Category Archives: Events & Happenings

Sierra Stages opens its 7th Season with “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike”

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Sierra Stages opens its 2015 season with the hilarious Broadway comedy VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE, winner of the 2013 Tony Award® for Best Play. Written by Christopher Durang, VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE plays at the historic Nevada Theatre in Nevada City from March 5-28. The play is directed by Jeffrey Mason, with set design by Pamela Hodges, lighting design by Erin Beatie, and costume design by Jill Kelly. The cast includes local Nevada County actors Casey Burke, Susan Mason, Robert Rossman, Karen Leigh Sharp, Rachel Wellman, and Sharon Winegar.

Vanya and his adopted sister Sonia are living a quiet life in the Pennsylvania farmhouse where they grew up, while their sister Masha travels the world as a movie star. Just as their cleaning woman issues a warning about terrible events in their future, Masha returns for an unannounced visit with her 20-something boy toy Spike in tow – and so begins an unforgettable weekend building to a fever pitch of rivalry, regret and racket.

“We’re excited to open our 7th season with VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE,” says Sierra Stages Board Member Peter Mason. “When I first read the play, I knew immediately that it would be perfect for Sierra Stages and perfect for our audience — it is funny, accessible, and poignant, and moreover, I was certain that pretty much everyone in our audience would recognize their own family dynamics as the characters of Vanya, Sonia and Masha (all in their mid to late 50’s) are thrown together for a weekend reunion and forced to confront changes in their lives. In addition, it’s a wonderfully theatrical and smart play that can be enjoyed by all audiences. One does not need to be in the least bit familiar with the plays of Anton Chekhov (or even know who Chekhov was) to enjoy VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE.”

Since its debut, VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE has been one of the most widely produced contemporary plays across the country, with 27 regional productions currently being performed. In addition to his Tony Award® for VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE, Christopher Durang has been recognized with multiple awards and prizes for his plays, which include Sister Mary Ignatius, Beyond Therapy, and The Marriage of Bette and Boo. Characterized by a combination of absurdist humor and satire, his style has influenced an entire generation of playwrights. With VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE, Durang has given us his most enjoyable comedy to date.

Performances of VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays (March 15 & 22) at 2 p.m., with a preview on Thursday March 5 at 7 p.m. General Admission tickets are $25 ($15 for the preview on March 5). Reserved Seating is available for $35 (in advance), and is a great way to provide additional financial support for Sierra Stages. For tickets and information, visit or call Sierra Stages at (530) 346-3210.

For the 7th consecutive year, Sierra Stages offers an affordable Season Pass. The Season Pass is priced at $60 and allows theatregoers to select any performance of each show in 2015: VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE, the Mel Brooks musical THE PRODUCERS (July 16- August 8 at the Nevada Theatre) and the William Finn and James Lapine musical FALSETTOS (November 6-22 at the Off Center Stage in Grass Valley). Sierra Stages invites everyone, including Season Pass holders, to become a Sierra Stages Member and support quality local theatre. Memberships begin at $25 per person and are tax deductible. Not only will Members have the satisfaction of helping support quality theatre, but with the purchase of a Season Pass, Members are able to reserve a specific seat location for all three productions. The Sierra Stages 2015 Season Pass (and Sierra Stages Memberships) may be purchased online at or by calling Sierra Stages at (530) 346-3210.

Volunteer at the new Donner Memorial State Park

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The Donner Memorial State Park is seeking volunteers for daily operations of the new Visitors Center set to open late spring. In January 2015, the park secured additional financing through the State Parks Fund to complete the new visitors center (read more here).

To visit the Donner Memorial State Park website, click here. To learn more about volunteering in the State Parks, click here. The application to volunteer is here.

(Source: California Department of Parks and Recreation)

Nevada County Tourism participates in 5th annual Bay Area Travel & Adventure Show

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Nevada County Tourism is participating in the 2015 Bay Area Travel & Adventure Show this weekend. Nevada County and its tourism website,, is being promoted to thousands of travel-minded people.

“If you’re a lover of ‘all things travel,’ and happen to find yourself in the San Francisco Bay Area, the weekend of February 6 & 7, then join the 20,000 plus travel aficionados who will converge on the Santa Clara Convention Center, for a once a year opportunity to mingle with over 250 U.S. and Worldwide destination tourism offices, tour operators, cruise lines, hotels/resorts, and other travel-related products and services,” as the Huffington Post is reporting. “Plan your summer vacation and beyond at the Bay Area’s largest travel & adventure show.”

Attendees come face to face with the icons of the travel world, including Peter Greenberg, the consummate travel correspondent; Samantha Brown from the Travel Channel; and Rick Steves, a leading travel authority.

Buffy Sainte-Marie, Dengue Fever, Portland Cello Project at Worldfest

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The Center for the Arts presents WorldFest on Thursday through Sunday, July 16-19, at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. Additional performers announced on Friday include:

Buffy Sainte-Marie
Academy Award winner Buffy Sainte-Marie’s audacious attitude to life on and off the stage has inspired people around the world for over four decades. Not one to rest on her accomplishments, Buffy Sainte-Marie has never stopped channelling her infinite musical and artistic creativity. As one of the most spellbinding artists of our time, Buffy Sainte-Marie gracefully combines a high energy stage presence with cerebral songs that tell powerful stories. This rare and primal blend is a welcome joy to festivals and concert halls around the world.

Portland Cello Project
Since the group’s inception in late 2007, the Portland Cello Project, has wowed audiences all over the country with extravagant performances, everywhere from Prairie Home Companion, to parties on loading docks in NYC, to symphony halls from coast to coast, to punk rock clubs. The group has built a reputation mixing genres and blurring musical lines and perceptions wherever they go. No two shows are alike, with a repertoire now numbering over 1,000 pieces of music both expected and unexpected to come from a cello.

Dengue Fever
The roots of the band began in the late 1990’s with a 6-month trek through Southeast Asia by Keyboardist Ethan Holtzman. Returning to Los Angeles with a suitcase crammed full of Cambodian cassette tapes, Holtzman and his brother Zac, who had discovered the same music while working at a record store in San Francisco, reunited. The brothers soon bonded over their love of vintage Cambodian rock and in 2002 founded the band with saxophonist, David Ralicke (Beck/Brazzaville); drummer, Paul Dreux Smith; and bassist, Senon Williams (Radar Brothers).

Shortly thereafter the members were on hot pursuit for the ideal Cambodian chanteuse to complete their outfit. Nimol joined the band when she realized the band shared a genuine passion for the music and culture of her homeland. It’s that cross pollination of Khmer rock, garage rock, psychedelic rock and the British Invasion sound that has pushed the band to heights they could only dream of in 2002. DENGUE FEVER as performed in front of thousands of fans at such noted music festivals as WOMAD, WOMEX, Melbourne Festival, Glastonbury, Bumerbshoot among many others.

Their songs have appeared in films such as City of Ghosts, Jim Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers, The Hangover 2, the Showtime series Weeds, the HBO’s hit series True Blood and featured the band’s music, CBS’ series CSI: Las Vegas and numerous independent documentaries.

Beats Antique
Growing like wildfire under the canopy of live electronica and world roots music comes a masterful merge of modern technology, live instrumentation and seductive performance, built of brass bands and glitch, string quartets and dubstep: the musical trio Beats Antique. The band has performed at Coachella, Austin City Limits, Lightening in a Bottle, Hangout, Mountain Jam, Lollapalooza, and Electric Forest as well as various international festivals. The trio is composed of David Satori (banjo, guitar, saz, viola, and percussion), Sidecar Tommy Cappel (keys, toy piano, drums, and percussion), and Jakes (belly dancer, composer, and arranger).

More details are here.

— The Center for the Arts

RiversLab: a book club for river geeks

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The South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) invites you to join RiversLab: a group of people who are interested pin how rivers work – both from an ecological and management perspective – and come together to ask questions and discuss scientific papers and published reports on river policy, river ecology, and river management.

It’s kind of like a book club for river geeks.

Here is how it works:

1. Meet from 12-1 the last Wednesday of every month in SYRCLs conference room (brown bag lunch).
2. Everyone reads the papers (2 papers per month).
3. Be on time, show up 5 minutes early even!
4. Each paper gets 30 minutes for discussion.
5. Six people will take on roles each month to help stimulate the discussion:

Article Reviewer: This person will provide a 5 min article review at the beginning of the discussion summarizing the main points (1 person per paper).

Discussion Lead: This person will lead the discussion of the paper making sure it stays on track and covers the main points – prepare at least 5 questions (1 person per paper).

The Scribe: This person will take 5 minutes at the end to summarizes the discussion, noting key points, clarifications, and disagreements and sends notes out to group via dropbox (1 person per paper).

Our first meeting will be Feb 25th from 12-1 p.m. in the SYRCL conference room (313 Railroad Ave, Nevada City). The topic will be Water Policy.

If you are interested in joining us, please e-mail Svetlana Vasilchenko, Restoration Coordinator, to get access to our shared Dropbox folder or have the papers emailed to you!

(Source: SYRCL)

Miners Foundry begins 2015 Mardi Gras with legendary saxophonist Karl Denson

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The Miners Foundry Cultural Center kicks off Mardi Gras weekend in Nevada County on Friday, February 13 with the heavy grooves, high-energy, shake-your-tail-feather music of Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe featuring celebrated steel guitarist Roosevelt Collier.

For nearly three decades, legendary saxophonist Karl Denson has been getting crowds around the world out on the dance floor. Approaching iconic status, Denson has moved bodies and minds dating back to his earliest years with Lenny Kravitz’s band through his ongoing tenure as a founding member of seminal boogaloo revivalists The Greyboy Allstars and his current roll as a member of San Diego dub rockers Slightly Stoopid. Nowhere, however, is this more apparent than with his band, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe. Touring relentlessly for the past 15 years and leaving a massive audience in his wake, fans know that when KDTU is in town a dance party will ensue.

Denson and his band are back on the road for a multi-city tour in support of their latest studio album, New Ammo, an infectious 13-track collection, and Denson’s debut release on Slightly Stoopid’s record label, Stoopid Records. Alongside Denson originals like the title track and “Everybody Knows That,” which have become fan favorites from his live sets, KDTU offers up searing versions of “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes, “Hang Me Up To Dry” by Cold War Kids and “Sure Shot” by The Beastie Boys. The first single “My Baby,” features Nicki Bluhm on vocals.

Joining Denson in KDTU is bassist Chris Stillwell, Chris Littlefield on trumpet, guitarist D.J. Williams, David Veith on keyboards and Max MacVeety on drums. For this upcoming run of club shows and festival appearances, acclaimed sacred steel guitarist Roosevelt Collier will make a special appearance in KDTU.

Soft-spoken by nature, South Florida-bred Collier does his hollering on the pedal steel guitar. Brought up in the “sacred steel” tradition of the House of God Church, Roosevelt built his reputation alongside his uncles and cousins in The Lee Boys, known for their spirited, soul-shaking live performances. Seated front and center, “The Dr.” leaves an indelible mark on listeners, flooring audiences with his lightning-fast slide work on the pedal steel. At festivals, he is a regular “Artist at Large,” performing alongside many of music’s most prestigious acts, from the Allman Brothers, to Los Lobos to the Del McCoury Band. No matter what the context, when Roosevelt takes the stage the ear-to-ear grins can’t help but be contagious.

“Roosevelt Collier is the next up-and-coming gunslinger guitar player and I’m really happy that I got to know about him before he blows up,” says Denson. “My music has been moving more and more toward the blues. So this is a push in that direction.”

For more information about Mardi Gras in Nevada City visit

- Jesse Locks for Miners Foundry Cultural Center

Steel work has begun on Bridgeport Covered Bridge

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A 9,000 pound steel support was hoisted into place on the South end of the Historic Covered Bridge at South Yuba River State Park in Northern California. A similar support structure will be added on the north end and then a series of cables and girders will combine to stabilize the integrity of the bridge. The stabilization is phase one of a two phases. The restoration process will be phase two. The bridge, built in 1862, is the longest single span wooden covered bridge remaining in the world.

—South Yuba River Park Association

(Photo: John Field)

Enjoy food & wine at Foothills Celebration on March 7

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Stroll through the streets of Grass Valley and explore the city’s eclectic Gold Rush heritage. Sip from more than 30 wineries, while sampling hand-crafted delicacies from local eateries. Visit shops from contemporary art galleries, chocolatiers, home design stores, clothing boutiques and antique emporiums throughout the historic downtown Grass Valley district.

Celebrate the foothills all weekend long. Tour the Empire Mine or experience some of Grass Valley’s nightlife with talented local musicians, while enjoying any one of the fantastic eateries.

To purchase tickets in advance ($35 before February 28 and $45 afterward, $10 for designated drivers), click here, visit any downtown tasting room or contact the Grass Valley Downtown Association at 530-272-8315. All tickets include five food tasting tickets (including designated driver tickets) and wine tasting (or a water bottle for the designated driver).

Foothill Celebration begins at the Gold Miners Inn/Holiday Inn Express, where you’ll pick up your food tickets and tasting glasses. From there, it’s a treasure hunt for magnificent foods, wines, music, art, shopping and fun throughout downtown Grass Valley.

Nevada City makes “50 Best Small Town Downtowns in America” list

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Best Choice Reviews recently named Nevada City, California to its “50 Best Small Town Downtowns in America” list.

“Small town Americana is alive and well across the entire United States. With thousands of sleep towns and beautiful villages, a new idea of an American downtown has emerged. Gone are the days of a downtown area with a post office, market and police department. What has taken the place of this outdates notion are unique and eclectic downtown areas full of energy, entertainment and accessibility for Americans of all ages. Small towns have become the central gathering places for residents and visitors of the many small towns and cities across the country. Many of these downtowns have rich history and culture attached to them. In addition to their history, many of these small downtowns are now places to shop, unwind, dine, attend festivals, hear music and so much more.

Ranking Methodology

“This ranking list has been created to outline the top fifty small town downtowns in America. We have defined a small town as a city or town with full time residency of 15,000 or fewer citizens. The data used for this measure was the 2013 United States Census. Attention was specifically paid to those towns that have been named on a respected ranking list for Best Small Town, Best Main Street or Best Downtown. These respected ranking bodies include Parade Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, Fox News Travel, Travel and Leisure, Livability or Huffington Post Travel. A third consideration was given to the median income of the town, median home price as well as the median age of the residents. While no preference was awarded to towns with higher or lower median age of residents, it is good information for potential visitors or residents. We paid close attention to the general appeal to the downtown area, including such things as general appearance, festivals or special events, dining, shopping, entertainment, arts and culture, parks, proximity to airports and hotels amenities available. The goal of this ranking list is to find the best small town downtown areas for both residents as well as visitors to the area.

#12 – Nevada City, California
2013 Population: 3,046
City Website

“Nevada City is a small town located sixty miles northeast of Sacramento, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. There is not a huge tourist industry in the town, but visitors are always welcome. Both locals and visitors to the town can enjoy the towns offerings of music, art, dining as well as the close proximity to California’s amazing rivers, lakes, and the Sierras Nevada Mountain range. There are several restaurants, historic sites and art galleries found throughout the downtown area.

Median Income: $62,386
Median Age of Residents: 43.4
Median House Price: $314,750
National Ranking:
Huffington Post Travel – 15 of America’s Coolest Small Towns”

To see the full list, visit

To learn more about Nevada City, click here.


Wildflower walks begin along the South Yuba River in March

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When spring arrives in the Nevada County foothills there is no better way to welcome its arrival than with a walk among the beautiful wildflowers at South Yuba River State Park near Penn Valley.

State Park Docents will lead guided wildflower walks every Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m., beginning March 7, and continuing through May 10.

The Buttermilk Bend Trail, which winds above the wild and scenic South Yuba River, is famous for the many species that bloom on its hills and slopes. Each season, observers are delighted with an ever changing tableau of spring color. Early season visitors will find Western Buttercups, Larkspur and Shooting Stars. By mid-season, the hills turn gold and purple with Tufted Poppies and Narrow Leaf Lupine.

Mid-to-late-season is a special treat as Fairy Lanterns, Chinese Houses, and Bird’s Eye Gilia reveal themselves. Mid-to-late season, it is a special treat to find the California Dutchman’s Pipe and learn about its unique symbiotic relationship with the pipevine swallowtail butterfly. Docents will point out these and many more species and points of interest along the trail.

Guided hikes last about two hours along the Buttermilk Bend trail, an easy 2.5 mile round trip hike. Meet at the trailhead in the north parking lot, just past the concrete bridge which crosses the South Yuba River on Pleasant Valley Road. Sturdy walking shoes are recommended along with a hat, sunscreen, and remember to bring water. A $3 donation is requested and appreciated.

(Dogs are not permitted on the guided walks as the trail is narrow and the groups can be large.)

To make your visit complete, allow extra time to visit the park Visitor Center, see the covered bridge (currently under restoration) and barn (both built in 1862) and the restored 1920s gas station.

The Visitor Center is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. There you will find a collection of wildflower books, nature and history displays and many other educational and gift items. Because of dry winter conditions the wildflower season may be full of mystery and surprises.

For more information throughout our short season, call the park at (530) 432-2546, or go to (rain will cancel walks)

- South Yuba River State Park

(Photo: SYRCL)