out of Chris Isaak’s tour. Again

Chris Isaak’s North American summer tour started Wednesday in Houston.
He and his band are visiting 29 cities. One of them is not his hometown.
The last two dates are Sept. 9 and 10. At the Red Lion Woodlake Hotel in Sacramento. What?
Then the Mountain Winery in Saratoga.
Stockton, where Isaak, now 60, was born and raised, was on his mind. As usual.
However, the Sacramento and Saratoga venue owners were willing ¬ and able ¬ to pay the price.
A member of Isaak’s management group said they tried to book a show in Stockton. The necessary money wasn’t there.
That’s really a shame. Embarrassing. Yet a harsh truth about the 21st-century music business. (The guarantees musicians get paid are guarded like details of a CIA opp….not app.)
Without attempting to apologize for Isaak ¬ this is a really old and tired topic ¬ musicians now have to make their money on the road. Their recorded creativity is being freely appropriated ¬ well, stolen, actually ¬ with impunity on the Internet.
So, the performing fees go up. Divide the guarantee by the number of seats and it’s a cold calculation. In today’s climate, it’s costing more and more to keep a show on the road. Even in Isaak’s beloved bus.
(Check out “Roadies” on Showtime. Still weak, but more stream-able than HBO’s disgusting “Vinyl,” canceled after one ugly and forgettable season.)
Typically, musicians truly do leave the business stuff up to their managers. Who wouldn’t? Like the hundreds of millions of dollars lavished on professional athletes/actors, et al, once musicians reach a certain financial plateau, they prefer not to drop back by making exceptions. It’s an industry thing. (Remember the 49ers and the Girl Scouts?)
Too often, it’s assumed that a musician should perform for free ¬ or for charitable organizations ¬ in their hometowns. That does happen (except for Stockton police during the bankrupted Asparagus Festival.)
Isaak’s manager was calling to find out how he could contribute to creation of a Vietnam veterans’ memorial in Stockton. He’d read about it online.
That’s vastly different than performing at the Bob Hope Theatre for half his established fee. There are six guys in his band. A half-dozen crew-members. Somebody gets paid to drive the bus, though Isaak probably would like to give it a shot. (His car still is a 1964 Chevy Malibu.)
Bottom line: While asking how Isaak could help Stockton by being charitable, his manager was bemoaning the reality of having to skip Stockton because no promoter was willing ¬ or able ¬ to pay him what he’s worth.
He’s done four shows here ¬ not including jams with brother Nick’s band during some summer Victory Park concerts ¬ in 31 years.
It’s a sadly recurring topic.

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Brubeck Institute “colonizes” Sonoma State

The Brubeck Institute’s summer “colony” for high-school musicians is expanding its scope.
For the second time in three years, the week-long event isn’t being held on University of the Pacific’s Stokton campus.
The 27 students ¬ from around the U.S., Australia, Great Britain and, for the first time, Finland ¬are being tutored at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park. The camp concludes with two concerts tonight.
In 2014, the institute’s educational jazz session was held in Lake Tahoe.
This time, Simon Rowe ¬ who’s leaving his position as director on Aug. 1 ¬ has helped the “colony” co-ordinate with educators at Sonoma State and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he’ll be working after leaving Pacific.
Patrick Langham, who leads the Pacific’s jazz programs, becomes the institute’s interim director.
Band leaders Rowe, a pianist, and Langham, a saxophone player, are tutoring at the “colony.”
The students also are working with the San Francisco Jazz Collective (SFJAZZ), an eight-man band that includes Edward Simon, a piano player and adjunct professor at Pacific who also teaches composition.
Rowe praised Simon’s input on the nine original tracks written by students that are among the 12-tracks on the 2005 Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet album (“Fantasy V”). It won a national college small-combo award from Downbeat magazine.
“Part of the allure is the SF Jazz Collective,” said Rowe, 54, a native of Sydney, Australia who’s concluding his fifth year at the Brubeck Institute. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to come together in the name of youth jazz education.”
As a high-school junior, drummer Jalon Archie, singled out for individual praise by Downbeat, attended the summer camp. So did saxophonist Grace Kelly, from age 14 to 16. She now plays in Stephen Colbert’s late-night TV band, among other accomplishments.
“That’s further evidence of the strength and uniqueness of the education at the summer colony,” Rowe said.
Simon is joined in SFJAZZ by Miguel Zenon (alto sax); David Sanchez (tenor sax); Warren Wolf (vibraphone); Sean Jones (trumpet); Robin Eubanks (trombone); Matt Penman (bass); and Obed Calvaire (drums).
They conclude the “colony” tonight, playing the music of Michael Jackson and their own compositions.
The students ¬ divided into groups that include their tutors ¬ perform a free concert at Schroeder Recital Hall, 1801 E. Cotati Ave., in Rohnert Park at 3 p.m.
SFJAZZ plays at 7:30 p.m. at Weill Hall, 1801 E. Cotati Ave., in Rohnert Park. Tickets are $30.
SFJAZZ.org; pacific.edu/Brubeck-Home/News-and-Events.html.

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For the Record: How The Spazmatics became The Spazmatics

The Spazmatics were born in the spring of 1983 when physics professor Kevin Stigwood of Alta Dena High in Thousand Oaks California, lost a debate over String Theory to an upstart pupil in front of the entire student body and faculty. As agreed to by both parties, the loser would have to do anything that the winner demanded, and the victorious prodigy demanded that Mr. Stigwood perform “She Blinded Me With Science” by Thomas Dolby during half-time at an upcoming state basketball championship game.

Having no musical background and desperate to not go down in total humiliation, Professor Stigwood formed The Spazmatics by tapping the genius of electronics teacher Sidney Baderman (AKA “Sid Sonic”), who had achieved international acclaim in 1981 for his invention of “robot” drums. When Baderman (who was also the girls water polo coach at Alta Dena Middle School) explained that most of the music could be generated by computers, and that all he needed was a couple of decent musicians to complete The Spazmatics, Stigwood was ecstatic. To make The Spazmatics complete, Stigwood brought in his special needs brother Curtis on bass, and teacher’s assistant Rusty A. Woosmeir (AKA “The Raw”) on guitar.

When The Spazmatics took center court that evening, members of the hip elite began heckling them with jibes of “geek” and “nerd,” while everyone else howled with laughter. But once they broke into the opening salvo of “Science,” the nonbelievers were stunned by the group’s authenticity of production, world class musicianship, and tight choreography. The Spazmatics performance came to a climax when Stigwood grabbed one of the cheerleaders and began doing the “Belinda” up and down the court with her in tow. When it was all over, the crowd rose in a standing ovation, and The Spazmatics were born.
Fact:
From the creators of the Fabulous Boogie Knights comes the Spazmatics. All the awesome sounds, styles, and way cool dance steps from the 1980′s decade we’d love to forget. Complete with skinny ties, Brill Creamed hair, and horn-rimmed glasses, The Spazmatics recapture all the best of the worst. Outstanding musicianship combined with creative flair and style makes for an evening of pure energy and entertainment. So tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1999; only it’s not!

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Joyful Tama Brisbane using her laureate role poetically

Students in the WOW (With Our Words) Youth Poetry Collective expressed themselves along with members of University of the Pacific’s Brubeck Institue jazz musicians May 12 at the Spanos estate in Stockton.
They exercised their creativity to benefit the Stockton Animal Shelter.
Tama Brisbane, co-founder of With Our Words with husband Aaron and hopefully being named to a second year as Stockton’s poet laureate, provides some observations.
WOW poets represent Stockton at the Brave New Voices national tournament July 12-16 in Washington, D.C., and in The Bigger Picture regional tournament June 21-25 in the Bay Area.

Poet laureate-ing: Yes, they rocked it — and the six-foot sophomore (our daughter Miniya) — kinda stole the show. The outgoing Brubeck Institute director (Simon Rowe) is going to recommend that there be an annual collaboration between their musicians and WOW poets.
I think I’m getting another completely life-changing year as poet laureate
But the almighty X-FEST coming to Stockton? That’s some “hallelujah” shouting for me. When I was on the Civil Grand Jury (2007), I had to pound a few tables to get them to open an investigation into the city’s permitting policies and practices vis-a-vis event promoters.
Stockton had the reputation as a seriously hostile environment, particularly to alternative, rap and hip-hop. Mackalot, Middagh Goodwin and Chris Ricci were some (people) I asked to hear testimony from, just to get on record exactly what the challenges were for people trying to contribute some positive alternative arts.
Chris was especially compelling. So it’s “hella” sweet (and ironic) that X-Fest comes to Stockton because he couldn’t work things out with Modesto. Looks like (those in) Stockton took notes and learned.
I hope to talk to him about creating an annual Poetry Pavilion inside X-Fest. It would be a great and totally unique way to showcase Stockton’s commitment to lifting up our literate local/regional voices. Not to mention being a great way to attract national ones.
And bringing it back to the Bigger Picture Project? There is an org here called REACH (http://www.stocktonreach.org/#!about/aboutPage) that has already contacted us about incorporating our Bigger Picture Project poems into their programming and events.
I’m so excited about all the opportunities ahead for WOW voices to take part in important conversations.

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“Touch and Go” sure thing for Hamilton fans

Dirk Hamilton, always connected to Stockton personally, musically and spiritually, sends some thoughts worth contemplating regarding “Touch and Go,” his 19th album since 1976.
As usual, it somehow has avoided a deserved degree of attention.
Now living in a Dallas suburb (Plano), the 67-year-old Lincoln High School grad – and some cyberspatial supporters – explains:

I’m back home in already-soaked-but-still-storming Texas. Below are emails we posted to shamelessly plug the new CD, “Touch and Go,”
Why buy CDs? I guess because, like me, you might like having something real in your hands.
I like having a real copy of Keith Richards’ new one (“Cross-Eyed Heart”). I like the idea of you having ‘Touch and Go’ in your hands. It’s definitely the prettiest album I’ve ever put out artwork-wise.
There’s also the thing about supporting the artists you like. Most of us struggle mightily to survive and are working with no financial net below us.
Ordering directly from me is the only way, besides coming to a show, you can get a signed copy. You can order it directly from dirkhamilton.com via snail mail, credit card or Paypal or from just about every other place CDs are sold.
People ask me where they can read the lyrics. You can find them, along with lyrics to songs on all the other albums, under ‘discography’ at dirkhamilton.com.
Whatever you do or don’t do I wish you well (unless you’re evil). I’m well into my 60s now. One of the good things about getting old is you can almost see the finish line. I find that truly freeing.
TOUCH AND GO EMAILS
JUST AWESOME! Your album taught me, that it is still worth listening to lyrics. I do enjoy „Misery Woman“ a lot. That would make a wonderful novel. Maybe Patricia Highsmith would have made one of her great stories out of that one. Gladiola may be even my favorite track on the album. I do enjoy all of them And the sequencing. Fantastic band work. They even did a good job on “Build a Submarine“. On that one I really like the electric guitar. The choir is greatly arranged and funny at times. Your voice has reached a very comfortable lower register, which suits the music perfectly.
Dirk Huseman- Germany

Another quintessential Dirk Hamilton cd – a touch of romance, common sense, playfulness, anger, and a lot of smarts. I haven’t stopped playing it in a month.
Brian Brick – Oakland

I love this new album — beautiful, thoughtful, passionate songwriting, the soulful singing, and the great harp and guitar with the added delight of producer/sideman Rob Laufer’s instrumental/vocal/studio touches. There are some real classics on Touch and Go — the exuberant, joyful “Gladiola,” the sweet and poignant title track, the Texas twister of a tune “Head on a Neck” (which I would rank among the greatest tunes Dirk has created in his 40+ years of songwriting). The whole album is a triumph, not a weak track on it. This is a first-rate effort, a must-have for anyone who loves this guy’s music or is just looking for best-kept secrets in American art.
Steven Crozier – Seattle

in one word: wonderful!!
Mauro Euphrosini – Italy

I’ve listened all the way though a couple of times and really like it. Early favorites (and these often change over time as new things are revealed): “Gladiola,” “Touch and Go” (love the production on that one, with the subtle but important keyboard and guitar textures), “For the Love of a Lady,” “Build a Submarine,” the simple, lilting “the Only Thing That Matters,” and the Dylanesque (in a good way) “Mister Moreno.” Great job all the way around! There’s a nice consistency to it all; feels like single statement in a way, with tendrils and offshoots and filigrees emanating from a single source–your soul, of course.
Blair Jackson – Oakland

Touch And Go arrived yesterday and I’ve already played it half a dozen times. Yep, it’s that good! Rob Laufer was a cool choice for producer because he’s the old school type who hears sounds, not formulas. 13 great songs that offer so much, love how Rob, who knows it’s all about the singer and the song, adds and subtracts. The crunching guitar and organ on Head On A Neck (Tony Joe White should over it) creates a great slab of swamp Blues whereas re-working The Only Thing That Matters around acoustic guitar and viola creates a whole new song. Also cool, is getting your voice and harmonica right up in the mix. Definitely a batch of some of your best songs- “Mister Moreno ” is a killer closer and ‘Gladiola” a monster opener (love the slide guitar) Lyrics rock also, ranges from universal to personal (The Love Of A Lady to ‘Blame The Poor”) Nice Stonesy groove attached to Not Free To Me”. So, did I tell you I love the entire album? Great stuff indeed!
Michael Macdonald – Australia

I enjoy the serious depth of music you instill with your playing and vocally, creating many styles, while being true to an Americana roots feel.
Dr. Glen Silver – Richardson, Texas

I’ve been listening to this for about a week now. Wonderful stuff. It’s all fresh but there are a couple of places (like “Cheers to the Heart”) where I can almost believe we’re back in 1978.
Denny Gibson – Ohio

The ‘touch and go’ is literate and alive without a hint of pretension. Bravo, Dirk Hamilton. You’ve done it again!
Alice Anderson – Palo Alto, CA

The recent No Depression magazine article by Gary Stoller

http://nodepression.com/article/dirk-hamilton-it-started-dick-clarks-caravan-stars

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    Tony Sauro

    Tony Sauro has been writing feature stories and reporting on entertainment events since 2008. Before that, he helped write, edit and design the editorial pages for five years. Tony edited and wrote for the TimeOut section during its first 10 years ... Full Profile
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