December 2001
Vol. 1, Issue No. 12
©  2001 SanFrancisco
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December 2001


Does Our Art Really Matter?
Christopher Stout responds and introduces us to the art of Andrew Marc Samuels

SEEMEN'S Pyro-Robotic Wonder Shed of Potential Death or This May Not All Be True!
Elliot Lessing and Jennifer Simpson-White show us how Kal Spelletich (and you) can play with fire- in the name of Art of course

"RECALL" - Drawing, Photography, Sculpture and Monoprints
Alexandra Blum, Richard Gardelle, Debbie Rumley, and Tracey Snelling at Crucible Steel Gallery

Goddess & Aroura
The art of Bonnie Cardell

2 Times a Charm
Arthur Jefferson interviews the Northern California band Jimmy 2 Times

Klassic Material
A spotlight on Oakland emcee Bas-1


Need to Know Basis:
Info from the Publisher's Desk

Elliot Lessing:
Lurching Towards Tomorrow

Sally Cowan:
Sally's Page

"Rue de Nouveau" by Jesai:
Local Music and Events

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Rue De Nouveau
December 2001
Music Info from the Streets
of the Bay Area

Contributed by Jesai

featured act...Earl Oliver
Known to locals as the"Walkin' Blues Man", Earl Oliver is one of San Francisco's undiscovered treasures. His old timey low down delta style is just the ticket to bring you up out of the holiday blues.

Check him out at

This month brings us once again to holidays and graying skies, to gatherings of friends and strangers who may become friends. The decorations that caused us to shake our heads when they went up for sale in mid-October are now reaching our living rooms. We may listen just a little bit closer to one another for clues to make our choice of gifts, and our celebration for the season makes our day to day existence a bit more special as we are slowly but surely drawn into the winter world of bright shiny things begging for our attention.

Everyday city sounds and local performers are alive and well. From Salvation Army bells and cable car ringers to the annual all night sing along at Grace Cathedral, we are brought into the season. High School bands and orchestras come out to play for tree lightings and assorted choirs of melodic angels pop up in the most unlikely of venues, elevating our mood and motivating tired feet to press on through the hustle and bustle that is holiday shopping. Thankfully not all music is garland and angel focused. The refreshing sounds of our highly creative city beg you to include:

Danya River Within/Without

From the coffeehouse scene to folk festival mainstream, be on the lookout for Danya River. Only recently arrived from Boulder Colorado, this 21 year-old singer was, in my opinion, probably too talented to stay in her mountain homeland and headed for the “even-more-artist-friendly-city" by the bay.

She will delight San Franciscans with her slow and sensuously earthy lyrics paired with a smooth creamy voice that flows easily over our fast paced urban minds.

Her self produced CD: Within/Without has already received acclaim from, Femmusic and the Rocky Mountain Folk Festival Singer-Songwriter Showcase: “Wonderfully Inventive. She has a fluid and gorgeous facility with language that can be dense, uplifting, startling and incredibly evocative.” is the description given by Singer Songwriter, Roseanne Cash.

Wrapped in a rhythm much like the fog rolling in from the coast, “San Francisco” is a melodic assembly of impressions of our city. With fresh and wondrous eyes Danya gives her perspective of our beautiful cradled city by the bay.  Listening to her slow and melodious notice of our rolling hills and Victorian architecture, it would be easy to miss the quasi-humorous lyrics hiding behind the soft surface. She refers to “online people (who) can't find parking" and visits the "Lord in leopard and lace who gives us red wine and lets us crash at his place”.

If  “Infuse Your Blues” twists and winds around its lyrics, perhaps too closely musically resembling  Jewel's  “Who Will Save Your Soul”, she recovers with the original and hauntingly lovely “Seneca”. Showing us her range with light jazz riffs and artful scat, Danya breaks slightly away from the continuity of this collection to find a Maria Muldar-esque syncopation in “My Hands”. She then draws our focus into the theme of desire with “Don't Draw The Shades” and “Dear Friend”. The former speaking to the desire to know the secret chambers of a lover's heart while the latter is an adoring tribute to that special someone who is both passionate lover and friend throughout the years.

In this holiday season of everything forcefully vying for your attention, Danya cajoles rather than demands. It's good background music while you are at work and if you have a will to be mellow and a chance to sip a cup of java, this is the CD to have on a Sunday Morning. Her CD feels like a massage for the mind.

Within/Without is currently available only by the artist at all of her live performances, so get out there!

Fog City Brass

The aptly named Fog City Brass is a delightful quintet with a pleasingly mellow sound in the midst of tinkling, treble happy plinking of Holiday performances. While I love the bells, triangles and dulcimer as much as the next person raised on the season's sound, my ear was caught by the warm sound of this quintet's French horn, trombone, two trumpets, and a tuba.

In addition to traditional and obscure holiday pieces performed for the season, their large repertoire includes arrangements of pieces by Bach, Debussy and Scott Joplin as well as original material by Walter Ross, Leonard Bernstein and Victor Ewald.

I found their three song demo compelling and I wished they had burned more tracks. Their live performance makes you want to bundle up, grab a hot chocolate and listen. This newly formed group is testing the waters this winter and has yet to release a CD, but they will be making a more extensive demo that will be available during their live shows. Make it a point to catch this one if you're out holiday shopping. (no URL available) Contact them at:

A Fabulous Storytelling Series

What a treat for San Franciscans that David Ponkey is performing this month! Multi-cultural folk tales from around the world are brought to life by this master tale-teller in a special free series presented every Monday this month from 3-6pm at The Cannery. Children and adults alike are spellbound by various characters who take them to far away lands, through times all but forgotten.

Recall your Uncle Joe or your mother-in-law who, every year at the Thanksgiving table goes on and on and won't stop! Obviously, not everyone can tell a story like the masterful Mr. Ponkey.

Oral storytelling is fast becoming a lost art form. In this day of DVD’s and the VR of game cubes, our imagining is generally done for us. We are passive participants and our children are falling further and further from creating within and with their own minds.

Storytelling is live theatre – it requires your presence and a willingness to suspend disbelief for a moment.

Storytelling gives us all a chance to add to our own lives the color and texture of the lives and lands of others, through our own construct and ideals.

A skilled storyteller guides you to the land but it is you, the listener, who transports yourself into it and fills its rich landscape with your own imagination.

David Ponkey is a local treasure known to the many children and adults who have been lucky enough to enjoy his craft. He is teller-in-residence for the Mill Valley Parks & Recreation Department as well as a member of the Asian Art Museum Storytelling Corps, and is currently on the board of the Storytelling Association of Alta California. This December series is not to be missed. Contact David through Bancroft Events-

All of the mentioned performers will be performing this December at The Cannery- All performances at The Cannery are FREE to the public and will be held outdoors (weather permitting), so bundle up.

Holiday Potpourri
So much to see and so little time?
Here is a mini-guide to some free entertainment /street performances you won't want to miss.

Santa, Dear Santa

In this time of innocence lost, I thought it worth mentioning that a whisper in Santa's ear can still bring hope and a valuable emotional investment in the season of “Good Will To All.” That timeless optimist Kris Kringle, and his remarkably similar looking representatives, will be listening to wishes around the Bay Area. Now more than ever tiny hearts can unburden themselves of wishes, fears, hopes and dreams to the benevolent icon of Winter. After all, if you can't tell Santa, who can you tell? Tip: Dec 22 at The Cannery at Fisherman's Wharf.

Traditional - Holiday Belles

Catch the lovely femme fatal singing group billed as “Holiday Belles” this month but otherwise known as “The Belles of Bedlam.” This fabulous group of women, dressed in Victorian Christmas Street togs show their versatility by performing Christmas Carols for The Harley Davidson Ride as well as singing at Children's Hospitals. The Belles will perform at The Cannery. Contact them through

Traditional - Coventry Carolers

If you are interested in serious harmonic intricacy and choral arrangements from before your grandmother was born, this is the caroling group for you. Performing around the city in full Victorian dress at The Embarcadero's Tree Lighting, Macy's at Union Square Dec 1st, and  the Geary Theatre Dec 3rd, Coventry Carolers are one of those groups which make you think about the beautiful tradition of song. (No URL available- inquire at

Children's Music - Singing Santa

Allan Richards brings a smile to a child's face with his particular take on old Saint Nick as The Singing Santa. Allan's repertoire includes holiday stories as told by Santa, as well as songs sure to keep that jolly belly shaking. More information available at

Puppets - Punch & Judy

Punch & Judy are alive and well with the Piccolo Puppet Players. This traditional style of Puppet Show has been around in Europe before the Victorian Era but has only recently been revived. This is a very well done performance but I caution that it does contain classic slapstick in the old style, so use your own judgment. Free Holiday Shows Dec 21, 26 & 28 at The Cannery. Contact them at .

Children's Theatre - Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland Theatre Vignettes will be performed by The Stark Ravens- yes, the same acting troupe who performed at the recent “Further Festival” in Golden Gate Park this autumn. If you missed this talented group of thespians, here is your chance to see them for free- Thursday Dec 6th at The Cannery's Courtyard Stage, weather permitting. ( No URL available).

Tribal - Ben Hayes

Recently returned to the Bay Area from the Aboriginal Galpo Tribe in Arnham Land, North East Australia, Ben Hayes has learned the tribe's authentic style of music, which he performs on the Didgeridoo. Music is the language to communicate everything that passes through and is a part of the aboriginal landscape. Their world is changing and that language is being kept alive by artists like Ben, who will also be accepting students. You can catch Ben on Dec 4, 7,11 & 13 at Fisherman's Wharf area on The Lark Stage -

Folk - Jill Knight

Jill Knight will return to the Bay Area this month. Jill is a singer songwriter who has opened for and toured with national acts like Shawn Colvin and John Hyatt. Her straight ahead folk tinged music is sure to be a remedy for any overdose of holiday music. See her for free 3pm to 6pm on December 8th and again 12pm to 3pm on Dec 22nd at The Cannery.

Blues - Earl Oliver

Known to locals as the “Walkin’ Blues Man”, Earl Oliver is one of San Francisco's undiscovered treasures. His old timey low down delta style is just the ticket to bring you up out of the holiday blues. Check him out at

Celtic - Magenta Brooks

This former native of the Isles is a remarkable acappella vocalist. Magenta Brooks stands up, centers, and, with the most rich and haunting voice, draws Celtic songs from some deep well in her soul. Her self titled CD “Companionable Solitude” graces us with a mix of fourteen traditional and original songs, all of which have fine musical accompaniment. Magenta far and away is a lass worth a listen to. This is the one I am choosing for the serious Celtic music lovers in my extended family. Her CD is available at Lark In The Morning Music Store, and she is scheduled to perform from 12pm to 3pm on Christmas Eve day at The Lark in the Morning Stage-


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