Stephane Wrembel, internationally known for his stylization and reinterpretation of the works of Romani-French jazz guitarist and composer Django Reinhardt, will perform two sets at the Blue Note in Napa on Sunday, Jan 22. The first set, beginning at 3pm, and the second at 6:30pm, are hat tips to Reinhardt’s birthday (which is technically the next day, but why quibble?). Guitarist Wrembel is “perhaps the most creative improviser in Gypsy jazz today,” according to The New York Times. Wrembel learned his craft among the Romani at campsites in the French countryside and has since toured the U.S, France, the UK, India and beyond. He released 16 albums under his name and as the The Django Experiment (his original compositions have been featured in a few Woody Allen movies). Tickets, at $40 to $55, are available at bluenotenapa.com.
Last week, the Jack London State Historic Park launched the Eighth Annual Young Writers Contest (aligning with its namesake author’s 147th birthday, Jan. 12).The contest invites middle school students (grades 6-8) to pen an original 1,500-2,000-word story inspired by the works of Jack London, wherein the main character(s) are animals and tell the story from their perspective. The contest closes at 11:59pm on March 31, and winners will be announced at the end of April. “Beginning as a high school student, Jack London wrote about adventure, travel and true stories. Throughout his life, he made it a practice to write 1,000 words every day. We want to encourage young writers to discover his works and be inspired to develop their own writing style and voice,” said Matt Leffert, executive director of Jack London State Historic Park. Prizes are $200 for first place, $150 for second place and $100 for third place. The contest is judged blindly by a panel of volunteers (not employees of Jack London Park Partners). Details at jacklondonpark.com/annual-young-writers-contest.
Just when one thought the zombie apocalypse ended with the season finale of The Walking Dead, Pete Sawyer & The Left Hand Monkey Wrench Gang come strumming in with their “all killer, no filler” Grateful Dead experience at 7pm, Sunday, Jan. 22 at Hopmonk Tavern, 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol. The ensemble will explore the depth and breadth of the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia Band catalog. “Through conversational improvisation and deep listening, the Monkey Wrench Gang lets the music play the band, serving as a channel for the energy inherent in the Grateful Dead experience,” according to their press materials. No fresh meat, the Left Hand Monkey Wrench Gang draws from their extensive experience playing with members of the Grateful Dead and the Jerry Garcia Band, as well as Phil Lesh, Bob Weir and Stu Allen. It’s time to live a little. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Lefthandmonkeywrenchgang.com.
Point Reyes Station
Selby Wynn Schwartz celebrates the U.S. publication of her Booker Prize-longlisted debut novel, After Sappho, in conversation with Point Reyes Books co-owner Moll Parent at 4pm, Saturday, Jan. 28. After Sappho reimagines the intertwined lives of feminists at the turn of the 20th century: In 1892, Rina Faccio trades her needlepoint for a pen; in 1902, Romaine Brooks sails for Capri with nothing but her clotted paintbrushes; and in 1923, Virginia Woolf writes: “I want to make life fuller and fuller.” Observes Lucy Scholes in The Telegraph, “After Sappho is a project of both imagination and intimacy, but also of significant research. Schwartz’s protagonists are all real people, but she has captured the essence of their lives and identities by means of what she describes as ‘speculative biographies.’” This free event will be held at the Dance Palace Church Space, 503 B St., Point Reyes Station.