Arcata Eye Scene

A-town art, music, theatre. Mostly music. Updated Wednesdays.

Wait, Wait! No, really, wait – who is she playing for?

Saturday’s episode of NPR favorite Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me (available Saturdays at 10 a.m. on KHSU) featured opera diva Frederica von Stade answering questions about The Jonas Brothers (it makes sense if you’ve listened to the show) playing for… “John Jerome of Trinidad, California.” And she won! So friends of John should expect to hear Carl Kasell’s voice on his home answering machine. Cool!

Johns new best friend?

John's new best friend?

Listen here.


Those dudes ARE so cool and chill, aren’t they?

Outside Missing Link Records

Outside Missing Link Records

Recently Seattle’s Light in the Attic label stopped by our own Missing Link Records as part of their Road Trip.Our first stop was Missing Link Records.

“This place was new, small, and fantastic! These dudes were so cool and chill,  it really just felt like we were hanging out with old friends from childhood. They were super excited for our arrival, and went through our records like crazy. They pulled out a little bit of everything, and started listening to it right there and then. They had this mirror that they made that was a sasquatch but without his face. If you lined your face up correctly, you became sasquatchified! So undoubtedly we all participated in that.”

Click on the link for the whole scoop, including their stop at the Works in Eureka.

An email so hot it burnt my inbox: Scott H. Biram in A-town June 3!

Scott H. Biram is playing Arcata: Wednesday, June 3 at Humboldt Brews

His new record, “Something’s Wrong/Lost Forever” is due out May 19, 2009.

Most one-man bands are one-trick ponies. One riff, one sound, one gimmick, one bucket, whatever. Not Scott H. Biram. The man can and will throw down some feral, amped-up Delta blues just as easily as a stone cold country weeper that’ll get the girls all dewy-eyed with faith and desire, or even a heavy metal field holler—with the emphasis on holler. He can and will hold an audience rapt when he sings from the bottom of his boots about what it takes to get saved and how he’ll end up blowing the deal. Read the rest of this entry »

We thank Ross Rowley for given the Harmonaires their due – April 29, 2009

Ready to be put out to pasture? Horse pucky!

If you think you’re too old to perform music, you just haven’t been inspired by your peers. Too many times, musicians “retire” from performing music in public as they age past their “golden” years. Of course, the golden years for them is somewhere in their late 30s. With so much emphasis on youth in America, who can blame them for feeling inadequate?

No, this is not going to be a diatribe about Britain’s Got Talent/YouTube sensation Susan Boyle. My ladyfriend and I took her boys, aged nine and 14, to see The Humboldt Harmonaires Barbershop Chorus spring concert at the Arkley Center for the Performing Arts. The theme was “Deep In The Heart of Texas,” and yes, familiar cowboy songs were on the agenda.

The Humboldt Harmonaires have been performing since 1962 on the Northcoast. Now, I would imagine the average of the members is somewhere near 65 years of age. So, singing “I’m An Old Cowhand” seemed pretty appropriate. There are a few young singers, who if they didn’t possess a strong constitution for embarrassment, would never admit to performing in a barbershop chorus. And there is one man, Glen Woods, who is nigh on 94 years old and may have been around when barbershop was invented. All in all, they put on one heck of a good show.

Sure, the presentation was corny. It’s barbershop harmony for goodness sake. But, that’s why you go to see barbershop groups perform, isn’t it? It’s good to see humor injected into music. Too much of today’s angst-ridden and angry musical scolding by introspective shoe-gazers becomes tiring. At least, for me. There are times I want to forget my personal problems and just laugh. The Humboldt Harmonaires and their offshoot quartets like Mirth First! and The Banana Bunch (a quartet with appeal) provide the humorous aside when needed.

Oh, did I mention they can also sing quite well? You see, as these gentlemen aged, they didn’t give up on music, they embraced it. What you should also know is each year they give a $1,000 scholarship to a student who plans on continuing his or her music education. How many other musical groups around town offer that? Personally, I don’t know of any. This year’s recipient of the scholarship was high school senior Otis Harriel of the ArMack Orchestra. After receiving his scholarship, he performed solo for the audience. The young man showed us his tremendous skills on the violin. His performance medley showcased classical strains featuring exquisite use of harmony counterpoint, difficult arpeggios and forays into jazz violin before topping the performance with a rousing rendition of the fiddlers chestnut, “Orange Blossom Special.”

True to form, as both a violinist and fiddler, Otis Harriel brought the house down. I’m telling you, the old coots in the Humboldt Harmonaires sure know how to spot talent!?

The guest artist for the spring concert was the comically gifted Riff-Raff, a truly professional barbershop quartet from Los Angeles. Were they corny? My God, YES! And the audience loved every minute of their show. But, beyond cornball antics and sight gags, they were some of the best harmony singers I have heard in my life. Again, the over-the-hill Humboldt Harmonaires sure know how to spot talent. Perhaps, it’s their age. Older and wiser. Been there, done that. Or, they could adhere to the adage that; old age and treachery always defeats youth and skill.

Go see the Humboldt Harmonaires sing on opening day of the Humboldt Crabs at the Arcata Ball Park. They say singing the National Anthem may be the only time they’re guaranteed a standing ovation. Not true, gentlemen, not true.

Quick! Bill Tapia at Arcata Playhouse! Tonight!

Ukulele virtuoso legend Bill Tapia plays TONIGHT at the Arcata Playhouse. This 101-year-old performer has been credited as the first to play jazz on the ukulele. Ukesperience opens. Tickets are $15 HFS members,$18 general.

Doors opened at 7 p.m. Ukesperience starts at 7:30 p.m. Drinks and snacks are available for sale.

At 101 years young, there’s no doubt that Bill Tapia is in a class by himself. Not only is he still playing, touring and recording, his chops, wit and showmanship remain top notch. Having purchased his first instrument at age seven from one of Hawai’i’s original ukulele makers, Tapia represents the last living link to the earliest days of Hawaiian music as we know it today.

Now, get off the computer and go!

Dell’Arte‘s solution to the troubled economy

Direct from D’A:

Pay What You Can (PWYC) now through end of May!

Has the recession put you in a depression? Well move out of the gray, and into the blue: sunny Blue Lake that is. Dell’Arte realizes everyone is feeling the pinch of the economy. Taxes have been filed, and now we are all waiting on the economy to recover. So, while you’re waiting, why not come out to Blue Lake and experience the thrill of live theatre?

We are so confident that you will have a glorious time that we have stopped setting an admission price. That’s right, you tell us what it’s worth to you to have world-class theatre being created in your Humboldt backyard! If you want in on the good times just go to and select the performance you want on our website. Better yet, just drop Miss Dharla an email at with your details (name and phone number, the name and date of the performance and the number of tickets you would like, but only four tickets can be reserved per transaction) and she’ll hold your tickets at the box office. When you arrive, just pay what it’s worth to you.

Be sure to arrive 15 minutes early, or your tickets may be given away to another lucky soul. Act fast; tickets are sure to go quickly! Pay What You Can (PWYC) for the next five weeks at Please join the students of Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre for Tragedy, Clown, Thesis Festival and The Finals. To reserve tickets visit our website or call 668-5663 ext. 5.


Tragedy Thur -Sun, April 23 -26 8:00 PM (Two unique works presented by our 2nd year students)

Clown Thur -Sat, April 30 – May 2 8:00 PM (A Dell’Arte classic and consistent sell out, presented by our first year students )

Thesis Festival Thur -Sun, May 14-17 8:00 PM

Thesis Festival Thur -Sun, May 21 -24 8:00 PM (Nine unique works, their thesis projects, over two weekends from the zany students who brought you Glasnost )

The Finals Thurs – Sat, May 28 -30 8:00 PM (Just that, our students take their final test of 2009)

Stencil Nation in A-town

Northtown Books recently hosted Russell Howze of Stencil Archive/Stencil Nation.

Howe reports favorably on his Arcata experience.