Draw Freely and Leave An Exquisite Corpse

With so much creative talent here in Santa Rosa, it should come as no surprise during your evening stroll to stumble upon a gaggle of friends and strangers having fun with...well, art.

This was the case recently when Sprenger’s Tap Room (446 B Street) welcomed a large group of locals to their outdoor beer garden patio. Adults and kids sat around tables covered with paper, pens, markers, crayons and cut-up pictures to play Exquisite Corpse, a collaborative game originally played with poetry dating back to the Parisian Surrealist Movement, but in modern times is often found being played with drawing.


The concept is simple: fold a piece of paper into thirds, draw either a head at the top, a torso in the middle, or legs on the bottom. Pass your paper to someone else, where they will NOT PEEK at what else has been drawn, and will fill in one of the blank spots...so on and so forth. The result is a mish-mash of artistic styles creating one finished piece, coming from seasoned artists, whimsical creatives, eccentric doodlers, and painfully-untalented random people who appear to be lost, such as myself. (Side note: I apologize to anyone who got a cloud, egg, or box as a torso in their overall drawing.)

Anyone can organize an Exquisite Corpse event, whether it’s around your kitchen table with friends, or on a larger scale with community members. The event I participated in was organized by local champion of the arts Spring Maxfield who, through Facebook and word-of-mouth, managed to throw together familiar faces as well as many who had never before met...including a few people right off the street who saw what was going on and were welcomed to join in the fun.

IMG_2019 Sponsored in part by Riley Street Art Supply (103 Maxwell Court), the paper, art supplies, beers and burgers needed to fuel this casual evening event covered several of the large tables along Sprenger’s B Street patio, and invited questions and conversation between fellow tablemates, and strangers walking by alike.

In short, it was a perfect Santa Rosa evening.

What are your favorite group games to play? Tell us in the comments, and be on the lookout for more group events like these around town!

Shop Arty

With the season of gift-giving (and therefore buying) in full swing, we would be remiss if we didn’t give you some shopping ideas. And who better to point your hard-earned dollars toward than our local artists at the annual Shop Party?

On Sunday, December 18th, Santa Rosa’s annual Shop Party once again gathers together some incredible artists and makers in one spot to make your shopping easier.

Shop Party started in 2010 when friends Meredith Jayne Lenci and Olivia Browning saw the need for an outlet for creative types to sell their work to the community. “Buying a gift from one of these vendors literally puts food on some of our neighbors’ tables,” said Lenci. “That feels like a small victory to me.”

Here are just a few dynamic examples of the massive amounts of handcrafted talent to be found:

Jo Collins, owner of Mojo Soaps, likes to live a bit on the edge, and her badass soaps show it. “I almost always make my soap barefoot (safety be damned) in my kitchen with punk rock on louder than my neighbors would like – I give them soap to forgive me,” said Collins. “What I love about cold-process soap making is that it’s a combination of chemistry and art, and it’s just a little bit dangerous (lye can burn!). Precise measurement is important, just like in baking, but experimentation is fun and some of my favorite soaps have been “accidents”.”

For over 10 years Jo, who is also a personal trainer and bartender here in Santa Rosa, has been mastering the art of soap making using organic vegetable and essential oils, as well as natural colorants. Specializing in beer and coffee soaps – which means basically I’m done with my holiday shopping because she’s rocking all of the perfect things all at the same time – Mojo also makes beard oils, beard balms, solid lotion bars, lip scrubs, lip balm and whatever other body products intrigue her at the moment. “I used to buy handmade soap wherever I could find it and then begged until I found someone willing to teach me how to do it myself,” she said. “I began gifting my soaps to friends, family and clients, and gradually began selling it.”

Karen Silberg of Karen Silberg Ceramics, spins out some gorgeous pottery in her home studio. “The first time I touched clay was almost 4 years ago during a time when I really needed my heart to be filled. I poured myself into it, making friends and creating timeless functional pieces.”

Since that time, Karen has taken her passion out into the world using Periscope, a live video streaming website and app which allows her thousands of followers to watch her work on the wheel in real time, as well as interact and ask questions. After being gifted a ‘Karen’ mug several years ago and buying another recently, I can say with hot-drink confidence that she 100 percent makes the perfect mug. You should pick up a few for grandma, for dad, for me…I mean, whoever comes to mind. No pressure.

Gina Glomb of Talking Tree Designs is a self-taught metalsmith and jeweler who has worked with feathers, beads, recycled brass, leather, and more over the past several years, focusing now more on silver, gold and gemstones. Having slowly built her own metal studio piece by piece using any profits she made from selling her unique jewelry, Gina is thrilled and grateful for all of the trials and errors that have come along with making art.

“Many late nights and early mornings trying to balance being a mother/wife/artist has not been easy, but it has been worth it,” said Glomb. “Sure, there are callouses, cuts, burns and blisters. There are stones that crack at the last possible moment and ruin your whole project. But I am fully aware of the magic in this life every time I can create with my hands what I see in my mind. It is even more incredible when my vision is accepted by others!”

Finally, we mustn’t forget the florals. Venn Floral specializes in natural, expressive, garden-inspired creations using environmentally responsible floral design. Committed to sourcing the finest quality sustainable materials with which to manifest their gorgeous works of art, Sonoma County natives Heather Frye and Camille Rowan-White work closely with local farmers and gardeners. While their work is most often found at events and weddings, they do sometimes participate in pop-up sales and workshops as well. For these they branch out (see what I did there?) to create original works inspired by their obsession for plants, and informed by their art practices.

“You might say we have an insatiable curiosity for the natural world,” Frye said, “and are always looking to incorporate that in our work…naturally. Ha!” (The ‘ha’ was hers and, given my love of ‘ha’s’, I felt it was only proper to include it). Driftwood, dried flowers and mossy branches are some of the favorite materials being used this time of year.

At Shop Party, expect to find barnwood boxes – hand-built by the ladies – to use as centerpieces, mantles, welcome displays, or anything else you find yourself in need of a barnwood box for. Also air plants, wreaths and other long-lasting decorative botanical creations.

“Many of our designs are meant to span the seasons, and can be used as decoration throughout the year – no expiration date!”

This year’s Shop Party is supporting Food Not Bombs, a vital organization that makes free hot meals and serves them in downtown Santa Rosa, to anyone in need, every Sunday evening. So, stop by to shop, to snack, to compliment your local artist, and to feel good about every second of it.

Shop Party – December 18th, 11am – 3pm at the Saturday Afternoon Club, 430 10th Street, Santa Rosa, 95401

Food Not Bombs – Sundays 5 – 7 Prince Gateway Park

The Russian Nesting Dolls
Are Coming

Hurry over to Brew this Friday, December 16th for the annual Matryoshka show.

I’m not gonna lie - this is my favorite time of year. My calendar is jam-packed with craft fairs, art shows, and every kind of perfect holiday community-gathering event one can think of. A new favorite is the Matryoshka Show!

Once again filling the warm walls of Santa Rosa’s favorite little coffee and beer hub, Brew, these creatively painted Russian nesting dolls will be on display and for sale on December 16th, from 6pm until 10pm. With nearly 30 different artists taking part in this year’s show, event creator Melinda Sterne is excited to see what they come up with.

The event is one night only, and was created with the purpose of putting cool art out there into the world during the holiday season, when people are looking for unique and handcrafted gifts. Each set of dolls is set up for bidding, which is actually pretty dangerous for me because I am a very competitive person. Luckily, 100% of the proceeds go back to the artists, so we can all feel good about our bidding war antics. Or, mine. I try all of the antics.

This year’s Matryoshka Doll event features an impressive lineup of both professional artists and makers, as well as those who like to dabble and had their interests sparked after attending last year’s event. The dolls will be as varied as the styles and imaginations of their painters, and you will not want to miss your chance to take one home. While you peruse and plan your bid, don’t forget that Brew not only serves coffee, tea and other non-alcoholic beverages, they also have a great selection of beer and wine, as well as food! Try their avocado toast. Trust me - it’s deeeeelish.

See you on the 16th!

Matryoshka Show location:
Brew, 555 Healdsburg Ave, Santa Rosa 95401
Event info on Facebook - HERE


  • Aaron Lucey
  • Adriana Roberts
  • Amanda Filippetti
  • Anthony Celeri
  • Asher Katz
  • Bonanza Mazur
  • Commodore Saxon Warrik Kingmaker
  • Eric Thomas Bostrom
  • Erin Opperman
  • Gabe Katz
  • Gary LaBonte
  • Gregory Thompson
  • Hannah Cadigan
  • Jan Zeitlin
  • Julia Reid
  • Julian Paris
  • Loren Butchart
  • Loren Hansen
  • Lydia Fossgreen
  • Matt Cadigan
  • Merisha Lemmer
  • Mr. Hensen
  • Nicholas Haig-Arack
  • Ruth Alison Donovan
  • Ryan Taylor
  • Soli
  • Venka Workshop


An Entirely Out There
All Hallows Eve

By Out There Guest Blogger Susanne Dugan


Its almost Halloween! And if you're a fan of ghouls and gasps, we’re all asking, “Where’s The Party!?” I mean, I want the whole shebang! Ghosts, witches, monsters, devils, zombies! Where do all the freaks come out?!

Well, my fellow Goblins, look no further. I present to you the annual freak-show of Santa Rosa's ALL HALLOW'S EVE #4, on October 29 at Annie O’s Music Hall. Produced by Jake Ward Presents  and your local oddities, North Bay Cabaret.

Hosting the show for the first time, Annie O’s in Railroad Square has three unique settings. In the front room, epic Vinyl DJ’s Mister Element and Shifty Shey will be spinning hits all night. Upstairs in the lounge, you can get comfy and watch the show from a safe distance. While in the main room, brace yourself, for this is where only the daring proceed!

Royal Jelly Jive

Musical line-up for the night features headliner Royal Jelly Jive, local groove ambassadors, bringing swing, hip hop, rock and soul to the grave-yard bash! Also on the bill is Oakland’s Oinga Boinga, an all female Oingo Boingo tribute band, and For the Ladies, an Oakland rock band with live “Beansy" boy-lesque, an “algorithm of sounds that has been described as an audible aphrodisiac...A Fender amplified pheromone.“

Oinga Boinga

But at North Bay Cabaret, variety is the spice of life. So Jake Ward created a night filled with side shows to keep the spectator thrilled and spooked!  With circus acts, aerialists, amazing feats of human strength, an audience-judged costume contest, insect petting zoo, spooky puppetry by Shadow Circus Creature Theater, and Selfie Station Photo Booth!

That’s not all! There will be fiery burlesque featuring Eva D’Lusciousfounder of Cabaret De Caliente, returning to Sonoma County for this special occasion! And for the gamers… Pokemon-Go-Go Dancers!

This kind of spectacle only happens once a year. So, if you have a taste for the exciting and absurd, this night is your chance to be part of the show! Doors open at 7:00pm, pre-sale tickets are available at brownpapertickets.com, and you can learn more about the event and North Bay Cabaret on Facebook.

susanned-copySusanne's Bio:

Susanne Dugan has been an active member of the Santa Rosa grassroots art and culture community since moving to Sonoma County in November 2011. As an organizing member of the Arlene Francis Center from 2012-2014, she was introduced to numerous aspects of local activity. Introduced to community activism and volunteerism at a young age, fostering and supporting local arts and encouraging freedom of expression, are parts of a personal philosophy, to help people and communities make positive, progressive changes. She works now as an audio engineer, equipment technician and events specialist at Diversified Stage in Santa Rosa.