Media Life: Auburn about to take a walk on the wool side

Western State Trail film to screen outdoors; Remembering Koko Taylor; Jazz in outdoor Auburn venue; KAHI welcomes back Jimmy Buffett show
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Expect a plethora of celebrity sightings Thursday when the Art Walk returns to Auburn. Placer School for Adults’ advanced knitting class will be showing off 25 knitted celebrities they’ve created for the evening stroll of art-adorned galleries and shops. Instructor Linda Pietz and class members have created an exhibition that will bring to woolly life some of today’s icons – from Stevie Wonder to Bob Marley to Pope Benedict XVI. Also included are a few historical figures like Queen Elizabeth I, Barbara Eden of “I Dream of Jeannie” fame and Abe Lincoln. The exhibit will be on display for one night only, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Cabin Fever Quilts in Downtown Auburn. This is the same group that put on the popular decorated bra exhibit last year. That collection went on to win an excellence-in-fine-arts award at the California State Fair in Sacramento. Pietz said the group may be back with the icons display at the Sacto fair this coming summer. OUTDOORS FILM SHOWING OUTDOORS Sunday, June 14, will mark 18 years of American River Confluence Festivals and the warm-up act the night before provides a rare opportunity to see a good film with a very Auburncentric angle. “They Crossed the Mountains: A History of the Western States Trail” will be shown at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 13 at the festival’s American River Overlook Park state on Pacific Avenue. The film provides an entertaining look, with some vintage film clips dating to the early 1930s, of the integral transportation role the trail has played over the centuries. That role continues to this day as a beloved running and equestrian route. KOKO GRACED AUBURN Concert-goers listening to headliner Koko Taylor at last year’s BBQ & Blues music fest in Auburn didn’t know at the time how lucky they were. Taylor, known as the queen of the Chicago blues, belted out a well-received set in July. Turns out the Auburn audience at the SPCA benefit was one of the last to hear her. She died Thursday at 80, performing up to the last few weeks of her life. Taylor was one of the last of the Chess Records blues stars of the 1950s and 1960s and will be missed. The BBQ & Blues will keep on cooking July 11 with Curtis Salgado, a singer and harmonica player who’s been entertaining with likes of Robert Cray and Santana bands since the 1970s. CAPITAL START Some of the region’s top jazz names will be in town June 21 for the kickoff performance of the 21st season of the Auburn Summer Series of music. Piano man Joe Gilman, who has garnered praise for his playing from none other than jazz kingpin Dave Brubeck, will be a big part of a quintet of well-regarded musicians taking the stage at the Library Garden Theater starting at 7 p.m. Rick Lotter, a drummer who’s probably best know for his work with Mumbo Gumbo, saxophone player Mike McMullen, bass player Kerry Kashiwagi and renowned guitar player Henry Robinett round out the group known as the Capital Jazz Project. The Jazz Project concert is free and will be followed by big band In Full Swing (June 28), Steely Dan tribute band Steelin’ Dan (July 12) and the return of fiddling pyrotechnician Tom Rigney and Flambeau on July 19. PlacerArts is the event sponsor and outdoor theater welcome picnics and blankets. No refreshments are available. KING JAMES II Buffett is back. Jimmy that is. And with the music of laid-back country-pop crooner providing the recorded backdrop comes an assortment of Parrotheads that Auburn’s KAHI radio hasn’t seen for more than three years. The AM station’s “Afternoon Report” host Dave Rosenthal is returning Fridays to a Buffett extravaganza that once was a big part of his Friday morning show. Rosenthal, on 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, says the inspiration to return to “Parrothead Friday” came at – what else – a Jimmy Buffett concert. That was last month in San Jose, when he ran into Fawnridge Winery’s Stuart and Stephanie Perry in the parking lot. So it’s back to Buffettville and the Fun Bunch from the past show are onboard again, including Victoria Beninga, Monique Krafft, Connie Watson and Joe Castelli. Much mirth should ensue, with the home base for live remotes at the Monkey Cat restaurant’s Palapa Bar. Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at