Five Ways to Stay Connected in the North Bay This Weekend

Online concerts, readings and safaris, oh my!

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Vocalist Eliott Peck leads an online cook-along dinner and show from her living room tonight, May 22. Photo by Jay Blakesberg.

Though Memorial Day weekend is customarily a time for gatherings, Covid-19 has put a halt to all the parties and festivals that usually take place in the North Bay over the three-day weekend.

Even with some North Bay parks opening back up, most folks may still want to stay at home—but that doesn’t mean they have to be bored. Many arts groups have ramped up their online offerings in recent weeks as venues and artists alike adapt to the new era of social distancing get-togethers.

San Rafael’s Terrapin Crossroads is one such venue, having expanded their digital offerings since closing down in March. Terrapin co-founder and Grateful Dead–icon Phil Lesh leads the way on the new Terrapin TV, performing with his son Grahame Lesh and friends from their respective living rooms to raise funds for the venue’s 100-plus staff members who are feeling the financial strain since the stay-at-home orders shuttered the space.

This evening, May 22, Terrapin Crossroads hosts a special cook-along dinner and show from Midnight North–vocalist Elliott Peck and guitarist Jesse Barwell, live from their kitchen and living room at 5pm. First, join the pair in making “Something like a Stroganoff” before enjoying some comforting music.

Deadheads can also enjoy live and recorded concerts streaming on Deadheadland. The long-running, Marin-based Grateful Dead fan site is hosting over 10 different streaming sessions this weekend, including performances by Marin musicians Scott Guberman and Stu Allen, as well as classic sets from Mark Karan and friends. Visit Deadheadland.com for a full schedule.

Napa’s Blue Note Jazz Club, another venue renowned for hosting nightly concerts, has also been dark for two months. In the meantime, it is participating in “Blue Note at Home,” a daily streaming showcase hosted by the original Blue Note in New York City. The live-streaming series showcases artists in their homes, and this weekend’s schedule includes a set from influential jazz-guitarist Marcus Miller, who will be talking about Miles Davis and playing bass on May 23 at 5pm. The next day, on May 24, Soul Rebels’ trombonist Paul Robertson streams at 1pm, followed by a set from harpist Brandee Younger and double-bassist Dezron Douglas at 3pm.

Up the road from Napa, St. Helena’s Cameo Cinema is one of several local theaters streaming on-demand films. In addition to offering streaming movie rentals, Cameo takes the online concept to new heights with its upcoming Zoomfari, in cooperation with Santa Rosa’s Safari West wildlife preserve.

The live virtual experience will feature a meet-and-greet with Safari West’s resident giraffes, and Safari West’s expert rangers will be on hand to answer questions. This Zoomfari pairs with Cameo’s streaming of the documentary The Woman Who Loves Giraffes, which follows 23-year-old biologist, Anne Innis Dagg, on her unprecedented 1956 solo journey to South Africa to study giraffes in the wild. The documentary is available to stream now, and the Zoomfari, presented as part of the theater’s “Science on Screen” series, happens on Saturday, May 23, at 10am on Zoom; RSVP links available on cameocinema.com.

In addition to this family-friendly event, kids will also get a kick out of a pair of online readings being offered this weekend through the new virtual version of the Bay Area Book Festival.

First, bestselling children’s author Colin Meloy—who’s other talent is leading the rock band The Decemberists—and illustrator Shawn Harris appear on YouTube together to discuss their newest collaboration, Everyone’s Awake. The read-aloud book for families is a fun new bedtime-routine for kids who have trouble getting to sleep. That program happens on May 23 at 10am, and is immediately followed by another kid-centric event, as the Bay Area Book Festival hosts author Brian Weisfeld on May 23 at 11am for a lemonade-making session aimed at inspiring kids to get that lemonade stand ready for summer. 

Both of these events are part of a massive online pivot for the Bay Area Book Festival, which presents its #UNBOUND series of engaging conversations and readings  through June at baybookfest.org.

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