Thursday, April 18, 2002
MONTEREY WINE FESTIVAL The oldest wine festival in the country kicks off Thursday with registration and guest services at the Monterey Conference Center from 10am to 6pm. Then, at 7:30, it''s time for the New Release Party (that''s right, it''s called a party) at the Aquarium. Insiders refer to it as "prom night for winos" because everyone dresses up and has a blast. From then on, through the closing brunch on Sunday (prepared by culinary legend Paul Prudhomme), it''s a continuous carnival of educational seminars, winemaker luncheons, tastings, cooking demonstrations, tastings, winemaker dinners, tastings-you get the idea. One of the highlights will be the awards gala on Saturday evening at the Monterey Plaza Hotel when the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation presents its first annual America''s Best Wine List awards to winning restaurants that personify a commitment to everyone''s favorite beverage, wine.
10am-10:30pm Thursday, 8am-10pm Friday and Saturday, 10:30am Sunday. Various venues, anchored by The Conference Center. Individual events range from $25-$125. Packages start at $230. For info call (800) 656-4282 or see www.montereywine.com.
CARLOS MENCIA Nothing''s sacred to comedian Carlos Mencia. He''s got a big mouth and an in-your-face attitude, and he''s not afraid to slide his politics into his performances. Plus, he''s one hell of a funny guy. Using "equal-opportunity frankness," Mencia''s jokes turn into social commentary as he takes on racism and ethnic stereotypes. His debut album, titled Take A Joke America, takes on everything from the Taco Bell Chihuahua to Bill and Monica. Mencia''s appeared on the Tonight Show and HBO''s Comedy Half Hour-don''t miss him at Planet Gemini. Tonight the funk band ZAPP plays afterward as part of Planet Gemini''s 12th anniversary celebration.
9:15pm Thursday-Saturday. Planet Gemini, 625 Cannery Row, Monterey. $22.50-$30. 373-1449.
Not Your Average Teen Dance
AMERICAN PORTRAITS Through a song, the Seaside High School Chorus asks the question "How Different Can We Be?" Tonight''s concert proves their point. As teens celebrate their origins and their diversity through dance, music and the spoken word, the answer appears. Students in beginning ethnic dance classes perform a Flamenco Zapateado and a Spanish Jota, then the Seaside High Dance Company performs "Americana" and "Amazing Grace," for a rousing finale, Monterey high dancers perform "Lean on Me" and "Imagine." Everybody now: You might say I''m a dreamer. But I''m not the only one.
7pm. Oldemeyer Center, Seaside. Free. 899-6270.
Queen of Spades
JOCASTA Not enough is made, either in Sophocles'' tragedy or in Freud''s theory, of the suffering of Queen Jocasta. When her infant son is snatched away and abandoned on a hillside, she is bereft; when the king is murdered, she mourns; and when much later she discovers the identity of her second husband, she is horrified beyond reconciliation. Sandra Perlman''s new script, nominated for the American Critics Association''s "Best New Play" award, makes its West Coast debut as the Staff Players Repertory Company tells the other side of the Oedipus story. Friday''s Gala Opening includes a "Meet the Playwright" reception with Sandra Perlman. Tonight''s preview is half-price.
8pm Thursday-Saturday and 2:30pm Sunday through May 19th. Indoor Forest Theater, Mountain View and Santa Rita, Carmel. $22 general/$18 students and seniors. 624-1531.
The Nature of Things
ROMAN LORANC OPENING After emigrating from Poland in 1981, Roman Loranc moved to California and took up the cudgels for a beleaguered Central Valley environment, photographing pristine ecological "remnants" rescued from the tremendous appetite of industrial agriculture. As time wore on and the valley''s air quality worsened, he took to working in the early morning and under foggy conditions, the better to capture the land at its calmest and most lovely. The result is a body of poetic yet, miraculously, unsentimental work: in his images of lacy winter trees and tule reeds reflected in glassy water is a sense of nature as tranquil survivor, inspiring protectiveness and commanding respect. Loranc appears at tonight''s opening reception at the Center for Photographic Art.
6pm. Center for Photographic Art, San Carlos & Ninth, Carmel. Free. 625-5181.
Last Country Boy Standing
LARRY HOSFORD The Monterey Bay country rock hero comes to Monterey to deliver a night of hard-driving guitar and songs about pickup trucks. The Windjammer in Aptos, Hosford''s usual home away from home, may have to fight us to get him back after tonight. For story, see page 38.
9pm. Ocean Thunder, 219 Lighthouse, Monterey. 643-9169.
White Punks on Ska
WARSAW AND THE EXPENDABLES What Slow Gherkin is to Central California, Warsaw is to Arizona-and then some. The ska-punk-rock-influenced crew brought home the gold in Arizona''s 2001 Battle of the Bands and landed air play throughout the Southwest and even-yes, it''s true!-in Utah. Loud, fast and still melodic, they bring some regional king-of-the-heap swagger to town tonight, and Santa Cruz''s The Expendables take a break from gigs opening for Eek-a-Mouse and Slightly Stoopid to warm up the crowd. The Expendables, whose Website helpfully designates each bandmember''s relationship status (all single, none one over 21), have a new CD out. On No Time to Worry, they ably demonstrate that not only can they shred a surf song like Dick Dale''s great-nephews, but they can channel Sublime from back in those happy days when Brad Nowell (may he rest in peace) was still among the living.
9pm. Blue Fin Cafe and Billiards, 685 Cannery Row, Monterey. Call for price. 375-7000.
Honor Thy Mother
EARTH DAY FESTIVAL Started back in 1970 when recycling and fuel efficiency were nascent concepts, Earth Day since has meant large-scale festivals across the nation celebrating all things green, blue or otherwise natural. Sprung forth from the same spirit in 1984, Earthbound Farms began its evolution from small scale garden to the "largest grower and shipper of organic produce in North America." For three years now, the farm has hosted an Earth Day celebration at its Farm Stand, which stays open for business from Earth Day until Halloween. Go to the festival and see firsthand how thinking green can work well, prosper and produce. The Farm Stand at Earthbound will host demonstrations on composting, recycling, planting and using bugs in an organic garden. There will be plenty for kids to do, plus food, beverage and a Cajun-Blues band as well.
11am-4pm. Earthbound Farm''s Stand, 7250 Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley. Free. 625-6219.
The Blue and the Green
BLUEGRASS ON THE SLOUGH This just in: the Northern California Bluegrass Society is bringing an army of mandolins and fiddles to Moss Landing for a day-long jamboree in conjunction with Phil''s Snack Shack. Starting at 11am and swapping on the hour are The Cornells, Regina Bartlett, the Courthouse Ramblers, Bean Creek, Earthquake Country, Crosstown, Pete Hicks and Friends and Trailride. Bring sweater, blanket and lawn furniture but leave the hooch at home.
11am-6pm. Phil''s Snack Shack, Moss Landing Rd. Free. 633-1775.
YUE DENG, ROGER KELLAWAY, GENE LEES Less than two years ago, Chinese violin prodigy Yue Deng had never heard jazz, much less played it. Then she met jazz critic Gene Lees and pianist Roger Kellaway, a musician''s musician whose taste for mixing classical music and jazz helped coin the term "chamber jazz." When Kellaway presented the 20-year-old Yue with an arrangement of Django Reinhardt''s "Nuages"-an arrangement featuring an intricate eight-minute violin solo designed to sound like improvisation-she nailed it perfectly after just two days, during which no one in the house where she was staying ever heard her practice. And she made it swing. Now the young dynamo and Kellaway are touring together playing songs written by the pianist specially for Yue. With Gene Lees in the role of commentator and hopefully singer, tonight''s show should be truly extraordinary.
7:30pm. Jazz & Blues Company, 236 Crossroads, Carmel. $35. 624-6432.
Washington State of Mind
LULA WASHINGTON DANCE THEATER The UCLA dance school admissions committee would have felt pretty stupid if they hadn''t changed their minds about Lula Washington. When she applied to the program, untrained, at the age of 22, they turned her down based on her lack of experience. She appealed, won admission and went on to found a formidable dance troupe distinguished by its artful and explosive combination of ballet, modern and African dance. Twenty years later the Lula Washington Dance Theater has delighted audiences and packed houses from Kentucky to Stuttgart, winning critical acclaim for its dynamic, physically demanding performances and serious subject matter. Set to the music of McCoy Tyner, John Coltrane, Taj Mahal and Roberta Flack, the dances take on the heavies-racism, history, female circumcision-with thoughtfulness and rigor, while humor waits in the wings, never far away.
8pm. CSUMB World Theater, Sixth St, Seaside. $20 general/$15 groups of 20 or more. 582-4580.