Sunday, June 17, 2018

Show #165 May 26, 2018

For Good Time Sally and all Rock n' Roll Dads!

Good Time Sally- Rare Earth Good Time Sally 
Here Come the Good Times- A House Here Come The Good Times
Now Was the Future- Matthew Sweet Tomorrow's Daughter 
Boys Will Be Boys- The Fast Max's Kansas City 1976 and Beyond 
Leave- Regular Guys Jayhawk Pop: Lawrence, KS 1979-1981 
Who We Are- Descendents Who We Are 
Love In Your Eyes- Walter Clevenger and The Dairy Kings Love Songs To Myself 
Confidentially Renee- Radio Alarm Clocks Wake Me When It's Over 
^Good Times- Hoodoo Gurus Blow Your Cool!
*Good Times- Jack Lee Jack Lee's Greatest Hits Vol. 1 
*Good Times- Paul Collins' Beat To Beat Or Not To Beat/Long Time Gone 
Won't Let It Get Me Down- Linus Of Hollywood Cabin Life 
(My Girl's A) Hologram- The Rabies (My Girl's A) Hologram 
So What- Richard X. Heyman Incognito 
*Good Times- The Monkees Good Times! 
*Good Times- The Stone Roses Second Coming 
*Good Times- Rivals If Only... 
The Day Will Be Mine- Sloan 12 
All The Same- Parallax Project I Hate Girls 
Reason For Wanting You- The Laughing Dogs Meet Their Makers 
Sonar Deceit- The Damned Evil Spirits 
Time For Dinner?- De Cylinders De Cylinders 
Can't Hurry Love- The Kwyet Kings Been Where? Done What? 
>Good Times- The Easybeats The Definitive Anthology
>Good Times- The Rolling Stones Out Of Our Heads 
>Good Times- Eric Burdon and The Animals San Franciscan Nights 
I Like You Better- The Well Wishers A View From Above 
Foreign Fields- Smart Remarks Foreign Fields: 1982 - 1984 
All The Girls- The Secrets Success Without College 
Goodbye Goodtimes- Gary Charlson Titan: It's All Pop!  

^Power Pop Peak:

*SacroSet:  "Good Times" Songs

>Power Pop Prototype:  1968, 1965, 1967

My son Jack has had a hard time of it since the day he was born.  Now at age 22, he is doing better than ever and for that my wife Jaime and I are truly grateful.  It was very different with our second child.  In my experience having a daughter is a glorious thing.  It made me a better man having this small, kindhearted, patient, non-aggressive, deeply empathetic little girl in my life.  Everyone warns you that they grow up and "turn on you" and my situation is no different, yet Nica and I had great run.  From seven seasons of coaching her in softball to watching seven seasons of Buffy The Vampire Slayer on DVD with her on my laptop, the two of us wedged into the big red chair in our living room- we were close until she turned 14.  Three Hunger Games books and four Hunger Games films in two Hunger Games movie marathons further cemented our bond.  Jaime and I were also able to share our love of theater with Nica who has a beautiful singing voice.  Our theater collaborations have included several shows, the high point being Carrie:  The Musical in 2015.  Jaime was the Producer, Nica played Sue Snell (red sweater in foreground right) and I was Mr. Stephens (wearing tie in background right).

The Cast of Carrie:  The Musical

My wife Jaime worried that it was going to kill me when our daughter inevitably turned away from us, yet I'd seen it happen to friends with daughters as young as 12 so I truly appreciated getting two more years of quality time with Nica.  Now at age 19 I'm lucky if I can get her to text me back in a single 24 hour period and we haven't spent more than 24 hours under the same roof since evacuating during the wildfires last October.  Nevertheless, I remain hopeful- as I often tell Jaime, "life is long."  I know in my heart
Jack and Kayla at her gradation
that Nica and I will be close again one day.  Case in point, Jack now lives an hour away in Cloverdale but we talk or text a couple of times a week and he and his girlfriend Kayla drive down to Sonoma to see us at least once a month.  In fact as I write this, they are stuck in traffic in Petaluma on the way to join us for a Father's Day hike at Bartholomew Park followed by dinner at the Fremont Diner.

Since becoming a father myself, I've noticed that while there are many examples of strong, competent and loving mothers on TV and in the movies, most fathers fit one of two profiles:


Tired, angry and out of touch, exemplified by Jack Arnold on The Wonder Years (portrayed by Dan Lauria) 

Or juvenile ass clowns, exemplified by virtually every other father on TV, but I'll go with the one I personally find most annoying: the guy Jim Belushi played (also named "Jim") on According To Jim.

Truth be told, I do love some doofus dads in the latter category, Homer Simpson and Phil Dunphy from Modern Family are two that immediately come to mind, but for every one of those, you'll find ten bumbling Tim Taylors (Tim Allen's character on Home Improvement) or whiny Ray Barones (played by Ray Romano on Everybody Loves Raymond- are you sensing a pattern here?)  And don't get me started on the Father of The Bride movies, I love Steve Martin but only made it through 25 minutes of that first film and even now I cringe thinking about it.

The funny thing is, the dads I remember most from TV reruns when I was a kid were almost godlike.  Ward Cleaver from Leave It To Beaver and, my personal favorite, Andy Taylor from The Andy Griffith Show- to quote AKG regular Greg Kihn- "they just don't write 'em like that anymore."  Even Mike Brady from The Brady Bunch was a huge step up from the lame dads we started seeing on TV in the 80's.

Which brings me to the point of this post- in the last year or so I've seen some beautiful, nuanced dad/daughter stories in a genre you wouldn't expect:  horror.  In retrospect, it started with 2016's Train To Busan.  As we hit "peak zombie" some time in the early 2010's, I was skeptical about the film but it is a great movie and the relationship between Seok-woo and his daughter Su-an amps up the tension.

Even better, this year's A Quiet Place is about a family, but at its core is the strained relationship between the father and daughter.  If you aren't moved by the last look shared between Lee and Regan Abbott then you might want to check and see if you still have a pulse.  Jaime even came to see A Quiet Place with me and she liked it- our first horror movie together since Army of Darkness in 1992.  (Hey, wait.  That was the year we got married... coincidence?  I think not!)  

While Su-an from Train To Busan is 6 or 7 years old and Regan from A Quiet Place is 11 or 12, the daughter in Australian zombie apocalypse movie Cargo raises the stakes even higher.  Daughter Rosie is only 12 months old; you think fighting off zombies is hard enough on your own, try doing it with a baby on board!  The final scenes in the movie are heartbreaking- what won't we dads do for our daughters!?! 

Tim from The Office UK. (top)
Jim from The Office US (bottom)
I can't be the only one to have noticed the interesting relationship between Cargo and A Quiet PlaceCargo star Martin Freeman made his name playing Tim Canterbury on the original UK television series The Office.  John Krasinski, who wrote, directed and starred in A Quiet Place, made his name playing Jim Halpert on the US version of the The Office.  Perhaps that doesn't qualify as "interesting" in your book, but I saw the two movies within a week of each other and when I realized the connection it blew my mind.

Leave it to the oft derided horror genre to highlight brave, selfless fathers sacrificing everything for their kids- when was the last time you saw a dad like that on TV?  Of course my "life is long" philosophy doesn't really apply to horror movies but no matter how much time you've got left, where there's life (though not the undead kind of course) there's hope.  And look at that, Nica just texted me back she can join us for dinner! 
Father's Day 6/17/2018

Happy Father's Day to my fellow Rock and Roll Dads Everywhere!

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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Show #164 April 14, 2018

 Take us away Lady Satellite...

Lady Satellite- Idle Jets Atomic Fireball
Song for the Satellites- Thousands Millions Rock Days
Soldier- Death By Unga Bunga So Far So Good So Cool
Bandit Of Love- Jenny Dee and The Deelinquents Electric Candyland
Time After Time- This Perfect Day Don't Smile
Always- The Stanleys The Stanleys
It's Not The Way You Talk- Da Biz Language School
Let Me Rock- Flamin' Groovies Fantastic Plastic
^Satellite Blues- AC/DC Satellite Blues                        
Satellite- Hooters One Way Home
Wish Upon a Satellite- Sloan 12
Come Out And Play- The Well Wishers A View From Above
Tune Into Heaven- Jags The Best of the Jags
Daydreaming- The Queers Love Songs for the Retarded
*Satellite- Material Issue Telecommando Americano
*Satellite- The Replacements All For Nothing
*Satellite- Echo and The Bunnymen Echo and The Bunnymen
*Satellite- Sex Pistols Spunk
Mighty Girl- Cotton Mather Young Life EP
Do The Things- Neats Propeller Cassette
All Wrapped Up- The Successful Failures Ichor of Nettle
She's A Mover- Big Star Live At Lafayette's Music Room-Memphis, TN
Tell Me More- Tenpole Tudor Wunderbar - The Best Of Tenpole Tudor
I Wonder If I'll Ever See You Again- The Leopards Kansas City Slickers
>Satellite of Love- Lou Reed Transformer
Nothing- The Distractions Nobody's Perfect
Can't Help It At All- Rivals If Only...
Searchin' For The Satellites- Bleu Redhead

*Power Pop Peak:  #7 US Mainstream Rock Chart 7/1/2000

^SacroSet:  Songs Called "Satellite"

>Power Pop Prototype:  1972

One of the rules I set in place when I came up with the idea for ALL KINDSA GIRLS- first the radio show, then the blog, social media, etc.- is that I was going to strive to keep things positive.  There is so much bile being spewed 24/7 these days (thanks Internet!) that I made a conscious effort not to add any more.  Even after the 2016 election, I strove to stay positive in the blog post for Show #155, and reading it now I'm glad I made the effort.  Anyway, the week of this show our President launched a missile attack on Syria so I decided it was a good time to leave earth and focus on the skies with a show about satellites.  

Sloan really helped out by releasing their new album
12 the same week.  Sloan are an amazingly consistent band and 12, despite a Chicagoesque lack of inspiration in the title, is a great record.  Even better, it includes a song called "Wish Upon A Satellite," perfect for tonight's show.  I've said it many times over the years- thank God for Sloan.  The band did the major label thing in the 90's and had some fleeting success in their native Canada.  Since then
Billy Gibbons
they've kept the rock 'n roll fires burning out their shared love for playing rock 'n roll together.  They have their own label and do it all themselves- even releasing records by other bands.  It's straight up inspiring to all of us older dudes who still want to rock ourselves.  Interestingly, Patrick Pentland, my favorite Sloaner and third from the left in the photo above, has entered a full-on Billy Gibbons phase.  More power to you dude!  Now, how about playing San Francisco on a weekend night?  The last four or five times Sloan have
come through town it's been between weekend shows in LA and Seattle, both SF and Portland get stuck with weeknights.  Dudes!?!  There is no way I can drive into SF on a Tuesday, see a show, drive home and then not be in a coma the next day.  How about a little understanding- we're all well over 40 here!  That said, while I would have liked to see Sloan again this tour, I'm confident that I will see the band again someday.  After twenty-seven years together, Sloan are in it for the long haul.

Another satellite song I was happy to play tonight is "Searching For The Satellites" by Bleu.  Bleu is a dude from Boston (real name William James McAuley III), though he didn't start making a name for himself until after I left town in the early '90's.  In 2001, Bleu won WBCN's Rock and Roll Rumble talent competition.  After that he was signed to a major label and put out the brilliant album Redhead in 2003.  He even got a song on the soundtrack for Sam Raimi's first Spider Man movie but like Sloan, Bleu's dalliance with major labels didn't last long.  Since then he has released records on smaller labels and played in bands with ALL KINDSA GIRLS regulars like Mike Viola, Alison Robertson of The Donnas and Taylor Locke of Rooney.  Perhaps due to his professional relationship with pop singers like Demi Lovato, Joe Jonas and Selena Gomez, Bleu's music took a more electronic turn on later records that isn't my thing, but Redhead remains a Power Pop gem.  It also has the distinction of being the ONLY album I have ever sought and successfully found in Amoeba Music's enormous $1 clearance CD section.  Seriously, I went specifically to the miscellaneous "B" section and it was the second CD I saw.  If you are not a lifelong record shopper this will mean nothing to you, but if you are you'll understand why Redhead will always have a special place in my heart.

The final song I want to mention is "Satellite" by The Sex Pistols from their infamous album Spunk.  As I've said in this blog before, haberdasher/punk marketeer Malcom McLaren was a first rate sh*t stirrer.  In September 1977 Virgin Records was getting ready to release the debut album Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols.  By this time the band's "Filth and Fury" phase was in full swing; they had dropped f-bombs on live TV, been kicked off of two record labels, were banned from playing in cities across the country and
Glen Matlock
getting physically attacked everywhere they went.  Even worse, they had replaced Glen Matlock, the guy who wrote the music for most songs, with professional f-up and non-bass playing clown Sid Vicious.  What's more, major record outlets had already stated they would not carry Bollocks so what better time could there be for a bootleg record to show up in stores that contained high-quality demos of many of the same songs.

Spunk is based on demo sessions the band recorded with Dave Goodman between July 1976 and January 1977.  It came out in a white cardboard sleeve with a crude stamp on the front.  McLaren denied putting the record out but it is such text book sh*t-stirring I don't believe him for a second.  No surprise, he told anyone who would listen at the time that Spunk is superior to Bollocks.  I don't agree with him, I think Bollocks is one of the greatest rock 'n roll albums of all time.  That said, it's still not the original band.  Realizing he would have ruined the album, the group smartly decided to leave Sid Vicious out of the recording- he only plays on the song "Bodies."  The story is that Matlock agreed to return for the sessions if paid in advance but McLaren stiffed him.  That's Steve Jones playing all the other bass parts on the record.

What I love about Spunk is you get to hear the full band with Matlock on bass, giving you a great sense of how ferocious they must have been live.  

Links to this week's show are below, click to stream or to download, right click and "Save Target As:"

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Show #163 2017 YEAR-END DEDICATION SPECIAL 1/13/18


All Kindsa Girls- The Real Kids Real Kids
Valerie- Greg Kihn Greg Kihn Band RocKihnRoll
Ain't That Enough- Travoltas Until We Hit the Shore 
The Perfect Summer- Pugwash Silverlake 
I Do- Dollyrots Whiplash Splash 
Humdrum Routine- The Genuine Fakes Humdrum Routine 
The Cotton Mather Pledge- Cotton Mather Wild Kingdom 
Let It Roll- Biters The Future Ain't What It Used to Be 
Corinna- Mimi Betinis Music Sounds 
Mexican Fender- Weezer Pacific Daydream 
Get Out Of Denver- The Connection Just For Fun 
Tomorrow's Coming- The Modulators Tomorrow's Coming 
Falling Apart (As It Seems)- Smart Remarks Foreign Fields: 1982 - 1984 
S.O.S.- The Favourites New Feeling 
*Trick- Matthew Sweet Tomorrow Forever 
*Little Castrato- The Upper Crust Delusions Of Grandeur 
*Not Getting What I Want- The Wellingtons End Of The Summer 
*Not This Time- Bash and Pop Anything Could Happen 
*Radio! Stereo!- Suzy and Los Quattro Faster and Louder! 
Christine Sixteen- Kiss KISSWORLD - The Best of KISS 
Bombs Away- Honeychain Crushed 
We're On Our Way- Fastball Step Into Light 
What The Hell's Goin' On- Flamin' Groovies Fantastic Plastic 
Incognito- Richard X. Heyman Incognito 
You Got It Going On- Cheap Trick We're All Alright! 
I Am My Radio- Bullet Proof Lovers Shot Through The Heart 
Matilda- Suzy and Los Quattro Faster and Louder! 
Play Money- The New Pornographers Whiteout Conditions 
Wrong/Right Girl- The Rubs Impossible Dream 
52 Girls- The B-52's The B-52's 

SacroSet:  Top 5 Records of 2017 

"Interesting times?"  We are here people!  If 2017 had been any more "interesting" my head would have exploded.  That said, my family is healthy, I had a great time in two Sonoma Arts Live productions, The Rainmaker and Inspecting Carol, and my radio show ALL KINDSA GIRLS is going on nine years.  There are also great movies, records, book and TV shows to be thankful for so as I have since 1999, I humbly submit my 2017 Top 5's:

I, Daniel Blake (bureaucracide)  
The Florida Project (Moonee's world)  
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh's magnum opus)
The Big Sick (real American story)  
Baby Driver (neat, neat, neat!)
Mustang (irreligious)  
The Invitation (dinner party crash)
The Raid Redemption (mind-blowing bullet ballet)
Colossal (Kaiju/indie mashup)
American Honey (how the other 14.5% live)
Matthew Sweet- Tomorrow Forever (a master returns)
The Upper Crust- Delusions of Grandeur (let there be rocque!)  
The Wellingtons- End of The Summer (Power Pop perfection)  
Bash and Pop- Anything Could Happen (Tommy out-Pauls Paul)
Suzy and Los Quatro- Faster and Louder (Spanish Lady rocks!)
The First Bad Man- Miranda July (Cheryl's plight)  
Sixkill- Robert B. Parker (RBP and Spenser, RIP)
Mrs. Fletcher- Tom Perrotta (empty nester)
Rage In Harlem- Chester Himes (For Love of Imabelle)  
History of Wolves- Emily Fridlund (Minnesota masterpiece)
American Vandal (who drew the d*cks?)  
Halt And Catch Fire Seasons 1-4 (true disruption)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Midge can do it)
Catastrophe Seasons 1-2 (marital hilarity, until Season 3)  
Better Call Saul Season 3 (Shakespearean epic)

TV was the most competitive category this year- so many great shows on the streaming services it's hard to limit it to five.  While not all of the above came out in 2017, that's when I got around to them.  Please feel free to respond with your own lists- I'm always on the lookout for viewing/listening/reading material and maybe you'll see your recommendation on next year's list.  If you're interested in past lists check out the blog Rick Top 5 Lists for everything back to 1999.  Here's hoping we all find a way to navigate the new normal- however abnormal it may be- in 2018!

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Saturday, December 23, 2017

Show #162 December 2, 2017

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
The power of local radio was in full effect on KSVY during the fires.  There was so much misinformation floating around that we just stuck to relaying facts directly from reliable sources (which on Tuesday were Nixle text alerts from the Sonoma County Sheriff and a few facebook posts from the city of Sonoma).  We also broadcast the facebook livestream of the sheriff's first press conference.  You forget that not everyone has a smart phone and is on-line 24/7.  Taking calls from listeners you could tell that even with our limited information we were a comfort- for me that went both ways.

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
San Francisco
Emeryville and was even thicker in San Francisco.  It was surreal to see people wearing masks to protect themselves from your neighbor's burning homes and perhaps even your own home.  Thankfully the high winds forecast for Wednesday failed to materialize.  After two nights with Frank and Joanna my sister Sarah booked us a room at the Emeryville Hyatt Place- one of the few hotels that would take Cash.  It's a nice hotel right near the Powell Street mall but we were still pretty shell shocked so I can't say we availed ourselves of the amenities.  In fact the first night there we spent two hours locked out of our room.  After everything we were pretty irate and let the hotel staff know it.  We had already been moved to another room when a maintenance guy came with this long springy metal thing that he slid under the door and unlocked it.  Much to our chagrin, Cash had pawed the deadbolt shut while we were at dinner.  It would've been funny if we hadn't been so raw from an awful week.

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:
FIRES-3 (cancellations),  
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!
Click the link to stream this week's show or to download right click and "Save Link As:"