We're BACK to Rosie...with huge thanks to our First Responders!
Back to Rosie- The Yum Yums Sweet As Candy
Just Got Back- Cheap Trick All Shook Up
Back Again- Tommy Keene Songs From The Film
Back Among Friends- TUNS TUNS
So Good To Be Back Home Again- The Tourists DIY: UK Pop II (1978-79) Starry Eyes
Back to Normal- The Reducers Last Tracks and Lost Songs
Back to Life- Rattlecats Teen Line no. 1
Back on Side With You- Someloves Something Or Other
^Back On My Feet Again- The Babys Anthology
Back On My Feet- Dreamdate Come On Over
Back On My Feet- Paul McCartney Once Upon A Long Ago
Back In My Hometown- Wreckless Eric Big Smash
Back For Good- Kurt Baker Play It Cool
Back On the Streets- Donnie Iris Back On The Streets
*Back to You- The Wellingtons In Transit
*Back To You- Richard X. Heyman Hey Man!
*Back To You- The Riverdales Back To You
*Back To You- Walter Clevenger and The Dairy Kings Love Songs To Myself
Back To The Middle- Pink Spiders Teenage Graffitti
Back to the Truth- Lisa Mychols 3 Lisa Mychols 3 - EP
Back In The Middle- Pezband Cover To Cover
>I'll Be Back Up On My Feet- The Monkees Listen To The Band
Soon Be Back- The Early Hours Evolution
Get Back To Me- The Action Shake Some Action Vol 7 (USA)
Back To The Shack- Weezer Everything Will Be Alright In The End
Baby's Coming Back- Jellyfish Bellybutton
Back With You- Tinted Windows Tinted Windows
Back Where You Belong- .38 Special The Very Best Of The AandM Years (1977-1988)
The Beat Is Back- The First Steps The Beat Is Back E.P. 7"
Come On Back- The Hollies 30th Anniversary Collection 1963-1993
Always Comes Back- SVT Extended Play
Go Back Home- Tommy Keene Laugh In The Dark
^Power Pop Prototype: #33 Billboard Hot 100 3/15/80
*SacroSet: Songs Called "Back To You"
>Power Pop Prototype: 1968
Since we got back into our homes in mid-October, those of us affected by the North Bay Wild Fires have been sharing our "fire stories." We all know people who lost everything but most in the town of Sonoma were lucky. For us, it started with a 2am phone call on Monday, October 9. I had been up late that night and had fallen asleep on the couch, which is a rarity for me. The wind was blowing so hard it woke me up at 1am when I went to bed without giving it another thought. An hour later the phone rang, my son Jack calling to say he had been evacuated from his home on Franklin Ave in Santa Rosa, two miles south of the Journey's End mobile home park that by that time was fully engulfed in flames, the scene of the first reported fatalities from what would be called the Tubbs fire. We went out on the street and could see an orange glow, the hills to the east in flames- what I later learned was the Partrick fire. There was no going back to sleep that night but at 2:30am Channel 7 was the only station airing live coverage and they were focused on the Atlas fire in Napa.
Within a few hours our four local channels were all doing wall to wall coverage. In most cases they were talking about the Napa Fires or the Tubbs fire north of us- calling it all "Sonoma," making no distinction between our town and our county. It truly was a firestorm- burning embers spread by 70 mile an hour winds starting fires throughout Sonoma and Napa counties. There was lots of information coming out of Santa Rosa but little about Sonoma. My daughter Nica starting reading us social media posts about places closer to home: Glen Ellen Village Market is gone (false), Fremont Diner is burned up (false), Stornetta Dairy is destroyed (true), Dunbar School is in flames (outdoor stage burned, main buildings fine). The television then showed a brief but chilling image- fire at my friend Ramona's winery. I immediately texted her and she was safe, having fled with virtually no warning minutes before her home was engulfed.
The weird thing was that even though I could see the Partrick fire burning before dawn, the wind blew out most of the smoke so when the sun came up on Monday the air was fairly clear. Jaime and I began talking about whether we should stay or go. With the Nuns fire in the north, the Partrick fire to the east, and the Rt. 37 fire south of us we only had one route out of town on Monday- Rt. 116 west to Petaluma, then 101 south to Marin. Our friends Libby and Miller just north of Sonoma in Boyes Hot Springs evacuated with their 4 year old Maeve on Monday and it took them four hours to drive 20 miles. The horrible thought of being stuck on Rt. 101 while the Tubbs fire burned its way south kept us in Sonoma on Monday. Our friend Lori joined us and that night she Jaime and I volunteered for the 8p-midnight shift at the shelter they set up in the gym at Sonoma Valley High School. I am so glad we did- there's nothing like spending time with other people, many of whom had lost their homes, to put our own problems in perspective. After sitting in front of the TV for hours getting next to no information about the town of Sonoma, it was also great to get out of the house and do something.
It was very inspiring to see the outpouring of generosity at the shelter- there were already a hundred beds in place, tons of food, water and medical supplies along with things I didn't think about like phone chargers and pet food. There were even more people outside in the parking lot, sleeping in their cars- many to be with their skittish pets but several who were afraid to come inside as a rumor was circulating that ICE agents were targeting undocumented people at shelters. (Thanks again social media!)
Like Ramona, the fires took everyone by surprise so for 48 hours First Responders were working search and rescue, which meant the fire had plenty of time to spread before the active firefight started on Wednesday.
The winds died down Monday night, so on Tuesday Sonoma Valley was a bowl of smoke. All the stores sold out of masks within the next two days, but on the plus side, all volunteer shifts at the high school were filled and they received so many food and water donations they had to start turning them away.
Tuesday the discussion about leaving between my wife Jaime and I started to get a little more "heated." On Monday she had gathered up our photo albums and put them in the car. I grabbed my laptop and a folder that has our marriage certificate, wills, the kids' birth certificates, car titles and other important papers. Jaime was surprised I didn't start packing up records but I was deeply ambivalent about the idea. How do you start? Take the most valuable records, the ones that have the greatest sentimental value, the rarest? Even writing about it now fills me with dread (shudder). I didn't even pack up my guitars, which in retrospect seems crazy. I was either a deer in the headlights or had attained a zen master consciousness regarding material possessions, though I'd put my money on the former. The one good thing that happened on Tuesday is I went in to KSVY and spent a few hours broadcasting fire information with Station Manager Bob Taylor and host Tim Livingston- who, along with Sara Stierch, deserve medals for their dedication to our community throughout the fires.
|KSVY Fire Center|
Wednesday was even smokier and for the ongoing viability of my marriage we made the decision to go and stay with our friends Frank and Joanna in Emeryville. By this time Jack was with his girlfriend Kayla in Cloverdale, north of the fires where they couldn't even smell smoke. My daughter Nica had gotten a dog with her boyfriend Matthew earlier this year which complicated things, as did our cat Sheena since Joanna is allergic. Our friend Pete took Sheena to his place in the Oakland Hills and we kept Nica's dog Cash in Joanna's basement office.
|Cash and Sheena, uneasy truce back in Sonoma|
I wasn't any less sedentary in Emeryville than I had been in Sonoma spending hours switching between local stations covering the fire. What was frustrating is that they kept playing newly released footage from Monday's firestorm making us think things were MUCH worse than they actually were. With a hurricane or an earthquake everything you see is after the fact so the context is clear- in an ongoing situation it is VERY irresponsible to show random uncredited Monday footage on Wednesday. On the plus side, by this time the national news media FINALLY started paying attention to the fires and we started getting messages of support from family, friends, clients etc. across the country. I had to explain the difference between Sonoma county and the town of Sonoma because the national news media also failed to make the distinction. Around this time, Nica asked me "why do the celebrities come out for hurricane victims and not for us?" Excellent question for which I do not have an answer.
Smoke from the fires preceded our arrival in
Back in Sonoma, Tim across the street and a few other neighbors set up night time patrols because there were numerous reports of looters breaking into evacuee homes. It's the same spirit we saw in the shelter on Monday- another thing for which I'm truly thankful. After four days with very little news about the town of Sonoma on television, things changed on Friday. We'd been so starved for some mention of our town that we forgot the old saying: no news is good news. On TV we saw sheriffs driving around Sonoma Plaza saying "It's time to go" over their loudspeakers. The Nuns fire now included the Partrick fire, the Norrbom fire just north of Sonoma, and the Adobe, Pressley, and Oakmont fires. This giant behemoth was bearing down on Sonoma from the north and east.
High winds were again forecast for Friday night- it is no exaggeration to say that over the next 36 hours firefighters saved the town of Sonoma. Those who stayed said the town was a war zone, fire planes dropping water overhead, heavy equipment transported to the hillsides and fire crews racing back and forth across town. It is incredible what these brave men and women accomplished against formidable odds. The map above shows just how huge the Nuns fire had become- 55,000 acres burned! Fire crews from all over the state converged on Sonoma and put a stop to it.
I was in the final week of tech rehearsals for The Rainmaker when the fires broke out on
October 9. Our opening weekend was cancelled and we weren't able to get back to rehearsals until Sunday, October 15 when Pat the director got us some time at a dance studio in Novato, a town 40 minutes south of Sonoma that was unaffected by the fires. With the Nuns fire 29% contained and all evacuation orders lifted, Jaime and I were happy to be heading home that Sunday. I picked up Sheena at Pete's and stashed her in a bathroom in the dance studio as one of my cast mates was allergic. We started with a pot luck to reconnect after a harrowing week and were 90 minutes into our rehearsal when the first siren went by. A few minutes later every fire truck in Novato roared by and we looked out the window to see the top of a hill up the street on fire.
|Novato, October 15 You gotta be kidding me?!?|
What followed was a conversation along the lines of:
"What do you think?"
"I don't know, it would have to burn a ways to get to us"
"Fires don't usually burn DOWN hill do they?"
"Um, what are you talking about...why are we still here?!?"
After a few rounds we decided to call it quits leaving the score:
FIRES-5 (tech rehearsals cancelled),
We planned to meet back in the theater the next evening, the only problem was that power was out in the building that Monday. So, we moved all our props to another space and finally got to rehearse again after a 7 day delay. Two more dress rehearsals and then we opened that Thursday, October 19. Jaime made the run free to First Responders and we did a few "pay what you wish" performances.
The Rainmaker is a story about faith, hope and redemption in the midst of extreme drought- a perfect message for Sonoma Valley at the time. I wish I could say we played to packed houses in our abridged run yet those who did come out seemed to appreciate the show. I can say it was VERY therapeutic for those of us in the cast and crew. Final score:
THE RAINMAKER-10 (performances)
|Photos by Marina Nims|
When we got back to Sonoma Sunday afternoon there were signs all over town thanking First Responders, many of which are still in place. I couldn't agree more- THANK YOU FOR SAVING OUR TOWN!
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ALL KINDSA GIRLS SHOW #162