Sierra Stages’ “Little Shop of Horrors” is a winner

From the blog of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine:

If you’re looking for a break from sobering TV and newspaper headlines and surreal national politics, go see Sierra Stages’ presentation of “Little Shop of Horrors” at the Nevada Theatre in Nevada City for some comic relief. It is funny, sweet, melodic and carries a cautionary tale (“Don’t feed the plant”). And the voice of the Audrey 2 — “FEED ME”! — is sure to make you laugh out loud.

Sierra Stages produces musicals and plays using strong local talent, including live orchestras for its musicals. It has received 53 prestigious Elly Award nominations in its first seven season. The performing arts nonprofit has presented or co-presented 28 productions at the Nevada Theatre and Miners Foundry in Nevada City or The Center for the Arts or Off Center Stage in Grass Valley, including “Into the Woods,” “The Music Man,” “Avenue Q,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Peter Pan” and “The Producers.”

The current production “Little Shop of Horrors” is a cult classic that has entertained theater goers for over 30 years. It plays now through August 6 at the Nevada Theatre on Thursdays at 7 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m.

Howard Ashman and Alan Menken (Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “Aladdin”) are the creative talent behind what has become one of the world’s most popular shows. The musical is based on the low-budget 1960 black comedy film “The Little Shop of Horrors,” directed by Roger Corman. We’ve enjoyed the movie, as well as the musical, and saw it again this summer on an outdoor screen with our neighbors — an ideal venue for a cult movie like this.

The musical premiered Off-Off Broadway in 1982 before moving Off-Broadway, where it had a five-year run. It later received numerous productions in the U.S. and abroad and a subsequent Broadway production.

Sierra Stages explains the show’s plot: “A down-and-out floral assistant who longs to get the girl of his dreams and escape life on skid row becomes an overnight sensation when he discovers an exotic plant with a mysterious craving that offers him fame and fortune in exchange for feeding its growing appetite.” The plant, just so you’re prepared, flourishes by eating human blood — at first a few drops from floral assistant Seymour’s pricked finger.

Local Cast

“Little Shop of Horrors” features a cast of nine Nevada County actors, 12 Nevada County musicians — and one very large plant named Audrey II. The show is directed by Robert Rossman, musical direction by Ken Getz, set and lighting by Erin Beaty and custome design by Jill Kelly.

The cast includes Tracie Nickle (Audrey), Jay Barker (Seymour), Ken Miele (Mushnik), Nancy Haffey (Chiffon), Jackie Kolenko (Ronnette), Kim Wellman (Crystal), Audrey Morgan Delgado (Audrey II Manipulation), JR Lewis (Voice of Audrey II, Derelict), and Conor Nolan (Orin, Bernstein, Snip, Luce and others).

Nickle shows so much vulnerability that she breaks your heart. Nolan is diabolical as Audrey’s sadistic dentist boyfriend Orin Scrivello, D.D.S. — to such a degree that we don’t cringe too much when he’s the first one who is fed to Audrey 2.

The vocals are outstanding, with well-known tunes such as “Skid Row (Downtown)”, “Somewhere That’s Green”, and “Suddenly, Seymour”.

Audrey Delgado shows off superb puppet skills as Audrey II (their names are a funny coincidence). She has tinkered with puppets since her years at university and always loved to manipulate creations using her whole body, according to the program. JR Lewis is the voice of Audrey II and makes the show shine with his “FEED ME”! routine.

The imaginative set for the show was constructed on the stage of the Colfax Performing Arts Center of Colfax High School. Students assisted with building and painting of the set. For its part, the Nevada Theatre has been renovated, which includes new backstage space for the orchestra. It is California’s oldest theater. Nevada City was hopping this past weekend, with locals and visitors alike.

“This one clearly falls in the category of ‘entertaining’ show, but we hope you don’t ignore the underlying ‘meaningful’ message and, whatever you do, don’t feed the plants,” sums up the program. For tickets and more information, visit

(Photo: David Wong)

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The Dark Knight

“Welcome to a world without rules. (I want you to read this paragraph in your super-scary movie trailer voice),” David Brooks writes in The New York Times. “Welcome to a world in which families are mowed down by illegal immigrants, in which cops die in the streets, in which Muslims rampage the innocents and threaten our very way of life, in which the fear of violent death lurks in every human heart.

“Sometimes in that blood-drenched world a dark knight arises. You don’t have to admire or like this knight. But you need this knight. He is your muscle and your voice in a dark, corrupt and malevolent world.

“Such has been the argument of nearly every demagogue since the dawn of time. Aaron Burr claimed Spain threatened the U.S in 1806. A. Mitchell Palmer exaggerated the Red Scare in 1919 and Joe McCarthy did it in 1950.

“And such was Donald Trump’s law-and-order argument in Cleveland on Thursday night. This was a compelling text that turned into more than an hour of humorless shouting. It was a dystopian message that found an audience and then pummeled them to exhaustion.

“Will it work?”

The rest of the article is here.

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Draft of revised marijuana cultivation ordinance up for vote next week

The Rood Center released a draft of a revised “interim” marijuana cultivation ordinance that supervisors will vote on next Tuesday.

The recommendation also calls for authorizing the Board’s Marijuana Subcommittee to work with staff on developing a process for collecting stakeholder input and providing recommendations for permanent marijuana cultivation regulations.

The draft on the interim ordinance is here.

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Todd Juvinall to “Scooper person Rachel”: “I was honored you smacked me around”

I don’t think of myself as a matchmaker, but I was glad to help hook up Todd Juvinall with “Rachel French,” the self-described “Scooper person” who commented here on Nevada City Council member Reinette Senum on Wednesday while I was down in Sacramento all day. The two are deserving of each other!

Rachel thinks she was “blocked” here; no was just put into moderation because of some outlandish and unsubstantiated comments. (Bloggers are responsible for all the content on their blogs, including the often bizarre commentary).

Now Todd and Rachel are getting to know each other on Todd’s blog. And you can’t make this stuff up! Here are some excerpts:

Rachel: Pelline is a coward and a derp.

Todd: “You are the Scooper person? Pelline is a coward and that is why he only has two ‘friends’ in town. Good luck. You are welcome to come here.”

Rachel:  “I am the ‘Scooper person’. A broad definition of derp is stupid. I typically use it in reference to conspiracy theorists, Chemtrail believers, anti-vaxxers, flat earth believers…or idiots.”

Todd: “I was honored that you all smacked me around a while back. Good fun. … Anyway, derp, I’ll try to remember that when writing about Pelline.”

Rachel: “You should join our Facebook groups. There is plenty of derp to kick around.”

Todd: “Sure where is it? I started Nevada County Debates after the Peeps booted me.”

Rachel: “Our two busiest groups are Worldwide False Flags and Agenda 21: Chemtrails, Depopulation, and New World Order. Don’t let the names fool you. These groups are strictly for debating derp. I’ll check our your groups too.”

Todd: “OK. I see you asked to join debates but I can’t see that you were. I am still trying to understand FB stuff.”

I’m a shadshan, not just a derp. Details here from Mrs. Doubtfire:

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Senum incident help lifts veil off of NC Scooper

The Union has praised the Nevada County Scooper for its satire, but I’m not as impressed, largely because the attacks are highly personal and anonymous.

Others have similar concerns, and it’s heating up. This week, I noticed an interesting exchange on Facebook this week between “Delaney Faris,” who writes he is a “staff reporter/writer” at the Nevada County Scooper on his own Facebook page, and people who support Reinette Senum.

Like others, I noticed that NC Scooper was among the biggest instigators of the “piling on” on  Senum, even after her offending words were removed from Facebook, and she apologized for her words about national law enforcement (twice).

NC Scooper’s “satire” article — “City Councilwoman: The Dallas Police Got What They Deserved” — also raised suspicions about a more coordinated effort against Senum, not an “organic” one. For her part, Senum complained that NC Scooper twisted her words, greatly exacerbating the situation. Many people didn’t understand the article was satire.

Here’s what Senum wrote this week on Facebook that led to a heated exchange between her supporters and “Feris,” the NC Scooper reporter.

“Dear Community, I simply wanted to give a shout-out to the dozens upon dozens of people who have flowed through the doors of Los Mineros, arms wide open, hugs ensuing, supporting me and my business/employees, and coming to a deeper understanding of my words,” Reinette wrote. “Business has never been so brisk, the conversation so engaging, and the love felt so strongly. Your empathy and compassion is so greatly appreciated. As you can all well imagine, I have much to say on this topic and am penning my thoughts that I will soon be sharing. In complete gratitude.”

Reinette’s post generated 430 “likes” and 60 comments — most of them supportive.

But in the Facebook thread, Faris (the self-proclaimed NC Scooper staff reporter/writer) blurted out: “Apparently being an a**hole is good for business.”

This was a typical response to his comment: ‘”Delaney,’ I think a**holes are people who hide behind pseudonyms and write for Nevada County Scooper,” and added, “Satire is supposed to be funny, not cruel and destructive.”

Faris responded: “I write despicable articles, true. But I haven’t written any about her. There are many Scooper writers. Most of us don’t even know each other.”

The response: “Congratulations. How proud you must be.”

I look forward to learning more about the “many Scooper writers — most of whom don’t know each other.”

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Warmuths named family of the year at the Nevada County Fair

Michelle and Brandon Warmuth have been named the 2016 Family of the Year by the Nevada County Fair’s Board of Directors. The Board chose the Warmuth family for their volunteer efforts and their ongoing participation in the livestock and exhibit programs at the Fair.

Brandon and Michelle, who have attended the Fair every year for 32 and 25 years respectively, have been participating in the Fair for many years. Michelle entered exhibits as a teen and participated in the Miss Nevada County Pageant. She and Brandon ran Treat Street’s Mexican Hot Spot for several years; and, today, they spend countless hours volunteering in the 4-H Booth on Treat Street and helping their children prepare animals and exhibits for the Fair.

Brandon and Michelle, who met at the Fair in 1997 and will celebrate their 18th wedding anniversary this year, have 8 children – Nathanael, 16; Victoria, 15; Dylan, 15; Hillary, 10; Valerie, 8; Bethany, 6; Johannah, 4; and Evelyn, 2. All of their children enter exhibits – livestock and still exhibits for the older children, and still exhibits for the younger children – in the Fair.

“The first Fair entry that my oldest entered in the Mommy and me category was a foam dragonfly wind spinner,” says Michelle. “That was when he was 3 – now he is 16. Over the years, with 8 kids, I don’t think there is a youth category the kids haven’t entered.”

As a family tradition, when the kids turn 5, they get to join 4-H – something the children look forward to with great anticipation. Once they are 4-H members, they enter and show livestock. They have brought chickens, pigs and sheep to the Fair; and this year they are bringing rabbits. Together, the kids have been showing for 7 years; and, collectively, the kids have shown 29 animals at the Fair. Their favorite event is the chicken and rabbit costume contest.

Additionally, Nathanael is a Nevada County 4-H All-Star, the Penn Valley 4-H Club President, and recently spent two weeks in Washington DC with the Washington Focus Program through 4-H. Victoria is a teen leader in 4-H, Dylan served as a Sargent at Arms for their 4-H club, and both recently spent a week at the 4-H Citizenship Program in Sacramento. Hillary is serving her second term as her 4-H Club’s Historian. As Michelle says, “the joke around the house is that we bleed green.”

“The Fairgrounds is like a second home to our children, and the Fair is so important to us because it speaks of the community we live in and how the community comes together to support one another,” says Michelle. “The Fair allows us to learn from others and their expertise. It is wonderful to see the talent that is so widespread in our community.”

When not busy at the Fair or volunteering, Brandon works at his construction company, Prestige Tile and Construction, and as a partner in a private security company in the Sacramento area. Michelle is a fulltime Mom, and spends summers speaking at homeschooling conferences and hosting workshops on various topics. They served as a foster family for 9 years with Environmental Alternatives, and have cared for more than 20 children during that time. They are also members of Penn Valley Community Church.

“The Warmuth Family’s involvement and volunteer efforts at the Fair embody the community spirit and collaboration that is the Nevada County Fair,” said Rea Callender, CEO of the Fairgrounds. “Their participation in the livestock and still exhibit program, and their investment in the community by serving others, is commendable and admirable – and makes them the perfect choice for the 2016 Family of the Year.”

Upon being named the Family of the Year, Michelle says they were shocked! “The surprising part is that what we do at the Fair and in the community is what we do because we love it and it’s part of who we are as a family. It never crossed our minds that we would be noticed, much less stand out! It’s a great honor and we hope that by having the opportunity to share our hearts, people will be inspired to invest in their community with their time and talents.”

The Warmuth Family will be honored at the Fair’s opening ceremonies. They will receive a Fair package, as well as a family portrait by Shaffers Originals of Grass Valley. The 2016 Nevada County Fair is August 10 – 14.

— By Wendy Oaks, Nevada County Fair

(Photo credit: Shaffers Originals of Grass Valley)

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Melania Trump GOP convention speech strikingly similar to Michelle Obama address

“They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but in the era of Google you should at least be a little more careful about doing it on live national TV,” as Mother Jones is reporting.

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 5.23.53 AM

“BY THE WAY: It’s interesting that one of the phrases Melania left out was about treating people with dignity and respect ‘even if you don’t know them.’ How very Trumpish.”

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