Culture Crush: Five Ways to Stay Busy Virtually This Weekend

Half way through October and virtual events in the North Bay show no sign of slowing down as social gatherings remain perilous in the face of a pandemic. Events boasting music, film, theater and other delights are happening online this weekend, and here’s a round up of what’s worth looking forward to.

Stay Out
The annual OUTwatch Film Festival–dubbed Wine Country’s LGBTQI Film Festival–features empowering movies that showcase LGBTQI-related themes and figures. This year’s OUTwatch moves online for a virtual version of the event, and the festival’s organizers have named this year’s theme as “Looking Back; Moving Forward.” The virtual festival will stream four enlightening, empowering and entertaining documentaries that honor those who fought for LGBTQI rights and who still struggle to keep those civil rights. OUTwatch is live online beginning on Friday, Oct. 16. $12 per screening. OUTwatchfilmfest.org.

Go Wild
The Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County (4Cs) marks 48 years of community service in 2020, and the nonprofit has had to pioneer new ways to provide resources for families and care providers during this year’s pandemic. Appropriately, 4Cs is adopting an adventurous theme for its upcoming Wild Wild West Virtual Gala, and the online silent auction that is open now includes spa-day packages, delivered cocktails, handmade jewelry and more. Bid now and bid often, then dust off the cowboy boots and don those spurs to virtually attend the gala event on Friday, Oct. 16, at 6pm. Free registration. Sonoma4cs.org.

For the Shore
In an uncertain and stress-filled year, Point Reyes Books continues to offer insightful and hopeful words for West Marin with virtual author events that feature celebrated writers and new literary releases. This week, award-winning author Terry Tempest Williams joins the bookstore via the internet to talk about her new book, Erosion: Essays of Undoing. The book is described as a call to action, with Williams contrasting the environmental erosion around us with the weakening of social and political landscapes. The online event, benefitting the Point Reyes National Seashore Association, happens on Friday, Oct. 16, at 7pm. Registration required, admission by donation. Ptreyesbooks.com.

Mystery on Board
The Santa Rosa Junior College Theatre Arts department originally planned to stage “Murder on the Orient Express” this past spring to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Agatha Christie’s first book publication. When they learned they would still be working online this fall due to Covid-19, they moved their production of the classic detective Hercule Poirot mystery to an online format. The young cast, under the direction of SRJC instructor-educator Laura Downing-Lee, takes on the beloved play during four live-streamed performances on Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 16–17 and 23–24, at 7:30pm. Sliding-scale tickets available. Theatrearts.santarosa.edu.

Rock ‘n Roll Crash Course
Guitarist and songwriter Steve Conte has a diverse musical career spanning four decades. His first gig was a tour with jazz-rock band Blood, Sweat & Tears, and his rock-and-roll resume includes fronting the band Company of Wolves and playing in the New York Dolls. Beyond rock-and-roll, Conte has worked on soundtracks to popular anime television shows and movies, and he’s lent his talent to composers such as Danny Elfman and legends such as Chuck Berry. Conte appears online for a songwriting workshop and Q&A via Novato’s Strawberry Hill Music on Saturday, Oct. 17, at noon. $150. Space is limited, advanced registration required. Strawberryhillmusic.com.

Charlie Swanson
Charlie Swanson is a North Bay native and an arts and music writer and editor who has covered the local scene since 2014.
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