Get Up, Stand Up (And… Dance)

Standing on stage in front of thousands of people can be a kind of out-of-body experience, especially if one is essentially shy in public. But on the big stage at the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, it mostly feels easy — the crowd is so positively happy and supportive that it can feel like one […]

SNWMF 2018: A Quarter Century of Music

This year marks the 25th annual version of the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, and its 13th year in Boonville. Begun in 1994 in the foothills of the mountain range it’s named for, the organizers felt compelled by lack of local support and a predatory criminal element to move to another site in the mountains […]

Music Never Dies

Ahh, those Anderson Valley mornings. At the Mosswood before things heated up it was calm and happy, the smiling lovely staff providing truly wonderful coffee, and there were open seats out front. I plunked my oat scone and cup down with my newspapers and sat. Before I got a good gulp down a guy sat […]

World Music Fest 2017

The Sierra Nevada World Music Festival (SNWMF) relocated to Boonville in 2006, after operating in the Sierra foothills since 1994, making this the 12th year here. After some challenges with an extreme heatwave and then extreme fires in the first couple years, it’s been pretty much smooth sailing since, albeit with some adjustments to volume and such. Any notable changes planned for this year?

Drug Ed 101: Just Say Know

For a time I provided ‘drug education’ in public and private schools. As an outsider consultant, this was often tacit recognition that nobody on staff could or wanted to do it, and that the students were unlikely to listen to them anyway. Whether many of them actually listened to me was uncertain, but I tried. […]

Vaccines & Trumpism

Let’s talk about vaccines for a bit — even though doing so in public forums always risks going down a rabbit hole of anti-science, conspiracy theories, and endless random nuttiness.


I saw the worst candidate of any generation elected
by a minority, lying shouting tweeting,

dragging our poor nation into the swampiest of backlashes
with a hostile takeover of democracy,

Melody With Fish

Fishing was a big part of my father’s life, from his childhood in Minnesota onward, and he made it part of mine too. By the time I was born we lived right on the beach in Southern California and my earliest memories are of him surf-casting for fresh dinner, beer or cocktail in hand. He […]

Give Thanks For The Golden State

For over a month now, at least half of the nation has been suffering from PTSD: Pre-Trump Stress Disorder. Our nation has self-inflicted a very serious sickness – actually, a relapse of a recurring, chronic, ugly syndrome. And when Patti Smith, standing in for Bob Dylan at the recent Nobel ceremony, sang his “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall,” I could only think, Alas, yes indeed.

Noble Zimmy Hits The Coast

I shouldn’t be writing this. Hell, I shouldn’t be writing anything right now. Seems whatever I say or sing or write or do, somebody’s gotta serve themselves by having some big opinion about it being right or wrong or left or political or not political enough or not as good as the last one or […]

The Man Behind The Warm Spiritual Greetings

Attentive/obsessive AVA readers might recognize the name Craig Louis Stehr – he has long been one of the paper’s most frequent and loyal correspondents. His missives usually tell of his travels around the nation, with ambitious and optimistic plans and wishes for political action and spiritual progress, often sent from transient locales. But who is […]

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