Have You Seen The Lights?

If the holiday season is leaving you feeling uninspired, clearly it’s time you went outside into the crisp, dark night and looked at some Christmas lights!

Start out at the Miller Lights Holiday Show,

which you don’t even have to get out of your car to enjoy. Every year the Miller Family raises money for a great cause, and this year it’s Hearts for Happiness, an organization made up of 6th graders from Sequoia Elementary whose mission is to spread happiness within the community through random acts of kindness. Basically, these kids are like the anti-Scrooges! To participate, simply drive up, tune your radio to 88.9, and sip that hot cocoa you finally remembered to bring along this year! These lights will be up until January 3rd. You can learn more here: TheMillerLights.com

Since you’re still in your car, head on over to Snowman Lane, aka Walnut Court, which is off Sonoma Ave, one block east of Brookwood. photo 5 (2)

For this one, you will want to park that car and walk in, unless you love inching along a dead end street trying to see past the throngs of people on the sidewalks blocking your view. photo 3 (4)Nearly every house on this block-long street is decorated, some more elaborately than others, some even cashing in on the crowds by selling yummy things like hot cider (bring a flask if you want to warm it up a bit more), popcorn, and the occasional hot dog or donut hole.photo 1 (6)

photo 2 (9)

Not too far away you can catch some lights on Yulupa (north of Montgomery near Montgomery Village). photo 2 (10)


photo 1 (7)

This is a completely different experience from Walnut Ct. which doesn’t require you to get out of your car either to enjoy the many (but not all) homes that have decked their outer halls for the holiday. The streets are nice and wide, so if you don’t feel like strolling, you don’t have to.

Finally, way on the other side of town, off of West Third between Dutton and Stony Point Roads to be exact, is a humble little mobile home park called Valle Vista III

(the street itself is called Arboleda), where there are some lights here and there, but the place you want to check out is just past the first cross street. Honestly, you can’t miss it...unless you go past 9pm which is what I did, because it didn’t occur to me that this is a community of retired folks who need their sleep. So, go a little earlier.

This place is a perfect representation of the joy and hard work that goes into making Christmas special for others. Hand carved and painted wooden elves, snowmen, toy soldiers, see-sawing squirrels and more sit under the floating fake snow among the many miniature trees, all decorated in their own way. Strung from the tree in the center of the yard is a track on which Santa and his reindeer fly around above your head. Circling the yard is another track, this one for a whistling train. It’s worth it to visit this little neighborhood just for this one display. Or, if you’re like me, you can just loiter out front in the dark hoping the sweet old gentleman who put this all together will come outside and ask if you’d like a cup of hot cocoa, then offer to be your new adopted grandpa.

Tis the season to get out there and see some sparkles! Where are your favorite light displays? Post them in the comments below - Happy Holidays!

Get Dolled Up

Here's an idea for a unique gift that comes wrapped inside another, smaller unique gift, that's inside yet another even smaller unique gift and, well, you get the idea.

Mat Loren HansenMatryoshka Dolls originated as a traditionally Russian folk art form - increasingly smaller hand-painted dolls nesting one inside the other. We’ve all seen them, they are sometimes intricate, sometimes adorable, but on Friday evening more than 15 Santa Rosa artists will be taking this craft to a whole new level.

The Matryoshka Show at Brew (www.BrewCoffeeAndBeer.com) will highlight the creative diversity found in Santa Rosa, featuring a babushka-sized laundry list of talented local artists, all showcasing their individual styles within this classic old world art.

Mat2If you’ve been looking for that perfect gift - the one that says, “Hey, I think you’re great and worthy of a gift I didn’t find online or in a big-box store.” this is that gift. All Matryoshka sets will be for sale, so all guests may leave with a mighty Russian song of joy in their hearts.

While the dolls are the stars of the show, they won’t be the only artwork to see. Brew’s current art exhibit featuring Free Art Friday work will remain up alongside the Matryoshka event. This is the perfect opportunity to finish up that shopping list in a way that actually feels good. Or, just get something to brighten up your own abode – no one is judging your love of art.

Mat3RyanTaylorFood will be available for purchase by HomeEc, one of Santa Rosa’s favorite pop-up restaurants. They are taking pre-orders for charcuterie boards and will be preparing delicious small plates, as well. Pair your snacks with a stiff espresso or a cool beer, as Brew sells both, and a variety of each at that.

To pre-order from HomeEc, click HERE (www.facebook.com/HomeEcSonomaCounty).

The event is:


Friday, December 18

6 – 10 pm

At Brew – 555 Healdsburg Avenue, Santa Rosa CA 95401

On Facebook here: www.facebook.com/events/1087940267884498/

Artists include:

  • Amanda Filippetti
  • Catherine Sieck
  • Eric Thomas Bostrom
  • Hannah Kurtz
  • Last1123
  • Loren Hansen
  • Matt Cadigan
  • Melinda Sterne
  • Mica Jennings
  • Nicholas Haig-Arack
  • Rachel Blodgett
  • Ruth Alison Donovan
  • Ryan Taylor
  • Stephan Silva
  • Venka Workshop

Years later you'll say,
"I saw Ezra Furman at the AFC."

Sorry for the late notice, but one of the music underground's most provocative new voices is coming to the Arlene Francis Center this weekend.

Ezra Furman and his band are bringing their upbeat, socially-aware, body-positive, psych pop, garage rock sound all the way from blustery Chicago to headline an incredible night of music, art and culture at, yes, Santa Rosa’s own  intimate little community theater, the Arlene Francis Center.

Here's the tune that has the emerging new music world buzzing:

Inspired as a young teen by The Velvet Underground, Furman has embraced and championed the gender fluidity and ambiguous nature in much of today’s indie/pop music, creating a sound which welcomes any and all, and keeps those toes tapping along the way. Described by The Guardian as “the most compelling live act you can see right now,” Ezra Furman is an artist not to be missed.

ezra2 (1)Leading up to Ezra’s Santa Rosa debut is an eclectic lineup of local musicians, performers and visual artists, including a brand new masked-art performance by Santa Rosa’s Quenby! To get a sense, music-wise, listen to our very own Corner Store Kids, who always put on a danceable show with their mix of blues, punk and folk tunes. As can be expected at an Arlene Francis Center show, other acts will be peppered in throughout, including a multi-artist visual gallery by local Sonoma County independent artists. Some of the many featured artists will be Amanda Mae Blackmore, Angelina Rodrigues, Last 1123, Mary Roll, Ruth Donovan, Tonea Parlo and many more!

ezra (1)The all-ages show is this Saturday, December 5th at 8pm, at (as we may have mentioned) the Arlene Francis Center, 99 Sixth Street, Santa Rosa. There is a suggested donation of $7 - $12, which helps the venue run and bring in great shows like these, and helps the artists continue making amazing art for us to enjoy. That being said, no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Bring your positive vibes and your love of music, art and good times. See you Saturday!

Socialize about it here: www.facebook.com/events/1678964005683687

Eight Belles, One Can't Miss Album Release Party

Get your kerchiefs and cowboy boots out, friends: the new Eight Belles album has been released and it is everything we were hoping for.

 Not only that – Santa Rosa just happens to be the luckiest gal in Sonoma County because this Saturday, December 12th, Eight Belles is having their record release party at The Last Record Store from 2:00 – 4:00. The swoony-voiced Jessi Phillips of Oakland and Santa Rosa-born wonder guitarist Henry Nagle make up this indie-folk duo. To hear them live is to experience a full range of emotions and to leave feeling better able to breathe than before, all while contemplating life, love, and guitars.


Sometimes everything works out exactly as it should. This was the case on the day Henry and Jessi heard each other performing at a backyard party and knew they could make something special together. That being: music. Since that time they’ve written and performed all over the country, become great friends, released a critically-acclaimed first album, Girls Underground, and as of December 8th are the proud releasers of the aforementioned second album, Eight Belles. Engineered by Santa Rosa’s Ross Harris, the self-titled album has been in creation for three years with the help of many other wildly talented local and bay area musicians. The result is a record filled with Phillips’ signature melancholic range along with catchy, upbeat instrumentals underneath. There is more sonic variance to the Eight Belles Americana-rich sound than in their first release, which I personally listen to on every rainy evening, often while wearing a very large sweater and baking. Don’t ask me why; it just happens.

Kicking off the party will be local singer/songwriter Ashley Allred, who uses guitar, flute, and her sweet, ethereal voice to create a softly folk-infused dreamy and hopeful sound.

Ashley Allred

Show up early to shop from The Last Record Store’s vast selection of music (tis the season and all), stay late to give some love to the musicians (verbal only, please). Either way, be there, and be ready to feel.

The Last Record Store – 1899 Mendocino Avenue 707-525-1963 www.thelastrecordstore.com

Eight Belles Record Release Party at The Last Record Store: https://www.facebook.com/events/1524919874472280/

Eight Belles on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EightBellesBand/?fref=ts

Ashley Allred on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ashley.allred.391