Arcata Eye Scene

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

Archive for Arcata Eye

Ross Rowley waxes poetic – from the Feb. 18 issue

There really is nothing like a community dance. A dance like the one held last Saturday night at the Arcata Community Center. The Arcata Volunteer Fire department has been holding these dances for a 125 years. The Arcata Hook and Ladder Company #1 held its first dance on Feb. 21, 1884.  Not only are they a means of supporting the fire department, but also they are as important for socializing in Arcata as the Farmers’ Markets and Arts Arcata!. The Fireman’s Ball/Valentines Day dance is a nice little look into the microcosm of Arcata’s blue-collar residents. Hard working, responsible folk, those blue collar volunteer fire fighters.

To see the Arcata Community Center filled with so many folks for a dance is inspiring. Perhaps, people do still go out, even, if it is just one night per year. And, Valentines Day adds that little special something-something to the evening.

I wish Randy Collenberg were around to write about it. He would cut to the chase. If circumstances were different, I know I would have seen Randy and Dannette cutting a rug last Saturday night. They were pretty fair dancers, too.

A community dance really leans toward socializing. Some of these folks don’t get to socialize very often. Sure, there’s a couple of minutes of catching up in the supermarket or sitting down with other adults during youth sporting events, but a dance, especially a Valentines dance, beckons back to a time when the husband and wife and other couples were first courting. Maybe stemming from going out on dates to the Ramada Inn (North Coast Inn) in its heyday.

At the Arcata Volunteer Fireman’s Ball, you can also see families from the Blue Lake, Manila, McKinleyville, Bayside and Trinidad Fire department crews all joining in on the fun. Lots of visiting. A lot like they did in high school.

Last Saturday evenings’ dance was a 21-and-over affair due to the alcohol being served. And, that’s right. You don’t want teenagers messing up a good thing with their youthful temptations.

But, I have to tell you about an event our band played a week earlier also at the Arcata Community Center. It was a fundraiser for the Fieldbrook 8th grade class trip to Catalina. Teacher Bruce Hart uses his annual 50th birthday party as a trick to get his former and present swing dance students out for a big get-together.

It’s amazing to see both beginning and advanced dancers all weaving amongst each other without causing dance floor fender-benders. The real joy is watching the high school and college dancers tearing up the floor. Their vim and vigor, and unseeingly endless stamina, make them a delight to watch.

If your son or daughter doesn’t enjoy team sports, offer to send them and their friends to a swing dance class. They’ll be getting the proper exercise and they’ll meet new friends and curiously, romance may spring out of it. Then, in 20  years, they too can ditch their kids to attend the Arcata Volunteer Fire Department Valentine Fireman’s Ball.

Traditions like that still happen. Just ask any old Arcata family.

Ross Rowley brings a touch of class to the Eye’s Scene pages more weeks than not.


Josh Duke gets into the swing of things

Just like the last time I got a drink thrown in my face, Saturday night had a sense of refreshing vigor that raised me from my doldrums and left me standing and asking myself the question, “What did I do to deserve this?” Donna Landry and her band gave us a swing and R&B set at the Jambalaya that got a modest crowd dancing to a docket full of old standards. Read the rest of this entry »

Look at all the pretty colors!

Ross Rowley attests to that – July 15, 2008

There are good nights and bad nights. Every musician can attest to that. Musician/comedian Martin Mull tells stories of being booked on tours and when he arrives to the club, he sees his name, once again, displayed on the marquee as “___ Plus Opening Act.”  If you’ve played music long enough, you have endured gigs that are just unbearable.  They’re the kinds of shows where the band outnumbers the customers in the bar.

Continue reading Ross here.

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Feb. 5 print issue preview

I tried this before, to no avail. Here’s hoping it works this time.

First sentences of stories in the upcoming issue of the Arcata Eye, Scene section: Read the rest of this entry »

Space, the final frontier

Filling the Scene pages each week is like moving into a new apartment. At first, the space stretches out, seemingly plentiful. Items are brought in, dragged from one side to the other, looked at a number of ways until finally the “right” spot is found. But the more pieces added, the less room to play and adjust. The once airy abode begins to feel cramped. Do I really need all these houseplants?, one might ask. Do we really need to run six photos of hot chicks* rocking out? Read the rest of this entry »